Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Passing of a King

I would see him from time to time at events and meetings in Washington D.C. He was a seven-foot-tall African gentleman who was always very courteous and soft-spoken. He had a stately bearing that was at the same time dignified and disarming. I am told he was very pious and could often be seen at Mass or with a rosary in his hand.  He commanded respect, but it was not difficult to walk up and converse with him. A couple of times, I had the honor of speaking with the king.

Indeed, he was a king, a Catholic king who was, in fact, the last anointed African king living. It was with great sadness that I heard the news of the death of King Kigeli V of Rwanda, 80, who passed away recently at a Washington-area hospital.

The news set the stage for some reflections.

I reflected upon how his life was one of turmoil and suffering, which he bore well. He became king in the turbulent times of African independence when revolutionary liberation movements were wreaking havoc on the continent. Rwanda was not exempt from the unrest. Soon after independence, ethnic rivalry led to the forced exiling of many Tutsi tribal people. The departing Belgian administrators added to the confusion by arranging King Kigeli’s exile in 1961. This was followed by the typical succession of “democratic” African governments that culminated in the 1994 wave of anarchy and mass killings in which as many as a half million civilians, mostly Tutsi, were slaughtered.

In exile, the king did not lead an ordinary life. He respected the Rwandan tradition that an exiled king does not marry and thus remained single. Most of his time in exile was spent helping Rwandan refugees. Foremost in his mind was working toward the unity of his suffering people.

What impressed me about the king was that you sensed he was sincere and authentic. He was not a politician who was looking to build a career. Deprived of his considerable wealth in Rwanda, he lived humbly and had nothing to gain by advocating the cause of his people. 

He was what sociologists call a “representative character.” Noted philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre wrote that such characters “are, so to speak, the moral representatives of their culture and they are so because of the way in which moral and metaphysical ideas and theories assume through them an embodied existence in the social world.”

These figures exist in every society including our own. No one elects them. They are natural leaders who can take the principles, moral qualities, and virtues desired and needed by their communities and translate them into concrete programs of life and culture.

There is no doubt in my mind that the king was one of these unassuming representative characters. He was truly a moral representative of his culture. This was recognized by many Rwandans who asked that he be allowed to return and even serve as a unifying figure in the fragmented central African nation.

The history of his life is very important, but it was not these details that struck me upon hearing the news of his death. The passing of King Kigeli V was a tragic reminder of how far we as a nation have descended.

I remember seeing the king with his calm demeanor and dignity sitting in an armchair. Reflecting upon this scene, I cannot help but think about how I, as an American, somehow feel much more represented by this foreign figure than American counterparts. King Kigeli personified so many of the qualities missing in today’s political discourse: honor, dignity, longsuffering, piety and self-sacrifice. The contrast between this tall African gentleman and thepresent political contenders could not be more striking.

Everyone senses this difference when comparing our past and current standards of political behavior. No one is happy with the situation. Looking at the current election cycle, so many Americans are experiencing frustration, exasperation and anxiety at what is happening. They wish the whole thing was over.

It used to be that honorable presidential candidates presented themselves for election. They used to address each other politely. Courtesy and civility were considered political virtues, not weaknesses to be exploited. Candidates did not engage in dishonorable lying or promiscuous personal conduct. People used to feel they could be represented by the figures presented to them.

But today all that has changed. The change is part of the political culture of both parties varying only in degree.  Everything has become so brutal and frenzied. There is no longer thoughtfuldebate but rather programmed sound bytes and tailored tweets to attract the attention of the distracted masses. We have turned the election into a political wrestling match, no holds barred.

Instead of the representative characters, we now have unrepresentative characters who do not represent what we want to be. The race has become another one of those lesser-of-two-evils slugfests of voting against the most unrepresentative candidate.

Of course, it is not only the candidates’ fault. We brought ourselves to this point by embracing a culture of frenetic intemperance in which everyone wants everything instantly and effortlessly. Lifestyles of gratification and self-centeredness bring out the worst in us. All this is tearing our society and economy apart. It is eroding the faith of millions. We see it affecting the political process.

However, this culture is imploding. It is unsustainable and weighs heavily upon the land. Itschaotic discourse tires us out and awakens in us longings for a return to order. When the disorder reaches its climax, and things come crashing down, it is important that there be figures like the king who will remind us of what we have left behind. Then we will look for those representative characters that represent that which is still good in America. The qualities found in good King Kigeli V (and needed by so many of our elected officials) will again be appreciated and valued.

And in the meantime, let all who read this say a prayer for the repose of the soul of the pious Catholic king. May God grant him eternal rest. Even in death, he showed magnanimity. Those wishing to donate for his funeral expenses are advised by the King’s website  to consider applying them first to "educational institutions that support Rwandan students in His Majesty's name."

Tradition, Family, and Property - The Passing of a King

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Portland says NO to After School Satan Club -

Portland says NO to After School Satan Club

At noon on the October 19, concerned parents and local residents took a public stand in the form of a rosary rally against the opening of an After School Satan Club at the Sacramento Elementary School in Portland Oregon.portland
On the sidewalk in front of the school, over 120 people prayed and asked God and the Blessed Mother to stop Satanism from entering our schools and from tarnishing the innocence of our children.
The demonstration and prayer vigil was organized by rosary rally captains and members of America Needs Fatima.  There was also a strong presence of the Catholic Vietnamese Community.  The local chapter of the Knights of Columbus and three Roman Catholic priests were present.
A few days before October 19, the date set for an open house for the elementary school to introduce the After School Satan Club to children and parents, we learned that the Satanic Temple had decided to postpone the event due to a change in the school schedule.  As a result, the open house for the After School Satan Club at the Sacramento Elementary School was rescheduled for November, but no date was given.
The already mentioned school is one of the nine schools nationwide at which the Satanic Temple is trying to open Satan clubs.
Thankfully, there is a growing wave of opposition to these clubs.  There is strong push back.  The rally and prayer vigil in front of the Sacramento Elementary School is a good example of this push back.
As the Psalms exclaim:
“ You that love the Lord, hate evil..” Psalm 96:10.
To love God is to hate Satan.
All God fearing people are kindly asked to sign the petition to keep Satanism away from our children.  We must not allow Satan an entrance into our schools.
1 After School Satan Club pushes back start date at Portland elementary school

Portland says NO to After School Satan Club -: Portland says NO to After School Satan Club

Monday, October 17, 2016

Four Infallible Ways to Navigate the Winds of Crisis -


If there is one dominating characteristic that backlights American politics – on the right as well as the left – it is a growing sense of desperation. After nearly eight years of President Obama’s disastrous policies, the prospect of another Democratic president is simply unthinkable to most conservatives. For them, especially those activists in the trenches of the Culture War, the 2016 election is increasingly seen as one of the most important in our lifetimes, if not the history of the American Republic. They are desperate to avoid what might be the most liberal president in our history.
This desperation extends to the left as well. Liberal politicians, activists, and professional agitators, thwarted by a conservative Congress and a defiant American public that have blocked a significant part of President Obama’s agenda, are resorting to every legal and illegal tactic in the book to impose their agenda on America with unprecedented speed and ferocity. If anyone doubts the very real desperation and frustration on the left, then one doesn’t have to look any farther than the screeching followers of Bernie Sanders.
Leftists are doing everything they can to exacerbate tensions and foment fear and uncertainty. By supporting the immigration of thousands of Muslim “refugees,” liberals are essentially facilitating the slipping through of Islamic terrorism into America. The so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement that has helped create a climate, in which police are being killed, has made Americans more fearful than ever.
Taking a page from totalitarian regimes around the world, liberals have begun to use fear to intimidate conservative Americans into silence. With a fanaticism that borders on religious fervor, the left has moved far beyond civilized debate and instead has initiated a type of great purge to root out everyone from academia, government, the military, and the corporate world who dares to oppose political correctness. This can be seen in the violent response from every liberal lever of power to North Carolina’s HB2 (the so-called “Bathroom Law”), Indiana’s failed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), or the vicious attacks on Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who conscientiously refused to issue homosexual “marriage” licenses.
With fear comes another dangerous element: anxiety about the future. We Americans are a practical people who place great importance on planning for the future. Unlike other countries with a more indifferent attitude, American culture traditionally values overcoming future difficulties with planning and foresight. We apply this outlook to everything. In war, we ensure victory with utterly overwhelming technology and firepower. In finance, we hedge our bets to minimize exposure and risk. In our personal lives, we insure our property and even our lives against possible loss.
But this national trait can become a liability when we encounter situations with no apparent solution. When we are no longer able to foresee the future, when we feel that we are no longer in control of our destiny, we can easily succumb to discouragement and despair.
This combination of desperation, anxiety, and fear is deadlier even than the physical threats we face. This time-tested mix is used by revolutionaries to manipulate people into accepting ideas and policies they normally would not consider. Fear of a new World War led Western nations to appease Adolf Hitler in the thirties. Fear of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War was used to intimidate Western nations into conceding to Soviet demands. Fear of civil unrest in the sixties and seventies allowed liberals to implement their radical social experiments and government programs on American society.
Likewise, the fear of riots, Islamic terrorism, and a third World War with Russia or China is influencing Americans to do today what was almost unthinkable a generation ago: to question and even doubt the foundational principles of our country and the Christian West and to retreat from the indispensable role that our country plays in the world today. Tragically, many Americans have already lost hope and are simply waiting for the inevitable crash. They have grown indifferent to the consequences of such a calamity and have abandoned the fight to save America. Some, taking an imbalanced view of our national faults, have even cheered on our enemies’ efforts to destroy America.


