Who are we, really, as Americans?

Politics is no longer about arguments over policies and prudence, but about transgressors and the anointed righteous who must render judgment against such irredeemable sinners.

Law enforcement officers scuffle with supporters of President Donald Trump attempting to breach security barriers at the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 6, 2021, during a protest against Congress certifying the 2020 presidential election. (CNS photo/Jim Urquhart, Reuters)

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), made the following remark as part of a longer statement about the violence in the United States Capitol: “I join people of good will in condemning the violence today at the United States Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans.”

With all due respect: who are we, really, as Americans?

Are we the Americans who demonstrate peacefully against injustices, real or perceived? Or the Americans who riot and vandalize cities such as Portland, Oregon—just 90 minutes up the road from where I live—for weeks and months on end?

Are we the Americans who tire of technocrats and experts issuing constant decrees about “pauses” and “freezes”? Or the Americans who shame and attack those who think such measures (and the virtue-signaling religion of perpetual mask wearers) should be questioned with facts and reason?

Are we the Americans who think Donald J. Trump is the savior of America, the last great hope for Christianity and freedom? Or are we the Americans who think Trump is the new Hitler and a racist demon whose tweets and hair should be condemned to everlasting (but clean-burning) fires?

Or are we the Americans who think both sides are short-circuiting zombies who cannot see the forest of reality for the trees of ideology?

Are we the Americans who think every white person is a racist who must atone until death for sins committed by the very non-action of not publicly baring their bigoted hearts? Or are we the Americans who insist racism is completely dead and gone, and that anyone who thinks racism exists in some form or fashion is a Marxist tool?

Or are we Americans who think that humans, being what they are, will always struggle with the sin of racism, not to mention every other sin and human ill that has been been around since The Garden?

I will not try to speculate here or try to make clear sense of the many (and often contradictory) reports coming out of the nation’s capital city. I will simply repeat what I wrote earlier today on Twitter:

The only consistent, principled stance is to denounce all riots and condemn all violent protests, regardless of ideological origins and goals. Period. I’ve written against the riots/protests of the past year and I stand against the current lawlessness and violence in DC.

Back in June, when the riots and conflicts in Seattle began to escalate rapidly, I told a good friend that I could see it spreading quickly to other cities. I put forward the opinion that Portland could well become the worst of the lot. He wasn’t sure, but never having lived in the Northwest admitted that he wasn’t a good judge of the situation. I didn’t want to be right, but I was, even though I’ve been rather surprised by what has transpired in Portland and how much Stygian gloom has been revealed in the process.

On the other hand, Seattle and Portland have long sought to be seen as free-wheeling, progressive, and cutting-edge cities that thrive on giving the middle finger to order, goodness, and the permanent things. The politics involved, as notable as they are, are mostly symptoms of a nihilistic culture enthralled with shaping an identity divorced from commonsense, natural law, and traditional beliefs about, well, nearly everything.

People here take pride in being open-minded. But, as Chesterton famously wrote, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” Upon what, exactly, is this sort of culture founded? What roots nourish it? From what soil does it spring? And to what end? To pick up Chesterton’s metaphor: “Where’s the beef”? (And, no, tofu isn’t going to cut it.)

The same questions extend to the entire country. 2020 demonstrated that certainties are few and far between, even while the rigid nature of ideological arrogance has become a most certain part of everyone’s life. 2021 will likely see much more of the same, if only because 2020 was not a change from pre-2020 years, but a year-long ripping off of the scab underneath of which was a festering and feverish illness that could no longer be covered by pop culture clichés, political promises, and streaming bread-and-circuses.

In a June 4, 2020 essay titled “America in the Aftermath of George Floyd: Between Paganism and Christianity”, the political philosopher Joshua Mitchell wrote:

If Christianity is receding, then we will likely see the return to the pagan understanding that peoples are the proper objects of cathartic rage. That is a sobering truth, which defenders of secularism deny. The real alternatives might not be Christianity or secularism, but rather revelation or paganism. Should we return to paganism, one people will seek to cleanse themselves of stain by venting their cathartic rage on another people. The war between the gods of the nations would resume in full.

One of Mitchell’s main points, which he fleshes out in provocative and often brilliant fashion in American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time (Encounter Books, 2020) is that we “are living in the midst of an American Awakening, without God and without forgiveness.” Politics is no longer about arguments over policies and prudence, but about transgressors and the anointed righteous who must render judgment against such irredeemable sinners.

Put another way, in broad terms, the current crisis in America is deeply spiritual and essentially theological. A robustly Christian nation would understand that we each, as individuals, will eventually have to answer to God, Creator and righteous Judge of all—and would seek to act accordingly. But a neo-pagan world is intent on judging and destroying whole groups of people, cleansing the whole polis of those who cannot and must not be heard, understood, or accepted in any way. As Mitchell sums up:

Americans today are torn between these two distinctly different understandings of what justice entails: pagan blood payment between peoples, which treats persons as mere proxies; or liberal justice, whose foundation is, finally, the Christian understanding of persons.

So, again: who are we, really, as Americans?

(Note: I originally identified Dr. Joshua Mitchell as Catholic. That is not correct; he is Protestant.)

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Carl E. Olson 1220 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. Well, I’d say Americans are a mixed bag but what I’d like to know is who were the people in the Capitol wearing furs, face paint and buffalo horns? That was truly bizarre.
    Whoever was responsible for vandalizing public property today should make restitution. It was an embarrassment.

    • the commie blm antifa riots were mostly peaceful, the fentanyl black riots were a profound public health intervention, the chinese flu takes voluntary unpaid leave at commie riots and commie mass gatherings, no restitution was needed, cities gave them blocks to destroy.
      You people would apologize after you’ve been half beaten to death.

        • Mrscracker, evil radicalized actors MUST be not only put in jail, they MUST pay for their evil damage to the people’s spire of Democracy.

          With the unopposed election of Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia much morality in our society has been diminished. That dichotomy has forced on us by the religion of politics. Kevin McCarthy has caved in at closed door conference that saw Republicans applaud the epitome of American evil radicalism, Greene who openly calls for the murder of Nancy Pelosi and other democrats. Our sleepy electorate will not face the reality of this threat until the dichotomy turns to autocracy.

          “Are we the Americans who think Donald J. Trump is the savior of America?” Yes, many.

      • You’re right! The double-standard is striking, and more striking is that it is being overlooked. I want no violence…. but the real culprit here if far from Donald Trump.. I’m at least the right showed some muscle. It’s about time. Enemy no.1 is the media. Take good care!

        • Paul, I am stunned that you can ignore Trump’s inciting the incursion of the Capitol. Today, Feb, 9th, Trump will stand trial in the senate for his crime. Media? I hope you include a failing Fox News.

          • Morgan, you mean when President Trump said, “The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable. Activists take that discomfort w/the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes…To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable…that’s the point.”

            Ooops, sorry, that was Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

            Or when he said, ““I want to tell you, Schumer, I want to tell you, Pelosi, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price?”

            Whoops, that was Senator Schumer threatening Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

            Or when he said, “Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.”

            Hang on, that was Senator Nancy Pelosi in 2017, writing about the 2016 election.

            Or when he said, “If you see anybody from that [party] in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

            My mistake, that was Congresswoman Maxine Waters talking about members of President Trump’s cabinet.

            You must be referring to what President Trump actually said: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

            President Trump committed no crime. He certainly did not commit an impeachable offense, and in any event one can’t impeach and try a private citizen in Congress, and he is now a private citizen. And the person who presides over an impeachment of a president is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Roberts has refused to do so. The Constitution does not say, “Oh, well, then, just let the pro tempore president of the Senate, a political enemy of the president, take over.”

