Last week, I was busy keeping the wolf from the door writing an eight-part Lenten series for The Catholic Weekly. So I had to let the stuff I had pre-loaded run on the blog. But I have a lot of thoughts on the war: too many to fit in one piece, very likely.
To get the main thing straight, God bless and protect the people of Ukraine from Putin the Wolf. Anybody with any brains in their head, any grace or wisdom from God in their souls, and any common decency in their heart can plainly see that this naked war of aggression is absolutely, 100% the fault of the demented leader of Russia, who dreams of being Peter the Great and Stalin rolled together and presiding over a Restored Russian Empire.
Which means, of course, that the worst people in the world–MAGA Christians–are cheering him on as the deadly, toxic people they are.
Trump, of course, led the charge, calling Putin “brilliant” while Laura Ingraham, a MAGA antichrist-worshipping Catholic who works for
Правда FOX gave him full leave to do so after she called the legendary President Zelenskyy (whom Trump tried to extort) “pathetic”.
The rest of the MAGA cult initially fell in line with standout performances coming from Nazi Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and Wendy Rogers, who showed up at a meeting of Nazis, led by Nazi Nick Fuentes who praised Hitler and Putin in the same breath. No, really:
Of course, the war didn’t wind up going according to plan. Putin’s hope for a 1939 done-in-days Blitzkreig victory are already starting to look like Stalingrad. Crimea and Georgia were easy pickings with their tiny populations of 2-4 million. But Ukraine has 43 million people, every single one of them united against the wolf, and millions upon millions of civilians who are arming and training as we speak. Putin has an army of troops who don’t want to be there, related to millions of family members pouring into the streets of every city in Russia, at great personal risk, to protest this God-damned war. He has an entire world united against him (with the exception of kinda sorta China, a couple of thugs and the entire MAGA cult), and a Ukrainian president who is already a legendary hero fighting on the front lines and issuing bon mots like “I don’t need a ride. I need ammo” when functionaries urge him to flee to safety. If Putin strikes him down, he will become more powerful than he can possibly imagine. Live or die, Zelenskyy has already won.
Meanwhile Putin is hemorrhaging friends. Kazakhstan bailed on him instantly, Then Hungary. Then the Czech leader. Military commanders were telling their troops to resist this weekend.
Now the West, led by the quiet but efficient Joe Biden has put Putin’s assets in a sling to such a degree that this panicked and incompetent fool is threatening nukes. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Trump and the GOP leaders are now putting their fingers to the wind and trying to pretend they have not been whored out to Russia for years.
Here, for instance, is filthy rotten scoundrel Tom Cotton, trying desperately to have it both ways as he lamely tries getting on the Ukraine bandwagon late, but still won’t condemn Putin.
And, of course, in Russia itself, the magnitude of the catastrophe is quickly becoming apparent as the spectre of Vietghanistan and an armed population of 43 million Ukrainians, a ruble in free-fall, and a military no longer certain to obey the chain of command comes home to the jackals and predators who are Putin’s henchmen. Putin has to be sweating this, since he is not the only former KGB skilled in the arts of assassination and the brewing of Polonium tea. Biden understands this too and his placement of Putin’s economic tits in a wringer is designed to encourage those henchmen to get busy with a palace coup sooner rather than later–and without the West having to fire a shot. Something rich cowards like Bill Ackman do not understand as they call for Biden to send other people’s children to go die for his portfolio:
Meanwhile, the blindest, stupidest, proudest, and Greatest Christians of All Time–Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox–continue to back their beloved authoritarian loser in the Kremlin.
Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, for example, continues to cheer on Putin. But since he is former KGB and a billionaire made rich by wine and cigarette sales who just does the religion schtick in order to provide cover for his cronies on the piety front, it’s not like he ever actually believed the gospel he exploits. It’s just a job, like playing a bishop in a play. His fellow Orthodox condemn him, to their great credit.
No, it’s here in the West, particularly in the MAGA Christian Freak Show on both sides of the 49th parallel, that you find the True Believers, the absolute nutjobs dreaming of Putin as Constantine Redivivus, establishing the Great KKKhristian Reich of Righteousness that will burn the libs to ashes with the Great Cleansing Fire:
Yeah. About that whole “Russia will bring the decadent West the Great Anti-Abortion Nuclear Purge and re-establish Christendom!” thing:
First, if you want depravity, look no further than Raymond Arroyo, depraved sycophant of Laura Ingraham, the lying propagandist for Putin’s mass murder as he parties like it’s 1939. He still has a job biting the Holy Father’s ankle for EWTNews. How does he sleep at night? I hope his thirty pieces of silver buys him good melatonin.
Nothing says “MAGA Family Values” like New Orleans at Mardi Gras–except Trump lusting after his own daughter.
But second and most important, here is where Holy Christian Russia and their Dear Leader are in the Righteous War against “globalist bankers” (Jews) and godless libs allegedly promoting abortion:
#1 Supremo World Leader, King of the Hill, Top of the Heap in Global Abortion Rates, that’s where. Nobody on Earth does abortion better or in more gigantic numbers than Vladimir Putin, Savior of Christendom.
But since it long ago became clear that none of that really matters to the Greatest Christians of All Time in the MAGA antichrist cult (since the unborn only matter as human shields in their lust for nihilist authoritarian power), it will not be surprising to discover that they continue to excuse, deny, deflect, evade and passive-aggressively support Putin.
Whether it’s a Renegade Pope-hating “prolife” priest without bishop, working fulltime to worship the orange conman while running around dropping prissy coded F bombs because he is too dishonest to say what he means:
or, the Pope-hating editor of CRISIS!!!!!!, fresh from blaming defenseless Amazonian Catholics for Pandemic like a superstitious peasant blaming Jews for the Black Death, now trying to spread blame for Putin’s war to his victims:
Or a Pope-hating nihilist power-worshipping thug and First Things contributor using accusation as a form of confession like his entire MAGA cult does to parrot Right Wing Lie Machine talking points to defend Putin and cover up the real timeline:
Early 2020: Commits to spreading deadly Pandemic
Mid 2020: Laughs at the death of innocent man
2021: Doubles down on helping to kill as many people as possible
Early 2022: Cheers for mass murder of Ukraine
*All along, considers himself Greatest Catholic of All Time
…what unites all these pope-hating predators is their sheer preternatural genius for being on the visible-from-space wrong side of every moral question of our time. They are even wrong when they are right: taking a moral question like the defense of unborn human life and weaponizing the unborn (about whom they care nothing now if ever they did) and using them to rob, harm, and kill all those prey their MAGA cult seeks to consume. Even the unborn they once made their monomaniac focus mean nothing any more, as the unborn killed by COVID and the unborn killed by Putin will rise at the judgment to attest.
And yet, for all spectacular perfidy of the MAGA antichrist cult as they wrap themselves in sheep’s clothes and are inwardly ravening wolves, there remains great hope.
And, of course, there is the Holy Father himself, who has labored with might and main for peace and been a huge support to the people of Ukraine and to all people around the world praying, marching, and working for peace.
And that is where I leave things for now. For six years I have felt deeply isolated. Suddenly, I wake up to a world praying in union with the Holy Father for peace and streets filled with people wielding the peaceful weapons of the Spirit to stop a murderer and overwhelm his MAGA backers. Wonderful to see!
May God our Father hear the prayers of his people around the world for peace, stop the mouth of the wolf from devouring his sheep, and turn the plans of the wicked to His glory, to the good of his holy Church, and to a blessing for the least of these, through Christ our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Co 10:2–5)
Well said, Mark. Absolutely right.
Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.
Here are some enlightening perspectives by a Russian Orthodox sister from New York who is friends with Navalny and a Ukrainian priest who is part of the Moscow Patriarchate, you may need to skip ahead to the salient parts:
That was very interesting. Thank you.
Thanks Mark for putting my rage into words. God Bless Ukraine
Let’s make it a really good Ash Wednesday as we pray and fast for Ukraine together with Papa Francis.
Don’t have a Twitter (or Facebook or TikTok or whatever), but popped there to see Arroyo’s tweet. Most of the comments are lambasting him for his flippancy (and stupidity). One person put up a quote from Mother Angelica, who, I suspect, is shaking her head in sorrow at what he’s become, to shame him. But I suspect he’s beyond shame now.
When you didn’t post anything about Ukraine last week, I was genuinely scared. A lot of people turned out to behave like Russian sleeper agents. People who used to be very much not MAGA and very much against Russia, Russian politics, oligarchs and Putin, are now praising him or at least justifying this aggression.
Going from the top of your article, I’d like to point out a few things:
1. Don’t call Putin demented. He’s mad, but he’s not demented. The difference is subtle, but it seems like he knows precisely well what he’s doing and it’s very much calculated. Putin apparently doesn’t watch TV, read papers or use internet himself, he’s briefed on everything by advisors. In that Russian oligarchy, people reporting to Putin don’t want to anger him, so apparently they didn’t tell him everything and Putin may have been fed false (or at least incomplete) information and he was genuinely thinking that a nationalistic government in Ukraine was shooting civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Of course, this may be disinformation as well, but it paints a completely opposite picture regarding the motivations and although it doesn’t absolve him of guilt, it just changes the reasons behind why he was wrong.
2. Calling MAGA Christians the worst people in the world. First thought, maybe it’s too harsh. Second thought, no, you’re absolutely right. There are probably dictators who do worse things. There may be nations that do evil. But they don’t do it with conviction that it’s not only good for themselves personally, they are confident that it’s the best outcome for everyone in the world.
3. Quick comment regarding a rigged election: Texas is now a purple state. TX AG Ken Paxton said if mail in votes weren’t blocked, Trump would have lost Texas. So indeed, it was very much a rigged election. See how fast Republicans will now start backtracking on electoral college.
So yeah, the election was rigged. If it wasn’t, Biden may have won in a landslide.
4. If Trump was in the office, Russia would just waltz into Ukraine and USA would tell Ukrainians to accept it or USA will step in and join Russians.
5. Blitzkrieg strategy can only work if the army is strong, trained, motivated and supplied. Russians apparently have no concept of supply and resupply, they are sending untrained and unmotivated conscripts, using obsolete equipment and apparently no idea of proper strategy. The invasion is a disaster, Ukrainians are targeting precisely the weak spots and opening up more weak spots to exploit. Lack of organization causes moving Russian groups to have no anti-aircraft cover at some times, which is exploited by drones that target and destroy non-deployed AA hardware, opening up the invading forces to more air attacks.
6. Kinda sorta China supported Russia for a moment. As soon as they realized that the invasion is a mess and no way will Russia reach its goals, they joined sanctions which will directly benefit them as well (in line with international sanctions, they will not loan dollars to Russia, but yuan instead, at much higher interest).
7. Kazakhstan bailed on Russia even before the invasion began by not recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Czech president changed his opinion of Putin straight after the invasion. Hungary changed its stance on disapproving cutting off Russia from SWIFT but only relented after urging from the Polish PM. Orban apparently still hasn’t changed his opinion of Putin and will not send help to Ukraine.
(I actually fail to understand Orban’s motivations behind this. Russia is in no position to continue working with Hungary at this point. After Putin is ousted in a coup or steps down, Hungary can resume working with Russia with no repercussions from any particular anti-Putin comments now, and he’s rapidly losing friends in Europe and popularity in Hungary and their elections are coming next month.)
8. KGB is not the mastermind organization it was made out to be. As foreign intelligence and counterintelligence agency, it was extremely complacent. That was due to the security afforded by the police state, they had suspects delivered to their doorstep by the militsiya, they just needed to interrogate the suspect long enough for him to confess to all charges. That’s what made statistics right. KGB agents were more interested in scooping up dirt on each other to help their own careers. Their foreign intelligence had a very easy life, too. You just needed to know the language and buy newspapers to get complete information which would be top secret in USSR.
This lax attitude still shows as with ease of operation now, the west has tons of intelligence information (what is shared with newspapers is just the tip of the iceberg, after all, but just specific enough that Russians know they’re leaking).
9. Orthodox hierarchy in Russia is infiltrated by double agents. An orthodox priest could not have any career in the Soviet Union, even if he was faithful to the politburo. Only specifically trained agents planted in seminaries by the communist party would advance. After 1990, that post-KGB hierarchy stood by the politicians, acting as a buffer from the popular unrest, gaining approval and trust from top politicians in exchange for money and power.
Kiev, as the actual mother church to Moscow, has largely tried to purge itself from the post-communist hierarchy and had some success weeding them out, but had replaced them with hard nationalists, so in a way the situation went from bad to worse. At least now with the West helping them out a lot, especially with Poland helping, this may hopefully blunt their nationalistic stance.
10. I am extremely grateful to the Holy Father for offering the mediation. In a way, the Catholic Church is probably the only faction that doesn’t have a stake to defend other than the cause of peace, with this being an Orthodox-to-Orthodox matter religiously.
Just read an article that New Orleans has just ended mandatory vaccine and mask mandates. I guess Raymond Arroyo didn’t get the message.
Thank you for sharing this, Mark. It’s one of your best. I cannot believe there are Catholics still supporting Trump and demonizing Joe Biden at this point, but then I can believe it.
Mark, as we say in Ukrainian, I bow before you in gratitude for your accurate portrayal of what is happening in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox communities here in Canada have come together to pray as well as to celebrate and maintain our common cultural heritage for a very long time. Now, more than ever, we are committed to working tirelessly to support Ukraine in its heroic effort to maintain its freedom and the dignity and lives of its citizens. I have been part of the Catholic homeschooling community here for about 25 years and only one of my old friends from that community (God bless her!) has reached out to offer prayers and support. Our churches, both here and in Ukraine, have been praying nonstop for peace and an end to this wanton destruction of babies, innocent women and men. To neglect to speak out against Putin’s unprovoked and deranged attack on its neighbour is to be culpable. Thank you for speaking the truth!