Monday, November 16, 2015

Saving Europe -- and the World

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France.
Photograph by Adrian Pingstone in July 2001, Public Domain

In the wake of the horrible terrorist attack on Paris last week, we are just now beginning to see the repercussions. France has bombed ISIS targets in Syria. Nationalist protests are breaking out across Europe. Border fences are being erected in some countries. The European Union is gradually becoming defunct as nation-states move to protect their people from both the liberal immigration policies of Germany and the E.U., as well as the austerity policies of the same that are breaking the backs of small debt-laden countries like Greece. What we are witnessing is the slow death of the European Union and a return to nationalism in Europe. This is necessary, because the foundation the E.U. is built on is flawed, but it will be a painful transition to be sure. The recent terrorist attack on Paris has only accelerated this process.

Air strikes and military intervention against Islamic terrorism is only a temporary solution. It is a necessary step, but only a short-term fix. Deporting Muslim fundamentalists, and limiting Muslim immigrants slows the growth of the problem, but it is just another short-term fix. Neither address the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is Europe, and to a lesser extent America too. Europe is essentially dead already. Oh sure, the continent still exists. It didn't fall into the sea or something ridiculous like that. The countries of Europe still exist. They didn't amalgamate into some kind of pan-European super-state. Granted, they tried with the E.U., but that is turning out to be a miserable failure. Nor did European people disappear off the face of the earth. You still have native Europeans -- sort of. No, the problem isn't these things. The problem is that Europeans have forgotten how to be Europeans! They literally do not know what Europe is any more, and because they've forgotten that, they don't know how to be Europeans. They are a people lost, without an identity, which is why for almost a century now, they have turned to fleeting ideologies like; racism, fascism, liberalism, relativism and multiculturalism. They swing from one end of the pendulum to the other, desperately trying to figure out who they are, and how to survive as a people, with no hope at finding an answer. If you think America is immune from this, think again. We are a good 10 to 20 years behind Europe in their social decline, but we are steadily on the same path.

Now this loss of identity has created a much bigger problem, that has played out as follows...

  1. Widespread acceptance of practices that would otherwise be morally reprehensible are now widely accepted, and even promoted, throughout Europe. These include; artificial contraception, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex 'marriage', prostitution, fornication, sexual promiscuity, etc. 
  2. 40+ years of abortion and artificial contraception have created a demographic bomb (baby bust) in Europe and America. 
  3. This demographic bomb (or baby bust) is a direct threat to the economies of the West as well as the social programs of the West. 
  4. To prevent endless economic recession and shore up the social safety nets, Western governments have implemented generous immigration policies to make up for the demographic bomb (baby bust). 
  5. In America the majority of those immigrants (both legal and illegal) are Catholic Latinos - thank God!
  6. In Europe the majority of those immigrants are African and Asian Muslims. This cannot end well. 

Some Muslims come to the West to admire our culture, wealth, education, opportunity and benefits. Some Muslims are here for that purpose. I know some, and they're very good people. They're Muslims, but they admire Western culture for what it is, and they have no desire to change it. They come here strictly for education, work, and to find a better way of life. These are people we can work with and they deserve our respect and hospitality. I'm not talking about them. I respect them, and you should too.

Rather, I'm talking instead about another group of Muslims, not the ones that came to admire us, but those who came to change us. They are here for one purpose only -- missionary activity. These Muslims, are here to colonise our cities, and convert our youth. Islamic terrorism is a very small, albeit very loud, manifestation of this much bigger problem -- Islamic fundamentalism. The problem primarily exists in Europe. You can find Islamic Fundamentalists in America too, but in much smaller numbers. Europe has absorbed the bulk of this population, and they in turn have made colonies inside Europe's major cities: Paris, London, Berlin and even Rome. Paris is probably the worst example of this. Already there are neighbourhoods in Paris that are 'no-go zones' for police, who try to stay out of there, and these are essentially run as mini-caliphates under Sharia Law. These Muslims did not come to France to learn how to be French. They came to change France into a Muslim nation. They have no interest in integrating. They have no interest in assimilating. They have no interest in changing whatsoever. They instead wish to change France to accommodate them. It can be said that immigration was never their intention. What they intended instead was colonisation.

This problem is compounded in France because of what I said about Europeans. Europeans have forgotten how to be Europeans, and this is especially true of the French. The French have forgotten how to be French. Their collective amnesia may possibly be the worst in all of Europe.

Now let's consider youth in Europe, particularly in France, but certainly not limited to there. We could say the same about any European country right now. We have an entire generation of young people who have no clue as to what it means to be Europeans. Their idea of being European means going to parties, discos, concerts and restaurants. The height of their entire cultural experience is pop music, which of course is really international in scope and is not in any way specific to Europe, let alone any particular European country. Interiorly, they have no European enculturation. They have not been formed as Europeans. Oh sure, they love waving the flags of their respective countries, and thank God for that! They at least have some national pride -- a fleeting vestige of the old world. Good for them! At least that's a starting point. It can't end there. Sadly all too often, it does. What happens when these young people get depressed, or find themselves in the midst of one economic recession after another? What happens when these young people can't find a job? What happens when they lose hope in the future? I'll tell you what happens. They do what all human beings do in these situations. They either turn to substance abuse, more decadence, or religion. We would hope they choose religion, because that will address the problem by building real life skills. However, what kind of religion will youth turn to? I'll tell you. Most youth will only turn to a religion that is alive, vibrant, and sure of itself. Contrary to popular opinion, this doesn't mean turning a church into a disco. If youth want a disco, they will go to a disco not a church. When youth seek religious formation, they are looking for something that is ancient, answers questions, seems to be alive, vibrant and sure of itself. One simply doesn't find this so much in European Christianity any more. One does however find it in European Islam. Already, European youth are converting to Islam in record numbers, and among those converts, it is inevitable that some will become Islamic fundamentalists. Of those a few will become home-grown terrorists. In time, within a generation or less, deportation of Islamic fundamentalists will no longer be possible, because they will be citizens of European countries and native Europeans. Islamic terrorism will soon become native to Europe in the same way it is native to the Middle East.

The good news is this. The way to permanently solve the problem of fundamental Islam in the West is simple, easy, and anyone can do it. The trick is, you just need enough people doing it.

This is how it's done. The first thing you need to do is learn what Europe is, and in order to know that, you have to understand what Europe was built on. Europe was built on Christianity, specifically, Medieval Christianity, which contrary to popular myth, was highly spiritual, moral and deeply philosophical. This was a period of Christianity before all the divisions. It was a time before the Reformation and the wars that followed. It was a time when Europe was young, vibrant, energetic, and looked to the Christian faith for answers. So Medieval Christianity became the mother of modern science and the search for scientific explanation. It also became the mother of classical art and architecture. It was a time before all the doubt and cynicism of the modern world. This is what founded Europe. Europe is Medieval Christianity and Medieval Christianity is Europe. The two are synonymous with each other. This period of medieval growth and vitality was stopped cold with the Reformation, of which, men on both sides were to blame. The wars that followed brought about centuries of doubt and scepticism, culminating in the 20th century, and has brought Europe to where it is today. Now here we are at the cusp of losing Europe forever, and there is only one way to save it.

The first thing we must do is understand that the breakup of European Christianity is five-hundred years old! To perpetuate ongoing schism in Christianity is to live in the grudges of the past. The solution is to look back in history beyond the breakup of Christianity. We need to look at the undivided Christianity that existed beforehand, the Medieval Christianity that built Europe in the first place, the Medieval Christianity that caused Europe to rise from the ashes of the Roman Empire. THAT is the Christianity that Europeans must look toward today -- before it's too late. We Americans must do the same, or we too will follow down the same path Europe took toward self-destruction.

All you need to do is fall in love with the Medieval Christian Faith, and spread that love in an infectious way. By this I mean the way Christianity was about 1,000 years ago. Look it up. Read about it. Educate yourself! It is time for a rebirth of Medieval Christianity, and by that I mean the REAL Christianity of the Middle Ages, not the phoney unreal caricature of it we see on television and the movies. Unlike that caricature, it was a highly spiritual, moral and philosophical faith, and it was this form of Christianity that took on fundamentalist Islam and won! This is the secret weapon Europe has in its basement, and it's time for Europeans to dust it off and start applying it in their own lives again. What better place to start than in France? She has one of the richest traditions in Medieval Christianity, and amazingly she has preserved a great deal of it, in spite of significant strides in modernity. It's time for the French to get back to what has worked for them in the past.

You see, youth will be attracted to a Christian faith that is active, vibrant, and sure of itself. They will be especially intrigued by its connection to the ancient past, and in particular their ancestral roots. They are looking for beauty, mystery, awe and reverence. This can be found in Medieval Christianity. The stronger, and more sure of itself this Christianity is, the more young people will flock to it. The more young people flock to it, the less will flock to Islam. Eventually, the trend of Islamic growth can be reversed in Europe entirely. Yes, this is doable. Yes, this can happen. Yes, you will need to be a part of it if you want it to happen. What we're talking about here is nothing more than a social trend. It's as simple as that. You don't need any government programs. You don't need any military forces. You don't need anything really. All you need is yourself, and a desire to learn and change. That's it. As more people change, society will bend to accommodate them, especially in Europe, because Europe was built on this. Medieval Christianity is Europe's natural state of being, and Europe inwardly longs to return to it. This is especially true in France. The same holds true for the Americas too, both North and South America, because they too were built on the European model.

