Category Archives: Mercy

Society’s opiate: non-identity

mother teresa of calcutta home of the dying

West Bengal is a Communist State of India which has the objective of making the rich richer and the poor poorer in hopes that there will be a clash that can be instigated between the two. The state banks encourage this, begging foreign companies basically to enslave the poor locals. They’re quite frank about it. Meanwhile, the culture is so ingrained with one’s lot in life not changing until one’s next reincarnation that nothing changes except for the state to continue to capitalize on the disparity that they’ve encouraged, feeding the greed being their opiate, their idenity. Meanwhile, in the West, protesters for a communist agenda such as antifa are paid, which means they absolutely don’t otherwise care, feeding the greed being their opiate, their identity.

Then there are those who approach life through love, like Mother T in the picture above, in the home for the dying, Jesus, who is life and truth and love and justice being her identity. No opiate, no escape, just reality, just Jesus, just great joy in His love and truth and goodness and kindness. I worked there in that very room myself, it seems many lifetimes ago, trying to understand the love that was radiating there, a love based on dignity and respect, on integrity and honesty, on seeing Christ Jesus holding out redemption to all. This is no blindfold to the wretched state of humanity, and doesn’t ignore economic and political realities, but it also gives those things no credence on any side of any way of going about things if there is not also room for that Love who is Truth, Christ Jesus, our identity. And that should be part of any analysis by economists and political leaders. Justice and mercy are to be encouraged.

Having said that, I’ve never seen a communist take care of anyone, ever, for that would, by definition, take away the speed of the dialectic that is instead pushed by unjust violence, killing anyone and everyone, rich and poor, to make everyone angry, all in an attempt, in their non-believing believing way, to kill Jesus once again in whomever. Communists only love power, feeding the greed, their opiate, their identity, or lack thereof.

Checks and balances on other ways of going about things, such as respecting the inalienable God-given rights of individuals who without exception have their own dignity and worth, are the way to go. With those other ways, there are, at least, opportunities, sometimes ample, to manifest the love of Christ Jesus in all mercy, in all justice. If it’s not all about Jesus, it’s all about the opiate of violence, the “power” of violence, the violence which is a tool to feed the greed.

This becomes surreal when it is a religious leader who, as a non-believer, bullies others into their dialectic violence, trying to force others to be mirror images of themselves, utopia being themselves, self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagians that they are, having lost their identity in having lost Christ.

I think of a seminary rector who had an ex-priest teach a course to seminarians on how to rationalize an abortion in any situation (that was in my home town) so that, in doing so, he told me himself, he could feel better about the suicide-euthanasia of his father who starved himself to death, he going along with this, even though his father was otherwise in perfect health. He said he went along with this because religion didn’t explain the meaning of suffering (such as being bored with life because of being a non-believer), he apparently having never heard of original sin and the just consequences of that sin which we still suffer in all justice in this world even while Christ Jesus has stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that we can do the right thing with His friendship, His grace, His love and truth and goodness and kindness, even while we continue to suffer those consequences of sin freely chosen with the sin (those consequences being removed as we enter heaven). If it’s not about Jesus, it’s about the opiate of self-worship, the opiate of violence, of “power”, of control over others, an identity of vacuousness.

That seminary rector sounds pretty bad, right? But there are those who are very pious in their own eyes but who refuse with near dialectic might makes right to see the redemption wrought by Jesus’ death being needed by everyone everywhere all the time, in both Church and State, all of society, all individuals: “We’re all nice always.” And that is also a betrayal of Jesus, to ignore why He came, to congratulate ourselves that we’re doing just fine without Him, to give oneself a licence to participate in an imaginary dialectic that smashes others into the structures of one’s own outlook, one’s own utopia, one’s own opiate of self-worship, one’s own vacuous identity of nothing.

And then there are those who, because abandoned by a preceding generation to an identity of vacuousness, have turned to actual opiates as their very identity. And the usual death follows.

There are those with non-identity in Church and State. And then there are those who find their identity in Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Jack*** in the Pulpit edition)

jack in the pulpit

This is the Dragon, the Jack In the Pulpit, very near the hermitage. The flower is just now starting to come up. You can see it just between/above the two middle leaves of the two plants. It is poisonous, even deadly, even used to kill people, the leaves, the stalk, the root, the berries, the flower, all of it. Super toxic. Hmmm. Not sure what the story is behind the reference to any pulpit in the nickname of the plant. The other nickname, with reference to the Dragon, isn’t any better. Other nicknames only go downhill from there. The Latin name, Arum maculatum, makes it seem that this is the flower one would never ever give to the IMmaculate Conception (macula=stain; immacula=no stain). Jack in the Pulpit maybe refers to some early American fire and brimstone preacher man who never referenced mercy in his sermons. You gotta keep justice in perspective with mercy. You gotta.

Should the flower blossom successfully, it would nevertheless make a good flower to give to the Immaculate Conception. After all, she also interceded for those preacher guys who know nothing about the beatitude about those who show mercy getting mercy. She wouldn’t make that intercession unless there were a bit of hope available for those seemingly lost to the dragon, toxic as they are. There is nothing more beautiful than a toxic sinner presenting himself now humbly before Jesus and His good mom. Pray for us sinners, Mary, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Confession! It’s so easy.

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Filed under Flores, Mercy

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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33 Days to Merciful Love: crash burn go!

IMG_20170321_062343So, on the Feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred from Sunday to Monday this year in our Lord 2017), many, including yours truly, have begun the preparation a consecration to Merciful Love, 33 days away, on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Octave of Easter.

The meditation for Day 1 started in the Garden of Eden with original sin. Since my doctoral thesis was on this topic I’ve read thousands of commentaries, monographs, articles (theological, linguistic, exegetic, philological, philosophical, economic[!], psychological, archeological, etc), Festschriften, notes, etc.), on the topic. And so, a bit jaded (none of them were up to the standard I would want for a serious investigation into the meaning of the Word of God), I was immediately thrown into ho-hum mode.

Stupid me. Father Gaitley with no wasted verbiage came right to the point with an exactitude worthy of any academic study of the inspired text. But he did much more: he brought me to a spiritual insight that was stunning for me. Here I was, cruising along on the laurels of my academic studies (and there are many laurels in this case), and he made me crash and burn. Well done, Father! I love it. Although everything he wrote was consonant with what I had written, he took me a step beyond where I had been. But even more than this. Spiritual insight is still “insight”… something for our sorry brains. Father Gaitley did something even more than this. He threw me to my knees before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, that Son of the Mother of the Redeemer spoken about in Genesis 3:15. Our Lord took it from there.

Methinks I will very much enjoy this do-it-yourself retreat which fortunately has nothing about do-it-yourself to it, as Father Gaitley leads us adeptly to Jesus, and then leaves us with Him, Mary’s dearest Son, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by the fire of His Merciful Love which had Him stand in our place of judgment, founding His mercy on justice, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the justice making the mercy most majestic, most good and kind, most credible, most enthralling, most joy-filled, a bond of love with the Most Holy Trinity, having us walk with God in this sorry world until we should come to the gates that, please God, will open wide for us… Please, say it with me: Jesus, I trust in Thee.

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Fearful Roman Curia discerning the way of the Holy Spirit in the Beatitudes

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said that those working in whatever capacity in the Holy See (the “Vatican”) are scared. I say that if they are ever afraid, whether priests or bishops or religious, they shouldn’t be. Fear is a sign of the lack of truth, a lack of discernment of the truth, a lack of the Holy Spirit who would instead lead us to the truth. To be established in him who is truth is not to fear. Being one with him who fearlessly says “I AM” cannot at the same time tolerate fear.

“But what should we do? Give us clear direction!”

So, I guess you missed it the first time around. Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“But you don’t get it, Father George, that’s considered Pharisaical, Pelagian, Promethian self-absorbed idol worship.”

