Should Christians build for the Future?


First published at All Along the Watchtower.

My thoughts here are of genuine conversation, there will be little history and little theology. I hope the thought I share will foster a conversation about Christianity going forward in our Western Culture and hopefully the prosperity of both.

My family on my wife’s side is split between Catholics and Confessional Lutherans. During the Christmas season, I am surrounded by as many Lutherans as Catholics, and of course, because we’re all practicing our particular forms of Christianity, we discuss topics of the Church at the dinner table. The particular topic between my wife’s cousin and myself is how Christians, in light of the rise of the supremacy of the secular West, should look more to their commonalities than their differences. I told my relative, “I have a great many conversations with a great many different Christians and as far as I can see at this moment and during our lifetime there will be theological disagreements. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate being Christian and come together in the face of the rising cynicism and unbelief that dominates our dying culture.”

One of the assertions my relative made was that Christianity is dying because we’re not building new Churches–especially in Europe. Now, there are Europeans who inhabit this blog, so I wonder how much weight of truth is there to my relative’s assertion. He believes that for centuries people have walked past what are now nothing more than old buildings and now they have naturally grown an apathy to something that has always been there. In many ways, humans respond this way to other particular in the world; for example, the scenery becomes nothing more than a background of where we live, and often we stop looking at beauty for what it is because we get use to it. I’ve lived all my life in the Midwest of the United States, which is basically the grain belt of the country, so it is very flat. I’ve always dreamed of living by the sea and/or the mountains. One summer during college, my college girlfriend visited my own, she wasn’t from around the area, and when she was there, she experienced a good Midwestern thunderstorm. She kept going on and on about how wondrous and magnificent was the lighting show on display on the prairie. She said that were she from it was too mountain-ness to see a lightning storm, and I was a bit shocked how I have seemed to have taken for granted such a spectacle.

I think there is wisdom to what my relative has surmised in Western Culture. I am reminded of the Ken Follet book “Pillars of the Earth.” The story centered around the building of a great Cathedral and the generations of lives it took to build such a magnificent building, it became an affair of the family and generations. When our church decided to build on to our existing Parish, the parish, of course, had a meeting about the finances. During the meeting, a woman stood up and declared from some sort of statistics that the parish membership was in decline, and we should just build a cost-effective building. I stood up and rejected her thoughts on the matter. I reminded her that money is temporal and that our goal was not to hoard it. I even invoked the reasoning of Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come.” A faith that builds is an active faith, a faith that preserves, often times burns slowly like a candle and eventually time will extinguish it.

I believe these are the feelings of my relative in the relationship of people of Western Culture to their churches—and perhaps there is some truth to it. I have a particular devotion to Pope St. John Paul II, and I am reminded of the Soviets purposely building a city called Nowa Huta in Poland for steel manufacturing which included no church “a first in the millennium long history of Poland.”[1] In fact, as Pope John Paul II biographer George Weigel writes, “Over the next four decades the exhaust from Nowa Huta’s steel mills would, literally, eat away at the fabric of Krakow.”[2]

The Ark Church would be consecrated by the future Pope John Paul II in May of 1977 in Nowa Huta after receiving a permit to finally build a church in 1967. Weigel articulates, “The Ark Church is a striking architectural metaphor: the people of the Church, gathered in a boat reminiscent of Noah’s ark and the fishing craft sailed by the apostles on the Sea of Galilee, are carried through the tempests of history.”[3]


There’s another beautiful church built in the area THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF CZĘSTOCHOWA. The construction of this particular church began in 1984 and it’s architecture blends both modern and classic themes in a sanctuary that reminds the faithful of both the sacred and the profane. [4]


It’s interesting how slow secularism has crept into Poland after an onslaught of both Nazism and Soviet powers. Perhaps, the blood of martyrs seeded the ground of Poland, but the newly seeded ground did have to rebuild either physical churches or their spiritualism. After all, arguably the most devout diocese in Europe resides in Poland—Tarnow.[5]

[1] George Weigel, City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2015), 220.

[2] Ibid, 12.

[3] Ibid, 221-222.



The History of God and the Resurrection: A Conversation of Struggle



Below is taken from emails and pieced together from a conversation with a family member, note that many of the ideas can be fleshed out in far greater detail: 

The problem with pain is not a unique attack on God, but rather a clever one that acknowledges an existence but attacks His character as if His character could be assessed in the same manner as any human. The problem with this common assertion is often the focus on God; for example, why do we blame God for evil rather than humanity? There are many who have supplied refutations to this objection such as C.S Lewis, Fulton Sheen, Joseph Ratzinger, etc.

There are two things to understand. The world because of humanity’s original sin is – profane and not holy-and not the end. Therefore, God’s greatest concern is for the sanctity of our souls. If God allows pain by allowing free will to exist and by allowing natural disasters, we can be comfortable to answer that He does so to allow us to use these opportunities to ease the suffering on earth for the healing of our souls. Suffering is allowed to exist so that a greater good can occur for those in the City of Man to become sanctified.

Many will object to this answer, but I ask them, “What if it’s the truth, what would be your reaction if you knew it to be true?”

So, recently, I’ve been asked How can I know? Where does my faith come from? If I am to answer myself, especially when looking at our current world, I would say that my faith flows from the spring of Truth. When I look at the world, I see a finely tuned creation. A creation that has objective moral truths, natural rights, and natural laws, so from this foundation, I call it God. My observations of the world have allowed me to conclude that relativism is false, and if there are objective truths, what is the source? However, as I have arrived at this conclusion, I ask, is there anything I can know about God? Historically, because I’ve come to the conclusion that God exists, I look to the Apostles and the Gospels. Many modern Atheists will reject the Gospels as evidence, but this is simply not an action of the scholarly. For example, the Gospels quite easily fall in the genre of Ancient Biography, and prior to my degree in history, I was a Classics major and read my fair share of Ancient Biographies to know that just because an Ancient account has miracles doesn’t dismiss its historical content. For example, as I studied Alexander the Great in my youth with a great zeal, I know that modern scholars do not dismiss historical accounts of Alexander by Plutarch, Arrian, and Diodorus even though they have unexplainable events within the texts such as prophecies from oracles and fathers who are deities.

So let’s recap, I have concluded by observing the natural world with philosophy that God exists, and I am searching if there is anything I can know about this God? Now, just like I would as Classic student, examining the ancient accounts without consideration of miracles, what do the accounts tell me? One of the things that it tells me is that the Apostles were all scared and fled for their lives when their leader—Christ–was arrested and executed. After some time, something changed, and those men were not afraid. In fact, all became so courageous that only John was not a martyr. Not one cried out to escape their fates, “I am fraud.”

Now, it’s true, in our modern age of skepticism, there are those who doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was even a historical figure. I cannot stress this enough that this is a position of anti-intellectualism on their part. The historical record, aside from the Gospels, supports the existence of the man. Here is an account from a pagan Roman Historian by the name of Tacitus (55-115 A.D.):

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, and the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. (Annals XV:44)

 Of course, there is other evidence from Josephus, Suetonius, and others, but many modern skeptics attempt to force Christians into a pigeonhole reading of these accounts in a minimalist perspective rather than maximalist– a viewpoint one is accorded with other Ancient Biographies—mainly because there is so much more at stake with the Gospels.

From this evidence, I have concluded that there is a God, I have concluded from the Gospels that Christ claimed to be God, and I have concluded that he died and his Apostles were inspired by something that occurred after his death to meet their own deaths. Ultimately, I have concluded that Christ rose from the dead. If Christ did indeed die and rose again to conquer sin, I gather that God does care about us and is benevolent rather than malevolent because He chose to become a lowly man, and suffered a lowly scandalous death.

Furthermore, with the revelation of this truth, God can’t be a narcissist, as militant modern atheists now claim, for obligating worship in the respect that narcissism is a human disorder for it is not possible that a human can be perfect. A perfect being who is truly great cannot, by definition, be a narcissist. The being of God is one that is truly perfect who requires worship not necessarily for His glory–because what could our worship aid in the divine?–but rather for the benefit of our eternal soul and sanctification because this is the ultimate plan of God for his creation.