You see, you have to ask yourself; is our current civilisation worth dying for? Most people will say 'no' and will opt to save their own lives rather than fight, kill and die to preserve McDonalds, Wal-Mart and Discos. This modern and materialist 'culture' is not something people get too terribly excited about, and certainly will not fight, kill and die for. You have to understand, culture is built on cult (religion), and the West has abandon its native religion -- Medieval Christianity. Therefore we have no culture to speak of.

Fundamentalist Muslims don't just hate us. They pity us, and because they pity us, they see a grand opportunity. They want to conquer and subjugate us, for what they believe is our own good. Some of them, a small minority, will kill us for what they believe to be the greater good. That greater good, in their opinion, is our subjugation to Islam.

We are pitiful to fundamentalist Muslims because they know we are weak inside. We may have military strength and money, but we have nothing else beyond that. Therefore their strategy is not what it seems. These terrorist attacks are just a distraction. Their real objective is to get us to break ourselves economically trying to fight them in an ideological war we cannot win with mere military tools. By doing that, they will throw our economies deeper into recession, causing more joblessness, and that in turn will send more of our youth into hopelessness and depression, knowing that a large percentage of them will turn to Islam as a result. It's already happening in Europe, and it will soon happen in America too. This clash of civilisations is so much more complex than what our media is telling us. Terrorism is just the flash in the pan. It's what captures our attention, but the real threat is what's going on beneath that. Secularism is a spiritual vacuum, and vacuums are made to be filled. Islam will be more than happy to accommodate so long as Europeans continue in their amnesia about Medieval Christianity and deny who they really are.



Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pray for the Pope

Inauguration of Pope Francis, March 19, 2013
Photo by Fczarnowski, Wiki Commons

We have just reached the end of the Synod on the Family in Rome. It's been a very tense several weeks leading up to the Synod, during and now after. As I pledged several months ago, I have no intention on going into the inner workings of the Synod, nor do I intend to comment on the details of the final document produced. I'll leave that to people far more competent than myself. I will only say these general things...

  1. The African bishops, Polish bishops, and others came through. They successfully prevented a bad document from being produced.
  2. The document they did produce was vague on some points, which has allowed both sides to claim 'victory'.
  3. The document is now in the hands of the pope who will make a final decision on his own.
  4. The dynamics in the Synod really revealed nothing new, but only highlighted what was already known, namely that there is a power struggle surrounding the pope, with both orthodox and heterodox bishops vying for his ear. The synod revealed that the heterodox bishops are in the minority (a third or less), while they are very well placed in high positions, yet the orthodox bishops are in the majority (two-thirds or more).
  5. Overall, it would appear (at least for now) that the orthodox are in a much better position than they were this time last year, following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014, which produced a very confusing final document.
So here we are at the end of October 2015. The bishops of the Ordinary Synod have spoken, and what they have produced is orthodox, and consists of much greater clarity than what was produced a year ago. This is good.

Now everything rests in the hands of the pope. This is where the proverbial 'rubber meets the road' when it comes to prayer. It is time for us all to pray for the pope. I know many conservative and traditional Catholics who would rather spend this time criticising the pope, or even worse, entertaining conspiracy theories. That is a mistake and a waste of precious time. I know many liberal and modernist Catholics who would rather spend this time praising the pope. Again, that's a waste of time. What the pope needs right now is PRAYER. He needs us to pray for him daily, because he is the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, and he has some very difficult decisions to make in the days ahead. If you call yourself Catholic, the time for criticising or praising has not yet come. What Catholics should be doing right now is praying for the pope. So stop with blogging on the pope. Stop the social media about the pope. Stop the YouTube videos on the pope. PRAY for Pope Francis. He needs it, and it's our job as Catholics to make intercession for him.
V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the
earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Psalm 40:3]
Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. 
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy
servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant
him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over
whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he
attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Anglicanism Collapses -- Officially

Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, meet in November 2010
Photo: Richard Pohle

Five years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI met with Archbishop Rowan Williams for evening prayer at Westminster Abbey in London. The meeting was more than ecumenical. Benedict was also on a pastoral mission to the Catholic bishops of the UK. He urged them, no commanded them, to accept with welcome the Anglicans entering the Catholic Church through the personal ordinariates he would soon create. Five years later, yesterday, Archbishop William's successor (Justin Welby), officially announced what is effectively the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion as we know it. Internal divisions over doctrinal matters have made any kind of cohesive religious union impossible on any kind of substantial doctrinal level. Instead, Archbishop Welby has summonsed all of the Anglican primates of the world together (whether officially united with Canterbury or not) to discuss the possibility of forming a 'new communion', based on lesser doctrinal standards. What he proposes is effectively a loose federation, or affiliation, that is united more by history than by concrete doctrinal or moral standards. In effect, what he is proposing is little more than an ecumenical umbrella, not far off from the Worldwide Council of Churches. Yet there is something much more profound in Archbishop Welby's proposal. It is a tacit admission of what many of us have known for years. Anglicanism, as we know it, is gone. It's over. The Anglican Communion has been shattered and cannot be repaired.

The Anglican Communion WAS an international association of churches consisting of the Church of England and of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with it. Up until now, the status of 'full communion' meant that there was mutual agreement on essential doctrines, and that full participation in the sacramental life of each church was available to all Anglicans therein...

The Communion was formed as a result of the British Empire, in which England's form of Protestantism (which was very catholic in appearance) was spread throughout all of the regions of the world controlled or occupied by Britain at one time or another. In this way, Anglicanism contributed greatly to the evangelism of the new world and the third world. Worldwide, the Anglican Communion boasts of a membership of approximately 80 million, but this number is disputed among those who claim that actual membership is artificially inflated in liberal provinces like the United States. Each province of the Communion is governed by an archbishop called a 'primate', and generally speaking, each province is part of this Communion by virtue of its communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England.

Here a footnote should be added. Legally speaking, the 'head' of the Church of England is the British monarch (today that's Queen Elizabeth II), but that being said, the Archbishop of Canterbury has always served as its spiritual director. In contrast, the monarchy has no role over the other provinces of the Anglican Communion. It is limited to the Church of England alone.

Over the years a threefold division (or rift) developed within the Anglican Communion, which eventually resulted in its fracture and now the current state of official collapse. In the developed world, the trajectory of the Communion was clearly high church Anglo-Catholic, meaning it became more Catholic in appearance and doctrine. While as in the developing world, Anglicanism took on a more Evangelical (Protestant-like) character. This division was a minor one at first, because it reflected style more than doctrine or moral practice. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, a much more serious division erupted. We could say it all began with the 1930 Lambeth Conference, in which artificial contraception was approved by the hierarchy of the Communion. However, the effects of this would not be seen for some forty years. By the late 1960s, through the 1970s, the wave of Modernism, which had been sweeping the religious world, hit the Anglican provinces in North America hard. This created a trend within the Anglican Communion throughout the developed world. The Episcopal Church in the United States led the way with innovations such as; revisions to liturgy, ordination of women to clergy, consecration of female bishops, acceptance of abortion and feminism, acceptance of homosexuality, ordination of open homosexuals as clergy, consecration of open homosexuals as bishops, acceptance of same-sex 'marriage', etc. Naturally, this caused the second rift, effectively dividing the Communion into three parts. The Evangelical Anglicans, the largest branch of Anglicanism in Africa, Asia and South America, now constituted one division. Meanwhile, traditional high church Anglicanism in the developed world was divided between Anglo-Catholics (those who held to traditional Catholic beliefs on morality) and Liberals (those who held to Modernist views on religion and morality). Liturgically speaking, there was often little to distinguish between the two. Practically speaking however, they couldn't be further apart.

The divisions became most evident by the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and many within the Anglican Communion (myself included) saw at that point the proverbial 'writing on the wall'. (By 2000 I had left The Episcopal Church USA to join the Catholic Church). By 2003, The Episcopal Church USA consecrated its first openly homosexual bishop. The action resulted in the largest exodus from The Anglican Communion since the American Revolution in 1776 - 1783. Other Anglican jurisdictions had already pealed away decades prior, but the homosexual consecration of 2003 resulted in the largest division ever. While some Anglicans converted to Catholicism, Orthodoxy or Lutheranism, a good number of them formed their own province called the Anglican Church in North America, which encompassed disaffected Episcopalians and Anglicans from the United States and Canada. The 2008 Lambeth Conference was a disaster, in which the Evangelical-style Anglicans from the developing world decided to boycott and held their own conference in Jerusalem, called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). With no resolution in sight, and the situation continuing to deteriorate, the 2018 Lambeth Conference was cancelled by Archbishop Welby in 2014. Yesterday, September 16, 2015, Archbishop Welby announced that a special meeting will be held in January of 2017, which will discuss the creation of a new kind of 'communion', that will be considerably less doctrinal in nature, and more historical in character. In effect, the death certificate of the Anglican Communion has just been issued. It's official now.

The demise of Anglicanism, as we know it, has been a long time coming. In a way, it's been a lot like watching a horrific train wreck in slow motion. It is however, logical.

What precipitated this was the issue of authority, or more specifically, the lack thereof. Within Anglicanism there existed no authority structure that could correct errant provinces whenever they threatened the unity of the Anglican Communion. In effect, the Anglicans lacked a pope. Former Archbishop Rowan Williams made this analysis during this term in office, and actually made the suggestion that the Anglican Communion consider adopting something like this, giving the Archbishop of Canterbury's office the authority to do just that. The idea was quietly dismissed by the rest of the Communion. What Williams was recommending was effectively an Anglican papacy, and most Anglicans had no desire to reinvent the wheel this way. Even if Williams' idea had been accepted, and implemented, it is still debatable if it would have worked. A powerful Archbishop of Canterbury might have been able to stall the eventual collapse of the Anglican Communion, but probably couldn't have prevented it. There is, after all, the whole issue of apostolic succession, which some might dispute.

Without real apostolic authority, Christianity crumbles. Many Protestant denominations have discovered this over the centuries, and many more will discover it over the remainder of this century. Evangelicals, of all stripes, boast in the Bible as their only authority. This claim tends to work for a short while, and sometimes results in phenomenal growth, but that growth is short lived, and quickly fades away in subsequent generations. Lack of apostolic authority gives rise to schisms which demolish Christian unity. The Evangelical Anglicans (GAFCON) will soon discover this for themselves, probably within about 20 years or less, unless they find a way to tap back into the Catholic notion of apostolic succession and authority.

Among those Anglicans that left the Anglican provinces of the UK, US, Canada and Australia; a small contingency understood this. They understood that Anglicanism's problems began long before the Modernist wave of the late 20th century, and long before the Lambeth Conference of 1930. They understood that Anglicanism's real problems began in the 16th century, under King Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I. It was the Church of England's schism with the Pope of Rome that set it up for failure. So in a very real sense, the whole Anglican Communion was built on a foundation of sinking sand. It was only a matter of time before it would collapse.

These few Anglicans in America forged out on their own, and petitioned Rome for full reunification under the apostolic authority of the pope. In 1980, Saint John Paul II granted this, creating the Anglican Use - Pastoral Provision in the United States. The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite became a prototype for the Personal Ordinariates that Pope Benedict XVI set up in 2011 and 2012, following the publication of their apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus in 2009. In this, Pope Benedict XVI created jurisdictions within the Catholic Church, allowing the Anglican Patrimony to grow and flourish indefinitely, under the doctrinal and moral protection of the papacy, that will prevent heretical or schismatic prelates from ever tearing them apart. Now with the death of the Anglican Communion having been officially pronounced, it should be apparent to anyone with eyes to see, that the future of the Anglican Patrimony lies squarely within the Roman Catholic Church.

There is nothing this proposed new Anglican affiliation can protect any more. What Archbishop Welby is putting forward is a way for Anglicans to still say they're together, sort of, but only by a common historical background. Whatever doctrinal ties this new affiliation might propose will have to be extremely limited, and really no more significant than the doctrinal ties we see in other ecumenical forums, such as the World Council of Churches. The provinces of the former Anglican Communion will never be able to agree on moral issues again. Indeed, if anything can be agreed upon at all, the end result will be Anglican provinces that overlap each other, and Anglicans can pick and choose what type of Anglican they want to be, by picking and choosing what overlapping province to affiliate with. Such competing provinces, with no doctrinal or moral unity, will create an affiliation that really doesn't mean much in a practical sense. In fact, the only affiliation that will really matter, to the average layperson, will be the affiliation one has with one's local parish and denomination. Because you see, that is exactly what Archbishop Welby has proposed -- multiple denominations under a common 'Anglican' umbrella. There is no way the Anglican Patrimony can be preserved internationally under these circumstances. Perhaps local provinces (denominations) will be able to preserve some elements of the Anglican Patrimony, on a local level, but any kind of a meaningful international Anglican ethos will be gone. In a very real sense, it already is. Distant history may very well record that the man who saved the Anglican Patrimony for future generations was none other than a Catholic pope -- Benedict XVI.



Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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