Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

As Hillary Reaches for the Smelling Salts



Bill Clinton’s deposition on Monica Lewinsky.  A good thing to remember when Hillary rants tonight about how outraged she is about what Trump said.  Ah for the halcyon days of that Clinton’s presidency when parents had to shoo kids out of the room when the news came on, and when oral sex and the oval office became synonymous.  Trump is a pig, but having these characters act morally outraged over Trump is truly nauseating.

Columbus and the Virgin Mary


The Virgin of the Navigators is an alterpiece painted in 1536 by Alejo Fernandez for the chapel at the House of Trade in Seville.  Under the protection of the Virgin are depicted King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and, kneeling on the viewer’s right are Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and one of the Pinzon Brothers.  In the background are gathering the peoples of the New World.  The painting was made five years after the appearance of Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in 1531, and I wonder if word of this miracle had made its way back to Spain.

At any rate, I know Columbus would have loved the painting.  All of his life he had a special devotion to Mary, as demonstrated by the name of his flagship, Santa Maria, and his strict observance of sailors singing Salve Regina at around 7:00 PM after saying their evening prayers.  ( The full name of the Santa Maria was Santa Maria de la  Imaculada ConcepcionSaint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, which indicates that Columbus believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.)  On the return voyage from discovering the New World, when supplies were rapidly running out, Columbus and his crew promised pilgrimages to various Marian shrines if they made it back to Spain.  In his will Columbus left a legacy to build a church dedicated to Saint Mary of the Conception on Hispaniola, a wish, alas, his executors did not carry out.  Columbus would rarely write a letter without inserting this phrase:  Jesus cum Maria sit nobis in via. (May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way.)  Not a bad hope for all of us. Continue reading

Debate Open Thread



The second debate between Trump and Clinton starts at 8:00 PM Central Time tonight, and for lovers of political theater it promises to be exceptional.  Any other politician would be dead meat now but Donald Trump is not “any other politician.”  He isn’t a politician at all, as he has demonstrated time and time again in this campaign.  What began, I suspect, as a vanity ride for him, has turned into a political movement that has been consistently underestimated by his foes, including me.  Well, I am done underestimating Donald Trump.  Tonight promises to be an epic disaster for him, but I would not be surprised to see him throw away the political rulebook yet again and snatch a victory from a debacle.  We shall see.  For a political junkie like me, it does not get any better than this.


Update:  Trump has just held a news conference featuring Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton.  It looks like he is taking the nuclear option unless this is a pre-debate headfake.


Update:  Trump thus far, a half hour into the debate, is bringing his A game in the debate:  Calm, articulate and on the attack.  He has won most of the exchanges with Hillary.

Update:  An hour in Trump is more than holding his own.  Clinton came into this debate over confident and Trump came in knowing that he couldn’t afford another loss.  Frank Luntz’ focus group is showing that 17 think Trump is winning, 4 think Hillary is winning and 9 think it is a tie.

Update:  I called the first debate for Clinton and I think Trump is just as clearly the victor in the second debate.  A bravura performance considering the pressure Trump is under.

Update:  From the Luntz focus group:

Focus Group: Who are you willing to vote for?

BEFORE #DEBATE • Hillary: 8 • Trump: 9

AFTER DEBATE • Hillary: 4 • Trump: 18

Second Debate

I loved the show Rawhide when I was a kid and I imagine that there were more than a few ticked CBS viewers on October 7, 1960 when they tuned in to see the Western only to view two politicians debating!  Nixon wore television makeup for this second ever Presidential debate, unlike the first one, and most pundits at the time thought he won this second debate.  Nixon had spent little time actually practicing law, but he was good at the cut and thrust of verbal warfare, while Kennedy was better at set piece speeches.  Unfortunately for Nixon, viewership fell off by about twenty million viewers after the initial debate that he lost.  In those long ago days before the internet, if the debate wasn’t watched when first broadcast, it wasn’t going to be seen at all, except in the briefest of snippets on the evening news.