So remember, when we see pain in the world, The most powerful action is turning to God for assistance because ultimately the pain was brought into the world by humanity because of our betrayal of God. We can do this by prayer and compassionate action to our fellow human. Let us, tell God here on earth that we choose to serve him rather than ourselves.

Perseverance in Faith | All Around the Western Front


I write today as a Catholic who has studied extensively history. One could call me a Catholic Historian, but let it be made clear that my Catholicism can never be separated from who I am and my words. We, the Charity of Christ, find ourselves on the other side of a Relativist Revolution, we are now subjugated to the rule of those who have separated God from the public sphere. Of course, this is not the first time this has occurred in our history–in Salvation History.

We, The Charity of Christ, for far too long have been sold the lie that we must conduct our faithfulness separate from our actions in the public sphere. The Communist attempted to perfect this ideology, but make no mistake, the so-called “Enlightenment” originated the idea in the world. An idea that is very much supported in our mainstream society with pop culture scientist like Neil DeGrasse Tyson who propose an idea like a nation called “Rationalia.” I tweeted back to Tyson that Ironically his sentiment is the same as the Soviets before they exterminated Polish Catholics.



Readmore via Perseverance in Faith | All Around the Western Front

7 Things You Must Know about St. Benedict’s Medal


By SPL Contributor, November 9th, 2012

via 7 Things You Must Know about St. Benedict’s Medal

5. The Medal Wards Against

1. To destroy witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences;
2. To impart protection to persons tempted, deluded, or tormented by evil spirits;
3. To obtain the conversion of sinners into the Catholic Church, especially when they are in danger of death;
4. To serve as an armor against temptation;
5. To destroy the effects of poison;
6. To secure a timely and healthy birth for children;
7. To afford protection against storms and lightning;
8. To serve as an efficacious remedy for bodily afflictions and a means of protection against contagious diseases.


6. How to use the medal

1. On a chain around the neck;
2. Attached to one’s rosary;
3. Kept in one’s pocket or purse;
4. Placed in one’s car or home;
5. Placed in the foundation of a building;
6. Placed in the center of a cross.

The use of any religious article is intended as a means of reminding one of God and of inspiring a willingness and desire to serve God and neighbor. It is not regarded as a good luck charm or magical device.1

A Historicism of Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 1 — All Around the Western Front

Read my post on AATWF about the latest research on the Crusades, and why the common narrative of the mainstream is wrong.

During a Prayer Breakfast in 2015, Barack Obama, the President of the United States made the following comment, “During the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”[1] The source I chose to use to cite this comment is the “New Yorker,” a politically left leaning publication. The author of […]

via Historicism of the Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 1 — All Around the Western Front

The San Damiano Crucifix


I have a foundational connection to this crucifix from my youth. I was introduced to the remarkable piece of artwork during my years at Catholic school. Our parish priest, as I remember it, had traveled to Rome for some sort of priestly activity and during his time there he found an extraordinary print of this crucifix. I remember the detail of the image to be quite exquisite, like something that truly carried the sanctity of heaven. An image that truly carries the words of St. Augustine as a visible sign of invisible Grace. Our priest had the image custom made into a  processional cross for the altar boys of our parish to carry in and out of Mass. The image was customed framed with a dark wood that bordered the image, but also had the design of the mystical vine that the image carried itself. I remember having the great honor to carry this crucifix as an altar boy it to the altar.

The processional cross was large and weighed a great deal. It wasn’t hard for an altar boy to imagine the weight of Christ’s cross as he carried it to the place of the skull either during Mass or especially for stations of the cross. The honor to be around such an image at such a young age has continued to resonate in my heart that I still carry this crucifix with me every day around my neck, and it hangs on the wall of my office where I now type these words.


The Church has a historical connection to the crucifix, as according to tradition this is the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis of Assisi at San Damiano. It was through this holy image that Christ spoke to St. Francis to give him the mission to rebuild his church that had fallen into despair. St. Francis would certainly rebuild Christ’s church in San Damiano as well as other areas nearby, but the Franciscans hold that Christ’s message was the foundation of their order.

