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Thomas a’ Kempis, Gratitude for the Grace of God April 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, The Imitation of Christ, Victory, Virtue.
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From Book II Chapter 10 of The Imitation of Christ, a reflection on having proper gratitude for the Grace we receive from God:

Why seekest thou rest, since thou art born to labor?

Dispose thyself to patience rather than consolation, and to bear the cross rather than to rejoice.

For who is there among worldly people that would not willingly receive comfort and spiritual joy, if he could always have it?

For spiritual consolation exceeds all the delights of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. [Would you agree?  It’s been a long time, but I have felt I experienced transports of joy associated with sublime spiritual moments. I would say this is a true statement.]

For all worldly delights are either vain or base; but spiritual delights alone are pleasant and honorable, springing from virtue, and infused by God into pure minds.

But those divine consolations no man can always enjoy when he will, because the time of temptation is not long absent.

But what very much opposes these heavenly visits is a false liberty of mind and a great confidence in one’s self.

God doth well in giving the grace of consolation, but man doth ill in not returning it all to God with thanksgiving.

And this is the reason why the gifts of grace cannot flow in us, because we are ungrateful to the giver, nor do we return all to the fountainhead.

For Grace will always be given to him that duly returns thanks, and what is wont to be given to the humble will be taken away from the proud.

I would not have any such consolation as would rob me of compunction, nor do I wish to have any such contemplation as leads to pride.

For all that is high is not holy; nor all that pleasant good; nor every desire pure; nor is everything that is dear to us pleasing to God.

I willingly accept of that Grace which always makes me more humble and fearful, and more ready to forsake myself.

He that has been taught by the gift of Grace, and been instructed by the scourge of its withdrawal, will not dare to attribute anything of good to himself, but rather acknowledge himself to be poor and naked.

Give to God what is His (Matt xxii:21), and take to thyself what is thine; that is, give tanks to God for His Grace; but as to thyself, be sensible that nothing is to be attributed to thee but sin and the punishment due to sin.  

Put thyself always in the lowest place, and the highest shall be given thee, for the highest stand snot without the lowest (Lk xiv:10).

The Saints that are highest in the sight of God are the least in their own eyes; and the more glorious they are the more humble they are in themselves.  

Being full of the truth and heavenly glory they are not desirous of vainglory.  

They that are grounded and establishes in God can by no means be proud.

And they that attribute to God whatsoever good they have received seek not glory from one another, but that glory which is from God alone (Jn v:44); they desire above all things that God may be praised in themselves, and in all the saints, and to this they always tend.  

Be grateful then for the least and thou shalt be worthy to receive greater things. 

Let the least be to thee as something very great, and the most contemptible as a special favor. [Am I the only one that has a very hard time with this?  Driving a longish commute in heavy traffic quickly reveals how little patience and charity I have.]

If thou considerest the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem to thee little which is given by so great a God.

Yea, though he give punishment and stripes, it ought to be acceptable; for whatever He suffers to befall us, He always does it for our salvation (Dan iii:28).

He that desires to retain the Grace of God let him be thankful for Grace when it is given, and patient when it is withdrawn; let him pray that it may return; let him be cautious and humble, lest he lost it.

———–End Quote———–

It is painful when that very special grace, perhaps necessary early in conversion to help establish one in the Faith, is taken away.  Or no longer merited.  Many Saints experienced the same.  The Little Flower had years of incredible closeness to God, and then had it all taken away the last several years of her life, when her physical sufferings became immense and she needed it the most!  But that is the way of our Lord, he tempers our faith in the fires of suffering.  Truly, His ways are not our ways, and thank God for that.

 

Gentle Reminder: Switch from the Angelus to the Regina Caeli April 17, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, Our Lady, priests, religious, Restoration, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
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I remembered this year, to start praying the Regina Caeli, as opposed to the Angelus, on Easter day.  Sometimes in the past, it’s taken me a day or three to remember.  I’m sure most of you have not had this problem, but if any have, here is your reminder.

