A Leader Worth Watching

No longer able to keep Americans terrified with the threat of covid, media and the deep state have reverted to their pre-pandemic alarmist cry: “The Russians are coming!” Hating Vladimir Putin is now as obligatory to being a good American as approving same-sex marriage and seeing statues of Robert E. Lee as bad. This is not to say the war going on in Ukraine is not terrible. War always is. People get killed. When the war is waged by modern technological means the people killed are too often non-combatant civilians.

Fingers crossed that Ukraine’s pro-abortion, pro-LGBT, non-Christian President Zelensky doesn’t succeed in starting World War III and that we all do get through the next few weeks, this writer shall have more to say then about Russia’s “special operation.” For now, I propose to speak about leaders, and one in particular.

From every human society — a small workforce, a tribe, a nation of millions — there will emerge individuals recognized by others as possessing qualities that equip them for playing a leadership role in the society. They will be given a title that distinguishes them from everybody else: foreman, chief, president, prince.

What we are talking about is natural. However, in Holy Scripture the Psalmist offers us wise advice: “Put not your trust in princes” (Ps. 145:2). Thus are we warned of danger if we remove our confidence from God, where it belongs, and place it solely in leaders of this world who, being human, may prove unworthy. History recounts the story of many of them.

Thank goodness. it also tells about a few who never let down their followers. In politics, Dr. Antonio Salazar of Portugal, the greatest Catholic statesman of the 20th century, would be an example. Victor Orban, today’s prime minister of Hungary, looks like he may be another. In religion we have had Bl. Pope Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X in the modern era. We are going to speak here of a political leader, the president of a nation without much weight in the world, but who seems to show the potential of joining the company of the exceptional. Knowing that even one such man is somewhere on the world stage will perhaps provide a measure of emotional uplift when we here in the U.S. are saddled with arguably the worst president in the country’s history.

We are speaking of Neyib Bukele, president of El Salvador. Older readers will remember when his nation was in the news in a major way back in the 1980s. More recently El Salvador was noticed when it became the first nation in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. It should also be known that open-border Democrats in Washington don’t like Bukele because he worked with Donald Trump to limit the illegal migration of Central Americans into the U.S. I became aware of him when I saw him interviewed by Tucker Carlson on this very subject. Flooding the country with illegal aliens was bad for the U.S., he said, but the migration is also bad for Central America because it deprives the region of the workforce needed for economic development to reach the point that there will be no reason for anybody to leave.

When it comes to economic and monetary matters, President Bukele is a fan of Ron Paul, but it’s not only Paul’s monetary policies he admires. He is also non-interventionist.

Visitors to this website will want to know about Bukele’s religion. Like many children of Middle Easterners who have settled in the Western Hemisphere, including the U.S., Bukele, who is 40, is of mixed religious heritage. An Israeli newspaper has described his paternal grandparents as “Palestinian Christians.” His maternal grandmother was Catholic and his grandfather on that side Greek Orthodox. It has been reported that his father is a convert to Islam. Bukele himself has no affiliation with any church but professes belief in Jesus Christ as the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Is it necessary to observe that in terms of an individual’s life in eternity, affiliation with the Church will do him no good — in fact it will work against him — if he spends his life in this world as a politician promoting the legal murder of preborn babies? Neyib Bukele is prolife with no exceptions, including health of the mother. That’s a stronger position than that of any U.S. politician calling himself prolife of whom I can think. Most accept rape and incest as well as health of the mother exceptions.

As for same-sex marriage, Bukele simply says, “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” Subject closed. He is married. He and his wife have been gifted by God with one child, a son, so far.

Liberals loudly criticized Bukele soon after his election in 2019 when he sent troops into parliament to pressure members to approve enlarging the national police force and buying more guns and other equipment for them. The criticism ended when the rate of homicide, one of the highest in the world and mostly gang-related, was cut in half in less than a year. Bukele’s approval rating has hovered at around 90 percent ever since. (The homicide rate is now lower than that of the city of Baltimore.)

It is unlikely that Bukele will ever again have to reach for troops to get what he wants politically. The party he founded after election, New Ideas, now has a super-majority in parliament.

El Salvador’s constitution doesn’t allow a president to serve two consecutive five-year terms in office. As popular as Bukele is, it is not surprising there is talk about amending it. Young as he is, he could skip a consecutive term and run again for office later, or support a New Ideas candidate in 2024. We shall see.

I could continue here offering reasons why I think Neyib Bukele is a leader worth watching but there’s been a religious development of great importance. I’ll finish talking about Bukele by citing a social-media message he sent out to the world’s populists when there were still 4,000 trucks parked in downtown Ottawa: “The real war is not in Ukraine. It’s in Canada, Australia, France, Brussels, England, Germany, Italy…They just want you to look away.” It should go without saying that Bukele is among Latin American leaders who have not jumped on the hate-Putin bandwagon. (President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is another.)

As for the religious development, it is of course the unexpected news that Pope Francis has “invited” the bishops of the world to join him on March 25 in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. First, let’s not quibble over Our Lady saying nothing about Ukraine as Sr. Lucy relayed her message in 1929. That said, I know it may make me sound like a party-pooper, but questions come to mind. For instance, past behavior is usually a good indicator of the future. Has our Jesuit Pope become a thunderbolt of unquestionably Catholic belief and practice overnight? Supposing, however, that the consecration “takes,” what exactly will happen? Does anyone know? Will the effects be immediate? Will Patriarch Kirill fly to Rome and kiss the Pope’s toe? Francis doesn’t even like having his ring kissed. How much will the conversion of Russia matter without the conversion of millions of Catholics-in-name-only in the U.S., Western Europe and elsewhere? Will they suddenly stop contracepting and aborting? Will they rush to our churches and demand a Mass directed vertically toward God or contentedly stick with the Pauline rite of 1969 horizontally directed toward “the people of God” — toward themselves, toward Man? What if nothing happens after March 25, or nothing discernible? Something will for sure: Graces always fall to earth when prayer is raised to Heaven. Mindful of that, let us add to our prayers one for brothers and sisters in the Faith in places like Abidjan, Karachi and Beijing who will perhaps (and understandably) have spent March 25 thinking somewhat less about Fatima than worrying whether they’ll get through Mass without the church being fire-bombed, terrorists machine-gunning them or the police deducting another five points from their social-credit score.