“Really? Are you making that application? Even if that were true on whoever’s part, so what? Since when did we lose sight of the Beatitudes? Since when are we to mope about, have nervous sweats, panic attacks and ulcers instead of rejoicing and being glad that great is our reward in the Kingdom of the heavens because we love Jesus and want to share the greatest love of our lives, namely, Jesus? Is not Jesus the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will be the one to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit? Yes, that would be him. He’s the One who said: “I AM.” So what are you afraid of? Amen.

P.S. I mean, really, what are these protestations of fear about? Is this a way of making an excuse? “Oh! I’m so fearful that my fear acted as a coercion forcing me to do something I otherwise would never do! It’s all the fault of fear! I’m soooo afraid.”

To which I say, grow up, love Jesus, and be a good son of his good mom. Also, and I don’t say this lightly, have some respect for your guardian angel who sees God in the face.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Jesus, Marriage, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Spiritual life

Repeat: Confession Settlement that could halt the Sacrament of Confession in the Catholic Church

lourdes confessional

One of my most favorite places in the world is the penitent side of a confessional screen. This is where we meet with the goodness and kindness of Jesus ever so personally, which is precisely what brings the great joy experienced by those who go to confession.

There is renewed interest in this post up in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. I wonder if something is up on whatever side of the issue…

More than 3 1/2 years ago there was a little news story covering the fact that the Diocese of Manchester made a monetary settlement for a complaint that advice alleged to have been given by a Priest-Confessor under the Confessional Seal was inappropriate. The story plays out like it was scripted by Satan himself, what with the Diocese of Manchester just so eager — if, perhaps, unwittingly — to cooperate against the Sacrament of Mercy, against the Holy Spirit, who was sent to us for the forgiveness of sins, not so that we stop the forgiveness of sins.

This story had been simmering for months at the time, but May 17, 2013, Tricia L. Nadolny wrote about it in the tiny newspaper called the Concord Monitor. I commented on this story at the time, and, since the priest involved is still off on the peripheries (as far as I know), and since we now have completed the Year of Mercy, I think it is high time to bring this story back into the light of day in hopes that Bishop Libasci will admit his mistake for the sake of the good of the Church, pro bono ecclesiae. The [comments] are by myself, Father George David Byers, at https://ariseletusbegoing.com/

* * *

Diocese of Manchester settles with parents over sexual comments lawsuit

The Pembroke parents who accused a Concord priest of making inappropriate sexual comments to their son during the sacrament of confession will be paid $2,000 to settle the lawsuit they filed in February, according to a spokesman from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. The settlement, reached Wednesday, stipulates that the money will go to future educational costs of the 14-year-old boy, who is a student at St. John Regional School. [Sounds nice, that settlement, but let’s see how this plays out, and for what reasons. It couldn’t be more nefarious from the settlement side of things.]

Spokesman [for the Diocese of Manchester] Kevin Donovan said the settlement is not an admission of guilt by the Rev. George Desjardins [Yes, well, Father Desjardins can’t say anything one way or the other. He’s bound by the Seal of Confession. However, no matter what the Diocese says, the Diocese is, to all intents, constructions and purposes, saying that he is guilty by way of the settlement made, which is amazing, since they don’t know what went on during that alleged Confession, since the priest cannot say anything about it. Such a settlement destroys a priest for life. It is disingenuous to say that a settlement does not speak to someone’s guilt. Practically, a dark cloud remains over the head of the priest for life. Since that is the case, there must be very serious reasons that we don’t know about for the Diocese to make such a settlement, right? There are reasons, but, stunningly, they have nothing to do with the priest or the penitent, as we will see later in the article.], who was accused of talking about pornography and rape in a December 2012 confession held during the school day. [Of course, a 14 year-old, a young man, is entirely capable of looking at porn and committing rape, especially statutory rape. Many girls have gotten multiple abortions by the time they are fourteen. Boys are, of course, involved. This is not an unlikely scenario. Confession is about forgiveness of sin, such as pornography and rape, right? At any rate, it’s extremely easy to come up with a scenario that would back Father up. In fact, what I’ll imagine here has plenty of indications that it is the true scenario, truer, it seems, that the inconsistent accusations.]

[Diocesan Spokesman] Donovan called the payment “minimal” [That’s a foolish statement, implying that for other cases, the “payment” could be much bigger. That’s a strange phrase of the reporter: “payment” instead of settlement. If’s she’s accurate, something’s wrong. Anyway, speaking about anything “minimal” is a huge invitation to create bogus cases, the more salacious the better it will be for all the more $$$ dollars $$$.] and a “means to an end, so the community can move on.” [“means to an end” of “the community moving on.” In other words, this has nothing to do with the priest, nothing to do with the penitent, nothing to do with justice. The Diocese admits that they are doing something evil, slitting the throat of a defenseless priest, to achieve what they think is a good end, shoving money down the throat of any accuser, not for the accuser’s sake, who is ignored as he chokes on that money, but for the sake of the community, using what they assume to be the greed of the boy’s parents as bait, all of which — the demonic principle of doing evil to achieve good — is justly condemned by Saint Paul (see Romans 3:8). At any rate, the community will not only not move on, but will be condemned with the weight hanging over them of the dynamic of an accusation that obtains money without any accompanying due process for the accused priest. This is something that cheapens their lives, cheapens their religion. They have been insulted by the Diocese, which has effectively said: Go and choke on your money. That’s not a service to the community. The benefit for the diocese is save money in view of a possibly successful litigated claim.]

The parents, who are not being named to protect the name of their son, maintain that Desjardins’s comments were unacceptable, their lawyer, Peter Hutchins, said. [Peter Hutchins has a long history with the Diocese of Manchester, mocking the Diocese for their nefarious idiocy in handling the sex-abuse cases he brought to the Diocese, saying that he just couldn’t believe that they didn’t care about dates or allegations (and therefore neither did the Diocese care about any possibly real victims), but just wanted to shove as much settlement money down as many throats of alleged victims  as they could in as little time as possible so as to avoid possible litigated claims)].

In the lawsuit filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court, they [the parents] accused Desjardins of asking the boy whether he had “engaged in watching pornographic material and masturbating.” [Scenario: Perhaps the boy confessed to kind of not keeping custody of his eyes in regard to, kind of like, you know, looking at some, like, you know, immodesty, and ended up committing, you know, impure acts, kind of, maybe. Now, if that were the actual confession, there is a risk that the boy would not celebrate an integral confession, but would rather suffer making a sacrilegious confession in that he didn’t confess circumstances so important that they would add more grave sins to what was already confessed. Asking a pertinent question begged by the ambiguity is a favor to the boy. If the priest asked if there was a partner in sin, this would be laudable. Though, it is said, he asks about a lesser interpretation, about porn, perhaps expecting that what the boy is being ambiguous about concerns a partner in sin. Finding out about a partner in sin, especially regarding a young man, brings with it further questions about the age of the other person, as there are then questions about statutory rape. Such questions are also necessitated for a proper penance and for advice to be given, such as to cut any untoward relationship. One should also ask if the other person is vulnerable in any other way. If one finds out that the other person was an adult, well now, that changes things altogether, doesn’t it? It does. If this were all the case, the priest is to be commended. Of course, we won’t know on this earth, as the Seal of Confession is involved.] When the boy said that he hadn’t and that he had a girlfriend [Hah! There we are: there was, in fact, a partner in this sin, adding another sin to what was confessed. Way to go, Father Desjardins! Good work!], Desjardins [allegedly] told the boy to use “rubbers” [Or maybe the boy had actually said that he had a girl-friend, but that it was all O.K. since he was using prophylactics. And maybe the priest then justly reprimanded the boy for trying to make an excuse for having had sex with his girlfriend. Using condoms does not lessen the sin! The boy, perhaps used to doing whatever he damn well pleases, so that no priest is going to stop him, perhaps became angry with the priest and blamed the priest for all this. Right? People can, at times, be very damning of the Church’s morality in confession, which means they are not repentant. People can go to Confession to try to get permission to sin. Some priests will do that. It doesn’t sound as if Father Desjardins is one of them. But now watch what happens:] and warned him to be careful because a girl can “yell ‘rape’ ” during sex [Hah! Is it that Father was reprimanding him for committing statutory rape, which really threw the boy into a rage? The priest wouldn’t counsel condom use and warn the boy that he is committing statutory rape. That’s just ludicrous. PFffffttt!!!], the lawsuit continued. The parents also accused Desjardins, who is an assisting retired priest at Christ the King Parish, of attempting to grab the boy twice as the student tried to avoid him. Donovan has said that physical contact was nothing more than a handshake after Mass. [Hah! “A handshake after Mass”… Really? Ooooo! Nefarious, that! Wow! A handshake after Mass! No one does that anywhere in the world, ever! A handshake! After Mass! Unheard of. What scandal! What horror! The parents of this kid really, really seem to hate all priests and the Catholic Church and have, it seems, tried their best to instill that in their son. Sad, that. So, O.K. Fathers! Hear that? No more shaking hands after Mass. Just pray some thanksgiving prayers alone, kneeling on the steps of the sanctuary. Actually, that’s a good idea. I digress. At any rate, don’t forget that the parents are best friends of Hutchins, zillionaire abuse attorney. And with this, they get some tuition money.]

