Christians Who Pray to ‘St. Marx’ are Building the Next Gulag

Source: The Stream

This essay is part of a series examining how American religious, economic, and political freedom are compatible with Christian views of a good society. It was provoked by the publication of the Tradinista Manifesto, which called for “Christian socialism” and an established national Church. (Ed.)

By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse

The Tradinistas (Traditionalist + Sandinista) make up a new “movement” of mostly young Catholics who drank the heady wine of Marx, and believe that his economics is the wave of the future. The attraction is the same that seduces all devotees of the now discredited ideology: the promise of a just society free of material deprivation and exploitation of the weak.

You would think defending Marx in any place but an American university would be next to impossible, but the Tradinistas are determined to try. In an essay titled “St. Marx and the Dragon” (where Marx is presented as a biblical exegete, the Dragon as capitalism), the Tradinistas declare that Marx’s economic theories should be “subjected to the holy mysteries and authority of the [Catholic] Church.” Money (capital) is Mammon and “all have been seared with trade,” they write. Like Marx, the Tradinistas believe that the “Beast” of Revelation is actually money/Mammon, thus those that fight against capital do the work of God. “Mammon is ascendent in the form of global capitalism and it desires the worship due to God alone,” they argue.

Marx, if not yet a saint, should at least be a Father of the Church, if the Tradinistas had their way. And while the ideology of globalism is a threat to community and liberty, Marxist dogma is hardly the solution. Marxism has failed everywhere it has been tried. In many cases it unleashed evils that spilled forth rivers of blood. Yet the attraction doesn’t dim. Why is that? What is it about Marx that holds the minds of men in such paralyzing thrall — in such deep ideological inebriation — that even the voices of those murdered by the violence unleashed time and again by this barbarous ideology cannot penetrate it?

Abortion: The Fly in the Ointment

A clue lies in the Tradinista Manifesto itself. Most of the manifesto reads like the usual anti-capitalist screeds that the left routinely spits out like paper in a copy machine. Declaration #13 however stands out: “Abortion is a horrifying crime which much be eradicated immediately.”

That’s a contradiction. The value of the unborn, which the Tradinistas rightly affirm, cannot be reconciled with Marxist dogma. The Tradinistas don’t understand Marx. They don’t see that if they adopt his dogma, the ground for defending the unborn and ultimately all human life will dissolve beneath their feet.

The Tradinistas don’t see the contradiction because they don’t understand the materialist ground (man is matter, no soul exists) of Marxist ideology. They don’t comprehend who Marx was, or that his economics are derived from his desire to stamp out religion and not the other way around. The antidote to their ignorance is found in history, in the words of men wiser than ourselves, who experienced the Marxist horrors firsthand and understood why the promises of Marxist justice are so intoxicating.

Voices from the Red Empire

In 1906 Sergei Bulgakov published Karl Marx as a Religious Type. Bulgakov came from a long line of Orthodox priests, but abandoned his Orthodox faith in college to embrace the promises of Marxist justice sweeping the Russian intelligentsia of his day. This essay examines the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Marxist ideals, which led him to recant Marxist ideology and turn back to the faith of his fathers. Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn considered this essay “one of the deepest analyses of the heart of Marxism and Marx himself.”

Marx, writes Bulgakov, drew from Feuerbach’s critique of religion and turns it against all religion. “He aims toward a complete and final eradication of religion, toward a pure atheism in which no sun shines anymore, neither in the sky or in the earth.” Marx himself wrote:

Religion is the breath of a suppressed creature, the sentiment of the heartless world and, consequently, the spirit of a callous epoch — it is the opium of the people. The annihilation of religion … is the demand for their real happiness.

To offer that happiness, Marx called for “the decisive, affirmative elimination of religion. Bulgakov responded that:

  1. Marxist ideology is a break from the Western philosophical tradition; the ostensible continuity between Marx and classical philosophy is only an “imaginary connection;” and that
  2. Marx reduces religion and theology to sociology.

By formulating a theory of economics based on the negation of religion, Marx reduces man to an algebraic unit who finds his purpose and destiny only in relation to the collective. The denial of God reduces man to matter, and once this happens, the restraints against evils are broken. This is why Alexander Solzhenitsyn taught that the cause of the suffering of the past century could be summed up in one existential fact: “Man has forgotten God.”

What We Need is Spiritual Warfare

The Tradinistas don’t understand Marx, but worse, they don’t understand their Christian faith either. Too many Christians are defenseless against the materialist/secular onslaught of the present age that Marx codified, even though the antecedents of materialism lie even further back in history. Such Christians get stuck in paradigmatic thinking, assuming that secularism in just another “world view” in competition with others. They believe that persuasion defeats evil, when what we need is spiritual warfare, especially the interior kind.

The sacramental dimension of the Christian faith reveals that material creation shares in a brokenness, the healing of which only comes from God Himself. The locus of salvation is the Cross and the Cross can only be located in the raw, existential, concrete awareness of one’s own brokenness. Dostoevsky was a master at revealing this inextinguishable truth about human life, especially in Crime and Punishment.

This sacramental dimension, this embrace of the Cross in one’s own life, is the means by which the light can penetrate and eventually extinguish the materialist delusion. It is also the way by which the evils unleashed by the mythology of the collective that grows from its acidic soil are defeated. It’s good that the Tradinistas go to church. Presumably they have been baptized and receive the Holy Eucharist. But do they have any understanding of what these sacraments mean? Are they functional atheists?

No Room for God in the Socialist Utopia

The Tradinista’s defense of the unborn, the only point that stands out against their notions of collective justice, may reveal that an authentic sense of the inviolability of human sacredness indeed remains among them. They are ignorant however of how viciously the Marxist materialism that informs their economic ideas militates against it. If there is no room for God — if the memory of God must be eradicated from the cultural memory in order to build the New Jerusalem of the materialist (in fact another Babel) — then any notion of the sacredness of man must be eradicated as well.

