POTUS and FLOTUS at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II

Today, in a long planned visit, Pres. Trump and the First Lady visited the National Shrine of St. John Paul II.

I will have this photo printed.

Let’s ask St. John Paul to intervene and obtain graces from God the Holy Spirit in this Pentecost Octave.


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  1. Midwest St. Michael says:

    I was… disappointed with Archbishop Gregory’s statement on the visit to the StJPII shrine by the president and first lady.

    May God bless the POTUS & FLOTUS.

  2. Fallibilissimo says:

    I find this gesture very fitting. St JPII was a prophet for our days. He spoke courageously on the family and tried his darndest to protect it. The world didn’t listen. I think all of this turmoil we see socially is about this diabolical attack on the family. Divorce, porn, abuse, debasing the dignity of men and women, disrespect for parents and glorifying it, abortion, you name it, this is what it creates.

    Thomas Sowell dedicated much of his work analyzing it in depth, but as Catholics we fundamentally know what’s going beforehand. You can’t have real society without the family. When you take down the institution whose natural strength is the self sacrifice of some for the benefit of others, you have chaos.

    If the assault on the family brings about destruction, it must be that God will use the family to bring about reconstruction. May the great St John Paul II intercede that the Holy Spirit pour forth those graces to convert our ways, mend wounds and broken families and for new bonds of love to forge new families as God wills them.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless the President and the First Lady.

    Midwest St. Michael: Indeed. After their visit to the National Shrine of St. John Paul II, Pres. Trump signed an Executive Order promoting international religious freedom. Abp. Gregory, concerned with his “bafflement” and stale ideology, missed an opportunity for evangelization today. That was Abp. Gregory’s modus operandi toward Pres. Bush also in 2002. Though, there is always Hope that Abp. Gregory will do better next time.

  4. PostCatholic says:

    I have so many things to say but I’ll go with the master understatement of Paul McCartney:

    “Drag, isn’t it?”

    [Yeah… that was the deep response of Paul to the murder of John Lennon. You have epitomized the sentiment of the Left to the destruction of neighborhoods.]

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    What the photo captions don’t tell you is that the little altar in the chapel where they are kneeling has a reliquary attached in front for veneration, with a vial of St. JPII’s blood.

    Honestly, I cannot think of any comparable moment in American history, especially one where a Protestant President actually knew the saint in question. I can’t see how Archbishop Gregory couldn’t be a little bit positive in the face of something new and interesting. And if he doesn’t like Trump as a person, it ought to strike him as even more interesting. Trump’s soul is in his see, so he’s partially under his care; and Melania is clearly trying very hard, so why slap her in the face?

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Okay, I don’t _know_ that younger Trump ever met with JPII, but it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t have, at some point, either in New York or in Rome. Can’t remember for sure, if I ever knew. At any rate, a saint who was a contemporary.

  7. Matthew says:

    Bishop Wilton Gregory is a disappointment. How can anyone criticize another for praying, especially a bishop?

  8. Johann says:

    To those who are unaware, Melania is only the second Catholic first lady in the history of the United States, the other being Jacqueline Kennedy.

  9. Charivari Rob says:

    No reasonable person should have a problem with POTUS coming and praying, meditating, reflecting on history, or anything of the like.
    That having been said…
    Regardless of recent events, a Catholic shrine allowing itself to be used for a signing ceremony (or to promote a signing ceremony) places itself and the Church as part of POTUS political self-promotion apparatus – That is not an appropriate place for the Church to be with any candidate or elected official, even when it’s merely a case of allowing observers to assume.
    With this individual, his record has made clear that he has no problem with portraying agreement on an issue as endorsement of him centrally.
    Coming the morning after his bizarre photo op at Saint John’s Episcopal (and all the circumstances of that)? I am glad the Archbishop spoke up.

    One thing I haven’t seen anyone ask yet – if the Shrine is in the Archdiocese, is there some reason that they’re not answerable to the Archbishop on matters of featured speakers and promotional visits at Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese? Do they have some sort of special status being a “national” shrine or being sponsored by KofC? Did they forget to mention this long-scheduled event to the Archbishop’s office? Or did they clear it long ago with his office and he only woke up to how bad a mistake it was Monday night?

  10. Sandy says:

    I was not disappointed in Bishop Gregory, I was outraged, that he would berate any human being for
    entering a Catholic house of worship to pray! No wonder the USCCB statement on the rioting was so insipid. God help this country!

  11. Fr. Kelly says:

    Wilton Gregory:
    “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree,”


    How does it violate anyone’s religious principles to allow people to come into the John Paul II shrine to pray?
    How is this a misuse of said shrine?
    Bishop Gregory is publicly judging the motivations of Donald and Melania Trump and accusing them of manipulating and misusing the shrine.
    In so doing, he is engaging in detraction if not outright libel.

    He would do well to take seriously his own statement and to recognize the rights of all people to a good name, even those with whom he disagrees.

  12. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Dear Fr. Kelly,

    Thank you for saying that. You basically said what I wanted to say but was too… timid to say it.

    God bless you, Fr. Kelly.

  13. Ariseyedead says:

    I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic archbishop would allow himself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. He certainly would not condone the use of archdiocesan news releases and other forms of pathetic, left-wing virtue signaling to publicly attack a US president who is honoring is his legacy of championing religious freedom.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    AFAIK, the shrine is in the archdiocese of DC, but isn’t staffed by diocesan priests. Pretty sure they always send out tons of info about upcoming events at the shrine/museum, because the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception always has info about that stuff on their bulletin boards. (Or they used to, on the occasions when I’ve been there.)

    Archbishop Gregory has been keeping something of a low profile, so presumably he’s been busy and may not have noticed the info being sent to the chancery.

    Oh, and I was reminded that the other day was the anniversary of St. JPII’s nine day pilgrimage back to Communist Poland, and that’s why the day was picked, way back when before all these riots, to highlight US support of religious freedom in other countries.

    (In other words, sort of a diplomatic comment to China, and other countries where the K of C and other Catholic groups are trying to keep Catholics and other folks alive and free.)

    So yeah, it’s not even political. It’s about life or death situations, and helping out against religious persecution. Exactly the sort of thing that any reasonable person would consider bipartisan.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    Charivari Rob wrote:

    “No reasonable person should have a problem with POTUS coming and praying, meditating, reflecting on history, or anything of the like.”

    Good point. It’s unfortunate these days that there’s an abundant supply of unreasonable people.

    “That having been said…
    Regardless of recent events, a Catholic shrine allowing itself to be used for a signing ceremony…”

    Their visit was sincere. The signing of the EO was later in the White House.

    “Coming the morning after his bizarre photo op at Saint John’s Episcopal (and all the circumstances of that)?”

    As Christians, it’s a good thing when our President holds up a Bible in front of the “Church of the Presidents” the day after barbarians attempted to burn it to the ground. Now, if the President held up the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, a box of ice cream sandwiches, or a Tickle Me Elmo doll, then we could agree on “bizarre.”

    In the Year of Our Lord 2020 our situation in these United States resembles at times a paperback thriller written by an over-caffeinated writer plundering Tom Clancy and Michael O’Brien novels for material. Faith in the Public Square is a good thing.

    “I am glad the Archbishop spoke up.”

    True, when the President and First Lady visit the Shrine of St. John Paul II the Diocese should have something to say. Though, the content should be Catholic rather than something resembling the agit-prop of a half-awake half-sober NPR commentator.

    Then there’s this:


  16. Charivari Rob says:

    Semper Gumby, thank you.

    I agree it’s not bizarre to have a bible along when visiting a church (or just about any other time, either).
    I used “bizarre” to refer to the choices made (or not).
    Arranging the visit with the pastor or congregation to commiserate? Having the curfew time changed publicly far enough in advance to have an orderly clear-out before his chosen arrival time? Schedule his visit after scheduled curfew so any clear-out would be of actual violators? Make a PR masterstroke by delivering a case (or truckload) of bottled water to the protesters, complimenting them on peaceful exercise of their rights of speech and assembly? No, no, no, and no – didn’t choose any of those.
    Disperse peaceful protesters by force? Drive away any of the clergy or congregation from the place where you’re going to “pay respects”? Have a photo-op on an empty sidewalk in front of a sign and a closed building? Irony-screening FAIL for staging in front of the ALL ARE WELCOME on the sign? Giving your critics the enduring juxtaposition of you speaking from the Rose Garden about peaceful protest AND the squad with shields and other implements clearing out the protesters? Turning your walk into a campaign video before the night was half over? Yes to all of those.
    So – yes, bizarre.

    (…and Elmo would be well past “bizarre” and somewhere in the neighborhood of “infernal” or “diabolical”)
    As to the Shrine and their visit…
    I make no assumptions – favorable or unfavorable – about their personal sincerity. I’m talking about the stated public business.
    The Shrine’s own statement says “The White House originally scheduled this as an event for the president to sign an executive order…” Other news accounts said the visit was about the expected executive order, but seemed to say that the signing would be someplace else.
    That’s why I wrote “…a Catholic shrine allowing itself to be used for a signing ceremony (or to promote a signing ceremony) …”

    “resembling… half-awake, half-sober” Not in my very limited experience of the man.
    Have a good night.

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    Charivari Rob: Thank you for your reply, though it does maintain a noticeable distance from the realities of the situation.

    “On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.

    “To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.”


    Your remarks on the EO signing are inconsistent. In addition, note the link provided to you.

    You wrote: “Not in my very limited experience of the man.”

    Note the use of “Diocese.” Cheers.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    Good points by Fallibilissimo and Suburbanbanshee: the family, Thomas Sowell, St. John Paul II.

    This recent turmoil is being exploited by sinister elements who seek the destruction of society and the family. It is unfortunate that the problematic James Mattis, who is clearly afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, cannot grasp this. James Mattis should open his heart to the Presidential visits to the “Church of the Presidents” and the Shrine of St. John Paul II. Mattis should also open his mind to an accurate account of U.S. history and world history. Then, reflecting on the photo above, Mattis may realize that our current President is not a “Nazi.”

  19. Fr. Kelly says:

    And now, according to CNA, it turns out that Archbishop Gregory was less than candid about his surprise at the planned Trumps’ visit to the JPII Shrine.


    Apparently, he was invited to join them a week before and he expressed regret but declined due to another engagement.

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