On Second Thought II:  September 6-12 2015

Pope Francis has been instructing Europeans to open their homes to Syrian migrants.  Obviously, many Europeans, Christian and secularist alike, might feel some reluctance about welcoming people from a country where the rule of law does not seem to exist and where it is not unusual to engage in civil war and violence against those who do not share every jot and tittle of your brand of Islam.

For secularists, unless they are strict adherents to the Marxist-globalist ideology that even Bernie Sanders dissents from, practical considerations should be enough.  Christians, however, get uneasy.  Our religion, after all, teaches us to love all mankind.

On second thought, however, there are some restrictions on universal philanthropy toward strangers. The Old Testament distinguishes very clearly between the position of sojourners or naturalized aliens who have accepted the customs and culture of the nation and those who are just passing through, and there is no explicit statement in the New Testament that tells us to put the interests of our family at risk in order to help strangers.

I have a long section on this forthcoming in Properties of Blood, but for this morning let me quote from Galatians 6, the Epistle text for today in the traditional calendar.

“Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

The phrase “household of the faith,” which is word for word the same in the Authorized Version, is rendered in Latin as “domesticos fidei,” namely, those who share hearth and home with the faith.  Now, obviously, a distinction is being made between the good we owe everyone and the good we owe to Christians.  Since this is clearly the teaching, elsewhere, of St. Paul, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas, there is nothing unusual in the passage, though it does serve to remind us that the campaign to eliminate particular duties, so typical of the  Enlightenment, is not actually Christian.  (Again, I have a lot to say about this in Properties of Blood).

Before leaving the subject, I do want to draw attention to the somewhat richer Greek word for “of the household,” and it is the appropriate form of the adjective oikeios, which means literally belonging to the house or family, comparable on the domestic scale with sympolites, fellow citizen.  It has has nuances that connote kinship and friendship, while the Stoics used it in their theory of how we become morally responsible by acknowledging moral kinship or connectedness first with parents and family, then with friends and neighbors, and, ultimately, with mankind.

It is a fitting metaphor for the Church that makes us kinsman and friend to all other Christians, though not to the enemies of our faith.  The Slovaks seem to know this, since they have extended a welcome to Christian migrants.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

9 Responses

  1. Ben says:

    Dr. Fleming,
    The new site is great. I discovered it just last week (no thanks to chronicles.)
    The “whilst we have time” reference above is reminiscent of this site’s subtitle “redimentes tempus” which itself is reminiscent of the Ephesians verse: “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Needless to say, a sense of urgency is palpable when reading your work. The same urgency overwhelmed me several months ago when I realized I must get my hands on and study all your past chronicles articles; and so I purchased every printed issue that predated my first subscription issue that was April of last year. I did this for several reasons but have only just now realized, after reading this 2nd-thought piece, that I was governed by this great urgency. I’m not exactly sure as to what I’m supposed to accomplish other than reading/learning from all your articles but I do plan to pass them on to my children as prized possessions with the hope that they understand this urgency.
    lastly, I’m very much looking forward to an updated autodidactic reading list. thank you.

  2. Harry Heller says:

    Excellent response to the Pope, who strikes me less as a Christian than a globalist liberal in Church vestments. I wonder: what is the very best book or books demonstrating that Christianity is NOT “liberalism + God” (and that liberalism is NOT “Christianity – God”)?

    Of course, I wonder how extensive the duties of hospitality are when numbers are overwhelming. If I see a man lying on the ground in obvious trouble, I will try to help him as best I can, and also use my cellphone to call the police or paramedics as appropriate. My admittedly somewhat paltry understanding of the Christian faith is that I am not required to drain my bank account for the guy’s benefit, nor invite him to be a permanent squatter in my backyard.

