Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Trump tweets, Mueller indicts", Editorial in National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 14, 2018, My View

My View: I pray that justice will prevail and our nation will heal. I have  called my representatives about major issues many times in the past two years. 

I have been impressed by conservative columnist George Will, Michael Gerson and David Brooks who have spoken truth to power as they challenged Donald Trump and his administration for their wrongdoing. 

At this time in our history, we need commentators from all political views including Jennifer Rubin , Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell.  I am grateful that we live in a country with freedom of the press. They enlighten us during the chaos of these dark and challenging days. 

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

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FBI Director Robert Mueller in the Oval Office of the White House, July 20, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons/White House/Pete Souza)
The Donald Trump administration, a maelstrom of deceit and amateurism from the very first day, appears to be in a new period of disintegration. Special counsel Robert Mueller's rather ample net, already bulging with much of the cast of Trump's pathetic presidential reality show, is now closing in on the main characters.
Trump is increasingly portrayed in court filings as at the center of plots to conceal both his extramarital affairs in order to protect his presidential run and his associates' and family members' contacts with Russians intent on tilting the 2016 election his way.
It is reassuring that some of the most important pillars of a democratic society seem to be not only holding firm but robustly imposing the rule of law on members of an administration and a president who clearly viewed themselves — at least for a time — as well above it.
As quickly as adjectives pile up in attempts to describe Trump, they just as quickly become ineffective. Chaos in the moment lies beyond description, its elements scattered and indistinct, its form shifting and shapeless. It is only in the aftermath, as first responders approach, that the effects of chaos can be assessed. What they'll find in this case no one knows.
Diagnoses aplenty have been advanced for the cause of the chaos. Some of the most severe have come not from the natural antagonists among Democrats, but from long-time loyal Republicans and the most eloquent apologists for the conservative cause. A sampling:
Conservative Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson:
Given what we know about the collusion — and there is no other word for it — between then-candidate Donald Trump's most senior advisers and what they thought was a Kremlin-tied lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, the most shocking thing is that no one on the Trump side was shocked. The most offensive thing is that no one took offense. … It is the banality of this corruption that makes it so appalling. The president and his men are incapable of feeling shame about shameful things. (PennLive, July 14, 2017)
Trump's inner circle has always been a cesspool. And there is a reason for this — a reason Trump has traditionally employed unethical people to serve his purposes. It is because he has unethical jobs for them to do, involving schemes to remove political threats and gain electoral advantage. And there is every reason to believe that Trump has fully participated in such schemes. (The Washington Post, Nov. 29
Conservative columnist George Will:
America's child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. … [J]ust as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man. (The Washington Post, July 17)
Conservative columnist and board-certified psychiatrist, the late Charles Krauthammer:
I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him. (The Washington Post, August 4, 2016)
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks:
Trump's emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.
It's all so pathetic. (The New York Times, Oct. 11, 2016)
You're beginning to see a lot of Republicans who are looking seriously at 2019, with a lot of Fridays like this one, and Trump really hurting himself, and maybe not serving out the term. (Interview on the PBS NewsHour, Dec. 9)
The chaos of the bully is beginning to wear thin. According to The Washington Post, "A new CNN poll finds that Trump's approval rating is mired at 39 percent, and it shows that even as ongoing investigations involving Trump and his orbit are bearing fruit, the American people continue to support the probe and believe it is turning up evidence of wrongdoing."
Some of the numbers from that poll: 50 percent say Mueller's investigation is "very or somewhat" likely to implicate Trump in wrongdoing; 59 percent believe Russian interference is a serious matter; 54 percent said Trump's comments characterizing the investigation are completely or mostly false.
It appears a day of reckoning is approaching. And the religious community at large will eventually have its own reckoning and a lot of explaining to do to rationalize its complicity in so much fraudulence. Trump has been able to con Evangelicals, Catholic bishops and priests along with significant numbers of Catholics in the pews into believing that he somehow represents a pro-life view and is a defender of religion. He's great at selling himself, or limitless versions of himself. Mueller apparently isn't buying.
The contrast between the two men at the center of this struggle — Mueller and Trump — is so glaring as to be almost blinding. It also explains a great deal. Trump is unable to engage Mueller, as he has so many others, in his reality drama because Mueller doesn't play. He doesn't need to, doesn't need the notoriety or fame. An actual war hero with multiple decorations, he has not risen to the bait of Trump's cheap combat theatrics. Trump tweets tantrums and assertions most often untrue; Mueller issues documents pages long containing detailed and precisely articulated charges backed up by hours and hours of interrogations and exhaustive analysis of financial and other documents. He and his investigators give no interviews, and in a city where leaks are as common as breath, the Mueller team has been leakproof.
Trump blusters; Mueller indicts. Trump demeans the institutions of democratic governance; Mueller has not only respected but also worked through them for decades.

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President George W. Bush announces Robert Mueller to be director of the FBI during an event in the Rose Garden, July 5, 2001. (Wikimedia Commons/White House/Eric Draper)
Trump, we increasingly know through disclosures of some of those documents, built a career on fraud, stiffing contractors, floods of Russian money and multiple bankruptcies. Truth, as perceived during his presidency, has been put on the critically endangered list. Mueller's career has been built on the pursuit of truth and the endorsements by two presidents from different parties and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
The most searing characterization of Trump is perhaps contained in his dismissal of the CIA's assessment of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel was detailed and disturbing enough to convince a handful of senators, including influential Republicans, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the gruesome assassination, including dismemberment, of the U.S. resident who wrote for The Washington Post.
Trump's is a life of transactions calculated only on the basis of personal benefit. He has perfected the creation of chaos to both distract from and call attention to himself, depending on the need of the moment. But the techniques that have served him well to this point have become useless and now serve to provide new, fresh fodder to the investigators. The law is unmoved by temper tantrums, tweet storms and name calling.
Donald Trump keeps lashing out.
Robert Mueller keeps doing his work.

With his treatment of Cardinal Pell, Pope Francis shows his clericalism by Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporting

Francis and Pell CROPPope Francis greets Australian Cardinal George Pell during an audience to exchange greetings with members of the Roman Curia in Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Dec. 22, 2016. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets Australian Cardinal George Pell during an audience to exchange greetings with members of the Roman Curia in Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Dec. 22, 2016. (CNS/Paul Haring)
About two weeks into his pontificate in March 2013, Pope Francis uttered a phrase that would quickly become one of his greatest hits in his canon of quotes: "This I ask you: be shepherds, with the 'odor of the sheep.' "
Francis spoke those words to thousands of clerics who had gathered at the Vatican for the annual chrism Mass, a liturgy traditionally held on the morning of Holy Thursday that celebrates the holiness of the priesthood.
The phrase became a common refrain for any progressive Catholic testifying to the promise of Francis' pontificate.
But the metaphor never sat well with me. Sure, Francis was suggesting that members of the clergy not stay aloof and removed from the people they serve. But what did it say about the laity? Are we a lost, unwashed and simple herd who were utterly dependent on our priests and bishops for guidance?

The metaphor of the Good Shepherd works great for Jesus. He is, Christians believe, fully divine, the Light of the World, the Alpha and the Omega. But the analogy strains to the breaking point under the weight of our all too human, fallible, and sometimes even criminal priests and bishops.
Francis, who has had many choice words for the culture of clericalism, betrayed his own clericalism in this metaphor. He suggested that there was something superior, something set apart, about priests and bishops.
Never has Francis' clerical disposition been on clearer display than in the way he has dealt with Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty on Wednesday, Dec. 12, on five charges of "historical child sexual offenses."
Within the first month of his pontificate, Francis had tapped Pell to serve on a new Council of Cardinals, nine advisers known informally as the "C9" or the pope's "kitchen cabinet." In 2014, Francis appointed Pell to a five-year term as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, a dicastery of the Roman Curia that has authority over all of the economic affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State.
But by early 2016, reports swirled that Pell was being investigated for sexually abusing children as a priest and later as an archbishop. In October 2016, three Australian police flew to Italy to interview Pell, who refused to return to Australia for questioning due to "ill health."
In June 2017, Francis granted Pell's request for a leave of absence from his responsibilities to the Secretariat for the Economy so that he could return to Australia to defend himself against the charges.
After a pretrial in May 2018, an Australian court ordered Pell to stand for two trials for multiple charges of the sexual abuse of minors: one for events in Melbourne in the 1990s and one for events in Ballarat in the 1970s. This week's conviction was for Pell's abuses in Melbourne. His second trial will take place in March 2019.
Amid these years of questioning, charges and trials, Francis has chosen to remain silent and keep Pell in his positions on the C9 and in the Curia.
According to Gerard O'Connell, Vatican correspondent for America magazine, "Francis applied the principle of law known as 'in dubio pro reo' ('doubt favors the accused'), insisting that a person is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. The pope did not remove Cardinal Pell from his Vatican posts then because he believed to do so would be equivalent to an admission of guilt."
Pope Francis leads a meeting of the Council of Cardinals at the Vatican in February 2017. At right is Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa is second from right. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
Pope Francis leads a meeting of the Council of Cardinals at the Vatican in February 2017. At right is Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa is second from right. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
Unlike in the U.S. church, where a credible accusation is enough to get a priest removed from ministry, in Francis' view even a shred of doubt about the guilt of a prelate is enough to keep him in power.
This isn't the first time that Francis has favored an accused member of his kitchen cabinet. Francis also kept Chilean Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa on the C9. He was accused of covering up for abusive priests while archbishop of Santiago, including the notorious predator Fernando Karadima, who was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance in 2011 and finally defrocked in September 2018.
Errázuriz was Karadima's "most powerful defender," according to a 2015 NCR article by Soli Salgado.
The article goes on to state, "The accusations against Errázuriz asserted that the cardinal was fully aware yet chose to ignore the abuse as early as 2003."
"I am the first to try and punish someone with these types of accusations," Francis said about Errázuriz at the time. "But in this case there is no proof — on the contrary. I say this from the heart. Do not be fooled by those who only look for fuss, who look for scandal."
The Karadima case would come back to haunt Francis in January 2018 when he vigorously defendedBishop Juan Barros, who Karadima's victims say witnessed the abuse. Francis made Barros a bishop in 2015.
"The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak," Francis said at the time. "There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny. Is that clear?"
Though Francis would later apologize to Karadima's victims for essentially calling them liars, this was another clear case of the pope privileging abusive clerics over the abused laity.
Even amid all of this rot in his kitchen cabinet, Francis kept Errázuriz and Pell in their privileged places, waiting for civil authorities to decide their guilt or innocence before he saw fit to remove these men from their privileged positions.
It was only after Pell was found guilty on Wednesday that the Vatican decided to announce that both Errázuriz and Pell would no longer be serving on the C9. But even the announcement made it sound as if the pope was simply reorganizing his council, rather than suggesting that they had been removed due to any criminal or nefarious or sexually violent activities.
In fact, Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, said that Francis had written to the men in October thanking them for their service.
Will Pell keep his post in the Curia?
"That's a good question," said Burke, when asked at a briefing on Wednesday, just hours after Pell's conviction.
"The Holy See has the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities. We are aware there is a suppression order in place and we respect that order," he added.
Burke was referring to an Australian court order forbidding the media from publishing news about Pell's trial as a way to maintain impartiality.
But isn't being convicted of sexual abuse in one trial while awaiting a second trial on the same charges — two details that have been made public — enough to get one kicked out of the Curia? Apparently not in the Vatican's world of radical clerical privilege.
The bigger question is, why wasn't Pell removed the moment he was asked to stand trial, if not even earlier? It should never have taken this long, and it did because of Francis' approach to privileging the abuser. 
In one of his many diatribes again clericalism, Francis said in a homily in December 2016:
There is that spirit of clericalism in the church, that we feel: Clerics feel superior; clerics distance themselves from the people. ... [It happens] when the cleric doesn't have time to listen to those who are suffering. ... The evil of clericalism is a really awful thing; it is a new edition of this ancient evil.
Francis' strategy of favoring the accused reeks of clericalism. It gives the clergy an odor of superiority and brazenly ignores the cries of those who have suffered horrific abuses. The next time Francis points a finger at the evils of clericalism, one hopes he'll notice the evils of Barros, Pell and Errázuriz, among many other prelates, pointing right back at him.
[Jamie Manson is a columnist and the books editor at the National Catholic Reporter.]

Friday, December 14, 2018

A 7 Year Old Little Girl Died of Dehydration and Exhaustion After Crossing Border, Doctors Without Borders is Helping, See Information Below

Here is the info: Here are 2 phone numbers: 212-763-5779 or 888-392-0392. I talked at length to the 212. Number. We can earmark our donations to The Reynosa, Mexico mission. Thank you for considering this.
Bridget Mary Meehan

A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
The child’s death is likely to intensify scrutiny of detention conditions at Border Patrol stations and CBP facilities that are increasingly overwhelmed by large numbers of families seeking asylum in the United States.
According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in.
More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

Elena Garcia ARCWP - Liturgy to Celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New House Church Community in Brandon , Florida

The Guadalupe Story

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in the 16th century in present day Mexico City, Mexico. Juan Diego saw an apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Hill of Tepeyac on December 9, 1531, which happened to be the feast day of the Immaculate Conception in that time. Our Lady requested that a church be built on that site, which Juan Diego dutifully relayed to the bishop.

After a request by the bishop to prove her identity, Our Lady asked Juan Diego to gather roses that were growing on the hill (which were neither native to the area nor in season) and take them to the bishop. Juan Diego obeyed and placed the roses in his tilma (or cloak) to carry back to the bishop as evidence of Our Lady’s appearance.
Upon opening the tilma to reveal the miraculous roses to the bishop, there was something even more miraculous present in the tilma–a striking image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the image Our Lady wears the traditional garments of an Aztec princess.  A black sash around her waist was a cultural tradition among the Aztec women that indicated pregnancy.  All the elements of the image point to Our Lady as being above the gods the Aztecs worshiped, while at the same time showing that she herself was submissive to the true Creator God while being pregnant with the Divine God-man that grew in her womb.
By using only cultural symbols and no words, which the Aztec people could read as a codex, the miraculous image on the tilma spoke the truth of the Christian faith that the Spanish Catholic missionaries proclaimed.
A mass conversion of millions upon millions of Aztecs to the Catholic faith soon followed–ending the human sacrifices, especially child sacrifices, that they practiced. Many Church historians also connect this mass conversion of souls to the Catholic faith as heaven’s balance to the massive number of souls who left the Church during the Protestant revolt, a tragedy which was happening during the same period in Catholic Europe.
A church was built at Our Lady’s request on the Hill of Tepeyac to mark the apparition site, and today it is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage shrine in the world. Venerated in this cathedral is the original tilma of St. Juan Diego, which still displays the miraculous Our Lady of Guadalupe image. The image has been subjected to scientific testing to prove its authenticity and miraculous properties.
Here are just a few from a long list of interesting facts about the Our Lady of Guadalupe image itself:
·       The image is proven to not be painted by human hands
·       The image and fabric have miraculously lasted in its original condition for nearly 500 years
·       The weak cactus fiber, of which the tilma was made, should have decomposed within 15-20 years of being woven
·       No natural or animal mineral colorings, or paint, are found on the image
·       The image itself is iridescent, which cannot be produced by hand
·       Mary stands on a crescent moon, the same crescent moon in the sky on the day of her apparition
·       Mary’s mantel is a constellation map, the same constellations in the sky as on the day of her apparition
·       These constellations tell the story of the Gospel with the arrangements of Leo in the womb of Virgo
·       On her rose garment is a topographic map of the geographic location of her apparition
·       On Mary’s neck is a small black cross, identifying her with the Catholic missionary priests
·       Over her womb on her dress is a four-petal flower, the Aztec symbol of life and deity
·       In the image Mary is “clothed with the sun” with “the moon at her feet” as described in Revelation 12:1
·       A doctor once heard a heartbeat coming from the image through a stethoscope over the womb
·       The eyes of the image have the refractory characteristics of human eyes
·       The eyes, when examined through a microscope, reflect the images of the witnesses present at its unveiling, including Juan Diego and the bishop