To beef out the post a bit, a few pictures from Good Friday:

It was nice having a religious priest present during Holy Week

I pray you are enjoying this glorious Octave.  I think next year I will take off less time before Easter and more time after.  I’ve taken off most of Holy Week for years, but I feel ready for a change.  I’d like to enjoy the great feast more, and not just go back to work the day after Easter. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of Christmas.  I wish I had the time to take off the entire week of Easter, but that’s not going to happen.  Oh for the days when working men had every great feast day off work, a true holy day holiday!

Oklahoma Man Used AR to Kill 3 Home Invaders; Faces No Charges April 5, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, disaster, error, firearms, foolishness, horror, non squitur, rank stupidity, sadness, sickness, Society, Victory.
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A bit non sequitur for the blog, but regular readers know I am into firearms (though in a minor way, compared to some of you), home defense, a little bit of disaster preparedness, and similar topics.  An Oklahoma man faced the nightmare of having his home invaded by hooded, armed, mask-wearing men one day.  He was armed with an AR-15 and defended his home.  The three criminals, who were apparently teenagers and probably relative newcomers to violent crime, were all killed.  Their getaway driver and the apparent mastermind of the crime was later caught and has already publicly admitted to being involved.

The parents of the three dead young men are raising a ruckus demanding the 23 year old who defended his home be charged with some kind of crime. If he lived in a leftist-run state, he might well be in a tight spot, but Oklahoma’s people and government still take a dim view of crime, for the most part, and recognize the right of a person to defend himself in his own home, even to the point of taking a life.  I’m sure the parents of these kids are devastated, but they chose to threaten other’s lives and they paid the price for their foolishness:

A 23-year-old Broken Arrow (OK) man who used his AR-15 to kill three masked home invaders with one shot each last week will not face any charges after authorities announced that the shooting was an act of self defense under Oklahoma’s version of castle doctrine.

The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office provided an update into the investigation of last week’s home invasion that left three teens dead in Broken Arrow on Monday at a press conference.

The triple homicide took place on the 9100 block of South Clearview Drive March 27.Wagoner County deputies said at about 12:30 p.m., three masked intruders entered the home, which was occupied by a father and his 23-year-old son, Zach Peters.

Deputies said Peters shot and killed the three intruders with an AR-15.

Peters will not face charges in connection with the shooting, officials said. The Wagoner County District Attorney’s Office ruled that Peters acted justifiably in his use of deadly force to defend the home.

Incredibly, the media is still attempting to claim Oklahoma’s implementation of stand your ground law is how Peters is avoiding prosecution for the deaths of the three suspects.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, the ringleader of the gang of burglary suspects and the getaway driver who left her three accomplices behind after shots were fired, was formally charged with three counts of first-degree murder and several counts of first and second-degree burglary. Rodriguez, who seems to be as intelligent as your average storm drain, confessed to the burglaries in a television interview last week, which should all but assure her conviction for the burglary charges, and since the murder charges are hinged upon the felony murder rule, a conviction on all three murder counts as well.

Oklahoma allows the execution of convicted first-degree murderers, but prosecutors have not yet announced whether they will seek the death penalty.

Despite being reviled by gun control supporters, AR-15s are excellent home defense weapons, featuring low-recoil, good ammunition capacity, and excellent self-defense performance from standard 55-grain FMJ M193 “ball” ammunition originally designed for the M16A1 assault rifle, but which is now also the cheapest bulk practice ammunition in .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO variants.

The three teenaged burglars killed in the home invasion were each struck just once.

The perpetrator’s families are lashing out at the young man who defended his home, claiming using an AR-15 against a knife was an “unfair fight.”  As if that matters in the slightest.  I understand the families are surely upset, though one does wonder who teen boys came to a life of violent crime, and are desperately trying to rationalize the death of their children, but blaming the victim in this horrific situation is hardly going to win them much sympathy.  It is, however, perhaps an indicator of the kind of self-serving and self-deluding thinking that afflicts so many people today.

The remaining living perpetrator will almost certainly be convicted on three charges of first degree murder, to which she has already clumsily admitted being involved in a TV interview.  She may well face the death penalty, but she, too, blamed the victim for shooting her homeboys when they invaded his house and refused to leave after being confronted by an armed man.

Some Darwin Award winners in this bunch.  I have pity for them all, but especially the young man who defended his home and will now have to live with the memory of this nightmarish event and the deaths he caused for the rest of his life.  That is no easy burden to bear, and perhaps the families of those quite rightfully killed should keep that in mind.

