Excommunication of Mafia by secular courts? What’s this about? Anecdotes…

MAFIA OMERTA

“Hello Fr. George: I had a doubt if excommunication of mafia is also extended to those co- cooperating directly or indirectly by running  illicit businesses like gambling dens and bootlegging. — With prayers [Priest friend from India]”

We’ll have to see the language, which I imagine will be quite filled with legalese. As it is, more than fifty prosecutors, bishops, United Nations representatives and victims of organized crime have just tried to come up with a new legal doctrine concerning “the question of excommunication for corruption and mafia association.” “New” is right.

The novelty in this is that Pope Francis is seriously thinking of moving forward on entirely handing the Church’s own judicial processes of imposing excommunication over to the State regarding the Mafia, so that the opinion of the State as to the guilt of someone in, say, racketeering (a conviction), is what effectively imposes and declares the excommunication. Or is there to be an “administrative process” in some Vatican “Pontifical Council for the Excommunication of the Mafia” whereby the poor fellow has his State conviction rubber stamped by some Vatican office worker? What a sick joke against both justice and mercy. This seems to be insanity, real evil, putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

mafia

The State is often the enemy of the Church in various countries. What do you do if you are a kind of Henry VIII and you have a troublesome cleric like John Fisher or a troublesome Chancellor like Thomas More? Just trump up charges of racketeering and the poor fellows will be not only be convicted by the State but also excommunicated by the Church based solely on that secular conviction. It’s no longer Saint John Fisher but damned John Fisher. It’s no longer Saint Thomas More but damned Thomas More. The Church would no longer has any voice in the public square with this kind of pressure for ecclesiastics to be sycophants of the State. The U.S. Department of State is having a celebration, along with so many governments in other countries.

But there are so many insurmountable problems that I doubt Pope Francis will be successful in moving forward with this kind of legislation for State sponsored Catholic excommunication, this delegation of investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing to the State. If he is successful, I can only imagine the immediate wholesale convictions of racketeering followed by death sentences for church leaders in countries that are terribly annoyed with the Catholic Church (and there are many which are just that violent). And what’s the Church to do if all those church leaders are also said to be excommunicated?

Some important personal anecdotes:

(1) For quite a long time I lived in the same house as the head legal liaison between the Italian Department of Defense (Ministero della difesa) and the Holy See. He approached me with the request that I agree that he might arrange an assignment for me as pastor in a parish in Southern Italy so that he might better deal with the Mafia in that region, my anti-Mafia activities apparently being known to some. I knew exactly where he was going in the conversation and got him to admit easily enough that his purpose was to go ahead and put listening devices in my confessional box so that they might have evidence to convict whatever mafia went to confession. The Mafia do go to confession, but not with the purpose of being forgiven, but so as to shut the priest up, for the priest would then then feel obliged by the seal of confession even if he otherwise heard the information outside of confession as well. This liaison was quite blunt about this, quite open, even telling me the procedures they use to set this already well established policy into practice. This happens all the time. In these USA the FBI has done this numerous times in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. I asked him what would happen if I actually did my bit as a priest and did not give the mafia guy absolution, but told him to get his wife and kids and skip the country taking nothing with him so as to get out of the mafia altogether and then get absolution elsewhere. The response was that I would, of course, be shot right through the confessional screen. Of course. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): none whatsoever.

(2) A good “friend”, one of the very top anti-Mafia investigators in Italy for DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia) wanted me to spy for him on who else but the Cardinals who are resident in Rome. He was offering me all sorts of favors toward this end, even putting local law enforcement at my beck and call, regardless of how long I might take them away from their duties. The thing is, I did know very well and have been in the houses and various main offices and back offices and off to the side offices of many of the Cardinals. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): None whatsoever.

(3) A bishop in southern Italy, a close friend with no fear in publicly and continuously denouncing the mafia in his diocese, was threatened with death numerous times to no effect. Finally the mafia, in this case the ‘Ndrangheta, got a hold of the Pontifical Family to pass along the message that if the bishop was not moved by the next morning he would certainly be found dead. He was moved to another diocese that very night. In other words, the church revealed that it will not back up the pastoral initiatives of those who stand up against the mafia, but will just do the expedient thing, showing what respect there is for actual courage: none whatsoever.

(4) A mafia priest, a pastor in a large parish in the western region of Rome, has constant contacts with the Pontifical Family, making personal visits. He’s got many of the big political mafia bosses in his parish. They are taken care of very well by the parish, favored members of the parish. What does that say? (I did try to do something about this at one time. Response? None whatsoever that I know about.)

(5) My own case worker (let’s call him J.J. for short) in the U.S. Department of State surely has everything to do with this legal conference of Pope Francis and is likely the instigator and provider of legal language for much of it. He has everything to do with the law, with the United Nations, with the Hague, with this kind of legal maneuvering by teams for or against individuals on an international level in such manner that international relations between countries are affected. I smell a rat in all this. There is a difference between the Holy See and the Vatican, a difference which, if not protected, will bring damage to Vatican City State fairly quickly. This conflation of prosecution of the Mafia by Church and State could well be a precedent. This effort has been going on for many years in many ways also by way of powerful ecclesiastical figures who bow down to those at the United Nations and other diplomatic / legal organs… Maybe the legalese will provide a way out of this conflation. Maybe not. We will see. What are the tangible benefits? None whatsoever that I can figure out. Everything can go wrong; nothing and no one is better off with this sort of action. Quite literally this would set up the Holy See / Vatican City State for extortion by the U.S. State Department, forcing what the DoS would call “policy” decisions, or assignments of bishops, or whatever. Not a good position to be in.

(6) A little test of all this before any promulgation of any decree by Pope Francis might well be in order. What I have in mind is to […].

(7)  I should mention the Archdiocese of Malta, where C.S. resides, and also the little town of Salem, New Hampshire, USA, where E.A., “thick as thieves” with C.S., is continuing to serve out his prison sentence…

Et cetera

2 Comments

Filed under Holy See, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

I’m hunting the next assassin of GOP members of Congress. Join me.

political assassination

To me, it’s obvious. And I bet he’s already been nailed. Field agents just haven’t collected him, you know, so as to find out more about him and any associates while he thinks he’s free, but ready to move whenever things start to get dangerous, the typical m.o. for dealing with terrorists.

Note that investigators insisted that instantly-killed-Hodgkinson was working alone even after more threats came in. Good obfuscation. He worked alone, but that doesn’t mean he never discussed it with like minded individuals of which there are plenty. Anyway, he was a political hack working for a hack political party.