How can a concerned American navigate these pitfalls and discern the correct response to the crisis? The burning problems facing our country today do not have easy, obvious solutions. One thing we can do, however, is to adopt the right disposition so that we may not find ourselves deceived by the many false solutions that will lead our country to ruin. There are four specific things we must ask of God if we wish to successfully navigate the winds of crisis.
First, we must pray for calm. In times of crisis, those people who dominate themselves and maintain a cool head successfully emerge unscathed. In fact, it is precisely in times of deepest crisis when we need calm the most.
And for those with Faith, we have the sublime example of Our Lord Jesus Christ when He slept on the boat of His Apostles on the Sea of Galilee during a storm. When Saint Peter woke up the Master with the despairing words, “Master, we perish!”, with a divine tranquility, He commanded the winds and the waves to cease. To His astonished Apostles, He asked, “Where is your faith?”A sign of personal greatness is the ability to stay cool while under fire, whether it be on the battlefield, during a debate, or in times of social unrest or confusion like our own. Some of the most memorable stories of heroism, for example, are on the battlefield when officers calmly and valiantly expose themselves to gunfire in order to calm their men and lead a successful counterattack. In times of crisis – in life no less than war – those who allow themselves to be overcome by fear or panic will always perish.
Second, we must ask to be guided by reason, not emotions. Fear and desperation are strong emotions that can lead people to forget or even deny what their reason tells them is true. When we see institutions crumble and our way of life under threat, we may easily allow ourselves to be deceived by slick propaganda and charismatic leaders who more often than not lead nations to ruin.
Our reason must also be firmly rooted in principles, namely, true philosophy, natural law, and the traditional Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Empires come and go, great leaders rise and fall, but the perennial principles taught by the Church must be our true refuge, especially in times of chaos and confusion such as ours. It is more important than ever to scrutinize proposed solutions in accordance with Faith and morals, to study the burning issues of the day with seriousness, and to resist the tendency to solve very complex problems with over-simplified “solutions.”
Third, we must pray to God, through the intervention of His Holy Mother Mary, for courage. Our generation is being forced to reckon with a crisis that has been brewing for generations. Seeds sewn centuries ago are only now coming to fruition. The left has expended enormous amounts of time, money, and effort to infiltrate every institution of power and influence to subvert what remains of the Christian social order.
In the face of such a daunting threat, it is easy to despair and simply retreat from the field of battle to await the inevitable collapse of society. It seems that the forces of the left are simply too strong to resist. This position, sometimes called the “Benedict Option,” is being promoted by some Catholic commentators. Although attractive to many, the “Benedict Option” can easily lead to an unconditional surrender to evil. And as any good spiritual director would say, surrender to the devil is not the path to Heaven.
And lest we forget, it is we and not evil who have the certainty of victory. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, and Our Lady of Fatima declared before the whole world that “Finally, my Immaculate Heart would triumph.” The Church has survived 2,000 years and can confidently say to the world, “I have seen other winds, I have weathered other storms.”[1] We must imitate the confidence and Faith of Saint Joan of Arc, who declared, “In God’s name, the soldiers will fight, and He will grant victory.”Nor is it rooted in reality. Evil has never simply allowed the good to live in peace.  Rather, evil men actively hunt down the good to pervert and destroy them. The ancient Romans sought out Christians and killed them wherever they were found. Islam has spent its entire existence invading Christian lands. Socialists have sought ever more sinister ways to conquer souls through propaganda, education, and culture. The only effective response to evil is and always has been to fight back with redoubled vigor.
Fourth, we must show openness and docility to the winds of the Holy Spirit. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways,” the Scriptures say.[2]  Although we often don’t understand why they come and for what purpose, the trials and tribulations of life that God sends us are always for our greater good. He may send us a grace to perform a particular mission, or He may ask us to make a unique sacrifice that is completely beyond our limited understanding.
The saints and heroes of history were asked to perform unimaginable deeds in the face of seemingly impossible situations. The Apostles as they began the conversion of the world to Christianity, Don Pelayo at Covadonga in Spain, Godfrey of Bouillon during the First Crusade, Saint Joan of Arc when called by her voices, or Christopher Columbus sailing for the New World, are just a few examples of heroes who heard the voice of grace and corresponded to it. Although they could never have foreseen the consequences of their obedience to God’s grace, it always resulted in some of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Church.
Like Our Lord in the Garden of Olives, we must respond to these moments of trial, confusion, and suffering with docility, obedience, and humility. “Not as I wilt, but as Thou will” should be our lifelong response to them. Rather than consult our own will, we must discern what God’s will is in a given situation.
In Return to Order, John Horvat writes about the dangers we now face as a nation and the ease with which we may fall into false solutions:
“…at a time when the situation calls for firm principles, decisive action, and unity, we could find ourselves scattered in a confusing jumble. A psychological climate could reign where there is a doubting of all certainties, a supremacy of the emotions, and a rule of relativism. What characterizes these false solutions is a general loss of faith in political solutions and a corresponding tendency not to believe in anything at all. We run the risk of a reaction driven, not by convictions, but only by frustration, whim, and rage.”[3]
Let us pray to God, through the intervention of His Blessed Mother, to have the courage to face our present crisis with true Christian heroism and the wisdom to discern and avoid the traps laid by Satan, the father of lies.
[1] “Alios ego vidi ventos; alias prospexi animo procellas,” Cicero, Familiares, 12,
25, 5.
[2] Isaias, 55:8
[3] Horvat, John, Return to Order, p. 110

Four Infallible Ways to Navigate the Winds of Crisis -: Four Infallible Ways to Navigate the Winds of Crisis

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Delete Your Facebook Account … and Reclaim Your Life -

I received an email from a reader asking me to republish an article I wrote about how to delete a Facebook account. The only problem is that I never wrote or posted an article on the subject. However, the request intrigued me, and I decided to take up the challenge and write an article.
My angle will be different from those that take Facebook users through the many steps needed to purge their digital footprints. I cannot compete with these experts who explain the technical process of getting off.  However, I believe that much more important than deleting the virtual account is eliminating the desire for connectivity that has turned the smartphone into a tool to feed obsessions. I will focus on this aspect of the Facebook disconnect that most people do not consider.
The task is a bit complicated by the fact that I am not on Facebook. I belong to that unconnected portion of the population that has never been “friended” or “unfriended” by virtual strangers. However, I am on other social media and am certain that the psychological disconnecting procedure is very much the same.
A Two Part Process
Of course, I am assuming you really want to get off Facebook and you have made a definitive decision to leave for one reason or another. My only focus will be how to get off Facebook, not the reasons why you should.
Once you decide you do want to get off Facebook, leaving it is a two-part process. The first and easiest part consists of deleting your Facebook account. Just leave Facebook in one fell swoop. Search the Internet for instructions to make the move and follow them exactly. Celebrate your liberation—perhaps with one final post before hitting the delete button.
The second part of the process is much harder and consists of three not-so-easy steps. These steps will help prevent relapses back to Facebook or using other social media to take its place. It cuts to the core by deleting the driving impulses that make the Facebook account so attractive.
The problem with social media is something I call the frenetic intemperance of our times. It is that constant desire that permeates all fields and causes one to crave everything, instantly and effortless, regardless of the consequences. This frenetic intemperance is tearing our country and its economy apart. It affects family and spiritual life.
Step #1: Reject Imaginary Worlds
In the case of Facebook, frenetic intemperance consists of that incessant urge to be connected, check notifications and instantly feel validated by others. Social media tend to create imaginary worlds of followers and friends or shares and likes that take on an importance much greater than what they really are. There is also the tendency of self-aggrandizement by which people seek to imagine and present themselves as more than they actually are to impress followers in these imaginary worlds.
Thus, the first step consists of not giving importance to these false metrics. The connectivity you sense is often a false connectivity since a good number of your now-former Facebook friends really don’t know who you are, and probably will not miss you when you leave their world. When the urge comes to reconnect with Facebook, tell yourself that it is much better to have two real friends than two thousand Facebook “friends.” It is much better to receive expressions of approval and affection from a real person than to receive a thousand “likes” from virtual friends you hardly know.  It is much more enjoyable to view magnificent scenes through one’s own eyes than through the frenetic selfie lens of trying to impress friends on the Facebook wall.
