Friday, February 25, 2022

The Answer is "NO."

The Pillar floats the question of whether the largest Eastern Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, will get its overdue Patriarch.

The answer, as JD Flynn certainly knows and all-but-concedes in his article, is "of course not." 

The reason is that the Russian Bureau for Orthodox Spirituality has been given a veto over such. It's the same reason the pontiff can't criticize the nation whose war of aggression is killing that very same flock of his.

Can't afford to make the bearded governmental functionary in the Danilov Monastery upset. 

By the way, the late, great Eastern Jesuit Robert Taft (yes, from that Taft family) had some pointed words to say to both East and West during his career. Usually, it was the latter that received more attention, especially in the endless liturgy wars. However, in this magisterial essay in 2000, while he directs fire at both, he lands a heavy blow on Orthodoxy for its complicity in religious persecution under Communism. A preview:

There is no way one can fairly judge the present tense ecumenical situation between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics in the former Communist East Bloc without an objective view of the martyrdom of the Greek Catholic Churches from the end of World War II until 1989. Attempts to attenuate or deny this history merit the same contempt now given to renewed attempts to deny the Holocaust. 

* * *

Only in the light of these simple facts can the oft-repeated and widely publicized present Russian Orthodox complaints about losing to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church almost all their Churches in the region of Galicia be placed in their proper context.

In the winter of 1944-45 the Soviet regime prohibited all contact of the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy with its clergy and faithful, and initiated a campaign of forced meetings and propaganda in favor of union with the Russian Orthodox Church. Opponents were arrested and tortured, in April 1945 the entire Greek Catholic hierarchy was imprisoned, and the Soviet regime recognized the “Initiative Group” of three Catholic priests, formed to carry out the government plan, as the sole authority over the Church, instructing them to make lists of all clergy who refused to recognize their authority. Under police protection this group carried out a feverish campaign of propaganda and threats. The NKVD pressured the unwilling clergy to sign a petition for union with Orthodoxy. Those who refused were arrested. At the end of February, thirteen Catholic priests were received into Orthodoxy in Kiev and the two celibate members of the “Initiative Group” were secretly consecrated Orthodox bishops. Their leader, Havriyil Kostel’nyk, a married priest, was elevated to the rank of mitred archpriest, the highest dignity open to the married clergy.

On March 8-10, 1946, a “synod” of 216 terrorized priests and nineteen laypersons, orchestrated in Lviv under the leadership of this group, abolished the Union of Brest (1596). This purported to be a synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and to this day the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed it to be such and has steadfastly refused to repudiate either the synod or its own role in the charade. 

But as the Russian Orthodox Church authorities are well aware, the entire Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy was in prison, and the entire presidium of the synod had in fact already become Orthodox, though this was kept secret until the farce was a fait accompli. The action was followed by massive arrests, interrogations, abuse, trials, banishment and deportations, causing incalculable suffering and death.

Russian Orthodox authorities ever since have defended what was done as a canonically legitimate synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church that freely and legitimately abolished of the “forced” Union of Brest, and to this day they have refused to disclaim or condemn it. The Acts of the synod were published in Ukrainian in Lviv in 1946, and in 1982 the Moscow Patriarchate issued bowdlerized (i.e., deliberately doctored) versions in Russian and English for the 45th anniversary of the shameful charade.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was not destroyed but driven underground, to re-emerge maimed but still vigorously alive when finally granted freedom in 1989, at which time almost the entire Russian Orthodox Church in Western Ukraine, clergy, parishes, and faithful, re-entered the Catholic Church en masse.

Similar forced reunions with the Orthodox Church took place in 1947 in Transcarpathia, 1948 in Romania, and 1950 in Slovakia.

These are the unvarnished facts. This history is important for several reasons. First, it shows the demonstrable falsity of the accusation that the Catholic Church has “reinvented” or “resurrected” a dead and gone “Uniatism,” thereby stalling the Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical dialogue. A more nuanced view, one corresponding to the historical facts, leads one to recognize the following realities. Eastern Catholics were forced into the underground in the 1940’s by one of the bitterest and most violent persecutions in Christian history. 

Although this was done by Stalinist regimes there is abundant and irrefutable evidence that it had the active support and/or collaboration of at least some Orthodox hierarchs and authoritative exponents. Each case must be taken by itself, and justice demands avoiding generalization, but there can be no doubt that ambiguous figures like Patriarch Justinian Marina in Romania, and Archbishop Makarij Oksijuk in Lviv and Transcarpathia, were active participants in these historic violations of human rights. 