            The Congressional Democrats wouldn’t recognize Justice if she walked up and spat in their faces; as, given half a chance, no doubt she would.

      • “The BLM Antifa riots are mostly peaceful?”

        You belong on CNN and MSNBC!

        And who were the rioters at the capital? It is a higher probability that they were antifa than they were actual Trump supporters.

    • Do you remember your history lesson regarding the Boston Tea Party
      Just before the Revolution? The stamp act deniers dressed as indigenous Indians threw British tea shipment into the harbor in protest.
      Supposedly Ben Franklin was not in agreement with that radical act and paid back the shipper for their loss.
      Could be a recreation of that moment in time …

    • mrscracker, your question; “who were the people in the Capitol wearing furs, face paint and buffalo horns?” is a good one. Now after nearly a month we know the answer. The BBC has published a list of those who have been arrested by the FBI so far. It’s not hard to find. It seems there will be more arrests.
      It has been established that interloping false flag antifa and BLM participants were not in any meaningful way a factor in the Capitol Hill riots. It has also been alleged that there were communications from inside the building to some of the active participants in the riot who were entering the building giving information that would benefit the rioters. There is more to be disclosed about this. It is my firm conviction that the events of the day and what led up to it need to be examined for the sake of the future of democracy and the rule of law in the USA.

  2. A thoughtful piece as usual Mr. Olson. But it seems too prone towards playing the rhetorical middle of “extremists on both sides” sort of condemnations when there are day and night differences between rioters intent on destroying private property and raping women who might merely be white or a business proprietor, and those rioters spontaneously breaking a few windows to access “the people’s house” reflecting a cultural rage that senses not merely the usurping of democracy but its obliteration.
    You’re a man of honor, but the narrative of the media and political establishment tonight rants about this day as an assault on Constitution and the American Way. How insane and how evil. America has been on a rapid decline from a Constitutional republic since Dred Scott, a decline that accelerated ever since the post-Coolidge administration and today it is especially hypocritical for this nation that abuses that Constitution to authorize the extermination of 61.6 million of its preborn citizens to act horrified about some broken windows in the Capital building.
    And the culture war has so infected the Church, in a leftist sense, I don’t even desire to listen to what any bishop has to say any more given the reality that ninety percent of the time, it seems, they are buffoonish. I only listen and study them whenever one of them writes an intelligent book.

    • Thanks, Edward. But, of course, my piece wasn’t mostly about today, even though it uses that as a jumping off point. In fact, perhaps most striking to me today were the numerous and angry damnations of Trump and other GOP leaders for their incitement of those who broke into the Capitol building–with those damnations coming from those who would say nary a word about what was happening for endless days and nights in Seattle, Portland, etc. Still, the actions today were more serious in many ways than you indicate. A woman was killed, for instance. As for extremists on both sides, I’m not so much equating actions as trying to point out the nature of ideology, regardless of where it comes from. Trump, contra the MSM and the elites, did many good things. But Christians who are acting as though Trump is some sort of noble Constantine are not doing favors for anyone, no matter how sincere their motives.

      • Your write that “Back in June, when the riots and conflicts in Seattle began to escalate rapidly, I told a good friend that I could see it spreading quickly to other cities.”

        As for the trigger event in Seattle, I recall the first morning of the now world-renowned CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupation Protest)….cruising down the highway, I tapped into the radio in time to hear our illustrious Seattle mayor…it’s like a “block party”, she said, and then did an imitation of Nevil Chamberlain’s 1938 appeasement at Munich: “we’ve already given you free education!” (referring to the new entitlement of free junior college tuition, recently extracted from Seattle taxpayers for all graduates of Seattle public schools).

        A block party and appeasement. Might different pivotal actions at ground zero NOT have ignited the summer range-fire of our national discontent? But there’s a certain orientation that wallows in wishful thinking, redefinition, non-binary indecision and indecisive action.

        Ship collisions are avoided by the maxim: “attention to detail, gentlemen, a collision at sea can ruin your whole day.” And as with Navy ships, so also with the ship of state, and so also with the Barque of Peter.

      • Just for the record, I think we can all be much clearer about the events in DC if we realize that we are in the midst of an attempted recreation of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. For that matter, the spirit of revolution that has been inflicted upon our culture as punishment for the sin of apostasy, abortion most specifically, goes back to the “great” nihilistic of the last century and earlier, the kickoff of the French Revolution in particular.

        What we saw last week was modeled after the Reichstag fire and will be used as the basis for the imposition of severe totalitarian measures, far beyond the social restrictions imposed because of the batflu. In particular, what we saw last week was instigated by the same thugs that blew up Seattle and Portland, joined in by a number of overzealous patriots that were fed up with being cancelled, and otherwise resisted by Trump supporters. All the rest is propaganda.

    • I echo some of your thoughts and some of Mr Olson’s. One thing that stood out to me from the media commentary and photos was the obvious hypocrisy in describing these loony overzealous wall-climbers and “breech”-ers in such hyper-condemning, dangerous terms, while as you both have noted, people doing actual violence to others, destroying property, setting fires, terrorizing citizens all summer were called “mostly peaceful” and justified. In the photos, these “breech”-ers were carrying flags, taking photos, climbing stuff….

    • I’m from California the Central Valley where our Bishop’s come from other 3rd Countries and only a few Priest are from California. Most of the original settlers came here to farm, work, raise a Christian family and love there Country. Before the LBJ era you could not live in a better State or Country. In the early 1970’s 80% of our Counties population took care of the 20% of our needy populations. The Church’s took care of their own parish needs. In the first time in California history our population went down in 2020. Due to decades of America citizen abortions, our WWII Veteran generation drying off and the migration to other States. In the early 1970’s California Public School system K-16 was in the top five of the Nations education system, today 46th out of all the States in the Union. In 1988 California’s voters in to our Constitution that English would be spoken and again in 1998 in our Public School system. This was never followed up with any of our Officials or even our A.G.’s. Because on illegal 3’d World Countries moving into our State that couldn’t not read or write their own language. Our Public School system started lower test scores so no child would get left behind. We only have few American Collages left in California now and our k-12 Public school have left American History and Civics for the left wing Collages to teach. Our Arch Bishop’s, Bishop’s and Government has caused our once wonderful State into Socialisms in a matter of a few decades. California, now is in the position along with New York population to take down the American taxpayer. In my long career, I was a farm boy, Veteran, Director and V.P. of a 500 Company, a County Supervisors and now a Administrative Mgr. at our very large Parish. I have been on all sides of the American Dream.

    • Where’s the outrage from Bishop Gomez for how the Congress has usurped the Constitution ? Where’s his outrage on the sacrifice of The Innocents from Abortion? Where is the outrage of a Catholic president elect who hasn’t been condemned and excommunicated from the Catholic Church for his anti-Catholic support of abortion, same sex marriage, infanticide, and euthanasia. Where’s the outrage that people feel they must demonstrate and riot in the capital because our Shepard’s have let them down and starve the people of the Eucharist? What does Bishop Gomez expect? Does he expect a different outcome when the Bishops continue to suppress the mass and the Eucharist from the faithful? People feel they have no voice, our Shepard have capitulated with evil. I hope our Bishop’s conference hear this because most people feel betrayed by our Bishops. These speeches that skirt these issues are irrelevant until such time that the Bishops return to God and the people wearing ashes and atoning for the lack of true Catholicism in leadership. We need brave, moral, Eucharist centered leadership and we need the Mass with truth, then the Bishop will be able to reclaim their true apostleship as Christ ordered and passed on. Thank you Mr. Baker for your comment it needed a few more questions.

      • You are spot on! The silence of our bishops, save Bishop Strickland and a few others, is a scourge to the Body of Christ!

        “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.” -St. John Chrysostom.

        I am so thankful for the faithful priests in my diocese, particularly Fr. Rossi and Fr. Miller. So many priests are paralyzed by fear- fear of offending money-contributing parishioners, fear of retaliation or correction by the bishop, or fear of public shame in the media. Lord help us!

  3. “ A woman was killed, for instance.”

    But not, as I understand it, by protesters.

    May she rest In peace and may her family and friends be comforted.

      • “Details are scarce at the moment.”

        Do you honestly believe – do you even dare hope – that the msm will not jump at this golden opportunity to further besmirch the protesters – details and facts be damned?

        • I have no doubt that the MSM will misuse, abuse, and/or ignore the facts. My disdain for the MSM is well-documented. My point was simply that there was too little known, when writing the editorial, to say much about what actually happened.

          • I just want to say Carl that this article you have written is the best sounding, most coherent and reasonable i’ve read in a number of years, and I am a reader. Thank you! and God bless!. “without Me you can do nothing”.

    • a dem congressman ordered the police to shoot, the capitol police opened fire on the protesters, killing a woman named “Babit”.

    • Leslie, you missed one death. The MOB did kill Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick.
      I have been an advocate of police circulating the wagons and firing their weapons at the legs and feet of the invading criminals. That would quickly disable each lawless bum and cause others to rethink their mindless madness.

      • What evidence do you have of that, MorganB? A report (on CNN, which is left-wing) says that his autopsy showed no blunt force trauma. He was not beaten with a fire extinguisher or anything else.

        And in any case, what do you mean by “You missed one?” Mr. Olson mentioned that a woman had been killed, and I pointed out that she was not killed by protesters.

      • Now the autopsy report is out. The mob did not kill Officer Sicknick. He because he had a blood clot and two strokes. There were no marks of violence on him; there was no sign of an allergic reaction to “bear spray” or anything else.

        The only person who died of violence at the Capitol was Ashli Babbitt. And we still aren’t being told who shot her.

    • Hey, why so myopic?

      Beyond the original thirteen colonies/states, and doubling the size of the U.S. back then, was the Louisiana Purchase, bought (not stolen) from Napoleon for $15 million, a whopping 2 cents/acre. And, then there’s the tragic history of broken promises (reservations) with Native Americans. As for the Spanish, well, the whole thing turned on an obscure victory by General Fremont in the San Francisco area. Later, the marginal Gadsden Purchase was gotten for $10 million in 1854, not quite stolen. As for the Spanish…who was here first before their own late arrival in the 16th century?

      Commenting on all such things, probably including displacement of the mastodons, an authority on St. Augustine summarizes the saints thoughts: “Our only real excuse for what we do is that there has been an infinite series of plunders, of iniquities behind ours.”

    • Which the Spanish in turn took from the Indians & which the descendants of the Spanish & Indians are currently resettling. And so it goes…

      • As we know, the so-called “indigenous” people of North America were, in fact, descendants of Asians who crossed the land bridge. From whom did they take the land? The land was never theirs to begin with–they were displaced…as were any number of other civilizations throughout history, all over the globe…yet no one is weeping for them.

  4. Gomez and his fellow bishops more than likely voted for Biden. I’ll tell Gomez, Bergoglio, Gregory and every other bishop what America is: We are a nation that has legalized the murder of SIXTY-FIVE MILLION human persons. That’s who we are. Proud of your country? I’m not.

  5. Our culture ‘white-washes’ many of the minor and real issues; let’s just plod on forward the way the crowd tells us.

    This is not a surprise even if Donald Trump were not President; all my life people were saying, “someone should do something about ‘this’.”

    There was much division when the country was formed, but the fathers were not looking for what they could get out of the country or its forthcoming coffers, but what they could do for the cause of freedom. The citizens now want direct and indirect benefits. Remember what JFK said in his inaugural address?

  6. Carl,
    I completely understand and agree with your assessment and thoughts on the tragedy of what happened in our nation’s capital yesterday. I too am asking myself, “who are we, really, as Americans?” Tragically, we no one thing for certain. We are no longer a Christian nation.

  7. Thanks Carl. Great piece. I think it can be distilled even further. There is a lack of genuine virtue on both ends of the spectrum (both figuratively and literally).

    I think there is a lack of understanding of true justice (Thomistically speaking) on both sides. There is the physical injustice on the left with abortion, attacking buildings, etc. However, the right has seemed to forget about our duty to one another (commutative justice) and to the state/common good (legal justice). The golden mean seems to be discarded as each side drifts farther from the middle. For example, its not just to simply lock the country down. Similarly, its not genuine justice to simply refuse to wear masks and engage in detraction or calumny against elected officials. Prudence must be employed in each of those situations to know when and how to proceed – when to comply and when to resist; when to agree and when (and more importantly how) to disagree.

    Finally, I would comment that, as an attorney, I am not impressed by the argument of some that since most of the people on the capitol steps were peaceful that they do not share legal or moral blame with ultimate outcomes. As adults, if we see violence or mischief, we need to run the other way and get out of there. We don’t simply hang around and watch the hooligans. If someone happens to get hurt or worse during unlawful trespass, the whole group is implicated.

    • Yes, but did they see violence…and when? The reports are still coming and it does not seem as if everyone would have been seeing the same things. Would people peacefully gathered in one area have necessarily seen people “breech”-ing the capital? Just climbing a wall, while dumb, isn’t likely to cause alarm. I’m assuming many people did leave as soon as they realized there was an escalating danger.

      • I’ve seen video of protesters yelling at people not to break a window at the Capitol, and booing the person who’s doing it.

    • Does anyone need to ask the protesters how many business losses, job income loss and lockdown restrictions they have gone through up to this moment in mostly Democrat urban areas ?
      They have see a taste of socialism and big government getting shoved
      Onto their backs by the lame Congress who fold like a cheap suit when confronted with doing their job to represent the American people first.

    • Michael: Thanks for your comment. Nice to see some sober, thoughtful response rather than the bifurcations, false dilemmas, and shouting that characterizes most of the discussion here. Reasonable people can disagree on a lot of these problems. You don’t persuade people by shouting at them; you harden their positions. A little more Jesus and a little less Limbaugh would be welcome on both sides, including the right. I’m in general, though not complete, agreement with most of what I read here. I’d like to see the positions generally advocated on this website prevail. (But, not all of them, and some of them I can’t decide about.) Your tone was greatly appreciated.

  8. Thank you, Mr. Olson, for providing insight into America’s devolution into desperation, chaos and violence.

    I too have been amused at the Democrats’ shock and horror at the prospect of violence in D.C., whereas for months they justified it — or even incited it — in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle and elsewhere, so long as it was properly motivated.

    And Mr. Mitchell’s distinction between revelation and paganism certainly helps explain the rictus of hatred that is so distorting the face of the illiberal left.

    • What “about-ism” isn’t the right response.

      What happened yesterday was a true scandal and tragedy (someone died). Full stop.

      Assaulting the country’s seat of democracy has no justification or excuse.

      • That is not “What about-ism.” Brineyman didn’t say anything to justify breaking into the Capitol building, or the shooting of an unarmed protester. The protesters should not have broken into the Capitol.

        He was pointing out that the people who for months did not speak out against violent protests, gathered money to pay for bailing those who were arrested out of jail. Flagrant hypocrisy.

        Some Republican Senators introduced a bill this past July:

        ” Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

        (1) the rising tide of vandalism, mob violence, and the mob mentality that feeds it—including its cruel and intolerant “cancel culture”—should be condemned by all Americans;

        (2) peaceful demonstrations and mob violence are different in kind;

        (3) physical assault and property destruction are not forms of political speech but violent crimes whose perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law; and

        (4) the innocent law enforcement officers, public officials, and private citizens who suffer the mob’s violence and endure its scorn while protecting our communities from them deserve the thanks and appreciation of every American.” https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-resolution/645/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22sres+645%22%5D%7D&r=1&s=2

        It was referrred to the Judiciary committee, where it died. The Democrats had no problem with violent protests then.

  9. Great piece. I often wonder if the best response for most clerics, in the first 48 hours of such tragedies and scandals, might be nothing.

  10. The American system seems to focus so much on the presidency. Other democracies (I.e. constitutional monarchies like UK, Canada and Australia et al) are much more relaxed about their leadership and their elections since the PM is not head of state and can be replaced by the party or have the government fall via confidence vote at almost anytime. It seems the US system creates a cycle of desperate all or nothing politics and ceaseless campaigning. God save the Queen! 😉

    I do like Americans though and pray for you and your country.

    • Thank you for your prayers, Andrew.
      I’ve begun to think a parliament wouldn’t be a bad idea if it would save us this ridiculous & now violent circus every four years. And the UK ballots as I understand them are an improvement on our current ballot options.
      Best wishes to the Queen. I’ve always admired her. I hope God saves her & our nation also.

      • Keep in mind that in the 1940s this Presidential system helped, along with the Soviet Union’s bogus, “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” to save the Mother of Parliaments. It was not the other way around. Nor, has it ever been.

    • Term limits for Congress would help a lot. I think the Founding Fathers of America didn’t intend for political office to be steady employment for 40 years!

      • I’m not in favor of making the lobbyists the only people in D.C. or state capitols that know what they are doing. That’ll be the result of automatically kicking legislatures out just as they really start to understand what is going on. We have “term limits” on elected officials. We just call them elections.

  11. A good indictment of the hypocrisy of the hypocrite, reducing the savage turmoil to the reality of our sinfulness. For needed emotional sanity during our collective distress a bit of humor,”Trump a racist demon whose tweets and hair should be condemned”. His hair? Maybe you’re right, what do I know. His hair was indeed demonized, everything about Donald Trump was demonized for four years. Nothing wonderful that he accomplished was acknowledged, even the vaccines. American Awakening Joshua Mitchell gives the foundation for the Woke, sans God sans forgiveness aimless endless protest. Historically these are the cultural climes for the real despot to emerge. Trump until his speech had a future that likely went forever. Portlandia down the road from you, is like Buffalo about 90 miles down the road from me. Prof Paul Kurtz [dec.] State U Buffalo called the Father of Humanism, pres of the International Academy of Humanism wrote the manifesto that produced godless forgiveless Portlandia rioters. Bad ideas travel quickly in academia. Many of those rioters, the more strident were students, some professors. V Davis Hanson, prof, senior fellow Hoover Inst gave his take on the Capital rioters. Trump supporters who have themselves been consistently demonized, ridiculed, threatened with black listing by Dems, frequently attacked by Antifa, feeling collectively refused by the courts, by their own party leaders over verifiable complaints of widespread election fraud, pent up with ongoing lockdowns, loss of income exploded. Who are we then? A Nation that is the mirror of “A neo-pagan world intent on judging and destroying whole groups of people, cleansing the whole polis”. Only “the Christian understanding of persons” can save us. At this stage it seems only God. Although there remains a nucleus of “persons”, largely within the Trump camp. What we need is leadership. The USCCB can fulfill the spiritual role in tandem with a political good leader if only its members return to the redeeming fire of the Gospel.

    • Fr. Morello,

      I do wonder what has happened to the authentic Gospel message. It seems we only get history lessons from the pulpit these days – no concrete instruction on developing virtue, the interior life, or mental prayer. Without those things, I fear the Gospel will fall on the barren earth and be taken away by the birds…

      It feels like I’m speaking to a wall when I talk to people about virtue…but when the (vast?) majority of people don’t even believe in an immaterial soul, there is no wonder they don’t understand virtue. There is simply no place to seat it in their worldview…

      The comment about the Catholic understanding of the human person is spot on. Only then can the Gospel and sanctity begin to take root!

      • Our faith has deflated through the centuries largely from ‘great minds’ not content with the simplicity of obedience to their Creator, strained to modify the pristine nature of divine revelation in Christ conveyed by the Apostles. To adopt current phraseology systemic mitigation of the truth to suit their love of the world. That primarily beginning with the idea that salvation outside the Church, a truth although a narrowly achieved truth without faith in Christ and a sacramental life is more expansive due to a benevolent God. As if Man is capable of redefining God as revealed in Christ. Watering down of the Gospels and a sense of false comfort led to decreased missionary effort, and priests not preaching the hard necessary truth from the pulpit. Too many happy things to chortle about to cheer up the faithful. Faith is a fire, and unless we continuously fuel it with sacrificial effort, intense prayer, a dialogue of love we become insipid social workers. You’re fortunate Michael to apprehend this. Stand fast in the faith and realize the remaining faithful are given an indispensable mission of witness to the truth of Christ.

      • Michael, people believe what the hear and read. It’s no great surprise that people have stopped listening to God’s word as relevant and know little if anything about virtue. The Church in the long past had Sheppard who taught the ultimate with moral courage but not many anymore. They have swallowed the cup of poison offered by progressives in exchange for their apostleship to Jesus and have run from their duties as prescribed by Jesus. Where are the Shepard’s as the wolves tear and devour the sheep? Only a remnant remain.

  12. 2 points. 1. The woman shot. You mean the unarmed woman who shouldn’t have been in the capitol but also shouldn’t have been shot, that woman? 2. Trump’s not Constantine, but of the 2 candidates, who is defending religious and who is going to eviscerate it?

    • Thank you, Carl.

      To Mr. Yakkir, I would respectfully observe that I voted for President Trump twice—in spite of my grave concerns about his manifest character flaws— because he was right about abortion and religious liberty. By his recent reprehensible conduct, however, he has enabled the Democrats to gain control of the US Senate and has greatly empowered a new administration that will actively support abortion and seek to eviscerate religious liberty in the name of woke progressiveness.

      • Tom, from what I’ve read, many of the people who voted for the Democrats in the Georgia re-run election did so because they were angry that Senator McConnell did not bring to a vote an increase in the payments to Americans from $600 to $2000. The President had made it clear he wanted the $2000 payments, so you seem to be blaming the wrong person.

        Meanwhile, the omnibus spending bill gave billions of dollars to foreign countries for things like promoting the presence of women in the Afghani security forces.

        • Leslie,
          Thanks very much for your comment (and all the insightful comments you have posted with respect to this article). The $2,000 payment issue may have been a deciding factor for some GA voters, as you suggest.
          I would just respectfully note, however, that I am hardly alone in blaming Trump for the GA Senate losses. See, for example, the editorial in today’s WSJ (“Trump Loses the Senate”).
          Also, re the $2,000 payment issue, I’m not sure that McConnell had the votes in his own caucus to get that passed. Plus, recall that Trump never raised this point while Steve Mnuchin, his own Administration representative, was working diligently in a very difficult negotiation who get to a final deal that could get Congressional approval. To raise it for the first time after the deal was done and passed at the last minute before enhanced unemployment benefits were to expire (parroting Nancy Pelosi of all people) was another sad example, in my opinion, of his very poor leadership.

          • “Also, re the $2,000 payment issue, I’m not sure that McConnell had the votes in his own caucus to get that passed.”

            But he wouldn’t have needed very many to get it passed, given that it was probable that all of the Democrats would have voted for it, and it would not have taken many Republicans to make a majority.

            If I were in Congress, I would have insisted that the money to pay for the $2000 should have been offset by cuts to rest of the budget. Those omnibus spending bills are an absolute disgrace – 6000 or so pages handed out an hour or two before the vote.

    • Like the pony hidden in a barn full of manure, of recent events there’s got to be a lesson in here about rhetoric and rumors. (Of course, why teach legitimate rhetoric–part of the Trivium [rhetoric, grammar, logic]–when prime-time counterfeit slogans and selective camera shots can fill the vacuum?)

      A side note on Constantine and the power of rumors: part of his history is that he executed his own wife and his son. What! Why? Well, his wife reported (rumored!)that the son had been incestuous with her. Constantine had a fit and killed his son. Then, the story goes, he discovered that his wife made the whole thing up (perhaps in an effort to upstage the son for hereditary power?). Constantine then took out the wife.

      For four years Trump has been falsely rumored, and now for the next four years the wheel turns, perhaps falsely, perhaps not. The moral? Rhetoric (mere words) is power, for good or ill.

      • “For four years Trump has been falsely rumored”, meaning relentless false reporting by the media, continued attempts to remove him without basis by the Dem Party [and doughty Emmy winner governor Andrew Cuomo threatening to “deck” him] and somehow withstood it all accomplishing great things. Prof Victor Davis Hanson senior fellow Hoover Inst said some time back the relentless attacks against him may have a silent effect, like an undetectable fissure on an egg that eventually cracks open.

  13. Thank you for the article. It strikes me that the accompanying legend ( whether the legend is true or not) is but a snapshot A snapshot of who we are as Americans. As time is that ever moving stream, how to we grow, adapt our thinking and behaviors today, after yesterday. How we define what happened of course is the basis for our actions today and tomorrow. insurrection? The people in the snapshot photo are not really identifiable are they? Or their loyalties?

  14. Carl:

    Fine piece of writing and thinking from you, as usual.

    But I really don’t see why we should be wringing our hands over the break-in at the Capitol. Who knows, at this point or ever, will know whether the perpetrators were disguised antifas or Trumpers? Does it really matter?

    What really is upon us is the crisis of the regime — the US constitutional regime, deeply flawed from its inception. We came very close to this crisis in 1973-74, but Nixon, unlike Trump, fell on his sword.

    Of course, there are going to be third-rate break-ins and violence in the streets (just as there were in 1973-74), because people’s gut tells them we are playing for keeps.

    Through whatever comes, Catholics need to be reminded that this regime’s foundation and ethos have been profoundly anti-Catholic for 244 years.

    God bless America!

  15. ANTIFA…that’s the only word you need remember.

    And don’t be surprised to learn that this entire election fraud wasn’t orchestrated by the Clinton’s and the Obama’s. You can take that to the bank.

    • Perhaps it wasn’t orchestrated by the Clintons and the Obamas – they’re too smart to get too close to it – but you can be damn sure that they supported it 110%.

    • We as Americans prevail. All my years I see in America our folks who work hard, love their families. never get down for long, always amaze ourselves and the world, when we are fed up with it as Americans we change it, we love our outdoors, our weather, our children, our faiths and our God, our livelihood, our God given right to life, babies crying, children playing dogs barking, cats sleeping, Tibet’s streaming, snow falling, sun shining, rain splashing, streams bubbling, roads meandering, skies prevailing, seniors snoozing, workmen working, women smiling, children laughing, puppies playing, fish jumping, horses running, clouds forming, raindrops falling and a billion million trillion other things that an astonishing country withheld from man’s view provides to a world to see and know that a unchallenged, magnificent creator blessed all to perceive and know He cares, He loves and He doesn’t stop. Do we as Americans need to understand anything else?

  16. Agreed. At bottom, the problems we face are essentially theological. May God help us. The question stands and could be a beginning of a robust conversation. I think I’ll take up the question, “Who are we, really, as Americans?” in an essay and would encourage others to do the same.

    • Who are we as a nation? One way to characterize the good ole USA is on the basis that since Roe vs Wade 60,000,000 million plus babies have been aborted. At one time we were a Christain nation, now, more or less, we are a Secular nation and for the most part we just don’t care about aborted babies, whether Catholic or not.

    • Interesting. Before anyone writes the essay, we need to list what being American means. Unfortunately, there most likely will be many different answers. Would really like to see the “original” definition of what it meant to be an American.

  17. Let’s take a look at the conspiracy-driven white supremacy extremist and rightist narrative floated nowadays. They picture themselves as “patriots” and the other, being not like themselves as “marxists.” In their view, the assault on democracy at the Capitol was a battle between patriots and marxists. Upon closer examination, the patriots are actually those who would rather have a white dictatorship than let a multicolored democracy flourish. So, who is an American? The two perspectives are here, those who only view Americans as white and those who see Americans as multicolored.

  18. The more basic question is, “who are we as Roman Catholics”. After all, it was single issue Catholic voters that put Trump into office.

  19. Americans have, over the past few months, proven themselves to be a bunch of rabid animals willingly whipping themselves into a violent frenzy. No one person can be blamed for this, it’s part and parcel of America’s lack of a Christian foundation.

  20. Correct, it’s theological. And there has never been a more sinister declared govt of the United States, former slavery notwithstanding. This is a new slavery, the New Puritans, who will set about punishing anyone who infringes on absolute power just as soon as they can manage it and have succeeded in sufficiently morally intimidating the public; constant accusation of not being nice, abusing the Christian faith which established our perception of good versus bad conduct. The New Puritans emphasise the sentimental. Opposition is ESSENTIAL.

  21. Mr. Olson raises one of the biggest questions of our time, a question a great many would just as soon sweep under the rug.

    Couldn’t resist cutting & pasting this from a lecture about patriotism I gave at an Orthodox church a few years back:
    “Professor [C.S.] Lewis thinks that Britain is too big and abstract to be a proper object of patriotic devotion. What does it mean, then, the fact that “Britain” is notably smaller than the state of Oregon?

    Going further, we note that America is over twice the size of the European Union and
    Roman Empire. What, then, holds America together?

    This may be an exercise in question-begging. “We” Americans believe abortion is a woman’s right to choose … and also that it is murder, “we” speak a variety of different languages and increasingly share fewer and fewer common festivals, not of course counting the Superbowl.

    Some of us are Protestant, others are Orthodox, still others Roman Catholic, and still others are Jewish. Still others worship Shiva, or Ganesha, or Allah. Some are atheists, some are transhumanists, some are spiritual but not religious, and some of “us” even literally worship Satan.”