Yesterday, he [Donovan, the Diocesan Spokesman] said the diocese still believes the lawsuit had no merit. [Great! But…] But in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month, the diocese took a different route when it neither denied nor admitted that Desjardins made the comments [nor can they because the Diocese doesn’t know anything about the Confession since the priest is under the Seal of Confession] and instead argued that the suit should have been thrown out because it interfered with the church’s First Amendment rights. [That’s true, but it ignores that the priest cannot defend himself in any way. It’s the priest’s inability to defend himself that will push courts in future cases (and there may well be future cases, right?) to put the priest on the stand and try to force him to break the Seal of Confession, the very thing the State of New Hampshire already tried to do very recently at that time. One has to wonder what will happen when tens, then hundreds, then thousands and tens of thousands of cases pile up. No one ever needs to have gone to Confession to any priest to claim that one did go, and that one got bad advice or worse. It’s all too easy. Just get any bulletin, find out when confessions times are, retaining proof, and see who hears confessions that day. Then make up a story. Easy peasy. It’s really easy to go to hell. Untold $$$ dollars $$$ will be paid to anyone who makes a complaint, no matter how ludicrous. It seems to me that “payments” for this, The Perdition Crisis, risk dwarfing the billions of dollars paid out for The Judas Crisis.]

Gordon MacDonald, the diocese’s lawyer, argued that the topics Desjardins was accused of discussing – including pornography, masturbation, premarital sex [“pre-marital”… really? But that’s just the paraphrase of the reporter.] and rape – all are considered sins under Catholic doctrine. And he said resolving the case would require a judge or jury to examine the appropriateness of those doctrines as well as whether the alleged discussion was in line with tenets of the Catholic faith. [And there it is: The Perdition Crisis. This is a cave-in to Peter Hutchins, the abuse attorney. This is a practical admission that any and all accusations, no matter what, are accepted as the honest truth, no matter how ludicrous, how inconsistent, and that we can just move on now to discussing the faith and being consistent with the faith. That’s giving a win to the attorney just to do it. That priest cannot defend himself. The diocese cannot pretend to argue for the priest, because they cannot know what the priest said.  The diocese is treating itself as the defendant, not the priest, which was the same thing as had happened with The Judas Crisis, where the priest is always guilty no matter what, with no due process, as any innocence would get in the way of making immediate and even blanket settlements in hopes of saving a few bucks. Manchester Diocese has a long history of leading the destruction of the Church by way of throwing due process for priests out the window so as to serve themselves. /// Note that the lawyer also does something just as nefarious. He not only throws judgment of consistency with the faith by the State into the equation, but also the acceptability of the faith before the State in the first place. This is just plain EVIL. This invites the State to say that, for instance, the Catholic Church’s faith in regard to the nefariousness of homosexual marriage is illegal (to take another case that is sure to come about). Sure, the diocesan attorney is saying that these are reasons that the case should be dismissed, but in making the settlement at the very end, he is not only saying, but highlighting, screaming it out, that first amendment issues are vacuous for the defense, and are legitimate avenues for the State to pursue in future cases. The Diocese says that the settlement is just meant to sweep the problem under the carpet. However, there are implications, whether they like it or not.]

“A civil factfinder would become enmeshed in determining whether a Catholic priest [any priest] may discuss pornography, masturbation, sexual intercourse out-of-wedlock [a better phrase], and rape with a penitent during the Sacrament of Penance and whether those subjects are consistent with Catholic doctrine and the Catholic faith’s overall mission,” MacDonald wrote in the motion. [A civil factfinder couldn’t care less. The point would be what was said about these things in view of any civil laws. For instance, if a priest were to say that divorce and the attempt to marry again without a declaration that the first marriage was null from the beginning is wrong might be considered nefarious and illegal by the State. That’s what the State is judging. The State of New Hampshire would gladly shut down the Catholic Church altogether. At any rate, all this immediately goes from Father Doe priest to Father Desjardins, and, again, the priest has no defense, as he cannot break the Seal of Confession. What is most ludicrous is that the Diocese, in saying all this, is acting as if it and the State can reliably act upon the information given by whatever accuser when it all must remain perpetually one-sided because of the Seal of Confession. This simply doesn’t occur to Manchester Diocese, since it seems that they have never given due process to any priest, with the possible exception, in all irony, of convicted felon Monsignor Edward Arsenault. Other priests are non-existent in the actual judgment. This lending of credibility to such accusations, and then offering a monetary settlement for them, means that there will never be a time when any accusations are ever not given credibility and acted upon with settlement money, no matter how inconsistent and ludicrous. This is quite the invitation to anyone and everyone to come to the money-tree by way of making bogus accusations about something imagined to have been said in an imaginary Confession.] He said the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and also the state Constitution “prohibit this type of intrusive inquiry into the doctrinal affairs of the church.” [Hutchins may well win his point that he only wants to discuss if any alleged advice goes against State law. So, the point is this: The priest cannot make a defense, and the Diocese cannot defend him, since the Diocese has no idea what the priest said, or, indeed, if there was ever a Confession to begin with. The Diocese must insist on dismissing the case, and not ever pay any settlement. But they caved on the dismissal by going for the settlement. The effect of mentioning the Constitution only to throw that argument out the window with a settlement is to insist that the Constitution does not matter in such cases. Ironic, no? Or is that what Manchester Diocese wanted. That would be in line with what they’ve always done. The next step for the State will be to repeat their attack on the Seal of Confession. And, if there are tens or hundreds of cases in Manchester Diocese alone, you can bet that one priest will cave and say something to defend himself, which will be then be used as a precedent by the State, at least to continue a cross-examination of the priest. If he refuses to continue, realizing he’s been caught out, he’ll be in jail for contempt of court until he decides otherwise.]

[But then the obfuscations get worse:] The family sued specifically for breach of contract, saying the diocese failed to provide their son with the safe learning environment promised in the school’s handbook. In the motion to dismiss, McDonald also claimed that document isn’t a contract. The handbook – which includes a mission statement and sections on, among other things, school rules and student responsibilities – doesn’t include contractual promises, MacDonald said. He said the family accused the diocese of violating “a series of aspirational policies,” not binding promises.

Hutchins said yesterday that he disagrees that a student handbook doesn’t act as a contract in a private school setting. “It’s our position that absolutely all of those materials that basically promise what the school’s going to do and also gives the responsibility to the students and parents (create a contract),” he said. “It goes both ways. Here are your obligations; here are ours. It’s a contract. Period.” [Contract=Money. Hutchins needs to win this point for any future case from a school, etc. But this is not necessarily what will break any bank. Just the fact of the settlement will more than break the bank, regardless of talk of any contracts being broken or not. This is a purposed distraction, but a welcome one to Hutchins if it hits pay-dirt. It’s a bluff. Just one more way to put pressure on the Diocese to make a settlement. He guessed it right. But it’s more than this. He’s saying that the safe-learning environment is to extend to the Confessional, so that the Confessional is to have an oversight it cannot have because of the Seal of Confession. But this is what he is going after: the Seal of Confession. The State is on side with that. This whole thing seems to fly right over the heads of those in the Diocese. And maybe, just maybe, those in the Diocese have absolutely no idea just how evil they are acting with all of this. Or maybe they just don’t have the faith. Or maybe they just literally don’t give a damn…] He also disputed the diocese’s stance that the lawsuit violated its First Amendment rights, saying the suit focused “on the conduct, not the religion.” [Again, I bet Hutchins could win this argument, but not the war, it being that all of it is always hypothetical, since the priest cannot defend himself. At any rate, Hutchins actually has all he needs, for the Diocese acts like any accusation, no matter how ludicrous and inconsistent, will be accepted immediately as the truth. And this is confirmed with the settlement. Hutchins can take that and run with an unlimited number of cases.] Hutchins, who has been involved in litigating more than 150 child abuse cases against New Hampshire clergy [making himself a zillionaire, because it’s all about the children, of course.], said the church is not immune to being held accountable for violations of secular law, such as state statutes or local ordinances. He said a breach of contract falls into that category. “We do not focus on, criticize or try to change religious beliefs or religious procedures,” he said. [I think that’s exactly what he’s trying to do.] “Those are protected.” [He certainly did laugh all the way to the bank when he respected how the diocese threw procedures of justice and due process out the window for those abuse cases. He mocked the Diocese of Manchester for, in some cases, not even asking about dates or allegations. He can accept the word of the Diocese as an attorney for an out of court settlement that all priests are always guilty, no matter what, but he’s also got to know that something’s just not quite correct there, right?] Hutchins is a longtime friend of the father who filed the lawsuit [Kudos to the Monitor for noting the friendship this time. On the other hand, Hutchins was, in effect, given free advertising to fish for more clients with more accusations with more money to be thrown at them], and yesterday he said he is not collecting attorney’s fees for his involvement [that is, for THIS testing of the waters case, that is, for THIS case with his best friends. This was leaning toward being a test case for the Seal of Confession, but the Diocese caved with the settlement. The settlement does nothing by way of precedent to protect the Seal of Confession all the more. Quite the opposite. For the Diocese, whatever an accusation claims is exactly what happened, even though the priest cannot say anything. This is a mockery of the Seal of Confession, plain and simple.]. He said the family decided to sue the diocese after feeling their concerns, which they raised with school administrators shortly after the confession, weren’t taken seriously. Hutchins said diocese [sic] officials called Desjardins’s conduct “innocuous” [That could be a lie, but, anyway, how would the Diocese know, since the priest cannot say anything? Hutchins knows that better than the Diocese. He wants them to say something like that, perhaps to use it as proof that, in fact, they did get the priest to defend himself privately at the Chancery offices. Then Hutchins could claim that the Seal of Confession means nothing, and therefore the priest can in fact be cross-examined in court. If the Diocese accepts the alleged comments of the priest at face value, they are going in that direction. Even if they don’t say that the priest revealed the confession, they are saying that an accusation in itself makes the accusations true, the way they always said that accusations are always true no matter what in abuse cases. Regardless of what Hutchins says the Diocese says, the Diocese, in making the settlement, does say that they accept all accusations as absolutely true no matter what. Moreover, since the Diocese accepts the alleged comments of the priest saying that the using of condoms is great, and if it also says that these comments are “innocuous”,  well, that actual comment of the Diocese would be against the faith of the Catholic Church. Contraception is a sin, also in a case of statutory rape, however “consensual”. The priest is most likely innocent of all this, but if Hutchins is right and the Diocese did make such statements, then it is the Diocese that is guilty of acting against the faith and morals of the Church, along with acting against the priesthood and the Sacrament of Confession.] and did nothing to put the family at ease [How would they do that? Take them bowling?] or tell Desjardins that the comments were inappropriate. [But they don’t know what the comments are, since, ad nauseam, the priest is under the Seal of Confession.]

“It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but once it did happen, they should have had a much more pastoral and immediate human response to it,” Hutchins said. [And he’s just the one to say how that’s to be done, right?]

[Diocesan Spokesman] Donovan said the diocese takes all allegations against priests seriously and places them on leave if officials believe the accusation rises to the level of misconduct. That wasn’t the case here [So why did they make the settlement, just out of meanness, to destroy his good name and his life as a priest?], he said, so Desjardins wasn’t removed from his role as chaplain at the school after the parents went to administrators. [Uh huh. I’m not so sure. At any rate, nothing good can come from this except to put people off of confession, and make priests wary of hearing confessions. That’s not what’s needed right now or ever. This sickness of shoving money down everyone’s throat has got to stop, and it’s got to stop now. Hutchins played the Diocese and won, as he does at will. The Diocese will never consider going to court. They will now make settlements without question every time. As in The Judas Crisis, it all seems to be legal, because it’s all out of court. That doesn’t mean that it is moral or acceptable in Church Law. But this will surely go the way of The Judas Crisis, with mountains of money spread about everywhere. Cui bono? To what good?]

He [the Diocesan Spokesman] said Desjardins did decide [Or was that decided for him?] to take a leave of absence from the school after the lawsuit was filed in February. He was unsure whether the priest would be returning next school year. [“Unsure.” Really?] Read the rest there.


Usually, abuse lawyers go in two years cycles of bringing cases for settlements. Now that the Holy Year of Mercy (and confession!) is completed, we’ll see what happens. But, in the meantime, I think Bishop Libasci would do well to admit the mistake for the sake of the good of the Church, you know, pro bono ecclesiae.

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Filed under Confession, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Year of Mercy

Ultra super day brightener: seminarian (proof for our hope)

One of the readers of Arise! Let us be going! gifted this fellow a biretta. Do listen to his testimony. Jaw dropping. Who is this then? Totally awesome. He’s a seminarian who is loved by our Blessed Mother, as are we all. It seems his guardian angel has an interventionist mood often. I love that. Reminds me of another guardian angel.

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Filed under Mercy, Vocations

The Merciful Most Holy Trinity

fatima lucia trinity mercy

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2016-05-22 · 6:50 am

Exorcising infused intelligence with the frustration of suppressed wisdom. Torture and interrogation revisited.

wp-1455151758776.jpg

This painting of Saint Michael stomping on Satan hangs in a rather elegant interrogation room in (let’s call it) the security building of Vatican City State. On the one hand, this room is rather unlike those found with ISIS. On the other hand, perhaps the painting is a warning about what is in store for those who do not cooperate. Hey! I’ll cooperate! Really!

The irony is excruciating: extreme intelligence, infused, angelic, coupled with an utter lack of wisdom. This is Satan’s punishment forever.

In an exorcism, the idea is to make Satan admit his utter lack of wisdom in front of the exorcist, who is incomparably Satan’s intellectual inferior. Such an admission is all too much for Satan, at which point he simply leaves, which, of course, is the admission!

It’s rather simple how this works. Satan stomps on someone loved by God not because Satan cares about bothering us, but because Satan hates God; this is Satan’s way to demonstrate his hatred of God to God. Then, hopefully, the person ends up turning to God all the more, which is rather frustrating to Satan: such a person became closer to God because of the occasion provided for this by Satan.

