Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (North American College Rome edition)

flowers for mary NAC2

From a priest whose on the roof of the North American College in Rome as I write this:

Dear Father,

When I saw these flowers, still flourishing despite the cold and the wind here in Rome (life in spite of death sounds pretty Gospel to me!), I couldn’t help but think of Mary and you! From one donkey priest to another.

– Pax

My guardian angel is cringing from my being remembered with Mary, well, except for the fact that I’m said to be a donkey and donkeys are always with the Holy Family. So, I’m good with that, especially because of the way he described himself.

I might note here the mention of cold and wind in Rome. I have to wonder if that is a reference to windswept or any such thing. I’m sure it’s not easy. We pray to support each other. Hail Mary…

I’m sure our Lady must hear such prayers from donkey priests who give flowers to her.

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Yet again… “I’m here for killing Jews” – Sean Patrick Nielsen

I had to put this up yet again as there’s suddenly quite the interest in and around Columbus, Ohio (coming from a certain IP address of a certain manufacturer that is one of the largest employers in the region) in only one post on this blog which I wrote about a certain individual who was present at the violence in Charlottesville not that long ago. The repeated visits to that one post only are frequent. The post included the statement of B’nai B’rith International. I have no idea whether such visitor is the would-be-killer himself, or a horrified fellow Jew, or some “white nationalist” as they are called. I did give a disclaimer in that post that I am both Jewish and a Catholic priest. Anyway…

What I do know is that the audio of youtube video on that other post has been altered to such a degree that it cannot be understood. Perhaps the interested person is the one who altered that audio. I don’t know. That would be quite the computer hack. But I’m sure the computers at that massive company are some of the best computers in the world. Of course, it could be done by the social engineers at Google / YouTube, right? You know, just to provoke something. Maybe. I wouldn’t put it past them.

At any rate, there is another video, this time from The Washington Post, which contains the would-be-killer’s statement in understandable audio about being there “for killing Jews.” That other, much longer video, is at the top of this post. The would-be-killer can be heard saying his thing between the 1.00 minute mark and 1.12. If this video is removed or the audio altered, I think I’ll give a call to some FBI friends and have the computers of that massive company investigated to see who was on those computers (just a few IP addresses). We shall see.

Here’s that statement from B’nai B’rith International once again:

We vehemently condemn the white supremacist and neo-Nazi-backed sentiments and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Va. The disgraceful rally these groups convened was for the express purpose of gathering hate-mongers and extremists to intimidate people all people and undermine the very principles of our democracy. Racist and anti-Semitic epithets were on vulgar display by these groups.

This abominable gathering serves as an important reminder that we must unite to stand against hatred and extremism. President Trump’s comments in the wake of the violence created a false equivalence between the peaceful rally protesters and the hate-mongers who incited violence. There are not “many sides” to the type of hate displayed at this rally.

From each individual through neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, states and the nation as a whole, all Americans of good conscience must reject divisiveness and strive to embrace tolerance and unity.

 

 

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Day-Off: 2 to the body – 1 to the head. Cruel drill in church security training?

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People forget the reality. These are just a few pictures of victims in recent church shootings all around these USA, East and West and South. Lest we forget that we’re dealing with real people who didn’t have to die in such numbers.

My 82nd Airborne neighbor was speaking to me about going out shooting with yet another of our CIA friends now contracting for Main State, um, right locally, with the local part not being so weird since there are untold numbers of special people on both sides who come here. Some of the pilot-terrorists of September 11, 2001 infamy trained here and so many from our intelligence agencies and bureaus and branches of the military come here. We’re out of the way, but it’s not. It is what it is. Before going out to a private range with them, he said I should hone some skills with with the drill of two to the body and one to the head, he demonstrating how quick this should be: BaDa-BAM! Just that quick. And on target. And from the holster. Intriguing, thought I, not having practiced anything like this in a long time. I had to look up how it should be done.

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Typical “A” boxes are used, so I print these out on a 11″ x 8.5″ sheets of paper, which are then taped to a piece of cardboard, and held up seven yards out by “pigtail” wires (see above) which one can get at Lowes (see below). The vertical box represents the most stop-the-threat-ish part of the “body” (probably exaggeratedly a bit wide as it should be only about 3″ wide) while the little horizontal box at the top represents the size of the most vulnerable part of the “head” (the whole right-between-the-eyes thing: about 2″ x 4″). The SEALs allow themselves less than or equal to 2 seconds to get off all shots with accuracy, at least that’s what a SEAL guy said. Somehow I doubt that length of time as being purposely overlong. You can’t give all your secrets away, right?

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My first attempt clocked in at something like 3.5 seconds. After a few magazines, with accuracy, the last two attempts for my first session clocked in at 1.84 seconds and 1.81 seconds hot barrel. I’d like to get that down to 1.5 seconds cold barrel, but to do that, practicing relatively little, I’d probably have to get a speed holster, in which case I might be able to get it down to below one second. I saw one guy to this in 0.96 seconds with a speed holster and from only six feet away, meaning his target wasn’t reality between lower and higher hits. I ain’t goin’ there. You gotta practice with what you use for everyday carry, right? And not at just six feet, but at the normal statistical average for dealing with such aggression, which is 21 feet out, which is just about what would be the case anywhere in our tiny church. Otherwise, it’s all foolish. For me, this is about self defense and for the common good with what is basically 24/7 carry. I would never walk around with anything but a locked holster as it’s virtually impossible for a bad-actor to unlock and is still relatively easy for the carrier to use. After writing all this I did go out again for a few minutes on the day off and got it all down to 1.7 secs. So far.

Full disclosure: “accuracy” for me means I hit the “body” twice and the “head” once each time, but the hits are, since I’m a beginner, wildly spread out haphazardly within the allowed limits. That’s still effective. But for our CIA friend, one would see one bullet hole in the center-center of the “body” with both bullets hitting in the same place, while the one to the “head” would hit the center-center of the “head” box. And he’d still be quicker. Competition is always a hilarious thing to me. But in this case I would be the total student.

No matter what, if I ever had to deal with such a situation as an active shooter killing off my parishioners, men, women and little kids, one after the other, non-stop, and I went ahead and did the 2+1 for real, stopping the threat, stopping the grave wounding and maiming and killing, an unscrupulous prosecutor will undoubtedly put a post such as this before a jury saying that I didn’t want to just stop the threat, but that I had actually intended to kill the terrorist outright, making myself the judge and jury and executioner (if the perp dies), bringing America to the brink of tossing out the judicial system so as to promote vigilantism, thus putting me on death row.

So, let me just say this: I would never ever intend to kill anyone. No. I would, however, surely intend to stop an imminent, active threat: the active shooter. Two to the body for a guy who might well be wearing body armor is going to do nothing. Even if he’s not, and even if my two to the body take his heart right out of his chest, he’ll still have a good four seconds to pump bullets into my parish family, possibly taking out half my little congregation. The shot to the head immediately turns out the lights, so to speak, not necessarily killing him, but shocking the nervous system enough whereby he can’t pull the trigger anymore, that is, from that very instant. That’s stopping the threat with the immediacy called for by the particular circumstances.

We all surely feel sorry for the guy pulling the trigger, knowing that surely he had a difficult upbringing (not everyone with a difficult upbringing is a terrorist), that he surely had been going through rough spots in his life (not everyone going through rough spots is a terrorist), that he’s a coward (indicating all sorts of psychological problems) and that he deserves another chance: Dum spiro spero as the South Carolina motto says on behalf of the hope one can have if one is still breathing. Yes, to all of that. There is no sin we can commit that is greater than the forgiveness Jesus can provide to us if we want it. I would terribly regret if such a terrorist would die with no chance to repent of his actions.

  • On the one hand, with me being a priest, I would surely give him an absolution while running toward him, and then give the emergency anointing (taking mere seconds) while others called 911, and while I then administered first aid if one of our medical team wasn’t already doing that.
  • On the other hand, I would also terribly regret not assisting him, so to speak, in stopping his rampage of gravely wounding, maiming and killing my parishioners.

Here’s a post with links to various initiatives of the Department of Homeland Security specifically for churches. I’ve included in that post some other useful comments and graphics.

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for Churches

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Church Shootings: Into the Fray 241

Two rules:

Rule One: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck. The shooter will remain standing, but now he’s the obvious target for those tasked with security; he is “acquired” and “isolated” with no one to hide behind. Those tasked with neutralizing the threat will know what to do depending on the policies of the church, either rushing him until he is immobilized (with possibly lots of people needlessly being killed in this scenario) or by – on their own authority in this diocese – using the proper tools to deal with him (with possibly much fewer people being gravely wounded, maimed or killed).

Rule Two: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck.

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After first good freeze colors turned: constancy of God’s love in creation.

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This is the Southern U.S., obviously. The North is weighted down with the first good snowstorm of the season. Meanwhile, in the South, we’re still fully in the midst of hurricane season, not to say that we’ll be getting any more hurricanes.

One might legitimately ask why – on a blog that once in a while tries to go out into the darkest of existential peripheries in order to help direct people in some way closer to Christ Jesus – why oh why bother with putting up posts like this when sightings of such beauty can be had by just about anyone anywhere anytime by anybody.

Sometimes the last thing we can see with any appreciation is what’s right in front of us, taking it for granted as we do, missing, then, the constant among us, which is God’s care for us whether we are in the darkest of existential peripheries or not.

In Romans chapter 1, we read that “What can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made” so that they could know God and “accord Him glory as God” and “give Him thanks.”

Saint Paul doesn’t make any distinction about anyone haven’t entitlement to not notice God as the Creator because of their being in or not being in the darkest of existential peripheries. In other words, we can “hear” – if you will – all of creation speaking of the care of God for us, enough that we give Him thanks, despite whatever conditions we find ourselves to be in.

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November visit to the town cemetery

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2018-11-15 · 10:53 am

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (hunting for the right mix edition)

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When there’s not too many flowers round about that doesn’t mean one can’t give flowers to the Immaculate Conception. You just have to be more imaginative. There’s these berry things I got on the day off the other day. But when I was a kid in Minnesota, there was always:

  • Cattails
  • Pussywillows
  • Milk weed pods
  • Twigs with acorns
  • Twigs with helicopters

Did I go hunting for such things with the pet dog and also with a .22 long rifle and shoot at such things as listed above as well. Well yes, but that’s besides the point. I’m sure  no one minded just the right mix of activities. All in good sport. ;-)

Of course, the “roses” of Hail Marys of rosaries are the best flowers for the Immaculate Conception. I did get in hand made rosaries for priests. I’ll have to see about putting up a post about rosaries!

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Top Gun before Top Guns. Cemetery visit lest we forget. It’s November.

This is a terribly disjointed post. Lots of emotion for me.

The Top Gun flight instructor program started in 1969 (see above video). I don’t know what top flight instructors were called before 1969 (probably lots of four letter words by some sometimes disgruntled slow-learning students), but dad had that role first in the other Andrews in Maryland just to the Southeast of the U.S. Capital Building while also doing up JAG school at Georgetown, and then closer to home in Chicago. Dad died decades ago. And November 2nd has come and gone, again. And November 11 has come and gone, again. Do we remember when it’s not those days? Do we forget?

I also think of the 22 average each day who take their own lives because of the war they carry in themselves after their war experiences. A seminarian once told me with almost ballistic anger that in his opinion PTSD doesn’t exist, that that’s all for wusses and tender snowflakes. He said that without the experiences of those who take their lives. I’m guessing he had PTSD and couldn’t face the fact. Zero solidarity for others. He was really angry. White hot. How fragile we all are.

Anyway, my own dad had his faults – and I dare say some severe PTSD – but the reason why he’s always my hero is not because he did stuff in the military or was a “perfect human being,” but rather because he had the humility to face all of that and deal with it. Dad knew he needed Jesus and started a regime of spiritual direction, daily Mass, and good habits, shunning bad habits. I gotta lot of respect for that.

Anyway, it continues to be November, when we especially pray for the dead. It’s cold and rainy. Almost ready to snow and sleet. A slate gray day. I’m heading up to the local cemetery to say a pray or two for the souls of the faithful departed, for our vets who laid down their lives for us.

Don’t wait to visit a cemetery until you’re the one being buried. When’s the last time you’ve been? I’ll update this post with a picture or two after a bit.

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Another dragon as drama continues

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Our parish campus has been shut down from right after I got back from the diocesan retreat for all the priests of the diocese at the beginning of October 2018. There’s about no chance that we’ll get in this weekend, so it looks like were aiming at being at the Community Center once again for the Masses in Andrews. The whole schedule for this weekend is as follows:

  • 4:00 PM Saturday for the Spanish Mass with a baptism at Andrews City Community Center.
  • 8:30 AM Sunday English Mass at Prince of Peace in Robbinsville with Adoration and Confessions previous to that.
  • 11:15 AM Sunday English Mass at Andrews City Community Center.

The state of the plumbing is such that we have dragons appearing…

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Correcting heretics = gossip?

An example of priests texting each other the truth of the matter. Seminarians might not know what they are talking about. But there’s always a bit of truth in humor. For that matter seminarians might be absolutely correct and respectful and do what they do because of their love of the Lord Jesus and their desire to save souls. Good for them.

For my part, as a priest, and with lots of the most academic of degrees, I still don’t mind telling priests or bishops that they are technically heretics if that’s the truth of the matter.

Maybe I’ll try that later today, a repeat of what previously had me quite literally thrown into a dumpster some years ago, you know, extrajudicially, pro bono ecclesiae, but not really, as I was put down for the sake of the code of silence, of omertà, the old kill the messenger thing. It was someone with influence in Rome who had done this.

It’s not a matter of fake news just because a critique is made. To bring someone to the truth is a matter if charity.

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“Day Off” Best DQ Best 2+1

  • I had about ten minutes today for the Glock. 100% accuracy for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall tactical pistol course but DQ’d for being overtime by 0.12 seconds for both parts of stage six.
  • For the two to the body one to the head drill, I was able to bring it down with accuracy to 1.7 seconds from a locked holster.

Btw, that’s not bragging. That’s me hoping that everyone who carries is able to throw out a few bullets each week to be frosty. That’s important. And competition is hilarious and encouraging.

Does your parish have a church security team?

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I’m bleeding out for you

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Parish response to abuse crisis

  • Spruce up Mary’s shrine!
  • More adoration!
  • More rosaries!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (when all is darkness edition)

One might think it takes the bravest of souls to give a flower to the Immaculate Conception in the darkest of times or perhaps the most naive. I think it just takes Jesus’ good mom being appreciative especially in the darkest of times.

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Homily 2018 11 11 Her two cents worth

widow mite

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Note to “AM” in RH. Don’t send money. Appearances of money laundering.

money laundering

I got a comment the other day on the blog from someone I don’t know with a great deal of instructions about money this person wanted me to launder… err… um… move along to unknown third parties. Let me address this person directly:

While your intentions may be good – blessings upon you if that is the case – but you have to realize that what you want me to do with those untold thousands of dollars you want to send me could sound to anyone else like bribery or extortion in some elaborate scam… or… well… I’ll just say it, it could sound exactly like money laundering. I have no idea who the people that you mention are. For all I know – and I know nothing – they could be mafiosi or some reps of some cartel. Even if I did know them (and I could think of some names), I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Do me a favor: don’t involve me or any priest for that matter. If it’s all on the up and up, figure out another way to do what you’re doing. If it’s not on the up and up, there’s an FBI field office just up the road from where you live. Sorry, but a priest can never be too careful these days. If fact, what you’re asking me to do feels just downright creepy. So, just think of another way.

Meanwhile, for some reason I am reminded of some people who visited the parish a few months ago, the ones with the Russian connections who, in the same place where you are, started decades ago to offer me huge sums of money to move cargo throughout Russia. Yes, I was already a priest then. That’s precisely why they wanted me, someone naive, who they could use, who will get in trouble for them, a stooge. Funny the coincidences one comes across. As you can see, I try my best not to get burned.

Come to think of it, where you are is also the place where someone stole something like $15,000 from me while I sent it to some cloistered nuns in South America so that they could purchase a new altar bread making machine as they supplied most of South America with altar breads. The FBI helped me get that back from a bank in the Cayman Islands. It’s good to have friends in the Agency. The nuns did get their machine in the end. I suppose the person involved got some prison time and lost his job.

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My revised Ancestry DNA: Neanderthal

ape to man walk

I mentioned to Father Gordon the other day that I received a quite severely revised Ancestry DNA report according to a new merging of data bases. I said that I was much more Eastern European and Russian than was previously estimated. He said that he wasn’t surprised at all, and then flatly added:

“Everybody from eastern European descent has 2% Neanderthal DNA.”

And then, speaking directly to the readers of this blog again added even more flatly:

“This may explain Father George’s lack of subtlety.”

Meanwhile, while my dad’s Scots-Irish surname is holding on with the travel of that family through centuries in Germany, there is this:

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There are a zillion connections in Mazovia Province and Łódź, and the same for Lesser Poland, Małopolskie and Świętokrzyskie. Southern Poland would make sense from her specialized Yiddish derived vocabulary, with the biggest curse she had being to say that someone surely came from “Lower Slobbovia,” Al Capp’s thought-to-be-made-up-country but which is surely Slovakia just to the South of Lesser Poland. Al Capp’s references about “Lower Slobbobia” were rife with Yiddish-isms.

Catastrophically, pretty much every Jew, to a man, to a woman, to a child, was killed off in the Baltic States by the Nazi regime.

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Armistice-Veterans Day: MIA-KIA?

arlington national cemetery

The surest sign that there is a lack of patriotism in a country is when people jump up to ensure that we make a distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the one being for the dead and the other for the living.

Here’s the deal: the living Vets thoughts and prayers on this Veterans Day go to their brothers who died in battle.

Lest we forget.

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Homily 2018 11 08 Jesus: on repenting

black sheep head white sheep

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Cyber Punk Priest’s Psionic Powers: Metacortex dark hacker is Fr Byers?

Father Gordon J MacRae’s These Stone Walls website on freedom in truth and in justice is was in danger just now of being erased permanently from the internet as the hosting company is going out of business and has put clients on notice of the ax about to fall.

Frantic to help save These Stone Walls I set about doing the little I could in conjunction with our overseas publisher, a true Cyber Punkette. I only succeeded in showing my ineptitude, but was able to do a couple of things to move things along. She encouraged me saying:

” I dub you a Cyberpunk Priest ala The Matrix. You’ll be a hacker before this is done :-) You’ll need some cool black hoodie and live in the shadows of society and pay for stuff in bitcoin ;-) “

My response: “I’m in.”

Her response: “queue the cyberpunk music…”

Summarizing Wikipedia: Keanu Reeves as Thomas A Anderson / Neo, a computer programmer in Metacortex corporation who moonlights as a hacker. Reeves described his character as someone who felt that something was wrong, and was searching for Morpheus and the truth to break free.

I have to wonder what the new bureaucracy of the Holy See censoring all Catholic internet activity will think of this post… [Just a little humor guys and gals of inquisition infamy over in the Vatican. Be nice. Smile.]

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