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lunes, 11 de enero de 2021

Joan of Arc

by Gonzalo Álvarez Palomino

Taken from:

Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope

Christian Political Thinking from the Time of the Maid of Orleans

France, fifteenth century

Blessed be the Lord, my  Rock, who trains my arms for war and my hands for battle (Ps 144)

October 25, 1415. The French royal army gets ready to crush the depleted and exhausted army of Henry V of England near the  town of Agincourt. Once again, just as in the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), the English make up for their numerical inferiority with an advantageous position in a battlefield of their choice. Again, the French have to make a frontal attack against the unbeatable English archers, which are protected by elevated and fortified terrain. The French army, with a divided command and no clear chief, manifests a certain unease for the disadvantage in terrain, but puts its trust on a forceful charge by its cavalry on the left flank, to disperse the English archers before they can unleash their devastating storms of arrows. This attack on the flank, with an ephemeral initial sensation of success, ends up in disaster while the French center advances in a disorderly fashion towards the trap. Contrary to what it is commonly thought, the bulk of the French army advances on foot, foreseeing that the terrain was impracticable for a massive deployment of the heavy cavalry, something that had been learned from the humiliating disasters of Crécy and Poitiers, but are unable to advance enough. The muddy soil and the unceasing storms of arrows drench the slow French army in a bath of mud and blood from which very few will be able to escape. A new disaster has been produced again.

Henry V, as able as he is heartless, has achieved a total victory against all odds. His army, wearied, full of sickness, and scarce of provisions, now indulges in plundering and killing on a moore full of inert corpses which some instants before had been the pride of France. In the face of rumors of a second French attack, King Henry orders killing most of the prisoners, so as to be able to pick up the pace. Just one thing has saved France, the king has not been captured as had happened in Poitiers, and this is due to the fact that Constable d'Albert and  French Marshall Boucicault have agreed no to take him to the battlefield, to prevent the disaster from being absolute. Even the oriflamme of Saint-Denis, the legendary battle standard of the Kingdom of France has been lost. Henry V reverted to the successful tactic used by Eduard III and his son Edward of Woodstock: that of sacking and razing the fields and villages of France with a special emphasis on cruelty exerted over the population in the form of torture, rape and mutilation. Such cruelty shook Western Europe deeply, not used to this kind of violence among Christian kingdoms. This cruel policy sought to force the French to combat in the open field, where they had been defeated time and again. The main power that during a long time had prevented these things to happen had been the Papacy, but the times of the powerful Innocence III were far behind already. Immersed in a terrible schism since the end of the XIV century, the Church was losing its unifying power and the conscience of Christendom was deteriorating.

The strengthening of the monarchies and the weakening of the Seat of Peter as a unifying force in the West in the fifteenth century takes the form of a string of civil wars that devastate the great European kingdoms: while France recovers from the Hundred Years’ War, England and Castille see themselves submerged in civil wars for questions of succession. Italy is an amalgamation of ambitious noble families disputing power, and the Holy Roman Empire, already an ungovernable entity from its origins, strives to contain its combative Hussite heretics and the always menacing Ottoman Empire. The medieval world is crumbling.

A thousand years earlier, the collapse of the Roman Empire, the soul of the West, marked five rough centuries which only by the hand of generations of extraordinary men and women could usher the establishment of the Christian civilization. As prophets sent by God to an Israel determined to forget its legacy and identity, saints appear in obscure times to straighten what has become crumpled. Among these is a young woman who accomplishes her mission in the convulsive Europe of the beginning of the fifteenth century, and who will show us a way of bearing the cross of obedience and care of the faith and the fatherland.

Current questions around the Maid of Orleans

Let not the discourse of the ancients escape thee, for they have learned of their fathers (Eccl 8, 11)

Why Joan of Arc? With a certain frequency, I have heard the bewilderment generated by this saint among certain Catholics nowadays. She died in 1431, but was not canonized until 1920. Nevertheless, she was already an icon of sanctity and heroism to the French people. As has happened with other saints, her figure has been used to represent values and ideals entirely alien to the true Joan of Arc. She is frequently made to appear as a representative of the revolutionary France, presenting the absurd image of the three-colored flag of the French Republic surrounding statues or monuments erected to that woman who was an enemy of everything the French Revolution stands for. On the other hand, he who would pretend to make her an icon of the 'emancipated woman' would become aware of his lack of truth at the moment he made an approach to her history.

To anyone who asks himself wherein lies her sanctity, it fits telling him that it is neither because of the powerful influence of France on the Church nor on account of any purely national interest; it is simply because her life is one of holiness. Joan lived under a very simple code that ruled her life: serve God above all in the faith of the Catholic Church, serve her country in loyalty to its king, and honor her family and friends, all in that order. In her, everything that all of us Christians ought to be and possess can be recognized: Faith, humility, courage, compassion, fortitude, and loyalty.

And this notwithstanding, the Maid, as many other saints, clashes frontally with the thinking of many Christians these days. There are already some who think that, having devoted to war suffices to exclude the Maid from the contemporary saint days' calendar, while to some others, she is exclusively an icon of French patriotism, and has nothing to do with other Catholics, And this is because Joan of Arc is the Medieval woman par excellence; she shows us how the ancient faith of the West can shine when perfected by sanctity, without airs of superiority or of revolutionary zeal. Only in the simplicity of the traditional faith that nurtured families, kingdoms and civilizations, can we see the strength of a rectitude, a justice and a compassion that leave outside today's concepts of what is good.

In Joan of Arc we have an urgent cry for the need of the West to reconcile with itself, especially with its history. In the last decade, the discourse demonizing the history and the identity of the West has been growing tremendously, in such a way that in many of those who inhabit this culture prevails a sensation of culpability for an ignominious past, and a consequent embarrassment regarding our heritage and our ancestors. This trend has found its major force in the progressive left and its powerful communications media, like the movies and television. Inquisition, colonialism, imperialism, racism, slavery, ... the Westerner now has to be embarrassed about everything, apologize for everything. In the bosom of the Church itself, the so-called self criticism is destroying the identity of Catholics. Because if nothing good exists in your past, if nothing that you would wish to define yourself, then, who are you? This is the reason why looking back or thinking about the past, now seen as a useless attitude, is actually where we can see ourselves face to face. We are told not to look back nor think about the past because, perhaps by doing that, we will remember who we are.

The faith of the simple

Blessed be Thou, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, but hast revealed them to the little ones (Matt 11, 25)

Anyone who has been able to see the faith that in the past was transmitted within the family and marked the life of the peoples has a treasure of incalculable value. The elder among ourselves remember when everyone in town would interrupt his chores at the sound of the bell and devoted a couple of minutes to pray and worship. The experience of interrupting for a moment what you are doing to pray the Angelus at midday is also very enriching, just as was collecting donations in the streets to pay for masses for the souls in purgatory. All these petty gestures and details express a simple but very devout faith, stronger than any other, since it is the faith lived, day in and day out, as the center of everything done. This faith is the one that was transmitted by the family and the society. This was the faith of Saint Joan of Arc.

Long time before Joan had her first mystical experiences, she had been recognized already as the most pious girl in her town, And this was because she was the perfect daughter of her time: humble, modest, and homey, with no greater ambitions than doing what God expected of her. The strong mystical experiences or revelations that happen to saints are not so much a sudden arrival of God but the fruits of a simple faith and devotion planted in the bosom of the family in the midst of a healthy society, a faith that can take its time to grow. Joan, in her process at Rouen, recognized that all her prayers and pious things had been taught to her by her mother. Because of her social position, she manifested unawareness about theological and ecclesial matters, but in all fundamental aspects of the Catholic faith she can give lessons to anyone. Because the faith of the simple, as it gets perfecting, is the strongest of all.

Sadly, the secularization and de-christianization that ensued even more after the Second Vatican Council is drying up this prized field where sanctity used to be cultivated. In too many spheres of our Church's hierarchy, this loss has been celebrated. An important deficiency in part of today's Christianity consists in considering a positive thing that the faith no longer acts in society.  A simple and ignorant faith was opposed to a mature and responsible one, an imposed one to one chosen one, is what they said. Quite a deception! as with too much frequency we see that the simple, social, "imposed" faith is so much stronger, mature and responsible than the faith of the chosen. There are now a sort of contemporary Cathars who mock the popular faith, of the pious devotions and traditions, because they believe their faith is more serious and more in conformity with the current times. Their pure faith does not need families or societies to be transmitted because directly it is not transmitted. These people became influential in episcopal sees and theology faculties, that see themselves as the renovating generation of new believers, that at the same time pride themselves of having brought about the drought in the faith that preceded them. To these is to whom the Father has decided to hide the mysteries of His kingdom. To prove this deception it is but to see how many priests congratulate themselves about the end of "National Catholicism" and of the religious society, but at the same time, they regret the lack of attendance to the sacraments, the lack of formation of the flock, or the dearth of vocations to marriage, to religious life, or to the priesthood.

When one hears some pastoral or vocational sermons, it seems that they place all their confidence on miracles. It is absolutely not wrong to hope for a miracle; but it wrong is to expect one to happen when you have refused to create the proper environment. I planted, Apollo watered, but it was God who made it grow (1 Cor 3,6), Saint Paul tells us. You get the sensation that it is expected to grow where no sowing has taken place. We should not expect God to harvest what we did not care to sow. Joan of Arc received her faith in a Catholic society and a pious family, and in such an environment, irrigated with the love of many generations of faithful, God made grow the miracle who was to be the salvation of France and of many people.

War and the faith

The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector (Ps 45,8)

Without a doubt, the question of war and religion is the one that has been most affected from the second half of the twentieth century to our days. It is worth mentioning that the interpretation of the faith that Jesus of Nazareth brings to us is quite pacific in comparison with how it had been under Judaism since its origins, and the early Christian communities elected a strong option for non-violence, which was one of their most powerful weapons. When Christianity became a unifying force in the culture of the late Roman Empire, the responsibility it was assuming did not permit her to apply an entirely pacifist policy. But we cannot talk of the "warrior Church" until the period going from the fall of the Empire to the consolidation of the medieval Christian monarchies (fifth to tenth centuries). It is at this stage when Christian Europe sees itself threatened from several fronts: the astonishing expansion of Islam throughout the Middle East and Africa, the Magyar invasions from the East, and the bellicose pagan peoples from the North. In England and Hispania, Anglo-saxons and Visigoths wage a desperate struggle for survival against pagans and Muslims, while the Franks carry out a series of successful campaigns against the Frisians and other pagan peoples from the North. At this time, during which Christian survival hung by a thread, several generations of kings, warrior bishops, monks and nuns with great courage were able to save the Catholic West and guide it from the German Monarchies to a more cohesive cultural and, above all, religious civilization, resulting in the brilliant Medieval Europe of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, so criticized by the constant ideological disparaging campaigns that have taken place from the time of the Enlightenment to our days.

Would the Christian religion have survived without waging wars? Clearly not. In contrast to Islam, the initial expansion of Christianity was not violent, but it did have to fight later to defend and expand itself. There are many who deny admitting the overwhelming truth that the effort of many warriors allowed Christianity to be the great religion it is, forged by the peaceful martyrdom and the struggle for justice. Already Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for war and a time for peace. As we commented before, God will make great things if the faithful are willing to involve themselves. When the theologians of the Dauphin asked Joan at Poitiers why armies should be mobilized if God was for the cause of France, the maid limited herself to respond: "Soldiers fight and God grants them victory."

