MAGA and the Corruption of Spiritual Warfare

Yesterday we talked about Abp. Vigano’s gulling of the MAGA Cult in his butt-covering war on the Holy Father over his own abject failure to remove McCarrick. These days, that stupid coup having failed, we now find him and his Cult of personality demonizing anybody who will not vote for a visible-from-space dimestore antichrist.

Remnant League of the Sacred Heart Launches Rosary Crusade, New Prayer by Archbishop Viganò, for Reelection of Donald Trump

It starts, as it always reliably does, with massive self-pity:

As the Revolution against the Kingship of Christ rages in America today, traditional Catholic Americans remember the Catholic Uprising in the Vendée–whereby the pioneer Traditional Catholics held the Catholic ground in Western France against the nascent New World Order.

Like our French forefathers, we face a Christophobic mob who would destroy everything we hold sacred. In the face of this aggression, we take up the weapon of the Rosary and turn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

It is in this gloriously Catholic spirit of the Vendée that I invite you to join the Remnant League of the Sacred Heart each and every Friday from now until November 3 in praying the Rosary for the special intention of the re-election of Donald Trump in the face of yet another burgeoning New World Order. 

For those not familiar, the Rising in the Vendée was a tragic episode in the French Revolution when Catholics who did not want to have their faith brutally extirpated by revolutionary fanatics wound up having their live brutally extirpated instead. The death toll was somewhere between 58,000 and 200,000. Impressive given 18th century technology. And it did not discriminate between soldier and civilian. It was, in fact, an act of genocide.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Where exactly is the genocide that the plump Vigano and his equally beefy white American conservative fanboi are experiencing?”

And that that’s thing, isn’t it? Some Confederate statues coming down and a couple of pieces of iron depicting St. Junipero Serra are not even remotely The Great Tribulation. But comfy white conservative Christians–acutely aware that they are not persecuted in the slightest and in denial over the fact that they are themselves complicit with the persecutors–are dying to cast themselves in the role of victim martyrs even as they kneel on the necks of the brown and the poor and make war on their defender, the Holy Father.

Remember, this is all about prayer for a man who punishes his infant nephew with cerebral palsy in a spat over Daddy’s money, who called for the innocent Central Park 5 to be executed, who mocks the disabled, POWs, and Gold Star families, who tears families to pieces, shags porn stars, has two dozen sexual assault and rape charges against him, sells our troops to be killed for Russian bounties, interferes in our elections, punishes good soldiers and pardons war criminals, and dooms 135,000 people to death in a Pandemic he could have prevented if he were not a criminal moron. By Inauguration Day, he will be responsible for more deaths than the Rising in the Vendée. But in the world of MAGA, this is all either a lie or simply excusable because of the ridiculous Deep State/Deep Church Conspiracy, this cult now believes instead of the gospel. In the words of Abp. Vigano’s letter to Trump: “Just as there is a deep state, there is a deep church, that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God.”

And Trump, who has not the slightest idea or interest in the Church except to accessorize his ego, instantly declared the letter a “tremendous letter of support from the Catholic Church” on Raymond Arroyo’s sycophancy fest on EWTN.

Now I don’t expect Trump to know the difference between Vigano and the Catholic Church. But Arroyo does and he did not bother to correct Trump or his audience–and that’s the trouble. Because the Trump Campaign and the QANONified nuts in the Francis-hating sector of the Church are increasingly in sync:

“You know who is putting [Viganò’s letter] in front of the president?” one official said, “It’s coming from [Dan] Scavino. He runs all of that side of things.”

“Around him and the rest, they have only one plan right now, or only one they are talking about: weaponize the base, the base, the base.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration garnered attention for hosting telephone calls with bishops and other institutional Catholic leaders regarding both the impact of the coronavirus on Catholic schools and the decision of some bishops to begin limited reopenings of public Masses in the early stages of a national reopening.

In those calls, the president promised his administration’s support to Catholic initiatives, and to financially struggling Catholic schools. Bishops, including New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, faced criticism for seeming to lend implicit support to the president’s reelection bid, a charge Dolan and others disputed, while defending their engagement with the president.

The administration is continuing to advocate for parochial school assistance in coronavirus relief legislation.

But Trump’s more recent Catholic overtures have been of a different stripe.

Both administration officials told CNA that after Trump’s June 2 visit to the St. John Paul II National Shrine, a decision was made by Scavino and other strategists that the president should cultivate Catholic support from leadership figures outside the mainstream.

“The president doesn’t get why the bishops aren’t with him for doing work on religious liberty – especially after the shrine visit, he was pissed about that,” one official said.

The official told CNA that Scavino, himself a Catholic, views the support of figures like Viganò as a means of delivering Catholic votes without the implicit or explicit support of diocesan bishops.