    • Insofar as ‘Great’ Britain that title was applicable into the eighties after Lewis’ Death 63. The African colonies Tanzania, Zambia then were still in process of independence, Canada independent 1982, Hong Kong later and of course British political and cultural influence in Australia, New Zealand. So Lewis from Belfast N Ireland had a different sense than British influence and Great Britain as limited to the British Isles. What kept a sense of perhaps not territorial hegemony rather cultural cohesion [we really can’t exclude the USA considering the closest of ties]. Britain possessed in my estimate the world’s most highly developed culture and historical legacy [I recall a big black limousine pulling up as I strolled on the Isle of Wight window lowered elegant lady asking directions my response I’m not from here her’s with a smile Oh, he’s a colonial!]. What keeps us together in my barely lettered estimate is the sense of revolutionary Liberty of the founders, a belief in God given freedom, the inherent rights to live without immoderate restriction, to believe in a saving God, corrupted by a Catholic Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy in his opinion defining liberty sans principals Planned Parenthood E PA v Casey. The title insofar as ‘Great’ Britain was applicable into the eighties after Lewis’ death 63. The African colonies Tanzania, Zambia were in process of independence, Canada independent 1982, Hong Kong later and of course British political and cultural influence in Australia, New Zealand so Lewis from Belfast N Ireland had a different sense than British influence and Great Britain as isolated to the British Isles. What kept a sense of perhaps not hegemony rather cultural cohesion [we really can’t exclude the USA considering the closest of ties]. Britain possessed in my estimate the world’s most highly developed culture and historical legacy [I recall a big black limousine pulling up as I strolled on the Isle of Wight window lowered elegant lady asking directions my response I’m not from here her’s with a smile Oh, he’s a colonial!]. What keeps us together in my barely lettered estimate is the sense of revolutionary Liberty of the founders, a belief in God given freedom to live without immoderate restriction, to believe in a saving God corrupted by a Catholic Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy in his opinion defining liberty sans principals Planned Parenthood E PA v Casey. Likely the intellectual catalyst that divided more conservative Christians and Mid Westerners from urban now unfortunately hardened hostile uncompromising Marxist socialists. Result of the election ignited the spark, the volatility of the speech, yes even Trump’s admittedly narcissistic but not wholly untrue speech, march, the attack on a Capital that is perceived as betraying that most valued premise of God given freedom. We’re in for a fight, or the cowardly decision to lay down and enjoy the remaining moments of just peace until that is wrenched away from us. Our challenge is in response to the question, where does justice lie, in the keeping up of political decorum, or in the quest for the true and the good. Our failure as a Nation with the election of a moral turncoat will end in the suffering and hopefully the redemption of those of us who have failed God and country.

  22. The quality of the comments here show your readership, Mr. Olson. Conspiratorial, afraid, and easily deluded… I can praise to a measure the desire to “decry all forms of violence” but if we ignore the causes of this violence (willful delusion, lying, and a perpetual state of victimhood ginned up by our ‘social conservative’ leaders) decrying it won’t do much in the way of soul-searching. The fact that the older commentators here have such a tonal disconnect and can no longer believe what’s in front of their faces bodes ill for writers across the catholic news-sphere… or maybe bodes well! This site does gleefully publish fear-mongering think-pieces at a regular clip (one fond example, to paraphrase: “officials say Muslim terrorists were not responsible for Notre Dame’s fire. But what if they were?”). Continuing to stoke such intense resentment will only continue to create psychotic zealots willing to die over the internet articles they read. Food for thought!

  23. Sorry, Mr. Olson the factual shoe tracks and dots are quite connected in broad daylight along with many vivid pictures of the horror. Lets start with the “leader” who tried everything to undermine the VERIFIED democratic election of Joe Biden. That single attempt was the catalyst to launch Trump’s conspiracy and the main reason for the Capitol criminal incursion. He “won by a landslide”. Almost all of my Republican Congress jettisoned their souls to support a blatant lie that the election was a fraud and STOLEN! Incredibly, more than 60% of Republican voters favor Trump.

    He incited his exploding crowd of supporters using incendiary language. “President Trump has called Democrats “evil” and argued they are “too dangerous to govern.” He has denounced Barack Obama’s presidency and demonized former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, inspiring chants of “Lock her up!” at his rallies.” “Fight like hell for our democracy”. He told the rioters were about to walk down to the Capitol, “I will be with you”. Instead, he cowered in the WH when he knew that he could appear at the Capital and stop the rioting. One rioter asked where was DJT?

    But, we can’t overlook Trump’s “private lawyer” Rudy Giuliani, America’s mayor, now morphed into America’s nightmare. Although he didn’t throw furniture at the Capitol, he did perform a “masterful” command of the law was displayed during almost all of his 62 cases all thrown out for lack of evidence. Perhaps, even more disturbing is that the new president may not be fully equipped for the transition because Trump’s un-American blocking of critical intelligence data. Moreover, we may have witnessed the demise of our Republican party.

    • You write as though I’ve expressed some allegiance to Trump and the GOP. Frankly, I have little to no use for politicians. I’ve been around long enough and have seen enough. I’m with Chesterton when it comes to politicians.

      That said, everything you say about Trump inciting people (some of which is dubious or misconstrued) can be documented countless times over with Dems, progressives, etc. Historically, of course, they have had plenty to do with slavery, eugenics, abortion, and racism. Read some history.

      • “etc. Historically, of course, they have had plenty to do with slavery, eugenics, abortion, and racism. Read some history.”
        yes however we are examining the current state of affairs. It was obvious to me that the unhealthy modus operandi of Mr/President Trump, leading up to his 2016 election would if elected, result in a fractured nation. The man is a master manipulator of the body politic. He was not a leader who could be described in broad terms who leads from a platform of integrity. The choices he made in how he communicated had inevitable negative consequences for many among his target audience even if many others of this broader target audience were people of good intent and trajectory. The destructive seeds that have been sown will pring much pain the the nation.
        Of course there are many answers to the question asked in the title of this article. For this Ozzy looking on, i see not in terms of Republican versus Democrat. The greater, perhaps greatest contributor to the nations woes is that of greed. A greed that has created a situation were the bulk of the nations wealth is in the hands of a very small group of individuals. Look at the pie graph of the distribution of wealth in the USA over the past 50 years or so. In this i feel for the genuine grievances of those who followed My Trump and voted for him in the hope that their legitimate concerns would be addressed. Sadly they were not, and i doubt the Biden admin will either. Who in the church will confront the sin of Greed and the idolatry of money that is sapping the USA of it’s life and vitality?

        • “…result in a fractured nation.”

          America has been fractured from the start, in smaller but real ways. Then there was the war between the States. I’d posit that serious fractures developed in other ways in the Progressive era, but didn’t really explode, so to speak, until the Sixties. The last several decades have seen continual fracturing–whether under Carter, Reagan, Clinton, the Bushes, or Obama–but often hidden behind a variety of civic and political rhetoric. Trump was certainly deeply flawed, but he was far more a symptom than the disease–and he sometimes even pushed back on the more radical movements that have now largely claimed the media, the ivory tower, big tech, and so forth. I agree with Robert Reilly that the Founding had many solid pieces in place, but I’m not sure the dominate culture–mostly Protestant and often only Christian superficially–was ever able to really build on it in a lasting way.

          • Yes Carl, all valid observations however we are responding to events America has just witnessed. Of course there are faults and contributing factors on both, or rather, all sides. Let us look at the present reality specifically with respect to the healthy functioning of a democratic process as in the democratic republic. I’m demanding some honest reflection in these articles and subsequent commentary here at CWR on the leadership of President Trump, and the role of leadership and members of the GOP before during and after the election that culminated in the Capitol Hill riot all to undermine peaceful transition of power. Add to this the role of media specifically aligned to Trump eg Hannity and other Fox commentators along with individual influential Youtube bloggers with a large audience. I will continue in point form:
            * With leadership comes great responsibility with reference to the dynamic outlined in the Milgram experiments; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
            * Pres Trump, before being elected to office deliberately used the same tactic of claiming fraud in the election process.
            * The argument that all “Main Stream Media” is compromised cannot be used to invalidate journalism based primarily on demonstrable fact.
            * Fact is the election was not stolen. For those in positions of leadership to claim so is to engage in a deliberate strategy of deception, manipulation. The democratic election process had somewhat isolated examples of where things go wrong but in no where near the scale to swing the result in any significant manner. This is agreed upon by all the legitimate processes of checks and accountability that apply the the USS presidential election.
            * Constitutionally in the USA as in most Western Democracies there is the separation of Church and State.
            * My last point, I studied revolutionary history at Latrobe University in Melbourne. The governing process we have in the western world for individual nations is far from perfect, smooth efficient in functioning but it is immeasurably superior to the alternative, The alternative being overthrowing the elected government ( or President ) for the “Just Cause”. Why? Because it jettisons the checks and balances that prevent the Stalins of this world from gaining ruling power over the nation by whatever means they can use to their own advancement. The USA came very close to this situation with Trump demanding Mike Pence’s co operation. There have been actions of a very few that prevented the overthrow of a legitimate election and the peacefull transition of power in the USA and here in these pages there is seemingly support for such an eventuality. This is greatly disturbing.
            So Carl, you know what I am saying without anger or hate, as I have been accused by others here. So, food for thought I hope.

