Archive for the ‘War and Peace’ Category

Talk on Tuesday, 10/7/14, at St. John Paul II Newman Center on St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

I’ll be presenting a free talk entitled “St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris,” for the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Newman Center at 6PM Tuesday, October 7, 2014, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago,, 312-226-1880. Here’s the Announcement_StJohnXXIII_PaceminTerris_092514.

Here’s a png version —


A podcast of the talk is here. Here’s the link for Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), the historic 1963 encyclical of St. John XXIII.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


St. Maximilian Kolbe Ministered Both at Nagasaki and at Auschwitz

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

A number of social media postings memorialize St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), who accepted execution in place of another prisoner, but few mention a most amazing fact about him: that his ministry took him both to Nagasaki (1930-36) and to his death at Auschwitz (1941), two among the most iconic places of dolor of the 20th Century.

The monastery founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe survived the August 9, 1945 atomic blast at Nagasaki, as did the Catholic community, in no small part due to St. Maximilian’s earlier witness. St. Maximilian’s feast day of August 14 follows shortly after the anniversary of the Nagasaki conflagration.

So let St. Maximilian Kolbe be remembered as the saint of both Nagasaki and of Auschwitz! His ministry at these two locations, among his many other works, presents to our suffering world a sign of hope in God’s mercy and love.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


In Hac Lacrimarum Valle: The Enduring Dark Age Revealed

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

The notion of the “Dark Age,” after its coinage by Petrarch at the dawn of the Renaissance, may well have been propelled by later Reformation retrojectors–those projecting their own current views into the past–to blow at the candles illuminating Medieval culture so that the Reformation might better shine.

Modernity, post-modernity, and other contemporary cultural forces have especially resisted the words of the Medieval hymn to Mary, the Salve Regina, “gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle,” translated “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” which is thought to have its origins in St. Jerome’s rendering of Psalm 83:7 (84:7)–

6 Beatus vir cujus est auxilium abs te:
ascensiones in corde suo disposuit,
7 in valle lacrimarum, in loco quem posuit.

Vulgate Psalms, Chapter 83, accessed from on 8/10/14.

–and which is now in many contemporary translations rendered as the “valley of Baca” instead of the valley of tears.

Contemporary Christians and agnostics likewise often reject the term, “valley of tears.” Garry Wills omitted the Salve Regina ending from his book on the Rosary (Catholics normally end their praying of the Rosary with the Salve Regina). The “valley of tears,” like St. John Paul II’s term “culture of death” from Evangelium Vitae, appears to make the progressive mind uncomfortable.

But I challenge contemporary thinkers to find a better expression to describe the terrible circumstances of those suffering from war, persecution, or poverty, than the “valley of tears.”

Scripture scholars have puzzled over the meaning of the Hebrew word Baca for centuries. Is it a place in Palestine, or a figurative state of sorrow?

In Arabic, Bakkah has a more precise meaning, the place of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca.

So those who suffer around the world today are indeed cast into the valley of tears, and into the collision of words and cultures–Baca, Bakkah–between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim interpretations.

Slavery has returned: it never left, but now is visible to the contemporary eye.

Yet can the contemporary eye fathom the meaning of the Enduring Dark Age that has exploded in our faces? What difference do progressivism, modernity, atheism, theory, narrative, etc., matter to Isis and their ilk? Atheists preaching their advantages to such a world merely sow into the wind. Can these violent fanatical forces be defeated by armies shaped today more to generate social change at home than the proper protective mission of a military force?

Fueled by almost a century of first Nazi and then Soviet anti-Semitic propaganda, a militant Islam is at war with the United States and Israel. Russia, Iran, and China are ready to pounce on their first geopolitical opportunities, and have an interest in prolonging the conflict. This general situation may not change for centuries.

Welcome, therefore, to the Enduring Dark Age, or if you prefer, the uncovering of a Dark Age that never really ended, but in which “enlightened” technological society collides with genocide, forced conversion, summary execution, and slavery–now made painfully visible by global communications, and catalyzed by the global proliferation of weapons down to the mad and genocidal local bully.

As long as hearts are darkened by hatred and fear despite our sophistication, and as long as the guns are not silenced, our age will darken still.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae. . .

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. . .

Perhaps we can find hope and consolation in the words of the Psalmist beginning with–

How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of Hosts! (Psalm 84:1)

–and hear in the confluence of the contested words Baca and Bakkah the ending of tears and the presence of God.

O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


More on Religious Cleansing in Mosul; Comments by Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, Iraqi Nun

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The situation is desperate for the Christian refugees being driven from their homes by ISIS fanatics. Here is the EWTN World Over Live segment of 7/24/14 on Mosul

–featuring comments by Mother Olga Yaqob of the Sacred Heart, an Iraqi nun from the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth who began her ministry as a teen recovering the bodies of the war dead in Iraq, and Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom.

Refugee families with small children are reportedly being stripped of their possessions and driven out of the cities into the 120 degree heat.

Please appeal to your government representatives to take action on behalf of these refugees!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


In Memory of Just Man: Professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Christian news sources are reporting the courageous death of Professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a Muslim lawyer and professor, who apparently died in Mosul recently at the hands of ISIS extremists for defending the rights of Christians who were being driven from the city.

Civilized society depends on just men like Professor Al ‘Asali. May he be remembered whenever history considers the just.

Nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake
(Leviticus 19:15).

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Christians Driven from Mosul

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The extremist Islamist purge of Christians from Mosul and other Middle Eastern towns after almost 2,000 years represents the authentic beliefs of no religion, for such acts contradict all religion.

Please contribute to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, which is trying to help the refugees.

Please also contact your own government representative. Too many governments are silent about this injustice!

Here’s an editorial in the 7/22/14 Wall Street Journal on Mosul.

Supporters of the exiled Christians are now displaying the Arabic letter nun, which the extremists used to mark the homes of Christians (n for followers of Jesus of Nazareth).


© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Aphorism LXXXI

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Some dictatorships and rogue states are kept alive by larger states to serve as disruptor states, to undermine and divert the resources of the rivals to the larger states. Several of the world’s dictatorships would not exist but for the fact that they served another state’s disrupting purpose. In this way, human misery is prolonged, human rights are eroded, and progress toward human freedom is delayed.

States that feed disruption in smaller states for the purpose of geopolitical strategy thus commit crimes against humanity.

For example, both the Nazis and the Soviets fueled anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for geopolitical reasons. While both the Nazis and the Soviets are gone, their legacy of strategic hatred endures, and may endure for centuries.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Remembering Dr. Erich Klausener, 1/25/1885 – 6/30/1934, German Catholic Action Leader Shot by Hitler’s Henchmen

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

I’ve written previously of Dr. Erich Klausener, one of the very first victims of Hitler’s 1934 “Night of the Long Knives” purge on 6/30/1934, now 80 years ago —


Dr. Klausener was the leader of Catholic Action in Germany, shot at his desk, whose crime against Hitler was to co-author the Marburg Speech by German Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen, which criticized the violence and mob rule of the Nazis. Dr. Klausener also gave an anti-Nazi address just a few days prior to his death.

Erich Klausener is considered one of the first Catholic martyrs against Hitler, and is memorialized as such in a Berlin church, Maria Regina Martyrum.

To my knowledge, while there is a biography of Dr. Klausener in German —

Adolph, Walter. 1955. Erich Klausener. Berlin: Morus-Verlag.

— one is still lacking in English. Quite a pity! When critics write about the “silence” of German Catholics against Hitler, they conveniently leave out Dr. Klausener, the head of German Catholic Action, who publicly witnessed, and quickly died a martyr’s death.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Aphorism LXXIX

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Violent, oppressive, and genocidal fanaticism at the state and regional level sometimes makes war a necessity, just as organized and brutal crime makes the police a necessity. To disarm an aggressor is a moral act. But before war is made, all non-violent means must be exhausted. And after war is made, all who participated are responsible for rebuilding and peacemaking.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved