Category Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

When Padre Pio met Saint Michael. When Father Byers knew nothing at all.

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Elijah with the flaming fiery sword on Mount Carmel, Israel.

[It’s 2020. This was written now eleven years ago. It was Padre Pio’s feast day the other day, on September 23. /// BTW, today marks 26 years in prison of Fr Gordon MacRae. Hail Mary… St Michael the Archangel… ]

You can read things dozens of times over the years and just not “get it” at all. That’s me. But this year when I read the following letter of Padre Pio, I was mesmerized. I now know a bit more just how much I absolutely don’t know anything about the spiritual life. I have written academically about that of which he speaks, the flaming sword wielded by the angels at the end of Genesis 3. The suffering I went through to accomplish the academic feat on a level of historical philology, involving many, many years of library rat-ness, not REsearch but rather original hard work, agony, really, is nothing at all compared to what Padre Pio understood in an instant by experiencing personally this fiery sword which I have only come to know academically. I am, to date, the only one to have accomplished this academic feat through the centuries, through the millennia. I’m pretty proud of it – and that’s a sin – and I am trying to get over it. It helps to have come to know someone who was alive in my lifetime who experienced precisely, personally, exactly what I described on a merely academic level.

I am vindicated by Padre Pio’s experience. At the same time, on a spiritual level, well, I am thrust to the ground in deep humiliation, for I obviously know nothing of the spiritual life. But at least I know that I know nothing. These days, that’s something. And it’s way more than enough to ask for this great saint’s help. Apologies are given in advance for the inadequacy of [my comments] below. You can see from my Coat of Arms (thanks to Elizdelphi! No words on the banner yet) that I am grateful to have written about the sword of which Padre Pio speaks…

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revision

From the Letters of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest (Epist. I, 1065; 1093-1095)

I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him

“Out of obedience I am obliged to manifest to you [obviously, his religious superior] what happened to me on the evening of the 5th of this month of August 1918 [Vigil of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus] and all day on the 6th [Feast of the Transfiguration].

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“I am quite unable to convey to you what occurred during this period of utter torment. While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [making them saints!], I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person [an angel] who presented himself to my mind’s eye [So, not an apparition, but entirely spiritual. People think angels are all fluffy chiffon pastels and cute. Pio speaks of torment and terror, and this angel is from heaven!]. He had in his hand a sort of weapon [“weapon”] like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. [This is the sword mentioned in Genesis 3:24. My academic, pedantic translation of this three-fold double-reverse verb is this in context: it is the sword which “turns-into-its-contrary-by-way-of-the-fiery-grace-of-enmity-against-Satan-and-by-way-of-friendship-with-God-whatever-is-presented-to-it.” Thus, if we were to try to grasp at the fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones, the work of this sword, of this grace, wielded by the angels, would turn that, with our assent, into humbly receiving the Fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones, that is, the Eucharist. This is also the sword with which the Carmelites depict Elijah. See their fiery coat of arms below. This is also the sword mentioned by Teresa of Avila. This is pre-eminently the sword of Saint Michael…] At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. [Seeing that such an angel could crush the entire universe if given permission from the Most High, this is saying really a lot…] I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boys to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. [What an understatement of all time. They must have been scary for him.] This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon, [“weapon”] and nothing was spared. [“nothing” – and here I try to hang on to this and that. And in doing that I am totally lacking in generosity. I’ve done nothing in my life. I’ve not laid down my life as so many have done. Pio is going through his purgatory all at once, 40 some hours for him, and much more than any purgatory: he is bringing souls to heaven by his life becoming an intercession for all of us. What would I do, I who surely have a purgatory lasting until the end of time?]

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Elijah’s fiery sword on the Discalced Carmelite Coat of Arms

“From that day on I have been mortally wounded. [“mortally wounded…” And this is no longer his wound, but that of humanity, with Pio now being in solidarity with Jesus on the Cross even as Jesus is in solidarity with us, loving us while we are yet sinners, drawing all to Himself as He is lifted up on the Cross. And we watch with Him…] I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony. What can I tell you in answer to your questions regarding my crucifixion? My God! What embarrassment and humiliation I suffer by being obliged to explain what you have done to this wretched creature! [For we do nothing to save ourselves. Jesus is our Savior. We come to realize this. We are nothing. He is all. He shows us what He has saved us from, and not just us, me, but we see how He has saved all of us as we gain some heightened perspective on the cross.]

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“On the morning of the 20th of last month [two weeks later], in the choir [making the traditional thanksgiving prayers after Mass], after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. All the internal and external senses and even the very faculties of my soul were immersed in indescribable stillness. Absolute silence surrounded and invaded me. I was suddenly filled with great peace and abandonment which effaced everything else and caused a lull in the turmoil. All this happened in a flash. While this was taking place I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of August 5th. [We entertain angels and even the Son of Man and do not know it. How much the angels reflect the Son of Man! And the fiery love of God, issuing from the throne of the Most High, from the Heart of Him who loves us so much, is just that fierce on that sword which transforms us utterly in God’s love.] The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should die and really should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. [We are utterly weak. It is all Jesus.] The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. [He speaks also and especially of his embarrassment, for he, as all of us from Adam until the last man is conceived, caused those wounds in our Lord. How is it that he, Pio, or any of us could share such wounds of love for all those Jesus has redeemed and wills to save?] The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday.

PADRE PIO SEAL OF CONFESSION

Padre Pio reprimanding the Bishop about the Seal of Confession.

“Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? [The embarrassment, mind you, is more than enough to end his life on this earth.] I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation. The person of whom I spoke in a previous letter is none other than the one I mentioned having seen on August 5th. He continues his work incessantly, causing me extreme spiritual agony. There is a continual rumbling within me like the gushing of blood. [This Hebrew description of this sword in Genesis 3:24 (which I think I am the very first to translate pedantically, as it really is just that difficult), the sword which the angel is mashing around inside Pio is variously and wrongly translated as the twirling sword, the sword which moves about this way and that, etc., is, instead, again, “the sword which causes that which is presented to it to be transformed into its contrary.” Again, we are not to grasp arrogantly for the Fruit from the Tree of the Living Ones, though we can humbly receive its Fruit (the Eucharist from the Cross).] My God! Your punishment is just and your judgment right, but grant me your mercy. Lord, with your Prophet I shall continue to repeat: O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your rage! Dear Father, now that my whole interior state is known to you, do not refuse to send me a word of comfort in the midst of such severe and harsh suffering.” [If it were I who had to respond to such a religious superior, knowing I know nothing, but despite that, I would say that in our very reception of mercy we must show mercy to the rest of the members of the Body of Christ, those whom Jesus has redeemed and wills to save. Our suffering is occasioned by the lack of others, lack of faith, etc., but it is not their cross we carry, but instead we come to know what we would be like if we ourselves were to be without the grace of our Lord and therefore our own lack of faith, etc…. and our remaining in friendship by the grace of God in such horrific circumstances acts as an intercession for those who are truly without faith, etc. This is drawing all to Christ on the cross in solidarity with Jesus, who does this by His grace. He, the Head of the Body does this, but we are members of that Body and we are with Him. Jesus said that He would draw all to Himself when He is lifted up (on the Cross). If we only knew! If we only knew! Now Pio had his eyes opened, his soul torn open, his hands and feet and heart torn open. But it’s all Jesus. Jesus’ love taking on our lack. Embarrassing to us? Yes. And we run away. Pio couldn’t run any more. The angel presented himself, and, fiercely raising his weapon of God’s love… I know nothing. Saint Pio: help this donkey-priest to come to know Jesus! Help all of us priests! Help all whom Jesus wants to transform in His love!]

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

About your trauma recovery dear Father Byers… ;-)

A couple of articles have been published in recent years about terrorist suicide bomber Saeed Hotari.

There was nothing traumatic in all that. I was never much traumatized by my being shot at I don’t know how many times over decades and the ten thousand other “incidents” any one of which might throw someone into a trauma-recovery program, say, in North East Virginia, say, at Wolf Trap or at Liberty Crossing Campus. As I’ve often said however, bullets buzzing by one’s ears are certainly memorable.

In that more recent article linked above I mentioned that I carry. It’s a Glock 19, chambered. I like the Serpa Blackhawk OWB, for convenience, my stupid record (as I’ll never repeat that again) is 1.01 seconds for 2 to the “body” (spine) 1 to the head (brain-box) 25 feet out from the holster. Being in a state of prompt readiness to protect the innocent from unjust aggression is a virtue related to justice. Just to say it, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice, as Saint Thomas Aquinas points out in his commentary on the Sentences. Providing justice is a mercy. Yes.

I received a very clever comment on that more recent article. At first glance I thought this was a denunciation of carrying a Glock. But it’s not that at all. I didn’t let it out of moderation there as I wanted to give it a bit more visibility. I include my interlinear [comments]:

  • “We cannot rely on our own ability to fight evil [she’s referring to Peter slicing off the ear of Malchus when Jesus is being betrayed, as we’ll see momentarily] but must depend on God. [I agree.] How often we forget our survival is totally dependent on God. [Hey! I forget all the time, you know, not having the beatific vision and all that. Yep. I agree. I want to go to heaven!] Eventually we all learn [well, some of us] that the unstable world [crux stat dum volitur orbis: let’s just call it a fallen world and figure this out] cannot be the source of our security, of true peace of heart. [“My strength shines out through your weakness” – Jesus to Paul] I’m interested in how you square your essay with Luke 22:51. [I’m paraphrasing because of bad translations, but Lk 22:51 is this: Jesus said: “All of you let me do this!” And He touched the ear of (Malchus) and healed him.] Your words make it sound like you live your trauma recovery [with me being Malchus and all… (adn with trauma recovery being a very technical term betraying much background in the same] in a state of protection with a clenched fist. [That is, not trusting in God and full of fear, whereby Malchus steals Peter’s sword and I forge it into a Glock. Very clever, that. And lots of work to be able to spit that out just like that. There’s no way out except like this:] Meanwhile another hand, not yours or mine, reaches out in the Eucharist. [See top picture on the Eucharist. And I agree with that, to a point.]

Malchus was an enemy, a servant of the High Priest, literally dead set against Jesus. Malchus learned from the mercy shown him to be sure. It being that I’m the Missionary of Mercy of the High Priest, Pope Francis, maybe I too should learn something of mercy. But is carrying a tool to protect the innocent from unjust aggression a lack of mercy making me the enemy of Jesus?

Jesus was a special case. His reprimand not only to Peter but to all the Apostles (it’s a plural imperative) was not about the inappropriateness of what Peter was doing so much as it gave Jesus a moment to show mercy to the end. This was precisely like His reprimand to John the Baptist: Let it be so for now for the fulfillment of righteousness! When Jesus was baptized He was asking our Heavenly Father to treat Him as if were guilty of sin, not just like the charioteers and soldiers of Pharaoh who were drowned for their sin of enslaving the chosen people, but He was asking to be treated like He was guilty for having enslaved all in sin, all peoples of all times, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Jesus lays down His life, taking on the punishment we deserve for original sin and all our own rubbish, so that He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The Apostles see this mercy with Malchus and off they go.

Is it wrong to protect oneself and others while trusting in God while doing this mercy? No. In fact, it’s a contribution to the virtue of justice.

Two points and excuse my theological language:

First of all, I don’t want any trauma recovery, particularly not anything from Northeast Virginia. Why not? Because I’m not traumatized enough, not yet. As some priest friends from Colombia told me, “We’ve done nothing; we’ve not lain down our lives for the brethren.” Get me away from all that is trauma recovery. If anything, my therapy will be to put my fingers into Jesus’ wounds in His hands and my hand right into the wound in His side, into His heart.

My saying, “My Lord and my God” will be my entire trauma recovery, good enough to take my right through torture and death. I deserve everything I get along the way of the effects of original sin and my own, including being available to the malevolence of others (there ain’t no Glock that’s gonna stop that). And because Jesus laid down His life for me and called me to be His priest, He deserves that I un-clench my fists so as to Consecrate His Body and Blood at Holy Mass, so as to provide Absolution of sin, so as to Baptize, so as to Confirm… Yes. But I still carry. In calmness. Tranquility. You know the drill: “Carry! And carry on!”

It is no trauma to follow up on Jesus’ invitation: “As the Master, so the disciple.” Why not? Because His strength shines out through our weakness. His love carries us in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.

Let me give an example. This very morning, while that lady wrote her comment, I myself at the same time was being stripped of my carry and locked in jail. I’m out now, obviously. But you have to know that I feel most at home among sinners like Malchus because I’m so like him. I make lots of friends in jail. I have a Bible study with the guys every week. I love it. What a joy. And I gotta say, lots of the guys are much better prepared in the Scriptures than were my seminarians anywhere around the world. Truly. I love it. We help each other out to get to know the Lord. Believe me, no protection or clenched fists inside the stone walls. No, no. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about putting that ear back on Malchus. And about letting that ear get put back on me by those, you know, “sinners” and all that.

But, hey! Not to worry my interlocutor comment friend. Maybe you can help me with a bit of trauma recovery after all. There are some adjustments to the “recovery program” that I’m on – if you want to call it that – (DS or DipSec might have another name for all that), adjustments which I would like to be implemented, but I won’t write about that or say it over the phone. I need an in-person interview with someone, say, I don’t know, just up from the Rosslyn metro stop, maybe at the Campus… Can you swing that, maybe with CCS oversight? That would be really, really cool. Seriously, if you want to help me, that would go a long way.

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Filed under Guns, Intelligence Community, Interreligious dialogue, Law enforcement, Military, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Prison, Terrorism, Vocations

Homily: Saint Paul excommunicates guy who rapes his father’s wife

Wherein a rather vivacious apologetic is offered for the medicinal usage of excommunication. Here’s the deal: I’m Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy. Most of what we do is to lift non-declared excommunications, you know, latae sententiae. And then we absolve whatever sin, however reserved, according to the faculties granted us by the Holy Father. Pope Francis didn’t say that there is no such thing as excommunication anymore. No, no. He holds that there is so much latae sententiae excommunication going around that we need more personnel than is present in the Apostolic Pentitentiary over in Rome. Thus, the Missionaries of Mercy.

My internet interlocutor who challenges me on the Gospels of the day sent a missive just before Mass. So, what could I do, but preach on all of that after some remarks on the Gospel. I love it.

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Filed under HOMILIES, Missionaries of Mercy

Truth @ Joe Biden blocked by FaceBook

joe biden pope francis

Father Gordon has never seen his own FaceBook page but others post on his behalf. Content from TheseStoneWalls has been very popular on TheseStoneWalls FaceBook page. Posts from TSW have been very popular there especially with Catholic FaceBook “Groups”. There are people who post dozens of times a day elsewhere on FaceBook on their own pages, but nothing had been posted on my behalf for well over two days.

FaceBook blocked the graphic above from being posted on the following groups:

  • Roman Catholic Republicans Faithful to the Church
  • Catholic Pro-Life
  • Priests for Life
  • Catholic News Agency
  • Catholic News and Discussion
  • Sensus Fidelium
  • Catholic Writers
  • Catholic Media
  • Catholic Fellowship on Facebook
  • One Million Connected Catholics
  • Catholic Strong
  • Catholic Spiritual Warfare in Today’s World
  • The Catholics Writers Guild
  • …including many others such as FoxNews Groups, etc.

Even just two or three of the above have a readership of over 1/2 million followers.

The reason FaceBook gave is:

“FaceBook must place limits on how often you can post.”

FaceBook invited Father Gordon MacRae to make a rebuttal, which is as follows:

“FaceBook has been criticized for limiting or blocking conservative content. This is an example.”