Satan sees this countless times, but continues to do his work of hatred all the same even though the torment of the frustration increases all the more. This is a hatred and darkness we had better not be with for all eternity. Much better to go to heaven. There is no middle way. No compromise. In the end, there is only heaven or hell. Choose life!

By the way, the artwork above is a bit modern, a bit non-scriptural. The flaming fiery sword is held by the cherubim at the end of the Garden of Eden account, not by any archangel like Michael, though, of course, all those who are with God wield this sword. The sword is meant for Adam and the children of Adam, to turn their arrogant grasping for the fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones unto a humble reception of the fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones. To use this “turn-whatever-comes-at-it-into-its-contrary-sword” on Satan is terribly sarcastic, as Satan can only become more frustrated. That, mind you, is good art. The fiery bit is God’s love, and that love is provided to Satan, but it is precisely this love which makes him suffer, as he rejects such love. His frustration is ineffable. Such a sword of ardent love, of truth, cannot be put in any sheath, but is always drawn, always at work with good effect in those who accept it’s purging effects in all humility.

Why bother putting this up? Because today it seems that we think that God won’t do whatever it takes to get us into His love, which includes providing us with His love, which brings with it the purging effects of its ardent flame, which brings with it a torture as intense as being crucified to this world so as to live for Jesus, so that we might carry about His death within us that His resurrection might be manifested. Some think that this is mean and cruel. But it is not. This torture, if you will, does bring with it an interrogation more ferocious than anything ever provided by the ISIS crowd, as ferocious as Jesus asking: “Do you love me, Peter, more than these?”

Yes, Jesus does interrogate, and it seems like the very fires of hell are cast at us inasmuch as we resist such fiery love. Peter was grieved to death, death of himself so as to live for Jesus. Is that not, then, love which is provided by Jesus to Peter? Yes. It is. With all that torture, with all that interrogation, with all that… that… that… fiery love! Not so bad after all! Unlike with Satan, we can receive the fiery love of God with all its truth within us.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Confession, Exorcism, Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Torture chamber confessionals nixed. Pope Francis: contrition, amendment? Instead: I think, therefore I am saved.

torture chamber

Torture chambers…

For the umpteenth time, on 30 April in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father has again commanded priests in no uncertain terms not to make their confessionals into torture chambers and interrogation rooms. This was the lead story on 1 May 2016 in l’Osservatore Romano.

interrogation room

Interrogation rooms…

Since this has become one of the most frequent themes of the pontificate of Pope Francis, one would think that he actually thinks that all priests do make their confessionals into torture rooms and interrogation rooms. Since priests who make their confessionals into torture chambers and interrogation rooms belong immediately in the lowest reaches of hell, perhaps one might think in an unthinking way that the Holy Father ought to have mercy before that judgment is brought down upon them, to the effect that a new Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition be set up to discover which priests are so very lacking in mercy (all of them), so they might be brought by means of whatever it takes to understand what mercy is all about, with whatever it takes including torture and vicious interrogation. I mean, heaven and hell are for eternity, right? Whatever it takes is O.K., right? Remember, this bit about torture and interrogation really is a constant theme of Pope Francis. Is his constant attack on the priesthood, his constantly kicking priests in the face justified? Perhaps. In thinking about this not in an unthinking way, I think I’ve figured out what the Holy Father is thinking about this, whether he is doing that in a thinking or unthinking way I do not know. But, let’s think about this…

Methinks that this constant reference to the torture chambers and interrogation rooms of priests right around the world is meant to get priests to think about the quality of the conditions they lay on people prior to their reception of an absolution in confession. I think the Holy Father thinks that confessors right around the world think that any sign of repentance in and of itself brings in its wake also contrition and a purpose of amendment, and I think that that is what the Holy Father thinks is absolutely intolerable, as intolerable as any torture or vicious interrogation. I think that he’s not accusing anyone of wittingly going about torture and interrogation, only that he thinks that all priests have a totally insufficient theology regarding repentance, a theology which must be reformed, a theology which will not be reformed unless he makes all priests so angry that they will actually think about what he has to say. Clever. Again, let’s think about this.

The Holy Father does think, by the way, that a sign of repentance is a necessary condition for absolution in the confessional, enough to deny absolution if it is not there (as he told us Missionaries of Mercy on Shrove Tuesday 2016). This is from 30 May:

“Dio non si rassegna mai alla possibilità che una persona rimanga estranea al suo amore, a condizione però di trovare in lei qualche segno di pentimento per il male compiuto.” “God is never resigned to the possibility that a person remains foreign to His love, on the condition, however, to find in this person some sign of repentance for the evil done.”

I think the Holy Father thinks that this repentance does not at all necessarily have to bring in its wake contrition and a purpose of amendment, at least not right away, as repentance, for the Holy Father, is more about a process, a path, than an event. I think the Holy Father thinks that priests right around the world are oblivious to his understanding, blindly thinking, therefore, in his opinion, that repentance brings in its wake contrition and some purpose of amendment. This take on what Pope Francis thinks would be entirely consonant with Amoris laetitia in every way. Here’s my translation of more of that Saturday audience:

prodigal son

From l’Osservatore Romano

“May no one remain far from God because of obstacles put before them by men! And this goes also — and I say this underlining it — for confessors — it is valid for them –: please, do not put obstacles in front of people who want to reconcile themselves with God. The confessor must be a father! He takes the place of God the Father! The confessor must receive those who come to him to reconcile themselves with God and start them out on the path of this reconciliation that we are making [in other words a path of repentance merely in one’s mind but without the immediate contrition and purpose of amendment which would complete the path, those almost impossible conditions of the love which may perhaps come later (in Pope Francis’ mind)]. It is such a beautiful ministry: it is not a torture chamber nor an interrogation room. No. [Contrition? Amendment? Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Just be beautiful in your own mind, get absolution and to to Communion.]. He is the Father who receives and welcomes this person and pardons. Let us be reconciled with God! All of us! May this Holy Year be the favorable time to rediscover the need of tenderness and of the closeness of the Father [step one, which is what he thinks the prodigal son did when out with the pigs] so as to return to Him wholeheartedly [step two, the reversal of what actually happens in the parable of the prodigal son, who is instead found (but we will get to that in a future post, but note that this is the central mistake of Pope Francis)].” [In other words, this is all a repeat of footnote 351 in Amoris laetitia.]

True repentance without contrition and without some purpose of amendment is simply not possible. That would be a repentance which is not repentant at all. Or better, since repentance = rethinking (metanoia), such repentance without contrition and without some purpose of amendment would be no more than a mind game, that which is Promethean, neo-Pelagian, self-absorbed, self-referential, self-congratulatory. This is totally lacking in love, totally lacking in mercy. I think, therefore I am saved. It makes the sacraments a joke. It makes a joke of Christ’s faithful. It makes a joke of the priests who want to bring people into Christ’s love, not simply into some mind-game. Once entered into, how is it that one can extract someone out of such a mind-game? Is it not the same way that one might present at the very beginning of the “process”? Is it not all about Jesus and His love which is stronger than death? Yes. Repentance comes with contrition, an act of love, and purpose of amendment, an act of love. Repentance without contrition and purpose of amendment is not simply atrition, sorry for the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (which is good in and of itself and sufficient to bring one to confession and receive absolution if there is also a repentance with purpose of amendment). Instead, repentance without contrition and purpose of amendment is, again, simply a mind-game which has no respect for the one who would provide pardon. It makes one into the elder brother of the prodigal. It is self-righteous, loving only of self specifically apart from God.

Holy Father, I love you to pieces, but you are wrong. Why do you torture your priests and Christ’s faithful with that which is less than love? I’m sure you want a more profound theology about all this. I will provide that with a future post on the prodigal son. It will be sure to knock your black shoes off! Stay tuned.

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Hearing confessions… Jesus, Mercy!

confessional art

This is the artwork can see in the confessional when I am the one hearing the confessions. Sorry about the aspect ratio, but this was a quickie shot between confessions.

  • I am happy to see Mary. She has interceded for the sorry lot that we are. She knows our need. I ask her to send penitents into the box. We are frequently late for Mass. I don’t think anyone minds at all.
  • I am happy to be reminded by the crucifix what is going on with the absolution, “Father, forgive them!”
  • I am happy, I must say, to keep my eyes peeled on Jesus the entire time, no matter what. Whoever it is that is confessing their sins with repentance, contrition and purpose of amendment doesn’t matter: it is Jesus who has already taken those sins on Himself and who has already accomplished the penance of our redemption.

In this particular painting it seems that Jesus is beckoning the priest hearing confessions to take His heart. And I’m going, like, um, Jesus… what? You want me to forgive penitents with your heart? That, of course, is absolutely the case. But there is more. And my hard heart is shattered to pieces, making room for His. You want me to forgive you with your heart? He who is sinless confesses our sins as if He committed them Himself. That’s what He’s doing at His circumcision. That’s what He’s doing at His Baptism. That’s what He’s doing on the Cross. What’s a confessor to do? Absolve the penitent with Jesus’ grace, knowing that, effectively, this is Jesus kneeling on the other side of the screen. I am thrown into humble reverence before Him. He loves us so very much. Just some thoughts I had while being unable not to keep my eyes peeled on Him, who is coming judge the living and the dead and world by fire, that fiery heart of His. Amen.

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Saints Catherine, Michael, George…

saint catherine of alexandria

As with Saint George and Saint Michael, there are those who doubt the existence of other saints such as the Great Saint Catherine of Alexandria. What’s to be done?

saint michael

Seeing my post on Saint George the Dragon Slayer on this, his feast day, a priest wrote in just now about what he had done:

As I wrote to a friend […] who denied the existence of St Catherine of Alexandria (mutatis mutandis):

“When you stand before the judgment seat of God and the scales of justice are perfectly balanced between your good deeds and your bad, St Catherine will come, having plucked but one tiny feather from a wing of St. Michael the Archangel, and place it among your bad deeds and you shall be damned for evermore in the flames of Hell.”
Wow. I love that. And then, from Jesus:
“At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here” (Matthew 12:41-42 nab).
And I would add this amidst confusion regarding the confusion of Amoris laetitia:
  • The men of this generation who have accepted into their lives the enthralling love and mercy of Jesus in that which befits such love and mercy, repentance, contrition, amendment… these men will arise to condemn this generation, for they also had the love and mercy and truth of Jesus crucified and risen before them, and they did not accept him, but turned away in self-referentiality, self-congratulation, into casuistic mind-games of self-absorbed neo-Pelagian sycophantic following of the Promethean gods of our day.
So, there we have it. Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Amoris laetitia: objectively malicious with consistency of malice

death star

An analogy of Amoris laetitia. Because Jesus always wins.

The more I drill into Amoris laetitia, the more I am convinced that there are no inconsistencies whatsoever. I think that those who think that there are inconsistencies are simply afraid to see what’s really, horrifically, actually there. I believe that it is terribly consistent, with the best of the best parts having to be read in view of the worst of the worst parts. O.K. Fine. Read the worst of the worst parts in view of the best of the parts and you’ll come up with the same thing. The document really is very, extremely clever, clever with purpose, objectively malicious. By that I mean that I grant, of course, subjective sincerity of niceness to the ghost writers, but what they present, objectively, is a full attack on the Church.

WHISKEY

Whiskey

For instance, I think those who say that note 351 can be read in an orthodox way are wrong, not because they are mistaken about their ultra-refined argumentation which effectively absolutely zero percent of the Catholic population of the earth will understand – but because the note is to be read with the rest of the document to which it is a note. That context also has, say, the sophistry of note 329 [Look it up.], which even those making the most fantastical apologia admit they cannot wrap their minds around. Note 329 belongs to paragraph 298 [Look it up.] which has a reference to the wonderful nature of “Christian commitment” to an adulterous relationship. That has a certain insanity of consistency with note 351 [Look it up.]. It’s all apiece. You’ll excuse me if I refrain from continuously repeating that I think it is a piece of… I mean, look, note 329, outrageously maliciously (objectively speaking) ripping citations out of context [Look them up. Seriously. Do it.] and turning them upside down and inside out, back to front, inescapably encourages adulterers to Force niceness upon each other with Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Yep. After all, if you’re an Amoris laetitia fan you wouldn’t want alienation of affection for adulterers would you? “Alienation of affection” refers not only to companionship, but also to carnal marital relations. Saint Paul speaks of this. [Look it up!] All that supplies only one very unorthodox possibility for the true contextual reading of note 351, that is, that unrepentant sinners who have zero purpose of amendment are to be absolved of a sin they don’t even think is a real sin for themselves because, you know, they are so special and the only ones in history with special circumstances, thus sending them off to receive Communion. Sure, there are all sorts of guidelines to stop scandal and to help whoever along, but the absolution and Communion are always, sooner or later, to follow, no matter what, since, you know, no one is to be condemned forever. See the immediately preceding paragraph 297 [Look it up!].

TANGO

Tango

Back in the 1990s, I had long discussions with a particularly influential Cardinal and surely close friend of Father Bergoglio, and who was near the very top of the Roman Curia, about the 1993 paper on Interpretation of the Bible in the Church put out by the Pontifical Biblical Commission. At one point I said that I was at the point of cross-referencing paragraphs throughout the document from memory. I started to explain that I was noting consistency of argument throughout the document but with conclusions that I thought were dreadful. But he cut me off abruptly with my reference to cross-referencing paragraphs in different sections while looking for consistency, insisting rather roughly, I must say, that I must never do that, never look for consistency (he knew where I was going!), for this would not be of service to the Church. He continued to try to form me into accepting a mentality of how such documents are to be written[!], that each bit had to be simply a stand-alone paragraph or section and nothing more, that that was the only way forward. I hope that frightens you, for it is THE POLICY OF AMBIGUITY. I was scared to death.

I realize that Cardinal Burke has recommended making the attempt to read this document in light of Sacred Tradition, but I think there is a preliminary step to be made before that, for me (I know he’s done that), which is simply to read the document in light of itself. Once we know what it says, avoiding reading into it what may not be there, then we can do a comparison in attempt to understand it a little better. I’ve been having trouble getting past the first step. I am devastated at the evil that I see there. I am overwhelmed. This is not the Gospel. It is casuistry. It is the encouragement of self-absorption, far from reverence for the wounds upon the dearest and divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, Christ Jesus. It’s all about confessors being Promethean providers of the ways of neo-Pelagian self-congratulations. Such mind-games, so very far from love and mercy, are not of Jesus.

FOXTROT

Foxtrot

I won’t have any part of it. If you want to know just what kind of mercy this Missionary of Mercy exercises if not that of Amoris laetitia, just what kind of mercy any priest should exercise according to the Lord Jesus, stay tuned for long planned articles on the prodigal son and the adulterous woman. And if you think that the pictures of this article have any significance, say, in regard to military alphabet code, well, you would be right. I only mention that because the more liberal crowd will surely respect that they have hurt my feelings in publishing such an objectively malicious document. And because they know I have hurt feelings, they will be nice to me, right? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?

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The monster’s got me by the ankles and is smashing me to the ground

dilbert

I am exhausted. Today, so far, I’ve had 113 email conversations, however many comments, texts, and hours[!] of phone conversations, most of those about canon law, ecclesiology, moral theology, church politics, with a number of priests, canon lawyers, theologians. I am deeply sorrowful at the state of the Church. Deeply. I don’t know how to express that. I agonize. I don’t think it’s negativity. I love the Church. I love those in the Church, even the baddies just like me, and by that I mean those who go on ad hominem attacks, just like me, except I’m worse. I know how bad that is for me. The last thing I want is to see that attitude in them.

ogreI feel like I’m being lifted up upside down by some ogre who’s got me by the ankles, and who has commenced whipping me about in the air and then smashing me down to the ground, only to do it continuously, and somehow I remain conscious through it all. I feel sick. Nauseous. It’s like traumatic stress. The monster is, of course, myself. I’m very bad and very evil with a very black and terribly cynical heart. If I wanted to rant, just laying it all out, proving my cynicism to myself (because cynicism is all about self), I think I would actually frighten the most intense of cynics right into silence, much like when the murder rate in Manhattan went down to zero for quite a while after September 11, 2001. The run of the mill murderers were unfathomably out-murdered, and they were stunned into pacifism. Jesus had to reach really very far into hell to find me, which makes me all the more grateful to Him. And that all means that I hold all those lesser cynics to be much better off than I ever was. You have no idea.

If that seems like unstoppable pride, let me tell you ever so humbly about someone who was more cynical than even I could ever be. A layman, he had the CDF wrapped around his little finger, deposing and setting up bishops at will, forcing documents and policies right and left. The CDF, his pet project, hated him, but Ratzinger did what he said and, I would hazard, respected him and even liked him for the clarity and devotion he had. I’ve never known anyone more intelligent, which includes the greatest Thomists in the world today. He knew how to get things done for the good of the Church. I often helped him. I’ve now and again done a bit of his kind of work myself, asked to do so many times by the Curia, off the record, but whatever gets the job done, right? Sometimes cynics are simply realists said to be cynics by those fearful of reality. And that was him, a saint, really, cynical of the diabolical, but not of Jesus. We both knew, however, that if he reversed that, even for a moment, he could do great damage to the Church. He stayed with Jesus, even though he saw all the diabolical there can be among some members of the Church.

As for myself, if I lost all sanctifying grace, I could rant about pretty much everything, including “and” and “the” and even the nice stuff. I would not only highlight that which boasts of ambiguity, but I would also draw conclusions from that which would make anyone curl up in a ball and die of despair. I excel at that kind of thing, I dare say more than anyone. No comparison. And this has ripened over the last number of years. I know the hell of it; I know of a certainty that that’s who I am if I am without grace. One actual believer in the Roman Curia once said that he feared that my analyses could  [… I had better stop!…] At any rate, I’m sure that I would pervert any time being greater than space dynamic into a Marxist dialectic with all such things. I’m truly bad and evil. But I know it. So I look to Jesus, who creates both time and space. He’s all that’s left for me. He is the Church with His Mystical Body. He’s the One.

And then the monster disappears. Just like that. If I pride myself to think that I’m really good at being evil, my pride is then shattered into humility by Him who was more cynical of evil than I could ever begin to be cynical of that which is good. Jesus bears the wounds of all of hell broken out on His risen body. He smashes all cynicism into that which is laughable. Jesus has conquered. He’s the greatest love of my life and I want everyone to know about Him.

We must keep unity in the Church. No schism! Let’s discuss the ideas, yes. But let’s all of us stick to that. But if anyone wants to be ad hominem with me, say that I’m not a real priest, whatever, go ahead. I take back being offended by any of that. I deserve everything I get. I’ll just beat you to the punch: I’ve absolutely crucified the Son of the Living God with my sins and without Jesus I would absolutely go to hell like the child of hell that I am if I am without grace.

P.S. The undercurrent of this post is terrible pride. I hope you can pick that up. I am the worst of the worst. Somehow that’s pride, right? But Jesus is good and kind. :-)

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Holy See, Jesus, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy

Amoris laetitia and Cardinal Burke

cardinal burke lourdes

I took this picture in the Immaculate Conception “Upper” Basilica in Lourdes when I was a permanent chaplain there for a couple of years, when Cardinal Burke was on pilgrimage with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in 2009. I suffered terribly in the days of yore, trying to facilitate such Masses.

I’ve had quite a number of extended conversations with Cardinal Burke over the years, one of which was quite recent. I’ll tell you this: he is the utmost gentleman, the most humble parish priest who has no “airs” about him at all, except the brightness of a spirit of unstoppable humble reverence before the Lord Jesus. But there are those who are upset with him, I think, precisely for this reason. It makes them nervous.

Those who are upset with Cardinal Burke the most are the traditional-ism-ists. Don’t they know that they are only proving in this manner whatever it is that Pope Francis is trying to say about charity toward others? I know a number of the pseudonymous crowd, but they literally run away and hide (really) when I ask for them over the phone after they’ve published things without a name. Otherwise, in safer times, they’ll buy me lunch. Or, alternatively, attack me as best they can. I’ve known some for decades, and have suffered terribly for some of them, perhaps unbeknownst to them. But there’s no real talking with them. Very quickly everything turns to: “It’s a conspiracy of the Jews!” and then whatever else makes them breathless for the day, living on the adrenaline of mystery, the whole pen-name thing.

Cardinal Burke has been their hero until now. He’s said something they don’t like. He’s taken away their thunder. He has correctly said that the most recent intervention of Pope Francis is his own personal opinion, which is correct, both because that is what Pope Francis himself said, and because that’s the kind of document it is. That’s it.

I suggest that those who think they know better than Cardinal Burke start to read some history about the Church being, as Saint Robert Bellarmine said, “never closer to dropping into hell than at this time.” That statement is always true, and is always true because of, get this, your sins and mine. And Jesus did descend into hell, the Church in hell, if you will, to preach to the damned spirits. But the Immaculate Bride of Christ is saved from hell always and at every moment, because Christ Jesus is our Savior. Our savior is not our own cleverness, not our ad hominem attacks on mere men. We are at war with the fallen angels. We need to help each other out of respect for Christ crucified. Cardinal Burke had to make this preliminary statement. I’m sure he will have more to say. Give him a chance! But you can see how difficult the battle is. There is mutiny for the sake of mutiny. Attack for the sake of attack. People letting bitterness turn them into cynics.

Do I have questions about, say, I don’t know, casuistry for our Holy Father? Yes, I do. Would I present those questions to him with the utmost respect for his person and with the utmost reverence for his office as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter? Yes, absolutely. I’ll give some background to those questions in articles to come about the prodigal son and the adulterous woman.

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (In case you didn’t notice Him edition)

prince of peace jesus mary

As seen in Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Robbinsville, NC

I’ve been remiss in giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception. The picture above is no exception with its lack of flowers, though I don’t know if those plants ever flower. Its no excuse, but I’ve been in rather deep thought, shall we say, this past week.

I love this statue of Jesus and Mary up in our church in Graham county. It’s a bit, well, not quite sarcastic, but almost, I mean, with real expectant joy, in hopes that we will take up her invitation to get to know her Son. The expression on Mary’s face says it all as she boldly holds the infant Jesus kind of, well, you know, in our faces.

The Word of God holding the words of God. I love that. He’s the One. He’s the only One. Sometimes, in all our verbiage, we forget that. We are so clever, we think. But it’s not about our “language event.” It’s about the Word of God’s words of God. It’s a family thing.

In every age, without exception, Jesus and His Words convert those with the hardest of hearts, despite the ever present presence of the Pharisees who use the law merely to stomp on others and the ever present presence of the Promethian neo-Pelagian cynics who offer salvation through casuistry.

And Jesus doesn’t accomplish this by being in the middle between the two extremes as if that broken gyroscope of two extremes wildly smashing family life in every direction was something Jesus had to run after, desperately trying to stay in the middle of two poles that only play off each other and are the same. No. Jesus is who He is. He is the eternal Word of Truth, He is Charity. And we would despise Him because He is not like us in all things including the congratulating of our own sin. And then He reigns supreme on the Cross, standing in our stead, taking our place before our Heavenly Father, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.

