Opus Dei lost its prelate this week. Anyone who knows me learns at some point the large impact that Saint Josemaria Escriva and the Work has on my life as a Catholic and as a worker. The Work gives me the hope that I can become a saint in the ordinary world.
I suspect Bishop Echevarria may have been just such a saint. Being a saint is not about doing extraordinary things but about doing ordinary things well out of love for the Lord and service to humanity. Watching the funeral mass for Echevarria, I was left with a bit of sadness at his passing but also joy and hope that this faithful son has gone on to his reward. May he rest forever in the eternal embrace of the Holy Trinity, our Blessed Mother, and the two fathers that went before him.
This is my favorite picture of Bishop Echevarria. He strikes me here as a man of profound happiness and joy. May we all experience this same happiness and joy in our lives.
2. NEOCON VS PALEOCON
It is difficult to read conservative websites or listen to certain conservative commentators who have embraced neoconservativism. I am not a neoconservative. For those ignorant of the term, a neocon is simply a person who believes America should be an empire. I am a paleoconservative and a noninterventionist. I believe America should be a republic.
The impulse to worldwide empire is an evil one. It goes back to the Tower of Babel. You see the impulse in civilizations like the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Babylonians, the Romans, Genghis Khan, the old Soviet Union, the Ottoman Empire, and on and on. Evil has an insatiable desire to rule over everyone else.
Today, three main groups aspire to empire. We have the neocons who believe that America should dominate the globe with its exceptionalism as the remaining superpower. You have the globalists who want to erase borders and unite the world in a secular superstate. Then, there are the Muslims who believe every square inch of the planet should be in submission to Allah and the Caliphate reborn.
Trump is not a neocon. His criticisms of the Iraq invasion are heartening. The fact that the Palpatinesque Bill Kristol hates Trump's guts is all you need to know about Trump's stance on neoconservatism.
The current fiasco that is Syria is the latest example of the failure of neoconservative foreign policy. This is where a guy like Putin makes sense in opposition to the madness of the foreign policy that bloody anarchy is preferable to orderly dictatorship. Putin is not a globalist. He has pursued Russian interests, but Vlad is utterly free of imperial ambitions. He wants to make Russia great again, and these ambitions might extend as far as Anchorage. But that is as far as Putin cares to go. That is too far but sane in comparison to the global ambitions of everyone else.
Globalists are imperialists. Neocons are globalists. It is because of them that we have such massive national debt, ISIS, and instability in the Middle East. When you intervene in some other country, you can only make it worse. This means remaining there to "fix" what is wrong sort of like how we fixed things in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. The US pursues a policy of worldwide destabilization knowing this will create chaos necessitating the "solution" of American empire. This is pure madness.
Countries have a right to determine their own destinies. Even a bad guy like Putin can appreciate this. This is why he has lent Russian support to stabilize Syria against the Arab Spring style uprising there. The US has been funding and equipping ISIS in this region, and this will come out. This should sicken us.
I'm not sure where the Trump administration will go from here in terms of foreign policy, but I sincerely hope that Trump utterly repudiates neoconservatism. This foolish doctrine needs to die. America is a republic not an empire. This is what makes America exceptional.
3. DYLANN ROOF TRIAL
The jury has convicted Dylann Roof. Now, he faces sentencing. I suspect he will receive a death sentence.
I am against the death penalty. I do not think the death penalty is an unjust penalty. In fact, we all deserve the death penalty we live under and an eternity in Hell. But God is merciful, and mercy is the reason the Catholic Church counsels against the death penalty. Even murderers like Dylann Roof should be given every chance to repent.
The death penalty would make a sort of martyr out of this man. A more fitting punishment would be a lifetime in prison reflecting upon the great evil he has done. I pray that this young man repents of his sins and crimes and sees the light. And if anyone thinks I am going light on him, these people need to contemplate eternity in Hell and what that really means.
4. Q & A
Q: What will be Obama's legacy when he leaves office?
5. QUOTABLE QUOTES
For many faithful, the Sunday Holy Mass, with its Homily, is the only occasion where they will hear the message of Christ. With evermore renewed commitment, preaching will be very effective, above all if it is directed also at one’s own soul: if one lives what one says and preaches what one lives.
BISHOP JAVIER ECHEVARRIA RODRIGUEZ
Like the good sons of Noah, cover the weaknesses you may see in your father, the priest, with a cloak of charity.
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA
You fall into contempt of your neighbor, if you judge his evil will towards you, instead of My will acting in him.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
Death was not part of nature; it became part of nature. God did not decree death from the beginning; he prescribed it as a remedy. Human life was condemned because of sin to unremitting labour and unbearable sorrow and so began to experience the burden of wretchedness. There had to be a limit to its evils; death had to restore what life had forfeited. Without the assistance of grace, immortality is more of a burden than a blessing.
ST. AMBROSE OF MILAN
All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as those who do us good.
ST. JOHN VIANNEY
6. ODDS AND ENDS
--Democrats despise democracy. Ironic, eh?
--Facebook will now transition from social media to tyranny propaganda.
--The Pope is silent on the Dubia for good reason. He is in error and must repent of that error.
--Ivanka Trump is a liberal. Reagan had the same problem.
--In journalism, politics should ride in the backseat and truth should take the wheel. Today, truth is being dragged from the rear bumper.
--Black people hate Dr. Ben Carson. This is because Carson is one of the few black people in America with a good credit rating.
--Han and Leia turned out to be really bad parents. In real life, Ben Solo would be a mass shooter.
7. LINKS OF INTEREST
A Remembrance of Javier Echevarría Rodríguez (1932-2016)
Why I live with a ‘dumb’ phone in a smartphone world
Some Freeing Spiritual Truths from St. John of the Cross
The Lessons of Aleppo
Aleppo In Agony
Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Communion is Unambiguous
10 questions for Bishop Javier Echevarria about St Josemaria