October 8, 1918: Alvin C. York Renders Unto Caesar



13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians; that they should catch him in his words. 14Who coming, say to him: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and carest not for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar; or shall we not give it? 15Who knowing their wiliness, saith to them: Why tempt you me? bring me a penny that I may see it. 16And they brought it him. And he saith to them: Whose is this image and inscription? They say to him, Caesar’s. 17And Jesus answering, said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Mark 12:  13-17

So you see my religion and my experience…told me not to go to war, and the memory of my ancestors…told me to get my gun and go fight. I didn’t know what to do. I’m telling you there was a war going on inside me, and I didn’t know which side to lean to. I was a heap bothered. It is a most awful thing when the wishes of your God and your country…get mixed up and go against each other. One moment I would make up my mind to follow God, and the next I would hesitate and almost make up my mind to follow Uncle Sam. Then I wouldn’t know which to follow or what to do. I wanted to follow both but I couldn’t. They were opposite. I wanted to be a good Christian and a good American too.

Alvin C. York

Drafted into the Army, serving in the All American division, Alvin C. York had a moral quandary.  A crack shot from years of hunting to feed his poverty stricken family in the hills of Tennessee, he was also a fervent Christian.  He loved his country but took literally the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.  Requesting a ten day leave to go home, which was granted, he prayed fervently to God for an answer to his dilemma.

“As I prayed there alone, a great peace kind of come into my soul and a great calm come over me, and I received my assurance. He heard my prayer and He come to me on the mountainside. I didn’t see Him, of course, but he was there just the same. I knowed he was there. He understood that I didn’t want to be a fighter or a killing man, that I didn’t want to go to war to hurt nobody nohow. And yet I wanted to do what my country wanted me to do. I wanted to serve God and my country, too. He understood all of this. He seen right inside of me, and He knowed I had been troubled and worried, not because I was afraid, but because I put Him first, even before my country, and I only wanted to do what would please Him.”

So He took pity on me and He gave me the assurance I needed. I didn’t understand everything. I didn’t understand how He could let me go to war and even kill and yet not hold it against me. I didn’t even want to understand. It was His will and that was enough for me. So at last I begun to see the light. I begun to understand that no matter what a man is forced to do, so long as he is right in his own soul he remains a righteous man. I knowed I would go to war. I knowed I would be protected from all harm, and that so long as I believed in Him He would not allow even a hair on my head to be harmed.”

In the fall of 1918, York’s regiment participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest American operation of the war.  On October 8, 1918, York’s regiment took part in an attack to seize German positions along the Decauville rail-line north of Chatel-Chehery, France.  The attack encountered savage German resistance as York noted in his diary:

The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from… And I’m telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out… And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.

Sergeant Bernard Early was ordered to take 16 men including York and work his way around the German position to take out the machine guns.  Early and his men overran a German headquarters, when German machine guns opened up killing six of the Americans, and wounding three others, including Sergeant Early.  York, the reluctant soldier, now found himself in command of the remaining seven soldiers.

And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had. Continue reading

Politics Open Thread

The most hilarious feature in the above video is the idea that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are sleeping together.  Lots of political news, all of it unedifying.  We have Trump from 2005 talking to Billy Bush, yes a scion of that Bush family, braying about his attempt to physically seduce a married woman.  Trump is a pig about women?  Who knew?  Then we have hacks of Hillary’s three speeches to Goldman Sachs, for which she was paid $675,000 for slightly more than three hours of speechmaking, hitherto kept secret, back in 2013 where we learn, to our stupified amazement, that she says one thing in public and one thing in private as a matter of policy, and that she believes in utopian schemes, such as having a common market for North and South America powered by green energy.


Too much going on in the law mines today for me to do more than note all this in passing.  This open thread is your opportunity to comment on the political scene.  As usual, be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing!


PopeWatch: Checkmate




From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


Society of St. Pius X chess grandmaster Larcel Mafebvre has turned four of his pieces into bishops without approval from the World Chess Federation, officials have confirmed.

“Mr. Mafebvre has, without approval from the Federation, created bishops out of pawn pieces,” said World Chess Federation head Antonio Salamanca. “After speaking with Mr. Mafebvre regarding abiding by the new chess rules, wherein players are given the freedom to concelebrate the match, and to say the words of ‘checkmate’ in the vernacular, he has sadly decided to ignore our requests.”

Salamanca went on to tell reporters that Mafebvre had automatically incurred excheckommunication because of his disobedience.

“I must do what is in my conscience to preserve the dignity of the game,”  Mafebvre told EOTT in an exclusive interview. “Therefore, I have decided to consecrate four of my pieces into bishops to help my depleted side, for, from some Fischer, the smoke of Satan has entered the chessboard of God.”

At press time, one time follower of Larcel Mafebvre’s, Bavid Dawden, told EOTT that he has decided to become head of the World Chess Federation, though he only has three pawns to play with. Continue reading

Missouri Waltz



Something for the weekend.  Missouri Waltz.  Published in 1914, the melody was by John Valentine Eppel, arrangement by Frederic Knight Logan, with James Royce Shannon supplying the lyrics.  Initially the song sold poorly, but its popularity increased over the years.  After Harry Truman became President it became associated with him, and was played constantly when he appeared during his long uphill campaign throughout the nation in 1948.  In 1949 Missouri adopted it as its state song. Continue reading

Democrats Trying to Win Election in Traditional Manner


Democrats never change.  News from the Illinois county to my east:



Voter ID laws are racist. Asking questions about people during the voter registration process is xenophobia. If you reduce early voting periods you’re suppressing minorities. All in all, Democrats know that voter fraud is essentially an illusion created by Republicans in an effort to ensure that only rich white people get to vote. That’s why I’m sure that this story out of the Land of Lincoln can’t possibly be correct. (USA Politics)

The Kankakee County Attorney’s office is investigating at least three cases of voter fraud where people were offered bribes for voting.

In addition, State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd said, “several” vote-by-mail applications have been mailed in from people who live outside the county, The Daily Journal is reporting.

“This unprecedented action was taken in response to reports of individuals from Chicago offering gifts to potential voters in exchange for a vote for Kate Cloonen, Hillary Clinton and others,” Boyd said in the news release. “Our office takes seriously the obligation to protect the rights of citizens to vote for the candidate of their choice, and to do so without undue influence from special interest groups.

There was a time (back in the bad old days) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when unscrupulous politicians would literally drive around and round up homeless people or those who were simply down on their luck and offer them a few bucks to go register to vote and cast a ballot for the politician looking to make the deal. In some cases it wasn’t even cash, but packs of cigarettes. You’re probably thinking that we’re talking about the Great Depression here (and I’m sure that went on, particularly in New York City) but we’re actually talking about two elections ago. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Sarah Out




The tight little world of the Vatican revolves around signs, and Edward Pentin brings us a rather clear one:



In a last minute change, Pope Francis will open the academic year at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome, replacing Cardinal Robert Sarah whom the Institute had originally scheduled for the task.

The news of the Holy Father’s attendance at the Oct. 27 inauguration comes just weeks after the Pope controversially hand-picked two prelates — Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri — to head the institute.

The appointments caused some distress as Archbishop Paglia and Msgr. Sequeri, respectively the Institute’s new grand chancellor and president, have expressed views that critics say contradict the moral clarity of the Church’s traditional approach to marriage and the family, something the Institute has always tried to uphold.

Their arrival also came on the heels of the Synods on the Family when some elements of Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching on marriage and the family were sidelined by the synod organizers in favor of the kinds of views held by the new leadership.

Some see the replacement of Cardinal Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s department for liturgy, as a blow to the African cardinal whose preference for clarity when it comes to the Church’s moral teaching is well known. His substitution also follows his outspoken comments in July, advocating priests to celebrate Mass facing East, which earned him a reprimand from the Vatican. Continue reading

October 7, 1571: Battle of Lepanto


“The Turks, swollen by their victories, will wish to take on our fleet, and God—I have the pious presentiment—will give us victory. Charles V gave you life. I will give you honor and greatness. Go and seek them out!”

Pope Pius V to Don Juan of Austria




On October 7, 1571, four hundred and forty-five years ago, the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Continue reading

Storm Prayer



Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. † God became man, † and the Word was made flesh. † Christ was born of a Virgin. † Christ suffered. † Christ was crucified. † Christ died. † Christ rose from the dead. † Christ ascended into Heaven. † Christ conquers. † Christ reigns. † Christ orders. † May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning † Christ went through their midst in Peace, † and the word was made flesh. † Christ is with us with Mary. † Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Judah, the Root David, has won. † Holy God! † Holy Powerful God! † Holy Immortal God! † Have mercy on us. Amen!