The Crucifix appears to be odd for the region of San Damiano, Italy, but scholars point to the image to be painted by an unknown Umbrian painter in the 12th century who had been influenced by Syrian monks that were in the region. The artist created within the crucifix the story of the Passion of Christ, the bridge to our salvation. Eastern tradition teaches that the Crucifix Icon is a personal encounter with the living God.


The central image of the Crucifix is Christ; the image portrays Christ’s humanity and his victory over death. At the top of the Crucifix above Christ’s head is the ascension of Christ into heaven, as well as the hand of God. If you look at the hand, the hand has two fingers extended which are a representation of the Holy Spirit. The two figures under Christ’s right side is Mary and John, who were present at the Cross. Mary is wearing a white veil which is an indication of the purity of Revelation. Both John and Mary look at each other as Christ commanded them to behold their “son” and “mother” respectively. On the other side of Christ is Mary Magdalene, which gives her a special place near Christ. Mary Clopas and the Centurion of Capernaum stands next to her. There are two smaller figures in the portrait which are the Roman with the lance, and the Roman with the sponge. Finally, The image below Christ’s feet is that of unknown Saints, who scholars have debated and speculated who they are in the image.

There is also a rooster by Christ’s left leg, which is a bit difficult to see; of course, this connects to the denial of Christ by Peter during the passion story. It was always a favorite image that the children enjoyed when Father explained the story behind the images on this magnificent piece of artwork. I am so very honored to have such an experience with it.

Did the Church which Christ Established Come with an Expiration Date?

Servus defends the Apostolic traditions and doctrines of the Church. I remember reading this when it was first posted, it’s a good read and worthy of a repost. The Catholic Church, which is the Church established by Christ and entrusted to St. Peter, is how Christ has chosen to continue to touch his disciples today, in his holy word, and by the sacraments of the one true Apostolic Church.

Servus Fidelis ~ The Faithful Servant

keys of peter

There is a popular and recurrent theme amongst many non-Catholic Christians that the promises given to Peter and Christ’s gift to him of the keys (to bind and loose), is not indicative of an office per se but a one time gift to Peter and that when Peter died so did the keys vanish with him. Likewise, using the same logic, the powers given to the Apostles after Christ breathed on them and gave them the power to forgive sins was also buried with them at their deaths. Thereby, any Christian Church is no better than any other as nobody has a special gift of the Holy Spirit to lead them to all truths. It died when the apostles died and its a great way to avoid any notion of there being any reliable and lasting authority in the practice and teaching of Christianity no matter the claims.

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The Sign of The Cross: Why do Catholics sign themselves?


One of the great histories written on the topic of the Sign of the Cross was written in defense of the ceremony by St. Francis De Sales. St. Francis De Sales took up his pen in defense of Catholicism while he was Bishop of Geneva in Switzerland, which was dominated during his time in the 16th century by Calvinists. Francis De Sales decided to write on the topic of the Sign of the Cross because the Calvinist of his day accused the practice of being a Papist invention that had nothing to do with the early Church.

The translator, Christopher O. Blum, writes in the forward of The Sign of the Cross that “The reader will not fail to be struck by the relevance of this work in our own age. Crucifixes to be sure, but even bare crosses, are conspicuous by their absence in America’s Evangelical churches, and the act of making the Sign of the Cross is regarded by many non-Catholics as superstition at best.”[1]

I am a born and raised Catholic, so the ceremony of the Sign of the Cross has always been  a part of my life. However, I have encountered instances where I have felt self-conscience because of a stare from another member of society–especially when I was younger. I never really knew the history of the Sign of the Cross just that it was done by Catholics, a distinct action of our Latin culture, but St. Francis De Sales book is a beautiful explanation that I wish I had to encountered at a younger age so that I could have been properly informed.

