Category Archives: Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Catholic-Judeo Spirituality of Fasting: It’s all about squealing with joy

anthony paul

Fasting with a spiritual purpose is different although overlapping in many ways with mere nutritional dieting, the latter of which can, by the way, also have profound spiritual motivations. After all, we are not Promethean Neo-Pelagian Self-Absorbed Self-Congratulatory Manichaean Gnostic haters of the physical universe, are we? No. After all, our Lord Jesus is Incarnate, the Divine Son of none other than the Immaculate Conception. Some quick points:

  • Fasting goes way back to the time of the formation of Adam in the Garden of Eden, even before his wife was brought forth. God commanded Adam not to eat that which would harm him, but gave him free will to do as he chooses. Adam did not fast from the forbidden fruit of perceiving any good as admixed with the evil of egoism except if he should assent to enmity over against Satan, assent to the redeeming, saving grace from the Son of the Mother of the Redeemer.
  • Adam was thrown out of the paradise aspect of the garden lest he attempt to grasp after that which he could not understand, the fruit of the tree of the living ones, feigning unsuccessfully that he could, by his own efforts, thereby gain eternal life, but instead necessarily only hurting himself all the more. Mercifully, the cherubim with the fiercely flaming sword were stationed to protect the tree of the living ones, converting his grasping into receiving if he should humbly so choose.
  • As we grasp and are then painfully routed by the ardent enmity over against Satan that is God’s love at the end of that sword of the fierce cherubim, we see our weakness all the more clearly, excruciatingly clearly, so that we might choose to give up trusting in our own efforts of grasping and be humbly content with receiving the fruit of the tree of the living ones, thankful for the eternal life we then receive.
  • But we are weak, and we fall when we choose to grasp instead of receive, setting up gods for ourselves and being delayed in entering the promised land. And we are pedagogically punished, analogously, for forty years of anguish in the desert, learning not to trust in ourselves but instead in the Suffering Servant.
  • That Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, would, of course, found mercy on justice and stand in our stead, demonstrating this by being tempted for forty days and nights in the desert, fasting because we had instead glutted ourselves. In those temptations, those mind games of Satan, Jesus answered each and every time – no matter the temptation – with reverence before, obedience to, and love of His Heavenly Father. That is what we must learn: not mind games, but love. He, Love, conquers all.
  • Brought to the tree of knowing good admixed with evil, the cross, our Lord transforms it into the tree of the living ones, and after we fast in those days of His passion and death, He would have us feast on the fruit of the tree of the living ones, which then we don’t dare to grasp ourselves, but which we then, by His grace, that ancient enmity over against Satan, He would have us instead humbly receive, providing us thus with eternal life.
  • Fasting is not about saving ourselves, pretending to become ‘stronger’ (preparing for a bigger fall in our pride), but rather we begin, endure, and conclude fasting with friendship with Jesus:

Before: “Jesus, I’m terribly weak, and if I fast I get headaches and am at the ready to be testy with anyone in any situation. Jesus, please, in having me see how desperately weak I am, have me die to myself altogether so as to live only for you, trusting only in you.”

During: “Jesus, I trust in you… Jesus, I trust in you… Jesus I trust in you…”

After: “Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me so much about how you are our only Savior, and that to trust in you is to love you, and be brought by you to our Heavenly Father. Thank you, Jesus.”

I think it was reader sanfelipe007 who mentioned the joy of a young child jumping in the arms of a loving father, squealing with joy, and how much Jesus could not but immediately present such a soul as His gift to our Heavenly Father. I paraphrse. But I really, really like that… squealing with joy…

3 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Spiritual life

Father Byers: Thank you Nikki Haley! “USA! USA!” and “US-UN! US-UN!”

All of a sudden America is no longer a puppet for Islam.

I love that. I could have written that speech.

Disclaimers: I’m a Catholic priest, and I’m also Jewish, you know, mom, grandma, great-grand-ma… enough for me to be a Knesset qualified Israeli. I’ve lived in Israel. Been there multiple times. I have friends there. Contacts. Dare I say המוסד has always been really good to me. I think Israel has a right to defend itself, has a right to security, has a right not to be obliterated by Iran or others. Moreover, “Salvation is from the Jews,” said Jesus. And Paul:

They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

Disclaimers: I also deplore unjust actions meant to antagonize, and I saw really a lot of that while living in Israel and spending really a lot of time all over the West Bank, far North to deep South, West to way to the fence on the East. I raised my voice about injustices to the consternation of many others. Economic slavery only brings frustration and anger and… revenge. There are a million little anecdotes that I heard from friends, but those add up to make a culture, a policy. Also, just to say, anecdotally, a Palestinian man saved me from getting shot by wild IDF gun-fire (spraying bullets just to do it, or perhaps a bit directed). Another saved me from abduction. Another very dramatically stopped me from getting killed. Ironically, it was while I was attending a university in the occupied West Bank that I noted just about half of the student body also wanted peace by way justice, so, I’m not alone in that. I would like to see it be easier for priests and nuns to renew their visas so as to work in the clinics and schools and orphanages that no one else takes care of. I condemn what comes down to a forced removal of Catholics from the West Bank to anywhere else in the world, as the former Patriarch had warned was happening in one of his pastoral letters.

Having said all that: Thank you, Nikki Haley. What you said had to be said. Utterly reasonable. Keep up the good work. I had to laugh out loud at your rambunctious and repeated statement: “US-UN”! Hah! That should be a new chant at all South Carolina sporting events along with “USA! USA!” Let’s shout: “US-UN! US-UN!” Hah! What a great day brightener.

img_20170222_073706Totally off topic (and I ask forgiveness in advance… I put these things up for a reason…). After my sacramental visits on my day off yesterday (some hundreds of miles), bringing Holy Communion, Anointing the sick, and other sacraments, I was able to get off a clip or two from the Glock. It’s been a while. This is really the first time that, instead of aiming so much, I was concentrating on the basics (as I’m a complete beginner), so that with now abandoned Israeli-carry, I was practicing drawing from the holster hot. This is what I did with the bottom corner of a moldy folder from the hermitage (which is still there I’m happy to say). That folder was the only target I had to use. I was aiming to the upper right side of that pattern, so I’m still a bit South and to the left. But still pretty good I thought for this activity.

1 Comment

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Military, Politics, Terrorism, המוסד

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (The Jews will survive edition)

Update: This post in the Flores series was originally subtitled as (Tooth of the Lion edition), but that needed an edit for the encouragement of our soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan, who are just now reading the post. Here’s the deal: Saint Paul says that the Jews as a group will convert after all the gentiles convert just before the second coming of our Lord Jesus. This means that any attack on the Jews as a group, while doing damage, as with the Nazis, will not at all bring the Jews to and end. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, still standing, will make it so in His great love for them (for us [I’m Jewish]). But this shouldn’t embolden anyone to think that any particular place is somehow protected by that Lion, as no one said anything about exemptions of places or numbers of people for that matter. Jerusalem was leveled in the first century. That very Lion of the Tribe of Judah was put to death. But… but… He rose from the dead, always the last One still standing. That should give attackers pause, and bring them to conversion.

Original post:

dandelion2

LEODandelion = dent-de-lion = Tooth of the Lion. The name seems to come not from the flower so much as the leaves, with their jagged saber tooth appearance.

I’ve had three experiences with lions (panthers) in the wild, all within 100 miles of the parish here in the mountains. Whenever I hear talk of lions, I think of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Christ Jesus, who is the only one standing after any battle. I remember someone once objected that the lion in this picture couldn’t be Jesus since he is scarred. But of course, we only have to remember that Jesus, also risen from dead bears the scars of the battle upon Himself. He won the battle by dying instead of giving up; He won the battle by then rising from the dead; He won the battle by bringing His Immaculate Virgin Mother, soul and body into Heaven; He won the battle by bringing the bloodied martyrs to Himself; He wins the battle when you and I go to Confession.

1 Comment

Filed under Flores, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Thank you ever so very much, Immaculate Conception! edition)

shepherd boy

My spirit is as light as a fluffy dandelion being given to Jesus for the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady has granted me this very day a great favor, two, in fact. I feel like a little kid before her, my spirit rejoicing. I’m bursting with joy, smiling from ear to ear.

byers dance paul vi audience hallMentioned in the conversation with the Bishop, who called me up, and with the Bishop bringing up the topic, was my thesis on the Immaculate Conception and my need to make a popular version of it. This is a sign, I believe from our Lady, that NOW’s the time! This will be the little flower I give to her through Jesus, if this is made possible by the providence of her Divine Son. I again dance with joy. Do I ever stop?

But that was just one thing. The other is… well… what a gift! I’ll write about that as time goes on. I’m speechless. I too, must be loved by the Immaculate Conception, and by her Divine Son. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Mary.

Dance dance dance dance dance…

9 Comments

Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Flores, Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Immaculate Conception, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis

Holocaust Remembrance Day… but…

yad-vashem-sculpture

To have a “day” dedicated to remembrance is O.K., I guess. I guess it means that special events and activities might take place while articles and photos with salient captions might be published while gripping short-films might be released while field trips might take place, and so on. O.K. Yes. That’s all good. It’s a day that jars us weak human beings out of our distraction and brings back the urgency to the fore. O.K.

But let’s also remember that there are those for whom this is never just a “day”, for it is burned into their hearts and souls and minds 24/7/365. They never forget. They carry this with them. And they schedule this day for the rest of humanity which needs such a day.

Let’s also recognize, however, that no matter what one does to tell the story, there are those who just won’t get it, who simply will not understand. I remember making my way through Yad vaShem in Jerusalem when a massive motorcade entered the compound. I didn’t know what this was about until I was at the Warsaw Ghetto wall of remembrance at the same time as Hillary Clinton and her entourage. I was first of all shocked that none of the Secret Service payed attention to me, though I was the only one there not belonging to their group. And then I noticed she had stopped walking so as to make a statement, short and sweet. No, really. Sweet. It was like she was in an ice cream store at the beach. She said ever so glibly and giggly and dancy and effervescently and with such sing-song-ness: “♬How♬wonderful♬it♬is♬to♬be♬here!♬” Surreal is not an adequate word.

I remember when coming back from Lourdes that an air marshal sitting next to me made the statement – after quite a long conversation – that Catholics should just take what is coming to them for not agreeing to the Obama Administration’s imposition of a direct payment into the abortion superfund when people pay their Obamacare Insurance premiums. The air marshal said that Catholics should be as submissive as the Jews were when being brought to the extermination camps. Mind you, air marshals are covert anti-terrorist federal agents. I’m so happy that Hillary did not win the election.

The video I made:

4 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Politics, Racism

St Paul: “conversion” or “veil lifting”?

img_20170126_084422

The citation from Acts 9:20 above is the end of my opening salvo (intro and thanksgiving) to the thesis on the reception of enmity (Genesis 3:15) in its context (Genesis 2:4a to 3:24), which was handed over in final form on January 25, 2007, ten years ago. It was defended a few months later. Doing up a popular version is a necessity.

img_20170126_084240It is a project which is every in front of me, but which I never quite seem to get to accomplish. However, I must say that if I am reckoning correctly about a certain recent event in the life of this priest, I may just be able to get to work on this work in honor of the Immaculate Conception and have the hope of getting it published. That would be very cool altogether.

For a thousand historical reasons, it is the first time a serious study of historical philology has been made of these chapters with a most pleasing and far-reaching result about the unity of Jewish-Catholic faith, about the why and wherefore of the physical propagation of original sin and therefore the why and wherefore of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15, rightly called the proto-Evangelium, the very first Gospel, Good News, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 Comment

Filed under Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Hey, Madeleine Albright. You are not a Muslim. You are a Catholic. Get with it.

madeleine-albright

Dearest Madeleine,

I too was raised Catholic. I too only later found out my family was Jewish. I am still a Catholic priest who happens also to be Jewish. That’s not a contradiction. That you became Episcopalian by choice says a lot. When non-Catholic Christians make fun of themselves they say to each other: “Oh, you must be Episcopalian,” the idea being that anything goes with Episcopalians. Now, with your head still spinning, you say that you stand ready to register as Muslim in solidarity. What does that even mean? Are you ready to wear a rug? Are you ready to be raped and then honor-killed by the “pious men” who watched you being raped but did nothing except accuse you of not wearing a big enough rug? Are you ready to cut down Christians and Jews wherever they are? Are you? If it’s all hyperbole about your conversion to Islam, you know, so that you don’t really mean it, so that really you are mocking Islam about your conversion, well, I don’t think they will appreciate that. Sometimes political skills are not appreciated by those for whose benefit they are used. Be careful what you wish for. For their part, they might want Trump to make a scene so that they have an excuse for “extremism.” When you are ready to make your Catholic sacramental Confession, hunt me down; I’ll give you a light penance. Jesus loves you even during the time that you have reject Him. He wants you back to the fullness of truth and the fulfillment of the Jewish-Catholic faith. Don’t forget, salvation is of the Jews, and is now universal, that is, Catholic.

Father George David Byers (your Jewish-Catholic Priest)

P.S. Do you also say, “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”?

1 Comment

Filed under Ecumenism, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

To המוסד the Institute: You have 5 months to stop upcoming terrorism on 50th anniversary of the 6 day war

star of david

We’re with you in solidarity on every level.

We’ll pray for you. You have our heart.

It’s always on anniversaries. Always. This is a big one. 5-10 June 1967 – 2017.

2 Comments

Filed under Intelligence Community, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Terrorism, המוסד

More about: I AM DAVID

When David danced with abandon before the Ark of the Covenant as he was bringing it up to Mount Zion after it had been in exile since the time of complacent Eli and his evil sons Hophni and Phinehas (who were stealing from the sacrifices and raping the women), his lack of dignity in his dancing in the eyes of Michal did not involve any sort of nakedness (as evil translators have put it), but rather a revelation of the joy of his interior soul.

Michal said he revealed himself like any of the young men would do before the women, that is, in their partying, braggart ways. She was condemning him for being a partying braggart, drawing attention to himself for the sake of the onlooking women.

David was indeed revealing much, that is, much theologically, much about the Lord of History, much about the relationship of the chosen people with God, all of it right over her head, she not wanting to see it, she so set in her ways against the greatness that God was bringing once again to the greater Israel. She wanted to slouch on in mediocrity.

David was revealing what Samuel had done for him. David was acting the part of the King in taking care of the needs of the people with the food he gave them, the part of prophet in donning the Ephod (much like the massive cope worn by priests to this day), the part of the priest in making the sacrifices and in bringing the Ark of the Covenant up to Mount Zion, true pole of the earth, the Great King’s city. David was not of the priestly line of Aaron but rather of the line of Jesse, of a nobody, so that he was without priestly lineage, but was anointed priest, prophet and king in the line, as it were, of Melchizedek. And the Ark of the Covenant was back again. This calls for rejoicing. He is David. He must dance. And he has to say it: “I AM DAVID.”

In this series:

Also, just to say, joy in the Lord is very good.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

I AM DAVID

I read I Am David it seems decades ago. I think my mom, a voracious reader, slipped it to me one day under the title North to Freedom. I didn’t know it’s now a movie starring Ben Tibber, Jim Caviezel and Joan Plowright. My mom wanted to call me David, my middle name now as my dad won out with George for a first name, but this was an argument that when on throughout the years of my childhood with the nickname “Jordan” being used as a compromise. David means “beloved” in Hebrew: I Am Beloved. Yikes!

A reader mentioned I Am David in an email this morning. The memories flood back. How many times the words “I am David” came to mind and were repeated by me throughout my life whenever the going got tough. This would be my defiant and proud battle song: “I AM DAVID!” An example:

Some of my ordination cards, all hand made, asked for prayers from Saint David, as had the litany of saints in the Ordination Rite, for which someone roundly condemned me, criticizing both King David and the Hebrew Scriptures and even the work I had put into making the cards. That made me sad, but at the same time I entrenched all the more in my ever more lively secret now ardent in my heart: “I AM DAVID!”