When the temptation comes to start using other social media, spend some time away from them to experience just how unimportant these imaginary worlds can be. Put social media in context and take control of your life.
Step #2: Limit Connectivity
The second step in eliminating Facebook urges is to limit connectivity to social media and the Internet in general. Facebook feeds off the desire of eternal connectivity. It continually sends notifications to assure you that you are important. It incites you to answer instantly and thus interrupt what you are doing which ends up taking up so much precious time.
To overcome the connectivity urge, take measures to limit your connections with cyberspace. Take time out from connections during parts of the day or weekends. Do not sleep next to a connection or go to bed with an iPhone in your hand (as a surprising number of people do). Make it difficult to connect during selected times by using programs that schedule access. Dumb down your smartphones with apps that limit use or embarrass you by telling you how many [hundreds of] times you have connected on a given day.


In short, take back control of your life by spending less time connected. Above all, realize that connectivity is often neither urgent nor necessary. You are not the center of the world. The world will survive quite well when unconnected to you. You will also feel much less burdened when you cut the ties to virtual worlds and strengthen those in the real one.
Step #3: Fill the Void with Something Else
The final step is to fill the Facebook void. Obviously, we spend enormous amounts of time on Facebook because we think it fills a need in our hurried postmodern world.
This is not unreasonable since we are social beings that crave interaction with others. Personal contacts serve to provide that human touch that is often suffocated by the frenetic intemperance of our times.  Our problem is that we often substitute this needed personal interaction with contacts with so many faceless Facebook friends. We come to prefer a rapid fire of short cold, vacuous postings to the rich personal experience of a conversation full of nuance and context.
The way to overcome the Facebook void is to fill it with real interaction and development. Such alternatives might involve the art of conversation and reading. Of course, high on the list of replacement is screenless time with family and friends. Filling the void can find expression in art and music. Above all, it should involve in connecting with God and your relationship with Him. We need to slow down, think, reflect … and pray. Everyone has a unique personality with God-given talents that can be developed and brought to bloom. Take the time wasted on social media to let your light shine upon those around you.
Doing Those Things That Really Matter
This is how you can delete your Facebook account and the impulses associated with it. It is not easy, but it can improve the quality of your life and open up time to do those important things that matter.
To those who prefer to remain on Facebook, the same three not-so-easy steps can also be applied. By taking these measures, you can control your usage and not be enslaved in imaginary virtual worlds. However, the moderate use of social media involves constant restraint since the urges toward instant connectivity will always seek to make you want more and more.
The important thing is to have the courage to face up to Facebook and other social media that become obsessive. Technology exists to serve us, much as a horse serves its rider. If we are serving technology, then we are not riding the horse but being dragged along with foot in the stirrup behind it. We need to take steps to get back in the saddle.
How to Delete Your Facebook Account … and Reclaim Your Life -: How to Delete Your Facebook Account … and Reclaim Your Life