The specific post being blocked in this very popular article by Father MacRae:

Was front page of The Big PULPIT on this Thursday past. However, we need YOU to share this as much as you can to get out the truth, those of you especially who have internet audiences.

Statement from Father Gordon J. MacRae:

  • “I may be the only priest free enough to write this. The Leftist Mobs cannot throw me in jail. They can only block me on FaceBook.”

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Filed under Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison

Druggy Knife the Rectory Garden – Swarmed by law enforcement

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The Squarrrsh plants are getting tired even as they pump out the most squarrrshes and the biggest they ever have. I rip out the tired leaves. In the lower right you see the tomato plant I had to rip up as it has been weed-eated. I still got six tomatoes off of it.

In this picture you’ll note a draining ditch right in the back lawn in the extreme upper right of the picture. This morning, right along this little ditch there was a raggedy holster with a Crocadile Dundee-esque knife.

I had dropped my coffee and went out back because I saw various agencies of law enforcement swarming out back in their various cruisers and on foot, also in my back yard.

I walked up to the knife just as a deputy walked up to it. He said that it belongs to the guy they’re looking for, a fellow by the name of […], whose got lots of felonies on his head. The deputy picked up the knife for evidence and asked if I had seen where he went. Situational awareness covers a lot of ground. I said the grass is soaking wet with dew. There’s his trail, I said, pointing to the grass with footprints through the heavy dew. He’s surely hiding over at […], I asserted about a business nearby. The vehicle of that business is forever seen at the druggy house where the knife guy is reigning over his kingdom of drugs and violence. In this case, if it’s true that he’s there – and that does seem to be the usual safe-house – then that would be harboring a criminal actively escaping from law enforcement. He’s got plenty of warrants out on him.

The knife guy is the guy who called himself “Pablo Escobar” and who “non-” threatened me just the other day. I’m not allowed on my own street, he said, as I don’t belong there, I don’t live there, even though I’m just a couple of houses away. It’s like, in the winter-time, my back yard is shaded by his trees in the afternoon.

Irony of ironies, he’s actually trespassing on my property, where he doesn’t belong. Hahahahaha!

Meanwhile, I had just given Shadow-dog breakfast, so he was busy and never saw the druggy intruder. Had the druggy guy actually jumped the fence, he would have met Shadow-dog much more personally, and then me, and then law enforcement.

Never a dull moment. :-)

Some have noted that I “carry” even while out for a few minutes in the back garden, watering the plants for the day and such. Well, yes, I carry. There’s a reason. Even at the break of dawn in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. Had I been out there thirty seconds earlier, believe me, this guy would have cut my head off had I not had the Glock with me.

We’ve had four beheadings in the area (for one of which I had to do the death notification to the family of the victim), plus lots of arsons, slashings and assaults and various and sundry other murders, yes, also on my “block”, just some houses away.

The 2nd amendment is great. Practice situational awareness!

Meanwhile, in the midst of mayhem, I’m always ever so calmly using that situational awareness first of all for flowers for the Immaculate Conception. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I have to laugh, as I cannot but recall a famous line in street-fighting: “You call that a knife? That’s not a knife. This is a knife:

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Filed under Drugs, Gardening, Guns, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

Last Rites at Covid-19 Emergency Room: Governor’s Office and Dept of Justice

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The other morning a request for Last Rites came, asking that I meet up at the Emergency Room. A family member was told that zero visitation is allowed because of new rules just then imposed. A security guard made his presence felt. I asked about giving the non-Covid-19 patient an extremely abbreviated form of the Last Rites used in just such circumstances. No way. We were told to move next to the parking lot, about 75 feet away from the entrance.

Not wanting to let this go, I googled the phone number for Governor Cooper’s Office here in North Carolina. He’s notorious for his outrageous discrimination against anything religious. I explained to the nice lady on the phone that I wanted an emergency intervention by the Governor’s Office with the hospital, so that I might provide Last Rites, you know, because bureaucratic red tape doesn’t otherwise hurry up even for death. I mentioned how Vice President Pence said that the rules have exceptions in end-of-life circumstances, allowing both family and ministers to attend to the dying.

“Oh! I’ll put you through to someone who can help with that!” chirped the nice lady at the Governor’s Office ever so joyfully. *Ring* – *Ring* – It was the Department of Justice which picked up.

In other words, the Governor’s Office entrenched in disrespecting religious ministrations, even Last Rites, and wanted me to go ahead and try to get an emergency hearing from the Supreme Court of North Carolina and then, I suppose, the Supreme Court of the United States. But there’s no time even for that. Emergency for the court system is not the same as the emergency of death.

Meanwhile – hahaha – it seems that the Governor’s Office had a quick change of heart and forthwith called the admin at the hospital and told them to just let me do it so that it doesn’t go viral on the media and such. The Governor has already been smacked down by a Federal Judge. The admin guy sent a nurse out to invite me to come in and give the Last Rites. ;-)

The squeaky wheel and all that, right? This turned out good for the patient, this time. But I’m sure this is a new policy. And I’m really not so sure that other ministers would insist on religious rights for whatever the various faith communities do, and that generalized comment might well include quite a number of Catholic priests.

It seems to me that the religious powers that be should get up with the political powers that be and agree together that unalienable rights provided by God such as those enumerated in the first amendment are to be respected. I’d like to see legislation providing criminal penalties to those who disrespect the free exercise of religion.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy

Police Chaplains: detrimental to faith?

There are all sorts of chaplains. Yours truly is a Catholic priest. But am I, specifically, or is any other police chaplain a detriment to the faith? Are you ready for the answer? Hold on tight!

Who, I ask, is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone.

The lawless knuckleheads kill men and women, boys and girls, infants, babies, shooting, beheading, chainsawing, burning, melting in vats of acid until nothing is left. No, really: all the time, entire villages at a time, no exceptions in those towns, adding up over the decades now to hundreds of thousands. Mayhem. Chaos. The domain of Satan. So, let me ask again:

Who is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone. That putting on the brakes, my friends, is a contribution to the virtue of justice. Defense against unjust aggression is natural law. It is of divine right.

I have a good friend for whom I have much respect. We discuss things quite intensely. I love that. It’s a kind of rabbinic discourse, answering a comeback by raising the stakes with a provocative challenge begging for an answer which itself raises the stakes once again. Well…

This friend of mine played the devil’s advocate with my being a police chaplain, making me think, so that I might get around to publishing some thoughts about a Catholic priest who is busy in his parish also being a police chaplain, you know, writing then about whether or not also being a police chaplain is detrimental to the faith of the parish, that police “accompaniment” meaning that, in a fake zero-sum game, that is just how much I am not paying attention to my parish, failing in my duty just that much in my assisting our Bishop in his apostolic mandate to care for the souls given to him by the Lord, failing therefore in my duty to nourish those souls in the faith, failing in my duty to protect those souls from the wolves.

Let’s put that differently:

In being a police chaplain, do I fail my priesthood? Do I fail my parish church? Do I fail the diocese? Do I fail the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Do I fail Jesus? Do I fail His good mother, Mary Immaculate? In choosing to be a police chaplain, am I signing up to go straight to hell? Am I the devil’s puppet, Satan’s little play-thing? Am I racist? A white supremacist regardless of my pigmentation or lack thereof? Do I lack in honesty and integrity in being a priest who is also a police chaplain? Should I just go loot and pillage and commit arson and be… you know… on the right side of dialectical history?

Let’s put that differently again:

Are the police, of late, proving to be inhumane as a totality, so that ALL police officers are inhumane and also inhuman, so that they are not only in a basket of deplorables but are also irredeemable, rightly marginalized from any encouragement, any support, so much so, in fact, that all police must be discredited, defunded, disbanded, thrown on death row even for perfectly following protocol, agency policy, city law, county law, state law, federal law, the Constitution, natural law, God’s law to love one’s neighbor as oneself, they being at the read to lay down one’s life at any given moment? Is it downright harmful to the Church and to humanity to be a police chaplain?

This is insane, but let’s put that differently yet once more:

Is it impossible that any member of a police force belong to one’s parish family? It is impossible that any member of the police force could benefit from chaplain support? Are we all to just say: To hell with them all!?! Saint Michael, patron saint of law enforcement, protect us!

saint Michael carries police officer to heaven

If the police are thought to be so far out in the peripheries that we are not bother with them, then I answer in three ways:

(1) Pope Francis wants members of the Church to get over themselves, to stop being self-referential, self-absorbed. He wants that especially his priests and bishops to go out into the peripheries. I’m NOT saying that police are actually on the peripheries, even though the media and my interlocutor would present them as being such. Yours truly is a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis. I’m mandated to go out into the peripheries by the Pope. I say all that just to shut people up.

(2) But that’s not good enough. Let’s turn to the greatest of all prophets, Saint John the Baptist. The great Saint John pointed out the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, thus setting the good example for any police chaplain, shielding any police chaplain from the unjust aggression of police-haters. Saint John went out of his way to encourage even the military occupation style of law enforcement of his day so that – get this – so that they might also be saved (see Luke 3:14). Get that? No, really: Get that?

(3) But that’s not good enough for some. So, let’s just go ahead and turn to Jesus’ take on such self-referential, self-absorbed idiocy:

  • “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy (the thief being play-acted by my kind interlocutor above); I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I HAVE OTHER SHEEP THAT DO NOT BELONG TO THIS FOLD. THESE ALSO I MUST LEAD, AND THEY WILL HEAR MY VOICE AND THERE WILL BE ONE FLOCK, ONE SHEPHERD. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” (John 10:10-18)

Again, this is not to say that any officer – because of being a police officer – does not belong to the the sheepfold of the Lord. This statement of our Lord is offered for the sake of my interlocutor, who was challenging me to defend my being a police chaplain. If our Lord Himself wants us all to help each out in getting to know Him  – and He does want that – then there should be no problem whatsoever in being a police chaplain. In that case, being a police chaplain is not inconsistent, contrary, or contradictory with being a parish priest. One’s ministry is not divided by being a police chaplain. This is not a zero-sum game. Our Lord Himself wants all to hear his voice. We all need to help each other in hearing the voice of our Lord so that there may be but one flock, one shepherd. That is His will. Anyone going against the will of the Lord is risking… risking what? You tell me.

Let’s put that a different way:

My interlocutor is saying that we are instead to be so self-righteous that we are not to evangelize, not to proclaim the good news, not to help others get to know Jesus even while these others might already know Him better than we do, that being beside the point, the point being that we, regardless of anything, are to try to help each other get to know Him, Jesus, all the better.

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Truth be told, some of our police officers are so keenly interested in the faith that they speak as do the Fathers of the Church and I am the one learning. Yes. How could it be otherwise? Christ also comes to us through others, whomsoever they may be, for it is the Lord who is working on all souls, having all of us help each other out in getting to know the Lord.

  • Does all that make for better policing? Yes.
  • Does all that make for great evangelization all around? Yes.
  • Does joy and enthusiasm for all that is good and holy and honest and patriotic and honoring of the Constitution of these United States make for a better society? Yes.
  • Does all that build up the Church, the Body of Christ, with Jesus the Head of the Body and we the members of the Body? Yes.

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Finally, again, my interlocutor is a great guy, entirely pro-police, but he’s really, really good at baiting people to reach for excellence on any and every topic. Kudos to him.

There are not zero sum games when it comes to friendship with the Lord. Being a police chaplain in one’s parish does not take away from being a parish priest in that same parish. It is one. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Vocations

Oh deer! Seen on Communion Calls…

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The deer on the left has no idea that peeking out from behind a tree with one eye and one ear doesn’t hide the rest of his body. Ha ha. A lesson to learn.

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This is, of course, the best parish in the world. I love bringing the Most Blessed Sacrament around to Jesus’ little flock in what is effectively now a four county area. That puts a few miles in the mountains on Sassy the Subaru, but I am supremely happy rushing about Jesus’ beautiful creation heart to Heart with the Creator Himself.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (NOT meant to be picked, edition)

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The above can be seen at the moment from the lower parking lot of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC. It’s so delicate, so beautiful, perfect to give to the Immaculate Conception, right? Wrong. I think Jesus’ good mom, like any good mom in the world ever, would instantly reprimand and tell me to get that thing out of the house: OUT! However nice it is, it is sticky, really sticky, dripping glue all over everything, attracting dirt and bugs now dead because of being caught in its nightmare of fake niceness.

But that’s exactly why I would like to at least give a picture of this flower to the Immaculate Conception. All she met with her whole life on this earth (in solidarity with Christ Jesus, her Divine Son) was fake niceness. She deserves the beauty, but not the nastiness, not in the house. So, just this internet page. Electronic. For you, Mary. :-)

shepherd boy

We can all be that little boy, right? Be that little boy this very day. Too much violence in the world right now? Too much fakeness in the world right now? That’s the point: this is the time to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom. Let’s see an example of that:

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Pope Francis: F*** U.S.A. Police because Black Lives Matter

I apologize if this article is not a literary masterpiece: it’s just that I’m really angry.

Sure, the incident in the video above near the beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate (in something like early 2014) was possibly a mistake. Probably it was a purposed way to bring attention to the fact that it is only fallen human beings who are elected to be the Bishop of Rome. And that is very much part of the instruction Pope Francis has always wanted to bring to the world. It’s not a bad point to make. We must stop putting anyone on a pedestal. We all look to the Son of the Living God whom we have all pierced with that sword as He hung upon the Cross, all of us sinners from every Tribe and Tongue and People and Nation. Pope Francis is the ultimate worldly politician. That’s a useful talent. However…

That’s not the incident of “cazzo” or “F***ing” vocabulary to which I refer. No, no. The usage of “cazzo” or “F***ing” to which I refer from Pope Francis happened just the other day, just about the beginning of Summer, 2020, in these U.S.A.

Context:

  • The Bishop of El Paso, Texas, USA – along with some henchmen among his priests – knelt down while holding up “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs.
  • Pope Francis sent that Bishop a congratulatory message specifically for that particular form of solidarity with BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Black lives do matter. So do all lives matter. The Son of the Living God redeemed us all and wants that we assent to being saved. Therefore, all lives matter. I make absolutely no distinction among anyone for any reason whatsoever. I’m totally color blind. I simply cannot abide by any paying attention to color. “I’m white,” whatever that means. I don’t make anything of that whatsoever. “I have black and brown friends (and all other shades of color or not)” right around the world, but I don’t make anything of that either. I would be friends with whomsoever I ever meet regardless of any color. Pigmentation just does not matter to me. Justice matters. I hate injustice.

As Denzel Washington said: “I’m not a race. I’m a human being.”

To insist that BLACK LIVES MATTER apart from the lives of others, differently from the lives of others, is, in fact, supremely racist and an incitement to violence, including murder, including terrorism and genocide. Coming with the voiced agreement of religious leaders such as those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis seems to provide a divine mandate for dissing all those whose lives don’t matter according to BLACK LIVES MATTER: and for BLACK LIVES MATTER there are no police lives which matter including and especially the lives of “black” police officers.

For those religious leaders, whether priest, bishop or Pope, who insist that POLICE LIVES DO NOT MATTER, is tantamount to them saying “F*** the police,” and specifically, even religiously speaking, god damned be the damned police. This is something that endangers the safety and lives of police. It unleashes those who were already at the point of say, committing assassinations against the police. As it is, there have already been an untold number of injuries suffered by the police, as well as many assassinations suffered by the police just in these past days. I’m putting responsibility for that on the heads also of those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis.

If there is more discipline and prosecution needed for certain bad apples among the police, do it! I hate what happened to George Floyd. But don’t be encouraging a reaction of out and out terrorism. That’s exactly what those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis are doing.

