12 year old girl suffers heart attack minutes into soccer practice

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The soccer community is rallying around one Valley family after their 12-year-old daughter had a sudden cardiac arrest on the field just minutes into her practice.

This happened Thursday night, and since then, soccer coaches and teams from all over the country have shown their support while she recovers at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Her dad, Matt Midkiff, says Pyper Midkiff and her twin sister Emori are star athletes on their youth soccer team. She’s played for six years and has never had any health issues.

Midkiff was coaching soccer for a different team nearby when this happened and sprinted over as soon as he got the call. When he arrived, his first thought was how this could have happened? A mother of a player on the team performed lifesaving CPR until the ambulance got there but, in the ambulance, she lost her pulse again. She was then flown to PCH…


St. Catherine of Siena: A laywoman called by God to rebuke an antipope who was invalidly “elected” while the throne was already occupied

Originally posted

Happy Feast! (April 29th in the N.O., April 30th in the Traditional calendar)

Excerpt reblogged from a longer post here: https://nonvenipacem.com/2020/02/09/to-confound-their-arrogance-i-will-raise-up-women-endowed-with-strength-and-divine-wisdom/


Next, let’s turn to Saint Catherine of Siena, 14th Century mystic and healer of schism. Her masterpiece, The Dialogue, is available online HERE.  Much to her dismay, she was called to teach and instruct out in the real world, when all she wanted to do was be alone to contemplate our Lord. Among other things, it was left to her to publicly rebuke a bunch of scheming traitorous Cardinals who had invalidly faux “elected” an antipope after invalidly convoking a faux conclave while the throne was already occupied.

Funny that.

The Life of Catherine of Siena, written by her confessor and spiritual director, Blessed Raymund of Capua, reveals how Catherine discovered that she was to have a teaching role:

The virgin, lying prostrate at the feet of the Lord, had spoken more by way of tears than with her lips, He would reply: “Be quiet, sweetest daughter; it is necessary for you to fulfill your every duty, so that with my grace you may assist others as well as yourself. I have no intention of cutting you off from me; on the contrary, I wish to bind you more closely to myself, by means of love of the neighbour…

What is there to be astonished at or to lament about if I lead you to do what in infancy you desired to do?” And Catherine, somewhat comforted by this reply, would say, as once Blessed Mary had said, “How shall this thing be?” And the Lord: “According as my goodness shall ordain.” And Catherine, like a good disciple imitating her Master, would answer: “Let your will, not mine, be done in all things, Lord, for I am darkness and you are light; I am not, whereas you are He who is; I most ignorant, and you the wisdom of God the Father. But I beg you, O Lord—if it is not too presumptuous of me—how can what you have just said come about; that is to say, how can I, wretched and frail as I am, be of use to souls? My sex, as you know, is against it in many ways, both because it is not highly considered by men, and also because it is not good, for decency’s sake, for a woman to mix with men.”

To these words the Lord would reply, as once the Archangel Gabriel had replied, that nothing is impossible to God, for He said: “Am not I He who created the human race, and divided it into male and female? I spread abroad the grace of my spirit where I will. In my eyes there is neither male nor female, rich nor poor, but all are equal, for I can do all things with equal ease. It is as easy for me to create an Angel as an ant, and to create all the heavens is as easy for me as to create the merest worm. It is written of me that I made whatever I willed to make, for nothing is impossible to me. (Psalm 113). “Do you still remain doubtful? Do you imagine that I am unable to find ways of achieving whatever I have determined and predetermined on? However, I realize that you do not speak thus from lack of faith but from humility. Therefore you must know that in these latter days there has been such an upsurge of pride, especially in the case of men who imagine themselves to be learned or wise, that my justice cannot endure them any longer, without delivering a just chastisement upon them that will bring them to confusion. But since my mercy transcends all else I do, I shall first give them a salutary lesson, to see whether they will come to their senses and humble themselves; as I did with the Jews and the Gentiles, when I sent amongst them idiots whom I had filled with divine wisdom. To confound their arrogance, I will raise up women ignorant and frail by nature but endowed with strength and divine wisdom. Then, if they will come to their senses and humble themselves, I will behave with the utmost mercy towards them, that is to say, towards those who, according to the grace given them, receive my doctrine, offered to them in fragile but specially chosen vessels, and follow it reverently. Those who will not accept this salutary lesson, I shall with perfect justice reduce to such confusion that the world will look upon them as objects of contempt and derision.