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever? -

By John Horvat II

A friend of mine recently rejoiced because he had finally found a job after being unemployed for a few months. It was an engineering job with a good company comparable to the one he had before. However, there was one thing about the final interview that bothered him. He was asked: “What is your gender?”

My friend is an outdoorsman with a wife and children. It is evident that he is the man he is, so he was understandably offended and embarrassed at the same time. He was perplexed that this query was presented as a serious question that he had to answer for a job that is all about physical observable reality. The fact that it is now part of the standard operating procedure of a reputable engineering firm is a disturbing omen of terrible things to come.
Worse yet, I can imagine that some liberal readers might even look with sympathy upon the question that I view as troubling since they see it as somehow making amends for the centuries of “oppression” suffered by those who think themselves transgendered — long before the term or notion was invented. Such sympathizers have always prepared the way for the acceptance of absurd trends.
The simple fact is that this question did not just happen. It is the fruit of a long process. It also points to the appearance of future existential questions that will cast doubt on just about anything.
We can take the sexual revolution of the sixties as a point of departure for what we are experiencing. This revolution sought to install a culture that leads people to resent the very idea of restraint and scorn the spiritual, religious, moral, and cultural values that serve to order and keep society in balance. It declared that all morality is a mere “construct” of society that can be and should be “deconstructed” to make room for new levels of freedom.
As a result, the sexual revolution has done much to break down the barriers between the sexes. It has ushered in a wave of promiscuity that has led to the proliferation of divorce, contraception, abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, unmarried couples, and pornography everywhere. All this has contributed to destroying society’s moral fiber and mainstreaming every type of sexual disorder. It has to a large extent succeeded in obtaining this particular goal.
We are suffering the consequences of this revolution in the tragedies of shattered lives, broken families, and empty churches that litter the social landscape and are tearing the nation apart. The “freedom” offered by the sexual revolution has yielded disastrous consequences that weigh heavily upon all society and the public purse.

However, even with the generalizing of promiscuity since the sixties, it proved impossible to be rid of all restraints. Those who pushed forward the sexual agenda had to admit the undeniable physical reality that the male and female categories still exist and carry with them their respective restrictions. They still had to work inside the complex parameters of a male/female world.
Moreover, inside this male/female reality, there always exists the possibility of forming a family and the re-establishment of a morality that would undermine the “gains” of the sexual revolution.
That is why this next phase of the sexual revolution — the transgender revolution — is so threatening and bizarre. The agents of this change need no longer be anchored in physical reality, logic, or biological science. Reality becomes what you imagine it to be. In such a fantasy world, one can ignore the obvious and ask: Are you a man? Woman? Something in-between?
That is to say, we have entered the reign of fantasy where concrete reality is forced to conform to delusions. This is not the action of some isolated and confused individuals that want attention and that does not affect the population as a whole. No, the official business establishment is now institutionalizing fantasy and making it part of their reality. It involves schools, universities, and government institutions that are abolishing sexual pronouns, inventing new ones, and penalizing those who make mistakes in their use.
And that is the troubling part of the question. No society can function inside such a framework of fantasy. Modernity is based on a rational foundation and amaterialism that needs predictability, statistics, and real-time data to work efficiently. Since fantasy abstracts from logic, it must use force to compel people to adhere to its erratic and irrational rules. When the obvious man can no longer be considered a man, the obvious woman can no longer be considered a woman, fantasy rules. Any new imagining (beyond transgenderism) can become the norm. And that is dangerous, for fantasy is the stuff upon which tyranny is built.
How would you answer the troubling question?
As seen on

Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever? -: Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever?