Wouldn’t call special counsel Mueller a headhunter . . .

. . . more a scalp-hunter.

The special counsel has reportedly been cooperating with New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, which could ensnare former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a pardon-proof trap, because presidential pardons don’t cover state crimes.

Giving new meaning to “gotcha.” (Him and his Democrat staffers.)

Nice takedown of Charles Krauthammer and various unwarranted disapprovals of Trump

And a few other matters, all about “guard rails” of democracy.

Covers a lot of bases, catches Charles at his less than best, even not so good, especially in re: l’affaire Charlottesville.

Which is yet another chapter in shooting down of our president’s performances.

Oh if he only wouldn’t be so Donald Trump-like.

The gaying and graying of Jesuits leaves its mark

As reported in the London, England-based Catholic Herald:

Two elite private Jesuit schools in Australia have cautiously endorsed same-sex marriage, citing the teaching of Pope Francis.

In a message to parents, staff and students, St Ignatius’s College in Sydney and Xavier College in Melbourne, while not explicitly endorsing a “yes” vote, urged parents to reflect on Pope Francis’s teaching on love, mercy and non-judgmentalism.

And why not? The young have spoken:

As Australia prepares for a referendum on the issue, the Sydney Morning Herald reports Fr Chris Middleton, rector of Xavier College, said young people overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage.

“In my experience, there is almost total unanimity amongst the young in favour of same-sex marriage, and arguments against it have almost no impact on them,” Fr Middleton wrote.

“They are driven by a strong emotional commitment to equality, and this is surely something to respect and admire. They are idealistic in the value they ascribe to love, the primary gospel value.”

Or it’s the Francis Effect.

As for graying and gaying, the phrase is from a book for which I declined to be interviewed some years back, Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits, by Peter McDonough and Eugene C. Bianchi, and elsewhere.

I declined because I had my own book — inside me, germinating — Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968,  which came forth ten years later — in which I cited the McDonough-Bianchi book as attributing rise in numbers of aging and same-sex-attracted Jesuits to the exodus from Jesuit ranks beginning in the ’60s.

This is rich. Lesbian says she was fired for being a lesbian, company says no, bistro drops the brand . . .

. . . Not to worry. Bistro manager can explain everything.

“We can’t support this brand,” said Todd Feinberg, general manager of Bistro Campagne, 4518 N. Lincoln Ave.

Hollis Bulleit’s allegations, detailed in a recent Washington Post article, were brought to Feinberg’s attention by the restaurant’s front-of-house manager.

Acknowledging that Bulleit’s assertions — which have been disputed by the distiller’s parent company, Diageo — amount to “he said, she said,” Feinberg said he opted to err on the side of caution.

It’s an approved object of caution, apparently — in favor of the accuser but not the accused.

“I can’t in good conscience support a product that even has this possibility” of discrimination, Feinberg said.

Gosh no. “This possibility”? But heavens, where does this possibility not exist?

Something stinky about post-Vatican II changes? Consider the aftermath of an electrifying speech

In July the Vatican’s divine worship executive made a strong pitch for ad orientem masses (priest facing same direction as people) in a speech in England, was promptly countermanded by a higher-than-he at the Pope’s behest and  was called in by the Pope himself.

What was that all about, including the prelate’s being summoned to the papal carpet before being shot down? Well the prelate, Cardinal Robert Sarah, had “touched an ecclesial third rail,” Christian Browne wrote at the time in Crisis Magazine:

It seems that churchmen at the highest levels do not wish anyone to notice that certain practices associated with the Novus Ordo—Mass facing the people, Communion in the hand while standing, the use of laymen to distribute Holy Communion—have no grounding in the Missal of Paul VI, let alone in the mandate for liturgical reform set forth at the Second Vatican Council.

Rather, these practices sprouted up throughout the 1970s as a result of devastating anti-traditional fads that even the radical post-Council crafters of the 1969 Missal never envisioned.

Done with many a wink, many a nod. For the best of reasons, to be sure.

Trying to understand Pope Francis

Try this: He’s a romantic, lives by the metaphor, mounts gut-level responses, which he glorifies to the detriment, alas, of the rational. It’s a common failing, from which many suffer and, alas, which many celebrate.

He’s in harsh denial of the rational, which he has seen up close and rejected, and by which he is horrified. Has hardened his heart and mind to it. Which explains his abhorrence of the Cardinal Sarah silence doctrine, as in Sarah’s book and (especially) in his promotion of more silence in the mass, for which he received a papal talking-to.

Francis is not interested in that sort of discipline, cares only (or much more) about action, and even the inoffensive Cardinal Mueller, non-renewed as head of the doctrine commission, offends him, exemplifying (he and Sarah) all from which Francis is desperately in flight.

There. It’s a try.

Explaining Francis’ preference of “facts” over “ideas”

Thomas Reese SJ in NC Reporter, early in Francis’ incumbency:

Francis . . . lived in Argentina at a time when there was a clash of ideologies going on, and he grew to hate ideological thinking.

I define an ideology as a system by which we ignore data and experience in order to preserve our opinions.

Peronism, communism, and libertarian capitalism were fighting for power. The military, following the idea of the national security state, violently suppressed all opposition.

Makes sense, but Ivereigh’s Great Reformer has the young Bergoglio possessing an “affinity” for Peronism. Also has him imbibing anti-ideologue-ism from his knowledge of Jesuit expulsions from Argentina by the Bourbon king of Spain in the 18th century.

Which is merely additional to Reese’s explanation unless it tells us more about Francis than what he lived through in a fractured Argentina.  And which I submit tends to make him more comfortable with dictators than with elected heads of democracy.

Cuban, for instance:

. . . when he visited Ecuador and Bolivia, [a few weeks after Reese puffed his anti-ideologue-ism] Pope Francis mingled with presidents Rafael Correa and Evo Morales, avowed disciples of Fidel and Raul Castro with tyrannical tendencies, but he refrained from speaking about their human rights abuses. He also received a blasphemous hammer-and-sickle crucifix from Evo Morales and accepted this gift with a smile. What if that crucifix had been in the shape of a swastika rather than a hammer and sickle?

That incident was a portent of things to come in Cuba, where Pope Francis has smiled his way through meetings with blood-soaked tyrants and failed to speak out about human rights abuses on the island, or to challenge the cruelty of his hosts. Pope Francis also failed to meet with any of Cuba’s non-violent dissidents, despite their urgent pleas for an encounter. This is not so much the “preferential option for the poor” as the preferential option for oppressors.

Returning to Reese’s analysis and Ivereigh’s, keep in mind the latter’s imprecision and inexactitude in smaller matters. He also called the Jesuit expulsion Argentina’s “Boston Tea Party,” did he not, as if it was the Brits who dumped the tea.

If expelling Jesuits from Argentina in 1767 reminds Ivereigh of the Boston Tea Party, we have to wonder.

Wall Street Journal Editor Admonishes Reporters Over Trump Coverage

A breath of fresh air from a newspaper editor, speaking of a draft copy of story about Trump’s Phoenix rally and speech:

“Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting,” Mr. Baker wrote at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday morning to a group of Journal reporters and editors, in response to a draft of the rally article that was intended for the newspaper’s final edition.

He added in a follow-up, “Could we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?

Earlier, in February, he “suggested that other newspapers had abandoned their objectivity about the president” and “encouraged journalists unhappy with the Journal’s coverage to seek employment elsewhere.”