However…some odd things do get thought about, sometimes.
Here is a question that sounds absurd on the face of it. What do a few obscure Catholic holy days and various feast days of the Blessed Virgin Mary have to do with a formerly hard-drinking-now-reformed Methodist? The answer is, perhaps nothing, or perhaps quite a lot.
During the Great Recount Debacle of Election 2000 – designated the Year of Great Jubilee by Pope John Paul II – some people began to notice that things seemed to go George Bush’s way on feast days of the Catholic Church, or on days that had a Marian connection. And their theory seemed to hold true through Bush’s re-election efforts, too.
Many who watched the 2000 election recount closely maintain that December 8 was the day the tide began to turn in Bush’s favor. On that date, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Florida Judges Terry Lewis and Nikki Carr refused to throw out any of the 25,000 absentee ballots challenged by the Gore campaign in the Martin and Seminole counties. Just a few days later, on December 12 (the newly assigned Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) everything fell into place for Dubya. The Florida Legislature approved the 25 electors pledged to Bush, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the decisions of Judges Lewis and Carr and, most definitively, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Florida recounts unconstitutional, bringing the whole sad exercise to a close. The election of 2000 finally ended on the feast day of the new Patroness of the Americas.
But this odd connection between George Bush and the Catholic Calendar does not seem to end there. Indeed, some of the most noteworthy dates of Bush’s presidency and re-election campaign line up rather remarkably to dates which – while vague to the secular world – are tied into faith. A partial list:
January 6, 2001: Final Day of the Great Jubilee 2000, and Feast of The Epiphany of the Lord; Congress meets in joint session to officially tally the electoral votes of Election 2000, naming winner George W. Bush.
September 11, 2001: The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary; The date of the worst attack on American soil in her history.
September 14, 2001: The Feast of the Triumph of the Cross; The US Congress authorizes the President to use “all military force” in combating terrorism. Also the National Day of Prayer, and the Memorial Service at the National Cathedral. It is also the day George W. Bush stands upon a pile of rubble and lifts America off her knees.
August 15, 2004: Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; With President Bush’s re-election campaign staggering under relentlessly negative media coverage, this date sees the oddly-timed Sunday (!) release of the book Unfit for Command, written with the co-operation of veterans of the Vietnam War who feel compelled to tell what they know of the challenger, Senator John Kerry. The book is ignored by the press and denounced by the left, but it is an immediate help to the Bush campaign.
September 14, 2004: Triumph of the Cross; Rathergate, so named for promulgation (by CBS anchorman Dan Rather) of false documents purporting to prove special favors given to Lt. George W. Bush during his service in the Texas Air National Guard, comes undone as document expert Marcel Matley admits “I cannot authenticate the papers.”
October 8, 2004: Anniversary of the October 8, 2000 Apparition of Mary at St. Mark’s (Coptic Orthodox) Church in Assiut, Egypt, and the simultaneous imploring by Pope John Paul II that Mary protect the entire world in the third millennium. After doing poorly in the first Presidential Debate, the president shines in a town hall setting. Although the efforts of Moveon.org, Terry McAuliffe and some in the media manage to spin it as a Kerry victory, even the talking heads on MSNBC give it to Bush, and so do the American people.
October 13, 2004: Anniversary of the 1917 Final Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun, Fatima, Portugal (named for the daughter of Mohammed, who there defied her family and married a Christian man.) Third and final Presidential Debate. Once again, after Kerry-camp spin, most give it to President Bush.
The 2004 election season came to a close on Tuesday, November 2, the Feast of All Souls – a day set aside to remember all who came before us, and especially those who have recently died. In an era of terror and sad-but-necessary war, it seems most fitting that George W. Bush would be re-elected on that date. In the AP snapshot of Bush and his family watching the returns, one notices a Marian Icon on a table, between the president and his daughter Barbara. It seems right.
It will be interesting to see what things happen when, during the next 4 years. Fun to keep track of, anyway.
Maybe I don’t have enough to do.