Category Archives: Confession

Absolving excommunicated Mafiosi. Pope Francis’ conscience. Targeting Missionaries of Mercy. My fault?

don pino puglisi

Blessed Father Pino Puglisi, killed by the Sicilian Mafia.

Pope Francis’ problem in declaring the excommunications of Mafiosi is not that there would have to be a publication by name of individuals involved (which they wouldn’t care about as they would be convicted and imprisoned and publicized as such), but rather a publication by name of individuals who have sought to have their excommunications lifted.

Part of that lifting of the excommunication involves a confessions of sins, which would involve many if not all the crimes for which they have been convicted, if not many, many, many more.

Those “pentiti” might rarely seek out a witness protection program of the State. That program would be granted along with immunity to those who would rat out others in the mafia and confess to the State even more crimes.

And yet, those individuals, not trusting the State, might want to avoid all of that and simply wait until they leave prison. If they then seek to have their excommunications lifted, whether in prison or, finally, out, they would simply go to, say, a Missionary of Mercy (if they are granted the faculties for such a situation) or a priest who could put them in touch with the bishop of the place or the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, depending on the logistics of delegation for the lifting of the penalty.

However, upon the publication of their names that they have had their excommunications lifted, those individuals would then have a contract put out on them by the Mafia, a death sentence, for it is known that part of this would be a confession of their sins, again, surely everything, not just that for which they were convicted, but all other crimes, murder, extortion, usually involving many others of their Mafia crowd.

And now there is someone who has a 1st hand Confession of that which both law enforcement of whatever country and the now betrayed Mafia will want to put down. Thus, there will be a hit put out not only on the ex-Mafia guy, but also the priest or bishop.

“Troppe cose conosce… padre…” [Bang!]

Fine. That’s O.K. Happy to do it. Missionaries of Mercy volunteered to do just this kind of thing, right? But that’s Pope Francis’ conscience problem, right? It shouldn’t be.


The status quo just isn’t working. The status quo is that, say, a Mafia funeral is being arranged at the funeral home for whatever parish; the undertaker rings the priest who already knows he’s going to get the call. The priest agrees, even though he knows that the Mafia guy is a notorious sinner and such a funeral would be a scandal. He does this because he doesn’t want untoward consequences. This happens all the time.

The same is true of Mafia weddings: “Padre, you will be at the villa on top of the mountain at 1:00 PM today to witness a marriage.” The priest knows that this is a Mafia wedding, that probably the girl is unwilling, even with a gun to her head, that a previous spouse could have been killed, whatever. No premarital investigation. He does it.

The priest does it because if he doesn’t there will be consequences, probably not involving himself, but others. His mother gets a broken arm. The family bakery is burned down. A drugged up teenage unwilling mafia prostitute is dragged in front of him and has her brains blown out.

But what we’re talking about here is not just the “Mafia” but such as MS 13, Calle 18, the Aryan Brotherhood, et alii, but also all the diverse thuggish ethnic groups, all the cartels.

Or is there another way?

Pope Francis is used to doing things a little differently, so why not with this as well?

Could any priest lift the excommunication? Guaranteed, this will just have any number of priests indiscriminately killed. That would become the initiation murder into whatever organization. There are hundreds of extremely violent groups who day in and day out torture and kill men, young and old, but also women, boys and girls, infants, babies. All the time. Day in, day out. The old Mafia honor thing doesn’t exist anymore.

So, I say, just give it to the Missionaries of Mercy.

But, here’s the deal: Law enforcement wants the info of those confessions just as bad as does any corrupt organization. The FBI, you have to know, will also stop at absolutely nothing to get that information. When you see enough hell, torture, death, of kids, day in, day out, becoming so frustrated, and here are these priests sitting on this information, first hand sincere confessions, just how is it that you get those priests to rat out their penitents and break the seal of confession. All the same extortion and tactics can come into play. Technological ploys are common place. But there are ways to overcome all these things. But I’ll tell you this, the FBI makes a thing of coming to these posts specifically on the absolution of the possible excommunication of the Mafia-esque crowd frequently, especially lately. Something’s afoot.

And as far as the declaration that the excommunication being lifted goes, the Missionary simply, though secretly, provides the name of the one who, outside of confession, before the confession, had his excommunication lifted. That name then simply disappears from the list published on the Vatican web-site rather than from any local (arch)diocese.

But there’s more. It’s not just a godfather or a made man that we’re talking about, is it? What about the guy who creates a drug problem among your kids, then makes money from the problem he himself created by profiting from the drug habit of those kids, he being the street dealer or someone in the middle or higher up. It’s all RICO. Are we talking all drug pushers? Wow. I’m your guy, Pope Francis. I’ll do it. As reparation for my sins, for those of my “Shadow”, for those of some of our law enforcement, some of those in the State Department, some priests who caved and only facilitated such criminals.


Perhaps I’m at fault here regarding all this business about excommunications. Some years ago I put in a bid to have exactly this kind of thing done. It wasn’t long after that that an episcopal intervention about this was made here in these U.S.A. It wasn’t long after that that Pope Francis began this process of finding a way such excommunications effected. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. At any rate, you can’t just do stuff and guardian angels let you get away with nothing happening to you while others are done in because of your intervention. Fine. Whatever. I just don’t care, meaning, I’m not the one to decide how life goes. God guides history. The angels make it happen. So, it’s all good by me.

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“Jesus Confesses” – Giving my cynical Internet Stalker profiler guy a chance to come clean with the mafia

Jesus confesses

This was a gift from the artist who wants to remain anonymous. So, I’ll claim the copyright on this, lest it be misused to hurt the Church. (C) 2018 George David Byers. Hey! Note the flag of Saint George!

I have much to say about the above drawing. I’ll bide my time. I have to rush off to do some Missionary of Mercy stuff.

For now, I’ll leave you with some words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who is a canonized saint. And then some words of Hilaire Belloc. And then an invitation regarding some Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations (RICO).

“Jesus is the Word Made Flesh. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross. Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass. For the sins of the world and mine. Jesus is the Hungry, to be fed. Jesus is the Thirsty, to be satiated. Jesus is the Drunkard, to listen to him. Jesus is the Drug Addict, to befriend him. Jesus is the Prostitute, to remove from danger and befriend” (Mother Teresa: Meditation in the Hospital [summary]).

To put it in the words of Saint Paul: Jesus became sin for us.

Anyway, on to the irony without which there is no Christianity:

“To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.” [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

Now, for RICO and my Internet Stalker guy: I need some help, some advice, and you really a quite clever. Prove your good faith. Help me figure out how to bring about in a way that actually might work for all involved what Pope Francis wants to do with the medicinal penalty of automatic / declared excommunication for the RICO crowd.

  • How do you move from a State conviction to an excommunication, you know, legitimately?
  • How do you have, say, Missionaries of Mercy, lift declared excommunications and absolve crimes without making penitents and the Missionaries of Mercy into targets because, you know, they know too much? I would hate to leave this to anyone else either in Rome or in whatever local church as becoming a target should be a volunteer mission (as in Missionaries of Mercy).
  • How does one sweep for listening devices, it being that the FBI, CIA, DEA, BATFE, DOJ, et alii, really really really would like to listen in on such confessions and have been known to bug confessionals previously (twice that I know of in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York)? This being for undeclared excommunications.

Just to say, the Italian Military liaison to the Holy See actually invited me to be appointed to a parish in Southern Italy admitting to the possible bugging of my Confessional in that parish for the purpose of going after the RICO crowd, admitting as well that if I didn’t play the game of absolving a local mafia guy by insisting he first go into hiding elsewhere I would most likely be shot right through the confessional screen by that mafia guy who was simply using the confessional to put the local priest (to whom all things come) under the seal of confession.

Here’s the deal. Interest has been growing in this topic of late in and around D.C. and North-East Virginia. I’m guessing something has been put in front of Pope Francis. I’m guessing he wants to present something to the Missionaries of Mercy after Easter this year. I’m guessing it will be insufficient. I’m guessing I would like to work something up a bit more nuanced from the confessor’s angle and send this in beforehand.

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Filed under Confession, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

Jesus goes to Confession

confessional jesus

A very sweet, nice image from, I think, the Baltimore Catechism. Fine. There is some correct theology there. Good. Jesus is making happen what He commanded His Apostles and their successors in Holy Orders to do. Great. But there is more.

Here’s another image, more recent, which emphasizes that the priest is acting in Persona Christiin the Person of Christ, for the absolution of sins:

confession jesus

That’s um… nice too. I like it. But, well, sheesh… there is so much more to what is happening in Confession that people really should realize, so that they have more of a sense of how deeply and completely they are forgiven even if their fallen human emotions still weigh them down with a guilt which isn’t there (which is a cross we sometimes carry, a cross which we are commanded to carry by Jesus, a cross which doesn’t hold us back spiritually, just the opposite).

I would like to see an image, a line-drawing say – even from someone thinking they have no talent for drawing faces, hands and such – of Jesus going to Confession to a priest, and perhaps in a more traditional Catholic setting, something like the photo below, but with an adult Jesus, with His wounds, going to Confession to the priest:

confession sacrament

Here’s the deal: Jesus walked among us so that He could stand in our place (or kneel in our place, or be crucified in our place), the Innocent for the guilty, so that He would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Effectively, He was taking our place, not only for original sin but for all of our personal sins, however hidden, however embarrassing, however shameful, confessing them, as it were, as if those sins were His own sins: “I did this…. I said that… I thought the other thing… I omitted doing…” And, by the way, Jesus got a penance, a big one, being tortured to death, the Innocent for the guilty. And He did His penance. Why? Because He really does, in fact, indeed, love us.

To be Christian we have to have a sense of what to us in this world seems to be such biting irony,  mercy being founded on justice, mercy and justice being one in God. Otherwise, we are a train-wreck:

  • Mere mercy cut off from noticing the above mentioned justice brings us instantaneously to the darkest of existential states of cynicism and doubt.
  • Mere justice which doubts even the possibility of mercy is a crushing darkness throwing us into the most existential peripheries of dark bitterness.

We’re just not strong enough to bear such horror, as it is untruth, for mercy is founded on justice and Jesus does bear the wounds which give Him the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Does He love us? Does He forgive us? Yes.

Do we, in our weakness, want that our weakness goes away already in this world? Yes. And it doesn’t happen because, in justice, we have to suffer all the effects of original sin, even while carrying the grace of Christ within us, while we are in this world. To be free of the effects of original sin we have to be in heaven, where there will be no more weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all the hell over the place, no more sickness, no more death. Jesus isn’t going to throw away justice, for then He would also be throwing away mercy. Jesus instead lets all our weakness teach us how to be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want that we beat ourselves up. He wants that we accept the forgiveness, but as mercy founded on justice. It is hurtful to have false expectations, as in “no more weakness in this world,” “no more cross,” “a method of salvation I came up with so that I can ditch that dumb Jesus with His dumb mercy founded on His dumb justice.” But, as said in the bulleted points above, that leads to an impossibly heavy, crushing darkness which throws us into the most impossible self-made peripheries, having us think we are outsiders. No. That’s not the way. Jesus is the Way. He’s the only Way. Jesus is the One. He’s the only one.

Let’s watch Him, let’s listen to Him confess all our sins. Let’s watch Him do His penance for us. We imposed our misery on ourselves. Jesus doesn’t like that. He came among us to take that misery away. We’ll see that especially in heaven. But we can already get a sense of His love for us here, even amidst all the chaos within and without. It’s like Saint Therese said, it’s not necessarily a jump up and down peace, but a peace bound by love which enables us to go on. We gotta be little children. Little. Children. Look at Jesus, in wonder, as He confesses our sins.

I would love to have a line drawing of this, even one with little talent.

And more, how about a little boy or girl watching Jesus go to Confession, with mouth agape in thankful wonder and surprise and joy.


Filed under Confession, Irony, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Yesterday was really cool. I made a “General Confession.” Yikes!

pope francis confession

FIRSTLY, make the distinction between General Absolution and General Confession.

  • General Absolution is validly done with the mandate of the local bishop in special circumstances when there are not enough priest for individual confessions and there is some imminent deadly event about to take place, such as for soldiers who need to respond to a surprise attack in the throws of war. They make a quick examination of conscience, an act of contrition, and intend to go to individual confession to confess their sins if and when (as soon as possible) that they can do so. This does not include big parishes with few priests, or pilgrimages with large numbers of people. The absolutions for the latter circumstances are invalid. Get that? Invalid. Moreover, people who say that like this absolution of a crowd thing really don’t like it at all. Let them do it a few times and then they’ll stop. They know it’s just wrong, vacuous, not what Christ or the Church or their souls want. They just stop going even while they lie about how nice it is. Then they stop going to Church. Just that simple. Go to Confession. Go to individual Confession. You’ll continue to go to Church. You’ll continue to go all the way to heaven.
  • General Confession is another thing altogether. It is not for everyone. It might be hurtful to the scrupulous. It is not for them. It might be helpful to some people. For instance, those who are about to get married, or enter the seminary or religious life, or be ordained or profess vows, or become bishops or someone elected to be bishop of Rome. They all might want, with renewed contrition and thanksgiving for Jesus’ forgiveness, to confess past sins which were already forgiven, not to be forgiven more (that would be heretical), but to give to Jesus a more apt sorrow for past sin, more apt because they are now, thanks be to God, hopefully a bit closer to Jesus and, from that perspective closer to Him, can have that more apt sorrow. This is really very wonderful. I did that yesterday. Very cool indeed.

SECONDLY, make sure you are ready in two ways:

  • Do an examination of conscience.
  • Confess with a priest who goes to Confession himself, who loves Confession, preaches about the joys of Confession, who is happy that you would like to do a General Confession.

THIRDLY, make it easy on yourself and your Confessor. Remember the four words beginning with the letter “C”, thus, the four “Cs”. Be…

  • Clear… Don’t use ambiguous words like: “I kinda, well, you know, like that” because in saying that the priest won’t know what you’re talking about. If you say something like “I struggle with impatience,” the priest won’t know that you confessing a sin. He might think that you virtuously carrying the cross of your weakness well. Just confess sins.
  • Complete… You must confess all grave sins in kind and number and circumstances which add more sin or change the gravity of the sin. “I killed an old man” is not the same as “I killed my dad.” “I committed an impure act” is not the same as “I’ve been committing adultery weekly for two years, destroying both families.”
  • Concise… Priests DO NOT want to hear useless details. No congratulating yourself. No making excuses for yourself. No confessing the sins of other people.
  • Contrite… Having confessed your own actual sins clearly, in kind and number, make an act of contrition which necessarily includes a firm purpose of amendment. If you intend already in the Confessional purposely to continue committing sin, then you are not contrite and you cannot receive fruitfully any absolution you might otherwise have tricked out of a priest.

FOURTHLY, be thankful, joyful.

Oh, and, by the way. I didn’t make a General Confession because of any foreseeable life change like becoming a bishop. ;-) I just did it because I love Jesus and I want to go to heaven.

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Pope Francis and an FBI guy on interrogation – torture sessions and Catholic Sacramental Confession

torture chamber

Pope Francis has made it clear that he doesn’t want Catholic Confessionals to be torture chambers and Interrogation Rooms, as if there was a difference for any in the Intelligence Community. Narco-interrogations can be real torture – bringing on the most intense pain bearable just this side of death – if you know how to ask questions the right way:

interrogation room

I’m guessing that 100% of priests agree with Pope Francis on that one.

Anyway, a Catholic FBI guy spoke to me recently about the kind of interrogations he would like to see conducted on entire classes of people, you know, shall we say, complete and coerced confessions. The FBI doesn’t mess around when they want to do interrogations, pushing the envelope on so many levels and in so many different ways. Call it torture? Enhanced interrogations techniques?

What surprised me about this was that he compared this to Catholic Sacramental Confession, saying that their methodologies bring about a cleansing of the soul. Hah, I wonder if he thinks that his little polygraph sessions he himself has been happy to go through are some sort “soul cleansing.” It is to laugh, or cry, really. The guy is Catholic.

Here’s the deal: in Catholic Sacramental Confession the emphasis is not on sins (though they are indeed to be confessed in kind and number and important circumstance), and not on some sort of psychological catharsis, but rather on the joy of being forgiven by our dear Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

And oh, I entirely disagree with Pope Francis. The Confessional is always and each time to be a Torture Chamber and Interrogation Room, well, that is, you have to know that Jesus has done this for us, taking our place, here…

Jesus Pilate Ecce Homo

… and here:

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

… now having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. But, Pope Francis knows that. The FBI apparently does not. The FBI has nothing on the Romans, nor on that Jewish Good Guy, Jesus, who does it all by love, by being in solidarity with us.


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Defending innocents – Loving enemies – Love overrides fear using it as a tool: stopping active shooters in churches


ISIS is threatening terrorist events at Christmas time on specifically Catholic churches. Distinctions are necessary. Priests should be clear-headed about such things. Fear in the face of terrorism isn’t always a bad thing. But there are a number of kinds of fear, some good, some bad. Let’s take just a peek at both, starting with bad fear:

  • Bad fear, arising from our own insecurities, causes misplaced priorities, causing mistakes, causing imprudence bringing about reactions which might well bring about one’s own injury or death, or the same for innocent by-standers, or the same for the perpetrator in an unnecessary and unjustified escalation of force.
  • The insecurities causing bad fear regard any lack of readiness to leave this world considering one’s loved ones or one’s own responsibilities and dreams and plans or regarding any lack of personal spiritual preparedness for entering into eternity: if one isn’t ready to let go, if one hasn’t discussed this with loved ones and advisers, if one isn’t prepared to understand that it is a real possibility that one might not be able to get out of a threat or possibly might not be able to deescalate troubles, well then, bad things are probably going to happen: see above.
  • Bad fear casts out all love. I know a priest who said that he would absolutely for certain abandon his flock to the wolves so that he could come back later and be a priest another day. I attempted to instruct him that with that attitude, he wasn’t even now being a pastor of the flock. Perhaps he despaired of being able to do something about bad fear, and simply gave up.

Love casts out bad fear by having us depend on the Lord’s good love, not our own. Just to say, there is good fear and love can put that good fear to good use. Let’s take a peek:

  • Good fear regards the God-given good instinct for self-preservation. We can’t simply explain quite stupidly — “NO FEAR!” — thinking that that will bear out to be true in a critical incident situation. Good fear is a necessity and can be used to provide oneself with a good education in understanding and noting indicators of danger, to obtain good training, to keep oneself on edge with ever changing drills but also basic mechanics. Good fear puts an immediacy on prudently evaluating whatever situation. Good fear opens oneself up to having before oneself any number of possible avenues of recourse while choosing quite instantaneously the right course of action.
  • Good fear is the beginning of wisdom. Good fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Good fear places one before all eternity with all the prerequisite changes in one’s priorities, with all the security one has in one’s participation in God’s self-sacrificing love, looking forward to entering into all eternity if that becomes a necessity that one risks, as it were, in taking up such a life and life-style.
  • Good fear respects God’s justice, that is, with all piety, rendering honor to whom honor is due in justice.

Now, such analysis doesn’t mean that one doesn’t love one’s enemy, the active shooter, who is injuring or killing innocents. Our dear Lord can well sort out the results of one’s intervention in which one has put oneself at risk to stop the perpetrator. Recall what our Lord said just before being tortured to death, laying down His own life, the Innocent for the guilty: “Father, forgive them! They don’t even know what they are doing.” Defending the innocent doesn’t mean anything about the judgment of the perpetrator. Defending the innocent doesn’t mean that one is cruel or mean. One can retain one’s love of God and neighbor even when pulling the trigger on a perpetrator who is actively injuring and/or killing others or oneself.

Being a priest myself, I was asked whether or not, after myself hypothetically pulling the trigger and neutralizing any immediate and mortal threat, I would then proceed to absolve the sin of the criminal involved, if, for instance, the same fellow, being Catholic, did not refuse the sacrament as he might be actively dying, or was, in the same state, also unconscious. I would, of course, offer such an absolution. For instance, present insanity, in which case he is not guilty of any malice, does not exclude the forgiveness of any past sin at the possible moment of death. There is no sin too great that God’s mercy cannot provide forgiveness. But unrepented presumption of mercy is a sin against the Holy Spirit, for which there is no forgiveness, but that’s on the perp, not me. God’s the Judge.

“Defending innocents and loving enemies” — They’re not subject to the law of non-contradiction. Jesus is just that good and just that kind. Amazing, huh?

P.S. The flip-side of this last scenario would be whether or not a defender, having neutralized a threat against innocent, should be absolved from sin. I would never absolve such a person for doing such a violent thing because it is not sinful but rather virtuous and indeed heroic to defend the innocent from catastrophic injury and death. People wrongfully feel guilt for any number of things, including merely having happened to see a violent incident. Wrongfully forgiving that which was always innocent only seals people in wrong-headed guilt, which action on the part of the wrongful “forgiver” is IMHO a sin. It’s that kind of puritanesque being-above-the-fray judgment on good defenders which throws good people into the hell of PTSD, making them victims of holier-than-thou bullying instead of helping them to be one with everyone, which they were to begin with, and certainly much more so than any self-appraised do-gooders.

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Analyzing spy Robert Philip Hanssen: the worst traitor in American history goes to Catholic Sacramental Confession

robert philip hanssen fbi russia spy

Why do I know this face? Somewhere in Rome or…

“Robert Philip Hanssen is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years from 1979 to 2001” (Wikipedia).

The FBI has a press release here from just months before September 11, 2001. The History Channel (also youtube) provided much through original post-hoc interviews of the players. All this can be total fabrication, of course. The FBI has everything to gain by getting people to lie about this fellow. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just say it’s all true and then discuss why it is that it is said that he remains an enigma to the FBI in his actions, a mystery as to how he could live such a double life. There is no conundrum about it at all, that is, if we go by what the reports say.

Bob is Catholic. He repented. He went to Confession. I wasn’t there. I’m sure the priest didn’t talk about it. This information came from Bob himself. It’s said:

“He goes to a priest. And the priest says: ‘O.K., here’s what you’re gonna do. Don’t do it anymore. Donate the money to Mother Teresa and all will be forgotten.’ And that’s what happened.” — But seven years later he started spying again. — (Traitors Within)

The last statement about “again” is the key to the FBI’s misunderstanding, their wondering how it is that such a seemingly devout, conservative fellow would start up the espionage he had apparently sincerely given up. That “again” bit is an assumption that must be mistaken. The reason is that the espionage already effected had an ongoing effect continuing to put people at risk from the first confession right through any others. Giving up any money to charity, to “Mother Teresa,” doesn’t cut it. He would have to reverse the ongoing damage of putting people and indeed the entire country at grave risk. He would have to turn himself in.

But I don’t say that the priest should demand that he turn himself in before giving an absolution. After all, in turning himself in, Bob might not ever have the chance to go to Sacramental Confession again. So, O.K., the first confession the priest might give him an absolution telling him, however, that he shouldn’t try to come back for another absolution if he didn’t turn himself in. He might have a chance for confession in prison, right? Though maybe not. However, he would have to undo the ongoing damage his espionage was presently causing. Going to Confession multiple times without undoing ongoing damage to people and to the country isn’t right.

I will say this as well: I’m Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy. If some traitor or spy or whatever comes to me for Confession in the same situation as above, I’ll absolve him. And I will keep the secret unto death. Even under torture. Not to worry. Jesus has paid the price for those sins. It’s the least I can do. However, know that he won’t get any absolution the next time he comes to Confession if he hasn’t in the meantime turned himself in, that is, if what he has done still puts people’s lives at risk and he has to turn himself in in order to undo the damage. If what he’s done is a once off thing, like betraying a motorcade route, then he can come back to Confession again, even for the same thing. We’ll talk about what repentance means, and what a firm purpose of amendment means, and how not to fool oneself, to be sure. But he can come back to Confession.

Oh, and the conundrum about the double life of Robert Philip Hanssen? How can that be? Look, it goes back to the “again” thing. He didn’t start spying “again” seven years after confessing these things. He was always spying in that the effect of putting people and the entire country at risk was ongoing and he wasn’t doing a damn thing about it. This was working on him all the time. His hypocrisy manifested itself in other areas of his life. It had to. We’re not compartmentalized. He fooled his presumably multiple Confessors. He couldn’t fool his own soul. He was living off the adrenaline of the “power” of his espionage; he was being destroyed by the adrenaline of the “power” of his espionage. When he actively started up “again”, he just wanted another fix of what he never stopped.

Of course, he can repent of all this and now go to Confession once again. No one is a lost cause, ever. Again, what I’ve written above is merely hypothetical as we only know the “facts” through others, right? The priests can’t say anything, right? I presume they all did the right thing. What I’ve presented is a way that shows they could have done the right thing. Don’t blame them.

Note to his ultra-max prison: If you show this to Bob just like you showed him the documentary about himself, and he wants to go to Confession, let me know. I’ll happily make the trip out.


Filed under Confession, Intelligence Community, Missionaries of Mercy, Terrorism

Homily 2017 09 27 Forgiving Priests!

This is what our Lord thinks about having patience with priests and bishops and Apostles. Yikes!


Filed under Confession, HOMILIES, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Charlotte’s Eucharistic Congress & 9/11

Eucharistic Congress with 9-11 memorial

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are commemorated every year in Charlotte on the same day we have the Eucharistic Congress (not always September 11), right where the Eucharistic procession begins in front of Saint Peter’s Church before going through the city to the Convention Center for the day. I get to go to both. Great!

Father Mychal Judge

One of the photographers of our Catholic newspaper couldn’t resist taking this picture. The editor said: “Here’s that photo we took — to me, the moment perfectly captures one of the most important aspects of the Congress.” Mercy…

Eucharistic Congress confession

I have to agree about Jesus’ goodness and kindness, of course. Meanwhile, there were lots of great events besides the procession and holy hour, at which a friend, Msgr Schreck, gave a great talk. There were a zillion venders of everything Catholic possible, and vocations booths, and pro-life stuff, and lay movements of all kinds, including the Knights of one kind and another. Here’s the Schreckness with yours truly taking up the last places in the procession before Jesus (photo by a parishioner). Msgr Schreck sponsored me for membership in the CBA:

Eucharistic Congress procession

There were a zillion parish banners which remained on display in the main convention hall after the procession was over. Really nice. This reminded me of all the banners one can see at the Eucharistic and Rosary processions in Lourdes.

Eucharistic Congress banners

I left Andrews about 12:40 AM Saturday to pick up some friends going to the Eucharistic Congress as well, who live out in the middle of absolutely nowhere. We were in time to get some breakfast and go to the Holy Hour before the procession. I got back really very late, and was up again for Holy Hour at 6:00 AM back in the parish, as we have that every Sunday. Then it was non-stop hospital and hospice and Communion calls till evening. It was all totally enjoyable, well, except for one bit, but I’ll save that for another post. The overwhelming aspect of the Eucharistic Congress is Jesus in the Eucharist. It’s all about Jesus.

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White Lies and Truth Telling – In praise of Lillian Carter and Jesus

lillian carter

Southern Gentlewoman Lillian Carter gave an interview to Barbara Walters during Governor Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, during which Jimmy promised that he would never lie to the American people.

  • Barbara Walters: “Has your son never told a lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, he’s probably told a few little white lies.”
  • Barbara Walters: “What’s a little white lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, Barbara, you remember when you came here a few minutes ago and I told you how pretty you looked and how glad I was to see you? That was one!”

These kind of conversations carry the baggage of a universally understood societal convention of mental reservation. Such mental reservation, when accompanied by even the slightest note of sarcasm, immediately betrays explicitly what everyone knows even without the help of the sarcasm: “You look pretty [in your own eyes].” So, it’s not even meant even as a little white lie, just an understood mental reservation, which can be even sharper than what is otherwise considered polite.

barbara walters

A mental reservation shouldn’t be used very often by us fallen human beings as we can ever so incredibly very easily turn into habitual full-on liars of the worst sort.

Having said that, Jesus Himself used a mental reservation: “I’m not going up to the feast in Jerusalem [publicly]” (see John 7:8-10). This isn’t even a “white lie.”

In the Nazi era, good Germans used mental reservations to save the Jews: “There are no Jews hiding in my basement [that I want you to know about].” Great! This isn’t even a “white lie.”

jewish yellow star jude

Not helping people to prepare to go to heaven when it is quite certain they will presently be going before their Creator and Redeemer stating ever so “nicely” to them that “Nothing is wrong! All is well! We have no worries! La di da!” — all that is simply a great disservice and shows zero leadership and lack of depth, lack of conviction, lack of character, love, respect, faith. Don’t be afraid to pray with people.

If I were always to have told people lies about their state of soul while they are dying, lying to them that they are presently on their way to meet their Creator and Redeemer, I would never have witnessed innumerable and absolutely peaceful and joyful deaths, people now happy to be on their way to meet Mary’s Son. To be at the ready with all the Sacraments and Papal Blessings and Indulgences, and then just stand there telling them that they are nice and everyone is nice and no one will ever get sick and die and that they should just forget about any kind of eternity would, on my part, be diabolical. Right?


Confessors who lie to their penitents, telling them that their sins are not sins at all are not helping them know the goodness and kindness and forgiveness of Jesus (which is why they are there at Confession but are denied). That’s never a good thing. Ever.


People want to say that actual lies or any sin whatsoever, even those of the worst kind, are not sins at all and are even praiseworthy because there are reasons, you know, mitigating circumstances that make it all alright. They do this because they are scared to death, being members of communities which have a preacher-man screaming hell-fire and brimstone Puritan-esque threats at them, bullying them into thinking that all are condemned if they have ever even once sinned, so that they are all going to hell no matter what, that is, unless you can think of some rationalization for why one sinned. Catholics can be like this, with self-indulgent pride which acts as self-salvation. I saw this in Australia, which, instead of being like the “Old West” of the USA, was extremely Puritanesque on one level, while, on another, there was an extreme attitude of being laid back, the kids, for instance, being sexualized in school as kindergarteners, with those same kids committing suicide astronomically disproportionately more than other youngsters anywhere in the world. That Down Under country generally has the idea that if it’s a sin, it cannot be forgiven, for there is no real forgiveness. God cannot forgive. So, they rationalize that they have so many mitigating circumstances that they could never be responsible for a sin, and so go ahead and sin on purpose, you know, telling themselves little white lies.

Here’s the deal: We need not be afraid to share with others the greatest love of our lives, Christ Jesus, who, in fact, does forgive us, and does provide us with grace so that we don’t “have to” sin. We can be on our way to heaven. Why do we have to be afraid of Jesus? He laid down His life for us. He loves us. He’s not the Puritan-esque preacher man. We do that because we are afraid to be good friends with Him, giving Him control of our spiritual lives. We would rather die a tortured physical death than do that. Allowing Jesus, by His grace, to bring us up into the life of the Most Holy Trinity demands that we be crucified to the world and to ourselves. The otherwise most gentle nice pious person will turn into a monster of bitter cynicism before they let go and let God if they are depending on themselves instead of on God’s grace. They will rationalize anything which keeps people away from that good friendship with Jesus that they themselves are afraid to have. Pope Francis rightly says: “Humility, humility, humility.”

pope francis confession

In heaven, there is no self-serving lying about telling people that they look pretty (see above). Instead, everyone will have the splendor of the Most Holy Trinity shining out from within them. It is not evil to turn people to this hope. We can be good friends with Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. He is good. He is kind. And I don’t mind telling people about Him, whether in or outside the Confessional, whether at the moment of death or any other time. Jesus is our All in all. He is my Savior, our Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Day off (6) Donkeys are great listeners


Donkeys, however mangy, can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand. They’re not stubborn, which is what mules are. And they listen. Look at those ears! And… and… they are always with the Holy Family.

Part of the day off is always listening, which does me heaps of good, as I have some great conversations about all things good, like heaven, like the goodness and kindness of Jesus. This time I listened to some pretty desperate stories in the midst of all the wonderful trust in our Lord’s providence and love for us fallen human beings.

It’s been a pretty full week. Besides the Stroupe guy, still on the loose as I write this, there was also the horrific murder in front of a parishioner’s house. I note that how he really died according to eye witnesses and what was put in the papers are two very different things. Obviously the police are holding their cards close. Monstrous. Grisly. And then there was a suicide in the family. They are all bad, but this was a really bad one. How to say it? And then, apart from all that, there was a really bad injustice. Etc., etc., with one thing worse the other.

When I was a seminarian, I asked one of my half-sisters for advice on how I should go about being a priest. She immediately said that she did have one bit of advice, which was that, unlike so many of the priests she knows, I was always supposed to listen to those who want to be heard. I’ve always remembered and followed that advice.

Sometimes listening has gotten me into terrible, terrible trouble, but, mind you, without any regret on my part. I would do it all over again a thousand times. Sometimes when you listen and no one else will, you save a person’s soul. I’ve seen it so very many times. Sometimes when people get upset with you for listening, it’s because they don’t want you to hear things that will get them into deep trouble, and they are rather unhappy about that. ;-)

But always, always, always, I’m the one who benefits from listening. There are some great saints among us, because Jesus is so very good and so very kind. I’m inspired by that.

And, just to say, Jesus is good at listening. He listens to the Father speak the One Word Who He Is, that very listening being the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father speaks Jesus to us. If we listen, that Word will reverberate within heart and soul. That doesn’t mean, for my part, that I’ll be any less of a donkey, but that’s O.K. There’re a lot of good things to say about donkeys. Anyway, Jesus has listened to me a lot. Also when I go to Confession. He’s good about that. Oh, and, by the way, the donkey is the symbol forever for the Jewish people. I call to mind Alexamenos.


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“New Phase” – Pope Francis recalls reconfirmed Missionaries of Mercy


Since the very beginning of Pope Francis’ “Missionaries of Mercy” project there were indications that there would be progressive phases to the activities of the Missionaries of Mercy. With the present reconfirmation of some – I’m guessing most – Missionaries of Mercy, now mid-2017, there was again mention of a “new phase.” So far, this refers to the encouragement of the Missionaries of Mercy to get off their back-ends so as to provide opportunities for celebrations of mercy, this time with the added faculty (now five total) detailed on Arise! Let us be Going! previously.


I surmise that it was planned that by this time there would be a total of six special faculties, but all the hoops that civil and ecclesiastical penalties were not yet readied or were finally considered impossible. I’m referring to the desire of Pope Francis and his special two-fold Church and State commission to study and then, if possible impose the excommunication of those convicted by the State of mafia-esque crimes. You don’t impose a medicinal penalty unless you have at the ready a way to deliver the medicine. I’m guessing that the Missionaries of Mercy would be involved in revoking any such excommunication and the absolving any related sin. That might be the case if the revoking of an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See. I’m guessing that this would be the case since mafia-esque crimes often involve multiple ecclesiastical territories, even multiple countries.

The Missionaries of Mercy are required to attend a formation get-together in Rome shortly after Easter 2018. I’ve already arranged some lodging at a guest room of the best Benedictine Nuns in the world. I’m eager to return to the Holy City where I’ve spent so very much of my life.


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(5) Missionaries of Mercy: “New Phase” guidelines for giving a penance


The directive to the re-confirmed Missionaries of Mercy concerning providing penances to penitents for the “New Phase” of the Missionaries of Mercy phenomenon is this:

“Regarding the penance, I would strongly recommend that it be such as to truly assist the full conversion of the penitent.”

Mind you, the penance is always meant to be medicinal. The penance mentioned here is not the normal penance, but for sins so serious that a great deal of medicine is needed for much healing. Sanctifying grace heals immediately, but our Lord wants to continue to work with our minds and hearts and wills and the most profound reaches of our souls.

When last in Rome for all that which regards the Missionaries of Mercy, I had the opportunity to consult on various difficult questions regarding, say, the faculties given. I am thankful for the many and lengthy discussions I had with the Apostolic Penitentiary, particularly about penances to be given for such matters. Such penances, spread out over time, involved time before the Most Blessed Sacrament. Why? Because…

It’s all about Jesus!



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(4) Remission of Censures: How to do it (Missionaries of Mercy “New Phase”)

confession general absolution

General Absolution before battle.

In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving  this instruction on the remission of censures (emphasis is in the letter itself):

“Regarding the remission of censures, it is sufficient that the Missionary use the regular formula of absolution, which remains unchanged, with the intention of absolving from the censure. However, if it would bring greater peace to the penitent, the Missionary may, before pronouncing the regular formula of absolution, absolve the penitent from the censure by pronouncing the specific formula proposed in Appendix I of the Ritus Poenitentiae. (In this regard, it is advisable to consult the version of the Rite of Penance used in your territory).”

Appendix I is very short, merely providing the formula:

  • Potestate mihi concessa, ego te absolvo a vinculo excommunicationis (vel suspensionis vel interdicti). In nomine Patris, et Filii,  et Spiritus Sancti. / Amen.

Of course, if one uses the traditional formula, this formula is incorporated into the rite with some conditional words (“inasmuch as I am able” and “inasmuch as you have need”).

Obviously, all this refers ONLY to the internal forum, and therefore, for instance, only to those censures which have NOT been publicly imposed on an individual. Therefore, for instance, the Holy Father’s proposed excommunication of those members of the Mafia who have been convicted of Mafia-esque crimes by the State and subsequently declared to be excommunicated would not fall under the jurisdiction for absolution by a Missionary of Mercy unless he was otherwise granted that extra faculty, it being assumed (we will see) that such an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See.

Also see:


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Two thumbs down: “The Confession” – otherwise voted Best Short Film of International Catholic Film Festival

Begin rant: /// Cold as ice. Torture chamber. Shouldn’t force the guy to turn himself in or speak to the family. The priest is not a police officer. He’s not a shrink. He should have found out what “accident” meant, yes, but no more than that. The guy was guilty for getting drunk, for driving drunk, for the evil he committed while driving drunk, for hitting the guy, for running away and leaving him for dead. The priest should have given him a penance that he knew he could do regarding his resources (very often a really bad idea as people are vulnerable at that time and will say they can do something when they can’t) and his time left to live and his health capabilities (probably he was ready to die in very short order as he was hemorrhaging right there). The priest should have anointed him for that matter.

It’s not ever about the priest, ever. Period. It’s about Jesus. About Jesus’ mercy. Wow, he is totally lacking in his formation. He shouldn’t be working out his own problems, however far reaching, with his penitents. Would I have compassion on the priest if he came to confession to me? Sure. Great. But appraising this B.S.? Well, it’s B.S.

People think that compassion is telling people that there is no sin, that there is no forgiveness for sin if it’s a real sin, so just tell people that their sins are not sins and so don’t ask forgiveness or be forgiven for those sins. Is human niceness better than God’s forgiveness? No. That guy was actually guilty of a hit and run which could certainly could have killed someone, and that’s also a sin even if later he thinks that the guy didn’t die (though he did). That doesn’t make it any less serious. If you fully intend to kill someone but they somehow live you’re still guilty of murder before God for having made the attempt. Make the analogy with lust, as Jesus says that a man who lusts after a woman in his heart is as guilty as the one who actually goes after the woman.

The message of the film is that you really can’t be forgiven for real sin. This is the absolute worst message that could be given. What? Jesus really didn’t die to forgive our sins? His death, His standing in our place to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is just a damned lie? Really? That’s the message we should give? No.

There is so much wrong with this whole film. You can let people know that something is a sin and that they did sin in a big way, but let them know the completeness of God’s forgiveness. That’s what’s healing. Not psycho-counseling. It’s all about Jesus’ love, and Jesus’ love is something, someOne in which, in Whom we can rejoice. Really. This isn’t hard. But it seems no one knows about true mercy. True mercy involves Jesus. Does anyone know Jesus anymore? Is it all just a mind game?

Also, now that I’m ranting, I hate the attitude he has with the woman, laughing to himself at her. What a jerk he is. Does no one see what a proper reprimand should be that brings people to rejoice in the love that our Lord has for us? /// O.K. End of rant.

So, why the rant? Because I’ve met so many priests just like this, those who play mind games and make their emotions into prayer but no more than emotions. They can rationalize anything. It’s horrific to watch them and what happens to their parishes. Ships without rudders. Blown by the winds. Aimless. No identity.


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(1) Missionaries of Mercy reconfirmed: New list of faculties…

pope francis confession

The decree itself is spectacularly elegant with raised seal and all. The accompanying letter lists the particular sins reserved to the Holy See but which may be absolved by the Missionary of Mercy. These differ slightly but importantly from the original list.

Here’s the original list:

  1. profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose;
  2. use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff;
  3. absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue;
  4. a direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.

The second list, valid now and into the future indefinitely is as follows. It repeats more or less verbatim the list of four, but then adds a fifth, expanding on the fourth:

  1. Profanation of the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose.
  2. Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff.
  3. Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment.
  4. Direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
  5. [1] The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (whether real or simulated), or [2] the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication. (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Decretum de sacramenti Paenitentiae dignitate tuenda, 23 September 1988 (AAS 80 [1988] 1367).

This last, new addition, is double-barreled. The conjunction “or” is rather significant. The mere recording without any divulgation is already enough to commit a sin reserved to the Holy See for absolution (and now the Missionaries of Mercy). A person who comes across such a recording but did not make it, but does make the divulgation is also committing a sin reserved for absolution to the Holy See or to a Missionary of Mercy. Of course, these two actions usually go hand in hand, committing the first so as to commit the second. Thus:

I could easily see a bitter Catholic media personality with an ax to grind against the Church going to real Sacramental Confession and confessing real sins which everyone knows about but which are considered and proclaimed to the whole world not to be sins by the impenitent “penitent” journalist, so that he is just baiting the priest to say whatever, so that he, the journalist, has something to rant about on the radio or on television or in the newspapers or internet, using the confession, whatever direction it goes, as fodder making the Church the butt of jokes during the morning commute. This is actually a problem in France, where such nauseating cowardice is a national pass time. Of course, the sins need not be real to incur the wrath of God and the need for absolution lest one risk going straight to hell. Fake sins don’t make the mockery any less incisive.

But what of the case of someone who is just a bit slow in understanding, and makes a real recording of a real confession to a priest who is his hero as that priest has helped him so very much, making the recording for his poor memory and only for his own edification, not divulging it? Take that same recording of that same person and say that he then put it up online because he wants to share his joy with the world for the edification of all? Actually, he needs to confession for the first and then also the second if he does that too.

And then what about the person who fakes like he has a recording of what was, in fact, a Sacramental Confession? He lies about it, saying that he has a real recording, and makes up content, using it for blackmail and extortion. That’s falls under this rubric as well. I can see it now, lawyers and accusers looking for easy settlements from bishops who just might throw money at anyone and everyone who says that they don’t like the advice they got in confession. The bishop or anyone connected with him cannot ask to hear the recording and so don’t know if it’s real or not. The priest can’t defend himself in any way. It would never make it to court, but this would basically re-bankrupt the Church, with the lawyers and accusers saying that the church is mocking the victims by excommunicating them with their evidence, bullying them. They would then get settlement money, you know, to make it go away even while priests are once again thrown out of ministry for life.


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In defense of mercy: it’s about justice

sacred heart

Seen in “The Barn” – the priests retreat house in Hanceville, AL

  • “For the sake of His sorrowful passion…” [“for the sake” – that’s called justice]
  • “… have mercy on us and on the whole world.” [There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.]

The reason people are skeptical of mercy, cynical, with bitterness, is that they cut mercy off from justice and run after mercy alone. That doesn’t work. There is no mercy without justice. Mercy is founded on justice. Aquinas puts mercy in its place in his commentary on the Sentences, saying that mercy is a mere potential part of the virtue of justice, yet also speaking of mercy as the greatest revelation of the glory of God. It is Christ Jesus standing in our place, taking on what we deserve for sin, original sin and our own, death, the worst we can give out, which makes the mercy real, majestic, the weight of the glory of which brings us to our knees, has us go prostrate before this most Sacred Mystery, and has us walk in humble thanksgiving with the Son of the Living God in our daily lives, at every moment of our lives, one with Him as members of the body are one with the body.

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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.


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

Father Byers’ tender snowflake exam

dung snow

So, there’s a secular business in ultra super liberal Connecticut called Silent Partner Marketing that has come up with a pre-employment exam (chapeau to FoxNews for picking that up). The exam takes the tender snowflakes out of the running straightaway. Methinks that this kind of questionnaire would be useful for candidates coming in to the seminary. The article repeats some of the questions. Let’s just see how I fare for those questions for a secular business. I will be honest. Here goes:


While any democracy of fallen human beings will have its faults and foibles and even downright wrongdoing, these can be overcome with the pursuit of justice and mercy, the honesty and integrity of which come about with the acceptance of salvation from God who has redeemed us all. I am everyday thankful for those who serve and lay down their lives in service. Upholding the Constitution by way of the first enumerated inalienable right to the free exercise of religion (along with the others) has pride of place in my heart and soul.


Self-defense / defense of the innocent is a right and duty enshrined in our Constitution and held up by natural law as a contribution to the virtue of justice. I’m happy to carry a concealed carry permit.


No matter what unrepeatable circumstances we have, we are all gifted by God with some circumstances that we can rightly claim to be privileges if we humbly get out of those circumstances whatever we can in the time we have, that is, for our own sake and the sake of others. Being bitter and envious is sheer idiocy. Throwing away gifts for the sake of mere political correctness is madness.


This is a bit of a touchy-feely question, but that’s the world we live in here in these USA, right? I too can wear my heart on my sleeve. Here goes: I distinctly remember the entire scene in extreme detail since I remember everything when I was a little kid back to even one year old. It might be the one and only time I’ve ever cried. My mom told me I never cried as a baby. When I was two and a half years old, in mid-Summer, I was beaten to a pulp by my four year old brother. He had chased me into the basement with its tile floor. He tackled me and, sitting on my stomach (I thought my hips were breaking), he smashed my head repeatedly against the floor, making me see stars though not making me pass out, just whaling on me with repeated punches. I hid behind an old couch pushed against the wall and the tears flowed, making a puddle, the old “cry me a river” was true in this case. And that was that. When I was done it was over. I started to learn some self-defense after that with one of the neighbor kids, successfully I might add. Oh, yes, my eyes welled up when dad died, and then not long after when mom died. I do sometimes get choked up when speaking of a friend’s death.


Yes. I’ve even put on the Officer Down! Memorial Dinner in our little town with seven counties of local law enforcement in attendance, along with various levels and departments and bureaus of the Feds coming to pay their respects to those fallen in the line of duty, and also to have an enjoyable day together. I’m thinking of taking the civilian FBI course for those interested in working closely with law enforcement.


O.K. Well, that’s that. But how about if we add a few more questions for the priesthood, you know, for would-be seminarians. I’ve come up with a few here, but help me by adding more questions in the comments. I admit, I’m ruthless here. The rule is that any insufficiently or otherwise dodged question demands a lengthy grilling, not necessarily GITMO style, but a grilling nonetheless. So, here goes, in two sessions:

First session:

  • What is a vocation?
  • To what, exactly, are you entitled as a priest? Be specific.
  • What do you think about mercy and contraception?
  • What do you think about mercy and divorce and remarriage?
  • What do you think about married priests?
  • What do you think about gay priests?
  • Is any truth absolute?
  • Is any moral law without exception?
  • Is hell forever?
  • What is your take on authority and the freedom of the children of God?
  • Have you ever volunteered for anything? List them all. If not, why not?
  • What do you think of the SSPX? If you have no opinion, why is that?

Second session:

  • Have you read the Bible? If yes, how many times?
  • Have you read the proclamations of the ecumenical Councils of the Church? Vatican Council II? Vatican Council I? The Council of Trent?
  • Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
  • When’s the last time you knelt in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament?
  • When’s the last time you recited the Holy Rosary?
  • Do you make a regular sacramental Confession?

Again, please add more in the comments section. Perhaps you can see where I’m going here. I remember an Archbishop who had would-be seminarians volunteer at the Cathedral parish for the Summer. He told them his own personal schedule to start the day with adoration at an early hour and invited the would-be seminarians to attend though it was up to them to do so or not. Their “real” duties were to be given them every day in the parish office. All the seminarians excelled in their “real” duties. Only some came to the adoration. The one’s who came to adoration were accepted, the others let go. Some think that is a good idea, some think it is horrible. It is what it is.



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Accompaniment: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself”

A priest-friend sent this in from a twitter account. So, we have an analogy: This is the image of the fall of a venial sin in which we are nevertheless still assenting to being dragged to heaven by our Lord (via Calvary and the Cross). A mortal sin would be to jump off altogether in contempt.

Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of repentance from a mortal sin, whether one can, as it were, jump back on where one left off in the spiritual life. He answers that, yes, this is possible, depending on one’s contrition, one’s purpose of amendment, the grace of God’s charity to which one assents in order that this contrition is brought to fruition with the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. It does, in grace, also depend on our generosity in following the grace being given. What would prohibit this assent would be presumption, lack of contrition, lack of firm purpose of amendment. But, all things being equal, as it were, yes, one can come back into God’s good friendship, whether a bit diminished, whether pretty much the same, whether far advanced. But NO presumption, with contrition and purpose of amendment being necessary.

Tangled webs can be woven. But tangled webs can be broken. Sometimes things are difficult.

Confession brings things back in good order. Sometimes we need the help of others, of the Church, of Jesus. Find a good confessor.


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