Flighline Friday: Lazy Edition March 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology, Victory.
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Consider yourself lucky, I’m at home.  This may be a lazy Flightline Friday, but it’s better than nothing.

Two videos showing some very early Tomcat footage.  Some of the earliest Tomcats built are in the first vid, the first 30 or so ships built had only the ALQ-100 ECM antenna under the forward fuselage where later appeared first an IR sensor, then an electro-optical telescopic camera, and finally both.  The development of the F-14’s “chin” is shown below:

The first video is a Northrop production hyping their involvement in TOPGUN:

The second is from Grumman and is an obvious – but very early – PR effort for the F-14:

The kids are home, so that’s all you get.  Whether it’s better than nothing is wholly debatable, but you get what you pay for………

Meditation for the Annunciation: Love Our Lady in Her Sufferings March 21, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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From The Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, one of my two “favorite” Saints, some excerpts from a sermon he gave  on The Dolors of Mary.  The excerpt is cut and pasted from pages towards the back of the book which are not numbered, which makes referencing them extra fun.  At any rate, with the “Little Christmas” of The Annunciation coming up this Saturday, I thought it timely to post this material, which closes with the four promises made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary by our Blessed Lord, concerning the benefits He would shower on those who develop a deep devotion of, and meditation on, the Dolors of Our Sorrowful Mother:

To understand how great was the grief of Mary we must understand, says Cornelius a Lapide, how great was the love she bore her Son.”  But who can ever measure this love?  Blessed Amadeus says that “natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary.”  Those two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus “as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him.”  So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, “as no other creature ever loved God as much as Mary loved Him, so there never was any sorrow like Mary’s sorrow.”…….

…….St. Bernadine of Siena even says that “the sufferings of Mary were such, that had they been divided amongst all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death.”  Who, then, can ever doubt that the martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the martyrs; since, as St. Antoninus says, “they suffered in the sacrifice of theri own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son of God, a life which she loved far more than her own.”

………[L]et us be devout to the dolors of Mary, Saint Albert the Great writes, that “as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation.”  This the angel revealed to St. Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father; a sacrifice which cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the martyrs, or even death itself.  But the divine Mother complained to St. Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them.  Therefore she exhorted the saint, saying: “Though many forget me, do not thou, my daughter, forget me.”  For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of Servites, or servants of Mary, to desire them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, “Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me; but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me.”  It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the dolors of Mary: first, that those who before death invoke the divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins; second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death; third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven; fourth, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

———–End Quote———-

I have great appreciation for the all the writings of the Moral Doctor (Liguori), but I have found The Victories of the Martyrs the least best of the nine volumes of his ascetical writings that I have read to date.  Saint Alphonsus, probably due to limitations of time, focused exclusively on the early martyrs of the Roman Empire, and then skipped ahead to covering the 17th century martyrs of Japan, which he covered in detail one might describe as excruciating.  There is nothing in between, even with the martyrdom (white or red) of millions of Catholics at the hands of muslims, or Eastern Orthodox, or pagans in northern Europe, or wherever.

Certainly a volume attempting to category every major Christian martyr from every time would quickly turn into a library itself, but I was hoping that the saint might cover a bit broader range of martyrs both chronologically and geographically.  Perhaps my expectations were out of line.

Please understand, I am not saying I don’t like the book.  Only that compared to the sublime excellence of the other eight volumes I’ve read, this one was only very good.  So far, I still have probably 50-60 pages left (it’s hard to tell, with the inexplicable editorial decision not to number the last 100-odd pages).  Perhaps I’ll be blown away in the 10% or so remaining, but perhaps not.

I am looking forward to seeing other volumes by Liguori, who wrote torrentially, translated into English (or re-printed, since there are translations long out of print).  The twenty-two volumes of his ascetical works were only a small portion of his total output. Since good souls have taken on the project of translating much of Bellarmine’s writings into English (previously available only in Latin), I pray they consider delving into this saint, as well.

That is, if anyone at Mediatrix Press is listening reading.  Hint.

A Little Peak at Why Texans Love Their State So Much March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, family, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, silliness, Society, Victory.
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I lived in Idaho for a year and worked at a place that, because it was such a craptastic nightmare of pollution and amazing danger, had to recruit across the entire nation to bring in a flood of new engineers to replace those who constantly left.  So I wound up being a new hire working with people from Arizona, California, Michigan, etc.

Now I was actually replacing a previous UT grad who just bled “Texas is Awesome” all over the place.  He DROVE 24 hours or so back home at least every 2 or 3 months.  He bragged Texas up one side and down the other.  After he left and they hired me, I was fairly homesick.  I, too, lamented having to leave Texas and especially Austin (OK, a, it was different then, and b, I was all of 22), and probably described how awesome it was.  And it drove my co-workers nuts.  They kept asking me, “what’s so great about it, what’s so great about it?”  I had a hard time describing it.

I think those who haven’t lived here for an appreciable length of time can comprehend the extent of the love affair many Texans – natives or transplants – have for this place.  As to the why…….it’s hard to explain.  Texas has its own, very dramatic, history. It was an independent nation.  It is huge.  The food is varied and awesome (Whataburger!).  The women are gorgeous, prettier than any other state I’ve been to, though some other southern states come close.  Cowboys, the oil industry, the ranching, Hispanics that have been in Texas longer than Mexico has been a nation, the huge wide open sky which some easterners used to tall trees and narrow vistas find oppressive.

It has the most varied geography of pretty much any state in the union including maybe even Alaska and California.  You can be in deep East Texas piney woods that look like Alabama, the Rocky Mountains, or flat unbroken scrub brush desert.  But the heart of it all, the prettiest, best part, to me, anyway, is the Hill Country.  I fell in love with the Hill Country in college and have adored it ever since.

The people are generally awesome, too, but we are getting too many and the urban areas have become more and more generic Top 10 market type places. So don’t think about moving here!  There’s snakes everywhere and black widows and you have to rinse the sand out of your coffee cup every morning and its hotter n’ blazes n……..

Seriously, Texas also has a deep Catholic heritage that the fading protestant majority has tried to minimize but which this video gives at least some recognition to.  It’s from the early 60s and is in good color.  You can see the fields of wild bluebonnets that are just about to start blooming, among the Indian Paintbrush and the Firewheel and Mexican Hat and others. There is even a brief shot of a TLM at an ancient mission in South Texas.  German immigrants, of which my wife is a pureblood descendant, get a mention.  Her father is one of the dwindling speakers of Texas German.

Texans I think will really enjoy this video, even though it is possibly a bit hokey and juvenile.  Outsiders will lament and gnash their teeth in great jealousy.  Clear streams with white limestone bottoms, oak and cedar trees, white rock cliffs and rolling coastal pastures, mountain laurels…….my wife and kids are going to Pipe Creek next week, and I have to stay and work. I know everything will be wonderfully in bloom. Waaaahhhhh!

Happy Story – Mom with Cancer, Told She Could Not Conceive, Has Natural Quadruplets February 2, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, sanctity, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
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A little happy news for a change, what with riots in Berkeley with dozens attacked and the left-wing Berkeley admin and cops just standing by watching it happen because, meh, they’re only Nazis and evil capitalist businesses getting hurt, so who cares, right?

Pining for the days when Reagan was governor and he called out the National Guard for situations like these.  But to the good news, a mom with cancer, told she probably couldn’t conceive, gave birth to 4 naturally conceived quadruplets.  Mom is under treatment for cancer and the kids are still in the NICU:

A Tennessee military family received a huge outpouring of support recently after the mother was diagnosed with cancer while carrying quadruplets.

Sgt. Charles Gaytan and his wife, Kayla, welcomed the naturally conceived quadruplets into the world on Dec. 30, but their birth was bittersweet. Doctors delivered the babies early by cesarean section because their mother needed immediate cancer treatment.

The Daily Mail reports the Fort Campbell, Tennessee family is doing relatively well. Kayla currently is undergoing cancer treatments, and the four babies are in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Doctors said the four siblings should be well enough to go home in a few weeks.

Their story attracted national media attention, and a donation fund for the family has received more than $1 million to support them, according to the report.

“It renews my faith in humanity,” Kayla told People. “To know that people that don’t even know us just wanted to help our family is amazing.”

Before the quadruplets were conceived, Kayla was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the report. The young mother said she went through five months of chemotherapy and was in remission.

Not long after that, the couple was overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant – something doctors told Kayla might never happen. Not only that, but they had conceived quadruplets naturally. Later into her pregnancy, Kayla said she began noticing symptoms of cancer again. Doctors confirmed it, her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned.

Though relatively treatable, the cancer can be serious if it returns, according to the report. Doctors gave the Tennessee mother a 50-percent chance of living five years, she said.

“With four babies on the way, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could come back,” she said. “I thought I had beat it the first time.”

When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Kayla gave birth to her babies in an emergency C-section. The babies, Lillian, Victoria, Michael and Charles were born weighing between 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report.

Doctors immediately began Kayla’s cancer treatment. She said she will have a stem cell treatment and a 16-month round of chemotherapy.

The Gaytan family said they are not giving up hope. With the quadruplets and two older children to care for, Kayla said she and her husband are trusting in God to handle the situation.

“We know that He’s gotta have a different plan up there for us, and surely everything’s gonna work out in the end,” Kayla said.

I have a brother-in-law that went through a similar situation. His first wife, a convert to the Faith who developed enormous virtue, was diagnosed with cancer after conceiving her 6th child.  The doctors wanted her to abort and start cancer treatment immediately.  They gave her a very grim prognosis if she did not.  But she carried her daughter to full term even as her health badly deteriorated.  That daughter was born healthy and is still fine today, but Missy died as a result of the delayed treatment.  I never met Missy, though her widowed husband has spoken of her many times.  He believes his deceased wife to be a saint. Around the same time Missy died, one of my wife’s sister’s husband suddenly died.  She was left with 7 children, all of them young.

At any rate they two got together and had 5 more kids and are now the parents of 18 children.  Things haven’t always been easy, but they remain faithful and keep trying.  They’ve had some particular difficulties and I’m certain they would appreciate your prayers. If you would, in your charity, please pray for J and F and their family.

Now maybe I’ll do a post about last night’s calamity in Berkeley.

That’s Amoris! January 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, different religion, episcopate, error, Francis, fun, General Catholic, Revolution, scandals, silliness, the struggle for the Church, Victory.
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I guess today is Video Thursday. Sorry for the flood.  This is the last one.  Greatness from Laurence England:

Lots of good laughs.  I really enjoyed that.

The Most Schadenfreude-Filled Inauguration Ever? January 20, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, fun, Immigration, manhood, Society, Victory.
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On this afternoon where our long national nightmare ends (and we are reminded of how an even worse one was avoided), there’s a lot of schadenfreude in the air.  Not that I mind.  I’m enjoying this as much as anyone.  Some videos from the day, including Trump’s swearing in and inaugural speech:

Promise the moon much?  I worry about the endless infrastructure and educational promises.  I am heartened by reports Trump intends to sharply reduce federal government staffing. We’ll see whether he can deliver.

The ceremonial parade, where Trump drags his vanquished enemies behind his golden chariot, is ongoing:

There have been riots and disruptions flaming tantrums aplenty today from some of those enemies yet unvanquished.  They managed to disrupt traffic and then started devolving into the usual childish violence cum rioting for which the Left is so justly infamous.  Keep it up, boneheads……..that’s how you got Trump.

In fact, as I watch the livestream right now, it seems the inaugural parade could descend into a wild melee at any moment.  Nice.  This is the new normal, folks. The Left would be reacting this way to ANY Republican who won, because all they have left in their rhetorical arsenal is hateful demonization.

Language warning below, but the always funny and on-point Gavin McGinness reviews Obama’s deplorable near-decade in office.  Worst. President. Ever.  McGinness is part of the new, young, very hip right that is – for better or worse – remaking the conservative movement in this country into a much more energized, combative, confrontational effort.  It will be interesting to see if this new movement has persistence or just happened to catch the Trump wave.

“Putin’s Russia has moved considerably to the right of the Pope’s Vatican.” January 20, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Restoration, sanctity, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Victory.
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If by “right,” one means in the direction of promoting traditional Christian values and beliefs, I’d say that’s correct, and what a damning indictment that is, given how many errors the Russian Orthodox hold, in spite of the ancient nature of that Church and its many beautiful elements.

