Category Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Saint George the Dragon Slayer

saint george stained glass window

Outside of my great friend (who I am utterly unworthy to have as a friend), Saint Philomena – the veracity of whose existence as a virgin and martyr of the early Church has recently been sustained by exhaustive scientific evaluations of the evidence – outside of her… there is perhaps no saint more scorned as being no more than a figment of pious imagination than Saint George, who, however, boasts of more archaeological and historical evidence than most any other saint in the history not only of the early Church, but for some lesser known saints, right into our own day. Churches dedicated to Saint George sprang up in their dozens throughout the ancient world immediately after news of his martyrdom on 23 April 303.

Liberal warning: The most obnoxious denial of the existence of Saint George that I’ve come across comes from a super liberal professor of “ecumenism” (which I put in quotes because he had no idea what true ecumenism is). Many of my fellow priests today have had Father XXX as a professor in the various countries, seminaries and universities where he’s mislead people. He had the idea that Saint George couldn’t possibly have existed because of the iconography of him slaying a dragon. His arrogant idea was that we’re very smart today, and people of the past were so very gullible and stupid. He laughed his nervous, cowardly, mocking laugh when I tried to explain a few things about the iconography:

  • Those in the first centuries, who were suffering under the severe persecutions of the dragon of the Apocalypse, namely, the possessed-by-Satan pre-Constantinian Roman Empire, understood the dragon to be the Roman Empire. Even so, such depictions only came later, but for this very reason.
  • The white horse, similarly, is the white horse of the Apocalypse 6:2, whose rider goes out conquering and to further his conquering.
  • In the early fourth century, after George was martyred, it is interesting to note that all martyrs in the Montefiascone/Bolsano region of Tuscany, whether male or female, with no regard to how they met their deaths, were all depicted as riding on the white horse of the Apocalypse.
  • The woman who is to be saved in the background of some Renaissance paintings is, similarly, Holy Mother Church, who is represented by her saints.
  • The point of all this wonderful triumphalism in the iconography is not that Saint George or the other martyrs successfully fought their way out of being martyred, that they slew the dragon by, for instance, assassinating the Emperor of the time, but rather that they conquered the demonically controlled world by witnessing to Christ Jesus’ goodness and kindness right unto their deaths, so hated is goodness and kindness by the demonically controlled world. Saint George and the other martyrs slew the dragon by being slain themselves.
  • By the way, the dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan, of Genesis 2,4-3:24, is, in the ancient usage of the word, an Oracle from God on behalf of man, a spirit, an angel, now a fallen angel. There are no talking snakes in Genesis.

None of this – or the archaeological proofs – made any impression on this super-liberal priest, for the last thing he wanted to hear was faithfulness to the Church unto death. That’s not what his own life was about. Since he couldn’t answer in any reasonable way, he merely laughed his nervous, cowardly, mocking laugh once again. I had to live with that kind of nonsense for… well… pretty much my whole priesthood. Yikes! This kind of thing can occasion an increase in friendship, in view of such a cross, with Christ Jesus and the Saints.

saint george iconThis icon was given to me by Cardinal […]. It’s from the Mount Zion crowd just outside the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. There is great devotion to Saint George in Palestine until today, with about every third boy being called after Saint George.

George’s father, Gerontius, was well known to the Emperor Diocletian as one of his very best soldiers. When Gerontius’ son George applied to Diocletian to be in the military service of the Emperor, Diocletian quickly made him part of the Imperial Guard and gave him the rank of Tribune. These positions taken together made young George, perhaps in his early twenties, almost as powerful as the Emperor himself. Very few people would have ever had such power, both military and political, and at such a young age. George was an instant phenomenon. Everyone would have known exactly who he was in the entire ancient world.

saint george martyrdomDiocletian was persuaded by the might-makes-right Galerius to have all his soldiers offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. George, with the zeal of the saints, loudly and with great reason proclaimed his worship of Christ Jesus, so that he couldn’t possibly offer sacrifice to any Roman gods. Diocletian, distraught – for he had never intended this – offered George all sorts of bribes, all of which were scorned by our Saint. Diocletian then set out to make an example of him, first attaching him to a wheel of swords and then having him decapitated.

Saint George and Saint Michael the Archangel sometimes meld into one presentation with wings being granted to Saint George on his white horse. That’s O.K. I’m sure they were great friends!

By the way, George is the Name of God the Father: ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν (John 15:1). “My Father is George.” O.K., so, a pedantic translation would be “My Father is the Farmer” or “My Father is the Tiller of the Ground.” Some translations have “Vinedresser.” Truth be told, it’s γεωργός, that is, George!

Just to be insistent about this: “Adam” means “Tiller of the Ground.” “Adam” = “George.” Jesus is the New Adam. Jesus is the New George. Yours truly is merely the old George, the old Adam. But Christ has conquered and goes out to conquer still. Thanks be to God our Father that Jesus sets about slaying me so that, dead to myself, I live for Him alone. Yikes!

keep calm and slay dragons

By the way, my parish, which takes in the most outrageously beautiful mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains, boasts, of course, of “The Dragon’s Tail”, which is an extremely dangerous curvy road that every motorcycle enthusiast in North America loves to ride. They all come here! There are hotels just for two-wheelers throughout the area. There are all sort of motorcycle fix-it shops. I invite all cyclers to to make a weekend of this, slaying the dragon by the tail, and stopping in for Mass at 8:30 Sunday morning at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Robbinsville, NC, or 11:00 Mass Sunday morning at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Andrews, N.C. If you’re not afraid of heights or gravel roads, come to Andrews from Robbinsville over Tatham Gap Road. If you’ve never once said “Yikes!” in your life, you will when ride this one. Yikes! I say that in solidarity, as most all my broken bones in life (really very many) have come from riding on two wheels with a motor. Again: Yikes!

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Saints

Pedagogy about gender and toilets in Christian Western North Carolina

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This is great Judeo-Christian pedagogy about Genesis: “Male and female He created them.” The men’s restroom at the Methodist Church here in Andrews is labeled “MEN” and “ADAM” even while the women’s restroom is labeled “WOMEN” and “EVE”. You can’t argue with that, can you? I took this picture from my crowded table at the reception after the Noon Good Friday ecumenical service at which I was the preacher. Our Catholic schools could learn from this, making sure everyone understands that while this is a biological and religious issue, not simply a topic to be forced on others by way of specious social engineering.

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Filed under Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Humor, Missionaries of Mercy

Orthodox Easter: Guns and Emmaus (scaring myself)

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Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).

We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.

I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!

I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.

Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:

But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)

Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.

We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…

You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).

Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Guns, Humor, Military, Missionaries of Mercy

Fr Byers still under Pontifical interdict insisting FAITHBYTHESWORD is good

INTERDICT

I have begged through the years to be have relief from this interdict, at least from the sharpness of its cynicism and sarcasm, from the way it throws Mud-Bowls [a hint for interpretation], for it was known from the beginning that there is no possibility of circumstances under which I could possibly submit to ecclesial authority in this matter, that is, to wit, even though I no longer reside in said territory, for I continue to this day to be forbidden to even pass through, or say “Hey!” There is no mercy for this Missionary of Mercy, it being having mercy on those banished to the peripheries at said institution which has brought about my own being cast into the same existential, anguished darkness. The holy angels, I reckon, were never happy with such a result prepared by the highest tribunals in the Holy See (note the exaggerated ecclesiastical Latin of penal decrees ossified by centuries of rote application to like offenders against expected loyalties). I predict that said institution, which started to go down the tubes upon the imposition of the burden thrust upon me, will, should they remain intransigent, no longer be viable within three to four years of this writing. Mark my words.

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

Although the given reason for the interdict seems serious enough, I’m guessing that the T-Shirt art produced in my honor for the event in question is thought to be politically incorrect in any number of ways. I respond that this over-reaction is symptomatic of our day. Instead of that reductionism, I firmly confess that the faith is spread by the sword as it was when Jesus’ Heart was pierced through (truly this was the Son of God), when Mary’s heart was pierced by sorrow (when our thoughts are laid bare), and this ever since the ferocious cherubim back in Genesis 3:24 brandished their fiery sword (for our conversion), since Elijah used his sword (for the edification of believers and the pedagogical punishment of non-believers), since Saint Michael used his (to show forth God’s glory), since our Lord told Peter not to use the sword in that most dire of circumstances (so that He Himself could have a sword plunged into His Heart).

I recommend that all seminarians get to know faith by the sword.

BTW: The interdict was actually written by the highest tribunals in Rome. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity… Perhaps, as a punishment for my continued contentiousness, I will be sent back to this office in the Pontifical Family (after all, notice the donkey in the painting besides the one sitting at the desk):

Pontifical Family humor

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Questions for + Charles Scicluna

scicluna

Your Grace: Why did the Malta Times take down their article about you? Were they wrong? Did they misrepresent you? Really? Since you invite dialogue, as a Missionary of Mercy I will put some questions before you for the sake of, you know, promoting justice, for the good of the Church, pro bono ecclesiae. So…

  • Your Grace: You say that the teaching of the Church — let’s just call it by the name of the encyclical Humanae vitae — is only for married couples which you say can be constituted only of one man and one woman, but that you don’t judge other couples, though you insist that extramarital sex is sinful but at the same time insist that adulterous couples can receive Holy Communion if they are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Jesus’ teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: does this mean that you are making a sacrament of sinful behavior?
  • Your Grace: Lest anyone think that is a sarcastic question, let’s provide an analogous question regarding your longstanding promotion of the civil celebrations of homosexual love in civilly recognized homosexual unions, as long as there is no sexy hanky panky going on, though all love including homosexual love, you say, is given by God and is good and holy: are you saying with your recent statements about peaceful consciences for adulterous couples that homosexual acts are also a kind of sacrament, objectively sinful as they may be, as long as the homosexuals involved are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Saint Paul’s teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church?
  • Your Grace: You seem to be throwing a tantrum that the Malta Times got it wrong, but would you say that — you know, in being honest here — that they had a good instinct about your utter hypocrisy regarding sexual morality, so that anything whatsoever is just fine, including contraception also in marriage as long as those involved are at peace with their consciences?
  • Your Grace: Do you put condom dispensers in your Catholic parochial school bathrooms for those who judge their consciences to be at peace? Or do you put those dispensers out, say, in the lunchroom along with free copies of the Qur’an which you let be taught in your parochial schools?
  • Your Grace: Jesus warned those who teach people to break the commandments, so are you going to spit on Jesus while you continue to teach people to break the commandments?
  • Your Grace: You slit the throats of those seminarians who wish to follow the teaching of Jesus and Paul, that is, those seminarians who do not reject Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: so do you think that Jesus, who is calling them to His priesthood, is happy with your violence against them?
  • Your Grace: Your close friend (Monsignor) Edward Arsenault, at the epicenter in so many ways of the abuse crisis, just got out of prison and is in home confinement, where he just received the news that he has been dismissed from the clerical state (laicized): is what you are doing with your not so ambiguous and inconsistent but really very clear statements related somehow to demands of his, you know, because he could spill the beans about how things have actually gone in these USA, over in Europe, and at the Holy See?

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Filed under Abuse, Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Eucharist, Holy See, homosexuality, Marriage, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Donkeys on the day after Palm Sunday

donkey blessed sacrament

Have we forgotten donkeys? Perhaps. But, we can count on Gilbert Kieth…

palestinian donkeyTHE DONKEY by G. K. CHESTERTON

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

How soon we forget the glorious donkey, always in the midst of the Holy Family, whether in going from Nazareth to Bethlehem, to Egypt, all the way back to Nazareth, or bringing Jesus into Jerusalem. But the donkey in the poem reminds us lest we forget.

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MRSA Hepatitis Plague: it’s what we do.

[[ I would put a picture of one elderly person I anointed last night, but its all too horrific. ]]

Yesterday Sassy the Subaru had hundreds of more miles put on her going to far flung places for Communion calls and anointing. People I go to see in the mountains of WNC are often on their way out or are terribly sick. I am reminded of carrying around a plague victim in Calcutta (yes, plague).

Jesus watches all of this. A front row seat. He came with me in the Blessed Sacrament. He watched as I laid hands on the head of an elderly lady with a huge MRSA boil on her head (getting close to her eye), and then anointed her. Not the first time I did this for her. I’m thinking that Jesus is just fine with all that. This kind of thing makes you respect doctors and nurses who are continuously surrounded by injurious and deadly things.

I have to ask myself if I was the patient if I wouldn’t want a priest to provide sacraments and blessings? Yes, I would. I remember as a seminarian that one of my summers was to be spent in India volunteering for Mother Teresa’s home for the dying. The Rector told me to reconsider going because I might get sick. I told him someone has to do it, whether I meant volunteer or get sick or both I don’t remember. Pretty sure it was both as his comment made me pretty upset. I did call to mind even then that Jesus came among us to die, and on purpose, so, why not do this? I did pick up some awful things in India, and the Rector said upon my return: “I told you so.” At which point I said that I was O.K. with that and wouldn’t change a thing.

Anyway, I had no place to wash my hands last night after finishing with the MRSA patient and had to drive many hours before arriving home, at which point I used a bleach wipe thingy on my hands, but had meanwhile touched about every part of my face in those hours as people do. O well. I’ll have to bring the bleach wipes with me in the car for these frequent enough occasions. If it’s too late it’s too late. MRSA, a bacterial infection, does respond perhaps, maybe, to some very few antibiotics. I guess Hepatitis is, instead, a virus, though it sometimes just goes away on its own. So, whatever. You have to die of something, right? I would be happy to die from such things. It’s not like getting one’s head chopped off like Thomas More or those who are victims of ISIS, but, hey, I’m O.K. with it.

