Prophet Daniel and the Unlikely King


Not exactly the world’s typical picture of a king. A convicted man–scourged nearly to death, a crown of thorns on his head, nailed to a cross. But one supplicant at least recognized the true king. Namely, the criminal crucified next to Him. [Spanish]

This supplicant for royal favor, however, did not request a dukedom, or a large purse, or a military command. Instead, the dying criminal asked this favor of his dying king: Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom.

To which the unlikely crucified king said: Today you will be with me in paradise.

…Now, speaking of the divine kingdom: the second chapter of the book of the prophet Daniel recounts a dream of the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord revealed the dream and its meaning to the young prophet Daniel. Daniel then praised God, saying, “He reveals deep and mysterious things!”

Daniel knew that Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream the image of a man. “The head was of fine gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet partly of iron and partly of clay.”

Daniel interpreted the various parts of the figure’s body as a succession of kingdoms: gold for Nebuchadnezzar’s own kingdom, silver for an inferior succeeding kingdom, then bronze, iron— and then a final, brittle kingdom of iron and clay.

But that wasn’t the end. Daniel continued, describing Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: “As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand. It smote the image of the man and broke it in pieces–the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold all together were broken to pieces, and became like chaff on the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried it all away, so that no trace could be found.”

the prophet Daniel, Sistine Chapel

The human figure in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents the kings of history, man dominating the earth. Human pride. In the end, it all disintegrates into nothing. We are patriots; we love our country. But we have to face it: The day will come, someday, when the world will forget that the United States of America ever even existed. Just like countless ancient nations have vanished altogether from the earth.

Then Daniel continues: “The stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel interprets this: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all the other kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.”

Now, of course, we understand this as a prophecy of the reign of Christ. God intervened directly in the political organization of mankind. He established a unique community, His chosen people, united under our unique king. The Christian Church, united in the faith and love of Christ, has fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy.

The fact that, in the dream, no human hand cut the rock that became this mountain, the everlasting kingdom of Christ: Surely this represents the absolute “otherness” of God. The fact that He exercises His omnipotent power on His terms alone. We little human beings can never pretend to grasp the inevitable divine plan. We can only submit ourselves to His rule with humble faith, saying “Our Father in heaven, Your kingdom come; Your will be done.”

So: Daniel 2 gives us a pretty stunning prophecy about God’s eternal kingdom. But it actually does not paint the whole picture. One crucial aspect got revealed later, when the fullness of time had come.

The rock not cut by human hand does indeed represent the transcendent awesomeness of God Almighty. God’s sovereignty nullifies every human conceit, every presumption on our part to understand on our own terms the ultimate meaning of the events of history.

But: in the fullness of time, God revealed that this crushing rock is, in fact, a human being. A humble man. A man of gentle love, Who does not break even a bruised reed or quench even a smoldering wick.


The divine rock that crushes all of mankind’s delusions of grandeur: He came as a man with no delusions of grandeur. He submitted to scourging and crucifixion even though He committed no crime. He promised paradise to the penitent man dying beside Him. An impossible, preposterous promise for a dying convict to make. Which this perfectly honest, crucified king then proceeded to fulfill.

Christians, rejoice! It turns out that the rock that crushes the pride of man and establishes the endless domain of God has fallen from the sky. Not with violence, but as the king Who died for us on the cross, so that we could reign with Him forever.

Homily for Our Lady’s Presentation Day

The city of Jerusalem did not recognize God made man when He came. But our Lady did.

We have talked a fair amount about how genuinely difficult it was to recognize the Christ. How much faith the first believers had to have. Yes, He worked great miracles. He also walked around pretty much like you and me. And then, as we will discuss on Sunday, He got crucified.

El Greco Virgin Mary

At the foot of the cross, the disbelieving Pharisees and priests scoffed at Him, along with one of the other criminals, and many of the soldiers and bystanders. Bitter and unkind, to be sure. But, at the same time, can we blame them? After all, what kind of Christ is this? A convicted blaspheming Jew, put summarily to death by cruel pagans.

They did not recognize Him. God came to visit them, in Person. He came as a lamb led to slaughter. As the Prince, not of power, but of Peace. He came with pure, divine love. Love that chose to die in sacrifice, rather than visit any wrath or vengeance. God did not get mad when they failed to welcome His visit. Instead, he died for the very people who rejected and killed Him. ‘Father, forgive them. They think I’m a blasphemer. They don’t recognize Your Eternal, Only-Begotten Son.’

Meanwhile: The Blessed Mother beheld everything exactly as it truly was. Because she never deviated one iota from her faith in what the Archangel Gabriel had told her, when the whole adventure began.

Her child is God. The wandering Nazarene rabbi was no blasphemer. He had innocence that extended to truly infinite depths within Him. She watched the innocent divine Lamb die, knowing exactly what was happening. She did not doubt that God’s will was getting fulfilled, even though it made no apparent sense.

She did not know what would happen next. But she knew that God had chosen her to live through it, exactly as it was, whatever came. Then she saw her Son again, risen from the dead.

Martyrs’ Mother

As we read at Holy Mass today, the mother of the Maccabean martyrs said to her sons:

I do not know how you came into existence in my womb… Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who… brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.

In other words, the mother had the courage to pray for the martyrdom of her sons.

Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons”

St. John de Brébeuf suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Iroquois, in what is now Ontario, Candada. He had prayed for martyrdom. Every Jesuit, and everyone who prays the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, prays to lose all honor in this world, and be thought a fool—out of loyalty to the Great Fool, Jesus Christ.

In A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More did not pray for, or seek, martyrdom. He had a family; he loved his family. And his family wanted him home with them, not in jail–and certainly not dead. More’s wife and daughter laid guilt trips on Thomas for ‘playing the hero,’ in his dealings with King Henry. In the end, More suffered martyrdom not for something he said, but for his silence.

On the other hand, the Maccabean mother set aside her desire to have the earthly company of her sons. She reckoned, correctly, that the Lord had given her her sons in the first place. So He could give them back to her, in the next life–provided they stayed faithful.

The mother did St. John de Brébeuf one better. A devoted servant of God, with no dependents, might pray for his or her own martyrdom, if it should serve God’s glory. An even-more-devoted servant of God prays for the martyrdom of her beloved children, should it serve God’s glory.

George Orwell Comes Knocking?

People miss e-mails sometimes; signals get crossed in an office. It happens. Also, people play games sometimes. To manipulate and bully those with less power.

You can be the judge in this case, dear reader. Click HERE for the status quo ante. Thank you for praying.


Richmond-diocese Vicar for Clergy (bishop’s right-hand man for our affairs), yesterday evening at 5:15pm:

Fr. White,

I hope that you are feeling better. I want to thank you ahead of time for coming to meet with Bishop Knestout tomorrow afternoon at the Pastoral Center. If you have not been able to cover your Mass please let me know and I will reach out to provide coverage for you. 

Please know my prayers for you and for safe travels.



My response, yesterday at 6:00pm:

T—, I refer you to my email of last Wed, below, which was cc’d to you. Maybe you missed it.

I did not commit to any meeting time. I asked (twice) for clarification regarding the rationale for the proposed meeting. Having received none, I have made no plans to travel tomorrow. Trying to make such plans at this late moment would pose considerable problems.

So please make sure that His Excellency does not waste any time waiting on my arrival tomorrow afternoon.

In his letter to me, bishop expressed the desire to discuss a blog post. I don’t know which one he had in mind. (There are quite a few.) As I wrote last week, I welcome any written correspondence about my weblog. The blog is, of its very nature, a forum for the free exchange of ideas–as I noted to His Excellency in an email to him in September of 2018.

Fraternally, Mark

Pius x tomb
Pope St. Pius X, in St. Peter’s Basilica

…In 1907, Pope St. Pius X wrote:

It is the duty of the bishops to prevent writings infected with Modernism, or favorable to it, from being read when they have been published, and to hinder their publication when they have not. (Pascendi, paragraph 50)

What is “Modernism?” Click HERE to read my summary of the problem, which continues to plague the world. Here’s another paragraph from Pius X’s encyclical, touching on ecclesiastical authority.

[The Modernist teaches that] We are living in an age when the sense of liberty has reached its fullest development, and when the public conscience has in the civil order introduced popular government… It is for the ecclesiastical authority, therefore, to shape itself to democratic forms, unless it wishes to provoke and foment an intestine conflict in the consciences of mankind…

Such is the situation for the Modernists, and their one great anxiety is, in consequence, to find a way of conciliation between the authority of the Church and the liberty of believers. (para. 23)

Now, I certainly do not propose to solve this problem–that is, the potential conflict between the free exchange of ideas and the legitimate exercise of ecclesiastical authority. Far greater minds than mine spent a lot of the 20th century trying to work that out.

But just for the record, I would like to state clearly:

I do not believe that free speech in the Church has no limits. Bishops have to censor heresy. They should discipline priests who spread lies, or any untruths. And they should call to heel even a priest who would indiscretely spread true information beyond the circle of those who need to know it.

(Though I would also clearly state that I believe Church authority has erred over the last half century in considering it discrete to keep secret the crimes of priests and bishops.)

If I have fallen into heresy, factual error, or genuine indiscretion, I beg to be corrected. Let the admonishment come in writing, with a specific citation of the offending words.

In the absence of such a clear admonishment, I ask ecclesiastical authority to leave me in peace to do the pastoral work assigned to me.

Saint on the Mississippi

St Rose Philippine Duchesne St Louis cathedral

Remember how we talked in August about St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests? About how he received first Holy Communion during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror? Rose Philippine Duchesne was an eighteen-year-old French nun at the time. And John Vianney’s future seminary classmate Mathias Loras was a baby, who lost his father to the guillotine.

The Curé of Ars never came to America, of course. But his seminary classmate Mathias Loras did. Loras eventually made his way up the Mississippi River to found the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. He traveled right past the log cabin in St. Charles, Missouri, where Sister Rose Philippine Duchesne was living and teaching.

Meanwhile, east of the Mississippi: The Andrew-Jackson administration had no scruples whatsoever about breaking treaties with Native-American tribes and forcing them to migrate west. Here in the South. we know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. But the Potawatomis of northern Indiana had to follow what they called the “Trail of Death.”

The Potawatomis who survived the trip eventually settled in Kansas. Rose Philippine Duchesne wanted to teach the children. But she couldn’t master their language.

So she prayed for them instead. Hour after hour.

Sister would pray for so long that the children would encircle her with little pebbles, then go to sleep. When they woke up, they would check to see if any of the pebbles had been disturbed. They hadn’t. Sister had been kneeling and praying in the same position the whole time. They called her Quahkahkanumad, the Woman Who Always Prays.

The cathedral basilica in St. Louis has a huge mosaic of St. Rose. She died 23 miles from there, in St.Charles, 167 years ago today. She lies in a marble sarcophagus in a small shrine dedicated to her memory.

May she pray for us, that we might have the kind of missionary courage and perseverance that she had.

The Gifts of the Spirit, Including Wisdom

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

We rightly fear the omnipotent One. He made everything out of nothing. His power dwarfs our capacity to conceive it. Everything exists solely by His pleasure. Without His will sustaining us–and sustaining the sky, and the earth, and the air–without His constant gift of existence, everything would crumble, collapse, disintegrate, vanish. [Spanish]

At Sunday Mass, we hear Lord Jesus say, All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone. (Luke 21:6)

The one thing that separates us from chaos and ultimate nothingness is: the divine good pleasure. True wisdom involves acknowledging this. If we find ourselves enjoying good things in life, it’s because God has made them and keeps them in existence, to give as gifts to us.

The wise person fears the awesomeness of this great Giver of all, Who is truly, wonderfully, magnificently good. His power dwarfs us, and so does His goodness. We do not measure up to it. Rather, we receive from His largesse as unworthy beneficiaries. He blesses us so abundantly because His love flows so freely. Not because we have any claim on Him, or any “rights” before Him. He just gives, out of pure generosity.

So we rightly stand in awe of this infinitely powerful and infinitely gracious God. Nonetheless, He makes friendly and intimate promises to us. “Fear nothing,” He says, “because I myself will give you wisdom.”

El Greco Pentecost

The God we rightly fear does not choose to tower above us. Rather, in the midst of all the great flux of events over which He exercises sovereign control, He moves toward us and embraces us. By uniting Himself with us in Christ, God Almighty has Personally entered into His own creation, fragile as it all is. He meets us right here, and clasps us to His bosom. He makes us His friends, the friends of the King.

By the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we participate interiorly in God’s sovereignty over all things. We share His permanent solidity, His serene transcendence.

Material things pass. We human beings are material things that naturally pass, too—at least our bodies are. But, by His grace, God has joined us to His permanent Self. So we do not pass, but rather we endure forever, with Him.

We perceive all this by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ Himself was the first to have these gifts, in full. He perceived in His human mind the infinite extent of the divine love of the heavenly Father.

Thus the Lord Jesus feared God, in the sense that He would not deviate from the will of His Father. He submitted Himself completely to the mission the Father had entrusted to Him. Christ embraced that mission completely, with tender piety, and with unswerving bravery. Christ understood everything that the prophets had written. He taught the eternal law, to love God and neighbor, and thereby fulfill all human knowledge of created things. Jesus perceived the fundamental cause of creation, and of all the events of history: namely that God would receive the glory of His Christ, crucified and risen. Jesus’ divine wisdom involved His perception of how He would glorify the Father—in Himself, and in all the members of His mystical Body.

Our Lord pours these interior gifts into our souls when we commune honestly with Him. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit move us to repent of our sins, and they heal us interiorly, through God’s mercy.

american-flagWe live in tough times. The last time we heard the same Sunday readings—three years ago—something pretty stunning had just happened. A certain gentleman had just been elected President of the United States. Now these readings come around again, and we as a nation face a painful impeachment process.

We need the supernatural point-of-view, the point-of-view of Jesus Christ Himself. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit give us that perspective. We need communion with the divine love of Jesus Christ. He offers us sobriety, patience, and confidence in the ultimate triumph of the right.

The Senate will get to judge the impeachment case, if it goes that far. And it appears that it will go that far.

But Christ the Lord will judge the judges. He will judge the judges of this case, and of every case. And, unlike human verdicts, which involve some degree of error, even in the best circumstances; unlike verdicts here below, Jesus Christ’s final verdict will reflect every aspect of the truth.

So help us, dear Lord, to see, live, and love by the Your Holy Spirit. We entrust ourselves completely to Your guidance, through thick and thin. Give us our share in Your all-encompassing wisdom.

Homily for St.-Albert-the-Great Day

By happy God-incidence, on the anniversary of the death of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teacher, we read at Mass from the book of Wisdom. About how the beauty of creation demonstrates the even-greater, unseen beauty of the Creator.

Albert the Great Septicentennial StampTwo quick points on this:

1. Many skeptics and atheists argue that the world does not show forth the hidden glory of the Creator, because the world abounds with evil. We concede: Yes, this world, though fundamentally beautiful, does indeed abound with evil. We answer: Evil entered God’s good creation because of the moral failure of angels and mankind.

To which the clever atheist replies: ‘Hold on. We cannot chalk all the evil in the world up to moral faults. What about: Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes? Lions eat gazelles. Alligators eat defenseless deer fawns trying to get a drink of water. What kind of beautiful, kind God would make a world in which foxes eat cute, little peacock chicks?’

I think we have all heard these kinds of rhetorical questions. This kind of attack on God’s existence tries to paint our faith as naïve sentimentalism.

But who exactly falls into naïve sentimentalism here? After all, only we human beings reckon even this physical evil of nature as categorically evil.

I’m not saying that the gazelle wouldn’t prefer to survive, rather than serve as dinner for the lion; I’m not saying the gazelle sings an interior hymn to God, praising Him for the chance to serve in the food chain, at the very moment when the lion’s fangs crush his neck.

No, I’m not saying that. But: the gazelle does not question the whole business as a matter of good vs. evil. The gazelle does not fit his demise into the grand scheme of things.

So to say that physical evil proves that God does not exist, or that He’s mean—that actually requires unscientific sentimentality. A genuine scientist would acknowledge that my personal aesthetics regarding the climate or the food chain cannot stand in judgment over anything. A fawn dying in an alligator’s mouth seems sad to me, to be sure. But I can’t judge the order of nature based on such feelings.

Venice Patriarch aqua alta hip waders
Speaking of floods, poor Patriarch of Venice had to don his hip-waders because of unusually alta aqua alta this fall. Let’s pray for the dear Venetians. (Saint Mark’s bones are safe.)

2. Which brings us to the second little point. What we have considered so far shows another major flaw in the typical atheist attack on our faith in the good, beautiful God.

Now, the size of the universe, and this planet’s relative position in it: these physical facts have no bearing on what we Christians believe. But we insist that our earth is the spiritual center of the material universe.

After all, this is where the action is. God created the whole universe for our sake. We sandwich-eating, book-reading mammals on the third rock from this star. The Creator of the vast cosmos Personally became one of us, here. Which makes earth the center of the universe.

The typical atheist dismisses such a statement as naïve and sentimental. And points out that: Because there are so many galaxies out there, we little dudes and dudettes are obviously insignificant in the grand sweep of heavenly movements. The enemies of our faith even go so far as to insist that courage requires recognizing the basic meaninglessness of our obscure ant-like existence in this huge, pitiless universe.

But, again: Who’s being unscientific? From whose point-of-view does such a debate even arise? Who thinks at all about the meaning, or meaninglessness, of our existence? Do the airless planets around the stars at the far end of the Milky Way ponder these things? Hardly. And even if they did, we have to admit that we have absolutely no way of knowing anything about what they think.

In other words, for good or ill, a genuinely scientific assessment of our situation has to place us human begins at the center of the universe. Because we human beings are the only center of the universe that we can ever know. That’s the way it is, from the moment we first open our eyes.

Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! He has revealed to us that our heavenly Father sees us the same way.

Update on Principal’s-Office Drama

It must not be imagined that authority knows no bounds. Since its starting point is the permission to govern in accordance with right reason…a regime which governs solely or mainly by means of threats and intimidation, or promises of reward, provides men with no effective incentive to work for the common good. –Pope St. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris


Me, on Tuesday, after I received bishop’s phone call, then letter (sent to me via e-mail from his secretary):

Dear Anne, Thank you for your kind regards.

I would be happy to discuss blog posts with His Excellency, provided that he or you let me know ahead of time which particular posts he has in mind to discuss, and why he wants to discuss them.

Also, considering that driving to the Pastoral Center would entail a six-hour round-trip for me, and would require me to cancel parish Masses, I would prefer to have the discussion by phone.

Yours, Father Mark

Her, Wednesday morning:

Good morning Father White.  Hope you are feeling much better.  I shared your message with Bishop Knestout who is away, as you know.

The Bishop asks to meet with you here at the Pastoral Center on Wednesday, November 20th.  He has availability between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.  Please let me know what time you wish to confirm…

Bishop Knestout asked me to convey his appreciation and he looks forward to seeing you next Wednesday.

All the best, Anne

My answer, also Wednesday morning:

Dear Anne,

I appreciate your good wishes about my health. I feel better, but this business is by no means helping.

I kindly asked for an explanation of what exactly bishop wants to discuss with me, and why.

The more I consider this proposed dialogue, the more I think that we would make the most headway by a written exchange. The written medium would eliminate the pressure of time and travel. I do not want to drive to Richmond for a meeting without understanding the reason for it.

If His Excellency intends to threaten me with any adverse consequences regarding my ministry here, I wish he would just go ahead and make his threats. The passive-aggressive tone of these communiques–all courtesy, but with implied coercion–is driving me crazy.

Love, Father Mark


…Haven’t heard anything since, dear reader. As you remember, last year I promised His Excellency that I would increase his fame by publishing all our correspondence. (After he tried to manipulate me into feeling guilty for collecting facts and speaking my mind, moderately.)

Thank you for praying, my beloved.

…Let me just anticipate a question, and answer it. Namely: Father, shouldn’t you drive to Richmond when the bishop asks you to?

Answer: In speeches to us priests, all bishops emphasize their brotherhood with us. Bishops style themselves as “servants of the servants.” That’s the rhetoric, anyway.

So let’s turn the scenario around. A hypothetical:

Me: Bishop, I need you to visit me next Wednesday at 2:00pm. Or 3:00pm.

Him: Bless you, Mark. I’m here for you. What’s going on?

Me: I need you here next Wednesday.

Him: Ok, like I said. I’m here for you. What’s up? Is it something we can talk about now, or by exchange of e-mails?


After such a conversation: Does he, the servant of the servants of the servants of God, get in the car and drive 3 1/2 hours to Martinsville on Wednesday? Don’t think so. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to. He’s not some lackey who has nothing better to do, after all.

Mother Cabrini, Pray for the Dreamers

Cabrini Shrine Mass.jpg
Holy Mass on Mother Cabrini’s tomb during our parish-cluster youth pilgrimage a few years back. The kneeling boys are all grown up now 🙂

It can hardly come as a co-incidence: we keep the Memorial of the Patroness of Immigrants just as the US Supreme Court considers the fate of many of our immigrants friends and loved ones. (The pope beatified Mother Cabrini 81 years ago today.)

In case you haven’t paid attention: “Dreamers” are young adults who arrived in the US as children, without immigration papers. D.A.C.A. protects Dreamers from many of the adverse legal consequences of their situation.

I think I can safely say that no humane American thinks that Dreamers should suffer because of what happened when they were too young to make decisions and control their own fate.

D.A.C.A exists at the discretion of the Executive Branch of the federal government. It has to do with the great elephant in the immigration room: We simply cannot uniformly enforce our immigration laws. It is logistically impossible, not to mention morally impossible. D.A.C.A. came about as a political stratagem when legislative immigration reform failed.

Without D.A.C.A., dozens upon dozens of people we know and love in our two parishes would have their lives thrown into utter chaos. They would become people without a country. Through no fault of their own.


What the Supreme Court decides will not necessarily determine the ultimate outcome of the current controversy. The Court could uphold lower court rulings, which required the Trump administration to provide a clearer rationale before discontinuing D.A.C.A. Or the Supreme Court could overrule the lower courts and leave the whole matter in the administration’s hands.

Either way, we should recognize that no human being should have to live with this kind of tumultuous uncertainty hanging over his or her head. We should pray hard, that every human being on this soil be accorded all basic human rights.

As we read in Scripture at Holy Mass today, “For those in power, a rigorous scrutiny is coming” from God. May the Lord move those who will make decisions about this to do the humane thing.

Cowardice Update

Pope Francis bishop Reed ad limina
Bishop Robert Reed, auxiliary of Boston, and His Holiness, last week

One of our New-England bishops, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, gave a brief speech on Monday. He, and his fellow bishops of that region, had just returned from their ad limina visit to Rome, arriving in Baltimore in the nick of time, for the semi-annual American bishops’ meeting.

Forgive me for saying so, but His Eminence’s speech in Baltimore seemed strangely aimed at answering your unworthy servant. Of course I don’t actually imagine that he, or anyone of ecclesiastical significance, ever reads anything I write; I think I merely managed to express a common sentiment. (And I used, in anger, some language unworthy of a temperate Christian, and for that I apologize, dear reader.)

Cardinal O’Malley said to the assembled American bishops, regarding his and his fellow New-England bishops’ sojourn in Rome:

We were not afraid to bring up [to the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State] the question of the report on Theodore McCarrick, and we insisted on the importance of publishing a response to the many serious questions of this case. [emphasis added]

I note his protestation of “not being afraid.” I note it with some relish.

His Eminence went on to say:

The long wait [for the promised report] has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people, and indeed a harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence.

The “seeming” silence? Let be be finale of seem, your Eminence. The Roman silence has resounded as a genuine worldwide roar. Don’t accuse us of cynicism, when it is we who face reality squarely, not thee.

[Like, for instance: When will our American bishops discuss the findings of the Illinois and Colorado reports on sexual abuse in the Church? Both of these reports pointed out serious shortcomings in the Dallas Charter. Will such a discussion item ever appear on any US-bishops’ agenda? Or shall we continue to think, with good reason, that all the propaganda about putting sex-abuse victims above institutional interests amounts to: the usual mafiosi blah blah blah?]

Anyway. According to O’Malley, the Cardinal Secretary of State in Rome said, regarding the McCarrick report, the very words that my imagination attributed to him. Si, presto, subito. “Yes, soon, very soon.” Then last Friday’s central-Italy earthquake occurred.

So we shall see, dear reader. A full McCarrick report will reach us. Within a couple months. So says the Cardinal.

I do not recommend that anyone hold his or her breath.

…Meanwhile, back here in our humble corner of the world: I have received my annual summons to the principal’s office.

Bishop Knestout letter Nov 19

(His Excellency had reached me via cellphone the night before, as I lay on my couch, suffering laryngitis, and trying to recover from a nasty little head cold I managed to catch.)

Last year, when summoned to show my servility by driving six-hours for no apparent reason, I responded by proposing that bishop and I meet and talk at our annual diocesan priests’ meeting instead. I never got a response to that proposal, and we never had our “dialog.”

Yesterday, I responded by asking which blog posts exactly he means? And why he wants to discuss them? And I asked if we could have our conversation by phone.

I await a response. May God be with us all.