Reader TE sent a link to an article examining the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Putin’s Russia.  As in the days of the tsars of old, the relationship between Putin’s government and the Russian Orthodox Church is one of complex interdependence, each supporting and strengthening the other.  Post-Christian libertine Westerners are aghast at this relationship, but it’s very similar to how Church-state relations were conducted in western Christendom for centuries.  It would be fascinating – and one hopes instructive – to see if Putin’s close integration of the Church into Russian society/government leads to an increasingly stable, united, morally upright Russia.  That would serve as a powerful counter-example to the direction of the decadent West.

Some highlights from the piece, which is not exactly what I would call a ringing endorsement of these close Church/state relations:

Putin may not be religious in the traditional sense, but he certainly realizes that Christianity- specifically the Russian Orthodox Church- is the common glue that holds the Russian people together. It has deep historical roots that were dampened, but never extinguished by 75 years of communist rule. And it extends beyond the borders of Russia itself into neighboring lands, especially the Ukraine.

Putin has carefully nurtured his relationship with the Church. He has demanded that the oligarchs fund the rebuilding of almost 25,000 Orthodox churches in Russia. A recent law passed forbids the practice of religion outside of an established church- a law that targets Western religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses that practice in their home……..The Church is consulted on legislation of any nature that may touch upon religion.

Putin, like the Church, view themselves as a bulwark against Western decadence. [In spite of the many problems in Russia’s government, the endemic corruption and continued rot and decay, this is not an unfair assessment, and Russia’s re-embrace of religion (along with that ongoing in much of the former Soviet satellite states) is a damning indictment on the Western belief that the irreversible trajectory of history is towards more secularization, more libertinism, more hedonism, and less and less influence on religion.  We simply have not yet learned the lessons learned in the former communist states, which is that a society that explicitly rejects God is a dystopian nightmare where all manner of evils are prevalent in appalling abundance]  He has criticized Western values and “tolerance” as “genderless and infertile.” To Putin, the new Cold War is one of Western values versus Russian conservatism.

As a result, Russia has rising birth rates. [But still far from adequate] It is perhaps the only developed country where religion is taking on a greater role rather than a diminished one. His stance has been intolerant of divorce. He has banned the advertisement of abortion services. Pornography is banned as is “homosexual propaganda.” Putin’s Russia has moved considerably to the right of the Pope’s Vatican….. [Which is equally a commentary on the radicalism emanating from Rome as it is on Russia’s nascent return to its Christian roots]

……..There is nothing new here as concerns the Putin regime and the Church. Since the time of the czars, the Patriarchate and the Kremlin were allies- each doing the other’s bidding. The Church saw the czar as God’s chosen leader. But underlying the alliance was the belief in a shared and almost sacred vision of Russian exceptionalism and a unique national identity- neither Western nor Eastern.

Perhaps this explains why some have called upon Putin- not the EU, not the UN, not the Pope and not the US despite who occupies the Oval Office- to save Christianity. In fact, the Orthodox Church has specifically asked Putin to do just that and he enthusiastically responded, “Consider it done.”

Such a contrast to our decadent Western elites, who, even among those who do not outwardly mock and scorn Christianity, rarely do more than pay lip service to orthodox Christian belief.  Religion for the vast, vast majority in the West, especially among the elites, is at best a quaint relic from a benighted past, and at worst the most dangerous, corrosive, hateful element of society – something to be fought and crushed at all costs.

I think we shall see over the coming decades which vision produces the best effects.  Russia still faces enormous problems, and while the religious revival may be a mile wide, it is yet only an inch deep.  Massive problems including rampant alcoholism and the lackadaisical work ethic resulting from a lifetime of communist rule remain. But the post-Christian West very apparently has a suicidal death wish, forlornly refusing to learn the lessons of history and embracing the exact same ideologies that have led to endless misery and societal collapse around the world.  Should Russia’s religious revival intensify and work more deeply into the day to day lived experience of Russians, I have no doubt which society, which culture will be the more robust, the more vibrant 50 years from now.