Begging the reader’s pardon for being so personal, I begin with an odd confession, one that I hope will be fully justified sociologically and theologically in the lines that follow: I don’t identify as a white man.
No, I don’t mean that I identify as a black, brown, red, or yellow man, either; I mean I don’t think of myself as white. I think of myself first as a Catholic, a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, and only secondarily — by way of ancestry, of blood and DNA — as a European (a genuine Euro-mutt: French, Spanish, and German, with a dash of Polish). In light of my first identity, this latter is comparatively trivial. I emphasize comparatively because it is not utterly inconsequential. I love my parents, and my grandparents, and I rather like having their genetic matter as part of the material side of my hylomorphic composite. But what makes that ancestry trivial in comparison is that it comes from nature, whereas being Christ’s is a matter of super-nature. It is by supernatural adoption, not flesh and blood, that we are “born of God” (Cf. Jn. 1:13, 1 Jn. 3:9, 1 Jn. 4:7).
The idea I am getting at is best expressed by the fourth-century Bishop of Barcelona and Father of the Church, Saint Pacian, who famously wrote these words in his first Epistle to Sympronian: Christianus mihi nomen est, catholicus vero cognomen — “Christian is my name; Catholic is my surname.” In the context, Saint Pacian was defending the use of the word, “Catholic,” to distinguish orthodox Christians from the adherents of the many heresies of the day, much as Saint Ignatius of Antioch had done before him.
This is my supernatural DNA, if you will.
To those perplexed by a man of my relatively pale skin pigmentation not identifying as “white,” let me explain myself. As a Catholic who is an American of European descent, I have much in common with Germans, French, Polish, Spanish, etc., who are as pale-faced as I or more, but also with Maltese, Sicilians, Southern Italians, and others on the darker side of the color palette. Had I chosen to marry one of these latter, nobody in my family would have considered a union to a lady with any such ancestry to be a “mixed-race marriage.” In fact, neither my one brother marrying a beautiful Sicilian lady, nor my other brother marrying a beautiful Armenian lady raised any eyebrows in my family from the Deep South. There was no rush to the Pantone color fan to see if they were in the right range to marry my brothers.
Yet, is a Sicilian white? I’d say that most of them are what I sometimes call myself: off-white, most of them much more than I. Yes, I’m treating the matter somewhat lightly, but it actually is a serious issue, because now there is, on the right and the left, a racial mythology surrounding the “white man.” Historically, Mediterraneans, Englishmen, Germans, Celts, and Slavs did not consider themselves to belong to the same “race.” Nor did they consider themselves “white.” Providentially, on the same day I was writing this piece, I happened upon a very good interview about current affairs in Ireland, where a very articulate Irishman named John Waters speaks to this very point. You can find what he says about the issue right here (the whole interview is well worth a listen).
When all these various tribes, nations, and peoples were made one in the Church, they gave us something infinitely superior to “whiteness”; they gave us Western Christendom with its religious and political unity known as the Christian Republic (res publica Christiana).
And what of Eastern Christendom? Greeks, Syrians, Copts, Phoenicians, Persians, and Arabs are not the same “race.” They are not the same people, or nation; yet, they were Eastern Christendom, and, to some extent, they shared a common culture — a culture that later added lighter-skinned Eastern Slavs. (Yes, of course, there was much local variation in this common culture, perhaps even more so than there was in Western Christendom, which was itself quite diverse.) In the East, the sundering of Syria, Arabia Felix, Armenia, and Egypt from the rest of Eastern Christendom was a result of tragic religious divisions caused by schism and heresy (e.g., Monophysitism, and the consequent rejection of the council of Chalcedon). Schisms and heresies weakened the social cohesion of Eastern Christendom and, in part anyway, prepared the way for the Muslim conquest.
More tragic still was the sundering of Eastern from Western Christendom because of the Great Schism, a separation that helped Islam to take over much of the East.
Coming back to the West, here in America, we witness “white” people of disparate European ancestry reveling in their whiteness, when what they should be reveling in is first, their supernatural adoption in Christ as members of His Mystical Body, and, second, the fruitful Christian culture that their ancestors built in Europe and that we would like to rebuild here in the Americas, for the glory of God and for the good of Christian families.
Much of this nonsense is literally pagan, as it involves the resurrection of Nordic and Teutonic paganism, Celtic Druidism, and the like. The modern pagans of the Alt Right (yes, I mean literal pagans, e.g., Stephen McNallen, Richard Spencer, Alain de Benoist) engage in a sort of idolatry of race. In so doing, they resemble racists of every stripe, whether those racists be White Nationalists, Black Nationalists, Nazis, Zionists, or the members of La Raza. Racism is racism, and infatuation with race is itself a false ideology even when it does not involve actual idolatry. Some of these ideologues will point out that they don’t hate people of other races, and it is only just to recognize that many of these folks are not advocating violence towards other people. But they err in making biology of paramount importance when what matters is the true Faith and all that accompanies it (its liturgical and sacramental life, moral code, modus vivendi, etc.) and, secondarily, the culture it has produced and is still capable of producing among any people who assimilate it and live accordingly.