Saying such a thing now, well, it makes me instantly and sheepishly turn to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, for he is the Son of David and Jesus is very much beloved. He knows what it is to have a secret, the Father’s love, which he reveals to us in himself. Whatever the flurry and fury on the outside, we dwell with him and he with us. And if I should say to him, “I AM DAVID!” he says in response…

1 Comment

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

John Kerry’s bogus speech – Part 2

A reader sent in the above video. It reminds me of the one I made, perhaps even more to the point, at Yad vaShem back just before the first Gulf War:

As I mentioned in my first post on John Kerry’s bogus speech 28 Dec 2016, I had a long chat with him in the Vatican Gardens. That was immediately after the funeral of Saint Pope John Paul II. The diplomats had to leave through the gardens, as well as the priests who were helping with Communion (I was with the choir right at the facade of Saint Peter’s). I beckoned him and we had quite the conversation about Catholic doctrine and abortion, at the end of which he agreed to a televised debate. That never came about. He was, after all, moving up in the world, right? His body guards were almost pulling him off his crutches (he having a broken leg at the time). But he insisted on speaking with me at length. Those were the days when, after pushing for abortion as strenuously as he might, he would be televised going to Communion. Thank the Lord that diplomats never ever receive Communion at Papal Masses. I would have scolded him just like JPII scolded Father Knucklehead in Nicaragua. Did I mention that today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents? The nations rage against the Lord and against his anointed, but the Lord is the Lord of History.

This calls to mind the night I spent at the Iranian Embassy with the Chief Rabbi of Rome. The Jews of Rome gathered to pray since just hours before Iran threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. I was in my roman cassock and collar, obviously a priest. The Rabbi came over to greet me, he saying to me: “Praised be Jesus Christ!”

ISIS sawed in half a five year old boy the other day. I wonder if that kind of thing is what John Kerry means by “not-significant security risks.” I wonder if kids don’t matter to John Kerry outside the womb just like they don’t matter for him inside the womb.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II, Military, Politics

John Kerry’s bogus speech 28 Dec 2016

john-kerry

John Kerry’s passionate speech (like my one-on-one 15 minutes with him in the Vatican Gardens), was entirely anachronistic, living in the past, utterly suppressing present day realities of these U.S.A. helping Iran wipe Israel off the face of the earth with Iran’s increasingly aggressive nuclear program.

The two-state-solution means nothing if one of those states is dying from the cancer subsequent to nuclear fallout, also making the land unlivable for the other state. Everything under the Obama Administration, anything touched by this Secretary of State, is deadly for Israel and the Jewish people.

There are a thousand ambiguities and openings to terrorism in the speech. How many times was it referenced that moving forward in whatever way would only involve a not-significant risk to security? What on earth does that mean? How many terrorist incidents would be allowed under the high bar of “not-significant”? What does that even mean when people are getting killed? On and on. Is Russia really a best friend of Israel in the region? Unbelievable…

I have to wonder if the analysts who had input into that speech were conspiring to go out of their way to make Kerry look like a clown in hopes of getting promotions under the upcoming Administration. I mean, really, it’s just that bad, and, I’m afraid, just that easy to do. It’s just too easy.

2 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Military, Politics, Terrorism

Catholic Hanukkah

catholic-hanukkah

Being a Catholic Priest and Jewish and a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis is really cool. This was Christmas Eve 2016 last night at the rectory just before Midnight Mass. There’s Mary. There’s baby Jesus in Saint Anthony’s arms. There’s the Menorah with the servant candle and day 1 lit up (Yes, I said the prayers, chanted them in Hebrew, actually, including the special prayer for day 1). There’s the Papal flag. There’s the American flag. There’s a flower for the Immaculate Conception. If anyone is scandalized and angry, see this from the Zed: ASK FATHER: Can Catholics observe Hannukah / Chanukah?

3 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

Shimon Peres (Szymon Perski) 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016. RIP, friend.

Oh my Lord, it’s time to pray
When a new sun shines, let’s make hay
So save my land from desert stay
Call the ocean’s salt to melt away
Call the ocean’s salt to melt away
And bless streams with love’s sway
Provide my foe and friend a bloodless day
Invite boys and girls for peace to pray,
Then send a ray of hope for a new way…
And bless streams with love’s sway
Provide my foe and friend a bloodless day
Invite boys and girls for peace to pray,
Then send a ray of hope for a new way…

The words were written by Shimon Peres (Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016), who was the oldest living head of state in the world in 2014, when he retired. Bocelli sings this with Liel. It is Liel who wrote the music. They performed this for Shimon back on 27 September 2008.

shimon-peresShimon had an incredible military, diplomatic and political career, even receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat back in 1994 for the Oslo Peace Accords. The Warrior for Peace…

I agree with the lyrics: Provide my foe and friend a bloodless day. Don’t you?

Since Shimon has now passed away, I think pretty much anyone who was anyone back in 1948 has passed away as well, and with them an incredible chapter for Israel.

A Ray of Hope = Salvation is from the Jews, Jesus, who is called Lumen gentium… The Light of the Nations and the Glory of God’s People, Israel.

And, just because I like making people think, this Catholic priest, who is Jewish, now has a vehicle which looks like this from the back:

israeli-car-flag

I’m guessing this is why some “traditionalists” (note the scare quotes) hate me so much. No matter how much I’ve done to reestablish the Traditional Mass on three different continents (really a lot, mind you), they publicly claim I’m not even a priest. I forgive them, but I wonder what Jesus will say to them. HE was a Jew. Lots of scare quote traditionalists have conspiracy theories about Jews, and all Jews are lumped together just like in the camps. Did they have a conspiracy to be killed by Hitler? Is Iran a figment of the Imagination? Maybe I should start some conspiracy theories of my own and wonder if scare quote traditionalists are really secret ISIS sympathizers. Heh heh heh…

Anyway, Shimon! May you have a pleasant meeting with our fellow-Jew, Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception and Prince of the Most Profound Peace. Amen.

– Father George David Byers, Missionary of Mercy

6 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

The return of this Jackass for the Hour

crucifix

This “Donkey”[!] is found crucified above the tabernacle (see: “Brother Ass” in “The Barn” Mon-Wed) of the absolutely gorgeous Turris Davidica chapel found inside “The Barn” where yours truly went for a day of recollection with “The Very”, the Vicar Forane of the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese of Charlotte. Note the cross inside each of the golden stars of David.

There are, perhaps, nearly 100% of readers who will think that it is rude to refer to anyone as a donkey, and should this appellative be used for the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception that this would certainly be counted as blasphemy. But this is a badge of honor for Jesus, for He did that which is much more “blasphemous” for us, becoming “sin” for us, as Saint Paul says. Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews were always referred to by this symbol of humble hard work by the surrounding nations. Don’t forget that donkeys can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand (really smart, that), not at all stubborn like mules. Also recall that donkeys are everywhere with the Holy Family. Here are some pics from the massive bronze doors of the larger chapel (some hundreds of yards from “The Barn”):

donkey 4

donkey 2

Of course, a donkey also brought our Lord into the city of Jerusalem for His crucifixion…

Thanks to all those who said a prayer for yours truly these past few days. The day of recollection went very well. Priests can stay at “The Barn” for free. Only priests can stay at “The Barn.” Many priests from the Diocese of Charlotte take refuge in “The Barn” on a regular basis. It’s equidistant for me to Charlotte one way and “The Barn” the other way. Another priest, from Saint Anne’s, is there today for the feast of the translation of the relics of Saint Clare. O.K. Those are enough hints. Do you know where this is?

Anyway, the “return” mentioned in the title of this post doesn’t refer to me being back in the parish so much as an advance in the Chestertonian sense of the return of the fallen creature back to its Creator by way of the redemption. I mentioned to one of the wonderfully Catholic priests to be found in the environs of “The Barn” about Jackass for the Hour, saying that everything has changed so very much in the last few years that I doubt if I could even revise such an ecclesiastical thriller novel that goes to the black heart of and offers solutions for the Rebellion so ubiquitously and wrongly called the Reformation, and that the Scriptural commentary on the “Dog-Woman” that I wrote would hardly be able to be received by anyone anymore. I was, of course, gently but firmly reprimanded, being told not to be despondent. Donkeys are quite miserable if they are despondent, and that just won’t do at all. So, joy with the singing of a donkey, a braying which is also praying, on the march, as donkeys do.

And if there are still readers who don’t like it when priests are called guard-donkeys:

DONKEY FOX

And if there are still those who think that it is inappropriate for priests or anyone for that matter to be called any kind of donkey at all, I simply cite Saint Augustine in response:

“Asinus es sed Christum portas” (You are a jackass, but you carry Christ).

And if there are still those who hesitate, I offer this Orthodox kind-of-an-icon (slightly damaged through the years with window-sealer… sorry!) for their contemplation. Remember, that we carry Christ within us. We also carry each other. We belong to the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head and we as the members, with His Most Sacred Heart inflaming ours with the fiery ardent love of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Saint Augustine donkey icon

And if there are still those who hesitate about the appropriateness of all this hopefully childlike joy and not childish idiocy, please feel free to call me the donkey-priest. I will simply laugh with appreciative enthusiasm. I still think I have too much fun.

Oh, and did I mention that Saint Francis called himself Brother Ass?

3 Comments

Filed under Donkeys, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Pope Francis’ sarcasm @ ISIS / Islam when asked about père Jacques Hamel

isis burning children

ISIS burning children to death as young as three years old

“It is not a war of religions but for power. There is one word I wish to say to clarify. When I speak about ‘war’ I’m speaking about a war for real, not a ‘war of religions.’ It is a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples. All religions desire peace. Other people want war.” – Pope Francis

So, does Pope Francis mean that père Jacques Hamel is not a martyr, or that the Missionaries of Charity sisters are not martyrs? That would seem to be insane and the Pope seems to think they were heroic. So, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s try to come up with something reasonable about what he said. I mean, to say that religions cannot be at war is simply stupid or malicious. I mean, let’s look at the Old Testament: was the God of the chosen people not a real God? Is the God of the Jews to be damned? Or for that matter, moving on in time, was Pope Saint Pius V an anti-Catholic for his defensive measures (very war-like mind you) at the battle of Lepanto? And for that matter, does ISIS really not intend to serve their god, Allah? Really?

How about this: Maybe Pope Francis is saying with fully intended sarcasm that Islam is not a religion at all. Hey! I like that! Finally! Yay!

But wait, that really does sound like it’s all an insult to the Jews and the Jewish God, which, by the way, is our God, the one and only God. There were good reasons for the Jews to be war-like. There were good reasons for being on the defensive at Lepanto. There is never a good reason for Islam to do what it has always done with its aggression from its beginning until this very day.

When ISIS asks the kids if they renounce Jesus and accept Islam, and the kids say no, and then the kids are burned to death, that’s all about merely trying to make a few extra bucks, right? Got it! Nothing to do with religion! Just about domination of peoples! Oh, I remember now: the Qur’an is all about subjugating the Christians and Jews. And the Qur’an is like, religious, or not, in that case. ;-)

4 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis, Terrorism

Pope Francis’ silence during his visit to Auschwitz / Birkenau: Let’s talk Luther

pope francis maximilian kolbe auschwitz birkenau

Pope Francis in the torture chamber where Saint Maximilian Kolbe # 16670 was first starved and then injected with carbolic acid.

It was a powerful statement, if you will, of Pope Francis just to go to Auschwitz / Birkenau, regardless of ditching his speech. He did have a moment of kindness with some survivors. That’s all good. But…

Perhaps readers remember this post I wrote six months ago, although it seems to me like I wrote it today, as my emotions are ever more raw about it: Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

The celebration of the Reformation and the very life of Hitleresque anti-Semite Martin Luther is coming up. Will that latter bit, at least, be ditched? Let’s hope. I like the silence bit all of a sudden. It would be grotesque in the extreme to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then turn around and celebrate the life of Martin Luther who wanted nothing more than to exterminate all the Jews or, failing that final solution, removing them in some other way.

Dearest Holy Father, just so you know:  Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

1 Comment

Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Terrorism analysis – the big picture (1) Politically correct guilt inviting terror but always against the same victims

yad vashem railroad

National guilt that is way over-exaggerated for past injustice is one of the best ways to invite a proliferation of terror in an effort to self-punish. Everything can be exaggerated, and the reasons can be frightening and bad things can and do happen.

Do we shout in a self-congratulatory way: “Never again!” as if we were morally superior today compared to people of yesterday just because we live today, giving ourselves a licence to kill? Some people say “Never again!” with sincerity, but some do not.

Three examples: Germany and France and these USA

(1) Germany

Germany has been going through a much needed process of guilt, coming to grips with just how it is that they did what they did against the Jews. But there is some exaggeration in this. Thus, I’ve had a number of highly influential professors from Germany and a Nazi-sympathizing part of Switzerland who said that those who remain Christian after the Holocaust are guilty of the Holocaust even if they were born after the Holocaust and had nothing to do with the Holocaust. That’s stupid or more likely malicious. That kind of self-righteous crusading statement just builds up a false guilt and a real resentment against those on whose behalf one is supposed to feel guilty. No one likes a misplaced guilt and will work to take away the cause, even doing what they have falsely been accused of doing. These professors, by the way, remained Christian. Basically they were thereby saying that they were Nazis. I’ve heard the same diatribe from people who should know better from four different countries, with dozens of others who thought it was great or couldn’t care less. So, what has happened since then?

As a nation, Germany congratulated itself to the end that it is thought Germans could not ever be prejudiced again and, to prove that this was the case, welcomed as many Islamicist terrorists as they possibly could, and even tolerated for as long as they could all the subsequent raping and killing that is so allowable under Sharia law. I wonder who the enemies of Israel are if not Islamicist terrorists. Get it?

(2) France

You’ll remember that France was pretty weak when it came to defending the Jews during World War II. The French police of the Vichy government helped round up and deport over 75,000 Jews, almost all of whom died in the concentration camps. France had already long occupied Algeria, but it wasn’t long after WWII that they lost their war with Algeria, which was waged by Islamicists from 1954 to 1962. At first, nervous about it, Frenchmen everywhere would drive about in France honking their horns three times and then, after skipping a beat, two other honks, the beats for the chant “Algérie Française,” a political/military movement. Most French Islamicists are from Algeria. They flooded France from that time until today. To this day, when there is a news report in France about terrorists, you’ll undoubtably hear that kind of honking going on in the background: “Algérie Française” honk-honk-honk—honk honk.

Meanwhile, the French feel terribly guilty about their treatment of the Jews, and say that they would never ever help with anything like the Holocaust ever again, not with the Jews, not with anyone. Of course, in being oppressive to the Algerians for so long, and feeling even more recently guilty about that (and losing yet another war) they couldn’t bring themselves to say anything but good things even about Islamic terrorists. I mean, what did we see the other day? A couple of known terrorists had their tracking devices turned off for hours each day so that they could go about unmonitored, you know, so the French could consider themselves to be nice, instead of, like, you know, prejudicial. A blood-bath ensued. Of course it did. The individuals involved are known terrorists. It isn’t prejudice to keep them locked up. But the French just cannot, cannot, cannot put real blame on anyone for anything because they know that they themselves are guilty of past oppressions against both Jews and Algerians. But letting real criminals free to kill is no way to cover up one’s own guilt. These individuals wanted to fight for ISIS in the Middle-East, and we know the intentions of ISIS for Israel. It’s O.K. to judge the cases of individuals. Really, it is.

(3) These USA

These USA are a special case. We liberated the Jews from the camps. We have helped Israel. Rightly so. We have suffered events like 9-11 from Islamist terrorists. But now we have been apologizing to the terrorists, lying to do so, coming up with stories about some video so as to congratulate terrorists for killing Americans in Benghazi, and a thousand other examples where the most obvious terror related incidents are called work-place violence, etc. Why? Is there guilt? Not unless it comes from someone believing in Islamicist terrorism whose regret is that the world does not yet totally belong to ISIS. The annihilation of Israel followed by wholesale slaughter of Jews throughout the world is lockstep.

Finally…

Here’s the deal. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever other rubbish we ourselves have come up with. He purposely, willingly let us kill Him, our attempt at getting His goodness and kindness away from our eyes (too incriminating for our guilt). He, having stood in our stead and taking on the death we deserve, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, forgave us. So, no more guilt. But we are afraid of forgiveness.

But we won’t admit what we’ve done, but that doesn’t change the facts. And the guilt works on us. Even if we say we are atheists, we cannot escape the weight of the glory of God bearing down upon us as an invitation to His mercy. We still see it as incrimination of our weakness and self congratulations and arrogance. And so we attempt to get Him out of the way. We attempt to get His family out of the way, the Jews: “Ah! Maybe if we kill all the Jews, our own guilt will just disappear!” We are sooo stupid and self-righteous. Meanwhile, Israel is every single day closer to being wiped off the face of the earth.

“Salvation is from the Jews” – Jesus Christ

If only we would just get a bit of humility. We can ask the Most High for this humility. We should remember, with Saint Paul (Romans 9:4-5):

They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

8 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Terrorism

Sunset / Sunrise for another friend

WNC Great Smoky Mountains memorial hospital

Taken Monday, 4 July, 2016, while turning from the sunset to the coming sunrise. This is just outside of Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC.

I put on well over 500 miles in the past couple of days, hospitals, burials and such. Happy to do it. And all these miles were a good opportunity to grieve. Before starting out on my travelling saga, news came in that a good friend and fellow Scripture Scholar, Doctor Martin L. Brenner, passed on survived by his lovely wife and nine children. His obituary was written by our common friend, Father Reto Nay, director of Gloria.Tv. Don Reto got his summa cum laude at the Biblicum writing about Ezekiel, who, I am convinced, wrote the passage I myself wrote about, Genesis 2:4-3:24. Marty, instead, went to the New Testament, and wrote about the Synoptic Gospels, the passage on the paralytic, comparing Matthew and Mark and noting what was happening in the book of Daniel. He and I thought much the same about the provenance and purpose of the two Gospels.

It’s somewhat imprecise to say that he converted, but that’s how we speak, isn’t it? He grew up in a Jewish family, became a son of the law, but had the veil lifted when, as it is said, he recognized that it was all true, salvation comes from the Jews, and the name of that saving Messiah is Jesus. He was for a long time interested in religious life but finally made the decision to be married. I wasn’t there for the wedding, but he at least had it planned, I know, to be celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica and witnessed by a common friend, Father James Swetnam, S.J. (a really cool Jesuit, by the way).

I have often cited Martin’s rather rambunctious style of academic discussions, argumentative, pushing, shoving (metaphorically), out to “kill the baby” as he frighteningly put it. Don’t get me wrong, Martin was wonderfully, tenderly pro-life in every way. He wanted myself and others to see if we could attack his ideas to try and find lacunae in his premises. I learned this from him. I’ve often used this method. I did use it for the years writing my thesis, really being obnoxious about it, making it a million times better. But I learned that not everyone is ready for this. You have to train them in. But once there, it is spectacularly thrilling.

Martin had a passion for the truth. No political correctness for him! My prayer is now that he will meet face to face with the Living Truth, Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

P.S. Many friends have died this past year. They say you know you are getting older when all your friends start dying. Of course, Marty was 18 years older than myself, but I think those are the years that go by the fastest, are they not?

9 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Pope Francis, Genocide, Martyrdom and Queen Esther’s new Haman in Hitler

lightning vatican holy see st peterIn Armenia, Pope Francis was finally able to reconcile that martyrdom can be on such a grand scale numbers-wise that it fits that part of a proportional scale of devastation that is called genocide. Good for him. I mean, can we forget that the Jews were to be martyred on the level of genocide by Haman as recounted in the book of Esther? Can we forget that Hitler wanted to fulfill his weird obligations to Arianism by martyring all the Jews on the level of genocide?

We can be confident that Pope Francis will offer appropriate comments, hopefully scripted, and sticking to the script, when he visits the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau during a visit to Poland on July 29. We can only hope. However…

I hope that such a visit to such a site filled with such sorrow will not be used afterwards as a kind of permission to celebrate the most hate-filled anti-Semite in history hardly surpassed by either Haman of old or Hitler of more recent times, that is, Martin Luther. But this is what is planned, not only the “Reformation” but also the very person of Martin Luther, right?

So, I republish here again what I published in these pages previously. It is urgent:

auschwitz

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” mlkjr

Being Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy, and invited to speak with parrhesia by him, I think I am obliged to offer some comments about the push among some curial officials to celebrate the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation, the former being inextricably intertwined with the latter. Cardinal Koch has said some good things in the past, so this is an occasion of real dismay for me particularly, and for all men of good will.

Martin Luther defined himself and his Lutherans as those who are to be condemned if they would not murder Jews: “We are at fault in not slaying them” (Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael, Robert. “Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343–344). Like so much else with Luther, this is reminiscent of Islam, the old spread by the sword your faith kind of thing. This is the Reformation in all of its pristine vigor. It is Martin Luther’s “insight,” his “spiritual experience,” his Promethean understanding of “righteousness” and “mercy.” The response both of Lutherans and the Holy See to all this is:

“The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate
together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel
of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy.”

cardinal koch

lutheran catholic commemoration of reformation

Of course, one might find this incredible. So, one finds it in the prayer text: Common Prayer – From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. The text is “by the Liturgical Task Force of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.”

But, surely that’s cherry picking. Surely such anti-Semitism is rejected in toto elsewhere and without excuses being made. Lets take a look at the foundational document: From Conflict to Communion – Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 – Report of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. This is by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), with Karlheinz Diez, Auxiliary Bishop of Fulda (on behalf of the Catholic co-chair), and Eero Huovinen, Bishop Emeritus of Helsinki (Lutheran co-chair).

229. On this occasion, Lutherans will also remember the vicious and degrading statements that Martin Luther made against the Jews. They are ashamed of them and deeply deplore them.

Really? I’m sure that cannot be correct. After a chapter break and a nice paragraph, the excuses for Martin Luther’s murderous behavior and statements against the Jews are effusive. But, let’s take a look at that nice paragraph in between just to make sure we don’t miss anything:

82 Chapter V – Prayer for unity – 230. Because Jesus Christ before his death prayed to the Father »that they may be one,« it is clear that a division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of the Lord. It contradicts also the express apostolic admonition that we hear in Ephesians 4:3–6: be »eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.« The division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of God.

martin luther the jews and their liesOf course, not being upfront about things about such division is opposed to the will of God, right? So, now, let’s see how such regret for Luther’s beastly raging against the Jews is simply dismissed, or perhaps, even praised if one would, you know, just kind of, like, understand the pressures of the times under which he was living, poor fellow and hero that he was. They are mean and cruel people, are they not, who would think that Martin Luther is responsible in some way for the Shoah, the Holocaust?

Evaluating the past – 231. When Catholics and Lutherans remember together the theological controversies and the events of the sixteenth century from this perspective, they must consider the circumstances of the sixteenth century. Lutherans and Catholics cannot be blamed for everything that transpired since some events in the sixteenth century were beyond their control. In the sixteenth century, theological convictions and power politics were frequently interwoven with one another. Many politicians often used genuine theological ideas to attain their ends, while many theologians promoted their theological judgments by political means. In this complex arena of numerous factors, it is difficult to ascribe responsibility for the effects of specific actions to individual persons and to name them as the guilty parties. [[My emphasis]]

jewish yellow star jude“Complex.” Sigh….. I apologize for using Martin Luther’s own rough language, but this is bullshit. Ideas have effects, and he meant every word of what he said, putting it into action (see also the list at the end of this article). This heap of excuses is dung with a blanket of glistening snow over it. That is the analogy which, in fact Martin Luther used for the ineffectiveness of Christ’s grace in sanctifying our souls, so that, for him, we remain a heap of dung with a blanket of snow over us. I reject this document’s list of excuses for Martin Luther’s dung heap of anti-Semitic views and actions as being simply ineffective for justifying and sanctifying Martin Luther’s murderous anti-Semitic views and actions. Do I say this just because I am a Jew? No. All men of good will are offended. It is an offense against Jesus. I will not celebrate Martin Luther or his damned Reformation. And, to use the irony which so many cannot understand, I nevertheless say: Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir: I side with those who are on the darkest of existential peripheries; I side with mercy. What this crowd is doing with all their damned excuses is promoting genocide all over again against the same people. J’accuse! (worth the read; this is a well used phrase also today). After all, we are under pressure today too, so we have an excuse to murder all the Jews Hitler didn’t kill, right? That’s the logic. To hell with that logic. It’s an all too easy absolution of Martin Luther’s role in violent persecution of the Jews in his own day and ours: Hey! He was just a man of his times! It is a virtue to be a man of one’s times, right? Again, since we are all under pressure for whatever reason, we all have an easy excuse and even praise for continuing to slaughter the Jews, right?

If you want an ever so brief rundown of all this, see Martin Luther and Anti-Semitism and his book, On the Jews and Their Lies (published just three years before he died, his crowning achievement, as it were). Just so as to offer a taste for timid clickers, I include a bit taken from “Luther, Martin”, JewishEncyclopedia.com; cf. Luther’s Works, American Edition, 55 vols., (St. Louis and Philadelphia: Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, 1955–86) 47:267:

“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews?”

  • “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …” [[Did you get that? Sounds like Kristallnacht.]]
  • “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …” [[Did you get that?]]
auschwitz train rails

“We are at fault in not slaying them” – Martin Luther on the Jews

If publishing such things means I cannot be a Missionary of Mercy, then so be it. But I trust that Pope Francis meant what he said when going way out of his way to invite me to speak with parrhesia. This ever so nice kind of celebration of Martin Luther and his Reformation is precisely how genocides are brought about. It has to stop, and it has to stop now. Do we so easily forget the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception? Do not fool yourselves with all your self-congratulatory “consensus building”. The Word Incarnate will judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

“God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You would think, these days, that people want to rewrite that:

God did not love the world at all, and did not give us His only Son, since He didn’t want anyone to believe in Him, but wanted them to perish and go to hell.

That’s not what I want. You don’t have me in your nice consensus. And don’t think for a second that all this was some momentary rampage for a young and impetuous Luther. No, no. He only progressed throughout his life in his livid hatred of the Jews until at the end of his life he was like an incarnate satan for the Jews. But, hey, that’s someone to celebrate, right? No, not at all. Let me quote, if I might, a German Lutheran pastor.

dietrich bonhoeffer

And I add, to celebrate those who are intent on genocide is to promote genocide.

I hope that something more is said about Luther’s Antisemitism than perhaps his methods were not entirely correct. And if anyone thinks that that statement could not possibly refer to more than Luther’s ideas on justification, blah, blah, blah, you are wrong. Wanting to kill to the Jews was all consuming for Luther. For him, one’s very salvation depended on murderous hatred of the Jews.

Murderous hatred of the Jews is, for Luther, a kind of principle of justification.

And so, I ask, again, it THAT what we are celebrating? Again: not me. Count me out. To hell with that. Amen.

12 Comments

Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis