Category Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)


Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!


Filed under Flores, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Rome airport security stops this Jewish prodigal son on his way home

Though I’m a Catholic priest, I’m also Jewish. I’m also a prodigal son. In all my travels, I’ve never been stopped by airport security, being given a different kind of treatment. We’ll, I take that back. The Israeli military did stuff to my laptop computers and computer junk like Hebrew keyboards throughout the decades, sometimes in front of me, with, say, flash drives[!] sometimes taking them away to work on them in private. As I say, the life of this Jewish Catholic priest has always been an open book. ;-)

Other than that – which was for stuff- I myself have never been an SSSS (Secondary Security Screening Selectee). But now I’ve seen a fellow Jewish prodigal son unceremoniouly pulled out of line right in front of me. Poor fellow. He was stripped down and given the full going over.

It’s all Pope Francis’ fault, of course, giving us those heavy bronze castings pictured above (a detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica). The lady security officer rendering the examination said (my translation): “Awwww, that’s so good of Pope Francis.”


Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact. Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors…” But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. But the fugitive’s fault finding frater , faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile. His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.” – Originally composed by Rev. W. O. Taylor


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Starting underground, ending up in the peripheries

So, the Missionaries of Mercy sojourn in Rome is at an end. Re-commencement for the next two years has begun.

Above is Metro Roma Linea A in the early morning.

Checking in online (on the phone) for the return Delta flight to Atlanta, I find that, as usual, my seat has been changed by some 20 rows, but, of course, never next to a “bad seat.” We’ll see.

Anyway, emerging from the depths onto Piazza Cinquecento, Stazione Termini, one sees Jesus, the Sacred Heart, surveilling the City from the pinnacle of a church.

If there was a place to sit for a coffee, this would be a great people watching place. Everyone’s from everywhere.

If I put up such pictures leaving Rome, I guess it must mean that I’m nostalgic. That’s not a bad thing, is it? Waiting…

On the move into the peripheries…

Not the peripheries are always all around us…

Sometimes you can even look inside yourself. But Jesus visits the peripheries.

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“You’re nothing special” – Pope Francis to Missionaries of Mercy

“Moreover, be sure you understand well that you’re nothing special, you Missionaries of Mercy.” – Pope Francis

That’s right. What weak and sinful man can forgive sin? So, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.


Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Relative perspectives…

This is at Saint Paul’s Outside the walls.

This angel above looks terribly snarky, with enthusiasm, in all good will wanting to smack you down, you know, in friendship.

Now, this other angel below looks terribly aghast, downright miserable, the moment he’s been terribly disillusioned by his protectee, like a whole human life span of time in guardian angelship just thrown away without remorse.

This is the same angel, but from an angle just two inches lower.

Honestly I think my guardian angel has pretty much both expressions going on all the time.


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Missionaries of Mercy – Future

Umbrellas were useless as we Missionaries of Mercy walked a good kilometer in bucketing rain to a parochial school chapel to hear each others’ confessions. We passed by a most famous mosaic-icon street shrine. Look up “divino amore”:

“Oh Virgin Immaculate Mary, Mother of Divine Love, make us saints!

I am reminded of the exclamation of the Pontifical North American College: “Monstra te esse Matrem!

If we Missionaries of Mercy cry out for our Lady’s maternal love, that is, to make us saints, surely something good for the Church will take place, like us continuing to go to Confession.

If we do that, some other good things in the future might come about. Of course, we remember the admonition about making plans for the future so as to make God laugh.

We’re supposed to return in two year’s time. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to have regional or national gatherings amongst ourselves, and also promote the Sacrament as best we can in whatever ways including occasions for the Sacrament.

I’m thinking of organising something especially for priests in various regions throughout the United States as represented by the Cathedral of whatever Archdiocese taking in all its suffragen dioceses. Perhaps we could have continuous confessions during adoration. During the week, mind you. All priests especially of that region invited. All priests released from other duties during that time. And encouraged to come. I’ve spoken with a couple of other Missionaries of Mercy about it and they like it a lot. So we’ll see.


Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

From CBS News to the Holy See: “Can I record a Confession?”

In the above picture some 600 Missionaries of Mercy waited for the closing Mass to begin at the Lateran. Waiting. Waiting.

A short while after Mass was over, this hit came in from the Holy See.

Referring URL:

(No referring link)
Host Name:Browser:Chrome 65.0
IP Address:212.77.3.[…]
OS/Platform: Win10/Desktop
Location:Holy See (vatican City State)
Javascript: Disabled
Visit Length:Not Applicable
ISP: Holy See – Vatican City State

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage (No referring link)

11 Apr 06:48:30

I had had a chat with our boss, his Excellency Archbishop Fisichella, that is, about automatic excommunications for corrupt organizations. But that part of that post became it’s own post. The interest with the post linked above is instead about recording confessions.

There is great interest in this topic by journalists. That post was just visited, for instance, by CBS News. I’m guessing they want to put undue pressure on the Church.

They should know that the Diocese of Manchester already betrayed the Church in a much worse manner:

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First up 2018-4-11: Archbishop Octavio Ruis Arenas

This guy’s number two to Archbishop Fisichella, therefore the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the umbrella organisation for the Missionaries of Mercy.

His talk is entitled “Pastoral Indications on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” I’m guessing this will be a rehash of the Vademecum for Confessors. It would be great to hear a few words on the Curé d’Ars. This being the closing conference, a bad and evil temptation to entrench in a bad and evil thought came to me, that this will be all about Amoris laetitia, reducing the Missionaries of Mercy to only one perspective of the ever so political chapter 8 of that iteration of what Pope Francis himself in the same papered volley calls a dialogue. In view of the other conferences, I have to doubt that. It’s been all good, in fact, fantastic up to this closing conference. It’s been my fear during these years that we would be political pawns in a much larger chess board. But that’s just stupid me, and I know it. I’m sure I’ll rejoice.


  • Confessors must be faithful, dedicated, joyful, conscientious.
  • Missionaries of Mercy are to promote the Sacrament of Confession in their dioceses.
  • Priests are instruments of Jesus’ mercy, acting in His Person in this Sacrament.
  • Those in the darkest of existential peripheries want a Confessor who totally understands them and is in solidarity with them to bring them into the light of the joy of “seeing” the risen Lord.
  • Don’t treat penitents badly!
  • Mulier adultera of John 7:53–8:11. All traditional interpretation.
  • Curé d’Ars! Yay!
  • San Leopoldo Mandić, OFM.Cap. Yay!
  • The joy of filial dignity provided to the penitent.

That’s it! Great!

Fisichella is adding a personal story about Padre Pio…

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Scary decadence depicted

This guy, perhaps a political figure back in the day (quite a particular face, reminding one of the practice of Dante), seems to be truly bad and evil. He was staring down at me with evil intent there in the Sala Regia all during our audience with Pope Francis. He’s bearing the weight of one of the stone frames of the frescoes.

If he’s scary to us, perhaps let’s skip such depictions and do something much more scary, looking in ourselves and seeing that we could crucify the Son of the Living God.

Oh wait, by original sin and our own we did do that.

For an even scarier depiction of ourselves we can look at the wounds of Jesus and then, with Thomas, put our fingers through the wounds in His hands, our hands into His side, His heart.

And then break down in tears of humble thanksgiving, joyful that our Lord has been deadly serious about bringing us to life. Not scary, that. After that, anything scary is a source of laughter: “That’s supposed to be scary? Because it’s not. Haha!


Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

How prodigal of Pope Francis! Thank you Holy Father.

A solid bronze replica (weighs a ton) of this detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s.

The Holy Father commissioned one for each Missionary of Mercy.

My licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was on this scene of Luke 15.

I am deeply touched by this gesture of his thanks to us. Thank you, Holy Father.

Btw: that’s a donkey with his ears laid way back, right?


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

About those wounds

A priest I met at the bus stop.

We had a good conversation about Jesus and the cynicism of the world. He said that people have so many wounds that a few more on Jesus isn’t going to affect them one bit. He spoke of how terribly difficult the mission is. He didn’t blame the modern world, but recognized that all times are quite the same.

Now I go one step more…

Having priests start going to Confession so that they bring this Sacrament once again to their parishes isn’t good enough. We have to be willing to rejoice that we are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord. So, let me change that all too set in stone saying of mine to…

Humble, joyful thanksgiving.

Pope Francis says it best:

“Joy greater than any doubt.”

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Paul VI Audience Hall

After a day with Pope Francis, the Missionaries of Mercy were treated to a nice lunch at the Audience Hall. With ice cream, btw.

In the Atrium, this image of JPII carried by the winds of the Holy Spirit always catches my eye. Here’s a detail of suffering for the Church, weighed down with the burden, as it were, of the glory of God:

Of course, I think it’s really cool that St. George has his back.

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Making it personal: 600 of us

And with joy. I like that. I like that a lot.

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A day with Pope Francis

First we’ll have a conference with Archbishop Fisichella, then another by Pope Francis, then just us for Mass with Pope Francis at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, then lunch, then…

So, off to the gate into Vatican City called the Petriano, which isn’t actually called that according to the Swiss Guards, who call it what I’ve called it all the decades, “Porta di Sant’Ufficio.”