So what is the appeal of the false promises of Marxist ideology? Why does it seduce the minds of otherwise bright people and hold them in such paralyzing thrall? The promises of collective justice, the inauguration of the New Jerusalem, the implicit desire to rule others as one of the chosen, all these distortions of soul occur because the whisper first voiced in Eden is heard and believed: You shall be like God.

If, God forbid, Tradinista ideas are implemented in the West as they were in the Soviet Union in the last century, some of them will become like prisoners Solzhenitsyn described in The Gulag Archipelago. The Marxists inmates never perceived that the regime was evil. “There must be some mistake!” they cried, certain that Comrade Stalin would free them any day. They went to their deaths believing it.

Comments

  1. This essay has a most seemly expression of clarity founded upon knowing the Truth that will set us free, as well as having the authoritative foundation stated, which is without God we can do nothing All the spiritual warfare anyone can handle is contained in doing as the Christ did when confronted by the temptations in the desert. I feel an understanding of self discipline required by authentic Christian brotherhood is the discipline to be non competitive in relationship with Christ’s brethren. Being devoid of competitiveness leaves only good will towards our brothers and proves our trustworthiness, which is absolutely necessary for true friendship and heartfelt love of one another.
    The Christ told St. Peter to cast his net on the other side of the boat, and the Christ made the haul of fish almost more than they could handle. If any of the professing Christians I know ever get this assistance from the Christ, I am ticked pink, and will and do rejoice greatly.It’s God’s will being done through someone else other than me. God never makes mistakes> They Holy God got the right one for sure. I do humble and greatly admire people like Conchita Gonzalez of Garabandal and abortion activists like Joan Andrews, the mother of pro-life activism. These people make my heart soar like an eagle. The essay was a thrill for me to read.

  2. Excellent essay!!!

    You have to see the Beast for what he is. The Whore of Babylon is the feminist matriarchy that has corrupted Western society to the core. It has infiltrated the Roman Catholic Church through its homosexual wing. The RCC under Pope Francis is a tool of the Beast.

    This resurrection of Marxism in combination with Catholicism as an elixir is simply snake oil. Marxism can’t save anyone and neither can Rome. The target is hiding itself behind all the smoke and mirrors.

    There are two real targets left, two active enemies of Christ: The Feminist/Matriarchal Borg of the West . . . and Sunni Islam. That is where the devil is hiding. It’s all he really has left. He’s trying to mess around with class warfare to distract from the obvious fact that Trump just put a bullet in the head of the capitalist contradiction. He’s open to redistribution and he insists on reciprocal trade. Just like countless kings and emperors before him.

    Duh.

    It doesn’t have to be egalitarian redistribution in order for it to work. Society is better run on a hierarchical basis and that is what we will have here just as we do in the Russian Federation. It is not socialism, but it is a welfare state with the necessary redistribution to raise all boats at a rate that satisfies the working people who deserve a hell of a lot more than what has been provided for them on the Progressive Plantation.

    Слава Трампу!
    Слава Путину!
    Слава Православию!
    Слава Богу Нашему!

    I was amused by this:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/08/opinions/looking-at-trump-putin-relationship-wrong-andelman/?iid=ob_lockedrail_bottomlist

    I assume at this point that both Trump and Putin are on to the Fem/Pervs.

    Say, why don’t we just call them “vampires” instead of “Fem/Pervs”?

    Sounds similar, no?

    Has not God promised to reveal Himself in the eschaton?

    That is what I have been trying to tell you.

  3. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/meryl-streep-golden-globes-speech-stop-trump-article-1.2941203

    They have no idea what’s coming.

    What they don’t understand is that Progressive Liberalism is played out. This society we have right now, January 9, 2017, with all its social pathologies, is as good as progressive society can possibly get. From here, either they move forward by coercion and totalitarianism, or the pendulum reverses.

    What do you think happens when Trump starts bull dogging infrastructure spending and enabling the legislation of traditional values? More and more people will begin to ask themselves the question, “What if feminism was simply a very great, serious mistake? What if traditional male-female relations were natural and modern male-female relations are warped and perverse? What does that really mean?”

    What they will quickly conclude is that they have been brainwashed by a diabolical ideology straight from hell. Lower and middle class white men will be the first ones to truly grasp what has happened: That feminists, beta males and homosexuals have largely accomplished an evil social revolution since WWII (but beginning even before). How much the Soviets encouraged it we can’t say. The Bolsheviks only paid lip service to gender equality but never implemented it, perhaps sensing its destructive enfeebling nature. A house cannot have two masters. The nature of the devil, diavolos, is to walk two ways at once.

    But regardless, feminism was weaponized and has done incredible, insidious damage. When men realize what has been done to them, when they fully “get” the fact that they have been reduced from the role of masters to lowly servants – and that this is not justice but against the will of God, they will be furious.

    Hell hath no fury like a man humiliated. Ask Adolf Hitler.

    The problem wont be inciting a revolution, the problem will be containing the fury so that it does not rise to the level of extermination – which would end the species since we can’t reproduce without females.

    The realization and the wave have not hit just yet. It’s just dangling there. Some insightful people can see it coming. Putin probably understands it. He’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop. He’s too smart not to see what has happened in the West. He has a deep and intimate understanding of propaganda and worldviews from being a KGB officer in East Germany.

    This will be a revolution that will seem hard to believe and surreal even for the revolutionaries. But they have absolutely nothing to lose but their chains.

    Putin once asked about American adventures in the Middle East: “Do you even realize what you have done!!!”

    So it will be with this. If I said to a woman today, “Rule number 1, don’t get fat. Rule number 2, don’t talk back or I will smack the sh*t out of you.” it would seem cruel and abusive.

    When it’s all over, that will seem generous.

    • Wonderful says:

      Misha,

      I’d be condemned and ostracized for life by 99% of the women I know for saying this, but you are a breath of fresh air.

    • Misha and Mr Wonderful, in regards to Misha’s second to last paragraph . You both should be ashamed of yourselves. Not my business, but I suggest you both speak with your spiritual father. Truly sad, even if screaming for attention and reaction.

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        Dino, I quite agree with you.

      • Ah . . . .what would St Athanasios do?

      • Thank you, Dino. Someone needed to say it. None of my business either, but there is ample reason to doubt the involvement of any spiritual father in this picture..

        I am relieved that Trump won, and I hope to be pleased with him as president. Thus far, I have no regrets. Some concerns, but no regrets. But it is garbage – pure garbage – like this that validates what his enemies think of his supporters, whereas he himself has done nothing either to encourage or even hint at condoning such madness.

        • We, may choose our associates, but we can not choose, those who want to associate with us.

          In regards to Misha, and Mr. Wonderful. I actually feel sorry for them.

  4. Joseph Lipper says:

    Why does Jacobse keep mentioning Marx when the writers of the article he is responding to don’t even mention Marx? He criticizes them for failing to understand Marx, but they don’t even mention his name. Shouldn’t it be obvious to him that they are not really Marxist because they are against abortion?

    I would appreciate it if Jacobse would write a more constructive article defending the need for government to help the poor and oppressed, such as did St Basil the Great. We all know that Donald Trump won the election, and Trump’s cabinet appears to be one of the wealthiest ever. So there is going to be a concern that with Trump the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer.

  5. Carl Kraeff says:

    Marx does have some good points, one of which was his agreement with Adam Smith that capitalism (free markets) is absolutely needed for a nation to transition into the industrial age. To Marx, the socialist revolution and the eventual establishment of communism has to come after that. The greatest rebuke to Lenin and Mao is Marx himself. However the greatest weakness of Marxism as an intellectual construct is Marx’s reliance on two leaps of faith: That species man exists and that man can perfect mankind–assertions that have no scientific backing. If you keep in mind that the
    intelligentsia was enthralled by his claim of scientific socialism, you can see the essential weakness of Marxism: it is nothing more than voodoo economics that appeals to under-developed minds.

    • Carl,

      Marx’s limitation was his distaste for hierarchy. Even a commune has hierarchy. The Church functioned as a commune early on and it was hierarchical. Bishops and deacons. Later priests. Functionality.

      In the Soviet Union, the top 5% of the people controlled all the means of production. That was the Communist Party membership, about 16 million people. Coincidentally, the top 5% in the United States at that time controlled almost all of the means of production.

      Call it what you will. The devil is in the details.

      There is a God. He has a code that He has programmed the world to operate on in its fallen state. It is a code that has a oikonomia and an akrivia. The oikonomia is closer to the code for homo resurrectus. The akrivia is bottom line, “Got to move forward so just do it!” fallen mankind, when we act like jackasses and refuse the carrot – well, there’s the stick. Only two ways to get the donkey to move. Women are no exception. Oikonomia for them is worthy assistance (service) to men, “employee of the month”. Akrivia is “your husband shall rule over you”, like an emperor or master.

      It really is that simple. God blesses that. Now, of course from there we can get into theology. Rome is spent. American Protestantism is a noble, respectable effort. It is probably the best anyone could do given Rome and ignorance of Orthodoxy. Anglicanism even made a notable and respectable effort to actually become a Western Orthodox Church before it imploded. The Spirit works as He will. I say “He” as a manner of speaking. We always refer to God as “He”. Within the Spirit, however, is that wild card potential, that dark mysterious unknown – the female side. Recall that in Hebrew, “Ruach ha-Qodesh” is a feminine noun. In Greek it is Aghio Pnevma, neuter. Latin has Spiritus Sanctus. In a sense, the Spirit is androgynous in that in contains the female potential, as well as the male, which must originate from somewhere.

      I DO NOT want to get doctrinal on this, all of the above is informal. The inner workings of the Godhead are for Him to know in infinity. But He has revealed something like this, the mystery, to us; i.e., all of us, openly.

      Anyone can read.

      Soros may soon be on the run:

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-10/trump-s-win-prompts-hungarian-call-for-crackdown-on-soros-groups

      • George Michalopulos says:

        For what it’s worth, being marinadated in modernity as we all are, I came (as a young man) to be uncomfortable with the proper pronoun “He” when addressing the Deity. Luckily, I read a very good piece by a woman (Orthodox) theologian who set me at ease. Jesus Himself used that pronoun when speaking of His Father.

        It’s a mystery, I had to accept it and remain Christian or reject it and enter into the abyss that is modern nihilism. Basically, if it was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me. Case closed.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

        The pronoun “He” preserves the ontological distinction between Creator and creation. If the pronoun “she” is used, then it is implied that the manner of God’s creation models in some way a human birth: the stuff and substance of the creation comes out of the stuff and substance of the god/s (ancient pagan thinking).

        This is also a reason why we don’t have women priests. All men (collective noun) come a from a mother. Man is born of a woman. The woman’s creative prowess in other words is displayed bodily — only women give birth. Your body, your blood, comes from your mother. Men don’t have this capacity. (Even the one sperm cell that penetrates the egg dies after the genetic code has been delivered.)

        For the Christian, the new birth is baptism, the sustenance of that new life is the Body and Blood of Christ — the Holy Eucharist. When a women holds up the chalice however discord results on symbolic levels (in the Greek meaning of the term). Two manners of creation and sustenance are represented — the female’s and Christ’s — and they get confused. If anyone thinks this doesn’t have consequences ask yourself why the Episcopal church went full blown homosexual only a decade after ordaining women priests.*

        A male priesthood preserves the ontological distinction between Creator and creation. There is no confusion that the body and blood in the chalice has anything to do with the creative prowess of the male because males cannot create life from their bodies.**

        *I’ve argued for years that once a church gets feminized it gets homosexualized.