The Life of Saint Catherine of Siena, Part Two, Chapter One HERE

“FDA authorization standards for vaccines do not require demonstration of the prevention of infection or transmission… a vaccine can meet the EUA standard without any evidence that the vaccine prevents infection or transmission.”

Download the ruling and go to page 11:

“Brutal Covid protocols turned many hospitals into hellscapes of systematic medical murder.”

What Happened in Hospitals During Covid?


Hospitals should be places you can trust to provide comfort and healing when you’re most vulnerable. But that trust may have been shattered by brutal Covid protocols that critics claim turned many hospitals into hellscapes of systematic medical murder.

The victims’ stories have been muffled by the mainstream media, but they’re starting to break through. For one thing, lawsuits against three hospitals have been filed in California by 14 bereaved families who claim their loved ones were killed by a deadly protocol. Meanwhile, activist organizations like Protocol Kills, the FormerFedsGroup Freedom Foundation, and American Frontline Nurses are collecting and documenting stories from bereaved families about what happened to their loved ones when they entered a hospital hoping for healing and, instead, were led to bizarre and tortured deaths.

I find it heartbreaking to read their stories, which share a haunting similarity, a feeling of being trapped in a highly organized nightmare. The ritual progresses in predictable stages: first, the patient is isolated from family, who are unable to advocate for their loved one or monitor what’s happening. Next, the patient is diagnosed with Covid-19 or Covid pneumonia, even if they came to the hospital because of a broken arm. Then, they’re bullied into getting remdesivir, a highly toxic drug which killed 53 percent of Ebola patients who had the misfortune to take it. Next, according to the California lawsuit, “They are placed on a BiPap machine at a high rate, making it difficult for them to breathe. Their hands are often tied down so they can’t take the BiPap machine off their face.”

I know this is getting unbearably painful to read, but stay with me to the bitter end to memorialize the victims’ suffering.  As the patients writhe in agony, psychiatrists are brought in to diagnose them with agitation and sedate them. Now, shot up with remdesivir, sedated with drugs that make it tough to breathe against the BiPap ventilator, and strapped down in restraints, the victims are denied food and sometimes even water.  Should they try to summon help, they may find the hospital played a vicious trick on them, placing their phone and call button for the nurse out of reach. In the final stages, they are intubated and slowly die alone, left to rot into a skeletal corpse with bed sores. Is this America?

It’s almost impossible to comprehend the magnitude of this moral collapse. How did doctors and nurses who spent years studying so they could help people all of a sudden turn into ruthless sadists, presiding over enforced deaths? How did hospitals metastasize from places of healing into chambers of horror? According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), the answer is quite simple: money. The federal government incentivized this protocol with massive payouts to the hospitals. AAPS writes, “Our formerly trusted medical community of hospitals and hospital-employed medical staff have effectively become “bounty hunters” for your life.”

AAPS explains that two Covid emergency acts from the government created this catastrophic loss of life. The CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package, was passed in 2020, purportedly to ease the financial impact of Covid on American families. It provided gigantic bonuses to hospitals to institute federal protocols on Covid, ensuring that Covid would be massively diagnosed and treated with deadly combinations of remdesivir, ventilators, and other lethal methods.

Now that this top-down death protocol was bought and paid for, the government made sure that patients and their families were helpless to fight against it. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted waivers to hospitals allowing them to remove critical patient rights. Your ability to give informed consent, receive visitors, and be free from solitary confinement – gone! Vanished, obliterated with a single magical government “waiver.”