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The gate called Petriano

I used to drive through here full speed in a car or on a scooter getting salutes from the Swiss Guard while bishops were stopped. Those were the days. Now I stand in line. Haha! That will get me ready for the line to heaven. I always think I will be last in line, but I’m very happy with that as that involves going to heaven. We’ve got to make it to heaven at all costs, even that of learning humility. So, we go to Confession. Remember, Peter in heaven left the keys to the gates here upon this earth, in the confessional with whatever even inept priest, like me. Remember, it’s all about Jesus.

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Lunch with Pope Sixtus V

The Missionaries of Mercy taking a lunch break in the Apostolic Palace of Sixtus V.

This must have been completed minutes before Sixtus V died, just before that decree about that Bible could go into effect. Haha!

Anyone have a comment on this?

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Also today: Archbishop Arthur Roche on priests and sin

Small groups this afternoon. These are the English speakers. Yes, that’s Exposition while he’s speaking about priests confessing to priests. Good.

I had quite the conversation with his Excellency some ten years ago when he helped to lead a pilgrimage to Lourdes where I was a “permanent chaplain”. We agreed after some argumentation that the only way to renew the priesthood and therefore parishes was to get priests to go to regular confession.

I knew his talk would be fantastic when he started by saying that he’s been a priest for 43 years and a sinner for much longer than that.

He said forgiveness of sin is the raison d’être of Jesus coming into the world but we wrongly treat sin as unimportant. To counter this he told stories.

He spoke of a young man going through the holy door during the year of mercy, you know, all non-chalantly, then breaking into tears realizing what God has done for him.

Miserando atque eligendo… We need to be protagonists in mercy, begining with ourselves.

Really an excellent talk. I think some of these talks will be published in the future.

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Up next for Missionaries of Mercy: “Sharing”

After Cardinal Sarah, we’re concluding the break. Its now time for sharing. Let’s share!

I like ice cream. That’s all I have to say.

Btw: That picture was taken after the pilgrimage to Saint Benedict’s “cell” in Rome.

Update: The sharers from each continent were actually really good. For example, in speaking about the spiritual life and regular confession, speaking about one’s own joy in personally going to Confession. Good for them. I like that. I like that a lot.

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Cardinal Sarah is up first: Dear Missionaries of Mercy…

We’re in the Aula Magna of the Pontifical Lateran University, with the Basilica of that name was my parish of domicile for very many years.

It’s an hour before the conference, but the guys are already pouring in.

Meanwhile, memories flood into my soul. I was doing degree work here with the great Thomist Cardinal Carlo Caffarra when the Pope John Paul Institute for Marriage and the Family was blazingly orthodox, openly fighting with the heretics over at the Alphonsianum. It was a great consolation. Very formative.

BTW: This post is bait for an anonymous seems to be Jesuit in India who cynically used Cardinal Sarah to bait me for his anonymous blog. Look, if you can’t dialog with your name, you are so scared of yourself that you won’t even begin to listen to anyone else. Let’s listen to each other. Then reason things out with a reason purified by faith. Go to Confession and tell me your name.

Filling up fast:

After praying the third hour together (great when priests actually pray together) we’re getting ready to hear Cardinal Sarah. Hint: He’s Catholic. Please note that we won’t be hearing from Cardinal Kasper. …

He’s dismantling every last ambuguity in chapter eight of Amoris laetitia. Brilliant. Theological, pastoral, historical, practical, liturgical, canonical, confessors as guides not experimenters. No more: “I went to three priests and all told me something different.” Precise. Thank you, your Eminence.

Discernment! Listen!

Then he thanked us. Very humble.

Great encouragement.

Jam packed. So, pretty much exactly 600 of the 895 Missionaries showed up.


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Missionaries of Mercy *kit*

Signing in at the Pontifical Council went very well. This is the “kit.”

  • A pass for all events / meetings.
  • A ticket for Sunday’s Mass.
  • 100 page program book in 7 languages.
  • 224 page directory of Missionaries.
  • A black backpack.

That last one is very handy for albs and stoles and such.

Now all we have to do is remain good friends with the merciful Jesus.

For those who articulate Jesus’ name for specious reasons, know that the merciful Jesus is the same as the Jesus of justice.

“For the sake of his sorrowful passion (justice) have mercy on us and on the whole world (mercy).”

I was already hearing confessions on the street this morning just for wearing my cassock and collar. Oh, and if you’re thinking I’m a good son of the Church, read this to make sure you understand: On being a good son of the Church.

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