    The issue of these demographic invaders is as I expressed it in a lengthy comment on an earlier thread. Do worldly things matter? Does the preservation of cultures and modes of life matter? Is such action permissible? I think yes. I’m not aware that the Bible is an ethnic suicide manual. Our moral obligations to those, not merely who are outside the faith, but also outside the tribe or race, are limited to the old libertarian standby of non-aggression (or perhaps, Greeks being popular here, we can recall Hippocrates: do no harm). The Austrians are not morally culpable for the plight of these Syrians. Why should they be held to have to destroy their culture and ethnic heritage in order to be Great Samaritans to hordes of trespassing aliens, who bring their failed societies in their cultures and, really, if we’re honest as enjoined by Aquinas, DNA? As an act of generosity, the Europeans can offer to transport the refugees to, say, West Africa, or perhaps, Argentina or Mexico. Why do they (and the Pope) think these foreigners have some moral right to come settle/colonize in the desirable West (when they are ethnically and racially, and not just religiously, unassimilable)?

    No, this is a form of cultural abuse of the white race’s empirically well-established higher collective morality and magnanimity. This is the Camp of the Saints as foreseen by the brilliant Raspail. My family is heavily Catholic, but all it seems recognize an invasion when they see it. My mother actually asked me recently whether I thought the Church had plans to protect its treasures if the Muslims begin storming and stripping the Vatican, Notre Dame, etc. Recalling Raspail’s novel, I burst out laughing, and assured her that the deracinated “primitivists” (not just Bergoglio, but Dolan, Chaput, etc over here) who have now taken over the entirety of the Church hierarchy will gladly hand everything over to the invaders, while congratulating themselves on what fine followers of Christ they are (instead of the ethnomasochistic cowards and traitors they are in plain moral fact).

    I fear that there is going to have to be a literal traditionalist rebellion in the Catholic Church in the not too distant future – a raw, military/mob takeover of the Church by (ideological) conservatives, followed by a mass purging of the treasonous elements (actually, I think this will be the template for EVERY institution in the West – takeovers and purges, and eventual widespread expatriations of alien colonists, at least in Europe, OUR PEOPLE’S homeland). The Church is perhaps the central institution of the West, but it has been taken over from the inside by what Raspail calls “The Beast”. As Garrett Hardin once opined, we need “new thinking for survival.”

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Ben is far too kind, but I do sometimes feel that there is a need for writers with something of the berserker in their nature. I hope you will comment often on this site. It is through conversation and dialogue, as Plato understood, that we really learn.

    Mr. Heller as usual raises important points, some of which I have addressed in Properties of Blood. My view, as you know, is that Christians of every type have swallowed revolutionary principles without knowing it, thus, when push comes to the inevitable shove, they don’t know what response to make. Pope Francis struck me from the beginning as a simple man and inadequately prepared for the task. He seems to have absorbed every leftist cliche that has been in the air all his life. It does not make him a bad man or even a bad theologian (though I see very little evidence of any serious study on his part), but he is giving cover to all the anti-Catholic anti-Christian notions that have plagued the Church for fi e centuries.

  4. Edward says:

    Dr. Fleming, your new site is excellent and it is good to be able to read you regularly again. I look forward with eager anticipation to your next book.

    My fear right now is that the Church’s leaders believe they know the future with certainty, and that our future is non-white and non-western. They seem to be in the process of cynically pivoting in order to survive the demographic deluge implemented by almost every western government. The major problem here is that this is most likely not going to happen without serious resistance. The under 40 generation of Europeans and Americans are mostly obsequious servants of the state, but many of us aren’t, and social media is connecting people across America and Europe who are beginning to rediscover their identity as westerners. I am afraid that the Church is missing an opportunity to be the moral beacon for a type of rebirth of western cultural, religious, and racial consciousness because it is convinced that we will just gently fade away. This is not going to happen, and, as a Catholic, I do not want the Church to set itself against Europe and white America.

  5. Dot Delano says:

    By Pope Francis “instructing Europeans to open their homes to Syrian migrants” (possibly Shite) he cooperated with the Sunni Muslim community to spread Islamism throughout Europe. With their higher birthrate, Europe is on her way to being Islamized. The Slovaks? They may be Eastern Orthodox Christians.

  6. Thomas Fleming says:

    The Slovaks are mostly Catholic, though rather simple in their piety. I once spent Easter in Bratislava. The churches were packed most of the day.

  7. Dot Delano says:

    Thank you for your comment and correction.

  8. Harry Heller says:

    I should clarify that I don’t necessarily think the Pope is evil (although I’m not the One Who judges these things, either) in recommending what will be, in effect, the suicide of the West. I’m rather liberal in my belief in the Lord’s mercy (of course, I may well be wrong, as my extreme Calvinist friend likes to remind me). Pope Francis may just be mentally simple (by the standard of his office), and thus extremely naive (my mother’s more charitable interpretation). Of course, the Western Church laity have a right to inquire why any simpleton should occupy the Holy See, and Bergoglio himself should have some sense of whether he is worthy of the position (“A man’s got to know his limitations,” said Dirty Harry, sagely).

    But let me ask a subversive question. How would we know if Bergoglio were in fact evil? If he were intent on subverting European civilization – indeed, if he were even a secret Muslim facilitating the expansion of what Dr. Trifkovic often refers to as the Dar-al-Islam – HOW WOULD HE BE ACTING DIFFERENTLY? As we say today, just askin’.

    Beyond personal motives, the Pope ought to know that he is endorsing actions which will produce vast discord in the future (again “Old Enoch”‘s stricture about preventing foreseeable evils comes to mind). What is really going on with well-intentioned liberals, over here as well as in Europe, is that they are psychically self-indulgent. They see what they wish to see, what it flatters their psyches to see – and refuse to see what they cannot assimilate to their pleasant worldviews. What they ultimately ignore is the reality of human sinfulness and thus the ineradicability of evil. But “ineradicability” does not mean “unmitigability”. Human reason can be used to shrink (if never altogether eliminate) the areas of suffering, including that suffering caused by ethnic conflict. But Churchmen would rather flatter themselves and feel virtuous (and, not least, earn the approbation of their psychological “similars” in the global/Western media) than dictate/recommend measures that may seem harsh today, but which will forestall greater evils tomorrow (or even merely in the more distant future). I don’t think there is anything especially compassionate about such behavior.

  9. Harry Heller says:

    Something I just wrote on another site seems applicable to this thread:

    Christianity today is a fifth column in the West, but it was not always so, nor need it be so. I am working on my own little long-term project of intellectual “reformation” of the false racial narrative of contemporary Christianity, so as to demonstrate the EVIL , or at least moral unnecessity, of totalitarian-imposed “diversity”. The Religion of Diversity is liberalism, NOT the ancient faith.

    Race patriots should NEVER go down the road of “white religion”. I’m speaking not as a Christian concerned with saving souls (I’m rather liberal in my interpretation of who will be saved, and what role mere humans can have in facilitating such saving), but as a strict pragmatist. First, no atheist is going to buy into religious ritual simply for the sake of saving the race. That is ridiculous! If I were an atheist rejecting the immense intellectual riches of Christianity, would I turn around to embrace some idiotic, made up “race religion”, like “Kwanzaa”? Of course not.

    Second, Christianity has (until recently) proven the test of time (and I believe will do so again). There is a developed theological as well as liturgical (and historical) structure to Christianity, one which has been well adapted over the millennia to the psyche of whites and the modes of living they have repeatedly produced, including under widely varying circumstances. Why in the world would we give that up, and try to start over (especially when the historical events which gave rise to the faith are not going to recur)? Why not FIGHT WITHIN THE FAITH to take it back for whites; ie, for allowing whites to live properly – as we were intended to live, in our own self-governing communities – and honestly? Indeed, “race realism” is nothing more than racial honesty. Fidelity to truth is one of the highest Christian virtues (St. Thomas Aquinas is emphatic on this point: mendacity is Satanic –>> perhaps why Satan is called “the Prince of Lies”).

    Allowing race aliens to colonize our homelands is not a Christian act, such as extending emergency food or medical care (or even bombing ‘les genocidaires’ in defense of a persecuted people, as we did vis a vis ISIS and the Yazidis in Iraq) would be. It is liberalism, with its emphasis on the alleged inherent “good” of territorial (and perhaps genetic) race integration, nothing more. Let race realists and race conservatives take back our churches, and then theo-racio-ideologically reform them so as to allow for white communal survival.