Category Archives: Priesthood

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

Priestly ordinations during Covid-1984

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“I’m surprised that there’s anyone joining up to be ordained a priest in these crazy times,” exclaimed a parishioner a day before the ordinations. Hah! He doesn’t know our great seminarians!

Zipping down for the 400+ mile trip to Saint Mark’s in Huntersville (much bigger than the Cathedral in Charlotte), it was wonderful to witness our Lord Jesus at work in the ordination of two more priests for this diocese of western North Carolina.

My own parish is in Charlotte Diocese, though it would be difficult to be more distant than we are from the Cathedral, Chancery and the larger parishes. This parish is far closer to the Cathedrals of Knoxville, TN and Atlanta GA, with the Cathedrals of Nashville TN and Birmingham AL being just some minutes farther than Charlotte.

This year the ordinations were on Friday, not Saturday, much easier for me, with so far to travel. I otherwise have to cancel Saturday afternoon confessions and even confessions before the Vigil Mass, getting back, literally, just seconds before Mass is to begin.

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Being so far from the big cities of the diocese, it is always a culture shock for me to emerge from the very heart of Appalachia and try to take in the ways and means of how other parishes are handling Covid-19 precautions.

Of course, I shouldn’t be so entitled. I offered up the weirdness (and it was weird) for the priests in China who are suffering the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party not only with Covid-19, but also in reeducation camps, labor camps, torture and death camps. We are inconvenienced by the CCP-Covid-19, but priests in China know much more of the violent persecution of the CCP. They know more than anyone what it means to be faithful to our Lord without compromise. They would laugh at our entitlement to be free of weirdness from the State or others.

Even with the idiocy of the policies of some governors bringing mayhem and violence to the streets of America, I don’t think many of us have a clue as to what persecution in this life can be like. We make a big deal out of some inconveniences, and perhaps we are right to mention these things, but at the same time we must open our eyes.

Just my opinion, but it seems to me that our seminarians and young priests have their eyes open to the way things really are in this fallen world. They have been called by Christ our God to His Priesthood. They have received most excellent training and formation. They want to be prompt and ready in their obedience to the truth in all charity, to Christ Jesus Himself. They are awake, clear.

Being “woke” in America is fake news, as there is no one who is more in a coma than are those who think they are “woke,” all the new communists in our midst. But we’ve been training our guys rightly in this diocese, pointing them all to Jesus, who does open eyes, who does have us awake and at the ready.

For myself, it is perhaps more appropriate to come up with another analogy of being “woke” at this stage in my life, but again by Christ Jesus: “Arise! Let us be going! Behold, my betrayer is at hand.” I was asleep earlier in my life right along with those three apostles in the garden of Gethsemane. But I think I might have learned something of being trained in by my guardian angel for situational awareness regarding entitled heretics, regarding those who are truly evil. I’m my own worst enemy.

But who’s the betrayer who is always at hand? All those who are “woke” into darkness and violence and evil, who are far from the Lord Jesus.

I thank the Lord daily for having me here in this diocese.

I thank the Lord daily for having me here in this parish.

I have to wonder when we also will be hit by the mayhem that we see elsewhere. It’s always elsewhere until it happens to you. So…

Prayers of solidarity with our new priests, whom I’m guessing are more at the ready than I will ever be, who are assigned to much bigger parishes than I will ever see. Blessings be upon them. Better them than me! … Hail Mary …

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Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

Father Robert Altier on the cleansing of temple by Mary

I laughed out loud when he described the difference between Jesus and Mary when it comes to the unrelenting ferocious cleansing of the temple. Hahahahaha. :-) Good for you, Father Altier. I love it.

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Filed under Humor, Priesthood

Pius XII to Catholic Priests

A most wise past student sent me a few paragraphs written by Pius XII to Catholic priests. With these, I stand reprimanded and at the same time encouraged. I am thankful to Pius XII and my past student, whose student I now am. Here is some of his message to me:

“Pius XI has been of great help and consolation to me of late. His writings in the 1930s speak with the powerful voice of the Church even to us now 90 years on. His condemnations of the many -isms of his time find resonance today, and have helped me make sense of what goes on around us currently. Go figure—the Church has been there, done that, made it through with Jesus! Nothing new under the sun.

“Anyway, I have been reading his encyclical on the priesthood (Ad Catholici Sacerdotii) and, having learned much […] about this holy life, I wanted to send these three passages along, each helpful in its own way today, both in general but also specifically as a reminder to us priests. May we both, with Mary’s help, live up to the great calling which is ours in and from Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest!”

  1. In this clash of selfish interest, and unleashed hate, and dark plans of revenge, nothing could be better or more powerful to help, than loudly to proclaim the ‘new commandment’ of Christ. That commandment enjoins a love which extends to all, knows no barriers nor national boundaries, excludes no race, excepts not even its own enemies.
  2. Finally, the priest, in another way, follows the example of Christ. Of Him it is written that He “passed the whole night in the prayer of God” and “ever lives to make intercession for us”; and like Him, the priest, is public and official intercessor of humanity before God; he has the duty and commission of offering to God in the name of the Church, over and above sacrifice strictly so-called, the “sacrifice of praise,” in public and official prayer; for several times each day with psalms, prayers and hymns taken in great part from the inspired books, he pays to God this dutiful tribute of adoration and thus performs his necessary office of interceding for humanity. And never did humanity, in its afflictions, stand more in need of intercession and of the divine help which it brings. Who can tell how many chastisements priestly prayer wards off from sinful mankind, how many blessings it brings down and secures?
  3. A last tribute to the priesthood is given by the enemies of the Church. For as We have said on a previous page, they show that they fully appreciate the dignity and importance of the Catholic priesthood, by directing against it their first and fiercest blows; since they know well how close is the tie that binds the Church to her priests. The most rabid enemies of the Catholic priesthood are today the very enemies of God; a homage indeed to the priesthood, showing it the more worthy of honor and veneration.

Pax, Father […]

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Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

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

Preaching about the Lamb of God

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Pictures herein are from Pentecost 2020, by “Photo Phil”. Thanks, Phil. Is the picture above depicting that which is ad orientem? But that’s a topic for a book or five. This post is dedicated to preaching about the Lamb of God. The picture above is what you will see with any priest at the Ecce Agnus Dei, at the Behold! The Lamb of God! Regardless of any versus populum or ad orientem logistics during Holy Mass, both in the Traditional Mass and in the Novus Ordo the priest is directed to be facing the people while holding up Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, saying: Ecce Agnus Dei! Behold the Lamb of God! That is, of course, the exclamation of the greatest of all the prophets, Saint John the Baptist, as he pointed us all to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

There has been much confusion even among the elite academic liturgists regarding terminology and purpose of preaching the Lamb of God after the Gospel.

Some condemn preaching as that which has N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with Holy Mass. After all, they say, the priest of old would take off his maniple and chasuble after reading the Gospel, signifying that what he was about to do had nothing to do with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then, they say, the priest would make the sign of the cross before and after his sermon to seal off absolutely that what was to happen had N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with Holy Mass. Sigh. As if the Sign of the Cross has nothing to do with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?! They say that there is never to be anything didactic (a big word!) So, what is it to be? Fake “pious piffle”, a waste of time? I don’t get that. Anything to do with the Living Truth, He who laid down His life for us during the Last Supper united with Calvary, is instruction, leading us to fall on our knees in reverence before the Son of the Living God in the Most Blessed Sacrament at His very Sacrifice for us: Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam or words to that effect as I type this as fast as such prestidigitations can proceed upon my keyboard.

The purpose of what is said after the Gospel is to put everyone on their knees. Does it teach, instruct, admonish, remind people to repent (in the Confessional), and be in humble thanksgiving before Christ Jesus, Son if the Immaculate Conception? Yes, it should, every time.

But what really is that straw man you bring up talking about, Father George? I thought the most traditional thing was – after the Council of Trent, after promulgating the Catechism of the Council of Trent – to preach sermons on a preaching schedule, so that all parts of said catechism were covered successively throughout the year? Yes, well, that would be right of course. All very didactic indeed. But, I would argue that that’s just fine and dandy and needed and I wish more would do this instead of the blather they go on about. But I would also argue that those doing that even back in the day would have enough pastoral solicitude during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to use whatever truth of salvation in the catechism there happens to be, to use that to bring ever so didactically all listeners to fall to their knees before Jesus, the Living Truth, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Yours truly loves to preach, and I’m never at a loss for words, or so I’m told, many times! ;-) I’m not going to apologize for it. I think preaching is a blast. I love it. I absolutely love it. I love being a priest. I love didactically bringing people to fall on their knees before the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ our Lord, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

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I’m guessing those pictures by Photo Phil might tell the story. Although some posts on this blog might be serious about serious issues, I gotta tell you, this is one happy priest. And… and… I’m happy to bless everyone present, just below the great Saint Joseph.

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We need vocations who are in fact being called by our Lord all the time to accept their vocations with enthusiasm, with trepidation, with joy, with a desire to lead people, even if didactically, to our Lord.

By the way, I challenge anyone anywhere at anytime to go ahead and point out to me any preaching of our Lord Jesus which was not didactic. Heh heh heh.

Also, and just to say, I’ve almost never heard preaching from the ultras of either “side” anything that would not be purely academic on the one hand or purely political on the other hand. But in this diocese, I’ve often heard preaching that didactically leads people to fall to their knees before the Living God as the priest holds up the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We have lots of great priests here in the Diocese of Charlotte. They know who the real priest is:

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Yes.

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Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

Steven Crowder: Best ANGRY Pro-Police Rant

Language warning. He’s upset. Rightly so. If you’re in law enforcement on any level. You gotta listen to this. A must listen.

While you listen, remember that although there were two officers in the Atlanta Wendy’s event, there were also two Taser shots in the stolen Taser. Listen to the end. He’s not attacking “Christians” nor Catholics (“the Church”). No, no. He’s attacking those who are “pussies” in leadership, in the hierarchy.

Sorry, but I’m not offended by language, by the hurling of insults. For the “pussies” out there, do I really need to put up again my own rant supporting the insults hurled at others in the Hebrew Scriptures? Do I really need to reiterate the ferocious insults hurled at the enemies of all that is good by both Saint John the Baptist and Jesus? And by the way, for all the “pussies” out there, Saint John is the greatest of all the prophets, ever. You’re not. And Jesus is the Divine Son of the Living God, true God and true Man, who stood in our place, the Innocent for the Guilty. You “pussies” out there are not Him. Get your pussiness out of my life.

If any “pussies” think Crowder’s occasional F-bomb is over the top, so that you don’t listen to the content of what he’s saying, refusing to admit that you have ever once been (hypocritically) really angry in your life, I’ll give you one insult to start you off, about how it is that you prostitute yourself to a lusty political lover, who, then, we read: “lusted after her lovers [you “pussies” out there], whose genitals were like those of donkeys [!] and whose emission was like that of horses (Ezekiel 23:20).” Those “pussies” out there are f***ing their brains out with lust, with crooked finances, with self-aggrandizing political maneuvering, at the expense of Christ’s faithful, at the expense of the whole world. Those f*** words are in the Divine and Holy Scriptures inspired by the Most Holy Spirit. Yes. Go ahead, read from the beginning of that chapter, Ezekiel 23:1… By the way, I’m dropping my own F-asterisks-exclamation and that very specific quote analogously about politicians and church leaders today for a very specific reasons. Yes. And there are going to be a lot of people who will be able to do me a lot of damage for my calling out their hypocrisy, both near and far. So be it. But let me concentrate right now on far away (not so far away by way of internet):

How dare Pope Francis congratulate the Bishop of El Paso for kneeling in front of BLM, whose main objective is to murder police. Just. Wow.

  • BLM CHANT: Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.
  • BLM CHANT: What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!

Again, when you listen to Crowder’s rant, remember that although there were two officers, there were also two Taser shots in the stolen Taser. Also, where is that unreleased video from which a mere singular frame was provided? That’s extra work to do that. Why was that done?

  • I almost forgot my disclaimer: I’m a police chaplain. Does that make a difference? No. It doesn’t. I’m a human being. So are the police officers. And so are the enemies of this Constitutional Republic under God by the Rule of Law. I’m a chaplain for the police, but that’s because I’m a chaplain for everyone, even for the perps and “pussies” out there, to convert them and bring them to Jesus.
  • Oh, another disclaimer: I do believe with all my heart and soul and mind that ALL LIVES MATTER. Jesus redeemed us all. He wants us all to assent to salvation, keeping the commandments, demonstrating that we love God and love neighbor. God is Love. God is also Truth. Don’t forget that. The Truth. Jesus said it. He’s also the Way. Any “pussies” out there are not the Way, the Truth, or the Life. Any “pussies” out there are not God.

Are any “pussies” out there offended by this? Really: go read Ezekiel 23. Now. Get the full context. Or are you afraid?

Are there any political-law-enforcement politicians out there offended by this? Really: go read Ezekiel 23. Now. Get the full context. Or are you afraid?

Thanks, Steven Crowder. For those of you who think you’re too good and all sufficient not to listen to Steven’s rant. Think again. It’s not all that long. It’s rather riveting.

But again, I insist that my disclaimer about being a police chaplain means nothing, as I would say all of the above regardless of being a police chaplain:

By the way, that level 4+ ballistic vest with side plates is meant to help keep me useful in any untoward event. Ballistic vests are defensive. They’re not meant to be “scary”. If I had a vest that was actually concealable at level 4, I would do that. The rest of the molle-carry is all innocent: a PFAK prepared by an EMT-friend specifically for bullet wounds and such of any who need immediate pre-EMT assistance for any bleed-out events, two different styles of tourniquets, a midsize Olight to see what’s happening with medical assistance or with ongoing threats, a window-breaker/seat-belt cutter, an easy to use GoPro, the phone-cradle (the phone being used for the picture at the moment) with the phone normally going in back to front for unobtrusive secondary recording and emergency communications. 

The rest is EDC and has nothing to do with anything with my being a police chaplain. That’s just my 2a rights like any other civilian-citizen of these USA. Of course, those rights include being at the ready to assist in efficiently averting any threat that is, say, already pumping bullets into one or more of our properly acting officers. This town is one of the most violent druggie towns in the five State area of western North Carolina, western Virginia, East Tennessee, north Georgia, northeast South Carolina. Since there are so many licence plates from Florida, New York and Texas, I’ll include them too. Why that ill-gotten fame is the case is for a possible future post…

Finally, I have to say it because people may get the wrong impression. This priest is intent on bringing Jesus’ love and truth and forgiveness and truth and happiness and truth and fortitude and truth and goodness with kindness and truth to all: Jesus’ Love and Jesus’ Truth. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. We’re not the ones. Jesus is the only One. But Jesus is also fierce in His insistence on love and truth. And so is the Holy Spirit. “Pious” ears will be offended. So very offended. They should grow up and see what the Holy Spirit has for the Churches. Or in all of their fake self-serving softness they might well end up in hell. There. I said it. Read Ezekiel 23.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Officer Down!, Patriotism, Priesthood, Vocations

Dear NC Governor Cooper: the view from this church’s Confessional.

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Oh my! Two people! And they’re not social distancing! But they are husband and wife, so they really don’t have to socially distance, do they? No.

We’ll continue with our normal Adoration, Confession, Mass schedule.

Moreover, this priest is chasing round about. Yesterday after going to a number of churches for a number of sacraments and Masses, I then visited another 14 people for Communion calls throughout two counties and two parishes. It would have been a lot more if I wasn’t forbidden to do sacramental calls to parishioners in a number of our nursing homes.

And if you think any future lockdown will keep me down, think again. If I were to be kept down, I think a lockdown for me would have to be in the county jail. But that’s no threat, as I could then proceed to evangelize from behind bars. There are precedents. I’m guessing that the other inmates would not be interested in harassing me, knowing that you’re the one who put me in. :-)

Just a question: How is it that there is discrimination against religion even while there is a promotion of riotous, murderous riots, with all their looting and arson and assault?

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Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Politics, Priesthood

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

Coronavirus: Chrism Mass Oils, Renewal of Priestly Promises, Praying for Priests

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For any LEOs wanting to get a hold of me for arrest, fine, or both, for apparently having broken the Federal, State and Mecklenburg County, NC, declared State of Emergency regulations regarding “Stay at Home” orders so that I might fetch the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Infirm and the Oil of Catechumens consecrated at that Chrism Mass Tuesday morning, know that any presumed breaking of the law is simply not true.

The Chrism Mass this year, sadly even if necessarily and prudentially, saw in attendance only the good Bishop, a couple of deacons and just a few of the priests more local to the Cathedral. This Mass is essential – critical if you want to use technical vocabulary – for the free exercise of religion, as the consecrated oils confected in this most extraordinary Mass with very elaborate ceremony and awesome consecratory prayers, are used for the Ordination Rite of Priests, for Baptism and Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the latter also known as the Last Rites which are somewhat more common in these Coronavirus times.

Since the assistance – during that Mass – of the rest of the priests including myself was not considered critical, it was arranged through the powers that be that I would arrive at the Cathedral after the last of the good and holy deacons filling the little distribution bottles of the Sacred Oils would have finished their work for all the parishes and missions of entire diocese (that’s really a lot of little bottles!) and would have then forthwith left the campus of the Cathedral in Charlotte (to the back-right of the picture above), so that I, quite alone, could retrieve, quite alone, the package of Oils for all the parishes of the Smoky Mountain Vicariate, the extreme western region of North Carolina.

That’s how it worked out. That package was placed inside the back entrance of the rectory of the Cathedral (to the lower right in the picture above). I was out of my car for perhaps 30 seconds, and had my N-95 mask in place. I jumped back in the car and headed straight back, making for a more than 400 mile round trip, about eight or nine hours for me in the surprisingly somewhat heavy traffic and parking-lot-on-Interstate-26 construction zones with subsequent traffic jams.

While still driving – or parking on the highway as the case may be – a good and holy deacon who had assisted with that package of Oils called me, asking whether I had retrieved the package. The inhabitants of the Cathedral wanted to know if I had already grabbed that package, concerned for its safety (but perhaps also wondering if it was safe to venture forth, since, who knows if I could also be a carrier of Coronavirus). I posit that just for humor, but I would totally respect that concern as well.

As it turns out, that may well be true. But that’s for another post. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, being saddened by not having been able to attend the Chrism Mass itself to assist with the consecration of the Sacred Chrism and the blessing of the other oils, and to renew the promises of the priesthood with my fellow priests, I mentioned my sadness to the good and holy deacon, throwing out the thought that perhaps we priests might be able to get together at another time to recite these promises together, hoping, in doing this, that this good and holy deacon might mention this to the good Bishop. All deacons are good and holy, by the way, as they have to put up with us priests. :-)

The good and holy deacon immediately offered that the priests retreat always in the first full week of October would be an opportune time. I concurred and thanked him for this wonderful suggestion. I’m hoping he will put this to the good Bishop. Here is the rite of those promises. There are parts for the Bishop and the laity as well. I hope everyone will pray that we ever so weak priests can keep these promises. I will recite them later this Holy Thursday morning…


After the Homily, the Bishop speaks with the Priests in these or similar words.

Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood on his Apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people, the promises you once made?

The Priests, all together, respond: I am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ and his Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?

Priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?

Priests: I am.

Then, turned towards the people, the Bishop continues:

As for you, dearest sons and daughters, pray for your Priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

And pray also for me, that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Bishop: May the Lord keep us all in his charity and lead all of us, shepherds and flock, to eternal life.

All: Amen.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Prayer, 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

My friend, Luke Dempsey, O.P. (R.I.P.) Thanks for everything.

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There’s some resemblance with the Angelic Doctor…

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I’ve known Father Luke Dempsey OP since the mid-1980s. Born: February 7th, 1934 – Died: February 9th, 2020. Quick witted humor. Diplomatic hospitality. Brilliant in his dealings with the Dominican Sisters from the Philippines and Sicily who took care of us. He very much voted for the underdog, but was without pity for any entitlement mentality, or any immorality. Out. Gone. Instantaneous.