While the Catholic faith has always exhibited the just preference for peace, there is in tradition no opposition between the faith and taking up arms to defend the nation, the loved ones, or religion. Why then this direct condemnation of war, whether just or unjust, in so many Christian environments? After the Second World War, many currents took hold in the Church which were influenced by communist labor unions, the movement of May 1968, and other forms of cultural marxism, resulting in a frontal rejection of several key aspects of Christianity. Here is when the more or less innocent anti-militarism that has penetrated deeply in certain Catholic circles starts hatching. An irrational condemnation and instinctive panic against the military, the arms, and patriotism. Condemnation that fails to attend to reason or motives, which simply excludes from Heaven all those practicing non-revolutionary violence. This trend is also nourished from a deficiency harbored by Catholic spirituality for a long time already, a kind of neo marcionism. In the best of cases, the Old Testament has been forgotten and is not used, and in others, it is used as an example of opposition to the preaching of the Kingdom on the part of Jesus. The vision of a cruel, violent, and theocratic Old Testament confronted with the message of love of Jesus and His followers is quite common but is not Catholic. It is not Catholic because it reduces God's revelation and holds only a part of Scripture as sacred. Not in vain did the primitive Church strive to underline the two Testaments, understood within Tradition as a unity which is Holy Scripture. When spirituality is reduced to the New Testament only, or sometimes to the four Gospels only, the image of God becomes incomplete. For this reason, we Christians are clear that God is the one who forgives and loves without limit (we also have this testimony in the Old Testament), but frequently other attributes of God which Scripture brings us are forgotten: The one who is just, the one who defends His people, the one who unleashes his wrath when the wicked do damage to the weak and the innocent, the favorites of God. All this unawareness of our inherited richness runs the risk of blurring Christian morality, which has always been the morality of the knight, of justice and rectitude, to substitute it by a morality of sentimental goodness.

Does the Christian faith contribute anything to war? Here is where the medieval Christian ideal becomes a spotless reality in the figure of Joan of Arc. The situation in which she performs her mission was terrible. It had been centuries since a war among Christian kingdoms was not that cruel. During a great part of the Middle Ages, the power of the Church was a strong source of control of the violence that noblemen and kings could exert abusing their authority, but when kings imposed themselves over the nobles and the popes, nothing was left to stop their policies. In medieval military thinking, there was a double measure which marked the difference in the way of making war: depending on whether the fight was against other Christians or against pagans, infidels or schismatics. The first situation imposed many more limitations on the violence exerted, limitations that were imposed by the religious power and which were heeded with much more frequency and compliance than what many are willing to convey to us. There is also the case of honorable pacts or behaviors, even in wars motivated by religious reasons, although they were much harsher. The man of the mid-Middle Ages knows that when he fights for land or for loyalty to his lord is not the same as when he fights for the faith or for Christendom. This mentality is the one that enters in crisis from the middle of the fourteenth century and it is how it found itself in 1429 when Joan gets ready to give the last impulse to the Hundred Years’ War, where the two most powerful kingdoms of the West have been wearing down for many decades already.

Everybody recognizes that war brings out the worst of the human being, but few have the deepness to recognize that it also brings out the noblest; wheat and tares grow together. When one gets caught in the spiral of violence which is war, it seems cruelty to be inevitable, but Joan shows that there is no space through which sanctity cannot forge its way. She had it very clear that they were fighting an enemy that had sacked and destroyed her loved France, and that, in spite of his claims of legitimacy, it was an invading force that was where it should not be. The English had to leave France or be expelled, simply because they did not belong there and God had manifested it so to the Maid. Not in Joan's entire ministry nor in anything she herself manifested to her judges is there the most minimal sign of hate of the English; hence Joan´s constant preoccupation to warn her enemies and send them letters asking for their retreat, so as to prevent the shedding of Christian blood, because she considered them as Christian as her own people. She held them as enemies of her kingdom because of their condition of invading force, but nothing more. This is why he who approaches Joan of Arc's history and testimonials, sees entirely understandable what was said of her: that in her presence and in the army under her command, slaughters, mistreatment of prisoners, sackings or destruction were not allowed, and that she was often seen helping, consoling and requesting confession for wounded French or English combatants alike.

Service to God and country in the battlefield became for Joan a privileged place where her sanctity would be cultivated. In this way, it is certain that Joan brought compassion and nobility to a war that had lost almost all of its chivalry a long time before, but if we were to present our saint as an atemporal force bringing light to a time of absolute barbarism, we would be being unfair with history. The main deficiency one finds in narratives of saints written after the Second Vatican Council is the eagerness to present them as persons alien to their time, with a force fully colliding with their circumstances, mainly to highlight what an extraordinary or current quality is present in their figure. While this is understandable, it is not necessary. A given saint cannot be properly understood if his time is not understood, and this is no problem for him to be a source of current inspiration. Saint Francis, Saint Dominic, Saint Benedict, Saint Claire, Saint Monica, Saint Bernard and all those you may wish to think about were children of their time, and only a time like the one when he lived could have given the world people like him. Therefore, we would not make justice to history nor to Joan of Arc if we were not to present her the way she was, a medieval woman in the best sense of the word. This not only is far from preventing that she and the rest of the saints be an example for our time, but also teaches us the important and salutary reason of valuing the historical moment that led these persons to be what they were.

The compassion and goodness of this humble woman represent the noblest of what the Western mentality of the late Middle Ages can offer us, and we see it is not little. She had that Crusader spirit that could be found in the heart of every Christian, who regretted the fratricide wars in which the Westerners saw themselves required to fight, aware that the real challenges lied in confronting the enemies of Christendom. Long time had passed during which Christian kingdoms waged harsh wars against each other, but the hearts of those people harbored a wish to go back to the thirteenth century, to the time of the great Crusades, and a desire for all Christians to form a strong religious unity. For the knights of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and even of the beginning of the sixteenth, the aspiration of every Christian was to defeat the Saracens and recover Jerusalem. But as time went by, that was becoming more of an ideal rather than a possibility. Joan was quite clear that, even though expelling the invasors from France was urgent, Christendom's war effort should be centered on stopping the muslims and on defending against heresies. When she would admonish the English in writing for them to retreat, she would make it clear that if they were willing to fight, they should go fight the Saracens; and the letter that she herself wrote to the invincible Hussite heretics shows what Joan's great preoccupations were.

God has given us very many saints, for us to lean on in our wandering. All of them have a special lesson to teach us. The common one of them is obedience and devotion to God, but Joan of Arc is a fundamental inspiration for any Christian who wages any kind of battle. She demonstrates that compassion and goodness are also possible in deadly or hatred situations without that signifying total renunciation to fighting. If the Christian fights, he has to assume the responsibility for trying to prevent his fight to fall into unnecessary cruelty: something quite difficult to understand considering that hatred is a natural reaction against someone who intends to do damage to what one loves. It is frequent to hear someone say that religion is a causative of wars. No one has his hands clean, but nevertheless no motive of dishonor is that a cause has been loved so much and by so many as to bring about the willingness to fight and die for it. The most brutal wars the West has lived through are the ones resulting from the liberal revolutions, every time with lesser religious sense. It is evident that the nobility like the one Joan displayed at war derived exclusively from the faith, countering the view of those who speak of religion as a major source of violence. The Catholic faith of the saint is an example of how religion adds rectitude where a merely political struggle has no motive to abide by principles. The Christian has to have clearly in mind that peace flows only from justice, and that such a non violent situation which is sustained by fear, threat or oppression is far from constituting peace. God is not an impartial spectator turning His back on those who fight to defend what is theirs and much less on those who fight to defend their faith.

God, king and nation.

Sharp are thy arrows, you subject the peoples, the king's enemies lose courage. (Ps 44,6)

Now we enter the field of politics, the complexity of which can only be equalled to its importance. He who says that the faith has nothing to do with politics does not understand the faith. Christianity is a community project and has social aspirations, because the faith has its sense precisely in the influence it exerts on all aspects of human life. Those who have intended to prevent a relationship between faith and politics, and those who accept preventing it, at bottom intend to prevent the faith from having any effect. When religion is enclosed within the personal and individual, it ceases influencing the way believers live, and remains only awaiting its disappearance. This is why the most subtle enemies of religion have not been those who have persecuted it violently but those who get to convince the believer to put his faith aside at the time of acting and thinking. Sanctity is not possible if the ways of the faith are not followed when acting in the time and place it has been one's lot to live. 

Joan of Arc saw all her life and her action in the framework of the ministry entrusted to her by God for her country. It is evident that there was nothing in her way of looking or her acting that was not moved by her love of her religion and her God. And in this vision, France and her legendary throne had great importance. Yes, for Joan, France is unthinkable without the Crown. But before delving into this matter, we shall see what was the political situation of Joan's France.

Already prior to the disaster of Agincourt in 1415, the king of France, Charles VI had sunk into a deep madness, and the government of the kingdom was being disputed by the two most powerful individuals: Louis of Orleans, the king's brother, and his uncle Philip II, Duke of Burgundy. The two branches of the House of Valois were about to collide. Louis was assassinated in Paris prior to Agincourt, many seeing the hand of the Burgundians behind such an act. The tension between the two French factions was one of the causes of the lack of leadership in the army, that plunged France into the disaster before England's Henry V. In 1419 John I of Burgundy was brutally assassinated by order of the Dauphin Charles, the future Charles VII and son of Charles VI, the mad. This led to the agreement that established the defeat of France, the Treaty of Troyes of 1420. In it, king Charles VI accepted the English claim to the throne of France, naming Henry V of England his successor, and arranging for his daughter to marry Henry. The Burgundians, rich and powerful owners of a great part of France, accepted the Treaty, and their Duke, Philip III, avenged the assassination of his father, recognizing the English dynasty as the legitimate owner of the throne of France. The Dauphin Charles, son of the king, was fully removed from the line of succession, in this way his demented father indicated that his was an illegitimate son.

The humiliation to a kingdom that for decades had been struggling for its legitimacy was absolute. The king himself in his madness had delivered France to the English, and the most influential persons in the kingdom, the Burgundians, supported him fully. In a short period of time, the Anglo-Burgundians became the legitimate owners of the kingdom, they had more than half of the French territory under their power, including the capital, Paris. The event that prevented this treaty from thriving was that a group of knights, soldiers and clerics opposed the plan of the legitimate king of France because they would not accept the way their country had been sold; those loyal to France were now a faction of rebels. They supported the officially delegitimized Dauphin Charles as the authentic king of France and formed a parallel state South of the Loire. To this desperate group of warriors, situated between fidelity and rebellion, God gave a gift in the form of a courageous girl consecrated to the Lord.

From the 'current' point of view, Joan's mission was not religious in the absolute but political. To her, as a fervent Christian, such distinction had no place. The progressive separation of religion from politics and its conception as a merely personal and dispensable attribute that marks no difference, is what has led Christianity to become a religion with a practically null social influence. That is, it has lost its capacity to change the world. A religion without such strength is intranscendental, merely one more way for personal self realization.

The expulsion of the English and the coronation of Charles as king of France was Joan's mission, and that meant that France and her Crown would occupy the position that God had planned for them. It has been attempted to see in Joan an example of a national fervor, exceeding that of the kings and lords, to incarnate a higher idea of the kingdom as nation and fatherland. This is entirely wrong, since the French loyalists (Armagnacs) had violated the Treaty of Troyes understanding that the authority of a King is not sufficient to defeat a nation. The fifteenth century is supposed to be an advance for the European kingdoms, founded by the barbarian monarchies which now are heading to become the modern states, with great royal authority but at the same time with a concept of kingdom much more advanced than that of the rest of the Middle Ages. Thus, France required a king but at the same time France was something more than the king. This patriotism bears an equilibrium between loyalty to the king and loyalty to the nation, a very delicate equilibrium that in this case was supported only by the faith. And it is that, to the Maid of Orleans, France did not belong to the king nor to the Frenchmen either, not even as an aggregate. France belonged to God and to him that He should entrust her care.

The case of Charles VII is odd. Legitimate king of France by God's will, and apparently an undecided and weak man, he nevertheless brought about excellent fruits for his kingdom. When Joan could finally meet with him at Chinon, he was a discarded candidate, with no ambition or hope, thinking about taking refuge in Castille, with many people ready to fight for what he represented, but without the fortitude for he himself to stand for it. And by the time when Joan dies in Rouen a little more than one year later, he has become the most powerful man in Europe. He was not a king like those who lead their people in battle, he was not a leader nor a warrior like the, by that time dead, Henry V of England, but he proved to be more capable than what anyone might have thought. His figure should be analyzed with caution in the time when he coincides with Saint Joan of Arc, since it would not be the first case of a good king overshadowed by a great figure of lower birth but with an exceptional legend behind. To us Spaniards, a closer example would be that of the great king Alphonsus VI of Castile and León, who made of his kingdom a great power but nevertheless is remembered only for his disagreements with Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Cid, a capable warlord with his own army and ambitions, and a poem to aggrandize his figure. Are we in the same case with Charles VII the Victorious? Even when he never took part in battles, his kingdom put an end to the Hundred Years' War, expelling the English definitively (with the exception of Calais) in 1453, over twenty years after the death of Joan. During that time, he achieved success, now without the Maid as a leader on his side, but undoubtedly as an intercessor. It is undeniable that an incompetent king would not have put an end to the conflict in the manner that Charles VII attained it.

The problem is that almost all of the Maid's biographies blame the king for turning his back on her during her most ambitious campaign, the liberation of Paris, and also for forsaking her once she was captured. We cannot know whether the king calculated that Joan could not bring him any more benefits but problems instead, or whether his lack of action was simply due to the passive character he displayed at least during the early years after his crowning. We do know that Joan never questioned the king, not even after the disappointments she suffered on his part. She liberated him at Orleans, cleaned up the Loire of his enemies, and culminated her campaign with the glorious battle of Patay, the 'French Agincourt' with the only purpose of taking Charles to be crowned at Reims, which she did achieve, and marked the peak of Joan's short but intense career, which from then on would precipitate toward her being neglected, and ended up in her capture. After this, Charles rewarded her with titles and honors that she never used, and after that, he limited himself to entirely undo the costly but promising siege on Paris which she and the Duke of Alençon had achieved with great effort. It is also evident that Joan would have not suffered such process or death had Charles taken some interest. Some speak of the envy of Charles VII and others of his mere passivity; we don't know; but the case is that Joan died forsaken by the king for whom she herself had obtained the crown, Clearly, Charles was not loyal to Joan as she was loyal to him, but ended up achieving that for which France had fought for 116 years. Joan pulled him out from the losers and put the war in his hand, but then he himself was able to culminate the victory.

Joan of Arc had it quite clear that the first to whom she responded was God, to whom she referred as the King of Heaven. After Him, her unconditional loyalty was to Charles VII. Undoubtedly, Joan had to experience the conflict between the divine mission entrusted to her by God, and her obedience to king Charles. After his crowning, Charles began a policy that pretended to resolve the conflict by means of pacts and negotiations with England and Burgundy, while Joan knew that it was necessary to take advantage of the emotional moment to expel the enemies of the kingdom by force. It is possible that, had the Maid's opinion prevailed, the war would have ended much earlier than 1453. Aware that the king was not in favor of the task of continuing the hostilities, Joan kept on fighting because her mission prevailed over the royal opinion; God must be obeyed before obeying men (Acts 5, 29). Nevertheless she never disobeyed Charles VII directly; she even stopped the attack on Paris at his order, not without pain and frustration. Even at her last moments, in front of the stake, with the executioner ready, Joan raised her voice strongly to defend Charles VII when one of the judges accused him of being an apostate and schismatic. Not in the worst of situations did Joan consider herself with authority to judge the king for his behavior or decisions, even when on more than one occasion they could be a cause for great disappointment to her. We know this with certainty because if Joan's biographies were to have been motivated by a republican patriotism of the nineteenth century, her absolute loyalty to the king would not have been even mentioned and if, on the contrary, they were to have been motivated by a purely monarchic interest, her having been abandoned by Charles VII would have not been so clear to us.

The lessons we can learn here from Joan and her people are valuable. An undeserving king does not make a kingdom or the Crown undeserving, and this even when Charles VII is far from being counted among the most undeserving kings, despite his clear forsaking of Joan. We Spaniards know quite well what is an undeserving king, maybe better than in any other kingdom, as more or less centuries can be counted since the Spanish monarchy is not up to the stature of what it should represent. This notwithstanding, and aware of this situation, many Spaniards have never ceased to defend the monarchy, because it forms an essential part of what Spain is. When Spain is deprived of the crown, it ceases to be Spain, she becomes something else; the same way that the French Republic born in 1792 is not the true France, the one founded on the Frank monarchs and the Catholic Church. Therefrom derives that the French politicians and nationalists ridicule themselves when they wave republican flags around monuments to Joan of Arc: the flag of a secular republic before the monument to a woman who knew that France was a design of God entrusted to a Crown. In addition, anyone who approaches history with a sincere mind, can see that France, Russia, and more recently, Spain, are some examples of the rule that republics have always led to terror, cruelty and division. The Maid used to say that Charlemagne and Saint Louis were constantly before God to intercede for France. This is why we must be clear that, above all, what constitutes a nation is God, because power only comes from God and only he to whom God grants it occupies it legitimately: Nations do not belong to kings nor to parties nor to citizens as a whole; nations belong to God.

Christians who keep committing themselves to the fight for their faith and for their country these days should not exclude Saint Joan of Arc as a referent and protectress. She experienced the desperation of an ancestral country that saw its days numbered; the passivity and lack of nobility of a king for whom many were ready to fight, treason committed by an important and influential part of the nation for ambition motives, the complexes of the ruling class and their fear of being marked as bellicose or impulsive; even disbelief, in the form of blasphemous compatriots and cowardly clerics without strength or fire.  To us Spanish Catholics, all this is terribly familiar; nonetheless, this is not a sufficient reason to make the saints, or those who turn to God through their intercession, capitulate. An undeserving political or religious authority does not suffice; a powerful, inflamed enemy with the world in his hands is not sufficient; one or one hundred unbelieving or unpatriotic generations are not sufficient.

Joan of Arc, the Saint.

Be holy because I, the Lord your God am Holy (Lv 19, 2)

The common thing that can be traced behind every saint is his full commitment to the divine cause, a cause that very often ends up destroying them. Joan, as did her Lord Jesus Christ, left her home to fulfill the mission that God had clearly entrusted to her; she kindled love and envy among her people, and ended up dying accused of treason and heresy. Martyrdom is the culmination of sincerity and commitment with what was done and said while alive. This is why God grants holiness to people.

Holiness, ever since the ancient Hebrew tradition, is God's principal attribute. What has been touched and blessed by God sheds holiness, and an impeccable life in conformity with the precepts of the ancient people of Israel was what made the faithful resemble God and made them, like Him, holy. This is why it is truly said that God only is holy, since the persons of whom such an attribute is recognized are those whose life is the reflected presence of God. What concept of sanctity do we have today? In general, it is  usually reduced to a moral category in a religious frame. There is no doubt that sanctity derives necessarily into a moral rectitude, exemplary for all, but it is more than that; indeed, we could state that the moral strength of a saint is not a cause but a consequence of his holiness. What would define sanctity is rather the total closeness, trust, and obedience to God, and that turns itself into words and deeds.

Religious zeal is what is behind all acts of saints, both the most tender and the most severe. This way, the infantile and irresponsible do-goodism preached by the dictatorship of the progressivist world has no place in the Christian faith. A gaze that, in order to pass itself off as good avoids responsibility, takes ignorance and simplicity as virtues and refrains from seeing the reality, is not the gaze of a saint, is not the gaze of God. True goodness aims not to be seen but to be fruitful, and commitment to it may sometimes lead to situations where others put it into question.  The Gospel constantly shows that he who speaks with sincerity for a  just motive is exposed to rejection, as it happens with Jesus. On hearing, many said: This saying is hard and who can hear it? (John 6,61). This is why tolerance and consent to the ultimate extremes are not Christian virtues. Like Jesus, Joan of Arc showed herself sweet and respectful when it had to be that way, and implacable and tough when that was required. Step by step, Joan of Arc is a frontal defiance to all those values that the world of 'progress' wants to impose on us.

Joan's humility never translated into an inability or hesitation to act. The key is that it simply was about a Christian maid with no complexes. The number of complexes that burden so many catholics as a result of assimilating the intense, ideological, discrediting campaign against the traditional structures that form the spirit of the West, is impacting; this campaign has taken seat in the progressivist politics with which the Christian and Western legacy are attacked. Through movies and television, through public education, through advertising, and through many other forms, we are being bombarded with their radical leftist ideology. The great movements of cultural and historical revenge that destroy the form of life of our predecessors are now at their strongest. Cultural marxism has entrenched itself in the spaces from where it reaches our youth to preach to them the revenge of the poor against the rich, the cruelty of men against the perfect innocence of women, the oppression of the white man against the purity of the black men. In the face of this offensive, the general response of so many Christians is silence, consent, or assimilation, because we have a problem with our complexes.

A complex translates itself into fear, fear into passivity, and passivity makes one an accomplice. All these contemporary complexes which have been imposed on us, European Christians, distance us from sanctity because we become afraid of being faithful. If we preach our faith sincerely, we will be accused of hatred, of offending, of being discriminatory; the fear of offending paralyzes us. Did Jesus fear offending someone? Did Joan fear offending when she slapped someone who had blasphemed, or slapped prostitutes to drive them away from the army? The fear to provoke offense is a scourge which is dangerously near making us lose entirely the sense of Christian mission. So as not to offend, ever fewer pastors of the Church raise their voice when feminism converts the denial of the right to life into a basic human right, or when the racial revenge movements raze churches and statues of all those who did not share their exact thinking patterns, although these are less inclusive. In many other cases, we directly get to see Christians and even bishops happily approve of these currents of destruction of the culture, accept toleration of blasphemy as something good, or pretend not to hear when the genocidal and torturing regime of the Second Republic in Spain is presented as a perfect model of liberty, thus humiliating those who still remember the victims to which the freedom fighters tortured and murdered for no other reason than their social or religious position. It would seem that do-goodism has made us believe that sin no longer has the capacity of making souls, nations and civilizations become lost. So as not to appear to be radical, we have lost respect for evil, considering it a small accident with no importance, as though it were something God doesn't care about. And where there is no belief in the force of evil, no space is given to the need for salvation. Consequently,  faith and salvation get relegated to mere unimportant symbolisms, which count nothing for salvation, because what only counts is 'being good'.

I burn in zeal for your cause, Lord God of the armies, but the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I am the only one left, and they are seeking my life as well. (1 Kings 19, 14).

The cry of Isaiah the prophet could be that of many of us and in it is shown that the more adverse the situation is, the greater the fire of love for the cause; cause forsaken, trodden, and blamed in a traitorous fashion for the faults of humankind. Joan of Arc consecrated her body and soul to this cause, which at the time was not passing an easy moment either. The Church of the fifteenth century was full of divisions and scandals, and lacked the strength to straighten out the great problems of her time. The national churches began gestating strongly, as a symbol of the royal power that was distancing itself from Rome. Gallicanism and the Hussites were less successful attempts than what Luther was able to achieve in the following century, that is, create a Christianity without head or unity, at the convenience of each region. When many people saw in the Catholic Church only corruption or interference in the sovereignty of kings, Joan was a zealous defender of the Universal Church. She wanted to battle the Hussites, and would have opposed the Protestant rupture had she lived at that time. In her trial, her appeal to the Pope and to the Council of Constance, to whom she asked to subject herself fully in her case, was ignored. Why did Joan so blindly trust an entity that was losing her prestige and strength every day? Because, as any extraordinary person, she could see beyond, and knew that corruption, scandal and division are not enough to delegitimize the Church; that the human cannot drive out the divine. She proclaimed that God and the Church were for her one and the same thing, all this in the trial that would lead her to the stake. We should fully discard that she could be an opponent of the despotic and corrupt Church, and who so affirms cannot give a greater sign of ignorance about the Maid. However, she is a victim of a party of clergymen totally sold out to a political cause, All this, due to the weakness of the Papacy, because when the Universal Church is not strong, it is inevitable that she will follow behind the dominant currently in vogue. 

And it is well known that this is not the first time that the Church hierarchy turn their backs to those who have stood up for them. In the Thirteenth century, Joan's martyrdom could not have taken place through ecclesial channels, but in Joan's days, Peter's Chair could hardly guarantee the universality of the Church; evidence of this weakness is that Rome was only able to declare the process null, but was not able to prevent it; and all this only when France was raising as the clear victor in the conflict in 1453. Joan had refused to submit herself to her judges as she would not recognize them as legitimate ecclesiastical judges but as clerics loyal to the King of England, clergy that a century later would support almost unanimously Henry VIII’s break with Rome and assumption of control over the Church in England so as to be able to enter a second marriage. Instead, she appealed to the Pope and the Council of Constance, where the authority of the Church was legitimately assembled under their own power, not that of any concrete monarchy. She had also been examined by clerics loyal to Charles VII in Poitiers and they were unable to declare anything against her, even when she had not yet achieved any victory and there was no partisan motive to commend her; rather, they were assuming a risk in blessing the mission of a devote peasant who was only bringing promises.

A woman who at thirteen decides to devote herself entirely to serve God and remain a virgin and be obedient is not a model to which today's women and men look up for their aspirations, but she is the kind of people who God chooses to leave their mark in history and to carry out His salvific plans. It is important to stress that persons as she, the saints, cannot be claimed by anyone who does not share in their cause. Neither Liberalism nor feminism, nor godless patriotism can appropriate Joan of Arc, because during her entire life she showed to be quite a saint of the Church.

Any intent to understand this saint from a faithless reasoning is useless. She, as any other saint, in the eyes of any faithless person would not cease to be other than someone with a strong psychological unbalance. Mad, fanatic or radical, are some of the adjectives with which the unbeliever explains those persons who are extraordinary for their faith. This is why ignoring the saints or granting them lesser credibility in conformity with individual preferences is a signal of a faith needing polishing. Joan is a perfect image of what Western Christians could get to become before the so-called Enlightenment and her children began to slowly extirpate the soul of our nations, cultures and persons, and of what we still can be if we are strong enough to reject the poisonous prejudices which have been heaped on all of us. She reclaimed not only individual rights, she did not demand for her nor for anyone absolute liberty that exempts responsibility, she did not wish to take up all the disgraces of humankind on herself or on her sex to make themselves ideological victims, she did not pretend to put upside down the world that had given her the faith, all this because she loved her God and His kingdom before herself.

There are always motives for hope. The devotional aspects of Joan and her martyrdom have been shared by many saints in many ages, but also before and after her, there have been people like her, holy warriors; as when Christianity has to fight one way or another, people like her will be produced as long as there is faith. The Church does not err in recognizing her saints, but many are those that are not recognized, many are the bodies that ended destroyed by the enemy after the fight and even with the weapon in their hand, bathed in the snows of Russia, the fogs of th North of Europe, or the sands of the Middle East, defending their people and the faith in their God. There are no motives to surrender; Saint Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, offers herself as a powerful intercessor of those Maccabees that at all times have risen to put themselves between the enemy and the people of God.

lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2020

The Jew - Appendix

The Jew in the Mystery of History

 By Father Julio Meinvielle

Go back to Chapter IV and Epilogue


We reproduce in this Appendix the last document from the Roman Cathedra on the Jewish Question, published at the very dawn of the modern world as such, a few years before the Jews took control over Christian society, a matter which, as is well known, took place during the French Revolution. The wise Pontiff Benedict XIV makes in A Quo Primum a brief but lucid examination of the greatness and misery of the Jewish people, a summary which, to their disgrace, the Christian nations were soon to forget. Afterwards, when the Jews became the masters of the Christian peoples and confined the Church to the ghettos, these nations did not consider it possible or convenient to speak of this. The de-christianized peoples could no longer understand with supernatural intelligence this mystery of history which is the Jewish people. However, these nations were to put up with this mystery suffering the uncounted penuries that the Jewish people were to inflict upon them with capitalism, liberalism, socialism, communism, and today, zionism.

Taken from:

A Quo Primum

His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV

Encyclical on Judaism in Poland

June 14, 1751

To the Primate, Archbishops and Bishops, of the Kingdom of Poland.

Venerable Brothers, We give you Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing.

GOD IN HIS GOODNESS allowed Catholicism to take root in Poland at the end of the tenth century during the reign of Our predecessor Leo VIII. At the time, the efforts of King Mieszko and his Christian consort Dobrava (Dlugosz, Annalium vestrorum Scriptorum, 2, 94) encouraged the spread of Christianity. Since then pious and devout Poles have continued the faithful practice of their new religion. During this time various sects have attempted to establish themselves in Poland and to spread the seeds of their errors, heresies, and evil opinions. But the faithful Polish people have strongly withstood their efforts.

We esteem the glorious memory of Polish martyrs, confessors, virgins and holy men; their exemplary lives are recorded in the holy annals of the Church. We also recall the many successful councils and synods which gloriously defeated the Lutherans who tried tenaciously, using a variety of methods, to establish a foothold and welcome in this kingdom. At that time indeed the great council of Piotrkow met under Our great predecessor and fellow citizen Gregory XIII, with prelate Lippomano, bishop of Verona and Apostolic nuncio, as its president. To the great glory of God it prohibited the principle of freedom of conscience; adherents of this principle were seeking to introduce and establish it in Poland. Another threat to Christians has been the influence of Jewish faithlessness; this influence was strong because Christians and Jews were living in the same cities and towns. However their influence was minimized because the Polish bishops did all they could to aid the Poles in their resistance to the Jews. What the bishops did is recorded in the large tome which contains the constitutions of the synods of the province of Gniezno. These facts establish most clearly and plainly the great glory which the Polish nation has won for its zeal in preserving the holy religion embraced by its ancestors so many ages before.

2. In regard to the matter of the Jews We must express our concern, which causes Us to cry aloud: "the best color has been changed." Our credible experts in Polish affairs and the citizens of Poland itself who communicated with Us have informed Us that the number of Jews in that country has greatly increased. In fact, some cities and towns which had been predominantly Christian are now practically devoid of Christians.

The Jews have so replaced the Christians that some parishes are about to lose their ministers because their revenue has dwindled so drastically. Because the Jews control businesses selling liquor and even wine, they are therefore allowed to supervise the collection of public revenues. They have also gained control of inns, bankrupt estates, villages and public land by means of which they have subjugated poor Christian farmers. The Jews are cruel taskmasters, not only working the farmers harshly and forcing them to carry excessive loads, but also whipping them for punishment. So it has come about that those poor farmers are the subjects of the Jews, submissive to their will and power. Furthermore, although the power to punish lies with the Christian official, he must comply with the commands of the Jews and inflict the punishments they desire. If he doesn't, he would lose his post. Therefore the tyrannical orders of the Jews have to be carried out.

3. In addition to the harm done to Christians in these regards, other unreasonable matters can result in even greater loss and danger. The most serious is that some households of the great have employed a Jew as "Superintendent-of-the-Household"; in this capacity, they not only administer domestic and economic matters, but they also ceaselessly exhibit and flaunt authority over the Christians they are living with. It is now even commonplace for Christians and Jews to intermingle anywhere. But what is even less comprehensible is that Jews fearlessly keep Christians of both sexes in their houses as their domestics, bound to their service. Furthermore, by means of their particular practice of commerce, they amass a great store of money and then by an exorbitant rate of interest utterly destroy the wealth and inheritance of Christians. Even if they borrow money from Christians at heavy and undue interest with their synagogues as surety, it is obvious to anyone who thinks about it that they do so to employ the money borrowed from Christians in their commercial dealings; this enables them to make enough profit to pay the agreed interest and simultaneously increase their own store. At the same time, they gain as many defenders of their synagogues and themselves as they have creditors.

4. The famous monk, Radulph, inspired long ago by an excess of zeal, was so inflamed against the Jews that he traversed Germany and France in the twelfth century and, by preaching against the Jews as the enemies of our holy religion, incited Christians to destroy them. This resulted in the deaths of a very large number of Jews. What must we think his deeds or thoughts would be if he were now alive and saw what was happening in Poland? But the great St. Bernard opposed this immoderate and maddened zeal of Radulph, and wrote to the clergy and people of eastern France:

The Jews are not to be persecuted: they are not to be slaughtered: they are not even to be driven out. Examine the divine writings concerning them. We read in the psalm a new kind of prophecy concerning the Jews: God has shown me, says the Church, on the subject of my enemies, not to slay them in case they should ever forget my people. Alive, however, they are eminent reminders for us of the Lord's suffering. On this account they are scattered through all lands in order that they may be witnesses to Our redemption while they pay the just penalties for so great a crime. (Epistle 363) 

And he writes this to Henry, Archbishop of Mainz:

Doesn't the Church every day triumph more fully over the Jews in convicting or converting them than if once and for all she destroyed them with the edge of the sword: Surely it is not in vain that the Church has established the universal prayer which is offered up for the faithless Jews from the rising of the sun to its setting, that the Lord God may remove the veil from their hearts, that they may be rescued from their darkness into the light of truth. For unless it hoped that those who do not believe would believe, it would obviously be futile and empty to pray for them. (Epistle 365) 

5. Peter, abbot of Cluny, likewise wrote against Radulph to King Louis of France, and urged him not to allow the destruction of the Jews. But at the same time he encouraged him to punish their excesses and to strip them of the property they had taken from Christians or had acquired by usury; he should then devote the value of this to the use and benefit of holy religion, as may be seen in the Annals of Venerable Cardinal Baronius (1146). In this matter, as in all others, We adopt the same norm of action as did the Roman Pontiffs who were Our venerable predecessors. Alexander III forbade Christians under heavy penalties to accept permanent domestic service under Jews. "Let them not continually devote themselves to the service of Jews for a wage." He sets out the reason for this in the decretal. "Because Jewish ways do not harmonize in any way with ours and they could easily turn the minds of the simple to their own superstitions and faithlessness through continual intercourse and unceasing acquaintance." Innocent III, after saying that Jews were being received by Christians into their cities, warns that the method and condition of this reception should guard against their repaying the benefit with evildoing. "They on being admitted to our acquaintance in a spirit of mercy, repay us, the popular proverb says, as the mouse in the wallet, the snake in the lap and fire in the bosom usually repay their host." The same Pope stated that it was fitting for Jews to serve Christians rather than vice versa and added: "Let not the sons of the free woman be servants of the sons of the handmaid; but as servants rejected by their lord for whose death they evilly conspired, let them realize that the result of this deed is to make them servants of those whom Christ's death made free," as we read in his decretal. Likewise in the decretal under the same heading, he forbids the promotion of Jews to public office: "forbidding Jews to be promoted to public offices since in such circumstances they may be very dangerous to Christians." Innocent IV, also, in writing to St. Louis, King of France, who intended to drive the Jews beyond the boundaries of his kingdom, approves of this plan since the Jews gave very little heed to the regulations made by the Apostolic See in their regard: "Since We strive with all Our heart for the salvation of souls, We grant you full power by the authority of this letter to expel the Jews, particularly since We have learned that they do not obey the said statutes issued by this See against them" (Raynaldus, Annals, A.D. 1253, no. 34).

6. But if it is asked what matters the Apostolic See forbids to Jews living in the same cities as Christians, We will say that all those activities which are now allowed in Poland are forbidden; these We recounted above. There is no need of much reading to understand that this is the clear truth of the matter. It is enough to peruse decretals with the heading ; the constitutions of Our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs Nicholas IV, Paul IV, St. Pius V, Gregory XIII and Clement VIII are readily available in the Roman Bullarium. To understand these matters most clearly, Venerable Brothers, you do not even need to read those. You will recall the statutes and prescripts of the synods of your predecessors; they always entered in their constitutions every measure concerning the Jews which was sanctioned and ordained by the Roman Pontiffs.

7. The essence of the difficulty, however, is that either the sanctions of the synods are forgotten or they are not put into effect. To you then, Venerable Brothers, passes the task of renewing those sanctions. The nature of your office requires that you carefully encourage their implementation. In this matter begin with the clergy, as is fair and reasonable. These will have to show others the right way to act, and light the way for the rest by their example. For in God's mercy, We hope that the good example of the clergy will lead the straying laity back to the straight path. You will be able to give these orders and commands easily and confidently, in that neither your property nor your privileges are hired to Jews; furthermore you do no business with them and you neither lend them money nor borrow from them. Thus, you will be free from and unaffected by all dealings with them.

8. The sacred canons, prescribe that in the most important cases, such as the present, censures should be imposed upon the recalcitrant; and that those cases which bode danger and ruin to religion should be reckoned as reserved cases in which only the bishop can give absolution. The Council of Trent considered your jurisdiction when it affirmed your right to reserve cases. It did not restrict such cases to public crimes only, but extended them to include more notorious and serious cases, provided they were not purely internal. But we have often said that some cases should be considered more notorious and serious. These are cases, to which men are more prone, which are a danger both to ecclesiastical discipline and to the salvation of the souls which have been entrusted to your episcopal care. We have discussed these at length in Our treatise, Book 5, 5.

9. In this matter We will help as much as possible. If you have to proceed against ecclesiastics exempt from your jurisdiction, you will doubtless encounter additional difficulties. Therefore We are giving Our Venerable Brother Archbishop Nicaenus, Our Nuncio there, a mandate appropriate for this business, in order that he may supply for you the necessary means from the powers entrusted to him. At the same time We promise you that when the situation arises, We will cooperate energetically and effectively with those whose combined authority and power are appropriate to remove this stain of shame from Poland. But first Venerable Brothers, ask aid from God, the source of all things. From Him beg help for Us and this Apostolic See. And while We embrace you in the fullness of charity, We lovingly impart to you, Our brothers, and to the flocks entrusted to your care, Our Apostolic Blessing.

Given at Castelgandolfo on the 14th of June 1751 in the eleventh year of Our Pontificate.

The Jew Chapter IV and Epilogue

 The Jew in the Mystery of History 


Go back to Chapter III

By Father Julio Meinvielle

Translated fim the Spanish by Roberto Hope

Chapter IV

The Jews and the Mystery of History and Eschatology

Of what we have said so far emerges the exceptional importance that the Jewish people have in humankind. It is a people who accompanies humankind in the entire historical process. There have been peoples that have become unique in one place in the world, or if they have been unique in the entire world they have been so for a brief time only. This is how the great empires of antiquity and even the modern ones such as Spain, France or England have been. The Jewish people, in contrast, have been active throughout the entire process of history. This is for us to clarify now, making first a consideration of a theological sort on the march of history.

The Two Histories in a Single History

The historical plot is a complex and heterogeneous mesh of diverse actions performed by different protagonists for very varied motives. Man occupies the central point in this plot. If humankind had not existed, meaning a sensitive, intelligent being, there would have been no history. At least history, as the exposition of events of intelligent beings the actions of which unfold in an evolving process. Man, of multiple dimensions, touches on the highest and the lowest of creation in a way that his actions involve the entire universe. But above man, there is a particularly unique protagonist who assumes the initiative of all that is good found in this plot. If the teaching of the Apostle (James 1, 17) is ever true, that every gift and every perfect endowment comes from above, it is uniquely so in history. Because history is a mesh of very unique and unforeseeable events which can be written only by Him who dominates the course of events. If, should it be possible, the creatures, as principal authors, were the ones who wrote it, the outline would become so tangled and confusing that the mere progress of the historical process would become impossible.

History begins with creation. And in creation, God is the one who takes the initiative. At the beginning, God created heaven and earth (Gen 1,11). And God keeps on acting on humankind to dispense the good He had made at the beginning. And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. Divine interventions become more urgent and indispensable in the measure that man, with his actions, disarrays the plan imposed by God on all things. And it is always admirable the way God gives direction and sense to the nonsensical actions of men. The Apostle cannot cease his admiration precisely upon contemplating the divine wisdom that has laid out an inscrutable sense to the historical process: O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how inscrutable his ways!

If God has the initiative in what is good, creatures have it in what is evil. And in the case of history, it is man who, by a suggestion of the devil, assumes responsibility for evil. Genesis shows us how the first human couple fulfills this task.

In history, then, there are visible and invisible protagonists. In it act individuals, peoples, civilizations, and religions. Behind all historical events is, definitely, man with all his endless virtualities. There are other forces of nature acting, including the influence of the heavenly bodies. But also the angels act, the demons, and above all, with ineffable transcendence, God.

If we look at the matter from a purely human viewpoint, we would think of discovering two histories. One written by God with His special intervention on human matters, and another written by man.

A history, shall we say, holy, and a profane one. The holy history, constituted by divine intervention on human things, in the special task of fulfilling the plan that the divine design has laid out. There is, then, a mysterious action of God Himself, which begins with creation, keeps on dispensing graces to the elected and arranging the course of human events toward such dispensation of graces. And Christ, the maximal grace, is the center of such dispensation. Christ in the mystery of His resurrection, victorious over sin and death. Some graces and some interventions prepare the fulfillment of this central event, others carry it out in time, others, finally, pass it over, “traditio”, to successive human generations for the erection of the Body of Christ until we all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, into the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ (Eph 4, 12, 13). Holy history is, definitely, the history of Christ and of the Church, His Mystical Body.

There is another history, a profane history that man writes stamping his track in all corners of the earth. This is the history of the diverse civilizations that have come one after another in their predominance over human events. Although the will of man seems to prevail here, a great dose of necessitude, of fatality, ‘fatum’, can nevertheless be noticed, in which the way how the providential divine action conditions and directs the course of human events toward ends whose knowledge it reserves for itself, may be envisaged.

This is because there is actually not but a single history, the one God writes with the concurrence of all creatures. This history is a grandiose drama with its beginning, its crisis, its plot, its climax, and its dénouement. The august Trinity starts the scenic development with the work of creation. The intelligent creature, gratuitously created by God, puts with his sin the primitive divine plan in disarray, sowing disorder where God had put order. God takes advantage of the fault and disorder of man to carry out a more admirable plan of reparation, in which His justice and His divine mercy will shine. Resurrected Christ is the masterpiece of this plan. And with Christ, His chosen ones. When the Body of Christ achieves its plenitude, history shall have ended.

It is that history, that which men carry out, the profane one, the one constituted by the weft of human passions in a mad desire to possess the earth, is nothing more than secondary support in which God writes His great history, His single history. Because God, who inhabits the fullness of eternity without feeling any kind of need, by the freest act of His goodness has willed to communicate Himself mysteriously to the creatures in a more and more perfect degree, and has fulfilled in time, in irreversible and singular acts ‒ hapax ‒, as an event of the ineffable Trinitarian life. The Son of Man, in becoming man, introduces man, and with man all the creation, in the bosom of God Himself. All of history, with its noisy events, is ordered toward Christ with his chosen ones entering the bosom of the deity itself.

This is why the Scriptures have said two words that are the key to history. Saint Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians (3, 20-23): The Lord knows how vain the thoughts of the wise are. Let no one, therefore, glorify in man, for all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; for all are yours and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's. The Apostle here says that nobody should glory himself of anything that is inferior to him but only of what is superior to him because as Psalm 8 teaches: You put everything under his feet. Now, below each faithful are, in the first place, the ministers of Christ, be it Paul who sowed, Apollo who watered, Peter who holds the universal rule of the sheep of Christ, as per the second letter to the Corinthians (4:5) for ourselves are your servants through Jesus. This means that the religious order and, consequently, a good portion of Holy history is at the service of those predestined. In the second place, “the world” is also below each faithful and serves him in what satisfies his needs or helps him in the knowledge of the divine according to that in Wisdom 13:5: For the beauty and greatness of the creature. In the third place, be it life, be it death, meaning all the good and all the evils of this world, since by the goods life is preserved and by the evils death is reached. In the fourth place, be it the present, be it the forthcoming, because with that we help ourselves to gain merits, and this is reserved to us for the prize according to that which says We do not have a permanent city here (Hebrews 13, 14).

This way there are three orderings in history. The first one is of the things of Christ to the faithful for all are yours. The second, those of Christ’s faithful toward Christ You are of Christ. The third one, that of Christ, as man, toward God, And Christ is of God. In these three orderings is enclosed the entire drama of history, of the single history, in which the totality of creatures move to carry out and fulfill the divine plan. That is why the teaching of Saint Thomas, who has seen that history, constituted by the movements of men and of other creatures, does not have ‒ just as no movement has ‒ a purpose in itself, but outside itself, is so profound. Through movement, he says in De Potentia Dei 3, 10 ad 4 and 4, with which God moves creatures, some other thing lying outside the movement itself is sought and intended, to wit the number of the elected which, once completed, the movement will cease, though not the substance of the movement.

It would remain to be explained how the human events which appear to move almost exclusively by the designs of men in opposition to the divine designs, can definitely be ordered to the very exact fulfillment of the divine designs. Saint Paul, echoing some words of Job, 5, gives us the explanation in this mysterious way: For it is written ‒ he says ‒ God will catch the wise in their own craftiness. And Saint Thomas comments: God will catch the wise in their own craftiness precisely because they scheme craftily against God; He places obstacles to their designs and they comply with what He proposes, in the same way, that for the malice of Joseph’s brothers, who wanted to prevent his princeship, Joseph, having been sold to Egypt, would attain power by divine ordering.

Of the Movements that Propel Human Profane History

That God should guide all events of humankind in accordance with a very special and mysterious way for the edification of the Body of Christ, does not prevent, but on the contrary, requires that all events unfold also from purely human causes. This way, profane history ‒ what Saint Augustine calls earthly city ‒ has its proper substance and rhythm, different when not divergent from those of the City of God. The holy Books relate that Cain, after having had his son Enoch, set himself to build a city to which he gave the name of his son, Enoch; it also narrates that, of the descendants of Cain, Tubalcain ‒ the first metallurgist ‒ was the forger of cutting instruments made of iron and bronze. After the deluge, they show us men concentrating their efforts on an exclusively civilizing task, in the building of the city of Babel, until the lord, with the confusion of tongues, dispersed them over the face of the earth. 

The Holy books do not concern themselves with the profane history thereafter, but instead, with the narration about Abraham, get into properly said holy history, and deal with it almost exclusively up to Revelation. It would look like God leaving the city of man to its own devices. The city of man has nothing to do with that of God, at least directly. Its life unfolds in a movement, a dialectics of its own. Something more could even be thought, and this is that the structure and the dynamics of civilizations and of the profane life of men fall under the dominion of the ‘prince of this world.’ Not because they should be evil in themselves, but because the latter took possession of them by man yielding to his seduction. True, Christ engaged in combat against the devil in the three temptations and defeated him definitely on the Cross, but on a different field and with different weapons. On the field of holy history and with specifically holy weapons.

Hence that profane history should move under a high domination of the prince of this world. Saint John seems to indicate the great laws of the dialectics of civilizations. Dialectics of the will to power through the domination of some peoples by other peoples; dialectics of the enrichment without limits with the correlated misery and subjection of the weaker ‒ concupiscence of the eyes; dialectics of jealousy and sexual rivalry ‒ concupiscence of the flesh. This is why Saint John counterposes holy history against profane history. We know we are of God, while the world is entirely under the malign (1 Letter 2, 16)

Saint Paul shows, likewise, the contraposition of the dialectics of the world, in which there is a rivalry between the Jew and the Greek ‒ struggles for political domination; of master and slave ‒ struggles for economic domination; of male and female ‒ struggle for carnal satisfaction; to the city of God in which all are one in Jesus Christ.

The great passions of the men who study, analyze, and combat the Sacred Books are the historical movement of civilizations. The cosmos advances toward a global unification under the fierce power of the strongest. Toynbee has well seen how civilization declines in a humankind that advances in the race to develop ever more powerful weapons. An empire follows another empire, a civilization another civilization. But if the will of the strongest has the force of law, the profane substance of history is amassed in the injustice and advances toward degradation, and from here to barbarity. Because of this, when a civilization has been getting stronger by devouring the preceding one that had gone into decadence, emerges for a moment in an explosion of drive, but then declines immediately to enter a chronic state of barbarity, or die. If we pay attention to the very substance of what they are made of, this is the law that rules civilizations. Law of birth and death, proper to all natural bodies. In this plane of the profane substance of history, Spengler’s thesis appears to be definitive.

But the only error of Spengler’s is to think that the profane history of the peoples should be the only history. It may perhaps be the only one that men can write. In that same history written by men, urged by the dialectics of the triple concupiscence, God writes another history, the true history, the definitive history.

But, if it is true that the profane order of history does not directly aid in the true history that God writes in the building of the Body of His only-begotten Son, it is also certain that, in an indirect but effective way, it also serves Him. Because it is in the world where this true history evolves, even though it does not evolve either with the world or from the world. Holy History is inserted in the profane one and mixed in it. The good seed is sown in the field of profane history.

This determines that profane history fulfills a series of services favoring the history of the souls, the nature and dimension of them, God only knows. Saint Paul also established this law: We know, he teaches, that God makes all things concur for the good of those who love Him, of those who, according to His designs, are chosen. Hence it follows that what happens to the chosen, who are the noblest parts of the Universe, is not to the benefit of others but of themselves. It is not so with what happens to the men that are to be condemned nor in all of the inferior beings of creation since these are ordered toward the good of the chosen. And just as the doctor may inflict a wound on a foot to cure the head, God allows sin and misuse of some beings for the good of the chosen. So that the word in Scripture be fulfilled: the fool will serve the wise; that is, the sinners will serve the just. (Saint Thomas In Rom 8, 28).

Here shows how profane history is supported by Holy History. And it is true that the work of God on those that are His is not fulfilled in other than the wide and turbulent realm of the world, subjected in turn to the triple dialectic of triple concupiscence, and this creates an interdependence between the two histories; it does not follow that profane history drags Holy History toward it, but, on the contrary, that the former is the one which is dragged and attracted by the latter. Since the Saints will judge the world and will defeat it.

The Jews in the Mystery of History

History, in all its religious and profane motions, is moved toward the service of the Mystical Body of Christ. Through history, the Body of Christ is being completed. And the work of incorporating new members into the Body of Christ is fulfilled through faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord (Heb 11, 6). But how will invoke Him they who have not believed? And how can they believe without having heard of Him? And how can they hear if no one preaches to them? And how will they preach if they are not sent? (Rom 10, 14) It follows that history, the Mystical Body of Christ, the faith, the preaching of the Gospels, and the evangelizing mission are closely united. History has no other reason for being than expounding on the time required for peoples to embrace the Christian faith. And this time, in turn, is conditioned by the force and the impetus with which the preaching is made to be heard by the peoples around the world. And in turn, this impetus in preaching depends on the strength with which the faith takes root in the peoples so that it stirs up missionaries who spread the evangelical message. The Church has been on a mission since the day that Christ deprived her of His visible presence. And the Christian peoples who have received the evangelical message have to constitute themselves in bearers of this divine message to other peoples. The preaching of the Gospels justifies that way the persistence of history. When the Gospel has reached all the peoples, history must cease. This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached all around the world to all nations and then the end will come (Matt 24, 14).

The life of nations, therefore, in the present economy, has its reason for being in the preaching of the Gospel. But at the same time, the preaching of the Gospel is tangled up and sort of slowed down by a fundamental tension that derives from Jewish hatred against evangelization of the Gentiles. The Jews, as a permanent historical category, perform this role of being the enemies of the Gospel, who oppose with all their fury the conversion of the Gentiles. This law ‒ historical law ‒ is expounded by Paul in a series of texts the force of which is necessary to underline. The most significant one is from 1 Tes 2, 15, There he says: The Jews, those who put our Lord Jesus to death and persecute the prophets and us, who do not please God and are against all men; who prevent talking to the Gentiles and trying to obtain their salvation. But the wrath comes on themselves and is ready to be discharged to the brim. Hardly can the sin and the significance thereof weighing on the Jewish people be summarized with fewer words. They oppose the evangelical preaching by giving death to Jesus, its principal author, and to the prophets who prepared it, and also by persecuting the apostles that spread it. They do not please God even if they believe otherwise.

They are against all men. Saint Paul here expounds on the law explaining the permanent enmity against all nations as a historical category of the Jewish people. And he clarifies how they oppose all the other peoples: namely, preventing their evangelization and salvation. This is the role of the Jewish people: sow corruption and ruin on the peoples, especially the Christian ones.

This law of persecution of the Synagogue against the Church is also described by Saint Paul in Galathians 4, 28, where he says: And you, brethren, are children of the promise, the same way as Isaac. But just as the born from the flesh then persecuted the born from the Spirit, it is also so now. Ismael, the son of Abraham from the slave Hagar, persecuted the son of Abraham from Sarah, so the Synagogue persecutes the Church. In a permanent and fundamental way as a historical category.

And since the Church is in a state of mission, carrying the Gospel to all peoples through history, the Synagogue hinders that task and the plan of evangelization.

That is why the Church, with great wisdom and indoctrinated by the Apostle about the meddling of the Synagogue when she possessed temporal power opposed the entry of Jews into Christian lands. She knew that it was a dangerous people, who entrapped the Christians to perdition. Sacred people, without a doubt, which was not to be persecuted and should be treated with respect, as would be fitting to the greatness of their forefathers. But enemy people nonetheless, from which it was necessary to guard and defend against. The discipline of the ghetto was appropriate to their pitiful condition.

The Jews, from the ghetto, although impotent to deal deadly blows to Christendom, plotted in a thousand different forms for the perdition of the Christian peoples. They had two powerful weapons available: a dialectic knowledge of the word of God which was provided by rabbinic science, and with which they could concoct all kinds of heresies; and the power of gold with which to corrupt customs, especially of the powerful. They inflicted some harm, but from without, not getting to seize control over societies.

But when Christian fervor cooled off and the peoples became paganized, the formerly Chrstian society opened its doors to the Jews. The French Revolution, which signaled the death of the Christian society, introduces the Jews to its midst. From there, inside, and attaining ever greater power, the Jews get to corrupt the Christian peoples ever more deeply. With liberalism, socialism, and communism they dissolve all the natural and supernatural institutions that Christianity had consolidated. The structure of the Christian nations gets broken. The peoples no longer set for themselves missionary objectives nor political undertakings. They transform themselves into conglomerates of individuals moved by a purely economic well being which, in turn, they cannot achieve but under the dependence of and in the service of the Jews, who become the masters of global wealth.

The Jewish-Gentile tension which God has established in the midst of nations grows in the degree that the latter get away from Christ. And, of course, because this tension can only disappear within Christianity. Saint Paul teaches this categorically: In Christ, there is no Jew nor Gentile (Gal 3, 28). Consequently, if nations wish not to fall under the domination of the Jews they have to submit themselves to the gentle yoke of the law of Christ. If instead they reject the public kingship of Christ, they will necessarily fall under Jewish domination. The law of the dialectic tension between Jew and Gentile necessarily operates with theological rigor. And Europe, at one time Christian, which should have been the Gospel’s pallbearer to all nations in the world, now Judaized, takes the exploitation and the ruin to the pagan peoples, creating there insuperable obstacles to the preaching of the Gospel.

The Mystery of the Tension of Jews and Gentiles in Relation to History

This law of dialectical tension between Jews and Gentiles which Saint Paul denounces in 1 Tess 2, 15, which rules the evangelization of the peoples has to be founded on a mysterious decree of Providence in the present economy. Saint Paul teaches so in Chapters 9, 10, and 11 of his Letter to the Romans. We will point out his teachings for the sake of greater clarity

  • 1) There is a superiority and preeminence of the Jew over the Gentile. As is well known, the divine choosing in favor of this minuscule people fills marvelous pages of the Old Testament. Saint Paul does not cease to remind this to the proudful Romans.

Tribulation and anguish over all that do evil; first on the Jew, then on the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for all that do good, first for the Jew, then to the Gentile (Rom 2,9).

If it is true that both Jews and Gentiles are inexcusable sinners (Rom 2, 1), however, the Jews have a superiority that Saint Paul openly recognizes: In what, then does the Jew have an advantage or in what does he take advantage of his circumcision? And he answers: In much, in all aspects. Because firstly, the word of God has been entrusted to Him. (Rom 3, 1).

But, someone may argue, the Jews have been unfaithful and have become undeserving of the divine promises. The Apostle answers. So what! If some have been incredulous, will perchance his infidelity nullify God’s fidelity? And in Rom 11, 28, he adds: As regards the Gospel, they are enemies to your good, but in accordance with the choice they are loved on account of their forefathers. For the gifts and vocation of God are irrevocable.

  • 2) But the superiority God has adjudicated to the Jew comes from the faith and not from the flesh

The permanent temptation of the Jewish people has consisted in believing that their greatness comes purely from their carnal lineage and not from the faith. It is clear that their carnal lineage was great, as it was to be the vehicle that would bring us our Savior. But they were great for reason of the Savior and because God in his designs had chosen their and not some other lineage to bring us the Savior. Saint Paul strongly points this truth out in Gal. 3, 6, making us see that the greatness of Abraham did not consist of his flesh, because for the flesh he was the father of Ismael by his slave Hagar, without this bringing him any glory; his greatness consisted in the faith, in that he believed, he believed that Sarah, his wife, already old, would bring him Isaac, son of the Promise, and so much did Abraham believe, that he hesitated not in obeying the divine mandate of sacrificing his only legitimate son. The faith saves. The law and the flesh fail because they are a curse: And Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by making himself a curse for our sake, as it is written: “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” so that the blessing of Abraham be extended on the peoples in Christ and by faith we receive the promise of the Spirit.

  • 3) The Jewish-Gentile tension, with the superiority of the Jew over the Gentile ends within Christianity.

This historical category signifying the dialectic tension between the Jews and the Gentiles, which in Saint Paul's theology is to rule the entire history, ends in Christianity. Not on temporal terms, but on suprahistorical ones.

When Jews and Christians enter the Church, they make a profession of Christ in which all division ends. So is how the Apostle teaches in Gal 3, 26: All of you, then, are children of God for the faith in Jesus Christ. Because all of you who have been baptized in Christ have been clothed with Christ. No longer is there Jew or Greek, no longer serf or free, no longer man or woman, because all of you are one in Jesus Christ.

Christianity is not carried out in one instance but is progressively fulfilled in the historical process. Tensions, and especially those between Jews and Gentiles are to exist for the process of evangelization of nations to be complied with. For this reason, the Jew makes himself present in all nations at the same time as the missionaries. If in a certain way his presence confirms the evangelical message as the fulfillment of the prophecies, in a different way he is the authentic contradictor of Christ and Christianity, who prevents talking to the Gentiles and procuring their salvation (1 Tes 2, 16).

But once converted, both the Jews and the Gentiles, have nothing to fear from the Jews. Not because these will not entrap but because their entrapments are vain for he who is united with Christ.

  • 4) There is, therefore, a great mystery with respect to the Jews, and it is that a part of that people has been reproved so that the Gentile peoples could be saved.

The apostle teaches us that a part of Israel has been reproved. In Rom 9, 30-33 he openly teaches: What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, have attained to justice, even the justice that is of faith. But Israel, by following after the law of justice, is not come unto the law of justice. Why so? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were of works. For they stumbled at the stumbling stone. As it is written: Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and a rock of scandal; and whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded.

The word of Isaiah (28, 16) was fulfilled: Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a cornerstone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. Against this stone stumbled and fell a part of the Jewish people. As it is written: God hath given them the spirit of insensibility; eyes that they should not see; and ears that they should not hear, until this present day. (Rom 11, 8) And the Apostle adds: And David saith: Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them. (Rom 11, 9)

But the reproof has not been total but only partial, and God has reserved a remnant of Israel. This is how the Apostle clearly teaches it: I say then: Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture saith of Elias; how he calleth on God against Israel? Lord, they have slain thy prophets, they have dug down thy altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the divine answer to him? I have left me seven thousand men, that have not bowed their knees to Baal. Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. (Rom 11, 1-5).

A part of Israel was reproved so that mercy would reach the Gentile peoples. Precisely here is the mystery in which God, pitying the peoples and resolved to save them, allows the perdition of a part of Israel and in substitution decrees the insertion of the Gentile peoples in the great Olive Tree of the Church. But I ask ‒ says the Apostle (Rom 11, 11) ‒ Have they so stumbled, that they should fall? God forbid. But by their offence, salvation is come to the Gentiles, that they may be emulous of them.

The Gentiles are to take good care not to pride themselves thinking that the fall of a part of the Jews has been brought about to their merit; rather, they have to fear before the unsoundable mystery of mercy and of the divine justice. And in this regard the Apostle says: And if some of the branches were split off, and you, being a wild olive, were inserted in her and made a participant of the root, that is, of the fruitfulness of the olive, do not be conceited against the branches. And if you conceit yourselves, keep in mind that you do not give sustenance to the root but the root gives it to you. But you may say: The branches were split off so that I could be inserted. Well, for their incredulity they were split off, and you are on foot because of the faith. Do not be conceited, rather fear. Since if God did not pardon the natural branches, neither will He pardon you.

  • The reproof of a part of Israel is allowed until the fullness of the nations enter the Church

Saint Paul openly teaches that: blindness in part has happened in Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved.

  • While part of Israel is reproved and the Gentiles converted, envy shall arise of the Jews against the converted Gentiles.

Saint Paul utters this in various passages. So in Rom 10, 19 he makes the words of Moses his own: I will provoke you to jealousy by that which is not a nation; by a foolish nation, I will anger you. And in the same letter (11, 14) If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them. Saint Thomas, in his commentary on this passage, notices that the Jews felt envy and hatred against the converted Gentiles, this is, hatred that came from envy. It is said, he adds, that God induces the envy and moves them to hatred, not in what malice causes within them but in what subtracts graces from them, from where the Jews take occasion for hatred and envy.

This hatred and envy of which the Apostle here speaks is that which provokes the persecutions against the Church and the Christians of which the Apostle speaks in Tess 2, 15 and Gal 4, 28 the texts of which we have reproduced above. Note well that this enmity does not properly constitute tension, as the latter presumes reciprocity of actions; and even when the Church is hated by the Synagogue, the former does not hate the latter, but limits itself to be prepared against its entrapments and attacks.

These entrapments and attacks of the Synagogue against the Church and the Christians are carried out especially in the public plane of nations, and are efficacious factors of the movement of history, as we have said before.

  • 7) In the course of history, in spite of the reproof of a part of Israel, some of the Jews will be saved.

Saint Paul teaches (Rom 11,14) that If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them. This does not appear to announce this as an exclusivity of his personal apostolate, but as a constant in all Christian history.

  • 8) But also Israel will be converted

So the Apostle announces clearly and gloriously: the Jews will convert Now, if the offence of them be the riches of the world, and the diminution of them, the riches of the Gentiles; how much more the fullness of them! (Rom 11, 12) And later on: For if the loss of them be the reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Rom 11, 15).

Saint Paul takes good care of making notice that the fall of Israel has been provisional and only to the benefit of the Gentiles: For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And this is to them my covenant: when I shall take away their sins (Rom 11, 25 - 27).

Saint Paul could not have taught the conversion of the Jews with greater force, and that, as a right, meaning to say that if their fall had befallen to do a favor to the Gentiles, as soon as said favor was fulfilled, the Jews would be reintegrated, Saint Paul does not conceal the pride of his race, which was chosen by God. For I am Israelite, of the lineage of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11, 1).

The conversion of the Jews had also been clearly announced by the Prophets of the Old Testament. Psalms 147 and 126 celebrate it with a triumphant air. Isaiah (59,20), Jeremy (31, 10-12; 16-17; 33), Ezequiel (37, 1), Hosea (3, 4, 5), Malachi (3, 23), do not cease to sing it with joy. And the New Testament announces it, although with a dramatic air: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? Behold, your house shall be left to you, desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matt 23, 37-39) and Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children as the bird doth her brood under her wings, and thou wouldest not? (Luke 13:34). The accent of this prediction is not placed on the conversion, but in the punishment of which the Jewish people will be the target because of their incredulity. The conversion is announced in an indirect manner inasmuch as it is said in it that the Jews would greet Jesus with the Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Also Luke, 21, 24, announces Israel’s conversion: And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.

Saint Paul, in the second letter to the Corinthians, 3, 15-16 also reveals the return of the Jews to the Lord: But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart; but when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

  • 9) The Jews will convert at the edge of history.

The conversion of the Jews is clearly announced in Sacred Scripture.

But what is problematic is the time when it is to be fulfilled. Up to now, the common opinion of the exegetes, and especially of Saint Thomas, has been that the conversion was to put an end to the unfolding of history. But recently, authors such as Charles Journet (in ‘Destinées d’Israel’, Egloff, Paris, 1945, page 339 and subsequent) have defended that the return of Israel will be produced in the plot of history itself. That far from putting an end to historical development, it would be an event of such magnitude that would as a fruit produce a great epiphany in catholicity which would develop over several centuries, That the end of history would come just after the conversion of the Jews and of the great epiphany, when the great persecutions under the action of the mystery of iniquity announced by Saint Paul in 2 Tess 2, 7 would arise.

Journet intends to found his opinion on the words of the Apostle For if the loss of them be the reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15). The Apostle, Journet argues, says not the resurrection of the dead, but a resurrection. It means, in consequence, that the return of Israel will produce such a recrudescence of love in the Church that it can be compared with a return of the dead to life. The world, he goes on saying, will participate, in a fuller and more manifest way, of the first resurrection of the thousand years of which Revelation 20 4-6 speaks, that means, of the life of grace, just as has been shed with profusion by Christ during the entire era of the incarnation and lasts until the time of His second Parousia at the end of times (ibid, 341 and E.B. Allo, L’Apocalypse de Saint Jean, p CXXXI).

But it is easy to respond to this. Certainly from the referred text it follows that the conversion of the Jews should bring to the world and to the Gentiles a good much greater than that which brought their fall. But what has been the fruit of the fall of the Jews? Nothing less than the Redemption, called by Paul the riches of the world … riches of the Gentiles, reconciliation of the world. And what other essential events can be comparable to this one, or even more, exceed it in riches, but the Parousia itself? At least, it is certain that a greater degree of effusion of the grace cannot be compared as an equal or greater thing than the effusion of grace that operates in the Redemption.

But there was a more fundamental reason which explains why the ancient exegetes have linked, out of spite of a resurrection from among the death, the conversion of Israel to the final resurrection. And this reason was their conception of history, which made them perceive that the opposition of Jews and Gentiles was a historical category that illumined all the mystery of Christ and of his redemption of the world, in such a way that when such opposition ended, history would also end. As a consequence, since the conversion of Israel would put an end to the tension between Jews and Gentiles it would put an end to history (See Gaston Fessard, ‘Theologie et Histoire’ in Dieu Vivant, N° 8)

The conversion of the Jews is a metahistorical event, properly eschatological, because it is to put an end to a factor that makes history advance, which is the tension between Jews and Gentiles. It is clear, on the other hand, that we cannot speak of an event entirely outside history, as though it were to be realized above and beyond time and history. As long as there is time, let us do good to everyone (Gal 6, 10) and only historical time is time to do good and become saved. Therefore, the conversion of the Jews is to be produced within history and at the end of it. Let us refer to it at the edge of history.

  • 10) History marches toward eschatology, in which there will be only one people of Jews and Gentiles

History moves agitated from the inside by the division of Jews and Gentiles, of master and free, of man and woman. Religious, political, economic and social struggles move peoples against one another in a mad ambition for predominance. The role that pertains to the Judeo-Gentile tension in this march of history is crucial. And this not as a simple fact, but as law that has been imposed by God in the reason of being of history itself which is the preaching of the Gospel. Saint Paul has revealed this mystery to us. But Saint Paul reveals to us also that history marches in perfect unity with Christ, in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

In his magnificent letter to the Ephesians (2, 11) reminds the Gentiles in the first place, the pitiful condition in which they were at one time: you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the conversation of Israel, and strangers to the testament, having no hope of the promise, and without God in this world. The state of gentility cannot be more disgraceful.

But now in Christ Jesus, you, who some time were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13). The Gentile peoples have entered the Church and have listened to the word of salvation. And the Church is the true society of Israel. And Christ is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh (Eph 2, 14)

In Christ, then, peace has been made between the two peoples. Because by coming, He announced to us peace to those far away and to those who are near, because by Him we the ones and the others have the power to get close to the Father in one and the same Spirit.

In Jesus Christ, then, neither Jews nor Gentiles are no more strangers and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Eph 2, 19). And during all the historical process the erection of the Church is fulfilled by taking the stones from all the peoples, Jews and Gentiles, in accordance with the unsoundable divine plan. And there, in the Church, which is Christ extended, ends all division in such a way that also when the Church is fully built will history end.

The Jews in the Mystery of Eschatology

To get a complete idea of the Jewish people and of its enormous significance in the plan of redemption and sanctification of the world, we also have to keep in mind their role in metahistory or eschatology; that is, in those final last things, then outside history, which are sort of gravitating over all of history and attracting it to them. These events begin:

  • a) With the fullness of nations that are to be evangelized still as nations in their cultural structures which make them such determined nations. Process which is to be taking place all throughout history, in great part, and as a principal effect in the dialectic between Jews and Gentiles, between the Synagogue and the Church. The precise moment of history in which we live is characterized by the culmination of the struggle of the Synagogue against the Church to prevent the Christian Message of the peoples. The Church is about to make this Message penetrate the peoples. But the Synagogue, with liberalism and communism, strongly rejects this Message. However the Church, especially its frontal focus, the Cathedra of Rome, is being armed with an exceptional vitality which, under the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, makes her capable of unmaking the whole series of errors that during the last four centuries the Synagogue has heaped on the world. This seems to be the significance of the Marian messages announcing peace to the present world, under which the plenitude of the peoples in the bosom of the Church would be signified.

  • b) As the plenitude of the nations in the bosom of Christendom is fulfilled, the conversions of the Jews will be multiplying themselves, ever more valuable in number and quality, by the effect of emulation of which the Apostle speaks. But both the plenitude of the Gentiles in the bosom of the Church and the conversions of the Jews would provoke a greater fury and resentment in the central nucleus of Judaism, which in the measure that it would become smaller it would turn more fanatic, until achieving success in its task of corrupting and submitting the world of the gentility. In that way would the fulfillment of the universal apostasy of which Saint Paul in 2 Tess 2, 3, speaks when he says Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; and Saint Luke (18, 8) where the Lord asks: But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?; and Saint Matthew (24, 12) where the Lord says: And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. Also in 1 Tim 4,1.

  • c) The universal apostasy will form a single historical event with the coming of the Antichrist, as can be drawn from the passage in Saint Paul’s 2 Tess 2, 3. The Antichrist will be recognized as the messiah of the Jews and master of the Gentiles. In this way, the universal apostasy of the Gentile peoples and the Jewish domination over all of the peoples will also constitute a single historical event. The coming of the Antichrist will be in the working of Satan, that is, by his promptings. Satan will be let free from his prison, he will come out and seduce the nations (Rev 20, 7)

  • d) To the plenitude of the nations which will be, absolutely, contemporaneous to the coming of the Antichrist, will follow the conversion of the Jews which will take place from the preaching of Eliah and Enoch as per that of Malachi 4, 5-6 Behold I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema.

  • e) With the universal apostasy and the revealing of the Antichrist the great tribulation announced by Jesus in the Gospel will be produced . (Matt 24, 21; Mc 13, 21; Luke 21, 25)

  • f) And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. (Matt 24, 20; Mc 13, 26; Luke 21, 27)

  • g) And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. (Matt 24, 31; Mc 13, 27)

  • h) And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. (Matt 25, 31)

  • i) But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up. (2 Peter 3, 10)

  • j) But we look for new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3, 13); For behold I create new heavens, and a new earth (Is 65, 17); according to the vision in Revelation (21, 1): And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more.

  • k) And a great banquet shall be prepared so that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom: and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22, 30).

Just as the people of Israel perform a crucial role within the historical time, so shall they also perform one in the eschatological events. It is not possible to forget that the entire work of Christ is reduced to the foundation and preaching of his messianic kingdom; universal kingdom in time and space; historical and eschatological kingdom; spiritual and internal kingdom, but also temporal and external. And in this messianic kingdom the people of Israel, even in its carnal and historical reality, fulfills a mission of foremost importance.

Only to Abraham, from whose loins this people was drawn, are the great promises that found this messianic kingdom announced for the first time: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. And only in Abraham begins this kingdom to acquire effective realization.

The patriarchs of the Old Covenant, of which succession Abraham is the first, will thus be the roots of this messianic kingdom which is to be perpetuated throughout history and then also in eternity. And with the patriarchs also the Apostles will constitute the first fruits and root of the abundant Olive which is the Church (Rom 11, 16 - 17)

From the people of Israel come the adoption and the glory, and the covenants, and the legislation, and the worship, and the promises; theirs are the promises and from which according to the flesh the Christ comes, who is above all things (Rom 9, 4 - 5). Israel has, consequently, a triple greatness. The first one is that of the name since Thy name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel: for if thou hast been strong against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men? (Gen 32, 28). The second for the great benefits that it has received from God. The third one, since from Israel has Jesus Christ his carnal origin, salvation comes from the Jews. (John 4, 22).

But Israel is great even in the branches that have been split from this Olive to be grafted in the wild olive of gentility, because they are to fulfill a mission in the divine plan, which is accelerating the evangelization of the world and with it the advance of history.

But at the end, when the nations have entered the messianic kingdom, this people, with its new insertion in the Olive from which it had been in part split, will signal the precise moment of the beginning of the great eschatological events that prepare the Parousia of the Son of Man.

And then in the consummation of the eschatology itself, when the final and eternal banquet of divine contemplation takes place, guests shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 8, 11)


The above considerations have been written to explain the Jew.

The Jewish race is a saving race in Christ. Any ponderings to be made of the Jews will turn out to be short in face of the greatness of this race who brought Christ and Mary to us.

But Christ and Mary are so great that their greatness surpasses all the races because they surpass the human race. Christ and Mary reach the divine. Christ as only begotten son of the Father, Splendor of the Divine Substance. The Virgin Mary, as Mother of God. Hence the Jew, genealogical support of those greatnesses that surpass his own value, should humble himself in his own smallness for those greatnesses that he supports.

But, on the contrary, Israel was bitten by pride.

Foolishly, it believed itself to be greater than all the peoples and races … and above all, greater than Christ and Mary.

Believing itself superior to everyone, it erected a fence around itself so as to not get contaminated from the inferiority of the rest; and labored with guile to dominate them. And has been accomplishing it. With the press and with money the Jews now have control over the Christian nations.

Within the realm of carnal greatness that his astuteness has built with the labor ot the de-christianized forces, the Jews are masters, and there is no power, it seems, that can resist their hidden power.

Shall then the Christian peoples have to see themselves sentenced to an opprobrious slavery, and without any redemption under Jewish prepotency? No way! With manly energy they have to get rid of this mortiferous domination. How? Before pointing it out, I will ask readers to weigh the words they are about to read, because they have been written within the most strict logical precision. And have also been written within the purest Christian principles.

Known is that Christianity is summarized in the great commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart... and thy neighbor as thyself. 

Love means seeking the good of those we love. Man must, then, seek the love of God first and then the good of man.

The good of God is that His name be blessed and glorified in the works and in the compliance with His law.

The good of man is that all his rights which conspire towards achieving his eternal and temporal wellbeing be recognized.

Being it so, a father who were not to repress a son of his that violates the rights of God or the rights of his Mother would be transgressing the commandment to love. The father that does not punish, when necessary, the son that does not respect his mother or who mistreats his siblings, will not conform to charity. The ruler who fails to protect the interests of his nation or that fails to prevent and punish the abuses of bad citizens does not conform to charity.

Charity is not sentimentalism which consents all errors and abuses of the others. Charity is to procure efficaciously the real wellbeing (eternal and temporal) of the others and hate evil at all times.

This being presumed, how are the Jewish intentions to dominate the Christian peoples to be forestalled?

In two simultaneous ways. 

First: Affirming and consolidating the Christian life within the peoples.

As I have frequently repeated over the course of this book, Jewish domination marches hand in hand with the de-christianization of the peoples. It is a theological law proven by history. Hence, the true Christianization of the peoples, with a deep and interior catholicism of faith and charity, will signify the decline of Judaic domination, it means solidly restoring the Christian sense in public and private life.

Second: Directly repressing the Jewish entrapments.

And let us observe here that the Jews, as children of the devil as Christ called them, also have diabolical methods to dominate the Christian peoples. These methods are reduced to lying.

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. (John 8, 44)

Saint Paul, talking of Satan, tells us that Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11, 14)

Lying is the great weapon of the devil and of his children the Jews. This is why the devil is figured in the serpent, and the Jews also adopt the figure of the serpent as a Kabbalistic symbol.

Hence, the method proper of Judaism in its struggle against the Christian peoples is maliciousness.

It kills the Christian peoples under the appearance of saving them. It enslaves them with the pretext of liberty. It dominates them with the pretext of equality. It steals from them with the pretext of granting credit to them. It poisons them with the pretext of the Enlightenment.

And on the other hand, always lying with marvelous ability, blames the true saviors of being the enemies of the peoples. And this way, Christ, the Church, priesthood, Christian rulers, are presented to people as vile swindlers.

The tragic struggle in the Spanish Civil War is the best demonstration of this. Judaism with its headquarters in Moscow, had corrupted the Spanish masses and had bribed cowardly rulers. It had wanted to finish its work sinking the Spanish nation into a ruinous slavery viler than the one in Soviet Russia. But heroes emerge in the Spain of the Cid and of the Catholic Kings, resolved to liberate the Spanish nation from this disgraceful tyranny, but then international Judaism broadcasts throughout the entire world that a bunch of factious rebels conspire against the constituted power and against the Spanish people.

What tactic is to be adopted against this satanic struggle founded on lies?

The tactic to adopt is the frank and resolute tactic of the paladins of Truth: the tactic of the sword.

Let me, before anything, say that a profound error is to represent the sword as something incompatible with Christianity.

In Christian symbolism Saint Michael the Archangel is represented fighting a dragon and brandishing a sword (Rev 12, 7).

Genesis tells us that after the sin of our first fathers, God put before the paradise of delights a cherubim with a sword of fire (Gen 3 24).

Christ our Lord tells his disciples in the eve of his Passion: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.... But they said: Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.

In the dogmatic bull Unam Sanctam, the great Pontiff of the rights of the Church, Boniface VIII, has seen in these two swords the two powers, the spiritual and the temporal, which have to be at the service of the Church. That in the power of the Church, he says, be there two swords, we know from the Gospel. One and the other in possession of the Church are namely the spiritual and the material sword. But the latter should be used for the good of the Church, the former by the Church itself. The former, of the priest, the latter in the hands of kings and soldiers but under the command of the priest. It is necessary, then, that one sword be below the other sword and that the temporal power submit itself to the spiritual one.

One and the other sword should sway in defense of the Truth and to restore justice against the concealed entrapments of the iniquity. And it is proper to any man, vir, to wield the sword whenever it becomes necessary, to come out in the defense of the infringed rights of God and of the Church.

Sacred scriptures (First book of Machabees) praise Judas Machabeus, who. putting on a breastplate as a giant, and girt his warlike armour about him in battles, and protected the camp with his sword.

And in the splendor of the Christian age the men of Christendom, exhorted by the Holy Pontiffs and lead by brave chiefs fought resolutely against the enemies of Christianity. The age of the Crusades fills the most glorious pages of the Church. And the figure of Joan of Arc is not a decor in Catholic churches but a symbol and an example that invites every Christian to fight with valor so that the iniquity will not enslave the children of the Light.

The sword is the only efficacious weapon, with short-term efficacy, that can defeat the Jewish entrapments. Because the sword, the military, is within the heroic of man, of vir, of the male. It is connected by metaphysical links with the spiritual values of man. It is something essentially opposed to the carnal. If the Jews before Christ were heroes capable of brandishing the sword as the Machabee brothers, after Christ they carnalized and made themselves coward just as all the Christians who have been stupefied by liberalism and by democratic scourges.8

There are two radically opposed ways to combat: one is carnal, the other is spiritual; one is of the devil, the other one of God; one is that of the Jew, the other of the Christians; one that entraps, the other one that charges with virility.

The devil defeated Eve with seducing words, but the Virgin defeats the devil crushing his head. The devil tempts Christ with fascinating promises, but Christ rejects the devil with the fierceness of a lion. The jews plot secret conspiracies against Christ, but Christ denounces and destroys their machinations in plain daylight. And in the zenith of Medieval greatness, while the Jews conspired in their ghettoes, the knights and the heroes fought in the daylight against the enemies of the Cross. The Middle Ages are mystic and warriorlike as all spiritual grandeur. The sword is at the service of the Cross.

Christian charity, which commands us to procure efficaciously the good of God, the good of the Church, the good of the Christian peoples, commands us for the same reason to wield the sword to defend efficaciously these goods when there is no other way to secure them.

If it has not yet arrived, perhaps it is not far from coming the moment when, if we don’t want to see the name of God proscribed, the temples burnt, the priests reviled, the virgins defiled by the unleashed rabble, it will be necessary to brace our backs and brandish the sword.

If because of sentimentalism or cowardice we refrain from fighting with vigor, we will have to live as slaves to a rabid minority of Jews who, after having vilified us in the most sacred, will subject us to the tyranny of dishonor.

Charity itself demands it. Because those who refuse to adopt that sole means that assures the inviolable respect of God, of the Church, of the Fatherland, of the sons and daughters, cannot say they truly love God, the Church, the Fatherland, or his sons and daughters.

Sole means, painful but indispensable, as is the use of the scalpel to cut the gangrene that infects the body.

The use of the sword entails a villainy when it is to exterminate the innocent; in contrast, when it is used to restore the rights of Truth and Justice it imports the honors of heroism.

In writing these pages I have felt the pain of thinking that many true Israelites may believe that with them the Jew is wished to be repressed for reason of him carrying Jewish blood, However, this is impossible to imagine!

It not only is not against the Jewish blood as such, but it is in defense of the true Jewish blood. Because the greatness of Israel is Christ and Mary. The greatness of Israel is the Jewish blood which runs in the veins of Christ and Mary. And in defense of that blood, that is, of the Christian principles, have these pages been written proscribing the infections of the pharisaic blood.

May the true Israelites understand that they can attain the true greatness of their blood, which is the universal greatness of the world, only when also they brandish the sword to clear from their midst the pharisaic ferment that perverts, and adhere to Him who came to save every man.

8 When the Jews, not too long ago, engaged to defend positive values, such as their religion or their land, they were able to give proof of their valor