“I received from the Lord what I handed on to you.”

bassano last supper

St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to encourage them. And to correct them.

We might call the first part of the letter a “dossier”—a dossier of the corruptions of the church in Corinth. Factionalism, sexual immorality, incorrect doctrine, pride and complacency—St. Paul accused the Corinthian Christians of all these faults. As we read at Holy Mass today, he even accused them of selfishly neglecting the sacred worship of the holy Church, the banquet of the Body and Blood of the Christ.

But let’s take heart in how St. Paul explained the Mass to the Corinthians. St. Paul received the Mass. He received the tradition that began in the upper room on Holy Thursday night. St. Paul received the authority to celebrate the Eucharist. And St. Paul handed it on to the Christians in Corinth.

He handed on the ceremony; he handed on the authority to celebrate it; he handed on the entire divine mystery. Not as something that belonged to him or to them. As something that belonged to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, as a whole.

El Greco St. Paul in St LouisIn other words: At the heart of the life of the Church, we find this mystery which Christ Himself gave us. This mystery which is Christ Himself. It came from Him; it is His gift to us—His gift of Himself, of His love.

This holy mystery, the Mass, makes the Church the Church. And it doesn’t come from us. It comes from God. It is God, made man, in the flesh.

St. Paul wrote to correct the Corinthians. But he also wrote to encourage them. And he encourages us, too. At our altars, we proclaim the death of the Lord Jesus, until He comes again. Jesus ordered us to do it, so we do.

We all have plenty of faults, and plenty of cares weigh down our minds. But when we celebrate the Holy Mass together, we stand in harmony with God. And He Himself is with us–the true Lord of our Church–in the flesh.

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Death Trophy

Whoever wishes to come after me must take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

Among Christians, to speak of one’s ‘crosses’ has become a metaphor for all kinds of difficulties in life. Illness, career setbacks, the untimely loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend—just to name a few examples. ‘Crosses’ to bear. [Spanish]

But:  We cannot use the word ‘cross’ as a metaphor for our own hardships if we do not first consider the literal meaning.  We cannot forget what the cross essentially is.  The cross is an instrument of one thing. Namely…

Correct. Death.

chastity-ring-crucifix-r16613I am not trying to be morbid here.  I am not the one who said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”  The Son of God said it.

When Christ originally said this, the cross was the implement the Romans used to kill their worst criminals.  The cross may mean many things to us, but when the Lord first used the term 2,000 years ago, the cross meant one thing: execution, the death penalty.

So let’s take full stock of what He said. Take up your cross. If that means anything, it means: Face death.  Embrace death, like He did.  Lift death up. Hold death lovingly in our arms. Carry it around like a prize.

There’s more. We use this symbol of death in artwork and jewelry. We trace the symbol of death on our bodies whenever we begin to pray. We ask priests to trace the sign of death on our babies’ foreheads. We ask priests to trace the sign of death over a whole family before a trip. Or over a sick person. Or over anyone who needs God’s help.

It sounds morbid, but I am not the one who made this up. God Himself became man and founded our religion. In the religion God gave us, you cannot shake a stick without hitting a cross. The sign of death is everywhere. In the Church, you cannot take a breath—you cannot turn your eyes in any direction—and not come face-to-face with death, because the cross is everywhere. The implement the Romans used to kill people is everywhere. Because our Lord explicitly told us to hold fast to that very thing.

Now, the reality of human death was never a big secret. The fact that death is inevitable is not something Christ revealed. The human race already knew that death is inevitable. And we knew that death can come at any time.

The apse mosaic of San Clemente

Nobody over the age of ten can really think that he or she is going to be able to avoid dying.  Death will come. We are afraid of death; we do not generally want to think about it. Many of us try to run away from death by futile attempts to turn back the clock on age and illness. But deep down we know perfectly well: death will come.

So when Christ tells us to face the reality of death, He is not giving us a newsflash. But what He says is new. Christ’s teaching about death is a revelation, because He Himself died in an utterly unique way. Countless criminals died on crosses during the time of the Roman Empire. But no one died like Jesus Christ died. The cross does not signify death in general. It signifies the utterly unique death of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus lived a holy life of poverty, enlightenment, and love. Then, when the time came, He bowed His head to the plan of the Father. Jesus allowed Himself to be condemned unjustly by wicked men. He took the cross in His hands and carried it to Calvary without a complaint. Then He spread out His arms and asked forgiveness for the men who killed Him, while they drove the nails into His hands and feet.

We know that the Lord Jesus did not want to die; He didn’t have a sick death-wish. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ pleaded with the Father. “Father, let this cup pass from me.” But the Savior knew what He had to do, and He was obedient unto death. “Not my will, Father, but yours be done.”

“Not my will, Father, but yours be done.” Then, Christ marched straight at the enemy. He strode fearlessly towards the thing that we fear the most. The will of the Father was:  Head straight for death. Do not swerve to the right or left. Attack death!

So the Lord Jesus attacked. He loved life; He did not want to die. But He wanted above all to fulfill the Father’s plan. So He took the cross, the instrument of death. And by perfect, humble obedience, Christ turned the cross into the weapon that conquered death.

He died, He was buried. On the third day, He rose again from the dead. He ascended into glory.

So when the Lord Jesus tells us to take death into our hands and carry it, He is not ordering us to shuffle off in fear and shame towards endless darkness. Nor are we Christians crazy to embrace His command with enthusiasm, emblazoning everything we have with the symbol of death. Christ has given us every reason to hold the cross like a prize. Because the cross of death conquered death and became the trophy of eternal life.

Good Morning to the Admirable Atheist

Grunewald the Small Crucifixion

Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if He did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 324)

From the grudging respect department. Some people say: How can I believe in God, when I see so much evil?

Two things to respect here:

1. Having the honesty to see evil and call it evil. Doing so is actually an act of faith in the goodness of God. Because to call evil evil requires measuring it against good. If you don’t measure evil against good, evil isn’t evil. It’s just “stuff.”

For instance, Pontius Pilate would not have described the crucifixion of the perfectly innocent divine Lamb as “evil.” The Roman historian Tacitus wrote in AD 64: “Christus, from whom name of the sect has its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius.” Calling evil evil is good. Calling evil by a bureaucratic euphemism is evil.

2. The one who says, “I won’t believe, because I see so much evil,” also deserves credit for this: Taking us believers at our word when we say we believe in God Almighty.

You cannot compromise with the word omnipotent. God is omnipotent. There is nothing at all, except what He wills. He wills good. He wills to permit evil.

If God isn’t omnipotent, He’s not God. We tend to imagine God as a kind of nice pet who soothes our feelings. We want Him to follow the rules of niceness that we follow. Except that He obviously doesn’t.

So we concede the admirable nobility of mind that moves someone to say: I won’t believe, because I see so much evil.

We respond:

Amen. We don’t believe in Mr. Nice Happy Pet God, either. We fearlessly gaze at the evil you see, and we give it its proper name. We don’t believe in Mr. Everything is Lovely Everything is Great God.

But you have not grasped Who we believe in. You think we believe in a god who engages in some kind of on-going competition with Satan, as if the two were on the same plane.

No. We believe in the one and only true, omnipotent God: Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the eternal Father. Jesus Christ crucified and risen. There is no God but He.

From His point-of-view, and from His point-of-view alone: it all makes sense. He knows all the good that comes even from the gravest evil. He knows the all-conquering power of divine love. On the cross, we see that He knows it.

We do not claim to know it. We only claim to believe in Him.

Merciful Like Chrysostom Says Easter Is

St John Chrysostom in St PatricksSt. John Chrysostom died 1611 years ago tomorrow. He was a Syrian. He suffered at the hands of hostile secular rulers. He suffered at the hands of jealous fellow clerics. He lived an endless love affair with Christ, with learning, and with his flock. He bequeathed to us an all-but-bottomless treasury of Christian love, rendered in writing.

At Holy Mass today, we heard the Lord Jesus command us: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

How?

One way to answer that question might be to meditate on another question: To whom does Easter belong? Here is St. John Chrysostom’s answer to that question:

Are there any who are devout lovers of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Are there any who are grateful servants? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; if any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt, for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate, but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first….

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hell when He descended into it…

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Names, Mary

Seems a shame to name a hurricane after such a lovely place, where they have Michelangelo’s David, Fra Angelico’s Annunciation, the Medici Palace, the Duomo…

king davidToday the Blessed Mother received the ancient name of the woman who sang the canticle of Hebrew freedom, after they crossed the Red Sea dry shod.

A lot of our loved ones have the same name. We rejoice today especially for the gift that all our beloved Marys are for us.

Let’s also remember: Every Christian name is sacred. When someone receives a name at the baptismal font, it’s forever—a name for eternity, a name written in God’s book.

Mary lived Jesus’ beatitudes. She had no earthly authority or wealth. She suffered and wept for justice, for the truth, for love of God incarnate. She hoped in nothing other than God.

Now she reigns in eternal splendor. She reads the eternal book with all our Christian names written in it. Can we not imagine that she runs her lovely finger along the lines of that book, passing her fingertip across each of our names, her heart filled with tender love and encouragement for the one she has in mind at that moment? Let’s imagine her, and let it dispel all our fears about anything.

Transparent and Unfathomable

Be opened! The man’s ears, his lips. “He spoke plainly.” The deaf-mute now became a witness, a vessel for the Word of God, a pipe to make music to the praise of God’s glorious grace. [Spanish]

sacred-heart-cross

Opened, like the ears and lips of Christ Himself. Through the prophet, the Lord had praised His heavenly Father: You have opened my ear, and I did not refuse, did not turn away.

In Luke’s gospel, we read about the time when the Lord Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father, ‘Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed Yourself to the childlike!’

We know that Jesus taught His doctrine openly. During His Passion, when the chief priests interrogated Him about what He had taught, the Lord could say with perfect honesty: You can ask the people who heard Me teach. I have not secrets, nothing to hide. Ask them.

So, indeed: If “transparency” is a virtue of a good leader, we can hardly imagine anyone more “transparent” than Jesus Christ Himself. No deceit was ever found in Him. On Mount Tabor, He went so far as to reveal the divine light, shining through Him, to His chosen Apostles. That light of perfect and complete truth—that light shone through the body of this man, born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.

Then, on the cross, the ultimate opening occurred: The soldier thrust a lance into His side, opening His Heart. Blood and water flowed out, the fountainhead of eternal life. The openness of Christ is the openness of God. God opening Himself to us. It is literally impossible to imagine any more truly wonderful openness.

But, here’s the thing. Yes, the Messiah, our Lord, is altogether pure, honest–a vessel of the Light of Truth that penetrates all darkness. But: Don’t we also say that His Heart contains a hidden abyss of goodness, unfathomable depths of love, a mystery that no eye can see nor tongue proclaim?

Let me quote St. Francis de Sales on this:

Behold him, this divine love of the beloved, how he stands behind the wall of his humanity, making himself to be seen through the wounds of his body and the opening of his side, as by windows, and as by a lattice through which he looks out on us…

Our Savior’s Heart, as upon his royal throne, beholds by the cleft of his pierced side all the hearts of the sons of men: for this Heart being the King of hearts keeps his eyes ever fixed upon hearts. But as those that look through a lattice see others clearly, and are but half-seen themselves, so the divine love of this Heart, or rather this Heart of divine love, continually sees our hearts clearly and regards them with the eyes of his love, but we do not see Him. We only half see Him. (Treatise on the Love of God, Book V, chapter 11)

So: Although our Lord outdoes the transparency of the most-transparent people we know, we still have to walk by obscure faith in unseen things.

God sees all. And on the last day, we will see everything, in God’s light. But, in the meantime, we stumble along, trying to hold fast to the truth, knowing that we do not know everything.

Ok. Our Church floats along in the middle of a colossal controversy right now. At the highest level of authority, charges of negligence remain unanswered.

Is it all about who knew what and when? Or is it about who knows how to handle things like this better?

Hopefully it is about knowing right from wrong. The Lord always helps us to do that, to know right from wrong. He may confront us with difficult moral choices. But He never leaves us without an honest path forward, one we can take with a clear conscience.

Pope Francis Easter candleThe duty we all have is to follow that path, the path of an honest conscience, of a “transparent person”–to follow that path into an uncertain future.

In my book, our Holy Father has not responded in an honest manner to the controversy. He has not made himself transparent regarding the facts about Theodore McCarrick, facts which I know a lot about. And it looks to me like the pope has fallen into dishonesty regarding other cases involving prelates and sex abuse. That said, I certainly don’t know everything.

I wish Pope Francis would step aside, trusting God to provide a new shepherd who could actually tackle this crisis honestly and give us a fresh start.

But it’s the Pope’s decision to make. We all have to make our decisions. As honestly, as forthrightly, as “transparently” as we can. Knowing full well that only God knows everything.

Sins and Commandments

The_Head_of_Christ_by_Warner_Sallman_1941

Sometimes the Lord Jesus said genuinely hard-to-understand things. He came to reveal the eternal mysteries of divine love. So the gospels record statements He made that require a lifetime of meditation even to begin to understand. Like “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me.” [Spanish]

But sometimes Jesus’ words sound out clear as a bell. Like the list of evils we hear at the end of Sunday’s gospel reading. In addition to “evil thoughts,” the Lord listed twelve particular sins that defile the human heart. We can break down the list into four groups, and co-ordinate them with the Ten Commandments. Let’s turn this into a fun little quiz.

Group One: Adultery, unchastity, and licentiousness. First we have to make sure we know what “licentiousness” means. Promiscuity, unprincipled sexuality. So: adultery, unchastity, and licentiousness involve violations of which commandment? Or commandments? Correct. The Sixth and the Ninth, which prohibit violations of the marriage bond.

We can begin to grasp the fundamental holiness of marriage when we reflect on how we each came into existence. Namely, the union of a man and a woman. Because children deserve to grow up in a family, sexual union requires lifetime fidelity. We talked about this a little last week. God makes the rules, and the law of chastity is crystal clear.

The Catechism has a helpful definition of chastity:

The inner unity of a human being, body and spirit. Sexuality becomes truly human when it makes a part of a lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman… either man governs his desires and finds peace, or he lets himself be mastered by them and becomes unhappy. (CCC 2337-8)

Ok. Second group of items on Jesus’ list. Greed, envy, theft. Which commandment? Or commandments? The Seventh and the Tenth. Thou shalt not steal nor covet.

When my neighbor has something good, and that very fact makes me sad, instead of happy; makes me want to have the good thing, rather than my neighbor having it—well, then I’m in trouble.

What’s the antidote? St. Paul wrote about “the desires of the Spirit,” as in the Holy Spirit. If we live the Catholic life, receiving divine grace through the sacraments and praying daily, then God will work within us. He will move us to desire Him. He will make us want the true happiness of Christ’s eternal Kingdom. When we want God, envy, greed, and theft, fall by the wayside.

Charlton Heston Ten Commandments Moses

Third group. Arrogance, malice, murder. Which commandment? The Fifth.

God does not simply prohibit literally killing people, like in abortion or euthanasia. God prohibits not just killing people, but also hating people. When they came to take Jesus to the cross, He told Peter to put his sword in its sheath. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We must practice brotherhood. Some people practice tennis, or yoga. Fine. But Christians practice brotherhood, sisterhood.

Finally, the last group of items from Jesus’ list of sins: Blasphemy, deceit, folly. Which commandments? The Second and the Eighth.

We owe the ineffable mystery of God profound respect. We owe Him silence. We owe Him our attentive ear.

Yes, we must speak of Him sometimes. We’re not agnostics. We have a message to communicate to the world. God has revealed Himself, and He has entrusted His Holy Gospel to us, for us to spread and help souls get to heaven.

But we must exercise great restraint and discipline in speaking of God Almighty. Because His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. Like I said, we are most certainly not agnostics; we believe that God has revealed Himself fully in Christ. But: We give the genuine agnostics a grudging respect. Because they cultivate the skill of absolutely avoiding blaspheming the impenetrable awesomeness of God.

Now, that great God gave us our capacity to communicate, so we must use that capacity well. That means honesty. I daresay that ‘deceit’ might pose the greatest danger of all the items on Jesus’ list. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to…

Problem is: Good intentions can and do lead us down the path of deceit. Because we have Messiah complexes. I am a good person; I please everyone; I do good to everyone…

But wait. Oh, no! I double-booked myself. Or: Oh, no! I’m too tired or out-of-sorts to do that good deed, even though I said I would. Or: Gosh, I’m embarrassed by my own weaknesses and human limitations. I can’t bring myself to admit them even to myself.

So I lie.

Maybe I convince myself it’s a “white lie.” Maybe it protects someone else’s feelings. More likely: It protects my feelings. That is: my egomaniacal delusion that I am Mr. or Mrs. Super-Good Person.

Well, what could I have said, Father? Rather than that little white lie? How about… Nothing.

May God help us to avoid all the sins that Lord Jesus listed. And humbly try to do good.

The Wise Virgins’ Oil

William_Blake_-_The_Parable_of_the_Wise_and_Foolish_Virgins

The question that remains, after the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins: What does the oil represent?

We considered this question exactly one year ago. Anyone remember what we came up with? The oil represents prayer. Specifically: praying the Mass.

But our Lord’s parables offer inexhaustible depths of meaning. So let me throw another answer at you. A two-fold answer. The oil in the parable represents:

1. Self-abandonment to divine Providence. Total trust. God’s foolishness is greater than human wisdom, and His weakness is greater than human strength. We live by faith in the unconquerable goodness of the Lord Who governs everything.

2. But total abandonment to divine Providence does not involve our abandoning our capacity for foresight and sound decision-making. The Lord said: Be innocent as doves. He also said…? Be wise as serpents.

–Yesterday I heard someone describe the American bishops as: Wise as doves and innocent as serpents. But let’s leave that aside—

So: The oil is total abandonment to divine Providence and also prudence. The virtue that “finds both the true good in every circumstance and the right means of achieving it,” as the Catechism puts it. Catechism goes on: “Prudence applies moral principles to particular cases and overcomes doubt about good and evil.”

Another definition, to paraphrase St. Thomas Aquinas: “Prudence means both skill at thinking about how to live a wholesome, good life and skill at putting the good thinking into practice.”

Prudence requires self-control, honesty, and courage. By the same token, no one can exercise self-control–or stay honest and brave—without prudence. In other words: No one can think right about doing right without doing right. But no one can do right without thinking and judging right.

Prudence is not “policy.” It is skill at applying good policies. But, of course, without good policies–without good principles–prudence cannot correctly resolve any problem. A prudent person is a principled person who also sees reality clearly enough to know which policy should guide you right now.

We need this oil. May God help us to keep it in our flasks.

Even More Dramatic

head-platter

If we were looking for something more-dramatic than the controversy involving the pope and bishops, we found it. The Passion of St. John the Baptist, the anniversary of which we keep today.

St. John, while languishing in prison, sent two of his disciples to Jesus, to ask if He is indeed the Christ. I think we can safely assume that John sent these disciples with this question for their benefit, not his; he knew the truth.

Anyway, the Lord Jesus answered the question with a kind of question of his own (though it was hardly a prevarication 🙂 ) The Lord asked them: What do you see?

I have come, and the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear; lepers are clean, the dead rise again, and the poor have hope. Blessed is the one who takes no offense in Me.

In other words: Look, I may be a humble, dusty, sweaty Nazorean with no property, surrounded by low-class followers. But I am obviously the Messiah. You can see with your own eyes that I am the King of Justice, Peace, and true Life.

Tissot Herod
Herod

…Now to the dramatic moment of St. John’s death.

Herod drunk at his egomaniacal birthday celebration. Engaging in perverse, incestuous sensuality by leering at his own step-daughter, who was also his half-niece, the daughter of his half-brother. Reveling in his worldly power, swearing up and down to give her anything–as if he, Herod, were some kind of tin-pot god.

Then a dark thunderclap cuts through all the debauched levity. Execute the holy man. Kill the herald of the Messiah.

The mother and daughter had called Herod’s bluff.

Herod knew that what they asked him to do was wrong—grievously, preposterously wrong. He knew that a sober man would not think of such an act of violence. He knew that John, and John’s lord Jesus, spoke righteous truth, gave hope, offered people a path toward a good and wholesome life in the sight of God.

A big part of Herod’s own soul wanted to go down that path. But he couldn’t choose it; wouldn’t choose it. Instead, he chose merciless, hopeless, meaningless death. All because he feared being exposed for the puny little fraud that he actually was.

May God save us from such a fate. May He strengthen us so that we can face our choices humbly and soberly.

Let’s start by freely acknowledging that we ourselves are puny little frauds. No need to fear being exposed as such; we declare it ourselves! Then let’s stay close to Jesus and His saints.

My Hero, His Mother, and Pontifical Prevarication

pope press conference

You listened to her, O Lord, and did not despise her tears, which moistened the earth, whenever she prayed. (Antiphon for today’s Memorial of St. Monica)

St. Monica. She prayed for her son… Augustine. That he would embrace Catholicism.

She prayed. And he did. He embraced our religion, big time. The Catechism quotes Monica’s son more than any other theologian. Reading St. Augustine’s sermons has given me endless inspiration and insight. There is no one whom I admire more.

What separated Augustine from the hypocrites? Maybe his slavish humility before the sacred text of the Scriptures? Maybe his total personal devotion to Jesus his Savior? Maybe his tireless readiness to seek the truth? This made him the kind of pastor who could answer questions without prevarication.

Let’s take one Augustine quote from the Catechism.

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts.

From this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only God (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence). [CCC 1809]

There’s enough wisdom in that one paragraph to organize your whole life on.

To live well is to love God.

Loving God keeps love pure and temperate.

Loving God makes love strong, even in the face of great difficulties.

Loving God keeps love honest and just, since the Lord sits on His throne to judge everyone, with all truth.

And loving God keeps love prudent, since a brave, pure, and honest love can see through nonsense and root itself in facts, in reality.

The best reaction I have heard so far to the publication of the famous Archbishop Viganó dossier: “I am shocked above all to learn that an Italian official spent time working during the second half of August.”

augustine-bookSeriously, though. We find ourselves at a terrible impasse. Our Holy Father had a chance yesterday to deny the truth of what the Archbishop alleges. On the papal plane heading home from Ireland, a reporter asked the pope directly, “Is it true that you knew about McCarrick?”

But Pope Francis would not say, “No. It is not true. Had I known I would have acted. Acted on behalf of those victimized by McCarrick’s predations. I’m only sorry I found out about it so late, and it breaks my heart to think about all the people that this man has hurt.”

The pope could have said all this. If it were true. But he did not. He said, “You must draw your own conclusions.”

To repeat: A reporter had asked the pope about a private conversation between himself and an Archbishop. The Archbishop had written: “I told Pope Francis about McCarrick in June of 2013.” So, Holy Father, is that true? Answer: “Draw your own conclusions.”

You might have wondered what I meant above, when I used the word ‘prevarication.’ Our Holy Father’s answer to a simple Yes or No question, a question that only he can answer: “Draw your own conclusions.”

That’s what we call prevarication, my dear ones.