But back to the symbol of kneeling, taking a knee. This is a powerful symbol in these U.S.A. It refers to being diametrically opposed to these U.S.A. as a country. It refers to the rejection of our Constitutional Republic. It therefore refers to a rejection of the rule of law, law that is balanced by the justice promoted by the unalienable rights given by God to all individual citizens. It refers to a rejection of natural law. It refers to a rejection of all divine law reflected in that human law. That’s what those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis are doing: God damn the U.S.A. God damn the American Constitution. God damn the rule of law. Those priests and that bishop should be brought up on promoting insurrection and Pope Francis should be banned from entering these U.S.A. We don’t need dialectical materialism here. Really, we don’t.

Oh, by the way, I should mention some things at this point:

  • I’m a Catholic Priest – right now still in good standing – indeed, a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis
  • I’m also a Police Chaplain
  • I have placed myself in mortal danger right around the world going against thugs and buffoons who desire chaos to reign

Listen up: It’s always the minorities and poor who suffer with stupid agendas of Marxism, of Antifa fascists, of Black Lives Matter. Always. Marxists always have the wrong analysis, or is it that for them, it’s always all about power alone? Yes. It’s only about power. Damned be fixing injustice regardless of any color involved or not. DEFUND THE POLICE! NO MORE POLICE! are the cries. But what will happen then? More crime and violence for everyone, regardless of color, regardless of social or economic “standing.” But minorities and the poor will suffer most. Always. And that’s just fine and dandy for those who grabbing lawless power, as no law at all is what is best for the power hungry. So, what’s really going on here?

I’ll just say it:

  • I don’t like it when all police are god-damned right to hell because of the bad actions of a few
  • I do in fact think that kneeling is to be reserved for God
  • For a bishop and for priests to kneel before anyone else is another kind of symbol altogether. For Pope Francis to congratulate kneeling before “BLACK LIVES MATTER” is unconscionable.

So, what now?

  • Perhaps Pope Francis will god-damn me right out of being his Missionary of Mercy
  • Perhaps he’ll have me suspended from active ministry in the priesthood
  • Perhaps he’ll dismiss me from the clerical state

THAT would all be sad. But I’m still not going to kneel in favor of racism and violence and chaos and prejudice. I won’t. I can’t. I have a conscience properly formed by natural law and by divine law, and, by the way, by church law. I want to be a priest, not a politically correct puppet to the lowest-common-denominator of some anti-law mob.

Again, in the context of BLACK LIVES MATTER, whose stated purpose is to rid police from the face of the earth, kneeling in adoration to a BLACK LIVES MATTER sign stands for agreement to that stated purpose.

Yours truly won’t be doing any kneeling like that. In my parish, all black and brown and white and whatever color kneel before the Son of the Living God in the Most Blessed Sacrament:

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And, by the way, Jesus was and is forever the Lion of Tribe of Judah, a Jew, who said that “Salvation if from the Jews.” I kneel before Him, the Divine Son of the Living God. I don’t kneel before violent usurpation coming from any source.

Finally, if you’re still holding out and thinking that taking a knee against, say, the flag of these U.S.A. is reasonable, think again. See this post which has been downloaded by untold numbers of governmental and educational institutions across the country and right around the world since it was posted years ago and right to this very day, at least to know what “influencers” are reading:

National Anthem: Star Spangled Banner – Meaning of “hireling and slave”

A note to Pope Francis: You are not served well by those who advise you. They use you. Maybe you let yourself be used. At any rate, why not just stick to bringing people to Jesus with total respect for Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the actual Magisterial interventions of the Church in the great Councils (not just “dialogue”)?

Or is this just another idolatry exercise, like Pachamama, after all, Pachamama is “brown”, right?

Just anger is good. It doesn’t let you lose peace of soul. Jesus was not without a sense of divine peace even whilst He cleansed the temple with whips and cords against the unjust abuses that were taking place therein. Right? Right?

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Filed under Adoration, Eucharist, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Officer Down!, Patriotism, Pope Francis

Coronavirus: Adoration of Jesus in this parish overruled by SCOTUS? We couldn’t care less. We’re with Jesus.

We want Jesus! We want Jesus! We want Jesus!

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Coronavirus: SCOTUS nixes Constitution, Religion

On May 29, 2020, Chief Justice John Roberts sided (again) with the four anti-Constitution Justices on the nine member U.S. Supreme Court so as to reject the free exercise of religion in the first amendment of the Constitution so that, in this illegitimate legislation from the bench, discrimination against religion is held to be lawful.

ABC Liquor and big-box stores have long been opened up to record crowds, jammed with customers more than they’ve ever been, even while mega-churches that can seat thousands are limited to a minister and nine others. What is it that governors quite commonly landed on the number ten? It’s arbitrary. A mockery. An attack on religion. It’s out and out discrimination. No one gives a damn. Will there be any faith when the Lord returns?

The consequence of this illegitimate legislation from the bench is that governors are free to burn the Constitution, and then burst into churches and drag people out, arrest and fine and imprison the minister.

In North Carolina the way this plays out is that the first offense by the minister is a second class criminal misdemeanor. The second and third offenses are felonies. That means a very long time in prison.

When the first enumerated unalienable right in the U.S. Constitution, recognized as provided by Almighty God Himself – the free exercise of religion – is trashed by fallen human politician, all other rights fall, the right to assemble, the right to free speech, the right to… write, the right to defend the innocent, on and on. And we immediately saw that with so many of the tyrant dictator governors. It’s lockstep, from freedom to being smashed down, 0 to 100, in just moments.

The great Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in dissent, had it that such anti-Constitution wrongful legislation from the bench is a restriction on the free exercise of religion that “discriminates against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.”

Those in the judiciary who wrongfully legislate from the bench, those in executive office who usurp the legislature to themselves as tyrant dictators, are, of course, cowards. I would like to see them personally come to this smallest parish in these United States and brutally attempt to interfere with the reverent celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It’s an attempt that will not end in desecration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I will personally see to it that the Son of the Living God at what is the celebration of the Last Supper will not be smashed to the ground. It’s not gonna happen on my watch. But they are cowards.

What will happen? This Catholic priest will continue to offer Holy Mass and provide all Holy Sacraments to Christ’s faithful, come what may. I don’t look to the coward John Roberts to get permission from the State to exercise my priesthood for Jesus. I don’t give a hoot what the Supreme Court says. The free exercise of religion is a right which is unalienable and provided by God. Compared to God, who in hell does John Roberts think he is? He’s just another coward. I never cave to cowards. 

How about the Department of Justice? Will Bill Barr back a case that will overturn the Supreme Court’s own B.S.?

As the POTUS said: Open the churches! We need prayer!

Back to tyrant Governor Cooper and directly addressing him: Here’s the schedule today, Governor. I’m making it easy for you:

  • 6:00-7:00 AM Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Confessions at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
  • 8:00 AM Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Confessions at Prince of Peace Church in Robbinsville, in Graham County.
  • 8:30 AM Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Prince of Peace Church in Robbinsville, in Graham County.
  • 10:30 AM Confessions at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
  • 11:00 AM Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
  • Distribution of Holy Communion all over WNC.

And, hey! Yesterday, we had a funeral. 

Here’s the deal: I give people all the warnings, policies, dispensations, but I’m not policing anything from the Altar as I’m not a minister of justice of the State while I’m proceeding with religious rites. Never. Never, ever. 

Here’s the deal: there are multiple rounds of applause and cheers and statements of agreement from my tiniest of all congregations.

But, go ahead, tyrant Governor Cooper. Come in person and break us up and smash us to the ground and arrest and imprison us. Go ahead and try to throw the Blessed Sacrament to the ground. It will be an attempt, only.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

Coronavirus Eucharisitic sacrilege: Excommunications to be lifted by Missionaries of Mercy?

This Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis is entirely in accord with the great Cardinal Sarah as seconded also by Monsignor Bux regarding the distribution of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, that the priest or deacon or Acolyte or EMHC wearing any kind of gloves for this distribution is objectively committing sacrilege against the Most Blessed Sacrament. I’m paraphrasing. Cardinal Sarah uses most extraordinary language to insist on this insane, blasphemous, ridiculous, clownish, faithless, immoral mocking of God.

Maybe some of my fellow priests carried away in “creativity” will come to their senses and realize that they’ve done something wrong, terribly wrong, along the lines of “nefas est.”

An automatic excommunication comes about and, as long as it is not declared (no chance of that, methinks), a Missionary of Mercy can lift and absolve such an excommunication.

As a Missionary of Mercy able to do this, I only ask that the priest be penitent with a resolve to never do it again, even in a “second wave” or “third wave” or with a thousand other viruses, etc., that are sure to come our way.

In giving the absolution, I’ll use the “old formula” in Latin, which firstly deals with the excommunication and then goes on to the absolution, a method of proceeding asked of us Missionaries of Mercy by the Holy See.

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Catholic priest Father Byers says “Aujourd’hui je suis membre de la First Pentecostal Church de Holly Springs”

“Bet You Stay Home Now Hypokrits”

Is a church burning worse than Governor Cooper of North Carolina making it a criminal misdemeanor and then jacking that up to criminal felony offenses to attend religious services? I think not.

I think it is a much worse crime being committed by Governor Cooper than that of the arsonist burning down the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi, whose members dared to worship the Lord together.

Note to idiot arsonists: leave those Pentecostalists alone and come to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Andrews, NC and go ahead and try to burn us down with all your bombs and matches and stupidity. After all, I think we’re one of the very few Catholic parishes with a full schedule of normal Masses, etc. Make an example of us. Let our Law enforcement make an example of you. Much better us and you than the poor people down in Mississippi.

Today, Je suis membre de la First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs

Actually, I don’t blame the arsonist guy for this so much as our politicians who scare people so badly that they commit acts like this. It’s these liberal anti-religion politicians who are especially to blame for such violence. Arrest the perp and throw him in prison? Sure. But do the same with the anti-Constitution, anti-American, anti-God, anti-neighbor politicians who single out religious institutions for discrimination as if religion is to blame for things like the coronavirus.

P.S. I love the biblical spelling of hypocrites that this guy uses: ὑποκριται = hypokrites = hypocrites. Of course, maybe he’s writing in Luxembourgish.

Je suis? A play on Charlie Hebdo horror. I’m still Catholic. I’m just saying that I’m totally in solidarity with our Pentecostalist friends down the way.

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Exorcism & LEO accompaniment :-)

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When becoming Pastor of this Catholic Parish of Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC, I immediately asked our great Bishop for permission to provide the Exorcism of a Place for dwellings in my parish and those in other parishes in the diocese as long as those pastors gave me permission. Granted and granted again, always and immediately.

The most recent exorcism of a place was just the other day up in Graham County, a house newly acquired by new parishioners moving in from way out of state. They had a good reason for this specialized house-blessing and it wasn’t that everything everywhere was smothered in thick poison ivy:

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The house is a wreck, and not just because of mold, having been uninhabited for quite some time. It seems this was a druggie house, and a satanic ritual house. I didn’t take pictures of the “artwork” provided by the druggie satanists. Awful. But I did take a picture of that graffito up top of this post… um… edited… but you get the idea.

Of course, druggies, in all of their coolness in acting against society and any authority such as the police, die of overdoses, and that also happened there. Horrible.

But, the house will be gutted physically just it has now been of any presence of Satan because of the exorcism.

Just a coincidence, but I was immediately escorted, if you will, by Law Enforcement from this house all the way back to Andrews (which is in another county). Thanks, guys.

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Mass schedule vs NC Governor Cooper; Communion style; LEO accompaniment

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The Catholic Parish of Holy Redeemer (HR) in Andrews, North Carolina, covers the north-eastern half of Cherokee County (Valleytown township), the north-western half of Macon County (Nantahala township), and the entirety of Graham County, which boasts of its own “Mass center” called Prince of Peace (PoP) in Robbinsville, North Carolina. We border the Diocese of Knoxville for more or less 20 miles.

Here’s our present Mass schedule (with Confessions before all Masses and Last rights, etc., anytime): 

  • 6:00 PM Saturday – Vigil Mass in Spanish (HR)
  • 6:00 AM Sunday – Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament (HR)
  • 8:00 AM Sunday – Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament (PoP)
  • 8:30 AM Sunday – Holy Mass in English (PoP)
  • 11:00 AM Sunday – Holy Mass in English (HR)

Weekdays Mass, given other things going on:

  • Monday – 12:00 Noon (HR)
  • Wednesday – 5:30 PM (HR)
  • Thursday – 12:00 PM (PoP)
  • Friday – 12:00 PM (HR)

Accompaniment by law enforcement already some weeks ago:

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I like that. I’m sure there’s a story behind it. Nice guy, I’m sure. :-)

Regarding Communion on the tongue: we do that, and that’s the norm. We border a certain diocese which does not permit that – against the universal law of the Church and against science (hands being horrifically worse than the tongue). Anyone visiting from that diocese or anywhere else will not be refused simply because they want to receive on the tongue (all things being equal, as in they being Catholics who are in good standing).

To Governor Cooper: You’ve demonstrated yourself in your specious legislation about enforcement of Covid-19 regulations to be discriminatory against the free exercise of religion, singling out religious institutions with draconian policies compared to leniency for state owned profit-making endeavors like ABC Liquor stores, or compared to private essential companies such as Lowes and Walmart, which are allowed up to 20% and 50% of the maximum capacity imposed for whatever buildings by the County Fire Marshall. This is not true for religious institutions, which – no matter the capacity even of a megachurch that would hold thousands – are limited limited to, say, a minister and nine other people, you know, for a quorum of ten like for a synagogue. That demonstrates bad faith in leadership, an abuse of power to please constituents, you know, Democrats who have outlawed God in their platform. Kick the faithful in the face and get votes! What was it, 5 out of 100 counties that voted you in to “power”?

I’m good with cooperating with national emergencies, national security, etc., when there isn’t any blatant anti-free-exercise-of-religion legislation. I think I can prove that cooperation in a court of law by subpoenaing a long list of witnesses right up the chain of law enforcement.

Speaking of the chain of law enforcement, Bill Barr of the Justice Department is demanding that ordinary citizens like me rat out politicians like you, Governor Cooper, so that overreach oppressing religion can be smashed down hard. I would welcome a legal challenge from the likes of you Governor Cooper. You’ve threatened for a long time now the imposition of a second class misdemeanor for a first “offense” of praying, which quickly turns into – if memory serves me – class “I” and “H” felonies for repeat offenses. I would love to do a lightning appeal to the Supreme Court to kick your policies where the sun don’t shine.

And, by the way, a note to LEOs: Just because the Governor has pretended to give you arrest powers for any free exercise of religion, he has no authority to do this, and he cannot support you; you also will be brought to court for upholding wrongful law, that is, you personally, as well as your department, town, county and state.

Here’s the deal: every time we’ve seen a politician suppressing religion in a discriminatory manner throughout human history – going back for last number of decades, going back for last number of centuries, going back for the last number of millennia – what we’ve seen is not just some tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths from any virus, but instead we’ve seen genocides on a grand scale, what with the likes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot… on and on. Hundreds of millions murdered. It’s all about POWER. Oooo! Power! Hmmm… the weighing of thousands of deaths over against hundreds of millions of murders. And it’s like clockwork. And it takes no time at all. And it’s frequent. And it can happen anywhere, anytime. Just ask people in the countries where it’s happened. Oh, right, they’re all dead already, starved, shot, incinerated…

So, over my dead body, Governor Cooper. Sure, my dead body might be because I die from Coronavirus – a horrific death I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but maybe that will stand in witness to protection of the free exercise of religion.

So, go ahead Governor Cooper. Let’s see your worst. I’ll bring you to the Supreme Court, along with any law enforcement individuals, towns, counties or State which try to enforce your anti-God, anti-neighbor, and anti-Constitution policies.