Crux stat dum volitur orbis. The Cross stands immovable while the world spins in its own self-consuming vortex. The Cross shines in the darkness, having us bend the knee before the Son of God in His love for us, tortured to death on the Cross, casting us to our knees, all of us, in heavens, on the earth, and under the earth. Jesus is the One, the Word of the Father. He does have the power to save us and bring us to Himself, right across Calvary with all hell broken out. We look to Him. Not at the hell. We look to HIM.

And, yes, there is a tag on this post reading “Vocations.” Now is the time. Now is the day of salvation. When all is impossible, that’s the time to man up and be transformed into the priesthood of the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of the Immaculate Conception, the Priest of priests, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. I will write about all this.

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Don’t think clouds are all cloudy: of penance, merit and sanctifying grace. Divine Mercy Sunday is upon us!

 

cloudy ridge mountains

I love to see clouds hugging the mountains as if they are drawn by some magnetism. Even better, I remember doing ridge walking (not mountain climbing) up near the Matterhorn on the Italian side in another life, watching clouds literally tumble up the valleys and in between the ridges and mountain tops, exploding in size or disappearing as I watched, taken in as I was by the power of nature as created by our good God, almost able to touch them so close were they. Watching those clouds was like sitting on the top rail of rodeo gate with an explosive animal underfoot. These clouds above help define just how many ridges there are vertically going up to the top ridge. This is why trails are either by the river below or on the very tops of ridges if at all possible.

volcano

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano reminds us of the clouds and lightnings and trumpeting thunder and earthquakes of Mount Sinai and then Mount Calvary heralding our redemption. And the images of Hebrew Scriptures of God riding on the clouds of the heavens come to mind. Spectacular.

When I was a kid, I would enjoy reading a book at night solely by sheet-lightning light, with the interior radiance of those clouds being so bright that I could do this with ease with almost no interruption. It was actually better than this compilation of a brilliantly freaky sick editor of lightning videos. Hat’s off to him…

Clouds are not just mist and fluffiness. Clouds are tornadoes, are hurricanes and typhoons. They can bring prosperity or flooding, life or death. They can carry the voice of our dear Heavenly Father at the Transfiguration of Jesus.

But sometimes we feel a storm cloud is over our heads and it’s all bad and evil and dark and we’re doomed. Here’s a note from a reader with my [[comments]].

“One question I have on the just consequences of sin is that it seems like there’s an important sense in which any offense against God (and especially a mortal sin) is an infinite offense simply by the fact that it is AGAINST GOD. So I have the sense that suffering or penance is more of a gesture of love of God and of His justice than it is making any quantifiable headway on what I justly owe [[Yes, any penance, including one given in confession, is to begin and end with friendship with Jesus, so that if one fasts, one complains to Him about how weak one is so as to ask to be killed off figuratively speaking to self so as to only live for Him, with that friendship growing by leaps and bounds in all charity and thus covering a multitude of sins]], though by persevering to death one gives one’s personal “all” [[Don’t be like Simone Weil in doing that! Yikes!]]. Although, about some sins I have fulfilled the recommended penance from the ancient penitential manuals [[a huge accomplishment, but remember the bit about friendship with Jesus]] but whether that is theologically a lot different than “pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary” in the ability to really atone for sin, I do not know. [[There are many variables, but there is an extra help of grace, I would think, when this comes from the sacrament of Confession. Just to say, in my discussions with the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary over in Rome as a new Missionary of Mercy, I was provided a review of the kind of penances they give out, more than an Our Father and Hail Mary!]] And I am not sure exactly how it relates to this if I gain a plenary indulgence, the temporal punishment due to sin is remitted [[from the treasury, as it were, so to speak, of the super-abundant merits of Christ and the saints]], yet the disorder in myself remains which is effects of sin and in justice must be suffered, this is a little bit confusing distinction.[[Ahh… There it is. That’s the mistake of today, confusing our psychological state and our spiritual state. We are always weak in this world because of justice for sin, and the very forgiveness and state of grace enables us to use that weakness for sanctification with the most exhilarating irony ever. Here’s the deal: the closer to Jesus we are, the more honestly we can see how far He had to reach to get us, which is the more honest we can be in thanking Him now for that salvation and then absolutely gloriously in heaven. Don’t dare think that more balanced and nice is holy. It’s in being more at ease in turning to Jesus in humble thanksgiving even while it is revealed to us just how far Jesus had to reach to get us. With this outrageous enthusiasm for love of Jesus, let the clouds blare out their trumpets and show us their lightnings. There is nothing to fear in the storms of Calvary, for it is Jesus who is drawing us to Himself across hell to Himself. If we only knew the benefit of the storms, we wouldn’t want to give them up at all until we, please God, made it into heaven. Go ahead and watch them explode or to vaporize as you make your assent up Mount Carmel. We look not to ourselves but to Him, to whom be glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.]]

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Analogy for Divine Mercy: Waterfalls!

waterfall1

This above picture is utterly deceptive. These falls are about 1/4 mile long. The width of the falls at the bottom is about 150 feet across. I’m sure this would count as a level 6 for serious knuckleheads, if not just an outright portage (good idea). I’m guessing all kayaking is forbidden (good idea). I took this picture the other day on way to the house exorcism.

waterfall2

The picture above is utterly deceptive. You would think cars can’t drive under waterfalls. You would be wrong. That is a roadway. I took this picture the other day on my way to the house exorcism.

waterfall3

The above picture is utterly deceptive. This waterfall is next to the hermitage. You would think it’s only about 5 feet across. It’s more like thirty. I took this picture the other day on my way back from the house exorcism.

san clemente mosaicThis mosaic at San Clemente in Rome isn’t utterly deceptive. It’s an attempt at an analogy about waterfalls, using the psalm line: As the hart years for running streams, so my soul is thirsting for you my God.” I used to pass this daily for years while doing my stint in bella Roma. The waters gushing from the foot of the cross depict the exorcism of all exorcisms. Note the serpent escaping just below the cross. He hates that the Lord Jesus has just died for all of us, thus having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the mercy of establishing His own Kingdom to replace the kingdom of the prince of the this world, the ancient dragon, that cunning serpent, the father of lies.

To this day, the one who has best depicted the waterfall of which we must take note is Mel Gibson in his “The Passion of the Christ.” In one of the final scenes on Calvary, you’ll remember the soldier must thrust his sword into the side, into the Heart of Jesus, you know, just to make sure that He’s dead. He does so, and from that we receive the image of the font of the Sacraments and the creation of the Church from the side of Christ just as Adam’s wife was taken from the side of Adam:

side of christ

side of christ 2

side of christ 3

Also His Immaculate Virgin Mother was redeemed at the first moment of her conception so that sin never touched her soul. This vision of this waterfall is not deceptive at all. It speaks of us of the truth of our salvation, the goodness and kindness and truth of Jesus with a love stronger than death, that mocks death, that rises from the dead, taking captivity captive, taking us to our Heavenly Father to give us as a gift to Him. Thank you, Jesus.

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Carolina Mourning Turtle Dove mourning on Good Friday

mourning dove

Seen from the kitchen window of the new rectory of the parish…

Today’s the day, Good Friday, prophesied by Simeon at the presentation of the Lord in the Temple (Luke 2:22-35). Swords piercing hearts…

sacred heartsWhen the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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Spying the Spy on this Spy Wednesday

nard jesus woman

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:6-16 rsv)

Jesus is not a liar. He said that she did this for his burial. In other words, she knew, in looking around the room, noticing Judas, that Jesus was a dead man. One of them, Judas, was going to have him killed. She had the purity of heart and agility of soul to see that this was so. She is the Spy of spies for the King of kings, who knows the whole truth of it, and praises her for her perspicacity. She knows Jesus to be the Prince of the Most Profound Peace and that Judas is instead harassed and is on the fast track to being fully possessed by the Father of Lies, Satan. This great lady is one of the ones I want to write about in the a little volume on the great women of the Gospels. One day… one day…

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