Stay safe all our contributors, commenters and readers who are in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  God guard you and keep you!

PopeWatch: Cardinal Sarah




When the history of this pontificate is written, Robert Cardinal Sarah will be remembered as one of the Pope’s chief adversaries.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the details:




ROME, October 6, 2016 – With Cardinal Robert Sarah Pope Francis cultivates a relationship with two distinct profiles. Benevolent up front, hostile at a distance.

Sarah is presumed to be one of those churchmen with a “heart of stone” against whom the pope often lashes out without naming names, for example in the address at the end of the synod last October 24:

> “The closed hearts which hide behind the Church’s teachings…”

And it was Sarah, this time with first and last name, in his capacity as prefect of the congregation for divine worship, who was the target of an unprecedented, humiliating statement from the press office of the Holy See this summer, against his aims for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy:

> Jesus Will Return From the East. But at the Vatican They Have Lost the Compass (14.7.2016)

“But who can touch him? He is African, and he enjoys great popularity,” they murmur in the court of Pope Francis.

In effect Cardinal Sarah, 71, an African from Guinea, is a figure of the first rank in today’s Church, who has risen to extraordinary notoriety and universal admiration thanks to a book he published last year that is both autobiography and spiritual mediation, in the style of the “Confessions,” entitled “Dieu ou rien,” God or nothing: 335,000 copies sold in thirteen languages:

> A Pope from Black Africa (10.4.2015)

And now Sarah is returning to the field with a major new book: “La force du silence,” the power of silence. It is edited, like the one before it, by Nicolas Diat and concludes with a poignant conversation between the cardinal and the abbot of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps, dom Dysmas de Lassus.

The book goes on sale today, the feast of Saint Bruno, founder of Carthusian monasticism, for now only in a French edition by Fayard, but it will be released soon in Italian, English, and Spanish, published respectively by Cantagalli, Ignatius Press, and Palabra.

“Contre la dictature du bruit,” against the dictatorship of noise, the subtitle says. And in effect the deafening noise of modern society, with has even penetrated into the Church, is the soundtrack of that “nothing” which is forgetfulness of God, the focus of the previous book.

While vice versa it is only silence that allows one to “hear the music of God.”

Sarah’s meditation touches deeply upon the life of the Church. There are frequent references to the liturgy and to the often disordered forms in which it is celebrated today, meaning to that “divine worship” which is the cardinal’s purview as prefect.

Some of these passages – both critical and encouraging – are reproduced below.

And there is one of them in particular – the last one presented here – that demonstrates how Cardinal Sarah is by no means acquiescent in the face of the continuous obstacles that are placed before him from every side.

It is there where the cardinal once again pledges firmly that “there will take place” that which the statement last summer had presumed to block: that “reform of the reform” in the liturgical camp without which “the future of the Church is at stake.”

Face to face Pope Francis had urged Sarah to proceed with this “reform of the reform,” in the audience, warm as always, that he had given him last April, as the cardinal himself had reported afterward.

But then, at a distance – and two days after a second friendly audience – the veto had been unleashed, in that treacherous statement in July, from an anonymous source but nonetheless approved from Santa Marta.

As a man of faith, Sarah professes obedience to the pope. Or at least to the first of the two Francises he finds before him.


“The reform of the reform will happen, the future of the Church is at stake”

by Robert Sarah

From “”La force du silence”, Fayard, 2016


Some priests today treat the Eucharist with perfect disdain. They see the Mass as a chatty banquet where the Christians who are faithful to Jesus’ teaching, the divorced and remarried, men and women in a situation of adultery, unbaptized tourists participating in the Eucharistic celebrations of great anonymous crowds can have access to the body and blood of Christ, without distinction.

The Church must urgently examine the ecclesial and pastoral appropriateness of these immense Eucharistic celebrations made up of thousands and thousands of participants. There is a great danger here of turning the Eucharist, “the great mystery of Faith,” into a vulgar revel and of profaning the body and the precious blood of Christ. The priests who distribute the sacred species without knowing anyone, and give the Body of Jesus to all, without discernment between Christians and non-Christians, participate in the profanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Those who exercise authority in the Church become guilty, through a form of voluntary complicity, of allowing sacrilege and the profanation of the body of Christ to take place in these gigantic and ridiculous self-celebrations, where one can hardly perceive that “you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

Priests unfaithful to the “memory” of Jesus insist rather on the festive aspect and the fraternal dimension of the Mass than on the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The importance of the interior dispositions and the need to reconcile ourselves with God in allowing ourselves to be purified by the sacrament of confession are no longer fashionable nowadays. More and more, we obscure the warning of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill” (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-30).


At the beginning of our Eucharistic celebrations, how is it possible to eliminate Christ carrying his cross and walking painfully beneath the weight of our sins toward the place of sacrifice? There are many priests who enter triumphantly and go up to the altar, waving left and right in order to appear friendly. Observe the sad spectacle of certain Eucharistic celebrations. . . Why so much frivolity and worldliness at the moment of the Holy Sacrifice? Why so much profanation and superficiality before the extraordinary priestly grace that makes us capable of bringing forth the body and blood of Christ in substance by the invocation of the Spirit? Why do some believe themselves obliged to improvise or invent Eucharistic prayers that disperse the divine phrases in a bath of petty human fervor? Are the words of Christ so insufficient that a profusion of purely human words is needed? In a sacrifice so unique and essential, is there a need for this subjective imagination and creativity? “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus has cautioned us (Mt 6:7).


We have lost the deepest meaning of the offertory. Yet it is that moment in which, as its name indicates, the whole Christian people offers itself, not alongside of Christ, but in him, through his sacrifice that will be realized at the consecration. Vatican Council II admirably highlighted this aspect in insisting on the baptismal priesthood of the laity that essentially consists in offering ourselves together with Christ in sacrifice to the Father. [. . .]

If the offertory is seen as nothing other than a preparation of the gifts, as a practical and prosaic action, then there will be a great temptation to add and invent ceremonies in order to fill up what is perceived as a void. I deplore the offertory processions in some African countries, long and noisy, accompanied with interminable dances. The faithful bring all sorts of products and objects that have nothing to do with the Eucharistic sacrifice. These processions give the impression of folkloric exhibitions that disfigure the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and distance us from the Eucharistic mystery; but this must be celebrated in sobriety and recollection, since we are immersed, we too, in his death and his offering to the Father. The bishops of my continent should take measures to keep the celebration of the Mass from becoming a cultural self-celebration. The death of God out of love for us is beyond all culture.

“FACING EAST” (par. 254)

It is not enough simply to prescribe more silence. In order for everyone to understand that the liturgy turns us interiorly toward the Lord, it would be helpful during the celebration for us all together, priests and faithful, to face the east, symbolized by the apse.

This practice remains absolutely legitimate. It is in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the Council. There is no lack of testimonies from the first centuries of the Church. “When we stand up to pray, we face the east,” says Saint Augustine, echoing a tradition that dates back, according to Saint Basil, to the Apostles themselves. Churches having been designed for the prayer of the first Christian communities, the apostolic constitutions of the 4th century recommended that they be turned to the east. And when the altar is facing  west, as at Saint Peter’s in Rome, the celebrant must turn toward the orient and face the people.

This bodily orientation of prayer is nothing other than the sign of an interior orientation. [. . .] Does the priest not invite the people of God to follow him at the beginning of the great Eucharistic prayer when he says” “Let us lift up our heart,” to which the people respond: “We turn it toward the Lord”?

As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I am intent upon recalling once again that celebration “versus orientem” is authorized by the rubrics of the Missal because it is of apostolic tradition. There is no need for particular authorization to celebrate in this way, people and priest, facing the Lord. If it is physically not possible to celebrate “ad orientem,” a cross must necessarily be placed on the altar, in plain sight, as a point of reference for all. Christ on the cross is the Christian East.


I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore.

What I am about to say now does not enter into contradiction with my submission and obedience to the supreme authority of the Church. I desire profoundly and humbly to serve God, the Church, and the Holy Father, with devotion, sincerity, and filial attachment. But this is my hope: if God wills, when he may will and how he may will, in the liturgy, the reform of the reform will take place. In spite of the gnashing of teeth, it will take place, because the future of the Church is at stake. Continue reading

October 6, 1723: Ben Franklin Arrives in Philadelphia




Philadelphia’s most famous citizen arrived in it 293 years ago, 17 years old,  with only a few coins in his pocket, dirty from his long walk from Boston and eating three large loaves of bread he had just purchased:

I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made there. I was in my working dress, my best cloaths being to come round by sea. I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuff’d out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where to look for lodging. I was fatigued with travelling, rowing, and want of rest, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave the people of the boat for my passage, who at first refus’d it, on account of my rowing; but I insisted on their taking it. A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro’ fear of being thought to have but little.

Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, and, inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the baker’s he directed me to, in Secondstreet, and ask’d for bisket, intending such as we had in Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none such. So not considering or knowing the difference of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his bread, I made him give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surpriz’d at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walk’d off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market-street as far as Fourth-street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife’s father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut-street and part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, and, corning round, found myself again at Market-street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther. Continue reading

They Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Agree With Them



Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, gives a demonstration why a fair number of Trump supporters may be keeping their support a secret:

This weekend I got “shadowbanned” on Twitter. It lasted until my followers noticed and protested. Shadowbanning prevents my followers from seeing my tweets and replies, but in a way that is not obvious until you do some digging.

Why did I get shadowbanned?

Beats me.

But it was probably because I asked people to tweet me examples of Clinton supporters being violent against peaceful Trump supporters in public. I got a lot of them. It was chilling.

Late last week my Twitter feed was invaded by an army of Clinton trolls (it’s a real thing) leaving sarcastic insults and not much else on my feed. There was an obvious similarity to them, meaning it was organized.

At around the same time, a bottom-feeder at Slate wrote a hit piece on me that had nothing to do with anything. Except obviously it was politically motivated. It was so lame that I retweeted it myself. The timing of the hit piece might be a coincidence, but I stopped believing in coincidences this year.

All things considered, I had a great week. I didn’t realize I was having enough impact to get on the Clinton enemies list. I don’t think I’m supposed to be happy about any of this, but that’s not how I’m wired.

Mmm, critics. Delicious 🙂

P.S. The one and only speaking gig I had on my calendar for the coming year cancelled yesterday because they decided to “go in a different direction.” I estimate my opportunity cost from speaking events alone to be around $1 million. That’s based on how the rate of offers went from several per month (for decades) to zero this year. Blogging about Trump is expensive.

But it is also a system, not a goal. I wrote a book about that.

Update: Then they started leaving fake book reviews on Amazon to go after my book sales.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Eco Sins




The Pope, apparently having succeeded in getting people to repent of old fashioned sins, now has made up a process of repentance for eco sins:


Examining our consciences, repentance and confession to our Father who is rich in mercy lead to a firm purpose of amendment. This in turn must translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation.  For example: “avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices” (Laudato Si’, 211). We must not think that these efforts are too small to improve our world. They “call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” and encourage “a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” (ibid., 212, 222).

In the same way, the resolve to live differently should affect our various contributions to shaping the culture and society in which we live. Indeed, “care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion” (Laudato Si’, 228). Economics and politics, society and culture cannot be dominated by thinking only of the short-term and immediate financial or electoral gains. Instead, they urgently need to be redirected to the common good, which includes sustainability and care for creation.

One concrete case is the “ecological debt” between the global north and south (cf. Laudato Si’, 51-2). Repaying it would require treating the environments of poorer nations with care and providing the financial resources and technical assistance needed to help them deal with climate change and promote sustainable development.

The protection of our common home requires a growing global political consensus. Along these lines, I am gratified that in September 2015 the nations of the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, and that, in December 2015, they approved the Paris Agreement on climate change, which set the demanding yet fundamental goal of halting the rise of the global temperature. Now governments are obliged to honour the commitments they made, while businesses must also responsibly do their part.  It is up to citizens to insist that this happen, and indeed to advocate for even more ambitious goals.

Changing course thus means “keeping the original commandment to preserve creation from all harm, both for our sake and for the sake of our fellow human beings.”[7] A single question can keep our eyes fixed on the goal: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (Laudato Si’, 160). Continue reading

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