In the first chapter, St. Francis De Sales discusses how “the Sign of the Cross is a Christian ceremony that represents the Passion of our Lord.”[2] When discussing ceremonies that take place within the religions, Francis De Sales explains the importance of religion in the context of these ceremonial actions. He says, “the virtue of religion, having for its proper and natural work to render to God the honor that is His due.”[3] Francis De Sales explains that the action of the Sign of the Cross is an action that outside of religion would have absolutely no meaning and no use. He says, “Indifferent actions would remain useless if religion did not employ them, but once put to work by it, they become noble, useful, and holy.”[4] Of course, we Catholics do other actions when we enter our sanctuaries as we bend our knees to the ground to show a free submission to the will of God in front of him in the Tabernacle, as explained by Bishop Paprocki during the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.

However for the Calvinist of De Sales days–and the Protestant of today– who are not convinced, he has the reader look back into scripture to find where religion requested such action from those in the world since the beginning of humanity. He explains for all to look at the story of Abel and Cain and notice how religion called for them to make offerings, and in regards to Noah, an altar was constructed without delay.[5] Regardless of the rejection from Calvinist in St. Francis De Sales day to Protestants in the modern world, The Old Testament is filled with examples such as the sacrifices and ceremony of Abraham, Melchizedek, Isaac, Jacob et al. Furthermore, look at the accounts of the New Testament where John is baptizing, St. Paul is cutting his hair for a vow, and prays on his knees with the church of Miletus.[6] De Sales reminds us that these action by themselves mean nothing, but when used in the context of religion to praise the glory of God “they become honorable and efficacious ceremonies.”[7]

St. Francis De Sales reminds us that God even works through ceremony when conducting miracles on earth. He has Moses touch the rock with his staff, or a beggar touches the robes of Christ they become healed.[8]


So the Christian who employs the ceremony of The Sign of the Cross does so to honor God in a manner that is strictly Christian. A sign that was conducted in the early Church to symbolize to others during the height of persecution that they were Christians. A symbol of the Passion made by a simple motion that creates the shape of the crucifixion. It must be made with the right hand with either three fingers representing the trinity or five representing the five wounds of Christ. St. Francis De Sales reminds us to use either three or five fingers as the Jacobites and Armenians employed only one figure to represent their Christological heresies.[9] The sign of the Cross should begin at the forehead while saying, “In the name of the Father,” and move down toward the stomach while saying “and of the Son.” The downward motion illustrates that the Son proceeds from the Father by sending his Son to the womb of the Virgin Mary. The hand then moves to the left shoulder to the right while saying “and of the Holy Spirit.” Catholics do this to illustrate that the third person in the Trinity proceeds from the Father and from the Son.

The beautiful ceremony is the confession of the mysteries of the Trinity, the Passion, and salvation from sin.[10] It is one that is that shows our Catholic culture and one that honors the traditions of Christianity. If your own faith does not practice this beautiful ceremony, I ask that you reflect on the matter.

[1] St. Francis De Sales, The Sign of the Cross (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2013), xiii.

[2] Ibid, 3.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 4.

[5] Ibid, 5.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 6.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid, 9.

[10] Ibid, 10.

Christian Origins of anti-Semitism: A Historical Lie


Melissa, a Latin Community writer, is Jewish. So, I would certainly surmise that she probably has a better understanding of this topic written by Rodney Stark from personal experience. I definitely welcome her to challenge any ideas presented by Stark that I examine in his first chapter of his book.

In Rodney Stark’s new book, Bearing False Witness, he sets out on a tour de force by examining the history of Anti-Catholicism that has existed in world history. Stark dismisses one of the largest historical lies against the Church; the Crusades were the first example of unprovoked colonialism, which Thomas F. Madden in his work properly shows that the Crusades are to be more properly interpreted as a defense of Christendom. He challenges the atheist supposition that the Church plunged the world into the Dark Ages only to be brought out by Enlightenment thinkers who put their faith in empiricism. Stark, among other events, finally sets the record straight on what really happened during the Spanish Inquisition.[1]

Stark’s book doesn’t shy away from challenging some of the towering scholars of history; the mainstays in university bookstores. In Stark’s introduction, the first scholar he calls out is the university standout Edward Gibbon, who he calls “one of the very first distinguished bigots.”[2] Stark writes, “Edward Gibbon would surely have been in deep trouble had the bitterly anti-religious views he expressed in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire not been incorrectly seen as applying only to Roman Catholicism…Gibbon’s readers assumed his attacks were specific to Catholicism and not aimed at religion at all.”[3]

Stark reminds us that we will meet a great many of these “distinguished bigots” who many are in recent years “alienated Catholics, many of whom are seminary dropouts (one of my former college professors), former priests, or ex-nuns, such as John Cornwell, James Carroll, and Karen Armstrong.”[4]

In the first chapter, Stark dismisses what is likely the first incorrect recording of Catholic history that many secular scholars promote, which is that the Church is the originator of anti-Semitism in the world. The author explains how he fell very early in his career for this historical lie and even quotes his own book to prove it. He explains that as a graduate student that he was requested to research anti-Semitism which did show a link between American Christians prejudice against Jews. Stark explains that prior to Vatican II he was asked to prepare a brief on his findings.[5]

So how did we get to that point in the lie? It’s explained that the invention of the Church creating anti-Semitism rests on academic scholars who ignore that the fact that it existed in history prior to Christianity. Stark writes, “All of the scholars who believe that the Christians invented anti-Semitism know that deep hostility toward Jews existed long before the birth of Jesus.”[6] Stark goes to the primary Roman sources to prove this assertion. He quotes Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Cicero, and Tacitus who each had written remarks that possess strong discriminatory opinions against Jews.

Stark examines in his book a litany of examples of pagans discriminating Jews, the question that arises is why do modern historians ignore this? I would certainly assert that if any have stepped foot on a public college campus in the past ten years, the religious are not only a minority but an endangered species. In fact, I remember I made an effort to present my arguments for moral absolutism in the Enlightenment language of Locke, Burke, Rousseau et al. simply because if I mentioned either religion or God, I would have been laughed out of the room or even mocked. I am not even exaggerating this point.

So what do the Gospels say? Of course, Stark examines the Gospel of Matthew, which is written for Jews, which these irreligious scholars continue to cite over and over due to the language of Mt. 27:24-26. Stark asserts that these passages are explained out of context by the irreligious, which I remember when studying the Gospel of Matthew in theology class makes perfect sense. The Gospel was written for Jews who were concerned with not being loyal to Judaism by worshiping Christ. In this respect, one can see that the Gospel is calling them to progress from what happened in Jerusalem to faith in Christ. Of course, when the text is read by an audience that it is not intended for then the proper historicism and message are lost.

There are other passages in the entirety of the Bible and writings of Early Christians that are not interpreted with proper historicism by modern scholars. Stark reminds readers that in the year 100 A.D. there were only approximately 8,000 Christians and a century later only 200,000. In comparison to Jews during the period, which stood at 7 million, the goal of Christian writings during the period where to largely convert Jews to their religion.[7] Modern scholars apply modern prejudices to text written by 2nd  and 3rd century Christians attempting to convert Jews to their religion. Of course, if Christians were a minority to Jews during the period, isn’t it more likely that they were victims of discrimination from the majority? Doesn’t St. Paul admit this in Acts 22:4-5?:

I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.[8]

 I could go on about the evidence asserted by Rodney Stark; however, I suggest just buying his book to read his full account on this matter. Stark goes on to explain how in the middles ages the accounts of anti-Semitism by the Church have also been over-exaggerated, but to serve the purpose of this post; I wanted to illustrate how the origins of anti-Semitism did not originate from Christianity. It was unlikely due to it already existing in Pagan Rome, and Christians being a minority religion, and wanting to convert Jews to their religion wrote in the context of that sentiment.


[1] Rodney Stark, Bearing False Witness (West Conshohocken: Templeton Press, 2016), 4.

[2] Ibid, 3.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 4.

[5] Ibid, 9.

[6] Ibid, 11.

[7] Ibid, 15.

[8] Acts 22: 4-5 RSV