These actions destroyed the ability of doctors to make independent judgements based on their patients’ needs and turned highly trained medical staff into killer robots obeying the federal government’s commands. If you want to understand the enormity of the government money gusher, here’s AAPS on what the hospital payments included:

  • A “free” required PCR test in the Emergency Room or upon admission for every patient, with government-paid fee to hospital.
  • Added bonus payment for each positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Another bonus for a COVID-19 admission to the hospital.
  • A 20 percent “boost” bonus payment from Medicare on the entire hospital bill for use of remdesivir instead of medicines such as Ivermectin.
  • Another and larger bonus payment to the hospital if a COVID-19 patient is mechanically ventilated.
  • More money to the hospital if cause of death is listed as COVID-19, even if patient did not die directly of COVID-19.
  • A COVID-19 diagnosis also provides extra payments to coroners.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans may have died due to these protocols, and we urgently need an investigation into this butchery. Who designed this protocol, which forbade safe drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and incentivized known toxins like remdesivir? Who enforced it? Were hospital administrators personally rewarded for their participation in this scheme? Were patients illegally deprived of their constitutional rights and defrauded with phony medical information? Why were patients denied nutrition and water? How was hospital staff forced to comply? Where’s the money trail? Who signed off on it?

Understanding what happened in the hospitals is a crucial piece of solving the Covid puzzle. A vast ecosystem of confusion, manipulation, and artificially induced panic was created by the government and their media lackeys to stampede the public into welcoming soul-crushing lockdowns and dangerous experimental injections. Hospitals were shut down for elective surgeries, depriving them of their usual income and making them more desperate for government payouts. Covid patients were forced into nursing homes, immediately killing thousands of frail victims and terrifying the public with the skyrocketing death count. Safe, widely used drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were demonized, and studies were fabricated to lie about their effectiveness. Doctors and scientists who tried to speak the truth were fired, investigated, and censored. Why?

We’re living through a time of historic crimes against humanity, rife with atrocities that once would have been unimaginable in America. We don’t yet know how many innocent people were killed in the hospitals during Covid, but whatever that number is — some experts estimate hundreds of thousands — it’s too many. Every one of those innocent dead was someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, husband, wife, friend.

For all the faceless dead, let’s pause for a moment to pay tribute to Grace Schara, a sweet 19-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who died on October 13, 2021, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin. Grace was injected with a lethal mix of sedatives and as she sank into death, her sister was prevented from seeing her by an armed guard. Her parents begged over Facetime for the nurse to save her, but they were told that Grace was coded DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), although they had ordered the hospital to take all life-saving measures. Alone, uncomprehending, and in pain, Grace slowly died as her parents watched on Facetime. Her father, Scott Schara, is now suing the hospital to “pave the way for thousands of other victims’ families to file similar claims.” Grace was loved. May her memory be a blessing and an inspiration.

Stella can be reached through twitter @StellaPaulNY

Let Nothing Disturb You

By Father David Nix

Below is my own English translation of Let Nothing Disturb You, originally in the Spanish as Nada Te Turbe (far below) by the 16th century nun, St. Teresa of Avila.

Let Nothing Disturb You
Let nothing disturb you,
nothing shake you.
Everything passes,
God does not change.
Patience obtains everything.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
Only God suffices.
Elevate your thoughts
to the heavens above.
Let nothing distress you,
nothing disturb you.
Follow Jesus Christ
with a big-heart,
and come what may
let nothing disturb you.
Do you see the glory of the world?
It’s vain-glory.
Nothing is stable,
everything passes.
Aspire unto the heavens
which last forever.
Faithful and rich in promises—
God never changes.
Love that which merits
an immense goodness.
But there is no pure love
without patience.
Confidence and a living faith
maintain the soul.
He who believes and hopes
obtains everything.
Even if it seems you’re besieged by hell–
he who has God will mock its fury.
Let it all come, then: desertions, crosses, disgraces.
If God is your treasure, you’ll lack nothing.
Begone, then, goods of the world and vain sayings.
Even if everything is lost,
God alone suffices.

—St. Teresa of Ávila

“The clock is ticking, and the infernal powers of the world are hastening their pace. They appear to have a timetable of some kind…”

How well do you know St. Joseph? You need him in your life, badly, and you are about to need him a lot more. He will be very, very good to you, I promise. -nvp


We’ll Flee, We’ll Hide, We’ll Turn to St. Joseph

Guest post by Laramie Hirsch

If you’ve been reading about Catholic prophecy over recent years, perhaps you’ve heard it said that in the difficult, purifying, perilous times to come, St. Joseph, the Holy Spouse of Our Lady and foster father to Jesus Christ, will figure largely into the devotional lives of Catholics. Devotion to this particular man, it is said, will become widely known among Catholics as the world turns worse.

But why will this happen? Surely, praying to St. Joseph is efficacious for men. He’s definitely a saint for blue collar workers. And, heck, many people who don’t know any better will often practice the superstition of burying a St. Joseph statue upside down in their yard if they’re trying to sell their house–a superstitious practice I do not recommend; it even sounds somewhat satanic.

Yet, if one considers the times that we are living in, the precise reason we will turn to St. Joseph becomes clear. Powers usurping the Church and the state are at war with the family. The princes and principalities are doing their damnedest to divide men and women, stop births, and transform any remaining unaborted children into eunuchs, prostitutes, and catamites. The time rapidly approaches in which any remaining sane, faithful people will be a complete and utter minority surrounded by an empire of demonically-led, programmable zombies. The final holdouts in this centuries-long cultural war will be held up in the last bastion of defense, the family unit.

With our backs against the wall, protecting the family is of paramount importance. Consider those who seek to destroy it: the satanic media, the satanic schools, satanically-inspired peers and fair-weather friends who are eager to put peer pressure on our children–not to mention close and extended family members who do not understand a Christian family’s pursuit of Heaven’s mandates. There is the failing economy and the threat of starvation. There is the threat of war from outside countries. There is the threat from our own religious institution—a Church filled with freemasonic infiltrators, men whose aim is to acquire material wealth, comfort, and temporal power, and who seek to destroy whatever legitimate believers are left. And then, there is the threat from our own Caesars, as I’ve recently mentioned this month.

Painful Truth

In these past few decades, we’ve seen a rise in people who proclaim, “We will stand! We will fight!” We’ve seen a lot of preppers and homegrown attempts at self sufficiency. People across the land have dug in their heels and said, “I’m not moving!” So many of us have an idyllic scenario in our imaginations that we can merely buy property “off the grid,” raise our own livestock, grow our own food, and power our self-built homes with solar panels. But this is an illusion. People who think they can move out into the country think they will be able to remain there unmolested. Left alone. Free agents to do whatever they want. And perhaps it truly will be this way…for a little while longer.

However, the clock is ticking, and the infernal powers of the world are hastening their pace. They appear to have a timetable of some kind. Perhaps they have their own satanic form of electional astrology to plan out their insidious global schedule. Who knows? Whatever the case, it is clear that the servants of the globalist power are in a hurry to remove threats. For, as Revelation 13:4 asks: “Who is like to the Beast, and who shall be able to fight with him?”

The truth is that, here in the United States, anyway, there is no fighting this. The evils we are subject to right now ooze here and there like a protoplasm that won’t wash away. The culture is always taking two steps forward and one step back. Perhaps this can be said of all Western countries. It is foolish to think there will be any kind of a righteous uprising of any kind. It is foolish to consider that there will be any kind of a holy, citizen-driven reckoning whatsoever. The people are ruined, and they are weak. The faithful among America’s population are few, and truly they are sheep amidst dangerous wolves right now. This is the sad truth, and a reality that I am sure many refuse to admit. But it is the truth. We are seen as sheep.And as Calvera scoffed in The Magnificent Seven, “If God didn’t want them sheared, He wouldn’t have made them sheep.”

Indeed, the painful truth of it is that we were not promised a holy uprising. We were not promised a God-mandated rebellion. Jesus Christ did not say that we would start and conquer a future holy war. No. We were told that there would be persecution and death. We would be oppressed. We would be on the run.

and, in fact, the Scriptures themselves are filled with examples of God’s people hiding and going on the run. From Noah fleeing the avoidable catastrophe of the ancient world, to the Hebrews fleeing Egypt, we have example after example of holy figures on the run. And apocalyptic literature even tells us to go on the run in these times we live – to flee Babylon, when the time comes:

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying: Go out from her, my people; that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

Revelation 18:4

Every red-blooded American man who’s been in the military, or had a father, grandfather, or some ancestor fight in service to this country abhors this notion. Patton said that the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. And perhaps this is true, and perhaps this is a part of our national hubris. But America is soon to be laid low economically, culturally, and even militarily.

Enter St. Joseph

In the hard times ahead, when that painful moment comes for husbands and fathers to realize they are powerless against an unleashed leviathan, they are going to find themselves mentally unprepared for the harsh reality sweeping over their lives. They will have enormous difficulty coping with the actions they will have to take. Can you imagine dropping everything and leaving? Can you imagine struggling to bring home food with no way to make any kind of currency, and nothing on store shelves—AND no land or garden to grow anything in? This is the dilemma that many will soon face in this hemisphere.

Who will Catholic men turn to when they find themselves in a dungeon for two years in prison because they fell over on a “tripwire” and became a “mitigation opportunity”? Who will Catholic working men think of when they’ve lost absolutely every conceivable method of providing a steady income? What man can we look to if we’re faced with the supremely difficult situation of having to give up everything we’ve ever worked for, drop everything, and run for our lives?

St. Joseph is who we will turn to for intercession. That is who.

American men were raised to think they were the posterity of the American Founders. We were supposed to be a republic, with each man his own king. It was supposedly our birthright that we would be free and prosperous. Likewise, St. Joseph was from the line of King David—and were it not for the fact that Rome was occupying Israel, it is arguable that he could, in fact, be the king of Israel, owing to his royal genealogy. Yet, Rome was there, and so he kept his head low. He made himself a worker. He did not complain that his glass was half empty. He focused on what he could do. St. Joseph carried on with his life without complaint. He knew that, were things just and right, it could be better. But he did not dwell on this. Instead, he carried on.

And just as St. Joseph had to drop everything and leave with Mary and Jesus for Egypt, so also may we have to drop everything and migrate somewhere else. Jesus had no future in Israel if He stayed there. He would have been killed. And so, we men have to ask ourselves: do our own children have a future here in this country anymore? America, once a light of the world, has become its darkest cancer. And so, dare we consider migration? We have so many examples in our own American history—from the Hispanics who migrate here (legally or illegally) who start out with nothing, to the blacks who toiled and made the best of their circumstances, to the Revolutionaries who left behind their homes and social status to fight in a risky revolution, to even the first colonists who dared to leave absolutely everything behind in Europe. The entire Western Hemisphere of the Americas is legacy of migration. To pretend otherwise is to ignore everything about this place. Shall we be put even to this test?

And can we read the times? Do we know which way the wind is blowing? Can we attune our hearts to God’s directions? St. Joseph merely dreamed what he should do. He was told what he needed to do while he was sleeping, and in his waking hours, he acted on those dreams. His heart was sensitive and aware to the spiritual aspects of his life. Can men do that today? Can we emulate St. Joseph and discern what is God’s will as opposed to our own?

Can we accept the poverty that is coming for us all? Because, I assure you, it’s coming. And if you’re an honest follower of Christ, I assure you that the powers of Hell have targeted you and are out to destroy you. A narrative is forming—courtesy of alphabet agencies, an indifferent congress, an even more so indifferent USCCB, and a CIA pope—that faithful Catholics are set to become a hated subclass of the Western World. Catholics struggling to hold onto the faith of their ancestors are set to financially suffer the most. Can we turn to the example of St. Joseph, who also struggled in poverty? A man who had to think on the fly and use the tools in his belt? At the Presentation of Jesus, the Holy Family was so poor, they could only provide the offering of the poor—two turtle doves. Does the remnant of American men not given over to evil have the humility to accept these circumstances?

We will be on the run, we will be hungry and poor, and our birthright will have been stripped from us. This is what St. Joseph experienced. How can a man NOT appreciate the intercession of St. Joseph in such times?

A Deeper Dive: Joseph of Egypt

And, if you want to consider the symmetry of it all for greater clarity, consider who St. Joseph had to look to for his own inspiration: his own namesake, Joseph of Egypt.

Just like St. Joseph the Worker, the Joseph of Egypt was also robbed of his birthright. Thrown down a well and sold into Egyptian slavery, he had to make the best of things just like the later Joseph. This earlier Joseph was a patriarch, an immediate descendant of Abraham, who should have been on an easy path for greater things. He was a chaste man—as was the later Joseph—and as a result was thrown into prison for refusing to give in to the lust of Potiphar’s adulterous wife.

Just as the later Joseph was guided by Heaven through dreams, so was Joseph of Egypt also guided through dreams—and this won the respect and admiration of pharaoh. He kept his mind and his heart attuned to God’s fingerprints. And by following God’s pressure upon his heart, he was able to provide—not just for his family—but for all of Egypt. For, as the story goes, he knew that after seven years of plenty, there would be seven years of famine that would ravage the known world. And with Divine foreknowledge, Joseph of Egypt was the savior of the entire realm. In fact, perhaps it could be said that Joseph of Egypt was one of the first, true preppers in history that we know of. Such a legacy would be quite an inspiration for St. Joseph, Patron of Fathers, who would store up and protect the Messiah, Himself, and who would later feed the entire world and protect it from complete spiritual starvation.

And even the two men’s fathers shared the same name: Jacob. More than a coincidence, and more than just typology, there was a clear connection between these two Josephs.

Difficult Times, Strong Men

When one is looking to St. Joseph, Husband of Mary (or even the ancient Joseph of Egypt), one fact remains: these men were facing a complete paradigm shift in their lives. Everything they had that was familiar to them was taken away by either one circumstance or another. St. Joseph had to think on the fly, accept the harsh conditions, and provide for his family. He had to completely depend upon God’s inspiration for his direction. There was no room for his own hubris, his own fancies, or his own comforts. He was the opposite of spoiled. He did the best he could with what he was given.

If American Catholic men continue to persevere for their families, they will all eventually face this same scenario. The same dilemmas and choices will come before most of us, as the lace and frills of privileged, materialistic life with all of its novelties are stripped away from us—not just because of the economic circumstances, but also because of the malice and bent jealousy of twisted overlords. This upcoming displacement will be far greater than any “Church in the catacombs” we can envision. It will be an event unreported in the news and unrivaled since the time of Noah and his sons’ families.

The pilot light of civilization, we know for certain, will stay lit. The Barque of Peter shall not sink beneath the waves. But there will be waves. And there will be high winds threatening to blow the fire out. It will not be easy. And if we dare to carry on any “Benedict Option” traditions within our tribes, it will be in a constant, transitory state of poverty, to be sure. And thus, perhaps it would behoove us all to defer to the expert on this matter.

I am certain that this is how St. Joseph will become the greatest, most revered saint in all of Christian history.

ICYMI: The regime pivoted on Ukraine yesterday

You may have missed it in all the excitement yesterday. Thanks to Jeff Childers for the heads-up… you really should be reading his substack HERE.

It seems like only last week Ukraine was on the verge of sweeping victory, amirite?

How do we know this is the pivot? First of all, a trial balloon would have been written in a far more subtle style. Second, it’s Politico, so this isn’t being written about the Regime, it’s being written BY the Regime.


Biden’s team fears the aftermath of a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive

Behind closed doors, the administration worries about what Ukraine can accomplish.



The Biden administration is quietly preparing for the possibility that if Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive falls short of expectations, critics at home and allies abroad will argue that America has come up short, too.

Ukraine’s ever-imminent counteroffensive will attempt to retake Russian-seized territory most likely in the east and south, though for operational reasons no senior officials from Kyiv have detailed specifics.

Publicly, President Joe Biden’s team has offered unwavering support for Ukraine, pledging to load it up with weapons and economic aid for “as long as it takes.” But, if the impending fighting season yields limited gains, administration officials have expressed privately they fear being faced with a two-headed monster attacking it from the hawkish and dovish ends of the spectrum.