The president’s shrine visit came at the height of protests and demonstrations across the county, following the killing of George Floyd. It also came one day after the controversial dispersal of demonstrators in Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, to accommodate a presidential photo-op in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory issued a stinging critique of the shrine visit, calling it “reprehensible,” and saying the shrine had been “egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles.”

The next week, on June 10, Trump’s Twitter account retweeted a long letter from Archbishop Carlo Viganò, former papal nuncio to the United States, in which the archbishop lavished praise on the president and repeated his own theories about an international conspiracy to use the coronavirus pandemic to bring about a one-world government.

“Both of us are on the same side in this battle,” Viganò wrote to Trump, calling criticism of the president’s June 2 visit to the National Shrine of St. John Paul II part of an “orchestrated media narrative” against the president.

Viganò gained national headlines in 2018, when he claimed that he had warned Pope Francis about allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and then called on the pope to resign. Since then, the archbishop has lived in self-imposed exile, writing frequent open letters that make apocalyptic claims, proffer globalist conspiracy theories, and denounce sitting diocesan bishops and the Second Vatican Council.

Viganò last month denounced Washington’s Archbishop Gregory as a “false shepherd” after Gregory’s criticism of Trump’s shrine visit.

One administration official said Scavino saw Viganò’s letter as a way of touting support for Trump in the face of Gregory’s opposition.

“He thinks it’s a punch back against [Archbishop] Gregory,” said the official.

On July 2, Trump’s Twitter account tweeted about an appearance by Taylor Marshall on the One America News Network, in which Marshall said “there is a war on Christianity,” and praised the president’s leadership.

Marshall has recently been associated with the traditionalist priestly Society of St. Pius X, who are in “irregular communion” with the Catholic Church. He has tweeted that Catholic men should not attend diocesan seminaries, spoken about his “resistance” to Pope Francis, and has recently clashed with Bishop Robert Barron, who reportedly referred to him as an “extremist,” amid a disagreement over the role of clerics and laity amid the destruction of the statues of saints.

In Vigano World–and Americanist White Conservative Catholic World–the identification between schismatic, Francis-hating Reactionary antichristian KKKatholicism is nearly total.

It’s all so simple. MAGA are–literally– the Children of Light. Opponents of Trump are not, you know, honest people who might have qualms of conscience about the torrent of lies, cruelty and evil he has poured out on the world. They are not people who think this is a teensy weensy bit problematic:


No. They are Children of Darkness–servants of Satan himself. So Vigano and the Righteous pray thusly and without the slightest sense of irony:

Give courage to those who, in spiritual combat, fight the good fight as soldiers of Christ against the furious forces of the children of darkness.

Keep each one of us, O Lord, in your Most Sacred Heart, and above all him whom Your Providence has placed at the head of our Nation.

Bless the President of the United States of America, so that aware of his responsibility and his duties, he may be a knight of justice, a defender of the oppressed, a firm bulwark against Your enemies, and a proud supporter of the children of light.

Proud indeed. One might even say “diabolically proud”.

Look. It’s not hard to see what Vigano and the MAGA Cult are doing here. Vigano’s got a good grift going and if he can tie it into Trump’s grift, all the better for him. The Cult have consistently shown themselves impervious to reason and even common decency, so this scam is as good as any for ginning up the troops and creating synergy between the Puritan enemies of the Church and the Patriotic enemies of America. The former brag about being the Only True Catholics while hating the Magisterium, the least of these, and common decency, much less the fruits of the Spirit. The latter brag about being the Only Real Americans while betraying our troops to Russian bounties, spitting in the face of vets who gave their legs for their country, and nakedly signaling their Nazi sympathies again and again.

So should we be silent as the Pope is silent when Vigano slanders him?

Only if we are the subject of the slander. Jesus was silent when he was attacked. He was not silent when Mary of Bethany was attacked. He was not silent when his Father’s House was desecrated by the moneychangers. He was emphatically not silent about the lies and hypocrisy of the Pharisees in Matthew 23. He was not silent in warning (Matthew 24) that the bills would come due for Jerusalem if they did not repent.

And the proof of this, in our time, is Francis himself, modeling exactly this. He has consistently practice silence when he himself has been demonized. But he does not hesitate to speak out when others are made the butt of this kind of demonizing talk.

On the MAGA Cult’s Failing Attempt to Demonize Its Enemies

One of the oldest standbys in the book for theists is the attempt to charge its enemies with being in league with the Devil.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t deny the existence of Old Scratch. Nor did Jesus. And he oughtta know, being God and all. But he also understood that the Accuser’s number one tool in the demonic arsenal is, “NO! YOU!” So he had to put up with garbage like this:

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” (Mk 3:22).

Ever since then, one of the periodic evils the world has had to endure is evil and/or deluded religious types designating their enemies as demonic, servants of the devil, and so forth even as they themselves carry out demonic acts of evil in their murderous pride and projection. It killed Rhenish Jews, Joan of Arc, sundry victims of sundry Protestant and Catholic fights, victims at Salem, and every victim approved by Christians who saw in Hitler a savior sent by God to Germany.

It’s not that only Christians are prey to this Girardian scapegoating impulse of the mob. We’re not. All humans, under the wrong circumstances can fall prey to the impulse. It is the same thing that animated various civilizations to practice human sacrifice. It animates the hysteria of “cancel culture” on the interwebs. It fueled Stalin’s purges and Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It can be seen in a very minor degree in cliques and mean girls in grade school and it can be seen in monstrous degree in sundry purges and cleansings and slaughters driven by the impulse to place the evil on designated Victims Evildoers and exile or murder them.

What Rene Girard saw about Jesus was that, instead of directing that impulse at others, he allowed it to wash over himself. He “took upon himself the sins of the world” and thereby broke the cycle of violence by bearing all our dysfunction and violence and taking it with him to the grave. And he forbade his disciples to continue it, commanding them to put up the sword, turn the other cheek, and love their enemies.

His followers have, in large measure, argued with him about that ever since, often, as we just noted, indulging in exactly the demonizing of the innocent that he innocently endured and practicing the Leaden Rule of “Do unto others before they do it unto you.” It turns out that the command to forgive and love one’s enemies isn’t just hard for pagan barbarians 2000 years ago. It’s hard for pagan Christians right now. But it can done, however imperfectly.

One recent example has been the case of the egregrious fraud, Abp. Carlo Maria Vigano, who has spent the last several years deflecting from his own spectacular failure to do anything about the predator McCarrick by vigorously accusing the only man who did do something about him: Pope Francis.

For those not up on the loathesome topic of ecclesial politics, here’s the nutshell. Theodore Cardinal McCarrick was a massively gifted administrator and cardinal-archbishop of Washington DC. He oversaw the largely successful reforms of the Church in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal in the US because the man knew his way around a bureaucracy and had the chops to fix it.

He was also, himself, a predator. So his fixes, which worked very well for underlings, were carefully designed not to apply to him. Bureaucratic skill is a two-edged sword.

There were lots of stories about him, of course, but nothing was done. Why? Thereby hangs a tale.

Turns out that mere bishops and archbishops can’t do anything to punish or remove cardinals. There is only one guy on US soil that can do that: the apostolic nuncio. Think of him as the pope’s ambassador to the Church in each country. Now from 2011 to 2016, Vigano was that guy. And during his entire tenure, he did nothing about McCarrick, despite his own confession that he knew he was an abuser. Instead, he feted him, held banquets for him and gave him awards.

Fast forward to 2018. All the dirt about McCarrick spills out all over the deck in July. Francis strips him of his title of cardinal and removes him. Suddenly, the question becomes, “Why did Vigano do nothing?”

Solution: Vigano, with the help and support of Cdl. Burke, EWTN, and most of the Catholic Rightwingosphere, hucks a hand grenade into the Church in August which explodes with the accusation that he had placed some mythical “sanctions” on McCarrick which Francis had allegedly lifted. He screams, “RESIGN!” at Francis–the one man who actually did something about McCarrick–and then disappears into hiding rather than face any questions or interrogation of his transparently butt-covering narrative.

This palace coup fell apart fast as Benedict’s secretary rejected this story and the right wing lie machine’s war on Francis ground to a halt. But it put Vigano on the map as one of the biggest folk heroes the eternally wrong-about-everything American conservative Catholic subculture would come to worship.

Since that time, he has been in hiding issuing weird little bulletins and nutty conspiracy theories that are increasing calculated not only to continue the war on the Holy Father and paint himself as the courageous Culture Warrior in Exile on the Isle of Patmos, but to turn the sect of schismatic wannabes who adore him into QANON kooks filled with a nutty visions of their Trump-adoring selves into the Sons of Light pitted against the rest of the Church as the Sons of Darkness.

In response, Francis has been consistently silent. And some people are baffled by this. Dr. Pedro Gabriel discusses why the Holy Father takes this course of action here:

Last week, Catholic News Agency (CNA) published an essay by their editor-in-chief, JD Flynn, analyzing Archbishop Viganò’s growing pile of public missives and the Vatican’s silence about him. In this article, Flynn correctly notes that Viganò’s original contentions—about Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse scandal—have since given way to a variety of other topics, some even going into doctrinal matters (specifically involving the Second Vatican Council).

Flynn then goes on to assert that the Vatican in general (and Pope Francis in particular) have maintained their silence on Viganò. This claim, however, is only partially correct. But later, when Flynn speculates about potential explanations for this papal silence, his essay fails in its analysis. His tone seems to betray a certain (and understandable) frustration with this silence, since Viganò’s rhetoric appears to have reached the mainstream after President Trump tweeted a link to one of his open letters.

Speaking as someone who has closely studied the spirituality and the theological mind of Jorge Mario Bergoglio for several years, the possible explanations that Flynn proposes for Francis’s silence are implausible and reflect neither the character nor the leadership style of our pope. But the first misconception in this piece is the claim that the Vatican has remained silent. This is not true.

As Flynn notes, the topic of Viganò’s first letter was Francis’s role in the McCarrick abuse scandal. In that letter, Viganò claimed that many bishops—and even the pope—knew about these abuses and covered them up, before the scandal broke out publicly. Flynn accurately reports Francis’s answer to these charges, which was: “I will not say a single word on this.”

This does not convey the entirety of the Vatican response, however. In a second letter, Viganò asks Cardinal Marc Ouellet to release the “documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups.

In response, Cardinal Ouellet wrote an open letter refuting Viganò’s claims, in very strong and clear terms. Mind you, Cardinal Ouellet was (and still is) the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops. Since he is a high-ranking Vatican official, it is not accurate to say that the Vatican has remained silent. In the opening paragraph of his letter, Cardinal Ouellet said that he was writing, “With pontifical permission, and in my capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.” In other words, this was an official response from the Vatican that was released with permission from the pope.

After Ouellet’s open letter, how did Viganò and his followers respond? With deflection and deception. At first, they accused the good cardinal of lying. Later, they twisted the meaning of Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, claiming that his clear and unambiguous refutation had actually proven many of Viganò’s claims. Flynn himself wrote in CNA in October 2018 that,  “Ouellet validated a central point of Viganò’s,” and in last week’s analysis described the letter from Ouellet as simply part of some “public and polemical correspondence” with Viganò. There was indeed a Vatican’s official response refuting Viganò, but it did not achieve its aim, since it was distorted by many prominent media figures of the time.

But Flynn’s essay also misses the mark when he advances a series of hypotheses that he believes might explain the Vatican’s silence, namely: 1) Church leaders do not grasp the level of influence that Viganò has; 2) There is a misguided hope that Viganò will simply go away quietly; 3) They are reluctant to publicly admonish an archbishop who is a retired high-ranking diplomatic figure; 4) They are disinclined to answer due to sincere concerns for the archbishop’s health or his personal circumstances; 5) They want to avoid the uncomfortable fact that Francis has chosen to not answer many open “questions” (he specifically names the “substantive claims” by Viganò about McCarrick and the “unanswered” questions on Amoris Laetitia). To his credit, Flynn does add reasons why almost all these hypotheses are likely wrongheaded.

Whatever role these guesses might play in answering his question, the main reason cannot be found anywhere in Flynn’s article. This, in my mind, demonstrates the fundamental lack of comprehension of Francis that is held by even his most deferential critics.

The reason for Pope Francis’s silence is rooted in two facts.

The first is that, as I have mentioned, the Vatican did indeed respond in the beginning, through Cardinal Ouellet’s open letter. It was roundly dismissed by those who supported Viganò, including by CNA and JD Flynn himself. Ultimately, it served no purpose. So  why keep pursuing this approach? Nothing the Vatican can say or do will change the minds of those who have decided to believe and support Viganò, no matter how ridiculous his claims have become.

The second reason flows from the first. It is deeply rooted in Pope Francis’s spirituality and his life philosophy. As Father Jorge Bergoglio wrote in an essay in the 1990s:

“In moments of darkness and tribulation, when the tangles and the knots cannot be untied, nor things clarified, then we must be silent.”

In the same essay, Fr. Bergoglio further explains this reasoning. When a person is attacked in a way that “cannot be clarified,” then that person’s best response is to keep silent. Truth will eventually come to the surface, because the “weakness” shown by this person inevitably emboldens the Devil, who will then manifest himself, revealing the evil motivations he had concealed until that time.

In other words, by letting the accuser talk, the person who suffers in silence will give this accuser enough rope to hang himself. Let him talk. Sooner or later he will reveal the inconsistencies and lies in his accusations.

This is precisely what happened with Viganò. Flynn correctly notes that “the archbishop has changed his topic, from the McCarrick affair to conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic, the Marian apparition at Fatima, and the Second Vatican Council.

In other words, Viganò is letting it all out now. His accusations do not serve the legitimate aim of doing justice for the McCarrick victims anymore, as they once appeared to do. Viganò’s accusations now seem to be ends in themselves; they seek to transform the Church according to the agenda of certain Catholics who pit themselves as the guardians of orthodoxy against the Vicar of Christ and an ecumenical council.

Not only that, but Viganò’s missives have become so unhinged, conspiratorial, and detached from reality, that at this moment, there is no excuse for a Catholic to follow him. By now, it is as clear as day: Viganò’s best refutation is Viganò himself. This is a much stronger argument than if Pope Francis had issued a point-by-point refutation of every single one of his claims. If someone is still following Viganò at this point, then I don’t know what the Vatican could say that would convince them. They are simply too far off. I believe that for this subset of our Church, only prayers, not arguments, will help.

Those who helped advance Viganò’s claims and supported his ideological agenda in 2018 and 2019 but believe today that he has lost the plot should do a serious self-examination of their role in leading these “little ones” astray.

The answer to JD Flynn’s question, “Why is the Vatican silent on McCarrick?” is to begin to know Francis. I answered this very same question in October 2018, in fact, when I wrote:

“Viganò’s testimony is accepted at face value, no matter how many inconsistencies and denials contradict it. If someone with authority and knowledge states Viganò is wrong, then it must be because that person is lying. If someone categorically rejects the existence of sanctions, then what that person said is spun in order to prove the sanctions existed. And so there were sanctions, even when they were not sanctions, but they were still sanctions insofar as they validate Viganò’s testimony. Viganò can invert the burden of proof and demand that Francis prove his innocence by releasing documents whose existence is uncertain, apart from Viganò’s own testimony (in other words, circular reasoning and petitio principii). If those documents are not released, then that is proof that Viganò is right (the archbishop states so in his second testimony). If they are released but do not prove what Viganò says they prove, then this is because the documents were tainted. In other words, Viganò’s testimony is non-falsifiable.

To this, I can only once again commend Pope Francis’s wisdom in maintaining silence before this crowd. All those who have asked for years that the Pope would clarify his teachings have now shown what they would have done if Francis had given them a clear answer (as Ouellet did) that they disagreed with. They would just spin the pope’s clarifications in a way better suited for their ideological narrative, just as they have done now. And all those insistent cries for an investigation are paradoxical, since they have proven they are not open to be led to “wherever truth may lead them” (as the Vatican statement puts it), but are rather searching for an “investigation” that will corroborate their pre-made conclusions.

Above all, if Pope Francis’s guilt has already been proven in their minds in a non-falsifiable way, why should Francis waste his time answering them? Silence is the appropriate answer. Whatever Francis might say in response to Viganò’s accusations would just feed the controversy, without satisfying his detractors in the least.”

If Francis’ approach to this kookery sounds familiar, in other words, it’s because it’s the same one Jesus took when the scapegoating mob of liars bent on his destruction overwhelmed him with accusations and lies. Instead of casting pearls before swine and giving what was holy to dogs, he did what Isaiah prophesied he would do:

like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. (Is 53:7)

Which brings us to the absurd move Vigano and his prideful cult of personality has now made to paint anybody who will not vote for Trump as monsters in league with Satan. Of which more tomorrow.

Taika Waititi is a genius

One of the defining marks of the MAGA personality (whatever country you live in) is extreme narcissism. Everything is always about them.

Gun violence in your country slaughtering 40,000 people a year? Normals ask questions that are Other-centered. What can we do to lower those numbers? How can we prevent those deaths? How can we help save the lives of those people?

The MAGA personality is always about himself? Don’t touch my gun? Don’t blame me. I didn’t shoot anybody!

Even if you manage to pry them of of selfishly focusing their gun or the notion that they are to blame and try to get them to think about the people who are being shot, maimed, crippled, and killed by gunfire, they still put themselves at the center: “I need my gun because I am the Good Guy with the Gun who is going to star in the Action Hero Fantasy in my mind where I blow the Bad Guy away and save the day!”

Same with Pandemic. Normals are thinking about other people. So even if they are feeling well, they wear the mask and do social distancing and observe common courtesy for the sake of those who may be at risk. It’s not All About Them.

For the MAGA Cult this, like all things, is All About Them. They are the persecuted victim of an imaginary fantasy. The mask is a pink triangle, a yellow star, the Mark of the Beast and they are heroes standing up to Big Brother and infecting everyone in their path while posing as the Patriot Hero and Victim Martyr.

And with racism, it’s the same thing. Normals are Other-center and show some consideration for the victims of racism. The MAGA Personality sees everything as All About Them. Somehow, taking down Jim Crow statuary set up to keep black people in their place is a personal affront to them. if they have not personally put a noose on somebody’s neck, then when a POC tells them they are rude and thoughtless for cheering for one of Trump’s bigoted words or deeds, they are the victims. All things orbit around them at all times.

And satires like this are met with both denial, sighs of weariness, and complaints that the *real* racism is “being mean to whites” who are the true victims in the everlasting drama starring Themselves.

This cartoon nearly gets it right. The only correction I would offer is, instead of “Left Wing” put “Normals”. It is not “Left Wing” but Normal to show some elementary courtesy to other people. Indeed, it is just the Golden Rule we learned in Sunday School. It is the triumph of the Right Wing Freak Show to turn “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” into some kind of wild-eyed radical Leftist plot and not simply common decency.


For any reader dealing with the loss of a spouse

My good friend Bill Dodds has written a powerful book for Widows and Widowers. Monica and he got married in 1974 when they were 21. She died of uterine cancer in 2013 when they were 60. Now he shares some of his experience for others going through the same thing

On Your Pilgrimage Called Grief: A Guide for Widows and Widowers

Sez he:

If I had my way you and I would just sit down and visit. You could tell me some of your story and I could tell you some of mine. You could tell me what’s going on with you now, today, this moment, and I could tell you what it was like for others and me when we were where you are.

One week “out.” Two weeks. A month. Two months. A year. Two years. Not that we fellow widows and widowers have “the answer” but we do have what we tried. What worked for us and what didn’t. How we made it from one week to two. One month to two. One year to two.

We’re no experts except, of course and sad to say, every widow and widower comes to know a lot about losing a dear one and surviving that loss. Not getting over it but learning to live with it as the pain lessens. As our lives move on.

An excerpt:

“The grief of widowhood is like a chronic condition. Yes, it does get much easier. Yes, joy and peace of mind—and heart—do return. But that grief can flare up both at expected times and at times when it’s unexpected.”

Here is a downloadable, printable handout for widows and widowers to give to their family, friends, and others:

A Few Things I Would Like You to Know about Widowhood

Please Help Mercy for Life Help Diana

My friend Fausta Nalubega writes:

The challenge is that whenever she wakes up she asks “Where is the Baby?”is the baby okay? Did you get the guy in Jail? We said no and she became unconscious again.

Diana is now HIV positive.

The doctors has advised us that the baby should not be breastfed again since the mother got wounds on her breasts.

What Diana is going through is common to most teenagers and they have no were to go . Together we can lift a voice and save lives.

Kindly help Diana’s new hospital bill of 650$ the time she’s going to be hospitalized and food.

God bless you abundantly

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Please Help Defend Refugees from Trump’s Sadistic Cruelty

Reader Mitzi Hellmer, an immigration lawyer, writes:

PLEASE HELP! WE NEED AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS BEFORE JULY 15. Trump’s latest proposal to kill asylum is a doozy. The administration wants to define asylum in such a narrow way as to basically eliminate the protection altogether. This would endanger the lives of thousands of desperate people who have abandoned everything to seek refuge in this country, especially Central Americans whose countries have been decimated by US foreign policy. Indeed, these proposed regulations seem specifically drafted with Central Americans in mind. For example, they would bar those fleeing gang violence and persecution on account of their gender from asylum, despite the fact that Central America is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women and that even the President of El Salvador has called gangs “a parallel state.” These proposals are racist to their core and an outrage against our treaty obligations.

I know that a lot of Trump’s horrid attacks against immigrants have been stayed by courts, but these might actually stick. Why? Because unlike his previous outrages, he’s actually following the law which requires that he notify the public about any proposed changes to the regulations and allow them to comment. Each individual comment must be addressed by the administration before the new regulations can be implemented, so the more individual comments we get, the more likely it is that the regulations will become more humane. Or, at the very least, more comments might slow things down enough that we might have a non-sociopath in the White House before these horrid restrictions ever get implemented.

So, we’re asking EVERYONE to please submit a unique comment on these proposed regulations BEFORE JULY 15. There are templates and information available at the links below, as well as guidance about where to submit comments (you can do it online). Thank you so much for helping! For what you did for the least of these, you did for me.

“So far there are 4711 public comments against the proposed asylum regulations that will totally gut our asylum system. LET’S DOUBLE THAT NUMBER. The public charge comment received 280,000 comments and it slowed things down by 10 months. The recent asylum employment authorization regs that just went into effect received around 1000 comments that took from November to June to issue. Let’s comment ourselves and motivate at least FIVE people in our lives (including our spouses, office staff, interns, best friends, etc) to comment, too. There are tons of resources and comment templates. I like the NIJC one available here.

There are tons of other resources to choose from, including prerecorded webinars, videos, Op Eds, articles, etc, to educate yourself and your community about these proposed regs also on this site.

There is NO excuse not to comment. Make it unique. – PLEASE COMMENT.”

A Reader Asks What I Think about the Chance of Liberal Persecution of the Church

He writes:

I’ve been thinking about something recently, you already know that I agree with you, that regardless who the Dems run it will be better than the current crazy person in the Whitehouse, but I still have a lot of fears about the left in power, I do see you report on the left when they go off the reservation but I rarely hear you voice your own fears on what a Democrat controlled government would look like on things we care about, abortion, marriage, religious freedoms, this is not a whatabout question, because I agree that one is better than the other, but it does sometime seem in your writings that your not giving any real credence to the concerns that people have about Democrats, and agree, the religious freedom fears are mostly overdone, but I wouldn’t look down on someone for having those concerns,

Sorry for my incredible slowness in replying.  I’ve been working on not one, not two, but three books (a wild occult thriller novel, a book on the Creed (easy peasy!) and a book on Catholic Social Teaching called THE CHURCH’S BEST KEPT-SECRET: A PRIMER ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING).  The latter will be out from New City Press in September/Octoberish.  Between that, pandemic, and economic catastrophe, I’ve been keeping busy.  But I finally came up for air and have been plowing through my mail, where I found yours languishing, neglected and forlorn. 😊  Please forgive me.

In a word, no.  I’m not worried about the Dems.  Trump, the GOP Crime Syndicate, and the MAGA antichrist cult that backs them all constitute the gravest domestic threat the US has faced since the Civil War.  From the criminal mishandling of the Pandemic (in which, out of sheer spite, this lying moron burned to ashes a response team and plan handed him by his predecessor), to the ruin of economic recovery (also handed him by his predecessor), to the dodging of richly deserved impeachment courtesy of the GOP Crime Syndicate, to countless harms inflicted on the environment, the least of these, public discourse, race relations, foreign relations and, most recently on our military by his treasonous betrayal of our troops to Russian bounties on their heads, the damage this criminal has done is incalculable, long-lasting, and catastrophic.

I honestly could not care less about the fears of religious persecution American Christians have been taught to fret over.  That’s because I believe the revelation.  Even if, which I don’t believe for a second, the Dems were just waiting to unleash a wave of persecution on the Church, Jesus tells us, ” do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” ( Mt 10:28).

In short, the real threat to the Church is, and always has been seduction, not persecution, because what destroy us in hell is our own sin, not oppression from without.

The MAGA Cult is itself the proof of this.  In 2016, the Catholic arm of the MAGA Cult, led by such fearmongers as John Zmirak, stampeded conservative Catholics with the lie that Clinton was Diocletian and Trump was Constantine.  This kind of fearmongering has characterized Right Wing Lie Machine propaganda for a couple of decades.  And its fruit has been to turn conservative Christians, Protestant and Catholic, into a subculture where accusation is always a form of confession.  They claimed that “liberals” were going to be the authors of a wave of religious persecution.  They themselves now are the authors of that persecution for brown refugees on the border.  They themselves are the authors of that persecution for brown Christians across America while they admire a thug who calls Nazis “very fine people” and peaceful Black protesters asking not to be killed by police “sons of bitches”.  They lied ten years ago that “liberals” would subject us to “death panels.”  Now they are the ones telling people dying of pandemic that some things matter more than life and the weak need to die for the economy.  They lie that they and they alone represent the gospel while having morphed into a freak show so consumed with selfishness that they would rather consign their own children to death than have the consideration for others to wear a mask or observe common sense.  They are eaten up with a butthurt sense of persecution so profound that it blinds them to the realization that they, not their Culture War enemies, are the biggest threats both to the common good and to the witness of the Church.

That, for me, is the incredible thing: the backbone of this cult of human sacrifice to Mammon self-identifies as “Christian” and “prolife” and is at open war with Holy Church and the Holy Father while it prostitutes itself to this Golden Ass.  They, not the Dems, are the clear and present danger the Church faces in this hour.  They, not some imaginary persecution from liberals are what I most fear.  And my gravest fear is that the damage they have done has already wrecked the witness of the Church in this country for rest of my life at least. 

For me, the great irony of this time is that I virtually never meet liberals who try to tell me to renounce my Faith (as the Cult constantly insists Libs do).  It is Reactionary Catholics who do that, demanding that I spit on the “Novus Ordo/Vatican II Church” and reject the Holy Father as a fraud and a false pope.  Liberals don’t demand that of me.  What they do, in droves, is beg on their knees for Christians to act like Jesus.  And what they typically receive for their troubles is contempt and spite from the Cult who sneer at kindness, human decency and charity as “Kumbayah Catholicism”.  I have very little sense of threat from them.  They want to see a Church that cares for the least of these, that respects human beings, that is generous and kind to the poor.  That’s why they like Pope Francis.  Do they often lack a supernatural faith in Jesus as the Son of God?  Sure.  Are they wrong about abortion? Typically.  But how on earth should we expect them to see differently when the face we show them is so often that of the Trump Freak Show of stupidity, spite, and cruelty?

So no.  I don’t fear liberal persecution.  I fear the horrific antichrist false religion that has overcome conservative American Christianity and set its face against God.  He will overcome it with the breath of his mouth in his own timing, for his glory and our good, as he turned the betrayal of Judas Iscariot to his glory and our good.  But meantime, it is our task to try to save those we can from this diabolical cult.

Hope that helps!

Being as How Early July is a Good Time for Some Murkan History…

Here’s something a reader sent me about Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island:

Roger Williams was one of the early immigrants to America. Born and educated in England, he was a Puritan who came over with his wife in 1630. He had shown quite a bit of natural inclination to learn languages, and had mastered 6 or so by the time he sailed for America. He quickly got interested in Native Americans, and learned the languages of the ones nearby. He spent much time among them, studying not only their language but their societies, culture, etc. He wrote the first dictionary of Native American languages.

He was against any government religion, and really—without doubt—is responsible more than any other person for the concept of separation of church and state enshrined in our Bill of Rights. His concept was “soul liberty” which held that any force which compelled a person to pay for, adhere to, or otherwise accept any religious belief or practice which conflicted with their own conscience or beliefs was “soul rape.” People have to choose salvation, not be forced to it. This was in the early to mid 1600s, LONG before the notion of religious freedom was popular among Puritans or other settlers. He felt that the best way to prevent religious wars was simply to separate religion from political rule. Not only was he for freedom of religion, he also stood for freedom from religion. He truly was the tip of the spear on these questions.

He also believed that since the “new world” was already occupied when the Europeans arrived, settlers should pay Indians for land, not get it through grants from the King. Later, when he founded Providence, he started it on land that was granted to the settlers by the tribe that owned the area, NOT (at least until later) by charter from anybody in England. As you know, it is popular these days to start every gathering by acknowledging the land as unceded territory. Maybe folks don’t do that in Rhode Island. Settlers there were given some original land, in an act of friendship with Roger Williams, who always campaigned, among the settlers and on trips back to England, for Indians to be considered equal in every way to the settlers. He apparently never “went native” nor did he womanize with the Native women, he simply believed in human rights for all, and he was their friend. When additional land for the new colony was desired, it was purchased, fair and square. This is not completely unique, of course, as the story about $24 worth of beads traded for Manhattan testifies. But this is in direct contrast to Massachusetts, for instance, where the settlers’ claim to the land came from a charter given them by the King of England. 

Roger Williams was a preacher, among other things. Before he founded Providence, he was living in Massachusetts but at a certain point had made enough enemies by espousing respect for the Indians, his notions of religious freedom and the separation of church and government, along with his opposition to slavery, that he was arrested with intention to ship him back to England once and for all. He was convicted of heresy for “diverse, new, and dangerous opinions.” During a blizzard he escaped and walked almost 60 miles in deep snow, almost freezing to death, until the Indians found and saved him. He spent the winter in their camp and went on to create a new colony, Providence Plantation (“plantation” meant “settlement” in those days), in what would become Rhode Island, founded on the principles he espoused. Among other firsts, it was the first settler community in America to establish a majority rule democracy. He also co-founded the first Baptist Church (a key concept, an extension of his notion of “soul liberty,” was that baptism should be for consenting adults, not infants, who have no capacity to chose). He spearheaded the first effort to ban slavery from the Colonies, which in 1652 resulted in a law in Providence prohibiting all slavery. Roger Williams died in 1683.

A hundred years later, his views on separation of church and state, and other things, (well, NOT his views on slavery) were incorporated into the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Rhode Island was the first British colony to renounce allegiance to Britain, but the last colony to ratify the US Constitution, only doing so after the inclusion of the Bill Of Rights.

I find this history fascinating. Roger Williams is one of our founding fathers, long before Washington, Jefferson, and the rest, who he greatly influenced. He had, perhaps, a clearer vision of the American Dream than any of the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence many generations later. And unlike many of those framers of the Constitution, he had collegial relations with Native Americans and was not compromised by slavery. He should be considered a saint by the left, and just like he spent his life fighting for principles we still fight for, we should use his legacy to oppose to establish our side’s claim to the American Dream etc. In many ways, when he was banished from Massachusetts by land-grabbing, hate-mongering proto-Trumpians, he faced a situation similar to progressive forces today. We should be rubbing his legacy in the faces of all the flag-waving haters out there. Apparently Rhode Island does tout him a fair amount. They even have on display the apple tree root that grew through his coffin, presumably feeding on his remains. 

Now you know!

Reader Annette Wilcox has a new book out!

It’s called Bumping the Dock: A Story of God’s Grace and an 18-Wheeler

Annette writes:

I am an unlikely person to be a long-haul trucker. People comment that I look more like a librarian or an English teacher than a trucker. And I have been both. Trucking is physically a little too hard for me. Perhaps for this reason, my life as a trucker has been one of radical dependence on God. The truck runs, after all, by grace, and I’m on the road only as long as God wants me to be. I have truly experienced that God’s mercies are new every morning and are inexhaustible. He always helps! That’s what this story is about.

Check thou it out!