Meanwhile… and I do mean “mean”

I am a pretty broad-minded fellow.

And I like liturgy,… for the most part….

But does this strike you as

a good idea

What does the following liturgy really say about the people who were involved?

Here is a story from The Examiner:

Jim L. Cunningham, DC Progressive Examiner

On Monday I witnessed, firsthand, the Saging of the White House. The White House is now free of any evil spirits that may have still been lingering from the Bush/Cheney Administration. And, I have to admit – I feel a little bit better myself.

Ceremony purges White House of evil spirits

On Monday, January 19th at 6:00 pm, hundreds gathered at Dupont Circle for this frivolous, yet remarkable, ceremony. A shaman was there to perform the ceremony. Rabbi Sharon [there’s an oxymoron for ya] Klein delivered the invocation. Together with organizer, Kate Clinton, they took on the gargantuan task of cleansing the White House of evil spirits.

“Our purpose here tonight is to celebrate the end of the Bush regime with the saging of the White House”, bellowed [excellent verb] Kate Clinton, kicking off the event before a crowd of about 2000 people. Kate Clinton had explained on the Rachael Maddow show last week that the idea arose out of a trip Bush made to Machu Picchu two years ago. After Bush spent time dancing with the natives there, a shaman was called in to “sage” the area and, thereby, cleanse it of evil.

Saging is a process by which bundles of Sage herb are ignited and left to smolder. This creates a thick, pleasant-smelling, blue smoke which, according to Wiccan tradition, has a cleansing effect, thus removing the area of unwanted energy[I thought we were about conserving energy these days.]

Clinton explained that security prevented them from infiltrating (my words, not hers) the White House to perform the ceremony on site. Therefore, it necessarily had to be performed from elsewhere and Dupont Circle was chosen because, according to Clinton, it’s the gay center of Washington DC[Yep… this is all falling into place.]

Just before the ceremony Clinton fired up the crowd by introducing a mock chant like Catholics do during mass. [So.. they are bigots too.] She would chant/sing distasteful parts of the Bush legacy and the crowd would sing back, “Na na naa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey. Goooobyyyye!”

“Signing statements!” she would shout, and the crowd would answer, “Na na naa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey. Goooobyyyye!”

“Guantanamo Bay!” The crowd would answer, “Na na naa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey. Goooobyyyye!”

“Anti-gay Constitutional Amendments!”

“Na na naa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey. Goooobyyyye!”

“Intelligent Design!” (The crowd laughed.)

“Na na naa na, na na naa na, hey hey hey. Goooobyyyye!”

[Hey! They could all be inauguration poets!]

This went on [good desscription] for about ten minutes before we got right down to the business at hand and the shaman took the stage and lit sage on stage which, when combined with that already smoldering in the crowd, made for the most aromatic political gathering I’ve ever attended. [D’ya s’pose anything else was being burned in that crowd?] Approximately one in every twenty people held a bundle of smoldering sage which created a cool effect in the crowd, like a sea of lighters during a power ballad at a heavy metal concert – and the smoke rolled over the heads of all in attendance and filled our noses.

When that was nearly done, Clinton lit a heap of sweet grass to invite the positive spirits in and invited everyone in the crowd to introduce themselves to the strangers around them, hug, and make peace. Then we sang and danced. It was beautiful. And cleansing.

No one is certain whether the event occurred in close enough proximity to the White House to have any effect. [Nooo… not really!] But if the mindset and spirit of the crowd can have the effect of amplifying the cleansing effects of sage, I’m absolutely certain it was a success. The people in attendance couldn’t have been more into the moment. The crowd radiated so much positive energy, I’m not sure the sage was even necessary. [Well… if they are producing so much energy, maybe we should put them in some sort of … I dunno… harness and put them to work?] We sent the Bush Administration packing, and the evil spirits along with them

See for yourself. I shot these videos at the height of the festivities:


President Obama signed executive orders. One banned torture.  And he has promised to sign FOCA.

Because abortion isn’t torture, is it?

How well did that sage thing work again?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ohio Annie says:

    They seem to have co-opted a Native American ceremony and turned it into something political and mean. I have been to pow-wows and the Native Americans have a very “liturgical” religion. But these other people seem to just do it for the sake of doing something provocative. I don’t think it really means anything to them. And yes, it’s bad, just because it is mean.

  2. TJM says:

    Sounds like they need therapy. Tom

  3. RANCHER says:

    Could we get them to do it again? This time to purge the current culture of death occupant of the White House.

  4. chironomo says:

    This very obviously had nothing to do with exorcising evil spirits, inviting the spirits of good, or any other even remotely spiritual aim. It was clearly and decidedly about one last chance at Bush-bashing. As Nixon said: “They won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!”. If not Bush, then who will they turn on next?

  5. Tony C says:

    And a stout dose of cascara sagrada would also be cleansing for the
    participants as well.

  6. Bob says:

    “When that was nearly done, Clinton lit a heap of sweet grass to invite the positive spirits in and invited everyone in the crowd to introduce themselves to the strangers around them, hug, and make peace. Then we sang and danced.”

    Sounds a lot like the beginning of Sunday Mass at my parish. Except we don’t use incense.

  7. Bryan says:

    I’m wondering how all the head-in-the-sand apologists in our Faith who counseled “don’t worry, he’ll have a change of heart” and poo-pooed legitimate concerns about what the media-anointed “chosen one” would do are going to reconcile the reality of what we’re facing and will become apparent in quite a short time?

    The ‘Faithful Citizenship’ document out of the USCCB (and is it any wonder that some call it the “Democrat Party at prayer”?) contributed just as much with its somewhat amorphous circumnavigation of the shrubbery when it came to justifying your vote as did the almost constant positive media attention towards their preferred candidate to sway uninformed or fence-sitting voters, especially CINOs, in my opinion.

    To tie this all together, is it really that surprising that Wiccan heretics would be there to help the new occupant settle in? By their fruits, you will know them.

    It is disheartening. But, if you bother to read his 2 books, it should not be unexpected.

  8. David Andrew says:

    In your list of adjectives, you forgot insanely dangerous.

    Using a shaman to perform a distinctly Wiccan ritual in the White House? Doesn’t that basically kick the door between this world and the deepest realms of the Dark clean off its hinges?

    What’s next? Will President Obama rip out the rose garden and replace it with a henge of standing stones?

    I think out of all on Fr. Z’s list, evil is the best descriptor.

    More than ever we need to pray, and St. Michael would be a good start!

  9. rosie says:

    What? Joan Chittester wasn’t there with the rest of her coven?

    Sage is good in stuffing. That is all.

  10. Dan says:

    Well I think I know where these people are going. I hope they like it hot and I don’t mean florida.

  11. James II says:

    I seriously doubt that “Faithful Citizenship” (or indeed the USCCB) exerted any influence on the presidential election. How many Catholics even took the time to read it? 1 per cent, at the very most. Few Catholics these days care what their bishop says, practically nobody cares what the USCCB says.

  12. Maureen says:

    So much bulltookie in one place, they ought to call it a fertilizer ceremony.

    Oh, well. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but waving around burning sage from miles away will never hurt me.

  13. Gail F says:

    Evil? No… How about stupid? And insulting to people who really do “sage” things as part of their religion? But as far as the poetry goes, I have to disagree… that’s better than the thing at the inauguration.

  14. Steve K. says:

    I know this comes across as incredibly goofy, and hence mock-worthy (and by all means, go at it), but remember what they are doing is trafficking with spirits, which is demonic, and their souls are in great peril as a result.

  15. JohnE says:

    “Positive energy”, Clinton, sweet grass, Wiccan, gay center. In a sad and bizarre way this all makes perfect sense.

  16. If it was only a joke. Based on Obama’s voting record of 100% pro-death, the evil spirits have been invited in and sanctioned. I suggest offering Rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplets to counter-act this occult activity.

  17. Dr. Eric says:

    Sage is also good in minestrone!

    The cascara sagrada comment was funny! I’d say that about 100 mg should do it! ;-)

  18. Ed says:

    A good lesson, I think.