Methodology of proceeding:

Holy Mass is offered by myself at the altar in the sanctuary of the churches of the parish, during which time the doors will be open. I do not request anyone to come. I tell people that it is imprudent and dangerous for them to come. I make rather intense appeals to those who are elderly or health compromised to stay away, saying that I will bring them Communion at home, and I do. I tell people that if they do wander into the church at the time I’m there that I think it’s a good idea for them to wear a mask, do social distancing, etc. There is no shaking of hands. The fact is, when I had to get a MethylPREDNISolone shot and a DosPak of the same because of the “worse case of poison oak seen in Cherokee County”, I had no immune system and I did not offer Mass publicly at that time. Having said that, and now back to public free exercise of religion:

  • I am NOT a minister of justice of the state
  • I am not in the employ of the state
  • I am NOT going to attempt to police any would-be non-compliance from the altar as if a minister must police imposed anti-constitution policies. Ain’t gonna happen.

If you don’t like this rebellion against your anti-American policies, Governor Cooper, a rebellion coming from the smallest parish in these United States of America – so tiny, so vulnerable to your power – then, by all means, shut us down, you know, with all the Law Enforcement in your power (which is a lot). Send in the National Guard. Send in SWAT teams of the State Bureau of Investigation. Call in emergency assistance from anywhere and everywhere. As I say, I’ll have you in the Supreme Court so fast that you’ll be a good example of what not to do. But if you do that, just have me arrested. Don’t be a cruel jerk and raid the church, throwing kids through the windows and smashing the elderly to the ground, giving people heart-attacks and causing injuries. I’m a model of quiet and peaceful compliance. Just throw cuffs on me and stuff me in the cage in the back of whatever vehicle and cart me off. But anyone else who happens to be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass… let them go; let my people go. Don’t be a jerk, Governor Cooper. Just make me the target of attacks on religion, the free exercise of religion.

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Coronavirus: Pope’s Missionary of Mercy Beach Day on Divine Mercy Sunday

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Yours truly took this picture early Monday morning after sleeping over at the Kure Beach beach house of some good friends to which I arrived at about 12:30 AM Sunday night. I was told to go right in to the second floor of that house (which is up on stilts, of course), and then head up to the third floor, go the end of the hallway, and use the bedroom suit that I will find with pictures of Pope Benedict and Saints John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

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That means that I had to have left the rectory in Andrews, NC, at least some eight hours previously, Sunday afternoon. Indeed, after Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, and while doing up a ride-along with the PD as chaplain, a call came in requesting my presence at the beach. Great! Off I went in Sassy the Subaru.

The picture below is taken from the exact same spot as the picture on the top of this post, just turned to the South. That’s the pier just north of Myrtle Beach, which brings back many memories with mom and dad. We all walked down the pier together some thirty years ago. It would only be a few years later that they would both have passed on. I’m so nostalgic…

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Those good friends? She’s a prosecuting attorney, and he, after a spectacular career in law enforcement, enjoys providing consultation presentations all around the world to assist in strategies for the most difficult logistics in law enforcement and incarceration and parole. He was home because of… of course… the Coronvirus lock down. Here’s what I found on the other side of “my room” for the night:

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Scandalous! Absconding from duty! A priest going to the beach while there is a declared State of Emergency (read the government notice in the top picture)! What about taking care of the Lord’s little flock? What about providing the Last Rites to those in need? And worse, using pious pictures to cover over such cowardice, leaving the flock untended!

There’s always two sides to any story, right? Well, here’s the truth of it:

After these good friends provided me with coffee and scrumptious scrambled eggs early the next morning, after just a few minutes of catching up, the pastoral plan they had hatched with me hours earlier on Divine Mercy Sunday afternoon went into action. My Google Maps feature on the phone was locked in, and away I went to another residence which sports this massive well-done statue out on the road (reminding me of The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark +1965, a book my mom made sure I read so long ago):

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You have to know that the Director of Liturgy in that far away diocese has draconian policies on the provision of sacraments in this time of Coronavirus. This is public knowledge. Horrific. A nightmare for the faithful who want to the sacraments. Some of the reaction of some of the priests of that diocese are less than beneficial. It seems one would not provide the proper sacramental formulae, just saying something invalid for any sacrament, such as Have a nice day. Another just left a message saying he’s unavailable at this time. Another does up sacraments, invalidly, over the phone.

So these great friends of mine called me, who am not quite a 900 mile round trip away. We have a mutual friend, a close friend, who could not find a priest to do what any priest should do, even with him now leaving this life to be on his way to the next. I dropped everything and got there as fast as I could.

Don’t think I’m virtuous in doing that. Not at all. I absolutely love racing about as a Missionary of Mercy, as Jesus’ priest, and doing what any priest should do. I have great neighbors who watch over the house and feed the dogs. I had an absolutely wonderful time racing back and forth at night on pretty much entirely empty highways and entirely empty back roads. Fortunately, it was a day after a fierce rainfall, and the fallen trees had already been pushed out of the way by bigger vehicles than mine:

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That’s on the way back, early Monday afternoon, at the start of the one-lane gravel road up Holy Souls Mountain, though still a few miles from the Holy Souls Hermitage. At the house of the neighbor to the hermitage I picked up fully seven October Beans which had been set aside for me to plant. That’s a lot. I am most grateful. More on that later.

The neighbors there weren’t home and I didn’t need to stick around for more Last Rites. They were at the doctors, which should tell you something in these times of basically zero face-to-face meetings with any medical personnel if at all possible. As it is, all reports of a zillion invasive tests came back with the best outcome possible. No Last Rites – again – were needed. I’m very happy with that. Thank you, Jesus.

Meanwhile, I do have a standing invitation to “go to the beach” any time I want. ;-)

Sometimes, honestly, I think I have way, way, way tooooo much fun as a priest. I’m totally happy watching Jesus be the priest, with me just going along for the ride. :-)

When I got back, I did up some grocery shopping for the elderly health-compromised in the parish, delivered those groceries, also delivering bacon to some good friends that I had picked up on the way back (10 pounds!), and then got back to the rectory once again. It’s now Tuesday morning. How did that happen so quickly? In just a few minutes after I publish this, Father Gordon MacRae is going to call for an hour or so, as I missed the usual Monday morning call. So I better end this here. Glad to be back.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Coronavirus: Question *after* fetching Oils of the Chrism Mass on Last Rites, Confessions, “essential” priests

COVID-19

Just before midnight, Monday night, stretching into early Tuesday of Holy Week – the usual day for the Chrism Mass in this Diocese – I was assisting at an urgent situation that included someone presenting with a persistent slight cough (I noticed), and who – hours later on Tuesday trundled off to get tested because of sharply increased symptoms for COVID-19. Of course, since we are in a healthcare desert, any test done here doesn’t take five minutes. The results can take four to five days or even longer. Yours truly was within six feet of said person for perhaps thirty minutes or more all told. Said person later Tuesday evening informed someone who, about 10:30 PM that same Tuesday, just 23 hours after the “proximity incident”, informed yours truly.

Meanwhile, Tuesday afternoon, before that information came my way, on way way back home after retrieving the Sacred Oils after the Chrism Mass in Charlotte, I stopped to see some friends to drop something off – this taking only seconds and with me wearing my N-95 Mask. I then repeated this a few hours later, at 8:00 PM, leaving another package with another friend, with me wearing my N-95 Mask and already being in the car before that friend came outside. So, both of these stops were in less than a day of the “proximity incident.” As I understand it, it takes more than 48 hours to begin to start “shedding” Coronavirus molecules. All are safe and sound.

So, now, as of this writing, now late Wednesday morning, some 58 1/2 hours have passed since assisting in the midst of that “proximity incident.” That’s about the time, right now, that I would start to perhaps begin “shedding” Coronavirus molecules, regardless of whether or not I myself developed any symptoms. I could turn out to be a “carrier.”


Should I quarantine myself, or self-isolate? Let’s review the technical terms and the regulations regarding same that were in force until Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020:

  • “According to the CDC, quarantines are meant to restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These individuals are asymptomatic but have either traveled to an area with an active outbreak of the virus, or have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. Self-quarantining allows health officials to closely monitor the development of symptoms, if any, while preventing further transmission of the virus. Those who are asked to self-quarantine will be told to stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days.”
  • Isolation, meanwhile, refers to separating those who are already sick from the rest of the population. Self-isolation provides individuals the opportunity to recover from the virus without spreading it to others. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate until the following:
    •  

      You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

    • AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
    • AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. The decision to stop home isolation should be left to healthcare providers and local health authorities.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020, at the usual presser, that advice was somewhat changed,  to wit (from PBS):

The federal government has released new guidelines for when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus. The guidance pertains to essential critical workers who have been exposed to COVID-19. For those individuals, the guidelines advise:

  • Take your temperature before work.
  • Wear a face mask at all times.
  • Practice social distancing in the workplace as work duties permit

The guidelines advise individuals not to:

  • Stay at work if you become sick.
  • Share headsets or other items used near one’s face.
  • Congregate in the break room, lunchroom, or other crowded places.

Employers are asked to:

  • Take the employee’s temperature and assess their symptoms before the employee starts back at work.
  • If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately.
  • Increase the air exchange in the building.
  • Increase the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
  • Test the use of face masks to ensure they don’t interfere with workflow.

[…] The CDC defines a potential exposure as “being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.”

The new guidance apply only to workers in critical infrastructure jobs. That category has been defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (part of the Department of Homeland Security), but only as an advisory list, not a federal standard.

By CISA’s reckoning, the category includes certain workers in healthcare and public health, law enforcement and first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation, public works, critical manufacturing, financial services, communications, among other sectors. […]

Redfield said the new guidelines are for workers in critical roles who “have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case,” so that they can go back to work under certain circumstances. […]


So, will this priest continue to offer Confessions and Last Rites, and will he continue to assist as Chaplain to the Law Enforcement family? There are essential roles to play even in the eyes of an atheist, such as suicide prevention and death notification. Wicked, horrifically violent crimes continue to happen even in this small hamlet of Andrews, NC. Hearing Confessions and giving the Last Rites are protected under the First Amendment, even under the Federal, State, County and Town restrictions. And they are essentially important. I can’t imagine the despair and the chaos that might well ensue if this was all to be taken away as well. I will continue.

By the way and just to say, CISA, mentioned above, is a rather serious player in all this. I just met with a close friend who is a member of CISA, who “does stuff” for CISA, who carries a “pass”, if you will, that has all check point law enforcement wave him right on through when he gets to the check point. He has no problem with me doing all that I am doing. :-)

Oh, and also, as of this writing, as of this publishing, I have zero symptoms. Regarding temperature, since I started Keto last November 1019 – losing now fully 63 pounds (and this is common) – I am no longer at 98.6 F, but hover around ~97.6 or ~97.7. For now. I mean, I never get sick, until I do, right?

Having said all that, I would like to stay put for the next days to see what happens. I am semper paratus for the Sacred Triduum to begin later this evening.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Corornavirus: day-in-the-life-&-death

COVID-19

It’s 12:37 PM and I just woke up from a nap, wakened by a phone call for last rites, this time a 200 mile round trip. Then possibly delivery of this person to a hospital in Charlotte as the hospital in Asheville threw this person out, although at death’s door on so very many levels, not that this person has Coronavirus, but was triage out, not because of not being in extreme need, but because triage now refers to keeping the young and otherwise healthy. These are also the victims of COVID-19. Crazy. A prayer for this person, very dear to me. I’m just about to rush off as this person will soon be home once again…

The reason I just woke up from a nap is because I spent a good part of last night doing up the Police Chaplain thing. The Chief told one of the officers to give me a call – 1:00 AM – so as to do up my first Death Notification to family members of the victim. I can’t say the details. Let’s just say it was bad. Real bad. Such violence. Such death. Please say a prayer for them and the repose of the soul of the victim. One family member was someone I also consider to be a good friend. Doesn’t make it easy. The reason I also put this incident under Coronavirus will have to be dealt with in another post, but I think the stress of COVID is somehow giving a self-perceived permission to sociopaths to put their sociopathy into action. I have very many examples. Be situationally aware, people.

It’s now 12:50 PM. I must run to do the priest thing. I love being a priest, COVID times or not. Thank you, Jesus.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Criticize priests without need? People won’t go to Confession…

confessional

I heard some very cynical people the other week presenting their views to the world on the internet, you know, when lock-downs were being announced. They were saying that there are priests – OF COURSE! PRIESTS! – who will think of this time as a vacation and go off and enjoy themselves, carefree, happy to forget about their flocks.

Really? A generalization, that? Calumny of a entire class of people, that? It used to be that people would notice ever so many canonized saints severely warning people not to criticize priests unnecessarily. It seems that they are purposely selectively ignoring canonized saints so as to promote a generalized anti-clerical agenda.

The reason canonized saints insisted on not criticizing priests unnecessarily is not any double standard. It seems like it is a double standard, for we are not to criticize anyone unnecessarily. Why make not criticizing priests unnecessarily a thing? Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote at length of fraternal correction, and said that sometimes we have to criticize priests and bishops publicly if they are egregiously publicly leading people astray, etc. Great! But still, why the emphasis by canonized saints on not criticizing priests unnecessarilyThat would be a sin, as it would be for anyone, but more so. Why?

Sin… That brings us to the reason for insisting in a special manner that we are not to criticize priests unnecessarily. If people do that, what do you think the result is going to be? The result will be that people who desperately need to go to Confession will use this unnecessary criticism as their excuse that they cannot go to Confession to such a terrible, horrible priest.

Let me give you an example. Someone came up to me in church a while back (whom I’ve never seen before) and with very dark face and with grave concern told me that I was losing really a lot of weight, and that this was alarming, and that I needed to somehow stay alive.

I mentioned this to someone else who immediately said that, yes, of course, that other person surely thought that I had AIDS, because, you know, I’m a priest and all that. Actually, that was also my thought about what the first person was thinking. I mean, it could be that I have cancer, right? Or, might it just be that I’m ever so happy on my Keto diet?

To the point, with that kind of nuanced gossip going around, how many people who are desirous of integrity and honesty are going to want to go to Confession to me? Probably zero.

For the record, yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Today it’s just over 60 pounds I’ve lost since November 21, 2019. For the record, I don’t have cancer. I don’t have AIDS. And as far as I know, I don’t at all have any Coronavirus. It’s the Keto Diet. I recommend the Keto diet for those who are not diabetic and who have good kidneys and who can and will drink plenty of fluids every day, and who are willing to face the gossipers and all their unnecessary calumny and grave concern. I don’t know if that’s what the first concerned person meant to do, but… whatever the intention, that kind of thing doesn’t help. Not at all. And certainly the seemingly malicious group prejudice of an entire class of people is not good for the Sacrament of Confession.

Having said all that, know that there are plenty of great priests out there and that you can and must go to Confession. Look, even a terrible, bad and evil and even entirely faithless and atheist priest still gives a valid absolution. It’s Jesus who is at work in the working of the sacraments: ex opere operato and all that. That’s what you want, right?

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Those who unnecessarily criticize priests are risking judgment upon themselves for all the people who would have gone to Confession but didn’t based on that unnecessary criticism.

Now, will I be attacked as if I didn’t say “unnecessary,” as if I said never to criticize any priests at all no matter what? Sigh. But, that’s fine. I signed up exactly for this, you know, the beatitudes and all that. I’m good with it, as long as people go to Confession more than ever. And what’s more to say, in this diocese we have great seminarians, and this is exactly what they also signed up for. Bring it on. We’re happy to face the unnecessary criticism for others.

This is not about pleasing others the frantic criticizers.

This is about bringing souls face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the 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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Filed under Confession, Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Saints, Vocations