Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Euro and the Nations

Back in 1860 as the United States was entering the Civil War, the southern states formed a Confederacy in which each state was in essence its own nation. States’ rights is what drove the South into secession and it was states’ rights that helped defeat the Confederacy. Why? Because each state, seeing itself as an independent nation, refused to centralize power in Richmond and instead focused on its own interests. Monies and troops were withheld, rail gauges changed throughout the South (making transnational troop transport difficult and inefficient), and each state had its own currency.

Which brings me to the Euro.

Europe began introducing the Euro back in 1999, in a sense forging one massive economic power consisting of multiple nations. We see in the 1860s, however, that the Southern Confederacy failed in large part because it wanted to be a confederacy of eleven separate nations. America tried this with the Articles of Confederation but moved to the current Constitution because a Confederacy was simply too weak for a nation stretching from coast to coast. If Europe is to remain a continent of separate nations, it must allow each nation to retain a national currency. The potential failure of the Euro will mean the survival of the European nations. The two cannot coexist.

UPDATE: The chief financial officer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development now says there are only seven working days left to prevent the collapse of the Euro. National sovereignty is the new wall standing in front of the Euro's survival, for European nations using the Euro are looking at a massive bailout by Germany - in which case the Germans will be able to influence the future economic decisions made the debtor nations. As it stands, the strong national identities of Europe may prevent the German bailout, thus bringing the Euro closer to collapse.

That is unless the United States offers its own bail out. Let's hope not.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Mary Video

The videos for Dr. Pence's six-part series on Marian femininity versus modern feminism is coming closer to completion with the addition of part five! To view the fifth segment of the series, simply click 'play' on the video below.

If you're new to Orate Fratres, follow this link to a previous post which includes links to the past videos (including a previous series on the all-male priesthood).

And if you just can't wait for part six to arrive, here's a video I just made on the Hail Mary in chant:

Monday, November 14, 2011

The World According to Tom Barnett

The PowerPoint will never be the same after Thomas P.M. Barnett. In the time following 9/11, Barnett began using his presentation, or brief, called The World According to Tom Barnett, to get across his idea of the "big picture" and the role America should play in the twenty-first century.

His thesis was simple: take a world map, draw a circle around the areas where violence occurs on a regular basis and then ask, why? His answer is connectivity. As the nations become further globalized, wars are found within what Barnett calls the non-integrating gap. The world according to Tom Barnett sees the United States playing a key role in shrinking the gap.

Now I originally saw the brief on C-SPAN in 2003 and I remember being so impressed that I recorded it when it was replayed later that evening. Barnett's theory may not be fully correct, but he joins men like Samuel Huntington in seeing the world through the eyes of a map and a story that explains it.

Catholics are in need of their own macrohistorical metanarrative - but watching Barnett's brief is a great way to see how effective we can be if we use a map and tell a story. It's worth checking out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Apostolic Doctor

St. Lawrence of Brindisi was named Julius Caesar by his father - but little did his father know how close his son would live up to the name, albiet as a priest weilding a crucifix rather than a sword. One online writer puts it this way:

Imagine if you were a commander facing a well-armed enemy of 80,000 foot and calvary and your troops were outnumbered four to one. You’ve had several skirmishes with the foe, but the big battle would be in a day or two. This gives you time to evaluate the situation, make a strategic retreat, negotiate terms, or do battle. You have a chaplain reputed to be a saint and he works miracles. You know the man and you believe that his reputation is well deserved. When you ask his advice he tells you to prepare for battle and trust God and His holy mother.

This is what happened that October day in 1601 in Hungary, just twenty-three years after the Moslems were defeated in the Mediterranean Sea in the Battle of Lepanto. The saint rallied the troops and led the charge into the enemy lines. Bullets, arrows, and canon balls flew all around him as he held the crucifix on high. One of the bullets miraculously got lodged in his hair. Scimitars were being swung at him from every direction but never did a blade even graze his flesh. Five horses fell wounded beneath him as he galloped back and forth urging the brave warriors to fight on for the victory would be theirs. It was far from an easy victory, but at the end of the day the Turks were routed; they would be back again, and defeated again, eighty years later, at the gates of Vienna. Among those who fought for the empire and Christendom in this battle were bands of German Lutherans. Many of these converted after witnessing the heroism of Father Lawrence and the divine protection so visibly allotted to him. The Moslems were convinced that they were defeated by a “Christian magician.”
St. Lawrence was not only a great warrior and leader, he was also a linguist, diplomat, mystic, and miracle-worker. He was also equally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and his priestly duties. Though his Masses tended to last three hours, a particular Christmas Mass continued for sixteen hours and he was even known to levitate at the altar. Most importantly for us, St. Lawrence is also a Doctor of the Church (bearing the title: "The Apostolic Doctor").

Now there are four kinds of male personalities: the priest, the laborer, the scholar, and the warrior. Sadly, it is very uncommon to find a great priest-scholar who is also a great warrior. Indeed pacifism - the opposite position of the warrior - is a constant temptation among the priestly personality. But when the men and officers in Hungary looked at St. Lawrence, they knew a man they could rightly call "Father".

In this way, St. Lawrence should be the model for every man of a priest-scholar personality.