        **Some say that a male priesthood is barrier against a slide back into paganism. While that may be true in the early centuries of Christianity, today a slide into neo-paganism is a conceptual impossibility given that monotheism is ubiquitous in Western culture. Even the atheist/secularist assumes the God he claims is not there is monotheistic; so shaped by and dependent is he on the tradition that he decries. As a result the only path left is nihilism.

        • Monk James says:

          What Father Hans writes here is spot on, although I’d like to add just a small observation to his words.

          In the judeochristian continuum of divine revelation, God describes Himself as our ‘father’. This is important, even though it’s a metaphor, since we know that God is of neither one sex nor the other, but beyond all human categories.

          Still, He chooses to reveal Himself in a paradigm which we can grasp and understand, and that is one of a creative, generative, loving, protecting, sustaining father.

          People who have problems with patriarchy or fatherhood in general because some human fathers fail in their responsibilities are NOT thereby entitled to deny God His preferred designation as ‘Our Father’, as our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us — unless, of course, they are willing to reject divine revelation altogether.

          The perfectly human relationship between normal human beings and their normal human fathers remains firmly in place as a metaphor for our relationship with God, Who made us and loves us in spite of ourselves and our many sins against Him.

          Lord, help us to return at least a little of Your love, which You so abundantly expressed by sending us Your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to save us.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

            Here’s a question Monk James…

            Yes, the term “Father” functions as a metaphor, but how can we say the metaphor is authoritative beyond the scope of the sentence in which it is used? In other words, is its function anything more than descriptive? Is the metaphor indicative of a reality beyond the meaning contained in the sentence? It’s a good question I think and one that “feminist theology” uses to discredit any application of the term beyond the sentence itself. This is also where the default to psychology takes place and usurps authority over the application of the term (ie: some people have abusive fathers, etc.).

            I think I have an answer to this but would be very interested in hearing what you say about it first.

            • Monk James says:

              Thanks so much for your kind question, dear Father Hans. Another, nameless, correspondent has written us some really idiotic things here, but I’ll ignore them.

              I continue to rely on metaphor as a way of our human understanding ANYTHING about God. In the Bible, we consistently read about our (and anything else’s) being ‘before the face of God’, meaning ‘in the presence of God’ Yet we know that God is not a physical being and so has no face.

              In the New Testament, in the Symbol of the Faith, and all throughout the Tradition, we are taught that our Lord Jesus Christ sits ‘at the right hand of God the Father’. But God is not a physical being, and has no hands. Still, St Ignatius of Antioch beautifully speaks (still in metaphor) of The Son and The Spirit as the ‘hands’ of God the Father.

              In any event, I hope that the use of metaphor remains firmly in place when we attempt to think about God, since He is beyond any kind of direct description.

              As he wrote to the church at Ephesus (EPH 3:14), our teacher St Paul says: ‘I kneel to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from Whom all fatherhood in Heaven and on Earth is named.’

              Most recent translations of this verse want to render _patria_ as ‘family’. Among ancient commenters, I find that only St John Chrysostom is willing to indulge this, but only conditionally. Even he says that it’s likely to mean ‘fatherhood’. St Jerome — no slouch at translating the scriptures, although he’s not always right — is quite certain that _patria_ here means ‘fatherhood’.

              As I occasionally do, I agree with St Jerome. I hope that this answers your question, Father Hans.

              • Very nice.

              • M. Stankovich says:

                I have not read St. Jerome, and to be quite frank, it does not strike me as necessary if you are simply attempting to translate the word πατριά. No matter how this noun is applied, it is always feminine, in this case nominative feminine singular. You might quibble that in the Ancient Greek it suggests “lineage,” or argue something should St. Paul have used the word πατριάζω, the logical derivative “to take after one’s father” instead, but this word is also feminine. Are you suggesting St. Paul selected a feminine noun to describe the “Fatherhood” of God the Father, and by which all “fatherhood” is likewise named?

                In St. Chrysostom’s Homily VII on Ephesians, he indicates that St. Paul, by using the phrase, “From whom every family” [Ἐξ οὗ πασα πατριά] is saying that “no longer, he means, reckoned, according to the number of Angels, but according to Him who has created the tribes [ποιήσαντα φυλὰς], not as the Jewish.” And note, St. Chrysostom uses the word φυλὰς, meaning a race or a tribe (cf. Matt. 19:28 “the twelve tribes of Israel [τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ]), which is also feminine, in this case accusative feminine plural. You indicate that you “find that only St John Chrysostom is willing to indulge this, but only conditionally. Even he says that it’s likely to mean ‘fatherhood’.” I have provided St. Chrysostom’s commentary on Eph. 3:14-15 in its entirety, and if you have found another citation to the contrary, I would appreciate you posting it here, along with the citation from St. Jerome. Otherwise, I find it reasonable to conclude you have either misread, misspoken, or are “working the room,” so to speak.

                • Monk James says:

                  In spite of your education, you are needlessly rude to your correspondents, Michael Stankovich.

                  Generally speaking, a good education helps us to engage our interlocutors kindly, but you seem not to have learned that lesson.

                  In any event, since you did — even so disparagingly — ask, I was referring to St John Chrysostom’s Homily 7 on the third chapter of St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

                  Now go and sin no more.

                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    “Sin no more,” you say? Had it been my intention to be rude – in fact, if I had intended to be more direct and honest – I would have accused you outright of purposely misrepresenting the words of St. John Chrysostom to appear to fit your argument. Besides the fact that this is intellectually, academically, and ethically dishonest, you were attempting to create a theological “reality” that does not exist. The irony, of course, is that God is the Father after whom all fathers are named. But as St. Chrysostom clearly indicates, St. Paul was expressing his love and support for the Ephesian community (“He here shows the spirit of his prayer for them. He does not say simply, “I pray,” but manifests the supplication to be heartfelt, by the “bowing of the knees.”), and encouraged them by emphasizing their inclusion in the family [πατριὰ], among the “tribes” [φυλὰς], both in heaven and on earth, according to Him who had created them.