After Hodgkinson’s death, the prank threats can largely be dismissed, except, in my opinion, for one, in an “email” of all things to Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., which proclaimed “one down, 216 to go,” and asked with an incredulous tone: “Did you NOT expect this?” Take note of the rest:

“When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.”

Now, let’s do some commentary:

“When you take away ordinary peoples very lives…” — This “very lives” phraseology is unusual, only showing up in literary communication. Here, “very lives” quantifies and defines the existential meaning of the group one sets apart and identifies with, namely, ordinary people who are oppressed by those who have power to remove that existential meaning. That meaning is not something profound, but rather merely equated with possessed property which can be physically removed “in order to pay off the wealthiest among us,” namely, those who are in cahoots with the person who has such power. This is perhaps the most succinct expression of the foundation for violent dialectical materialism ever penned.

The sentence continues directly to state the violence to come to those in power: “your own lives are forfeit.” The double genitive sets up a contrasting parallel with the lives of the oppressed, whose “very lives” are therefore judged to have been brought to be forfeit by the oppressors. The oppressed are as good as dead in the opinion of the writer, and so have nothing to lose. Any violence from them, particularly him, is to be expected: “Did you NOT expect this?” This is either a professor or an extremely well read life-long student. What brings this home for me is ultra-literary usage of “forfeit.” Examples of common usage are “He forfeited his property,” or “He forfeited his life.” But you just never see the correct usage of someone’s life being forfeit. Never. This is highly refined usage of language. This screams a profile. But we’re only warming up:

“Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.” The usage of “certainly” admits that, in the view of the oppressor, none of what was stated above is at all certain, but that what follows is certain, and to such an extent, that all that which may have been uncertain is no longer so, at least in effect, for their following deaths will prove the point that dialectical materialism (always involving violent death) is equated with might makes right. Violence makes one right. The usage of the phrase “your souls” is purely, oddly in this context, religious. But not so oddly. Those who fancy themselves to be refiners and appliers of ideology struggle more than others with religious realities, their very struggle being a scintillating irony that is impishly recognized and admitted with a gleeful edge of purposed evil. “Your souls” cannot be used by anyone Muslim, by anyone growing up with zero religious affiliation from the beginning. It’s simply very unlikely that this person has ever belonged to a Christian sect as, by and large, none of them have spoken with such language for a good 50 years. I would say that there is some chance that this person was perhaps brought up as an Orthodox Jew, but he is most probably a conservative Catholic in upbringing, but someone who is bitterly rejecting that religious upbringing and, I would say, in favor of an entitlements mentality concerned, however, not with any lust for wealth (as he explicitly states), but rather other lusts which hide behind that facade, you know, those issues which also by and large divide Democrats and Republicans as much as they divide conservative and liberal Catholics. The contrast between “souls and mortality” is poignantly doubly anguished. “Souls” are immortal, while our now mortal coil is not. But he’s already rejected the immortality of the soul by his existential limitation of the meaning of human life in his opening statement. This is a projection of his religious frustration onto the Representative. He wants to kill his frustration and I have no doubt that he will attempt to kill the Representative in order to kill off what he doesn’t like in himself. The irretrievably intended violence of his unrelenting ideology comes through with the incredibly nihilistic statement of “mortality” being “lost”, for “mortality” is already dead, and entitlement to non-dead mortality for whatever number of years before turning to dust is the only thing at stake, though “only” means everything to him. The shallowness of life reduced to intellectual prowess at the service of violence is stunning, frightening. As Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn put it in his Gulag Archipelago, the frightening thing is not the pain of any torture and death, but rather looking into the eyes of one’s torturer and seeing no conscience there. The last bit about being “lost long before” refers to all this being unalterable, set in stone. The assassination will happen. There’s nothing that can be done about it.

No one who writes this well, this succinctly, this sharply, this intensely, this singlemindedly, with such self-congratulations, such self-importance, such a Messiah complex can be imitated by anyone else. This is not the author of books so much as articles or political analysis for the far left. He’s surely written articles for publication, either internally as policy for a political party or for academic journals or agitator newsletters/websites. He’s simply too well practiced, too good at it to have never published before. The “email” to the political office of the Representative is, I assume, not an email, but rather a contact form. Nevertheless, everything about the computer including the location is instantly known. It’s probably a computer at a university that is open for use to all students (such as in various libraries or department student areas), or an internet cafe near a university or college. But that’s a clue too, right? Easy peasy. Tracking down this guy takes, what, a morning? I wouldn’t let the thing go too long. Such a person can suddenly slip from sight and carry out their purpose. Some might object that this guy is just blowing off steam after the Hodkinson terrorism, his thunder having been stolen by Hodkinson, he wanting to ride the wake of Hodkinson “fame.” But, instead, this guy actually means what he says. So, there’s a pretty complete profile.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guns, Politics, Terrorism

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Hens and Chicks and donkeys edition)

flores hens and chicks

The Hens and Chicks are wildly blooming at one of my Communion Calls in the back ridges of the back mountains of the back forests. Beautiful. Like Jewels. For our Lady.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Don’t think that our Lady wasn’t as eager as her Divine Son Jesus for the Hour of her intercession to come to pass. Don’t think she wasn’t eager to see the donkey on which Jesus would ride to His crucifixion when those Hosannas rang out. Finally!

Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mother Mary.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flores

Targets for a “day-off” with “The Guy”

target swinging bottle

One of these days I’ll be going shooting with “The Guy”, literally the best shot in the world, who hates shooting at stationary targets. He’s been collecting junk targets, tin cans and such, thinking that they will pop up in the air so as to provide a second shot at something that is moving. I tried this a few weeks back, but it didn’t work, with the 9mm going through any such things so quickly that they didn’t move in the slightest. So, I’m sure he’s never done that before, but is just humoring me. Perhaps people of yore did this with a 45, as the bullet is more like throwing a golf ball at something. But he shoots a 40, a Sig. I’m sure that’s about the same as a 9mm in this application. What to do? Cheap versions of moving targets are way too expensive (like around $500, which is pure insanity).

Hey! Why not take a bit of string, tie it to a piece of junk metal, throw that over a branch with an embankment behind it, lower the metal down and nail it to the tree, then tie the other side of the string to an old juice bottle filled with water (about chest/head high), having an old roll of duct tape on hand to mend the hits (or simply other pre-filled bottles if people are really accurate, destroying the bottle). Then set the bottle swinging. Like a pendulum, it will swing for a quite a long time, certainly longer than two or three people would take to each empty a few magazines into the bottle, which, spouting geysers, and wildly moving about all the more with any hit, would be quite a spectacle and make for quite a bit of laughter and good times.

Total cost: a few cents. The bullets are the cost for the day. They would at most be less than the price of a movie ticket, whatever those go for these days (I have no idea). One of my shut-ins has the hope of coming with me for the day. But I’ll have to prepare at least enough to have some foundation for the advice that I’ll surely get from “The Guy.” I have the idea that, right now, not ever having shot at a moving target, I wouldn’t be able to hit it even once and so not be able to absorb any advice at all. I don’t want to waste “The Guy’s” time. So, I know one more thing I’ll be doing on my “days off” until I can at least hit a moving target once in a while. We’ll see.

Leave a comment

Filed under Guns

Excommunicating the Mafia – part 2 – Missionaries of Mercy to absolve?

You have heard that it was said that Pope Francis is intent on excommunicating the mafia, you know, more officially than did Pope John Paul II back in 1982. You can see how scared Marini was in back of him, surely thinking they were going to get shot on the spot. As it is, the mafia was killing priests, threatening the Cardinal of Palermo, executing judges, and doing all their horrible protection rackets, prostitution, drugs. At the time, at least in the Archdiocese of New York, it was forbidden to provide the sacraments or funerals to the mafia. Now, I don’t know. Perhaps it wasn’t “officially” done by JPII and Francis wants to make it more “official.” There are plenty of mafia priests around, especially in Italy, but elsewhere as well, certainly in these USA.

Maybe Pope Francis will make the excommunication something only the Holy See or Missionaries of Mercy can take away. We will see. I have some stories to tell along those lines which involve the Italian Military and the Holy See, with me right in the middle of the whole thing. Perhaps this is what inspired the brain-stormers, you know: “Let the Missionaries of Mercy be put on the spot.” Fine. Whatever.

It is imperative that a bit of thought goes into advice for those absolving such things. I would not recommend that any priest be allowed to do this. I recommend that the possibilities for absolution are made known at the same time as the excommunication, which is supposed to be medicinal, right?

Unless things have radically changed in Rome over the past number of years in regard to the mafia, I would guess that no one has a clue what the political maneuvering is really like. I will try to write more on this, also to Archbishop Fisichella (my boss in this matter) and Pope Francis.

Perhaps it might be thought that my little parish is out of the way and inconsequential in this matter, but, in fact, it is because it is perhaps the most remote place in these USA that the mafia is to be found in abundance, along with, unknown to each other, those in witness protection.

6 Comments

Filed under Confession, John Paul II, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off

sunset-

The magnificent sunset nearing home after a super happy day-off yesterday. About 95% of the day was spent with the sick and shut-ins in the twilight of their lives, many of them living in far-flung places, with Sassy the Subaru putting on hundreds of miles. I love a “day-off” like this, sooooooo happy to be a priest.

There are plenty of people, however, who have a bitter reaction to priests getting a “day-off”. They may wish to read Mark 6:31-32:

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”

That’s called a “day-off”. Jesus recommends it. Having said that, we move on to the next verse (Mark 6:33), because text without context is pretext. So, let’s see what a “day-off” is actually like:

“People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

Yep. That’s what happens. I love it. Jesus is so very good and kind. He directs all through his beloved flock, who say things like: “Did you hear that so and so is terribly sick today as well?” This is when the “breaking of the bread” means that the Eucharistic Host is broken to be smaller and smaller. They love that Jesus would come to them riding along with a donkey-priest. As Saint Augustine said: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” (You are a donkey, but you carry Christ.)

But then I had a few minutes to spare at the hermitage, so, sorry, but, of course, I just had to relax a little as well. A donkey has to be a donkey once in a while. Triple taps drawing from the holster, trying to draw, point and shoot all three within three seconds. I don’t have a timer, so I assume I’m slow, perhaps 2 1/2 seconds. That’s an eternity in combat. Any suggestions for a timer? Here’s a magazine’s worth, which means five draws with three shots each:

target 3 taps-

And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

target 3 taps

Real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I’ll be the first to admit: this was fairly close range But for me it’s pretty good. It seems that the less aim is taken in favor of muscle-memory pointing, as it is said, the greater the accuracy and certainly the less anticipatory over-compensation for any muzzle-flip. Still, if there’s any risk of a bystander being hit, I’m thinking I would like to combine the point with the aim a little bit. Again, real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? The best shot in the world humbly says that his ultra-perfect aim is nothing special, as anyone would be as good as him if they also threw out a million rounds. Um… I haven’t done that…

Anyway, I just have fun doing this. And it’s not like I wasn’t also answering the phone pretty much constantly. Three shots out, another call. Three shots out, another call. But it’s all good. Shepherds love to hear the bleating of the sheep. As it is, I also bleat quite a bit, and The Shepherd always hears my voice, and, at least sometimes, I hear His.

Oh, and, by the way, don’t think that guns and shooting wasn’t part of the conversation with all the sick and shut-ins that I visited with Jesus. You have to know that Western North Carolina is armed to the teeth. People can move seamlessly from talk of armed combat to the arms of spiritual combat without blinking. I am humbled to walk frequently among the saints of God.

By the way, I make my own targets with poster-board and 3/4 inch sticky dots, mapping out the dots at 4″ intervals so that there are 35 dots per poster-board. Once one board is mapped out, another can be marked on the edges using the same measurements. Easy. Only takes about two minutes for the whole thing. It’s a lot of shooting for one target. The problem is that the targets are not moving, and there is no mayhem. But I have a solution…

1 Comment

Filed under Guns, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Ordinations: Good men so happy to be of service to the Holy Family

triptych

Dear Father Byers,

Since there is much Byersian influence here, I wanted to send along a picture of a triptych commissioned for priesthood ordination next year on 9 June (the Immaculate Heart!). You are certainly invited!

It came in much earlier than expected, but I am fine with that! I know you’ll understand all the symbolism but NB the Hearts so on fire with love, flowers for the Immaculate, and the flaming sword! I was going to ask for a donkey and a deer kneeling in adoration but I thought of that too late. Note also the particularly New Mexican style of artwork, done by the best NM santera in the state. E.g. In NM St. Joseph always has a hollyhock rather than a lily, since they are so abundant, though the symbolism remains.

I pray you are well Father. May God bless you! In Christ, Deacon […]

We follow the saints on either side of the triptych to the Sacred Mysteries taking place in the center. /// I like that: “Byersian.” ;¬)

3 Comments

Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

NASA comes to my parish: Eclipse 2017 Full Corona Andrews North Carolina

eclipse

eclipse map august 21 2017 Andrews NC USA

NASA has rented out an entire abandoned strip mall here in Andrews NC to get ready as we’re directly in line with the center of the eclipse on Monday August 21 2017. So, this is the official place to be. Of course, the moon doesn’t care about anything “official” but runs it’s course where it will. On the map below, the vertical moons show the extent of the corona that you will see depending where you are. You can see the full corona in the greyed out path:

eclipse usa map.png

Here’s the timing and duration. You’ll be able to see the full corona for a just more than two and a half minutes if you’re in Andrews, North Carolina:

eclipse north carolina.png

The hotels are all booked out on that date already months ago. But bring your own vittles and fixins and drinks and you should be just fine. We’ll have an extra big supply of food after the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 214 Aquone Road (see map above). Monday you’re on your own. Be sure to get your eclipse glasses. Someone gave me a pair today. They sell them in City Hall for $2.50, or for lots less if you buy many:

eclipse glasses

I think the population of our little town is something like 1,700, but “they say” that there is an estimated 10,000 people coming, with some saying 20,000 (from as far away as Europe) and some saying 100,000. That’s a lot of porta potties for 2 1/2 minutes! But it might well be a three day event.

Be careful of the pickpockets and be aware that the end of the world people come out of the woodwork at such times. Be situationally aware in these weird times we live in.

A spiritual note: Jesus said that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights. There was a full eclipse when He died on the cross. That passed and the sun came out again. That’s one day and night right there. Then Friday and Saturday night. He rose on Easter Sunday.

6 Comments

Filed under Nature

Be smart, especially if you’re a donkey

donkey smart ass

Yes.

  • Donkeys are intelligent.
  • They can sing.
  • They only do what they understand.
  • They are always with the Holy Family, crib to the cross.

Be careful of who you are tempted to look down on.

Every donkey has his hour.

New readers might not know, but this donkey priest thinks donkeys are just so cool. As an omen of things to come, I won a palestinian donkey the day before I went to the seminary way back in 1978. I’ve loved donkeys ever since.

A long time reader sent the picture in by way of email, saying:

“I just received this and I knew had to share it with you.”

2 Comments

Filed under Donkeys

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (That’s nice but… edition)

flores zillion pink

In hagiographical lore it is said that there was once a woman renowned far and wide for her captivating beauty and that Jesus appeared to a saint who was acquainted with her and asked him whether he thought that she was beautiful. He said that, yes, she was very beautiful. But our Lord was quick to disagree, and rather sharply, saying that she was quite ugly, she knowing nothing of the faith, she not living in grace, she not being a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. Then, some time later, after her conversion, our Lord again appeared to the same saint and asked the same question, but then answering it Himself, that now, yes, she was radiantly beautiful, for she now enjoyed the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, it being this which made her beautiful.

“The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Meanwhile, the most beautiful of all, Immaculate Mary, free of all sin, radiant in sanctifying grace, said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49).

She knew that also she needed redemption to enjoy the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity from the first moment of her conception. There was no one more thankful than her. It is good also for us who are conceived in sin to now thank the Lord for the grace He provides to us:

“It is good to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night” (Psalm 92:2-3).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Flores, Spiritual life

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (fieriest fiery fire edition)

flores orange yellow

The fiery Holy Spirit forms us to be members of the Body of Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, so that we might see the Father through, with and in Jesus.

Now, one would think that it would be true that it would be easier for us to take note in some small way of Jesus’ enthusiastic love for us if we didn’t take ourselves so very seriously. And, yes, that will be true, in heaven. And the Holy Spirit may indeed grant that we take note of Jesus’ love for us in this way or that for a short or longer period of time, He knowing how to work with us, He being our spiritual director in all things in view of all the circumstances of our lives. O.K. But…

Here on this earth such outrageously wonderful results of taking better note of Jesus as we take ourselves less seriously may be an occasion for us to think that besides taking note of the power of the love of Jesus that is stronger than our weakness, stronger than our darkness, stronger than death, means also that we will automatically – in this world – be nicer, more balanced, more stable, less weak, less tempted, more whole, you know, nicer… apart from Jesus (thus taking ourselves more seriously than ever).

Instead, here’s how the general trajectory of the spiritual life works: the Holy Spirit opens up our eyes to whence Jesus called us, from hell, so that He might draw us across Calvary to Himself, we seeing while He is doing this all of hell broken out on Calvary, we seeing ever more clearly just how weak, unstable, tempted and shattered we are because of original sin and whatever of our own if we would be without His grace, and this, not so that we beat ourselves up, but so that we can take that knowledge and immediately turn to Jesus to thank Him humbly, we now knowing better what He has done for us, not giving us strength and all such good things apart from Him, but drawn up into His love and strength and goodness and kindness.

Jesus ferociously condemns the “I can see all on my own” attitude, and praises those who say that, without God, they are, of themselves, terribly blind and needy, again, not so as to emphasize themselves and beat themselves up and get depressed and despair, but rather as an occasion to be fired up in humble thanksgiving by the Holy Spirit. This is precisely where we find joy in the Holy Spirit. This is where we find mirth, for we then see that even our weakness and temptation and mind games are no match at all for the love of the Holy Spirit which ardently burns through all such nothingness, revealing to us a bit more how much love there is for us in the midst of the Most Holy Trinity.

1 Comment

Filed under Flores

Main State and me: a development :¬)

dc-ticket

This is another one of those boring, kryptic, for-the-record posts only a couple of people understand. There’s a development since my last post of this kind the other day. For some reason late last night I felt an urgent need to try to find out a bit more about my “call this number if you need help” instruction given to me back in 1992 by Main State concerning the kind of help they would provide me into the future as occasioned back in the day by my ever present “Shadow” (who, by the way, is making overtures of friendliness to me all of a sudden).

In trying to find out more about the phone number the other week, there was nothing to be found even with brutal searches, not in the Department of State, not anywhere else. I decided to wait until more info was available before calling the number once again. I had called it when I had visited Main State some seven months ago at the end of 2016. A recording provided yet another name and number to call, which only provided yet another recording and this time an invitation to leave a message. I never got a call back. But the message wasn’t unnoticed.

During that visit to D.C., later that same day, I then continued my quest of visiting the national memorials, putting many miles on foot traipsing back and forth along the National Mall. It was impossible not to notice something out of place in the last 100 yards before finally arriving back to my car along the Potomac. There was another car parked behind mine with a nice, very professional, middle-aged Asian-looking couple inside, the unusual thing being their raucous laughter, the kind that’s a show, difficult to keep going, almost as if they were trying to be noticed. Indeed, they were making a spectacle of themselves as if oblivious to the world around them even while making it clear that they were noticing my arrival with interest. It was so odd that it was enough to put one into left-of-bang mode even though I was sure of their entirely good intentions, making me feel foolish.

As I wrote when it happened, it was then that I noticed, heart sinking, that I had a $250 parking ticket, it being that the handicapped spots in D.C. are not marked with either painted spaces or signs over the spaces as in North Carolina, but only with a sign down the street with a tiny arrow pointing in whatever direction tickets are to be distributed. In trying to pay the ticket online (possible only after about three weeks), I found that someone had arranged for that ticket to be cancelled. The Asian couple immediately came to mind, along with the State Department. But I couldn’t be sure. Until now.

Last night, when I searched again for more info on that phone number mentioned above, a “hit” came up, not only with an entirely different name and an office at the State Department corresponding precisely to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” but even the home address of this person in North West D.C. (a little dangerous for him, thought I, as he would possibly have plenty of disgruntled “clients”). In searching for that info a looked-at-by-almost-nobody in-house recruiting webinar came up. “That’s the guy who was laughing in the car behind mine along the Potomac seven months earlier; 100 percent,” thought I, with myself being the one who was now laughing out loud, “and he’s obviously the one who paid my parking ticket. Same guy. Exactly. Unmistakable. 100 percent.”

I’m guessing that his laughter was about my actually being a priest who has such a “Shadow.” They didn’t introduce themselves to me only because he was apparently fairly new to heading up his office in Main State at the time and it had been almost a 1/4 century since the last time I had contacted Main State, so that they needed to find out for sure who I was after all this time before speaking with me. Just to say, when the FBI had given me a false passport for my own protection without me asking for it twenty years previously, that agent had also laughed at my situation of being priest who has a “Shadow,” he knowing that this was all just too very perfect in favor of my “Shadow,” and he being amazed that I knew anything about the situation in the first place. Like my Asian guy (totally unflappable in the webinar), this FBI agent was otherwise utterly serious, he having been in charge of the investigation of the U.S. Embassy bombings back in the day. I’m amazed that the actual director of that office at Main State came out, and with his wife.

At any rate, this Asian guy seems to be a wonderfully friendly guy, and ultra-super-competent in what he does for international concerns. I’m tempted to make the request I’ve been wanting to make for a long time now. Indeed, at one point in the webinar, he almost seemed to refer to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” the idea being to keep such a “Shadow” illegal in appearance in a foreign country but entirely legal in our own, kind of, perhaps. It’s a kind of make-laws-around-an-existing-situation-to-make-something-else-possible thing. I remember the FBI wanting to keep the status quo of my having a “Shadow” going while merely giving me a false passport of appeasement instead of stopping my “Shadow” from using my identity. After all, he said that as far as they are concerned, my “Shadow” – precisely as a “Shadow” was now a good guy.

In fact, as I read over the 1992 letter of the State Department, it’s clear that they have zero interest in tracking my “Shadow,” but have all the interest in the world in tracking me, and that they have zero interest in helping me secure bank accounts out of reach of my “Shadow.” In fact, they simply assured me that the situation would continue into the future.

All of this explains an “incident” that happened on my return to the parish, after Vienna/Fairfax GMU on 66 West, and precisely at exit 296 of 81 South, the latter exit being a triumph of my little vehicle back in the day. Heh-heh-heh. Anyway, perhaps another trip to D.C. will soon be in order. I’m happy to know a bit more about who I’m dealing with at Main State. As I say, he seems very friendly.

P.S. As it works out, this guy also has pretty much all say about what goes on at the Hague. And that means that I could possibly ask him about a friend, a priest, who someone had attempted to trash there, though he came out shining.

5 Comments

Filed under Drugs, Guns, Intelligence Community, Military, Terrorism

Assassination of US Congress

Fox: “Scalise endorsed President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, and has been a vocal backer of Trump’s travel ban. As leader of the powerful study group, he has also spearheaded the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.”

Without the quick response of police, “it would have been a slaughter” of house members.

Dem Terrorist: “Are these Republicans or Democrats practicing baseball?”

Answer: “Republicans.”

Dem Terrorist: *** — hail of bullets — ***

Je suis GOP. Je suis USA.

Unity? We have a Constitution and Natural Law.

4 Comments

Filed under Terrorism

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Brake-Man goes on the hunt edition)

brakeman

The “Flower Lady” of the parish came over to the rectory and moved Brake-Man (welded together from parts of brakes) a few feet over into some other flowers. Within just a day or two I see that he’s being covered over with quickly growing vines. He’s a representation of Adam in his post-original-sin condition, Adam, who put the brakes on the glory of God’s creation. Yet, with the promise of redemption and the grace of enmity over against Satan, the ancient dragon, the fallen Oracle, there’s Adam now hunting for flowers to present to the Mother of the Redeemer mentioned in Genesis 3:15, the Immaculate Conception. Good for him, not taking himself so seriously, not beating himself down so much that he can’t see that her Divine Son loves him so very much, but instead taking the enthusiasm of the Redeemer and His good mom seriously, that is, seriously enough to, you know, pick a flower for the Immaculate Conception. Were you Mary, would you accept a flower from the likes of such a creature? We tend to see Brake-Man as depicted above. Methinks that Mary sees Brake-Man like this:

shepherd boy

1 Comment

Filed under Flores

Fatima Century – 2nd Apparition 1917

saint anthony of padua

Saint Anthony of Padua outside the rectory in Andrews, NC, June 2017

From EWTN: THE SECOND FATIMA APPARITION 13 June 1917

In Portugal the 13th of June is a great feast, the feast of St. Anthony of Lisbon, known to most Catholics as St. Anthony of Padua. This Franciscan miracle-worker was born in Lisbon and had entered religious life as a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross, residing first in Lisbon and then Coimbra, before leaving the Portuguese order for the new Order of Friars Minor and a hope of martyrdom. It was, and is, THE children’s feast in Portugal, so the parents of Lucia naturally thought that the festivities at the parish church in Fátima would distract her from the appointment at the Cova. However, undismayed by this tactic Lucia and the Marto children proceeded to the apparition site to keep their noon day rendezvous.

When they arrived they found a small crowd awaiting them.

After having said the rosary with Jacinta and Francisco and other people who were present, we saw again the reflection of light nearing us, (we used to say it was lightening), and following, Our Lady on the holm oak as in May.

“Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?”

“I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.”

“Will you take us to heaven?”

“Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”

“Must I remain in the world alone?”

Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.
The moment she said the last words, opening her hands, She transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which was rising to Heaven, and I in the part spreading over the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation.

The apparition then concluded as on the first occasion, with the Lady going off toward the east and disappearing in the “immensity of heaven.”

Despite the joy of those precious moments the sorrows of the children continued in the following weeks, moderated by the belief of very many at the Cova that day. They knew that something unusual had occurred – they saw the “lightening,” some perceived a certain dimming of the sun, others a little gray cloud that came and went as the apparition did and they believed. However, the difficulties with their families did not abate, especially with their mothers, who became genuinely alarmed that the events were not just continuing but expanding. To this was added the painful caution of the parish priest, that after all it might be real but of demonic origin.

===================================

There are a zillion Latin versions, but the one we used in Rome in the 1980s and 1990s was this one:

O mi Iesu, peccata nostra dimitte nobis. Ab igne inferni defende nos. Perduc in caelum omnium animas in primis quae maxime misericordiae tuae indigent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fatima

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (fiery edition)

flores red yellow

These are out front of the rectory, reminding all and sundry, I would hope even me, of the fiery love of the Holy Spirit, who, at the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, fires us up to share the greatest love of our lives, Mary’s Divine Son Jesus, with those whom Providence places in our way from day to day.

Today, if possible, I will carrying Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament far and wide to the ICU and impossibly remote places. A great day off. I love being a priest. But that’s not because I have that love within me on my own as if I were anything special. No, no. That has nothing to do with me. I crucified the Son of the Living God with my sins. So, instead, that’s the Holy Spirit. I blame him. :¬)

1 Comment

Filed under Flores

Put “Grey”[!] in perspective: humor

From time to time gracious readers remind me of a couple videos of the outdoor Stations of the Cross I had made while living above Elijah’s cave on Mount Carmel. The stations feature quite a lot of grey. Heart wrenching, really…

The music / singing comes from the cave of Elijah, which fairly continuously acts as a stage for choirs both Jewish (often IDF) and Catholic.

Readers of this blog know that I am rather annoyed right now with a certain “Grey”[!] guy: ♬ring♬ His safety isn’t guaranteed. It’s your fault if he dies. Stop him. *click*

So, one reader, not only reminded me of the grey in the videos above, but, for the sake of lightening it up a bit, for the sake of a bit of humor, for the sake of seeing what happens to “Grey”[!] guys when they are subjected to the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, also sent a link into this ultra-cute video. I had to smile, and laugh:

Thanks go that gracious reader.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Spiritual life

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (0001 – Genesis Thesis Student ed.)

GENESIS THESIS popular cover

Approbation for previous publishing: The thesis from which this popular version grew and developed with the encouragement of professors, friends and students was minimally published in Rome in 2007 in fulfillment of the requirements for the conferral of the doctoral degree.

benedict xvi coat of arms

— Vidimus et approbavimus, Romae, apud Pont. Universitatem S. Thomae, die 09, mensis maii, anni 2007: Joseph Agius, O.P., Stipe Jurič, O.P.
— IMPRIMATUR — Dal Vicariato di Roma, die 10, mensis maii, anni 2007: Mons. Mauro Parmeggiani, Prelato Segretario Generale.

The first edition can be found only in a handful of libraries, such as the Pontifical Biblical Institute, in the Genesis section of the non-reserved stacks [IX 15 18].

Cover picture and design: George David Byers

©2017 George David Byers

*     *     *

Inspiration and Thanksgiving

It was slate-gray day and cold, bone chilling, and I was alone in my equally bleak guest cell at the ancient Monastery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Montefiascone on the ancient pilgrimage route from Europe to Rome, the Via Francingena, on 25 March, 2004, the Feast of the Annunciation to the Immaculate Virgin that she was to be the Mother of God. I had returned to Italy after years of teaching in seminaries around the world, under orders to write a doctoral thesis, about what I wasn’t sure. This was a retreat day, a momentary break from studies in Rome. I was accompanying a life-long friend who is now in the Pontifical Family in Vatican City State, who on that day was giving a day of recollection to the community of Benedictine nuns which had resided in the castle-like structure for some fourteen hundred years.

One tiny barred window high up on the stone wall facing a small street in the mountain village let in just enough light to make out the door, the bed and a tiny desk. Though feeling terribly useless as an exegete, I felt compelled to ask my guardian angel whether it might be possible for me to write a thesis on Genesis 2:4–3:24 that would be unto the greater glory of God, the salvation of souls, and the honor of the Mother of God, that is, should I proceed with what now, after the fact, has been described as a brutal, agonizing, unrelentingly scientific examination of the text, employing newly discovered depths of historical philology and linguistic analysis, looking for nothing in the text, reading nothing into the text, simply letting fierce reasoning bring to light whatever it will.
The response was immediate, though not with words nor any apparition. I was filled with an intensely reverential fear of the Lord beneath the weight of His glory. I went down on my knees and then went prostrate on the icy tiled floor as the heavens seemed to open up above my ineptitude and unworthiness. While I took this to be an affirmative answer, I also sensed what seemed to be the fierce judgment of my guardian angel that I had better become much more serious in my life.

Later, in the Sala dell’immacolata, the highly decorated chamber dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in the Vatican Museums that highlights especially the mariological contributions of Blessed Pope Pius IX, I again asked my guardian angel the same question and was flooded with a similar experience. “The angels are here!” I exclaimed to friends from Australia, leaving them amazed.

I recount these experiences in all simplicity. They add no authority to what is written. They add nothing to what is written. They subtracted much from what would have otherwise resulted, for they made me avoid novelty whether of my own or coming from commentators throughout the centuries. It was only the inspired text put to critical interrogation, as it were, which was enthralling to me, captivating.

Resulting fierce reasoning brought the attention of and necessitates thanksgiving to the professors of six Pontifical Universities, Academies and Institutes who were following the thesis, whether pleased with what they saw unfolding before them or dead set against the conclusions. As it is, I provided chapters to friends and to those I knew would find themselves in dire straits. All admitted that the logic of the thesis, the scientific analysis, was entirely unassailable, astounded to a man that faith and reason were not enemies of each other, what with faith purifying reason, making us fearless of including premises which ought to be present and fearless of purifying argumentation of illogical premises, placing us before the entirety of truth, rejoicing. The invitation to offer constructive criticism remains for readers of this popularized work. Tear it apart if you can. Make it better.

There is one criticism of the thesis for which I am not grateful. One professor of the Pontifical Biblical Institute was determined to hurt the publication as much as possible (against other professors of the same institution) since he reckoned that a thesis was not to come up with any advancement in scientific knowledge, but was instead to be limited to a mere recounting of disputation among some secondary sources. I do not believe such dark anxiety before the truth to be worthy of being called a unique contribution. One need merely rip away the foundations of specious argumentation that were based on historical philology more than a century out-of-date simply by referring to the advancements, and then get on with starting, as it were, from scratch, from these new foundations.

Many of my fellow students at the Pontifical Biblical Institute agreed that we are to endeavor to leave aside the frightened emotions of those who had entrenched their lives in mere repetition of self-serving academic political correctness so as to come to know the meaning of the text itself in its historical perspective. It is precisely this which has made the text come alive in all of its aspects as a communication of the Lord to all ages. It is this which promotes with courage the knowledge and study of theology, that is, as Pope Benedict XVI said, “a theology which out of love wants to know the Beloved better.”

Indeed, I am particularly thankful to the successor of Saint Peter, Benedict XVI. I am indebted to those in the Secretariat of State who met with me in June of 2007 in view of the Holy Father’s upcoming pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2008, where I would be a “permanent chaplain” for a number of years. Benedict’s Angelus address of September 14, 2008, during his pilgrimage, and the subsequent exchange of letters afterward – and the reversal of his most far reaching thoughts on original sin and the immaculate conception – were an encouragement without which this work could not have been completed. Pope Benedict is a priest’s priest, the best example of a humble scholar in love with the truth I have ever known.

Thanks also go to Cardinal Jorge-María Mejía for his encouragement throughout the years, as well as to Cardinal William Joseph Levada, who, when Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent me a letter with heretofore unpublished details concerning the World War II Archbishop of Paris, Emmanuel Célestin Cardinal Suhard.

I thank Rabbi David Rosen, whose stunning remarks and encouragement have been a major impetus to move forward with this project. I cannot but also thank Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein for his support and dialogue of now very many years.

Thanks go to Joseph Agius, O.P., Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, who, as moderator for the thesis, made me promise during its defense to write this popular version, so that progress in understanding the Sacred Scriptures might be known far and wide. His non-interventionist approach afforded me rare and appreciated academic freedom for true scientific work, a hallmark of Dominican academic honesty. Thanks also go the second reader of the thesis, Stipe Jurič, O.P., S.S.D, who always provided me with a scholarly enthusiasm that remains an inspiration to this day. He said that the thesis was the best he had ever examined. I can only hope that this popular version will also be the best I can muster.

Heartfelt thanks go to friends who make up the administration and staff of the Biblicum library, those who were there at my home away from home during the time of my heaviest research and writing: Fr James Dugan, S.J., Camillo, Mauro, Gabriella, Maria, Rina, Fabrizio, Paolo, Raffaele, Ramón, Manuela, Lucia.

I am utterly indebted to Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D., and to Mother Lucy, O.S.B., for their lifetimes of prayer and penance for me, along with so many others who have taken me on as their project.  It is Arnold Franken whose expertise in cuneiform, his patience in research and in analyzing the thesis that brought the work to bear the fruit it has.

Special, filial thanks are reserved for my parents, George and Ann, now deceased, for their goodness and kindness; they were both always, always of great encouragement, and almost single handedly financed my years of study in Rome.

To the Virgin, Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer announced in Genesis 3:15, and to her divine Son, who provides us with the grace of enmity, making us the members of his body, and to those sword wielding angels in Genesis 3:24, true friends along the Way: thanks.

Πρῶτον μὲν εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν ὅτι ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καταγγέλλεται ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ. (Romans 1:8)

טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַיהוָה וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן (Psalm 92:2)

καὶ ἐβλήθη ὁ δράκων ὁ μέγας, ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος, ὁ καλούμενος Διάβολος καὶ ὁ Σατανᾶς, ὁ πλανῶν τὴν οἰκουμένην ὅλην, ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐβλήθησαν. (Apocalypse 12:9)

6 Comments

Filed under Genesis Thesis Student Edition

♬ring♬ His safety isn’t guaranteed. It’s your fault if he dies. Stop him. *click*

PIB Jerusalem

This is one of those unfathomable, boring, for-the-record cryptic posts that only a few people will understand, which is fine by me.

It’s taken six and a half years, but the penny finally dropped. The phone call which I imagine from an Admiral high up in the U.S. DoD, to my ecclesiastical superior at the time, at the very beginning of January 2011, went, I surmise, something like this: ♬ring♬ This is Admiral […] George’s safety isn’t guaranteed. It’s your fault if he dies. Stop him. *click*

This Admiral, a good friend (we taught and lived at the same place and had plenty of mentoring conversations) was actually the one who, in the first place, had arranged my mission in the Holy Land with Israeli intelligence services. In those years, this would be the only way to go about this since the Israeli diplomatic corps whom I would have gone through was on strike for some 18 months already. No one was getting a visa, which is a problem when foreigners (Catholic priests and nuns) are about the only ones to run schools and orphanages and medical clinics for remote populations; to stay they have to get their visas renewed on a continual basis. They are denied.

The Admiral had the idea to have me to help out at the Holy Sepulcher and to have me teach Sacred Scripture at the doctoral level (for the SSD) at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of the Custody of the Holy Land, both of which are in the Old City of Jerusalem. Then he had the idea of having the Custos of “The Custody” personally take me across the Jordan river to Jordan, so as to install me in one of the more sensitive areas in the Middle East. Great, thought I.

After speaking with my superior and getting permission for all this, and then speaking to the Custos himself, I then, as instructed by that Admiral, went to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. (impossible at any other embassy), and was surprised to see my Mossad friend, the same guy I had met up with over the years in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, wherever I happened to be. I was packed and all was ready with hours to the flight. And then my superior rushed up to me and breathlessly told me:

“Tell the Custos you’re cancelling your flight; you’re not going. You may well get killed and people will say it’s my fault.”

I was stunned by this sudden and last second reversal. “You tell him, since you’re the one reneging at the last second” I responded.

“It’s something to do with you, not me,” he said as he then quickly disappeared in the corridors of the monastery, flustered, but not before mentioning Egypt. That was when there was a bit of unrest in lower Egypt, you know, because of usage of Twitter accounts. Ooooo. Twitter unrest. As if there had never been unrest, Twittered or not, anywhere near the Near East, Middle East or any other East. What unrestful Twittering had to do with my going or not to the Holy Land I have no idea, but that was the excuse my superior had given me (coming up with that, it seems, on the spot) while he retreated into the shadows.”Just, wow,” thought I. So, I had to call the Custos.

The Custos – because of Saint Francis before him – is revered a thousand times more in the Holy Land than any Pope of Rome (and that’s the honest truth of it). He was really very upset with me, but understood and supported me in my predicament of religious obedience and appreciated that I agreed with him that the reason given by my superior about Twittered unrest seemed more than just a little strange. That couldn’t be the reason. Period. Indeed. For all these years since then I’ve remained flummoxed as to why my superior did this.

There was no reasoning with my superior. Telling him that this sudden change in plans would traumatically disrupt the lives of priests in France, Germany and Austria (as the Custos told me), not to mention in the Holy Land (Yikes!), did not phase him one bit, but only appeared to put him under unbearable pressure. My insisting that a disrupted schedule (they had already changed this in my favor) could result in catastrophic changes to the status quo left him unmoved (though that could have brought far reaching ecumenical and civil-political disturbances with no good result). My superior, obviously fearful of something, appeared to want to tell me something but would not or could not. I reckon the phone call to him that I’m imagining — ♬ring♬ This is Admiral […] George’s safety isn’t guaranteed. It’s your fault if he dies. Stop him. *click* — was still ringing in his ears.

Finally, just recently, the penny dropped. I think I now understand what really happened. As time drew very near to get on the plane, the flight manifest was finally being given a very thorough going over as happens with flights, especially into Israel, particularly flying with ElאלALעל. They now noticed the code attached to my SSN/Passport. That code was promised to be there in perpetuity as a “hit” from the State Department. A phone number was given to me at the time to call in case I ever needed help. That phone number goes to the director of the Political/Military Foreign Security Assistance Non-Defensive[!] Ops directorate at Main State of the Department of State. [I like that: “non-defensive” = black ops.] Background as to why a perpetual protection order had been put in place for me decades ago might well be unknown today except perhaps to all but the director of the CIA with one or two others, also, perhaps, at Main State (as I’m told by many who would know how this perpetual protection order works as this is what they do). Yet, the connection of names I have with the one I call my “Shadow” (who took over my identity as if I were as good as dead way back in the 1970s unbenounced to me for some 14 years) is quite possibly shareable information via unmasking when there is a security request from the IC of friendly countries. I’m guessing that the Israelis saw a logistical conflict, called up our mutual close friend, the Admiral, and asked him to stop me, since, after all, this was the Admiral’s project. The Admiral, regretting the circumstance, called my superior and that was the end of that.

As it is, “Grey”[!] as he may be, my “Shadow”, in fact, likes to mess around in all things political and violent in the Near and Middle East. If, say, he was in Jerusalem at the time or if he was dealing with anyone that knew anything about Jerusalem at the time, even from a distance, it just wouldn’t do to have his “identity” (me) in Jerusalem and Jordan in a couple of highly scrutinized offices just happening to look like him and the same age as him with the same name and everything else as him, even talking directly with the terrorist crowd (those on “the list”) for recreation as I was wont to do, and I must say, had a talent for so doing.

That isn’t to protect me as if I were someone important. No, no. The point is that I’m so incredibly unimportant and expendable that basically I’ve already been killed off by my “Shadow” anyway inasmuch as he’s taken over my identity. If there were to be any logistical conflict, I would be the one to bite the dust. I’m just nothing, of no consequence, to be ignored, Styrofoam, or perhaps “Grey”[!]. No, not “Grey”[!]. My shadow, conversely, has become so important while being entrenched under my identity (the perfect “Grey”[!] experience), that, while my remaining alive helps him in his effort to be “Grey”[!] and for him to be protected at all costs as “Grey”[!], it would be better if I just weren’t in the same place at the same time as him.

What got me thinking about this is a number of recent phone calls and text messages my “Shadow” and I have had in the last week or so. Some points:

  • He was stunned when I put him off from sending me money ($100 monthly). I told him it was to no purpose, looking as it did like extortion against him or him bribing me. I simply don’t need his money. He was speechless. Didn’t say a word. Nothing.
  • He put new pressure on me to have his property signed over to me, but not that I could sell it and keep the money. Nor was this any kind of trust. No. He wanted to continue to use the property, just under my name, further giving the appearance to all and sundry that he and I are the same person.
  • I told him that I didn’t know what he was up to and that I felt myself to be in danger either from his disgruntled “clients” on the one hand or from low level LEOs trying to be heroes on the other hand, the latter thinking they are capturing him even while they are cuffing me. As he told me once, with quite a bit of impatience, going to jail or prison is just part of the work and that I should just get over it. Feds bait people, a lot, and they can look like pretty bad criminals. I asked him to provide me with some jacked up Main State docs so that I could have the guarantee of being free of that harassment (immunity and inviolability). His response was that he wasn’t that sophisticated, which could either mean that of all the IDs he does manufacture[!], one from the State Department was presently beyond his abilities, or that he simply wasn’t far enough up the food chain to ask for such a thing (or conversely, so far up the food chain that he simply couldn’t be known as such even from within). Nothing is as it seems.
  • When I responded to his refusal by saying that I would just contact the Security Assistance director myself so as to put in such a request… well… oh my… the reaction from him was… well… oh my…

Anyway, I have the director of that office at Main State on speed dial…

The last time I went to Main State and accessed the bio of the director of the Security office, his bio was immediately removed from the internet. When I mentioned that on this blog, a note went up on the DoS that his bio was removed because they were, you know, renovating their web site. Well, they’ve done that, for a long time now. It’s the only bio that has not gone up. Here it is in full:

[He] is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Plans, Programs, and Operations in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He is responsible for managing approximately $6 billion in U.S. security assistance annually; providing State Department input for Department of Defense planning and posture; managing a Presidential initiative to expand worldwide peacekeeping capacity; overseeing conventional weapons destruction efforts; handling State-DoD coordination on significant military exercises and operational issues; and managing State-Defense personnel exchange matters.

Before joining the Department of State in September 2006, [he] worked as a relationship manager for […] Homeland Security, where he planned and coordinated the development of technology solutions for several U.S. government clients utilizing a wide spectrum of scientific and technical capabilities resident in […].

Prior to joining […], [he] served 26 years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps where he commanded infantry units ranging in size from a 40-man rifle platoon to a 1,200-man Battalion Landing Team. He was also designated a China Foreign Area Officer. In his final assignment on active duty, […] served in the Pentagon for four years as Head of the International Issues Branch at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, the senior uniformed foreign policy advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps staff, with principal responsibility for formulating and coordinating policy dealing with all political-military / international issues for the Marine Corps.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Intelligence Community, Military

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (the more things change edition)

flores buds

These are in front of Prince of Peace Catholic Mission in Robbinsville NC just over the Mountain in Graham County, the northern part of the parish.

Each flower is unique over the gazillion years that this type has been around, and yet the more things change the more they are the same. Nothing new under the sun.

I would like to add something new to there being no change for ten years with my not coming up with a popular version of the thesis on Genesis 2:4–3:24 with particular emphasis on Genesis 3:15 though I had promised to do up a readable edition for those not expert in historical philology of everything from Hebrew back to Cuneiform. Saint Ephraem the Syrian is the very first one who is cited in the thesis:

GENESIS 2-3 SAINT EPHRAEM

Brock translates that nicely:

“When I reached that verse wherein is written the story of Paradise, it lifted me up and transported me from the bosom of the book, to the very bosom of Paradise.”

3 Comments

Filed under Flores