One side will say that Ukraine’s advances would’ve worked had the administration given Kyiv everything it asked for, namely longer-range missiles, fighter jets and more air defenses. The other side, administration officials worry, will claim Ukraine’s shortcoming proves it can’t force Russia out of its territory completely.

That doesn’t even account for the reaction of America’s allies, mainly in Europe, who may see a peace negotiation between Ukraine and Russia as a more attractive option if Kyiv can’t prove victory is around the corner.

Inside the administration, officials stress they’re doing everything possible to make the spring offensive succeed.

“We’ve nearly completed the requests of what [Ukraine] said they needed for the counteroffensive as we have surged weapons and equipment to Ukraine over the past few months,” said one administration official who, like others, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal considerations.

But belief in the strategic cause is one thing. Belief in the tactics is another — and behind closed doors the administration is worried about what Ukraine can accomplish.

Those concerns recently spilled out into the open during a leak of classified information onto social media. A top secret assessment from early February stated that Ukraine would fall “well short” of its counteroffensive goals. More current American assessments are that Ukraine may make some progress in the south and east, but won’t be able to repeat last year’s success.

Ukraine has hoped to sever Russia’s land bridge to Crimea and U.S. officials are now skeptical that will happen, according to two administration officials familiar with the assessment. But there are still hopes in the Pentagon that Ukraine will hamper Russia’s supply lines there, even if a total victory over Russia’s newly fortified troops ends up too difficult to achieve.

Moreover, U.S. intelligence indicates that Ukraine simply does not have the ability to push Russian troops from where they were deeply entrenched — and a similar feeling has taken hold about the battlefield elsewhere in Ukraine, according to officials. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the U.S. hasn’t adequately armed his forces properly and so, until then, the counteroffensive can’t begin.

There is belief that Kyiv is willing to consider adjusting its goals, according to American officials, and a more modest aim might be easier to be sold as a win.

There has been discussion, per aides, of framing it to the Ukrainians as a “ceasefire” and not as permanent peace talks, leaving the door open for Ukraine to regain more of its territory at a future date. Incentives would have to be given to Kyiv: perhaps NATO-like security guarantees, economic help from the European Union, more military aid to replenish and bolster Ukraine’s forces, and the like. And aides have expressed hope of re-engaging China to push Putin to the negotiating table as well.

But that would still lead to the dilemma of what happens next, and how harshly domestic critics respond.

“If the counteroffensive does not go well, the administration has only itself to blame for withholding certain types of arms and aid at the time when it was most needed,” said Kurt Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine during the Trump administration.

A counteroffensive that doesn’t meet expectations will also cause allies in foreign capitals to question how much more they can spare if Kyiv’s victory looks farther and farther away.

“European public support may wane over time as European energy and economic costs stay high,” said Clementine Starling, a director and fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C. “A fracturing of transatlantic support will likely hurt U.S. domestic support and Congress and the Biden administration may struggle to sustain it.”



Blessed Feast of St. Mark… short, sweet, to the point

Originally posted April 25, 2022

Saint Mark’s Gospel is by far the shortest of the four. You can read it before you’ve finished your morning coffee. Its overall brevity is matched by the brevity of his style: Short, terse, to the point. Tradition has long claimed it to be the second Gospel to be written, shortly after Matthew, but there is evidence that it was actually the first, and that Matthew and Luke both drew from it. Mark was secretary to St. Peter after Peter had translated to Rome from Antioch, and it is believed that Mark’s Gospel is more or less a direct dictation from St. Peter, which would make sense. Peter relates the scene where Christ calls him Satan in Mark chapter 8. I suppose it was seared in his memory.

The most prominent theme in Mark is suffering and death, that of Jesus, and that of our own. The entire second half is a march to Golgotha. The need for suffering, and how it needs to be used as a tool to overcome sin and death. You can’t be a Christian without the Cross. The more suffering that is offered to you, the more grace is also offered, such that you might work these things and ultimately merit salvation through the victory of Christ’s death and Resurrection.

If you want a little side project, there has been some excitement in recent years over a very early fragment of the first chapter of Mark, called Papyrus 137. Possibly 1st Century. Check it out.

And give St. Mark a try over that cup of coffee.

And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? -Mark 8:34-36