I’m such a martyr, such a drama-queen, right? But here’s the point: actually, I just don’t care about consequences. I’m so happy with doing what I do in carrying Jesus around these backsides of these back-mountains that I don’t care about what may come. I think it’s the most wonderful thing in the world not to care if only one can do what one needs to do in whatever situation until one can no longer do it. There is a certain freedom in this, a “NO FEAR” thing. I wish everyone was this way. Sure, our military and law enforcement and firemen and rescue squads all have “NO FEAR” and just do what they are going to do regardless of the consequences, if only they get a chance to serve. But there are other more numerous unsung heroes and, usually, heroines, not only home-health care nurses, but those relatives at home who care for those with all sorts of problems. I think we will be surprised at the gates of heaven about those who said they had “NO FEAR” but were frozen in fear, and those who said they were fearful or who said they had “NO FEAR” but in any case did what they had to do.

My putting myself among the “we” in the title to this post is, I guess, a bit fraudulent, as I visit here and there, even while others live in these situations day-in, day-out. But it is still a we, in my case, Jesus and myself. And actually, people couldn’t care less about me. They just want Jesus. As it should be. So, just Jesus. Jesus alone. Amen.

P.S. I mean, all I can take credit for is putting wounds on Jesus. Anything good is Him.

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Goodbye, old friends. I’m sooo nostalgic.

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Already hauled away. That’s that. In a few hours the title will be signed over. The memories: Carrying Jesus throughout the mountains and impossibly steep ridges. Carrying elderly parishioners to the hospital in distant cities. This was my missionary of mercy truck long used at the hermitage. Betsy the 1987 Toyota pickup even worked as a conversation starter for me with the local druggies. It was bought for me by “The Guy.” I am so very sorry to see her go. But with the engine doubly exploded (water going out the tail pipe), the alignment so severely off that it would cost more to realign than get a new-used truck, the steering gearbox destroyed, etc., etc., etc., it was time to give her away to one of the locals who wanted something to work on for a woods truck. So long, old friend.

At the very same time, I got rid of Dotty, the 2002 Nissan pickup, the old soup-kitchen work horse. That went to the same person. The gas tank leaks. Everything was going wrong with it week after week. WAY too expensive to maintain. The town was threatening a lien on the rectory unless I get rid of the untagged deregistered vehicles. Yikes!  Right now, I’m driving Sassy, a Subaru Forester with about 30,000 miles on it. I’m sure there will be another 400,000 to follow within just a few years if I keep going at the rate I am now. But there’s a surprise coming. I hope it will be possible. Jenny is back up, running and kicking!

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Thinking about it. I’m distracted.

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Now that I think about it, maybe it’s a sign. On the other hand, the aliens have immediately sent out two replacements… We shouldn’t read tea leaves…

Anyway, today, like so many days, involves hospitals and hundreds of miles. There is much I would like to write about. That should include Genesis 3:15, I know, I know. I think about it all the time. If there are indications to be read, I should pay attention to the bishop mentioning my writing a popular version about Genesis 3:15. I get distracted. While I ‘m thinking about that and so many other things…

I also extremely presumptuously think about going to heaven, frequently, in a two feet on the ground kind of way, thinking of ironies that guardian angels would appreciate and perhaps are the ones who have whispered such things in my ears. Irony is a sine qua non of being Christian, like mercy being a potential part of the virtue of justice (Aquinas). When I think about heaven in this way, I laugh, a lot, which, I think, is pleasing to my guardian angel. There’s a joyful side to irony, a blessedness. That comes along with the incisive side, whereby we learn something, or about someone, or about the depth and height and breadth and magnificence of the love of God, of God’s love. Hmmm… perhaps that’s a sign too. Maybe I should pay more attention to walking heart to Heart with our Lord who is always with us. Always. The angels alert us to His presence. They see God in the face.

O.K. I’m late. Off to the hospital.

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Removing Pope Francis by civil force: ultratraditionalismists and machetes

eucharist pope francis

So, those who have been ultra-traditional-ism-ist-icized (not with Tradition) are at it again. Not content to be heretics in claiming that the papacy is merely an abstract office instead of the Church being founded on the very person of Simon-Peter, they have now gone the next step to encourage ruminations about physically, forcefully removing the person of the successor of Saint Peter.

The papacy is a sine-qua-non, without which the Church is no longer. I’m not talking about the time between the death/abdication of one pope and the election of another, but rather the heresy that the Roman Pontiff answers even as regards the faith to civil power.

Usually, those who are ultra-traditional-ism-ist-icized claim that there is no real civil power, as the Pope is all about being the immediate power regarding minutiae of mere political matters such as whether firstly to fill in a pothole in whatever secondary road or firstly to fix whatever broken down school bus. But then, twisting their britches in a knot, they condemn such ultramontanism in an effort to say how reasonable they are. But now, they want to put the papacy under civil pressure and do violence to the Holy Father.

As their head spins around like that of William Roper before he married Meg, so does the interpretation they put on Dignitatis Humanae. It is to laugh. Or cry. How sad. I’ve opined previously that some of these commentators seem to be communists, or supported by George Soros. Clever little things. While I was not of that opinion in the more remote past, and was even willing to write for them at one point, their possible depth of nefariousness is being confirmed for me day by day with the articles that are published by them, articles which, for instance, claim that the abuse crisis was about pedophilia instead of homosexuality and that pretty much all clerics are clericalists and participate in the same. This seems to be a SNAP concept which flies in the face of the John Jay report. I should note that some of the most strident ultra-traditional-ism-ists snapped up a certain blog writer who, with her all time favorite post, claimed that traditionalist priests put their elbows on the altar at the consecration so as to have gay sex with a transgendered version of Him who is being sacrificed on the Altar. The blasphemy is, for them, to be reverenced. But they are not of Tradition, but merely belong to a politicized ultra-traditional-ism-ist-icized point of view for the sake of destroying the faith of the faithful. No? I think Pope Francis was correct to speak the truth bluntly to them, as they do seem to be all wrapped up in κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία. Tender snowflakes that they are, they were offended, apoplectic.

My question is, why do they have so very many followers? Why do people, otherwise believers, so fiercely support them?

I’m getting to think that Archbishop Fisichella was correct to opine that the canon law against violence against the Holy Father also includes incitement to violence against the Holy Father, that this also brings with it an excommunication. Ed Peters argues against this, and I’m sure he’s correct regarding the strict interpretation of the law. But the way things work out in practice, with boots on the ground, is that violence can sure enough come about. For instance, a radio talk show in Rwanda turned out to be responsible for the genocide in the war crimes tribunal even though perhaps the people and guests on the radio never lifted a machete themselves.

I mentioned to Father Gordon J MacRae that I might be writing about this today, and he reminded me that today is the fourth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. He said that readers might do well to revisit his post written at the time: Pope Francis and the Lost Sheep of a Lonely Revolution.

For myself I say this: I will continue to profess the faith, including faith in the Papacy of the Church, which remains One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

For the ultratraditionalismisticized I say this: Don’t be so bitter that you lose your peace and lose your faith and turn to heresy for comfort. Help to bring clarity and the love which is truth and joy in the Holy Spirit to those who are confused. Don’t be part of the problem. Evangelization is not about being a tender snowflake in this Church militant. Evangelization is all about Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. It is He who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Let yourself be salted with the fire of His ardent love. Bitterness without love, that is, finding refuge in heresy, is not the bitterness of true love found with her of whom it is written:

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is there any bitter grief like my bitter grief that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of His fierce anger?”

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Don’t be heretics. Remain in solidarity with Jesus and Mary as they are in solidarity with us. Don’t run away. Did all the Apostles run? Yes. Judas ran into hell. But the others finally returned, were forgiven, became great saints. What about you?

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1500 calorie diet: join me (chocolate bacon once in a while)

That’s chocolate bacon made by friends for my birthday. I love chocolate bacon.

I’m 57, male, 6’1″, totally sedentary of necessity, with a broken down body.

Current Weight: 271
Healthy Weight Range: 140.0 – 189.0
Weight Goal: 189
Current BMI: 35.7
Healthy BMI Range 18.5 – 24.9
To maintain current weight: 2528 calories
To lose weight: 2028 calories

Actual caloric intake recommended by my doctor: 1500 calories

There’s a calculator here.

It will take me a year, going quickly at first, then slowing down, although always the same 1500 calories. Consistent, retraining the body slowly.

After all, the body is to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. I know some of you fast all the time. Have pity as I learn.

The diet consists of eating less. Labeled food tells you the calories. Google the rest. Add it up during the day. Easy.

And then there’s Saint Paul of the Desert (not dessert). You have to start somewhere. I start from really far away from the goal. Perhaps the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas will help me. He had a glandular problem. I take medicine that ensures weight gain. Not so easy.

Anyone want to join me?

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On being a good son of the Church

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

Jesus not playing politics. Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

Recently I published a post entitled Father Byers’ run for political office? In that post I tried to make a good argument for dabbling in politics as a priest, befuddling both left and right. Just smacking people down to make ourselves look better than “them” does not draw those in the peripheries to take note of the pastoral wisdom of the Church.

Did not Jesus redeem us all? Does He not want that we also be saved? Were we not all in the peripheries of left and right until we assented to allow ourselves to be drawn by Him to the Cross when He was lifted up to that great height? Can we do that if we pretend that we’ve never ever been on the peripheries, that He never had to forgive us, that we were always correct even as we crucified Him?

What does a good son of the Church say? He says “Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

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“I’m tired of Father George”

“That’s it. That’s all we have to say.”

Imagine if Jesus said that about any of us.

We all crucified Him with our sin, original sin and our own rubbish.

I’m thankful He hasn’t given up on me. With Him, I don’t want to give up on anyone else.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

On Immigration: bait and you’ll receive

saint-jose-luis-sanchez-del-rioSaint José Luis Sánchez del Río, soldier and martyr, because “all those Mexicans are the same!” Oh, I forgot, I was supposed to pick on someone who wasn’t yet canonized, you know, someone undocumented and who, say, committed a non-violent crime years ago but was still in the system at the invitation of the system, so that we could kick all Mexicans in the face with impunity.

As it is, there were some spectacular and well reasoned comments on ICE deports undocumented working tax-payer contributing mother / wife to spread fear among undocumented, which I very much appreciate. Thank you.

But then another comment came in that was ranting away, with the author apparently having skipped reading those comments, very much upset. Here’s part of a very long comment. Pardon my emphases and [sometimes sarcastic comments]. And if I’m a bit rough here, please know that this person is a friend who I think can take this reprimand.

I have no sympathy here. There are plenty of people who desperately want to come here but wait to do so legally. [This is continuously more difficult, next to impossible as the years, months and days go by, with contradictory, complex laws, layers and layers of labyrinthine mazes. As one commenter put it, this is somewhat our fault. We should streamline the process without foregoing safety. The thing is, we bait people to be illegal by baiting them to skip the line but also nevertheless to be in the system, checking in with ICE, paying taxes, etc.] I also have issue with the number of mexicans who are setting up their lives here with no intention to assimilate. [So, you know all of them? Can you name them? Even one? Did they tell you they have no intention?] It makes me crazy [!] when I enter into commerce [When you’re at the cash register? Who says to the cashier: “May I enter into commerce with you?” While that’s English, no one speaks that way. It smacks of a foreign speaker. What are doing in this country? You foreigners are all the same. You should be deported! ;-) ] at a place where the staff is speaking another language while waiting on customers who speak English. [Did you try to speak English or were you just offended? Did you greet the cashier in English or just fume about it?] I complained at a big box store because the cashier spoke in another language to an employee [Esperanto? Latin? Swahili? French? German? Russian!?] who was standing around [as security because of the presence of crazy people? as a cashier manager? as someone giving lessons in laziness?] and also to a customer [who spoke the same language? That’s polite, isn’t it?]who was dressed in a similar manner [So, you’re a writer for Saturday Night Live? What does that even mean? What are you really angry with? Do “they” have better taste than you? Are they more stylish? More “with it”, “up to date”, “mod”, “hip”? You’re envious?]. She uttered not a word to me the entire transaction and was solely focused on her two compatriots. [I often go through a checkout on the phone, which is really annoying, I know, but sometimes things can’t wait. An accident has occurred and a priest is needed, etc. I might speak in whatever language. At any rate, maybe they didn’t say anything to you because you didn’t say anything to them because you were too taken at looking at them all aghast at your own lack of style. Did you look angry? Impatient? Were they talking about trying to arrange a welcoming party for, say, local Russians to the neighborhood? Maybe they were talking about signing up for classes to perfect their English? Our Spanish speakers here put on a number of events for the local law enforcement. They arranged that in their native tongue.]

That’s not how the typical transaction goes in this country. [Try smiling.] She was also moving very slowly [like all those damn Mexicans, right?] at a busy time of year [like, what, Christmas? Kwanzaa? New Year’s? The Feast Day of the great third century Bishop and Martyr Saint Valentine? The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes?] which was problematic because the long line wasn’t diminishing.” [Because they were having a good time speaking to each other and being human instead of fuming and crawling out of their skin? You’re just angry because you had to stand in line, right? Because no one else had a right to stand in line, right? Or are you really just racist? Or just a bad day? Lighten up. Jesus loves you too.]

Did I purposely write about Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos to guage reaction? Yes.

Don’t forget the purpose of this blog, noted by the title and blurb in the header:

  • “Arise! Let us be going!” which refers to Jesus’ command to the sleepy Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane at the moment of the betrayal by Judas: “See, my betrayer is at hand.” That kind of sets the tone of intensity. But if anyone was mistaken about this, thinking that to just be pious piffle, the rest of it says:
  • Evangelizing the darkest of mankind’s existential peripheries that together we humbly thank the Lord. If you have good eyes, you can see a modern Hebrew script version of the motto of המוסד which is balanced by the death of our Lord and the Holy Spirit hovering over a scene of terrible violence between two societies.
  • There are some further words about goodness and kindness for the greater glory of God, something to do with the Jesuits, of which Pope Francis is one. I’m Catholic. And I’m a priest. I wan’t people to come to know Jesus, not just be comfortable in their mistaken ideas of who they think Jesus is.

Look. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and our own personal rubbish. Smashing people down because they talk differently from you or just because they dress differently from you [more stylish!] won’t gain you many points at the final judgment. We’re hoping that people get to heaven, right? Eternity is a long time. Do you think they will want YOU there, ragging on them all the time, fuming about them? What if Jesus says “Shalom!” to someone else there, or to you? Will you throw a tantrum then?

And if you want to know my generalized impression of illegal immigrants, I’ll tell you, even though these are generalizations and therefore “racist”: I find that as a whole, these are the hardest working, most polite, piously Catholic, family oriented, peace loving, community minded, always but always helpful people I have known in my life. And I’ve been on so many continents and so many countries in so many cultures. And I also have an anecdote. Be warned of provocative language:

There was a young woman here who broke up with her white trash American boyfriend, who was always drugged up and always beating on her, leaving her a smashed up wreck continuously. Her father heard that she had started dating a Mexican and was planning on getting  married to him. The father immediately was enraged and hunted down the Mexican so as to beat the living tar out of him. Of course, he instead got the living tar beat out of him, because he just kept up the attack, but he kept getting pummeled, rightly, in self-defense, until an ambulance had to come. The EMT guy reprimanded the father to say that his daughter had lived a living hell with her white trash boyfriend, but was treated like a queen by the Mexican guy, who, in fact, was born in these USA and is an American citizen in good standing. We just need to slow down a bit. Changing circumstances can show us a bit about ourselves, and that’s a good thing. It’s then an occasion to be closer to the Jesus, the Way, Truth and Life. And that’s a good thing. We’re not against each other! We’re against the devil who wishes to work havoc among us.

  • Lord Jesus, have mercy on us.
  • Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río, soldier and martyr, pray for us.

Anyway, I want a sombrero like our Cristero saint above. I’m envious. But no frills:

benedict-xvi-sombrero

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Filed under Immigration, Missionaries of Mercy, Politics, Racism

Goodbye Anatevka

Saint Paul summarizes this well: “As long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” It is a mistake to get used to certain places in the sense of pretending to enjoy a kind of security by way of familiarity, for this is also what Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, the Preacher, would say is vanity. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity! We must be ready to leave even the body at any moment whatsoever to go to be with the Lord. We had better not congratulate ourselves in our “security”, the eat, drink and be merry thing.

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The hypocrisy of the still pro-SNAP priests and bishops from here to Rome

themediareport

You can read those stories at Dave F. Pierre’s site: TheMediaReport.com. But, if you really want to get an insider’s view, that is, from one of the victims of their mentality, see Father Gordon J. MacRae’s article on this. He is still in prison decades later. See:

David Clohessy [and Barbara Blaine] resigns SNAP in Alleged Kickback Scheme

snap

I’ve been reporting on this for years, making enemies for myself throughout the Church including in the Holy See, garnering lots of vengeance for myself from those who support SNAP among priests and the episcopacy. I was pretty much alone as a priest in good standing (=vulnerable) reporting on this. Fr Z has mentioned it a couple of times. I hope he does again. A couple other priests have done a bit. They get smacked down and you never hear from them again. Nothing other than that. Period. Pretty much zilch. In the entire Church universal…

One of the most important articles in all these years is Father MacRae’s published today. See that link above.

I am aghast. If any bishop is so self-referentially stuck on himself that he still supports SNAP even after this, making himself a hero because he’s “tough on abuse”, but perhaps also taking kickbacks from their risk retention groups, really, I mean, my goodness… and then I can’t write more because what I would write would be bitterness. I am weak. But this most damnable hypocrisy of so very many of the (Cardinal) (Arch-)bishops needs to stop. It needs to stop now. They must close down The National Catholic Risk Retention Group. They must rescind their support for SNAP. They must do it publicly. They must do it forcefully.

I’d like to write up a RICO challenge to the Bishops. What they do against their priests, making themselves heroes at the price of the loss of innocent priests who are not allowed due process is the kind of thing that is referenced many times in RICO law. Sorry, but I’d like to see all their sorry faces in prison. But that’s nothing.

Jesus, the High Priest, doesn’t take kindly to His own priests being mistreated by bishops. He remembers what it was like when His own apostle betrayed Him, Judas. The Immaculate Conception’s Divine Son, Jesus, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. They won’t be heroes then. Amen.

As you can tell, although I wish David and Barbara would convert, I don’t much care about them compared to the souls of the priests and bishops who don’t want David and Barbara to convert. It’s them I want especially to convert. We need their help in praying for the souls of David and Barbara.

So many priests committed suicide. It’s the innocent ones who did. They just couldn’t believe the betrayal, the hypocrisy. They weren’t prepared for it…

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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”?

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Most Holy Father: Thank you!

pope-francis

In a communiqué from the Holy See delivered to the parish today I discover the good news that Pope Francis has personally granted a personal request to this Missionary of Mercy. I am grateful. Thanks, Holy Father! These exchanges are now adding up. For my part, I have never promised anything to the Bishop of Rome. For his part, he has never asked anything of me whatsoever. As it should be. Perhaps he realizes fully that I am a mere donkey of a priest and takes pity on me. I’m happy with that.

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revisionIn fact, I think it is now high time that I finally come up with some words to add below the coat of arms which the talented elizdelphi so artistically rendered for me. I once again open this up to suggestions and, while I do, I apologize for breaking the rules of heraldry. It’s all part and parcel of someone who has crucified the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception with my sin, but nevertheless someone upon whom the Lord has deigned to show his mercy. The words should be short and incisive. Go ahead and suggest in English. I’ll translate them into whatever language best suits that message, whether Greek, Hebrew or Latin.

 

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Amoris laetitia and suspensions and excommunications… No, no, no…

PROMETHEUS

A bishop cannot legitimately legislate anything against the universal law of the Church, particularly that law which is based on Divine Law. A bishop cannot legitimately posit administrative acts imposing penal sanctions on a priest based on illegitimate law. For instance, Amoris laetitia cannot legitimately be used as a foundation upon which legislation and penal sanctions are based for the reason that statements in Amoris laetitia are merely posited as a continuation of dialogue. That’s what the Supreme Legislator said in Amoris laetitia 3-4. That’s the mind of the legislator. Any illegitimate legislation or illegitimate penal sanctions, whether inescapably implied by Malta’s document (paragraph 10) published in l’Osservatore Romano, or (apparently) explicitly accomplished in Colombia, or anywhere else in the world, are, in fact illegitimate and have no bearing in truth on anyone’s status.

Thus, on the one hand, if a priest would like to continue accompaniment of a certain divorced and civilly “remarried” couple by not providing sacraments which he judges that couple are not able to fruitfully receive, he has done nothing wrong, as such a judgement is his to make, but if bishops put pressure on him nevertheless to provide those sacraments, somehow inserting themselves impossibly into the internal forum, they have done a grave disservice to the couple, to the priest and to the Church, and it is such bishops who should be disciplined and, in my opinion, very severely, as what they are doing, inter alia, is in direct contradiction to the directives of pastoral care by priests given by Pope Francis himself; such bishops are openly and obstinately insulting the Supreme Pontiff.

If, on the other hand, this is all according to the mind and non-public directives of Pope Francis, and this is actually a persecution of faithful priests in the Church, then I, as a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, ask that I also be held to be excommunicate along with any other sanctions he can think of, so that I might be in solidarity with those who may at one time or another be unjustly trampled into the ground. Fine with me. None of that is legitimate even on the part of the Holy Father, for such legislation and imposition of penal sanctions, however much real pain they may bring in this world, have no legitimate entry into the judgment of a soul of a priest who goes before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception with the “crime” on his soul of being a faithful son of the Church. I couldn’t care less about doing the will of Pope Francis or any bishop on this earth if it contradicts the will of God himself. It is not they, but rather Christ Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will – do not be mistaken – 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. Amen.

Now, having said that, we don’t know anything whatsoever about what Pope Francis thinks about illegitimate legislation and illegitimate penal sanctions, do we? No, we don’t. I’m guessing that we will see something about all that in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, I restate my filial obedience to the Holy Father, as I must assume until otherwise indicated that he has not legislated or imposed penal sanctions for illegitimate reasons, or, for that matter, that he has even provided benign neglect to the persecution of the priests of our One High Priest, Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

P.S. I’m guessing that as the real persecution ensues among renegade rebels, wrought by those who posit that which is ultra vires, beyond their powers to do so, that there will be no suspensions or excommunications, but rather simply removal from any assignment and then, eventually, seeing that the faithful priest is useless to the Church precisely and only for the reason that he is faithful, he will be dismissed from the clerical state, laicized, he being a mere liability and a waste of space in this world, kind of like, you know, Jesus. Meanwhile, he will be discredited as having committed all sorts of crimes, such as not being pastoral, being divisory, not being easy to work with, not having a team spirit, etc.

Great! The beatitudes come into play. We will have plenty of priests rejoicing and being glad that their reward is great in heaven. And that’s very cool indeed. Wonderful. I can’t wait for my turn. May it please Mary’s Divine Son that I may be counted worthy to suffer for his sake and the sake of those he is saving unto eternal life. Amen.

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