                    It seems to me that the Patristic Tradition and Patristic mind of the Church is to guide and teach us in the reality of Him who is the “way and the truth and the life.” (Jn. 14:6) This is thwarted when the words intended to guide us are used to mislead us – some even to the point of blasphemy – and I personally do not take “kindly” to “interlocutors” who do so.

                    • Monk James says:

                      My words were neither misleading nor blasphemous, and it’s very wrong of you to insinuate that they were. Your response comes from a wounded, spiritually blind and foolish perspective; you seem unable to know when you’re being rude.

                      Still, I forgive you, and may the Lord forgive you, because it’s clear that you don’t know what you’re doing now and have long done to me and others among your correspondents in public forums on the Internet.

                      Michael Stankovich, you need more help, spiritually and psychologically, than is available to you here at Monomakhos. Please go and get it.

                      You remain in my prayers, and I hope that you will remember me in yours.

                      Monk James

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Apparently, Tartuffe, you are neither smart enough, nor resilient enough to learn from your past experience. While I am no Hesychast and am not receiving “referential” messages from the most high through vampire movies, I am familiar with the theology of the church and it’s Patristic Tradition. Combine this with a long history of forensic psychiatry, and I know a con man from a mile away. I may well be in need of significant spiritual & psychological assistance, but until you produce exactly where St. John Chrysostom “conditionally indulges” the word _patria_ as “family,” but says it is “likely to mean fatherhood,” you are proven, again, to be a manipulator and deceiver. That, monk Tartuffe, is the only issue of significance. A man is as vulnerable as his secrets, and you have attempted to play the “you’re damaged, I forgive you” bullshit one too many times. A smart man, realizing he was exposed, would have remained silent; accepted my “opportunity” of perhaps you misread or misspoke. No, you are far too arrogant. Now you again need to apologize to this forum for deception for self-flattery. Unfortunately, deception for the purpose of self-flattery has become the rule of the house of Monomakhos, and the primary victim is the Truth.

                  • Peter Millman says:

                    Greetings Monk James,
                    In your polemical diatribe, I believe that you are guilty of calumny against Dr. Stankovich. You “forgive him,” and “may God forgive him;” he has committed no sin so it is totally unnecessary for you or the Lord to forgive him. There’s a saying, ” if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” My friend, it is called discussion. It seems to me that your pride has been wounded because Dr. Stankovich knows the Patristic fathers and Biblical Greek better than you. Dr. Stankovich is a good man; he doesn’t deserve your abusive, slanderous harangue against him. May I kindly suggest that you ask Dr. Stankovich to forgive you for your invective and character assassination against him?

        • M. Stankovich says:

          I suspect it would strike no one as extraordinary that upon reading the essay that constitutes this thread, I would first yawn. Secondly, I would suddenly begin to appreciate that the provoked nausée is not of the psychic trickery of déjà vu, but the disappointment an Orthodox Christian experiences at déjà vécu – “I’ve heard it all before…” – when a priest simply has too much time on his hands.

          Objectively, this should be a topic of some interest to me in that the University of San Diego, a well-respected Catholic university with a nationally ranked law school, also is home to the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) (Joan B. Kroc, as in her husband was the founder and financial beneficiary of the McDonald’s fast food chain, and she was a devout Roman Catholic), created to establish “a vision of active peacebuilding that continues to drive every program we offer on and off campus,” having made it their, “mission to prevent and resolve conflicts that threaten local, national and international peace.” There was an announcement in an academic event list to which I belong that a forum was being held at IPJ to discuss the Tradinistas “Manifesto,” and I entered it into my calendar. Unfortunately, it was cancelled because, apparently, the academic and Catholic community of SoCal determined it far less significant than Orthodox priests who have too much time on their hands. As I investigated the supposed “noise and influence” of the Tradinistas, it turns out that the group – by their own report – number “somewhere in the hundreds, nationwide,” and they are shocked at the attention it has brought them. By the same token, they are Christians to the “far right,” and this necessarily makes them whores for media attention; in fact, one woman “spokesperson” I read indicated they enjoyed the attention, period. And don’t we all. Tempest in a teapot. Overblown and exaggerated nonsense, and Lord have mercy, while yet another distraction from the issues that face the church in our current social environment, it all serves to be an entrée for Fr. Hans and his Bunnymen to propagate their warped anthropology.

          As I await the arrival of the Rove-brigade, I feel compelled to point out to Fr. Hans one of the most fundamental and compelling Patristic κῆρυγμα in Orthodox theology: salvation is of the Church, “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic,” and the noun “Church” – ἡ ἐκκλησία – is feminine, and properly referred to as “Her,” frequently as “Mother,” and obviously as the very “Bride” of the Creator Himself.

          • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

            The noun ἐκκλησία is feminine, but the noun “Church” is not, since English has only natural gender. And although feminine pronouns are appropriate when we speak metaphorically of the Church as the Bride of Christ or Mother of the faithful, they are less appropriate when we speak of the Church in other ways. The Church is also metaphorically the Body of Christ, His continuing incarnate presence in the world; is that presence feminine? Is it not rather masculine to the world?

            • M. Stankovich says:

              I was responding to this entire contrivance as useless information, unless I too have the need to, déjà vécu, spin this “Well, look at the Anglican Church and women priests…” la-de-da. The male character of the Christian Priesthood – if I have read St. Gregory the Theologian correctly – has absolutely nothing to do with the “the ontological distinction between Creator and creation,” but rather its reflection and sacrifice

              of the Son, the Image, the Word, the Wisdom, the Truth, the Light, the Life, the Power, the Vapor, the Emanation, the Effulgence, the Maker, the King, the Head, the Law, the Way, the Door, the Foundation, the Rock, the Pearl, the Peace, the Righteousness, the Sanctification, the Redemption, the Man, the Servant, the Shepherd, the Lamb, the High Priest, the Victim, the Firstborn before creation, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Resurrection

              Please read that again: the male Priesthood is set apart as the living icon of Jesus Christ in the church, Jesus Christ Who was a man, born of a woman, and was Himself the Creator. If I follow Fr. Hans’ logic, would this not have destroyed the ontological distinction in that He was male? And not only is He not just a priest, but “called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec,” (Heb. 5:10) the greatest of high priests. But wait, there’s more! Not only was He the offerer – the priest raising the chalice of sacrifice, so to speak – but He was also the Sacrifice.

              I understand what you are saying, Pdn. Brian, and I do not disagree with you. But if the task here is to explain the male character of the Christian Priesthood, why would one not immediately refer to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews and the writings on the priesthood by the Holy Fathers – Sts. Gregory the Theologian and Chrysostom immediately come to mind – rather than babble on regarding “pronouns,” ontology, and the Anglican Church? Certainly ἡ ἐκκλησία, a feminine noun utilized to precisely express a certain ontology, may not “play well” in the world, but it is most certainly the Truth.

              • This passage from Saint Paul’s epistle to the church at Corinth has always struck me as being relevant to the topic under discussion. It doesn’t quite answer every question, but it does provide insight into what shaped the mind of the Church. He is speaking here of why women should be “covered.” My attention to this passage has less to do with controversies about head covering than with the substance of what the Apostle writes about men and women. If the words about head covering are removed, the passage reads as follows:

                “…for he [man – not mankind, but specifically man] is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man. For man is not from the woman, but the woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but the woman for man… Nevertheless, neither is man independent of the woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.”

                On one level, it is very straightforward. It is an appeal to creation and the created order. But when the passage is contemplated in Christological terms it seems to be more than that, for no man other than Christ is truly and fully “the image and glory of God,” and as Dr. Stankovich rightly points out, it is as a man (not simply “mankind”) that Christ is who He is. Every other man is created for – and called to be – that same image in Christ.

                Likewise when he speaks of the woman. On the surface it is an appeal to creation and the created order. But again, in Christological terms it would seem to be more than that. For as Christ is the MAN, so our most blessed and glorious lady, the Theotokos, is the WOMAN (who is also the image of the Church, the body of Christ, the Mother of all those in Christ) and the archetype of the beauty and glory of womanhood.

                This is only an observation, perhaps an unworthy one. Even so, I am struck by how Christ and our most blessed Theotokos fit into this passage as MAN and WOMAN.

                “…for Christ is the image and glory of God, but the Theotokos [and, in her, the Church] is the glory of the Christ. For Christ is not from the Theotokos, but the Theotokos from Christ. Nor was Christ made for the Theotokos, but the Theotokos for Christ … Nevertheless, neither is Christ independent of the Theotokos, nor the Theotokos independent of Christ, in the Lord. For as the Theotokos came from Christ, even so Christ also comes through her; but all things are from God.”

                It would seem to ‘explain’ (in a contemplative rather than purely logical way) what it means to be a man or a woman – the unity, the beauty, and the glory of ordering ourselves in love according to our respective prototypes. It also explains why pretending the distinctions and the order do not exist is always productive of bad theology and sexual perversion of every kind. The image cannot be distorted without distorting the Truth itself (or Himself)

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                There is a rather more obvious reason for priests being male. It is the order of creation: The man is the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the Church; the woman cannot therefore preside over the assembly. This is the only argument against women as priests that actually appears in the Fathers. Never mind what they say about the character of priesthood unrelated to the issue of gender.

                • St. Paul did not allow a woman to be placed in authority over a man. The reason there is not really much of an argument against women being priests in the Fathers is that they lived in such an uncompromisingly patriarchal culture that the notion didn’t need to be refuted.

            • Anonymous says:

              Oh come on. Everyone knows God has a dick.

              • Anonymous says:

                Seriously, does anyone ever step back from their essays and consider how much twisting is going on?

                Nouns and pronouns, masculine, feminine, oi vay.

                You couldn’t sell that snake oil to a 5 year old.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                If this is the level of your argumentation, I see why you choose to remain anonymous.

              • George

                At first read I was shocked that you would post Anonymous’s blasphemous comment, but after a second thought, I think I know why you let Anonymous expose himself. Hopefully he should wonder why as well.

        • Yes, Fr. Hans, exactly.

        • When did Christ use the word ontological?

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

      Carl, free markets allow for human flourishing. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Create a market where a man can sell his surplus fish and he can build a home and send his kids to school.

      Bulgakov said that about the only substantial contribution Marx made to the study of economics is that he clarified the place of labor in economic thinking. Bulgakov writes about this in his book Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household (an outstanding book BTW).

      Marx’s idea about the perfectibility of man on the other hand is just an outgrowth of his materialism. It was not a new idea. Rousseau is generally credited with putting it into circulation when he rewrote the Genesis narrative and displaced the locus of sin from Adam to society (socialization). Rousseau, Solzhenitsyn wrote, is the father of modern totalitarianism.

      Further, the reason that perfectibility has no “scientific backing” is that these dimensions of human experience lie outside the purview of science. There is no way to measure such things. Literature is the means by which these things are comprehended and explained, and even predicted on occasion.

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    Arius had some good points too. He is still anathema.

    Two points: in a fallen world there is no such thing as a free market; greed/lust inclines even capitalistic behaviour into ideological channels. It tends to utilitarianism which is just as deadly as Marxism/communism. Both suppress the unique human person in community to the “masses”. Once that is done all horror can be unleashed in good conscience.

    Thou shall have no other Gods …

    “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    • That is true, Michael. Love of money is a passion, just like any other. There is desire and lust; anger and hateful hatred; love and overindulgence, a healthy estate v. “all of it” [covetousness]. Desire is ok, passion is the problem. It is the extreme nature passionate desire that overwhelms the soul. Emotions are to be controlled and enjoyed. When emotion controls you, that is called “a passion”.

      • “Try to know yourself, your own wickedness. Think on the greatness of God, and your wretchedness. Meditate on the suffering of Christ, the magnitude of Whose love and suffering surpass our understanding. Ascribe the good that you do, to God alone. Do not think about the sin of a brother but what in him is better than in yourself….Flee from glory, honors, and praise, but if this is impossible, be sorry that such is your lot. Be benevolent to people of lower origin. Be freely, and willingly obedient not only to those above you, but to those below….The lowlier we are in spirit, the better we know ourselves, and without humility we can not see God.”

        Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

      Michael, free markets do indeed exist and often foster human flourishing, even in a fallen world. In the last 20 years over a billion people have been lifted from poverty largely due to the creation of market economies. See: Towards the End of Poverty.

      Yes, capitalism can be messy but human affairs generally are. Greed afflicts the socialist too, often more so, and envy is a scourge of the poor as well. There is a reason why Jesus told the soldiers to “be content with your wages.”

      Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Create a market where the man can sell his surplus fish and he can build a home and send his kids to school.

      Poverty Cure below explains it (albeit against the false promises of socialist largess and misplaced sentiments of the wealthy):

      • Michael Bauman says:

        I am not talking about messiness. Precision in understanding however is desirable.

        A totally free market assumes equality of knowledge, equality of power and a win/win desire for trade. A pauper cannot trade freely with a powerful man unless there is regulation and market protections.

        The freedom of markets is restricted by any disparity even without any intervention. The greater the disparity, the more likely some outside force will step in and restrict the market and perhaps should.

        By the same token a market that tilts too far toward freedom will also tend to be restricted by those who can. The business my wife and brother started 20 years ago has almost been destroyed by regulators that restrict their freedom to describe there product truthfully and sell it. Ignorance of sound management has also taken its toll. In a sinful world there will always be regulation and/or coercion.

        The presence of greed and lust for power makes actually free markets impossible. What is possible is a continuum that is more free or less free.

        In general, if the markets are on the more free side, there is indeed greater prosperity, but for whom and for what? That is also managed.

        It is as easy to turn capitalism into an ideology as it is Marxism.

        Three questions: how does consumerism and the debt it encourages destroy free markets and what can be done about it?

        What can be done to reduce the tendency toward utilitarianism and the dehumanization that follows in capitalist markets? (This involves looking at both the violence of industrialisation and the current cyberization).

        How does the Christian paradigm of voluntary ascetic living, almsgiving and the way of the Cross fit in?

        It is not our responsibility to make the world better. That is both impossible and the great heresy of our age. I became a Christian in part because of my study of that myth, saw its futility and wanted the Truth.

        Economics are used too easily to protect us from the shame and sinfulness of our own souls creating a nicely padded prison cell.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

          I found Bulgakov’s book Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household a great help in understanding economics (oikos-nomos — house management in Greek), not as a reduction to mathematics and sociology (the way we mostly perceive it) but as a treatise of man’s relationship to nature. The thesis is that eating is the foundation of economics and nature provides the food (Bulgakov continues the theme began in Genesis that continues within the fallen world). Economics then is grounded in both the nature of man, the nature of the created world, and a proper application of stewardship toward nature, a triad that, when realized in the context of divine design and intention, works toward the freedom of man.

          Man, Bulgakov wrote, finds himself in communion with the Logos. Nature finds itself in communion man. Stewardship then, implies also the correct (according to divine design) relationship of man to nature which is the foundation and real purpose of economics. If we can extract anything from this then (it seems to me anyway) that we build/support the structures that allow human flourishing; that are in accord, albeit imperfectly given that the world if fallen, with the proper order of things.

          Things are never perfect which is why I don’t think we should dismiss the imperfect. The old saying that sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good makes a lot of sense in my view.

          • Wonderful says:

            Fr Hans,

            Fantastic writing. You are one of the best at juxtaposing Orthodox thought and practice with life in the West, something we desperately need for those of us who struggle daily to live as Orthodox Christians in the West. Do you think it is “easier” to be an Orthodox Christian in Russia or in Greece, for example, than it is in modern America or Canada? I do, but I am afraid that often translates into a “grass is greener” outlook and jealousy of those who have an easier go of it being Orthodox in a traditionally Orthodox land.

            One of these days I would love to have coffee with you and just talk for hours.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Fr. Hans, but so little economics is done that way, if any When it is attempted it is often ridiculed.

            Wendell Berry’s work is an attempt. My father practiced community medicine and he understood it that way. The is much in the Native American culture that shows the way.

            The issues, I mentioned are the economic problems that are created and enforced by the prevailing economic theories. All relying on debt as the instrument of economic “progress” when in fact such debt operates in such a way as to make many people serfs and slaves. As does engineered inflation. The list is long. Yet all of these things are sold on the basis of “free market” economics.

            The nominalism of our culture allows for and encourages the debasing of language so that words have no real meaning, only what meaning works best to push the ideology and propaganda of the moment.

            Perhaps it would be better to talk about human centered economics rather than free markets. That term has been so misused as to be suspiciously meaningless.

            I had the great good fortune to be raised by realists who taught me that people and creation have unique intrinsic value because God creates that way.

            A great book to see the obverse at work is “The End of Indian Kansas” by Minor and Udall.

            The process described in the book that destroyed the tribes is akin to what we experience today at the hands of the economic wizards who are in charge.

            The antidote, deeply imperfect as my embrace of it is, is not more economics but The Cross.

  7. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443667/trumpism-tradition-populism-american-greatness-strong-military

    Last January, I had these two “fantastic ideas”. One was to let the Russians and Saudis negotiate and set the price of oil. The other was for Donald Trump to invite Bernie Sanders as his running mate. I tried to get through to Trump on his website.

    Impossible.

    Sonofabitch was too arrogant to listen to anyone at all. You couldn’t get through to him.

    So I sent the same message to Sanders. And I even did a little signature thing saying I supported Trump for President. I asked him to take it to Trump and seal the deal in defeating HRC. I also asked him for $300,000 to start an Orthodox mission project. I thought the idea was worth at least that much. Couldn’t miss. True landslide.

    Never heard a word back from Bernie. He may have a record of the email though.

    See what I have to deal with?

    PS: I just forwarded to George the email I sent to my (then) priest regarding the matter.

  8. I’m more or less retired. I have had offers from insurance companies, they come in on almost a weekly basis, as well as other things. But I like where I am and I have a plan. Besides, the ADHD I have is treatable in that the chaotic storm can be quelled, but my mind still “has a mind of its own”. My focus is a butterfly.

    Trump should bear in mind that God gave Israel a king once upon a time – Saul. And when that king failed to be sufficiently zealous in destroying His enemies, He abandoned Saul and raised up another king, a man after His own heart – David.

    I answer to no one other than the Son of David and His Body/Bride, the Church.

    Удачи.

    One last thing, and I hate to have to write this, but I sense that He is growing impatient. He seems to want me to give you some notion of the nature of His Wrath.

    God is not nice. I cannot emphasize this point enough. He is LORD of the Heavens and the Earth. You are perhaps under the false impression that Satan is the most fierce, ruthless being in the Universe.

    Not so. God is. Satan would have no power were it not given to him from above. The LORD has allowed Satan to cause all the horrific evil on Earth since the beginning because God is Love. I did not want to talk about this until I had a chance to speak with the fathers on the Holy Mountain, but events have taken a turn.

    God is Love and He loves us all, even his most glorious angelic creation – Lucifer – and his minions. He loves them so much that He wishes to give them every chance to repent before the Terrible day of the LORD. That is why, IMHO, He has allowed all the suffering in the world. He loves mankind enough to give us His only Son to be tortured to death for our salvation; and He loves Lucifer enough to allow him leeway on Earth to cause havoc. It is the gift of free will. Lucifer has it also. Fallen man is a little lower than the angels, homo resurrectus a little higher than the angels. It makes sense if you think about it.

    But though God’s mercy endureth forever, His patience does not. He will not allow man to continue torturing his fellow man indefinitely, even under the spell of the evil one. Enough is enough.

    And so He has promised to judge the world. This is very important so pay close attention. Not everyone who cries, “Lord, Lord!!”, will be saved, but only those who do the will of the Father. Asking God to forgive you, a lowly sinner, and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and inviting Him into your heart accomplishes precisely . . . nothing. It is a good start, if God has moved you to do so. Where else would the impulse come from? But you must cooperate with Him or He will not save.

    And He has suggested that I paint a picture of what He can do, and may do, in accordance with the prophecy He revealed to St. John, the Beloved Apostle, the Apocalypse.

    There will be no Rapture.

    As I read the Apocalypse, if God really wanted to, He could destroy every last man, woman and child on Earth by fire and plague in the time of the Tribulation, except for 144,000, and then call the Last Judgment, transforming the living Elect and the living Damned into homo resurrectus immortalis in the blink of an eye, the Elect to rise and meet Him as He Returns. Following that, He could resurrect the rest of the dead, righteous and unrighteous, and judge.

    Of those who survived the Tribulation, He could decide that only the names of the 144,000 are to be written in the Book of Life, plus the names of the righteous reposed.

    And He could burn everyone else, all of the homo resurrectus immortalis Damned, in Hell for all eternity. And so He wishes me to give you an idea of what that would be like.

    Man in his fallen state can experience a limited amount of pain. But the soul of man is immortal and can experience unlimited anguish; the resurrected body of man can experience unlimited horrific pain.

    What would it feel like to be an imperishable man placed at the center of the thermonuclear reaction occurring at the center of the sun if, in addition to that, all the evil deeds one has done in life were replayed, all the guilt, horror and humiliation perpetually relived intensely, an abyss of despondent, horrific emotional and physical agony, unlimited and endless in which you would only have two certitudes to rely on:
    1. There is absolutely no escape and it will never end

    and

    2. You most certainly deserve it and know it?

    Now, that is a taste of a place none of us want to go. Imagine that to the unlimited nth power.

    That Paradise that I have just described is a place that one would be begging to be placed in if one were to experience Hell for just one second.

    I’ve said all I have to say.

    Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is coming quickly. The injustices of mankind will not go on unrequited. Pride and Arrogance are the enemy. Feminism, Perversion and Sunni Islam are the enemies of Christ.

    Be zealous in your faith.

    PS: God has been trying to get through to us by dreams and inspiration for decades to warn us of what is coming. If you watch movies like Knowing, Vampires (the one with James Woods), 2012, and any number of others including The Highlander, Constantine and some TV dramas about spirits that move from body to body, these are all parts of the Great Puzzle and make sense if you think in Orthodox terms with an Orthodox mindset. He has unleashed rich metaphorical and analogical representations and clues in the creative subconsciousness of American cinema. Consciousness and individuality are not the same thing. He permeates consciousness.

    We just don’t want to see.

    • M. Stankovich says:

      I believe there is a significant difference between not wanting to see, and not knowing where to look. Little did Elijah know (1 Kings 19:11-12) that, after standing alone before the Lord on Mt. Horeb, the voice of the Lord would not be heard in the dramatic wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but by Netflix. Who knew? Ça mord, Scott?

  9. Estonian Slovak says:

    Wow, you are so important that presidential candidates should listen to you? These statements of yours rank with similar statements about the ROCOR Church in Cinncinati benefiting from your largesse. Or that you have become close to God through hesycasm. I guess you’re such an awesome fellow that you should have no problems finding a nice Orthodox woman who will accept your admonition not to get fat, or to be willing to be slapped around”(for her own good, of course)”. The rest of us men can only gasp at our inadequacy compared to you!

    • I am not claiming to be important. I like to be left alone, frankly. I’m sitting in a public library typing this. I can take care of myself. God does a good job of that.

      All I do is call em like I see em.

  10. http://aleteia.org/2017/01/11/st-augustines-concubine-speaks/

    I thought this was interesting. People certainly do seem to be closing in on the “fault lines”, so to speak.

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