And one of the chief Romanian Orthodox ideologues of modern times, the Orthodox priest and noted theologian Rev. Dumitru Staniloae (d. 5 Oct. 1993), gave wholehearted vocal support for this massive violation of human rights, insisting that the “reunion [of Greek Catholics with the Orthodox Church which took place in 1948] was entirely free and spontaneous." This is not only a patent lie; it is also a denial of the bitter suffering of martyrs.

Read the whole thing--absolutely essential.

By the way, Fr. Taft thought the Ukrainian Church should just present Rome with a fait accompli regarding the patriarchate:

Frankly, my advice to the Ukrainians has always been to do the same thing. Just declare the patriarchate and get on with it. Do it, of course, only if you’ve got the bishops unanimously behind it …

Do they?
Yes, I think they do now. The danger is that if there are even two people who say no, then Rome’s going to say that the bishops are divided and we can’t recognize it. I told them, take two steps. First, publicly declare the patriarchate. Second, request Roman recognition, but even if it doesn’t come, refuse all mail that doesn’t come addressed to the patriarchate. Don’t just pretend, but really do it. The Secretary of State sends a letter addressed to the archbishop? We don’t have any archbishop, we’ve got a patriarch. Send it back unopened, “addressee unknown.”

Now, fairness compels me to suggest that the current refusal to forcefully condemn Russia may have this grim history of Orthodox-facilitated oppression in mind. If Moscow still thinks it was "robbed" of Catholic faithful, there's no telling what they might be willing to bless if/when the conquest of Ukraine is complete. After all, they did it once, within living memory, and never repented of it. 

But if that's the case, what kind of "dialogue partner" are you dealing with?

 

It will be double digits by spring.

Inflation hits highest mark since 1982

Energy prices will continue to spike, and with the fourth largest wheat producer on the planet under Russian occupation, that commodity will soar, too. With all the knock-on effects throughout the system.

The plan to address the former is to drain some more out of the strategic reserve, and blame oil producers for gouging. Because going hat in hand to OPEC back in November ended in our envoy being sent on his way.

The blinkered stupidity of our leadership is keeping pace with inflation. Putin sure loves having oil at $92+ to fund his blitzkrieg. Just imagine how different things would have been at $45 per barrel on that point alone.

So, more pain for the working and middle classes, with no end in sight. But Wall Street is set for a big rebound today, cheering spending increases by said classes. Have they ever thought people are trying to pre-empt inflation and "supply chain issues" by making purchases now so they won't have to pay a lot more later? Raises hand.

Well, no, they haven't. That would require them to place themselves in the shoes of the people they regard as human resources.

But the money traders are desperate for anything that looks like good news, so there you go.

A long, miserable year beckons. And no doubt with more unpleasant surprises.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

NFTs: Art's hellishly-stupid derivatives market.

But Barnum would approve.

[Language warning.]


Ukraine.

 


I recently ordered a wood carving of Our Lady of Pokrov from a Ukrainian Catholic artist on Etsy. He and his employees reside in Lviv, near Poland. 

But the deluded tyrant who is attacking his homeland has made it clear that he will not settle for less than vassalization of the whole land. I told him to not worry about completing the item and use the money as he sees fit.

I pray for his safety and for all the victims of aggression in this war.

 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Stop polishing Putin's backside.

Apologetics for Vlad the Poisoner have become a staple for some on the right, and it needed to stop years ago. 

Now would be a belated, but still good, time to quit. And never stop quitting.  

You can be opposed to American military intervention in an aggressive war by a nuclear power and not take up the cause of the probable loony who has the nukes. 

But just as distressing was the speech Vladimir Putin gave to announce it to the world. Earlier today I wrote a piece that in one line offhandedly suggested that Putin was a rational actor. I repent of having written it. If that ranting, grandiose, aggrieved wreck of a speech was delivered sincerely, then Putin has addled himself with his own propaganda, is now unpredictable, and will likely drive his nation and others to a disaster. I grant that there may be insincerity in it as well. But reports of his meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron suggest that Macron was subjected to six hours of this same ranting and could never bring Putin down to what Europeans see as the brass tacks: the Minsk agreements, the withdrawal of Russian irregulars, and a series of next steps, including diplomatic talks on the long-term security arrangements of Europe.

His speech featured the Russian litany of post–Cold War grievances, namely the broken promise not to expand NATO. “They try to convince us over and over again that NATO is a peace-loving and purely defensive alliance, saying that there are no threats to Russia. Again they propose that we take them at their word. But we know the real value of such words,” he said. More disconcerting, he suggested that the expansion of NATO was meant to “serve as a forward springboard for the strike.”

Here's a background confirmation of Macron's concerns about Putin, which is significant given the French president's efforts to develop a good diplomatic relationship. 

There's a fair and reasonable argument to be made that NATO expansion was an antagonizing mistake. But that argument has to take into account the fact that Russia's neighbors have ample reasons, grounded in history and atrocity, to clamor to join. 

American apologists for foreign strongmen have never been lacking. As a child of the Cold War, whataboutism was born of that conflict, and left-wing defenses of the poor murderous Soviet Union were more abundant than the average Soviet harvest. It is disgusting to see the likes of Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens do the very same thing on behalf of a former KGB agent. 

It's beyond appalling watching American oligarchs and celebrities kow-tow to Xi. Seeing soi-disant patriotic conservatives doing the same for the tyrant in Moscow (who has clasped hands with Mao 2.0) is inexcusable.

The Blast-Furnace of Satan.

It is no surprise whatsoever to read that a couple of the pontiff's appointees to the "Pontifical Academy for Life" [sic] are proposing assisted suicide as an alternative to euthanasia in Italy

Splitting the difference with the dying West--and then splitting it again and again, ad infinitum--is one of those things that "starting processes" is about.

Launched by the Jesuit Pravda and then followed-up in Le Monde, it could have been nothing other than a trial balloon from the narcissists running the show. 

Fortunately, the secular folks on Italy's highest court said that a euthanasia referendum was not possible at all, making Jesuit casuistry on behalf of death moot. It should also not be a surprise at this point that Italian lawyers have more regard for human life than Jesuit Central.

Except, of course, that it isn't moot: Rome is largely occupied by the heterodox-to-heretical and the clubbable. And, given the blinkered Vatican I notion of papal supremacy, enshrined in dogma and canon law, there's precisely squat you can do about it. 

Paul VI talked about the smoke of Satan getting into the Church. Now it is starting to billow out from the inside. And the men who have spent generations building the furnace are working on proof-of-concept.



Thursday, February 17, 2022

Pray for peace to prevail in Ukraine.

Embassies of impending aggressor nations burning documents is a classic sign that war is imminent.

 

Three cheers for Congresswoman Omar.

No, really: she wonders why power-apologist journalists are going after donors to the Freedom Convoy following a hack-n-doxx

Short answer: because that's what journalism is today--a corporate apologetics ministry for the oligarchy.  And oligarchs want people to know their lane and not disrupt the neoliberal machine. 

It's all class warfare these days--and crushing smallholders with the temerity to annoy leviathan is an absolute must. 

A reminder from Pixar:


And another from Orwell:




Tuesday, February 15, 2022

I laughed.

It helps with the wincing tic I have developed in checkout lanes.



Let's see what the Central Committee does in response.

The answer to the question posed in the link is almost certainly yes.

According to this report, the Church in Italy has steadfastly refused to provide an accounting of the rape of children by clerics. And the Vatican, as the head of the Church in Italy, has been part and parcel of this refusal.

Some of the rape victims are having none of it:

The Vatican has long resisted calls to investigate the church in Italy, according to Francesco Zanardi, a vocal survivor from the northern town of Savona, who runs the support group Rete L’Abuso or Abuse Network. He has launched a social media campaign called #ItalyChurchToo. He has likened the Vatican’s ability to silence accusations against Italian priests to the mafia’s use of the omerta or code of silence.

Zanardi sends out a daily newsletter publishing credible accusations of abuse and news when pedophile priests are brought to justice—which is rare in Italy, in part because of what Zanardi calls “interference” by the Catholic Church in the Italian judicial system. He says crucifixes hang in all Italian courtrooms not as a show of faith but “as a threat and reminder that the Church is more powerful than even God.”

On Friday, he will launch a database with the media group Left, that will list convicted Italian priests, criminal cases, and victims’ accounts of abuse. It will be the first such public account in the country, and he says they will start with more than 350 proven cases of abuse by priests, but that there are “hundreds and hundreds of victims” who are too afraid to come forward because of the church's influence in the country. “In the absence of action by the State and the Church, the time has come for a turning point,” he says. “We will be the 'Trojan horse in a system that sees institutions defenseless with respect to the problem of pedophile priests.”

The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 The mafia comparison is fair. And not just in Italy.

The Vatican has a chance to do the right thing here. But when it comes to predatory clerics, doing the right thing is never, ever the first option.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Stafford wins a ring.

 The erstwhile Lions quarterback led a comeback to defeat the Bengals, 23-20 in the Superb Owl.

It was a very Stafford performance, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, but he came through when it mattered most on the biggest possible stage. 

Good for him. He now has as many SB wins as Aaron Rodgers, which is baffling to contemplate. 

Now he can rest on his laurels so next year's pick from the Rams won't be a glorified second rounder.

My sympathies to the Bengals, who have now lost three Super Bowls on clutch 4th quarter drives by their opponents.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Listening Church's American Point Man Reminds Us He's a Vicious Twerp.

A principal in a Chicago Catholic school, correctly noting the risk/harm factors, made masks optional in his school.

Naturally, Blase Cardinal Toadych immediately suspended the man. Because his authority is more important than anything else--especially the well-being of mere students.

Thank you, JPII, for making this brittle, tyrannical fraud a bishop.  

In Nevada, a place not run by someone drunk on authoritarianism, liberated school children rejoice in the end of the mask mandate.

The Cypresses Believe In God.

 


I am tempted to call Jose Maria Gironella's classic the Spanish version of War and Peace, only reversed to Peace and War. There are similarities, as the books share the reactions of a large cast of characters to historical events, heavily-salted with conversations about political, religious and social matters. However, unlike the Russian work, the stage is smaller, and the notable figures of the era not only do not appear on it, they are rarely mentioned.

Gironella meditates on the Second Spanish Republic and its slide into the partially-failed military coup which resulted in civil war, covering the years 1931-1936. The characters are almost countless, but the main players are the Alvear family: father Matias, mother Carmen, sons Ignacio and Cesar and daughter Pilar. They live in the mid-sized city of Girona (spelled Gerona in the translation), part of the region-which-wants-to-be-a-nation, Catalonia. Matias is a telegraph operator and Carmen tends the home. Ignacio is briefly a seminarian, but does not have a vocation. He works at a bank and, sadly he turns to the dark side and studies law. The more frail Cesar has a genuine vocation, and Pilar works as a dressmaker.

Initially, all is fairly well. The Alvears are not wealthy, but they make ends meet. Matias studies Catalan as best he can, as the nationalism of the region demands it. Carmen manages the home with the steely determination of a loving and devout Basque mother. The pious (but not cloyingly-so) Cesar gradually comes to be regarded as a saint, though he explodes with rage at the anti-Catholic rampage which breaks out across the Republic near the end. Pilar blossoms into a vivacious young lady and falls for a charismatic member of the Falange. And Ignacio?

Ignacio is the central character of the narrative. He rebels against his Catholic upbringing, gets tangled up with a married woman and then a streetwalker before finally straightening out after a frightening brush with illness. He is a classic angry young man outraged by the injustices and backwardness of Spanish society, the failures of the Church, and finds himself swept up in the demands for political and social reform. He is also the main character through whom Gironella explores Spain's descent first into chaos and then into fratricidal slaughter.

Ignacio's illness changes his approach, if not his perspective. He still sees the injustices. But he doubts the proposed cures, which range from the communism of a former bank co-worker, the Falangism of a fellow law student, the socialist materialism of two beloved married teachers, the hardline (though later softened) Catholicism of the local monsignor, and the charitable endeavors of middle class Catholics. Ignacio comes to the realization that while each has insights into the Spanish predicament, each is insufficient on its own--including his own moderate socialist preferences. 

The problem resides instead in the soul of Spain: the fall from greatness, wounded pride, envy of the more modern and/or prosperous (both Spaniards and other nations), grievances (justified or not), stubbornness that would give a mule pause and, worst of all, fraternal hatred. 

This last is what I think is the central theme of Cypresses: the instinctive recourse to hatred. And Gironella was not the only one who noticed this Spanish phenomenon. 

The story is told of one of Alfonso XII's strongman ministers, a Duke, who was on his deathbed in the 1880s. A priest-confessor, meeting the Duke in his last hours, urged him to forgive his enemies.

The Duke reared back and shouted: "'Forgive my enemies'? I don't need to forgive them--I had them all shot!"

And the one-of-a-kind philosopher/novelist Miguel de Unamuno wrote a novella about it in the 1920s with the telegraphing title Abel Sanchez. In it, the jealous antagonist ponders his behavior and concludes that he is far from the only Spaniard with this destructive impulse.

How the characters wrestle with the horrible flaw of ready hatred is the climax of the book. And here is where Gironella's book earns the highest marks: the Nationalist soldier-turned-writer portrays the characters as people, virtues and flaws. There are no blanket condemnations for Republicans nor unstinting praise for Nationalists. When the military uprising in Gerona fails and the bloody reprisals begin, Gironella looks at whether individuals "gave the best of themselves" or not. Thus, Dimas, an anarchist leader who goes to try to rescue one of the Alvears to honor a  good deed done for him long before, is giving his best. A Carlist publisher who forgets his humanitarian sensibilities as he goes into hiding is not. And Gironella does this repeatedly. 

This even-handedness was surprisingly ok with Franco's censors in the 1950s, who let the book be published. It was not fine with some of his fellow Nationalists, who snarled at him as a "sh--ty Red." Of course, Gironella was then--and now--snarled at as a "fascist" by the Left. That can be summarily-dismissed as the usual reflexive f-wording by that side of the aisle. The obvious, if sly, jibes at the Falange show that the author was not a fan. 

I can recommend the book with two pieces of advice.

First, some basic familiarity with the Second Spanish Republic and the Civil War would be very helpful. The old Knopf hardcover I have comes with a glossary of historic persons and organizations referred to in the novel, but someone coming to the era cold faces a learning curve that good writing can only partially overcome. 

Secondly, it is very much a conversational/meditative novel. The characters argue with each other at length and spend a lot of time thinking over their various predicaments. It works better than you might think: they sound like conversations people would have over the issues of the day. More to the point--no one's arguments are unassailable.  

So tolle, lege. And take your time--it's worth the effort to mull it over in smaller pieces.

"Gotta say I did not have 'Land War With Canada' on my 2022 bingo card."

David Burge, the ever-sardonic Iowahawk, responding to a babblingly-stupid Matt Iglesias tweet.

In related news, our governor, in the midst of a deservedly-difficult re-election fight, has offered heavy equipment and security assistance to remove the Canadian truck protesters.

Oh, really?

She has always been a good neoliberal, making sure the corporate bottom line is never threatened too much. And she does love issuing edicts. But there might be a few problems with committing Michigan personnel to a classic Foreign Freedom Adventure Expedition! on her own. 

 

 


OK Groomer.

The phenomenon of public schools engaging in what can only be described as grooming behavior reached new lows this week.

13 year olds in a Connecticut middle school were asked to list their favorite sex acts.

Look, parents: you have two options.

1. Pull your kids; or

2. Defenestrate every member of the school board in the next election.

But understand that No. 2 is not going to do anything about the educational processes that form teachers who think grooming kids is a civic duty.

 

 

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Yep. Remember her?

"There is more outrage over Joe Rogan than Ghislaine Maxwell."

And there was more coverage of the "Long Island Lolita" trial than that of Epstein's sidekick. Despite the fact the latter was a galactic cesspit of corruption in which the elites frolicked with coerced girls.

No cable or broadcast movies about Jeff and Jill, though.

I do not wonder at all why that is.

The idea that Prince Andrew will be the only one to suffer any consequences for Epstein's serial pimping of girls to the elites is the stuff which sharpens guillotines.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Quote of the Day.

Legalism is sclerosis of law, in abstraction and formalism. To suppose, on the other hand, that the Church should discard law in order to rediscover the Church of Charity would be to enter a path of ruinous illusions. A Church that would stifle law would not become the Church of Charity but a church of capriciousness.

--Louis Bouyer, The Church of God, p. 172, Franciscan Herald Press (1982). 

 

I saw two Oscar-nominated films over the past year.

Which is more than in most years.

As the song says...

I have seen Belfast and Encanto. I previously raved about the former, and now can put in a few good words for the latter.

Encanto is a "small" Disney movie, focusing on family dynamics instead of overblown themes, and is welcome for it. It features the Madrigal family, guardians and beneficiaries of the bequests of a magic candle that has created a safehold for refugees in the mountains of Columbia. Each member of the family is gifted with a magical power by the candle--except for Maribel Madrigal, who was denied (seemingly) such a power. 

The effects of the powers and lack thereof on the family members are explored with a light but knowing touch: no one likes feeling like an outsider in one's own family, and the burdens of guiding and protecting the family are heavy and leave their own scars. With a lively score by Lin Manuel Miranda, it's worthwhile. 

Warning for parents: while your kids may not talk about Bruno, I can gare-own-tee they will sing about him. 

Incessantly. It's the new "Let It Go."

 

"Dialogue is only for people we like."

Boy Trudeau tells the Freedom Convoy protesters that they need to accept the infallibility of his decrees and go home

CNN's framing, uncritically accepting the spin of anti-protesters, is in stark contrast to their advocacy of the "fiery but mostly peaceful" protests of 2020. Naturally.

Anyway, it would cost BT nothing to at least hear out a delegation. But given that class warfare prerogatives prevent the elites from seeing the protesters as anything other than unruly serfs who must be made to assume their place, that will never happen.

Plus, conceding legitimacy to any complaint suggests that his regime might have erred, and he can't have that

Remember: everything is class warfare these days. Especially so-called identity politics, the most clever divide-and-conquer scheme devised in this century. Always be aware that those who thunder most about "privilege" have done and will do nothing to divest themselves of it. Acknowledging privilege absolves them and authorizes the wielding all of privilege's prerogatives. It's a topical cream: for external use only.

Monday, February 07, 2022

The other heavy-rotation book, nearly finished.

The Cypresses Believe in God by José María Gironella.

The classic novel of the run-up to the Spanish Civil War, it is back in print thanks to the efforts of Cluny Media. CM also just republished the second book in the trilogy, One Million Dead, and presumably Peace After War will follow.

As to the first book, it's...a lot. A meditative, slow-burn elegy which shows how political polarization can make good people bay for blood and turn neighbors into enemies. 

Yes, Gironella was a Nationalist soldier. But while he was a believing Catholic whose sympathies are obvious, he creates no strawmen and deplores the failures of the Church and right wing politicos to address economic and spiritual destitution.

The Gospel verses that leap to mind as one reads it are from the Olivet Discourse:

For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away...

A full review to come.

NBC's ratings for the Winter Olympics have plummeted.

To paraphrase the late, great Yogi Berra: If no one watches the Beijing Games, who's gonna stop 'em?

Down nearly 44 percent from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Good job--but it's not over yet. 

Keep doing anything wholesomely-non-collaborationist with your time. 


Friday, February 04, 2022

The Current Reading List.

It's actually much longer than this, but here is what is in heaviest rotation:

1. Transfiguration, by the late Melkite Archbishop Joseph Raya. This shepherd's message deserves a wider hearing.

2. I Believe in the Holy Spirit by the late Yves Congar. I know, Congar can be controversial. I roll my eyes at the occasional genuflection before the "assured results of critical scholarship," but apart from that, it's very worthwhile. The origins of the Western Church's continuing conflation/totemization of the Third Person with/by ecclesiastical figures and (self-interested) clerical initiatives can be found in Volume 1, too. 

3. The Saint by Dan Abnett. The Gaunt's Ghosts books are essential 40K reading, and Abnett never disappoints. 

4. Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Augustine Thompson, O.P. The focus of the Poverello was considerably different from that of the figure created either by hagiography or the contemporary secular imagination.   


Why I am not watching a second of the Ber--, er...Beijing Winter Games.

If, for some reason, the genocide of the Uyghurs is not enough reason to say no, there's this grotesque spectacle of the Chinese Reich ending the broadcast of Dutch journalists.

The only way American-based transnationals like Comcast (owner of NBC) will learn is if you kick them in the pocketbook. 

I mean, say what you will about the Berlin Games in '36, but at least Kristallnacht hadn't happened by then. The Nazis even temporarily took down the "Jews Not Welcome" signs

 

The GOP Garbage Squad.

Nine awful human beings whose views are unworthy of the slightest respect. Especially after caterwauling about spending money on Ukraine, no...