Fed Court rules Obamacare subsidies ILLEGAL in 36 states!

From Catholic Vote:


Remember when Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to know what’s in it?

She wasn’t joking.

Four years ago partisan Democrats rammed through the passage of Obamacare in the middle of the night. Now their recklessness has cost them.

A federal court ruled today that Obamacare federal subsidies in 36 states are illegal. [The court found this to be "unambiguous".]

Here is the quick summary: Obamacare was established to provide subsidies (taxpayer dollars) to qualified applicants who enrolled in health care via a state exchange. Backers of Obamacare never imagined that any state (let alone 36) would refuse to set up a state exchange. After all, when has any government said no to free federal money? [Has your insurance been cancelled yet?  How's that "Affordable" Care Act working for you?]

But many states recognized that they would be on the hook when the federal subsidies disappeared. And so they refused to go along. [Do you live in a state with exchanges or which fended them off?]

When the states began saying no, the lawless Obama administration simply flouted the law. The IRS ignored the plain text of the law [I'm shocked!] and unilaterally decided that subsidies would also go to persons who signed up on exchanges established by the federal government — even though Congress never approved this option!

The federal court today rejected this lawless option, stating that the Obamacare law “unambiguously” stipulated that subsidies were to go to individuals obtaining insurance through an “exchange established by the state.”

The Court was clear: Congress makes the laws. Barack Obama does not.  [Tell that to Barack Obama.]

If upheld on appeal, millions of Obamacare recipients would lose their taxpayer subsidy. [Get that?] The entire program would become unsustainable and unworkable.  [Grok?]

While today’s verdict will likely be appealed, the future unraveling of Obamacare seems inevitable. The American people remain strongly opposed to the premium spikes, [I wonder if yours are like mine.  I get a nosebleed reading my bills.] restrictions on doctors and care, and assaults on religious liberty and conscience.

But America still wants and needs real healthcare reform.

Obamacare has failed. And is now illegal.

It must be replaced with a reform solution that is both constitutional, and that provides true affordable and accessible care – especially for the most vulnerable.

Today’s court decision opens the door to a new path forward.

Catholics must help lead the way. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

¡Vaya lío!


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Pope Francis prays for success of initiative to convert Anglicans

In the wake of the decision of the State tethered Church of England to have wyshyps (female bishops), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham set up a “Exploration Day”.

You know that the Ordinariate was created according to the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, for Anglicans who want to be Catholic and want to retain their customs, liturgy, etc.

Benedict XVI is, of course, the Pope of Christian Unity.

Anglicans have a true home in the Catholic Church.

I just read this press release from the Ordinariate:


Pope Francis Prays For Success of Ordinariate’s Exploration Day

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s forthcoming “Called To Be One” exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate’s purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini’s letter reads as follows:

“At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that  the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled “Called to be One”, organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain”.

The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.

Pope Francis’ blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini’s words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: “the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity… I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers”.

Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day “whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do” . Mgr Newton’s invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.

The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as “treasures to be shared”. On the exploration day, each of the 40 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.

I am glad to hear of Pope Francis’ prayers for the success of this initiative to help Anglicans come into the Catholic Church.

As Benedict, so Francis.

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World War I – 100 years out

28 July is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.

CNS has a brief video you might like to view.  Interesting footage of Pope Benedict XV.

Posted in The future and our choices | Tagged | 4 Comments

ISIS targeting Christians: “The West must step in now… or we will be wiped out.”

How grim is you life?  We watch in horror as Christians in Iraq are being persecuted, driven, hunted by Islamic terrorists.  The Religion of Peace… right?

‘Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil [in Kurdistan]. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians’

Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako

From the Daily Mail:

Thousands of Iraqi Christians pour out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis give them deadline to convert, pay or face death

Thousands of Iraqi Christians today poured out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis gave them an ultimatum – convert, pay or face death.
The Islamic State terror group declared that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or leave the city, around 250 miles north-west of Baghdad.
If they did not do so by noon (9am GMT) today, there would be ‘nothing for them but the sword’, it said.


From Catholic World Report:

ISIS tags Christian homes in Mosul for confiscation as Christians flee
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch: “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe”

Warning that “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe,” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has written a letter “to the people of conscience and good will in Iraq and the world” in which he describes the dire situation in which Iraqi Christians find themselves.

“The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs,” the patriarch reported in his July 17 letter. “The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.”

He also stated that ISIS forces had started marking the homes of Christians in Mosul with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nazara” (Christian). “We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation,” Patriarch Sako wrote.


From Breitbart:

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”
The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.
But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.
On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.
Earlier this week, Iraqi human rights activist Pascale Warda came to Washington from Baghdad to raise the alarm with the State Department and members of Congress. She was accompanied by Bishop Yousif Habash, who now resides in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but who is originally from Qaraqosh, a city 15 miles from Mosul which was also recently overrun by ISIS, where the Christians still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
Bishop Habash said, “Christians throughout the Middle East have been targeted, and we are on the verge of being exterminated. The West stepped in to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Muslims, so we know it can be done. The West must step in now and save the Middle East’s Christians, or we will be wiped out.”


Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Pray for us!

St. Lawrence of Brindisi!  Pray for us!


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Ex ore infantium… perfecisti laudem!

An alert reader sent this tweet:

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“Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.” – St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Today on both sides of the Roman Rite we celebrate a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

Know much about him?

I like this story about him from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.” The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo.

Let Pope Benedict tell you something more

Here is what the Martyrologium Romanum has:

Sancti Laurentii de Brundusio, presbyteri et Ecclesiae doctoris, inter Fratres Minores Capuccinos adscriptus, praedicandi munere in Europae regionibus indefesse functus est, tum pro Ecclesia defensione adversus infideles, tum in reconciliandis principibus, tum in Ordinis sui moderatione, omnia munera explens simplicitate et humilitate.  Die vero vigesimo secundo iulii Ulyssipone in Lusitania obiit.

How about your own, smooth but accurate rendering into English (or Klingon… whatever)?

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , | 6 Comments

When the priest confessor doesn’t use the proper Form of Absolution. Wherein Fr. Z advises.

Everyone should go to confession regularly.

That said, sometimes it can happen that you will have a less than edifying experience of the priest confessor.  Do not fret!

This even happened to me, recently.  While out on the road, I stopped at a parish where I knew confessions were scheduled.  The priest in the confessional was a missionary from India.  As you know, in these USA during the summer we have many visiting priests going about making mission appeals.

This priest did not say the proper form of absolution.  Instead, he gave me a blessing.  Three times I asked for absolution.  I even said the words for him.  He eventually came through.

Will that discourage me from going to confession?  Not a whit.   Of course, as a priest, I can bring a bit more ammo to the moment, if you get my drift.  I am not easily shaken.

Still, I informed the pastor of the parish (standing in the church’s entry way) about my experience and left the situation in his hands.  The priest in the confessional, of course, cannot in any way speak about what happened behind that closed door, but I had – nevertheless – to inform the pastor of the parish about what happened in his confessional.

The matter and form of sacraments is no small matter.  Invalid matter or form is serious.  That is what prompts this post.

What happened to me on Saturday is not an isolated experience.  I know that priests can back me up on this.  As a matter of fact, some time back a priest reader wrote in once with this experience, in response to one of my ASK FATHER posts:

I have gone to Confession in [different Western languages] to Indian priests and I have experienced on many – the majority – of occasions that they do not say the words of absolution.  Instead there is often a sort of flowery prayer ending with the words “and so Jesus forgives you” or “God forgives you.”  [I didn't even get that.  I got a blessing.]

I think the problem is often that they do not know the formula.  If corrected, it becomes clear that they do not know the form.  [Yep.] I’ve tried telling it to them, but that doesn’t go over to well.

A fair number of the Indian priests serving in the U.S. are not even of the Latin rite, they’re Syro-Malabar – some have not celebrated a Roman Mass before coming here, thus they import from what they know, or they make it up as they go along.

It has come to the point that I avoid going to Indian priests for confession.  Also, some priests may not know the form in English or Latin – perhaps a nice gift for parishes/priests would be a nicely framed card for the confessional with the necessary prayers.

Yes, dear readers, this can happen.  We live in a fallen world and not every priest out there, over the last few decades, has been perfectly trained up.  Thus, we learn not to freak out.

Fathers, if you are pastors of parishes, parish priests, and you have a missionary priest visiting, and you put him to work hearing confessions, I suggest that you mention that in your parish, all priests use exactly the form of absolution which the Church has approved. You should have a printed card in the confessional with the approved formula in Latin and in English (and perhaps in Spanish, etc.).  Perhaps diocesan bishops might think about directing that parish priests remind visiting priests from outside the diocese that, ’round these parts we say the black words and do the red stuff.

“But Father! But Father!”, you might be thinking, “isn’t this sort of… insulting?  Assuming that priests don’t know the form of absolution?  Telling them something so fundamental?”

We can’t assume that all visiting priests are going to get it right.  You just can’t.  Better safe than sorry.

Lay people, if this happens to you, ask the priest – politely – to say the words of absolution.  Keep in mind that older priests will be saying the form of absolution while you are reciting your Act of Contrition.  In most cases, they will wait with the actual form, “I absolve you…” when you have finished.  But, sometimes, they don’t.  In that case, if you don’t hear the priest say “I absolve you…” you can – politely – ask if the priest gave you absolution.  You might add that you didn’t hear it.  If you get the sense that the priest simply did not just at any time the correct form, do not lose your cool.  Sometimes a priest will send signals that he is a bit dodgy or unsure.  For example, if he tells you something that is clearly a mortal sin is not a sin, or if he subtly (or not) runs you down for a reciting “laundry list”, or even if he doesn’t give a penance or the penance is something like “think nice thoughts about someone”, you may be in the presence of a guy who has either made the choice that he knows better than the Church or he has not been well-trained.  Again, don’t lose your cool.  Inform the pastor – politely.  If the priest is the pastor, you may have to inform the diocesan bishop.  Did I mention don’t lose your cool? Be polite?  It is nearly unimaginable that the priest is straying from what ought to be done out of malice or ill intent.

If you are pretty sure that you were not absolved, freak thou thyself not out.  If there is another priest available, tell him what happened, make your confession, get absolved, and go on your way whistling a happy tune (after leaving the church, of course).  Otherwise, at your next opportunity, make your confession.

Sacraments have matter and form.  The matter of the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) is the telling of the sins.  The form is the absolution spoken by the validly ordained priest who has faculties.  If the priest does not say a valid form of absolution, then the Sacrament of Penance has not been celebrated.  Some other sort of grace-filled moment might have taken place, but it won’t have been the Sacrament of Penance.

Finally, in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum we read at the end:

Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters

[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist [all sacraments, actually] will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.

I would add to this that, in a parish, start with the pastor – if feasible – and work your way up.

And always always always say a prayer for any priest who might be doing something a little dodgy.

The comment moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

“the very essence of our republic and our reason are being overturned in the public order”

It is interesting that Ameriʞa Magazine would feature something by or about Fr. James Schall, SJ.   Perhaps this is Jesuit solidarity?  Fr. Schall, a political philosopher, is retiring from his long and distinguished teaching career at Georgetown. Fr. Z kudos to him.

Ameriʞa interviewed Fr. Schall in advance of the release of his new book, a collection of essays entitled The Classical Moment: Selected Essays on Knowledge and Its Pleasures.  (Alas!  No Kindle version yet!)

The final paragraph of the interview caught my eye.

We live in a time in which the very essence of our republic and our reason are being overturned in the public order. They are replaced by the voluntarism of which Pope Benedict spoke so clearly. All turmoil in the public order begins in the hearts and minds of the dons, clerical and academic. My last thoughts are those of Chesterton concluding Heretics in 1905, that in the end, the only ones left to uphold reason in the modern world will be the believers. We are seeing this happen before our very eyes, but few notice because few want to know.

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Bp. Matano (D. Rochester) ends decades illicit practice of “lay preaching”

For your Brick by Brick file.

From the Democrat and Chronicle:

Catholic diocese upends custom on homilies

For the better part of 40 years in churches across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, clergy ceded the floor to laypeople for the delivery of the homily — the sermon that follows the reading of the Gospel at Mass.

The practice, which dated to the mid-1970s and was simultaneously derided by the faithful for running afoul of church law and praised for its inclusiveness, has come to an end.

In an extensive interview, Bishop Salvatore Matano said he has been confronting the issue on a case-by-case basis since his installation in January and is now drafting guidelines to clarify that homilies are reserved for ordained priests and deacons, as prescribed by canon law.

“It is not a policy shift as regards to the universal law of the church,” Matano said. “I am trying to help the faithful understand what is the universal law of the church and how important it is that in the celebration of Mass, we do what the church asks of us.”

The reversal is perhaps the starkest example yet of the contrasting stewardship of Matano with his predecessor, Bishop Matthew Clark, under whom the diocese earned a reputation as among the most liberal in the country.

Although laypeople were giving the homily before Clark’s time as bishop, it was during his tenure from 1979 to 2012 that such preaching blossomed into a regular occurrence in multiple churches.

Matano called the ubiquity of the practice “a bit perplexing” and attributed it to a misinterpretation of canon law.

“In the life of the church today, there are many interpretations that people might give to a particular ruling with no malintent present, but that do need clarification,” Matano said.

Many in the church have welcomed the shift as a long-awaited return to doctrine. Indeed, Matano said he began addressing the matter in response to complaints from parishioners.

But it also has been received with disappointment, particularly among women, who made up the majority of lay homilists and viewed the practice as a way to play a more active role in their faith.


Read the rest there.

This is excellent. Fr. Z Kudos to Bp. Matano.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , , | 42 Comments

Divide et impera: KGB influence on Middle East violence


As I watch the nasty business with the Gaza Strip, I continue my reading of Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism.  It was written by the former head of Romanian intelligence together with a law professor who is an expert on evidence (and on the smearing of the reputation of Pius XII). (UK link HERE)

Here is an excerpt, which pertains to what is happening in the Middle East right now:

By 1972, Andropov’s disinformation machinery was working around the clock to persuade the Islamic world that Israel and the United States intended to transform the rest of the world into a Zionist fiefdom. According to Andropov, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which the KGB community could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep. The message was simple: The Muslims had a taste for nationalism, jingoism, and victimology. Andropov pontificated that “we” should make them feel sick to their stomachs just thinking about that “Council of the Elders of Zion” (meaning the US Congress), the aim of which was to have the Jews take over the world. We should whip up their illiterate, oppressed mobs to a fever pitch. Terrorism and violence against Israel and America would flow naturally from the Muslims’ anti-Semitic fervor, Andropov explained. The Kremlin has always been a strong advocate of divide et impera. The split between the Judeo and the Christian worlds generated by the framing of Pius XII proved that this archaic strategy of divide and conquer worked in modern times as well. In 1972, Andropov launched Operation “SIG” (Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, Zionist Governments). This was the code name for a “socialist division of labor” aimed at turning the Islamic world into an “explosive” enemy of the United States. The Romanian DIE’s [Romanian intelligence agency] sphere of influence for the operation embraced Libya, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria, where Romania was involved in building hospitals, schools, and roads and maintained large colonies of builders, doctors, and teachers. The DIE’s task was to scour Romania for trusted Communist Party activists belonging to Islamic ethnic groups, train them in dezinformatsiya and terrorist operations , and infiltrate them into its target countries. They would be charged with the task of implanting a rabid , demented hatred for American Zionism by manipulating the ancestral abhorrence for Jews felt by many people in that part of the world. Before I left Romania for good, in 1978, the DIE had sent about five hundred undercover agents to its Islamic target countries— and, as I later learned, it continued to send such agents until the Soviet bloc collapsed, in 1989. Most of them were engineers, medical doctors, teachers, and art instructors. According to a rough estimate received from Moscow, by 1978 the Soviet bloc intelligence community had sent some four thousand such agents of influence into the Islamic world. The assumption was that about 70– 75 percent of those assets would end up being really useful. In 1972 , the DIE received from the KGB an Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion along with “documentary” material, also in Arabic, “proving” that the United States was a Zionist country whose aim was to transform the Islamic world into a Jewish fiefdom. The DIE was ordered to “discreetly” disseminate both “documents” within its targeted Islamic countries. During my later years in Romania, every month the DIE disseminated thousands of copies throughout its Islamic sphere of influence. In the meetings I had with my counterparts in the Hungarian and Bulgarian services, with whom I enjoyed particularly close relations at that time, I learned that they were also sending such influence agents into their own Islamic spheres of influence. (Kindle pp 256-257)

And then there is this:

On December 31, 2000 , President Putin, celebrating his first anniversary as president, announced that Russia had a new national anthem. In fact, the law signed by Putin restored the melody of Stalin’s national anthem, which had been prohibited after the collapse of the Soviet Union . Those original lyrics, written by the poet Sergey Mikhalkov, praised Stalin, Lenin, the Communist Party, and the “unbreakable” Soviet Union. At Khrushchev’s request, Mikhalkov wrote a second version of the lyrics, removing Stalin’s name, after his memory had become politically unpalatable. Mikhalkov has now again rewritten his lyrics, this time to satisfy Putin. Yelena Bonner, the widow of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrey Sakharov, denounced Putin’s actions in this matter as a “profanation of history.” Putin disagreed , explaining: “We have overcome the differences between the past and the present.” (p 267)

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