          • “I’m demanding some honest reflection in these articles and subsequent commentary here at CWR on the leadership of President Trump, …”

            Ah, duly noted. But please know that I don’t respond well to these sort of one-sided demands.

          • ” I’m demanding some honest reflection in these articles and subsequent commentary here at CWR on the leadership of President Trump, and the role of leadership and members of the GOP before during and after the election that culminated in the Capitol Hill riot all to undermine peaceful transition of power. ”

            You’re in no position to *demand* anything. Perhaps if you were to try a polite request somebody might be interested in what you were saying.

            And you might try reading the TIME magazine article (and TIME is emphatically not a supporter of President Trump) about the shenanigans around the election before pinching up your face and condemn anybody who talks about election fraud.

          • Of course I’m in no position to demand anything from you Carl. Please accept my apology. Careless of me I suppose as i was thinking generally and would hope not to derail our discussion with careless or thoughtless wording. Despite my indiscretion i would hope the gist of what I am saying above is worth some consideration.
            And thanks for the tip Leslie, I will read the Time Magazine article to see what gives.

        • When was the USA not fractured? We started off with a civil war and overthrew the existing government. Less than 100 years later we turned on each other in a second civil war.
          The more I think about it the more I regret we didn’t stick with a parliamentary system that would spare us the election circus we experience every four years. We could much more easily and peacefully remove a leader when they lose their party’s confidence.

          And for goodness sakes, no more mail in ballots outside the military please.

    • Please seek help, morganb. These tirades and rantings are just a repeating broken record at this point. Your thinking is deeply disconnected from reality, and your comments routinely demonstrate a disconcerting absence of any self-awareness and self-reflection. You don’t realize that you are the very caricature that you accuse others of being. Quite sad.

  24. I read and re-read this excellent article and Jack Gist’s follow up. What a great observation at the heart of the piece, that a neo-pagan society is a terribly intolerant place. It’s worth re-quoting the last paragraph:

    “A robustly Christian nation would understand that we each, as individuals, will eventually have to answer to God, Creator and righteous Judge of all—and would seek to act accordingly. But a neo-pagan world is intent on judging and destroying whole groups of people, cleansing the whole polis of those who cannot and must not be heard, understood, or accepted in any way.”

  25. “liberal justice, whose foundation is, finally, the Christian understanding of persons.”

    This is the deep problem. Liberal justices is not based on Christian understanding of the person, but on a false assumption that the only arbiter of truth is individual will.
    Secularists and libralism naturally lead relativism and atheism.

    That is the problem. Any body have a good solution?

  26. Carl, a fair article written in the immediate aftermath of this very troubling event. I agree with you with respect to riots, riots where anger madness and violence prevail unless subdued. However your critique of the events of that day and what led up to it must not end with this article. Not all protests become riots. How a protest is managed is critical to avoid escalation. Some are provoked, some are not etc etc. With due consideration to these specifics there are many aspects of the Jan 6th Capitol Hill riots many are calling an insurgency that are deeply troubling. The lack of forward planning for security being one. I’m sure you have seen the two photos juxtaposed, one shows National Guard troops stationed around the Lincoln Memorial. As the caption on the Getty Images photograph states, the picture depicts members of the D.C. National Guard standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “as demonstrators participate in a peaceful protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC.”

    The other is a picture of rioters overtaking Capitol Hill.

    The climate leading up to this event with claims that the election was stolen, and the veracity of these claims.

    While those involved in BLM protests or riots and those involved in the Jan 6 are all American not all are Christians.
    Another question, worth exploring with deep consideration is the question who are we as Christians?

  27. Mrscracker, evil radicalized actors MUST be not only put in jail, they MUST pay for their evil damage to the people’s spire of Democracy.

    With the unopposed election of Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia much morality in our society has been diminished. That dichotomy has forced on us by the religion of politics. Kevin McCarthy has caved in at closed door conference that saw Republicans applaud the epitome of American evil radicalism, Greene who openly calls for the murder of Nancy Pelosi and other democrats. Our sleepy electorate will not face the reality of this threat until the dichotomy turns to autocracy.

    “Are we the Americans who think Donald J. Trump is the savior of America?” Yes, many.

    • Goodness, Morgan I don’t want to put anyone in jail or remember ever talking about that.
      I’m just weary of all the contention that divides us and keeps us from accomplishing whats good.

      • The division is the handiwork of Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals.” He, like Marxism, only appears to know a life of eternal revolution. Life at the barricades, in perpetual rage. The Alinskite media can be depended upon to cover for the rage-meisters on the left. Just about every time she opens up her mouth Rep. Maxine Waters sets back the civil rights cause by decades. Accountability is the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. The self-righteous SJW left is incapable of valid self-criticism. They burn with blind zeal.

  28. So at the mere hint of being unreasonable I am called out while other unreasonable posts abound?
    What I should have said was the overall situation demands “some honest reflection in these articles and subsequent commentary here at CWR on the leadership of President Trump, and the role of leadership and members of the GOP before during and after the election that culminated in the Capitol Hill riot all to undermine peaceful transition of power.”
    May I politely suggest that my post be considered and responded to as a whole statement with emphasis on the responsibility of Leadership. Understanding the dynamic explored by the Milgram Experiments is central to the point I am endeavouring to make.
    Now referring to the article in Time Magazine, (I’m assuming this is the relevant article)

    I will ask others interested in this discussion to read it for themselves and come to an informed conclusion.

    • You are being called out for being unreasonable because you have established that as a clear and consistent pattern in your previous posts. I will remind you of the malicious slanders and false accusations you repeatedly made regarding Cardinal Pell on this site just a few months ago. Did you think we forgot about that?

      Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. “An evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth evil.” Don’t be upset with us for holding you accountable.

      • Athanasius, This discussion is not about Cardinal Pell’s position and actions in in response to the abuse of minors in the state of Victoria, Australia. You have often inferred or stated directly that my actions in contributing to discussions here in CWR as being of an evil nature.
        In my opinion this is quite a heavy thing to do, and entirely unjust, misguided, and inappropriate. Mostly i ignore and have never responded in a similar fashion to anyone here. I speak to the situation not the person and i never displayed any hatred of Cardinal Pell when providing information that is verifiable and accessible on public record here in Victoria regarding specific cases I had first hand knowledge of. My Uncle being on the Parish committee in Oakleigh, a colleague of mine working to support victims of the Priests of the Parish of Doveton. Why don’t you look up these two instances of clergy abuse in Melbourne? Look into the experience of Chrissy Foster, ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrissie_Foster ) and remember my Uncle Frank Sutherland was on the Parish Council. Look up the complete timeline of her experience of the Churches response to the abuse of her two daughters! You sir know nothing of this yet you feel free to condemn one who does? So be it. My anger at the injustice, at the betrayal, at the despicable deceit is very real yet I do not hate! Condemn me as much as you like from your position of unknowing but you will not shut me down.
        “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psalm 89:14). God is just. It is part of His character, which means He is always just. He cannot be unjust, and He defines and sets the standard for justice.

        • For your benefit, Athanasius, please read this book by Chrissy Foster’s book titled Hell on the way to Heaven:
          It will educate you on a more fitting application of the bible verse you saw fitting to apply to me!
          As a curtain raiser read this review:
          http://www.catholica.com.au/gc0/bc2/075_bc_110910.phpIn reading this you may come to know something of the reality of the subject.

        • Addressing your blatant disobedience to God in the form of lying, slander, and false testimony is not unjust, misguided, or inappropriate. It is both necessary and appropriate. You complain about why people don’t take your points seriously here, and I’m explaining why. If you deliberately lie and slander people, and do so as a pattern of behavior, you can’t expect people to listen. You’re banking on people forgetting who you are and what you’ve done. We haven’t forgotten.

          • Athanasious, In another discussion you accused me in a similar fashion and I asked you to do the work and show me how I have lied. If it is a pattern of behaviour you will be able to clearly enunciate how I have lied. Otherwise best I ignore your condemnations.
            To the discussion here they are an illegitimate distraction and in no measure are your accusations appropriate nor acceptable on this public forum. A personal attack on the person who’s position you disagree is no way to conduct a rigorous debate.

  29. The protests last summer were marred by violence but aimed at rampant and impunate murder of members of the Black community by police, evil in itself and absolutely counter-productive to the good policing that should be the right of the poor as well as the rest of us.

    (My father was educated in a ghetto—in Europe—and saw first-hand hand how violent and bigoted treatment by police from a majority culture _encourages_ crime and criminality in a community.)

    There were violent opportunist there as well, and they made some square blocks quite bad, but people I know in each ot the cities mentioned had no problem staying clear of those block. It wasn’t good, but the cities were hardly the smoking ruins the then-President made them out to be, either he was misinformed or he was lying, those two states bothbeing entirely likely for him—he is chronically misinformed because he prefers reality to be as he wishes it to be rather than as it is, and he lies because he loves doing so and it has served him very well. Some of the protesters enabled the violent, but very many more disowned them.

    The attack on the Capitol seems more to have been a case of a few bad apples giving the other 10% of the crowd a bad name. That is to say that many seemed to be there just to protest in the areas where it were their right and stuck to it, a few came there to disrupt the certification of the election with violent and even murderous intent, and that most of them may have come with decent intentions but quickly allowed themselves to be used by the violent few. It was not a small minority of the crowd who screamed to hang Michael Pence.

  30. Athanasius, you have had time to reply but have chosen not to. I accept your choice. I will say I don’t know who I don’t know who you are. You are commenting here under the cloak of anonymity. Others here seem to know you as you speak of “us”. eg ” Don’t be upset with us for holding you accountable.”

    From one who has been called Catholic Lite and a Cafeteria Catholic;
    I categorically reject such labels and the implied assumptions that motivate them. There is room for us all the the Body of Christ!
    I really am beginning to think of the possibility that in some respects, I’m wasting my time here.
    What I’m inclined to think as I read and re read the many contributions among the many topics here is that some repeatedly seem motivated by a spirit of division. A schism even. A different manifestation of the same spirit to that of the January 6th insurrection. This is not simply because opinions differ or because counter perspectives are argued. I’m not going to quote a bible verse however I will say what I know and point towards where there is hope.
    Satan’s strategy is to divide, to break relationship, to sow the seeds of division and then to reap a harvest of broken people, broken hearts, broken lives.
    Remember the Priestly prayer of Jesus. John 17. I will be praying and meditating on these words of Jesus, for myself and for those here I have engaged in discussion with for any one and all can be taken for a ride by the evil one.

    • The issue that you are not seeing, for some reason, is that you are doing the very things you accuse others of doing; you are being the very thing you accuse others of being. You do need to meditate on that. It’s the very thing that undermines your credibility here. You just don’t see it.

  31. I commend Mr. Olson for condemning all violence, all rioting, all disruptive and destructive protests. Law enforcement should shut down all these sieges.

    But I disagree that this an all be boiled down to a secular or pagan mentality vs. a theological and Christian mentality.

    Back when the Catholic worldview was universal in Western Europe, mobs sometimes went on violent rampages.

    In the year 415 AD, a Christian mob went on a rampage after being stirred up by some fiery sermons by the Catholic bishop, St. Cyril, directed against a classic Greco-Roman philosopher named Hypatia. Hypatia was not a Christian, but neither was she hostile to Christians. She taught the gentle philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and others in the classic Greco-Roman tradition. She was actually friendly with an episcopal rival of St. Cyril, which scholars think might be one reasons that St. Cyril preached against her. The Christian mob tortured and brutally murdered the gentle philosopher Hypatia.

    Also, I think there are a number of well-documented cases of Catholic mobs in the Middle Ages getting stirred up and going on violent and destructive rampages against Jewish enclaves in Europe.

    Even the case of the judicial murder of the harmless, good, and reasonable Socrates is relevant, I think.

    In 1838, when Abraham Lincoln was young, just 29 years old, and still living in Illinois, he gave a public speech against all the mob violence that was going on in his state and in the USA. This speech is called the Lyceum Address. Now surely Americans in 1838 had a much more Christian mindset than they do in 2021, yet mob violence was a huge problem in 1838.

    So, I think more religiosity, more church attendance, more theological education and inculcation, a return to Christian culture, is not going to be a cure. I do favor a return to Catholic culture, especially in the Catholic Church, but also in all nations, ultimately. But that alone will not be a cure-all, in my view.

    An inciter of mobs can hold up the Holy Bible as a prop in a photo op, but his heart, and the hearts of his followers, can be as dark, hate-filled, merciless, and far from the heart of Jesus as any secular pagan in the Neo-Marxist camp.

    So, what then is the answer?

    I hope that people wiser than me, people who are experts in political philosophy and history, will lead the way.

    But, as for me, I always see Abraham Lincoln as a role model.

    Lincoln’s philosophy was that there should “government by the people, for the people, by the people” but that this self-government must always operate according to the principle of calm, honest, rational discussion and deliberation among citizens, followed by fair and honest voting.

    As I understand it, Lincoln’s whole objection to the South’s overthrowing of the U.S. Constitution in the Southern states was that it was done by firing canons on Ft. Sumter rather than by discussion, deliberation, voting, and agreement.

    Lincoln’s whole objection to the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846 was that rather than that war being commenced following discussion, deliberation, voting, and agreement in the U.S. Congress, as the Constitution specifies, it was commenced by trickery and fraud carried out by President Polk. In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1848, Congressman Lincoln said that Pres. Polk had commenced that war by the “sheerest deception.”

    But, alas, calm, disciplined, wholly honest, wholly-goodhearted, saintly men like Abraham Lincoln are rare, even in America.

    America has always had many men and women more of the “hooligan” and “con man” variety, both in the secular camp and in the religious camp.

    Even the infamous “QAnon Shaman,” wearing his pagan horns and fur outfit, led a Christian prayer for his fellow rioters in the Senate chamber after invading the Congress on January 6, 2021.

    Lord have mercy. I hope God will save us, for I fear we cannot save ourselves.

    I have to believe that canonized saints like St. Francis of Assisi, and possible uncanonized saints like Lincoln and Socrates, did not live in vain.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Thirty Things That Caught My Eye: The Capitol Riot and the World Beyond – REAL News 45
  2. Thirty Things that Caught My Eye: The Capitol Riot and the World Beyond – All Sides Now
  3. Thirty Things that Caught My Eye: The Capitol Riot and the World Beyond - InterReviewed
  4. Thirty Things that Caught My Eye: The Capitol Riot and the World Beyond – PRESISI NEWS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.