Cultural Marxists need racism, just as the SPLC and the ADL need the various “hatreds” they major in exposing; the first because it feeds into their ideology of dialectical materialism, the latter two for fiduciary reasons. As Jackie Mason said of the ADL’s Abe Foxman, “Anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow-up racism in order to justify himself and the job he has…. Otherwise he’d have to get up in the morning and get a real job.”
In becoming the bogeymen that their enemies need for marketing purposes, those who embrace the genuinely racist ideologies of the heathen right lend assistance to groups like the SPLC and the ADL.
What I would like to do for the rest of these lines is to show how Holy Scripture condemns racism in principle, and speaks to us of the only Blood that really matters.
Two evangelists record a particularly blistering part of the preaching of the great Forerunner, Saint John the Baptist: “Ye offspring of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance; and do not begin to say, we have Abraham for our father. For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham” (Luke 3:7-8; cf. Matt. 3:7-9). In the part I emphasized, Saint John implies that mere biological descent from the great Patriarch Abraham is not sufficient, and goes on to speak mysteriously of “stones” becoming children to Abraham, an utterance fulfilled in the very sacrament he heralded in the Jordan river, Baptism, which makes of gentile “stones,” children of Abraham. Our Lord and Saint Paul will later develop both of these themes.
In chapter eight of his Gospel, Saint John records a particularly hostile confrontation between Our Lord and his enemies. Here is the part of that exchange that most interests us now:
 Then Jesus said to those Jews, who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free?  Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.  Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever.  If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.  I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do the things that you have seen with your father.  They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham.  But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not.  You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God.  Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me:  Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.  But if I say the truth, you believe me not. (Jn. 8:31-45)
Notice that Our Lord acknowledges that his interlocutors are of the seed of Abraham, but then he goes on to assert that if they be children of Abraham, they should do the works of Abraham, which would entail listening to Him, for, as He will say towards the end of the chapter, “Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad” (v. 56). But, in rejecting Jesus whom Abraham had seen in vision, they showed themselves not to be that great man’s true children, and therefore not the children of God, but, rather of their father the devil! Rejection or acceptance by God has nothing to do with Abrahamic genes but everything to do with true Abrahamic Faith, which includes belief in Jesus Christ.
Sadly, these words of Our Lord about His enemies’ satanic parentage have been taken literally (as in biologically) by a few heretics who lack the benefit of Catholic tradition and the magisterium. I speak of the genuine racists and anti-semites (note: a racial category), who call themselves the “Christian Identity movement” (e.g., “Kingdom Identity Ministries”). They ignorantly assert, based upon this passage, that Jews are the biological offspring of Satan. In their racist mania, they mistake the spiritual for the carnal, and the election of grace for the genetics of race, thus supplying the shakedown artists of the SPLC and the ADL with useful ad copy.
Saint Paul speaks at times of the biological descent from Abraham (cf. Rom. 11:1, 2 Cor. 11:22; [see my comments on Rom. 11:1 in A Slow Reading of Romans XI]), but at other times of a spiritual descent from Abraham. The latter is the only that is of any lasting, supernatural consequence; for instance, in Romans 9:6-9, the Doctor of the Gentiles writes:
For all are not Israelites that are of Israel: Neither are all they that are the seed of Abraham, children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called: That is to say, not they that are the children of the flesh, are the children of God; but they, that are the children of the promise, are accounted for the seed.
Father Challoner, in his commentary on the Rheims New Testament, thus explains the passage:
Not all, who are the carnal seed of Israel, are true Israelites in God’s account: who, as by his free grace, he heretofore preferred Isaac before Ismael, and Jacob before Esau, so he could, and did by the like free grace, election and mercy, raise up spiritual children by faith to Abraham and Israel, from among the Gentiles, and prefer them before the carnal Jews.
To the gentile Galatians, Saint Paul is clear and quite definitive about the Christian’s spiritual descent from Abraham: “And if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). This comes, let us recall, from a chapter refuting the errors of the Judaizers, wherein is also found the Apostle’s famous exegesis of the promises recorded in Genesis to Abraham and “his seed”: “To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). Because Christ is that promised “seed” of Abraham, all those who are incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body are of that one, singular “seed.” Thus, on a daily basis, priests who offer the traditional Roman Mass ask God the Father to accept this sacrifice “as You accepted the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham.” Similarly, when we daily pray Mary’s Magnificat, and Zachary’s Benedictus, we make our own those references to Abraham as “our father.”
Abraham is our father because we are of his seed, who is Christ.
The biological particulars of the blood that courses through our veins has nothing to do with either the life of grace here on earth or the life of beatitude in Heaven. In all important affairs, there is one Blood that matters, and that is the Precious Blood of Christ:
- “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day” (Jn. 6:55).
- “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:57).
- “The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16).
May Blood of the Lamb unite us! For as the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients sing to Him in the Apocalypse: “Thou art worthy, O Lord … because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.”