Archive for Spaniard

The (Catholic?) Blair Doctrine

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair entered the Catholic Church in 2007, several months after leaving office and apparently many years after beginning a serious journey toward Her.  In reading accounts of his conversion I came across an interesting event during his tenure as PM that might have indicated, even back in 1999, that his Catholic formation regarding use of force was well underway. In April 1999 Blair had been invited to speak at the Economic Club of Chicago’s annual meeting, where he presented what became known as the “Blair Doctrine” of international community building including guidelines for warranted military

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Crusades and Reconquista Lectures Recommended

I commend to my Junto friends a series of lectures from Dr. Brendan McGuire of Christendom College, on the topics of the Crusades (three hourly lectures) and the Reconquista of Iberia (two hourly lectures), respectively.  These can be found by going to the Institute of Catholic Culture’s Media Library and locating these lectures; or by utilizing the Apple’s iTunes U app for PC or devices and searching for the author. In such a relatively brief time the material is obviously a very encapsulated form of this history.  Nonetheless Dr. McGuire wastes no time with a telling of the high points

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Lafayette, Nous Sommes Ici!

It’s been nearly a week since the deadly attacks by Islamic jihadists of ISIS on Paris, killing at least 129 and injuring hundreds more.  Today we heard more about the thwarting of alleged imminent additional attacks in the City of Lights.  France has a problem.  Europe has a problem.  The U.S. and the rest of Christendom has a problem. A while back I cited the 2014 Frontex report on EU borders, in which alarming trends of illegal immigration were on the upswing.  The report also included a brief commentary on EU nationals traveling to Syrian to be radicalized. According to

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Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli Against the Third Reich

I recently listened to an interesting interview of Mark Riebling, the author of a new book entitled Church of Spies, detailing Pope Pius XII’s clandestine efforts to undermine the Third Reich.  Riebling claims that Pius XII coyly kept the Nazis at bay diplomatically, all the while using an intricate network of spies and operators, priests and laymen, to plot against them.  I haven’t had a chance to complete the book but hope to have a report soon.  In the meantime I offer some brief observations of the dynamics in Germany and Rome leading up to Eugenio Pacelli’s controversial pontificate. Under his predecessor,

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The Case of the Mysterious Meeting

A very hectic week has until now kept me from commenting on the Kim Davis affair, which if contained in a story by Erle Stanley Gardner might be named “The Case of the Mysterious Meeting.”  I realize by now the story has lost most of its legs and will likely disappear in the muddling noise of newer, sexier events.  However… Apparently Kim Davis, the clerk who spent a bit of time in jail for refusing to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples in her Kentucky county, did indeed “meet with” the Holy Father during his visit to the U.S.  Davis

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Quick Reflection: Papal Mass Good PR

This evening I got home from work in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Papal Mass celebrated at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and I flipped between CNN and Fox News to compare their coverages.  In both cases, there was silence from the commentators, who seemed to understand the reverence due the occasion.  There turned out to be a bit of verbal description but they mostly let the video tell the story. As I watched Communion, with thousands of the faithful walking up to receive the Lord (many on the tongue, no less), I found myself

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Nature Rebounds!

Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Laudato Si’, is sure to invoke all sorts of reactions from its readers.  Having just finished it, I would even dare to suggest that each reader may experience a range of responses, section by section and even sentence by sentence.  It is a combination of pastoral lecture and harsh rebuke, with a sizable dollop of climate science and sideways economics tossed in. As I wrestle with what I consider to be hyperbolic descriptions of the “immense pile of filth” and “constant schizophrenia” I have to admit the real dangers of a throwaway culture that relies on

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Heroes and Heaven

Lately I’ve been thinking about my own tendency toward hero-worship and about its merits and dangers.  I suppose we all crave the notion of the idealized man or woman who can always be counted on to do good even under extreme duress.  This idea of a hero gives us something to aspire to.  But, what does “do good” really mean?  If your hero is a great general, then perhaps good means leading an army to victory and killing more of the enemy than he kills of yours.  If your hero is of the exaggerated comic book variety, good might include

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Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men

Many of us are probably familiar with The Art of Manliness website and associated podcast.  The AoM tends to have a lot of interesting material and guests, but not much about virtue vis a vis Christian morality.  However, a recent episode featured author Stephen Mansfield discussing his book, Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men, in which he writes about exactly that.  He talks about a well-worn observation of ours that men in our modern society and even in our churches are pushed toward feminization, but in fact men are geared to “do things” more than they are to talk or simply

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Defunding Defeat

I’ve been out of town with my family for several days now, unplugged from virtually all media.  It’s relaxing and disconcerting at the same time.  However, my phone still buzzes occasionally with an AP news headline, and I knew that a bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood was gaining steam after several videos have emerged showing PP officers blithely discussing their grisly vocation.  Sadly, I wasn’t at all surprised when on Monday the headline came through that the motion to move the bill forward by ending the Democrat filibuster had failed to reach 60 yeas by a (party line) vote of

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