    The Apostles and their designates are the ones given authority over evil spirits. Simply imitating a cultural practice, such as the burning of sage or sweetgrass, doesn’t automatically confer power to cast out darkness.

    So, where are the priests? Where are they exercising their Christ-given mandate to do this work?

    I have heard that the enemy attacks priests; but that’s backwards…supposed to be the other way round.

    Christ is leading us through this. We have to listen to him. Pope Benedict XVI keeps pointing us back to Love. It applies to the misguided in the Whitehouse, too; like it or not. We are the Christians, we give testimony to Christ by our actions, our example.

    So, what’s the Christian point in meeting mockery with mockery?

    A serious question.

  19. Aelric says:

    What about the dangers of second-hand smoke?

  20. Peter says:

    Was there a side swipe at the poem at the Inauguration in that post? If so, I would have to agree that the poem was either profound beyond my abilities of appreciation, or particularly low-brow. I heard about the saging ceremony this past Sunday morning on “Speaking of Faith.” I do think that there is something to ridding the Whitehouse of evil influences, but I think it would have been more appropriate at the residence at the Naval Observatory. Not to say that ontic evil does not accompany the incoming administration as well.

    (They could have skipped the poem and had TWO pieces by John Williams. That was beautiful!) [Hear! Hear!]

  21. avecrux says:

    It’s demonic.
    Pres. Obama did not personally invite these people to the White House – it says in the article it was done off-site… on their own initiative. Bizarre, but not surprising to me at all. The Culture of Death is a whole package. Abortion, homosexuality, anti-Intelligent Design (aka anti-God). I have been checking back and forth throughout the day to see if the President signed the executive order on abortion. You are the first I have seen mention it, Father. Went to Fox – they have 2 lines at the end of a lengthy article on the torture order. If you sneezed, you’d miss it. The media has decided its a non-issue – like the March itself. A friend forwarded an article from Judge Bork yesterday. It had a great (sad) quote from him: America is “now going down a path towards kind of a happy-go-lucky nihilism.”

  22. Allena says:

    Ok, here’s the deal on wicca, they are devil worshipers, pagans….What’s that line in the Bible, “all the gods of the gentiles are devils..” I learned about this when I was a teen, and it is absolutely, positively real. I almost got mixed up in it bad, but I was spared. They really think that stuff. It’s not a joke and it’s not an accident. It’s real.

    This is a group of people, probably mostly women who are witches, they just cast spells over the white house. The basic notion of wicca is self worship. They have a goddess (because it is mostly a super feminist group) that pretty much allows anything whatsoever. Any conduct, anything at all. Supposedly the only rule is to do no harm to another. Problem is, anything that breaks that rule is just explained as not human, or not harmful.

    It is a raging gay community and gay is actually preferred. Children are a burden and to be avoided at all costs, and abortion is a perfectly acceptable form of contraception.
    This is real folks, they just did a pagan ritual in DC. It is absolutely just as bad as if a satanist got up and sacrificed chickens…it is.

    Wicca is one of the most dangerous things coming after us, because they hate us with the passion of the devils that give them their powers. They demons howling at the victory of Christ. They are blasphemers, and they are way more numerous than you think. It’s a dark day when Washington was just consecrated up to the devil with ritualistic incense, incantations and prayer to demons. Satanists we know, but these ones? Passive, gentle and wiley, they are more dangerous, because people just laugh it off and go on, but it’s serious.

    You darned right we better pray. We better one up them, and do penance, fasting and acts of charity. It’s going to take more than a few rosaries to deal with this…

  23. maleficos non patieris vivere

  24. Ed says:

    Allena – We don’t have to be afraid of such things or such people.

    We don’t have to be afraid.

    It can help to remember that Jesus came for these people, whatever their misguided persuasion. He came to save them, and he’s clearly not finished. His Love casts out fear and is so much more real than any misguided “practice.”

    Pope Benedict XVI calls these lost people “inwardly devastated.” He calls them “victims.”

    It’s Christ that is Real. We know this is true.

    So, yes, let’s pray for all the lost ones out there. Christ told us to do that.

  25. CAL says:

    Of all the times to be fresh out of blessed salt!!!!

  26. Bede says:

    I just went to the White House site, and though there are now five executive orders, none that I could see had anything to do with abortion.

    January 22, 2009

    * Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities
    * Review of Detention Policy Options
    * Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

    January 21, 2009

    * Presidential Records
    * Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel

    Am I missing something?

  27. Jordanes says:

    Yep, this is just the kind of looney flakiness now ascendant over this country. Woe to us.

  28. Pomeroy on the palouse says:

    according to (via twitter), President Obama said today “we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health…”

    Yes, except for female babies, women who suffer mental and physical problems due to abortions, and others.

    Pray for him and pray for the poor mothers who have had abortions.

    Pomeroy on the Palouse

  29. JoyfulMom7 says:

    David Andrew,

    Our church people prayed the St. Michael prayer today as our bus drove by the back of the White House on the way home from the March for Life.

  30. Clarke Fountain says:

    Sounds to me like they are simply a passel of silly relativists who respect no tradition (and no man) who were having a bit of self-righteous “fun” while inadvertently opening themselves to further encroachments into their persons by the infernal. But Our Lord has no shame whatever in reaching out to proud individuals who have (they thought) gone beyond His reach, so I pray that His kindness may touch such as these, and rescue them from harm to testify in His praise, even as Saul was.

  31. Joe says:

    I think it would be better not to call action like this liturgy. If the organizers called it liturgy then we should put the word in quotation marks. If liturgy is a work of the people (a derivation I doubt), then it is a work of the people of God, and a term we can extend by to the Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants to varying degrees (and perhaps to Israel in a special sense) but not to these sorts of events.

    I was once at a high school Mass celebrated in honor of the North American Martyrs where the celebrant wanted to incorporate Native elements, so he had a ‘smudge ceremony’ with sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass. Unfortunately the good Father said ” we will now proceed to the burning of the sacred weed”. The Administrators were prowling the assembly for 5 minutes calming the kids down.

  32. Jordanes says:

    Bede said: I just went to the White House site, and though there are now five executive orders, none that I could see had anything to do with abortion.

    I’ve heard that Obama decided not to issue the executive order canceling the Mexico City Policy today as originally planned, so as not to seem to be deliberately poking the pro-life marchers in the eye. He’ll probably do it tomorrow or some other day, when it wouldn’t attract as much attention.

  33. Fr. J says:

    I can only imagine what a real exorcism would do in this new White House! A few of them would probably be slithering around the corridors.

  34. JARay says:

    I am surprised by nothing these days. Satan still prowls around like a raging lion seeking whomsoever he can devour.
    The world is in for a very bad spell.

  35. Make me a Spark says:

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle;
    be our defense against the wickedness
    and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him,
    we humbly pray.
    And do thou,
    O prince of the heavenly host,
    by the power of God
    thrust into hell
    Satan and all the evil spirits
    who prowl about the world
    for the ruin of souls. Amen.

  36. So if the content of the article is to be trusted, the attempted to exorcise the evil spirits by performing a Wiccan ceremony? Didn’t Christ say something about Satan not casting out Satan? If anything, we should send someone there with some exorcised salt and some exorcised holy water, and offer some prayers of deliverance of our own.

    So to answer your question, I’m going with evil.

  37. Liam says:

    Yes, saging is not Wiccan, but something from particular Native American/Mexican tribes that has been co-opted. Then again, “Wicca” is a modern confection.

  38. And let us not forget Luke 11:26:

    Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself: and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.

  39. Rob says:

    Day of the Moonbats!!! Moonbat is a appellation, Boston talk show host (WRKO), Howie Carr loves to promote. It is an apt description of touchy-feely flightiness of Boston area Lefties.

    These nuts are everywhere in communities around Boston. We have to live with the hippy-dippy lunacy all the time. The Obama’s election seems to have only emboldened them.

    My wife has observed that as Boomers (aging Hippies) enter retirement they are going to have a lot of time on their hands. I think we’re going to have many more years of their “alternative” crusades. Half the time I think these “Happenings” are excuse to smoke weed. Sadly, there seems to be a new generation of like
    minded clones on Boston area campuses.

  40. Allena says:


    “Allena – We don’t have to be afraid of such things or such people.”

    I agree, they can’t hurt me, but they prey on the defenseless, the ignorant. Many souls are lost from these people, theirs and the thousands they convert each year. I was merely saying, don’t take it as a joke and blow it off, it isn’t a joke to them…

    We are the Church Militant and we need to pray, fast and do penance for the conversion of our society.

    I did not mean to convey fear of them, merely the reasons to take it seriously and not ignore the reality of what they are, what they represent and who is in charge of that “religion”.

    On the sage, sage is a ritualistic part of their “theology”. They may have swiped it from the American Indians, but most of them were pagan as well. This is a pagan ritual that goes all the way back to the beginnings of the world. What the incense is, doesn’t matter, it’s a burnt offering to the goddess ie devil, consecrating DC to him.

  41. Ed says:

    Thanks, Allena,

    For me, the expression “Church Militant” sits uneasily. It makes me feel strong, or, to the contrary, that I should be stronger. It casts me too far back on my own resources.

    I find I can’t pray for “enemies” and hold them as enemies at the same time. In recognizing the “power” of my enemies, I end up diminishing my belief in God’s power. It just happens that way for me.

    I recognize that my agenda can easily deflect Christ’s agenda. He says “love;” He says “pray for.”

    I find mostly that I can’t do either of those things. Only Christ can do those things. So I have to watch my positionality, to see if (as is most often the case) I am blocking His Love for others, the Love He is wanting to use me as a vehicle for. As I empower these “neighbors/enemies,” however rhetorically or subtly, through, say, mockery, I diminish my usefulness as a “volunteer” for Christ’s Love for us all. It is discouraging, how hard a time I have with this.

    So, I thank God for Pope Benedict XVI, who writes that:

    “Jesus takes up this cry for help as a warning to help us return to the right path. The parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) offers two particularly important clarifications. Until that time, the concept of “neighbour” was understood as referring essentially to one’s countrymen and to foreigners who had settled in the land of Israel; in other words, to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbour. The concept of “neighbour” is now universalized, yet it remains concrete. Despite being extended to all mankind, it is not reduced to a generic, abstract and undemanding expression of love, but calls for my own practical commitment here and now.”

    In my face, thank God.

  42. therese b says:

    Cheer up – they may have accidentally cleansed the Dupont Circle of the evil spirits of homosexualism instead…..

  43. therese b says:

    Cheer up. They may have accidentally cleansed the Dupont Circle of homosexualist bad spirits instead………

  44. Ohio Annie, ionfairymsms 'at' netscape says:


    I feel as you do a lot.

    I find it very hard to do things I am supposed to do for Christ as a matter of course.

  45. Liam says:

    One of the problems with discussing spirituality of idigenous American peoples (Indian for short now, just to clarify) is lumping it all together as if it were as uniform as, say, Christianity (and we know how uniform Christianity is, right). Indians themselves have often bought into what Europeans have done in this regard.

    The use of sage burning as a cleansing need not refer to god(esse)s but in some Indian cultures was more akin to a variety of medicinal herb uses that were long practiced by Christians before the advent of modern medicine. And the division between medicine and religion that so many take for granted in Western culture was not as clear then, either, just as with Indians.

    Of course, the modern confection of Wicca is pretty much defined as heteregenous agglomeration of anything remotely folklorish that can annoy monotheists. (Maybe that’s the best definition)

  46. Joe says:

    You know, I wonder what Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life Internation would say about that. I mean, him being an exorcist and all, and claiming that Planned Parenthood and similar organizations are run in large part by Wiccans/witches… Well, I guess this kind of confirms it…there really are demons out there…

  47. TerryC says:

    Do these digbats even realize that they had absolutely nothing to do with President Bush “packing up” as they call it?
    President Bush would have left the White House no matter who won the last election, since the Constitution limits our president to two terms.
    I suspect their knowledge of the Constitution is as lacking as their knowledge of the true origins of Wicca,(created by Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s)

  48. michigancatholic says:

    Argh. It’ll have to be exorcised now to clean it up.

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