In 2003, coming from Australia and landing on a mountain top near Viterbo, I called him up just to say hello and he responded instantly by inviting me down to Rome the next day so as to offer me a room at the college where he was once again the rector. Mind you, the waiting list can be one or two years long and he might well have tossed someone to get me in. That college was attached to the Dominican’s Angelicum University. Back to the good old days, thought I.

Luke sponsored me some ten years earlier when I was not attending the Angelicum (which was otherwise the rule). I was going to the Jesuit’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. Luke was ever the ecumenist with the Jesuits, as he himself had been the rector of the somewhat rival École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem. Good for him.

Significantly and over the years, Luke introduced me by way of long discussions and provisions of books to the first rector and founder of the École biblique, the Servant of God, Marie-Joseph Lagrange, O.P. Lagrange became a great hero of my thesis on Genesis, particularly because of his volume on Genesis, pretty much all copies of which the Dominicans burned everywhere in the world, though I was able to get my hands on an original purple-carbon-typewriter copy, and then an extremely rare copy of the published book. ;-) In it I found a most faith-filled respect for the Jewish inspired human authors of the Scriptures and their take on mythology, Lagrange’s attitude being entirely against the heretics and modernists, entirely contra mundum. Wow! thought I. This is great! This guy should be canonized for his humility and fidelity to the Church over against the modernists, but he should also be recognized for his heroic stance for respect for the Jews, especially in those years leading up to the holocaust. Even in far away Jerusalem he was pretty much taking his life in his hands going against all biblical scholars of the day, particularly the murderous scholars who were followers of Hitler.

One of the people Luke also had staying at that college in Rome procured some huge perspective changes for me. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Arnold Frankin (RIP), a layman, one of Europe’s most noted attorneys and a world-class ancient Semitic language scholar specializing in the old northern Canaanite languages. He carefully combed through my manuscript and daily came to the Biblicum library to assist me with cuneiform texts…

Anyway, back to Luke.

I remember once in the summertime when we had only one full table seating 12 in the refectory of the college. Father Luke was, of course, presiding. An Australian priest studying moral theology got very loud and boisterous singing the praises of condoms. Luke hates that kind of thing. He also likes people to be polite. Having studied at the original JPII Insititute for the Family, I mercilessly talked over the Australian priest, telling him how stupid it was to shove a hose up a woman so as to effectively do no more than masturbate with someone you respect no more than a piece of meat. (Sorry for graphic language!) Father Luke laughed loudly – turning deep red – and, to his great credit, leaning back in his chair with a broad smile, congratulated me profusely whilst the Aussie took the hit, stunned into silence. When the Aussie finally started to mutter some sort of response, Luke smacked him down again. Hah!

At meals until this very day I always fondly remember Father Luke as he made a big deal of prayer before and after meals. NO ONE could eat in the huge refectory until we prayed, though sometimes we would wait for ten minutes, a couple of times more than half an hour for famous guests to arrive. There were very often dignitaries from the Catholic or other churches, or politicians from all over the world. It was almost obligatory to visit Father Luke’s lunch table before meeting with the Holy Father in the Vatican.

The meal blessing was always in Latin:

  • BENEDIC, Domine, nos et haec tua dona quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Likewise, NO ONE could leave the meal, even if it went on for 90 minutes as it very often did, until the final prayer for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed was said. It would be appropriate for all of us to say that together for him, now that he also has passed away:

  • Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

Pray for us, too, dear Luke.

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Fr Gordon opines on old chainsaw pic

GEORGE DAVID BYERS CHAINSAW PICTURE

This was taken some nine years ago. Fr Gordon MacRae thought this was by far the best picture of me, as it perfectly described my hermit life at the time. There’s Mass and prayers – and a million priestly things to do when no other priests are around – but also hard physical labor, the ol’ ora et labora motto of Saint Benedict: Work and Pray. The winters are long and cold and when heating with wood you gotta get wood to burn.

But in my last phone call with Fr Gordon, he said that picture would have to be replaced as it is no longer the best picture. Little did he know that I would have another chainsaw picture just some hours after that phone call. A very large bug-pine had been knocked down in a recent storm above our church parking lot, right into the neighbor’s yard and that neighbor asked if I might have it removed. To me, this kind of thing is great recreation, and I was happy to rev up the old chain saw. It started immediately, happy to oblige. It was already super sharp, ready to go. Bit of gas. Bit of oil. Vroom! 2 1/2 dozen big logs. 2 1/2 dozen smaller logs. All the wood was given to an elderly gent who heats only with wood and is well into his 70s. Bug-Pine, by the way, does little to manufacture creosote. It’s weird that my neighbor to the hermitage mentioned that I should cut some wood for the elderly poor just a few days ago. Not just a coincidence methinks.

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Anyway, the picture Fr Gordon now wants to say is his all time favorite of yours truly is this one below (about which I wrote in a previous post):

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My personal favorite is this one below. I’m the little one getting baptized:

just me 01

Do you have pictures of your baptism? Do you celebrate your baptism day each year? We find our identity in Jesus, for He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We have to be all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

Having said that, but not inconsistent with that, I have lots of good times as a priest.

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Adoration: the Most Blessed Sacrament because Jesus is the One, the only One

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Total novices in the spiritual life often think they are well advanced in the spiritual life, and those who walk with our dear Lord throughout the day and night often think they are the most knuckleheaded among Jesus’ little flock. Truly. You just cannot, cannot, cannot judge yourself, proclaiming that you know you’re “advanced” because of this or that whatever that you think you recognize, say, in the writings of an Elizabeth of the Trinity, of a Thérèse of Lisieux, of a Teresa of Avila, of a John of the Cross, of…. of… Just. No. It doesn’t work that way.

Those who think they know where they are at are putting their attention on themselves. They walk with themselves. They do not walk with Jesus.

Here’s the deal, we do not have the beatific vision. We have no standard of comparison of where we are at. We are never adequate to judge ourselves. And even if we could get a somewhat accurate idea about ourselves before God, we would still be wrong. Indeed, even the great Saint Paul says he cannot judge himself. We are here upon this earth, while hopefully on our way to heaven, not in order to stagnate, but in order to grow. And that demands that we admit that we have room to grow.

A couple of years ago I met a young man who was thinking of going on a certain retreat for vocational discernment that had strict requirements for minimum and maximum age for participants. I asked how old he was, stupidly guessing 18 years of age. His response was utter dismay. He was 19 years old, and therefore, he insisted, so very much wiser, so very much more experienced, so very much more capable in every way than a mere 18 year old. It is he who has the wisdom of age. And how DARE I guess that he was a mere 18 years old. He was apoplectic about it. Well. Goodness. Alright then.

Any self congratulation is self condemnation.

Having said that – condemning myself, because that’s exactly what I do if I look to myself in any way whatsoever – I should like to relate an experience I had the other day here in the rectory, where there is a little chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. [The above picture is of our parish church the other day, not the chapel in the rectory!]

I was passing by the open door of this little chapel – greeting Jesus and Mary as I walked by – as I do a hundred times a day, but this time I was stopped dead in my tracks. It was as if Jesus and Mary were looking upon me with… well… with an attitude similar to that which I rejoiced to see in Rome with the Missionaries of Charity while the sisters would try to organize the geriatric street people in their hostel situated between the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. These sisters were really tough, but with charity. But, oh my, they were tough! You have to be tough with street people, and with geriatric street people to boot. Jesus had to be tough, hanging on the Cross as He did for us, Innocent for the guilty. His good mom, Mary, had to be tough, standing under the Cross in solidarity with Jesus, and therefore in solidarity with us.

Back story: Many years ago, during the most intensely academic of my years at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, I determined that if I were to survive as a priest of Jesus Christ, I simply had to have an apostolate of some kind. Volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity was a natural choice for me since I was great friends with many of them all over the world. The sisters were desperate for a man to give showers to some few of the helpless geriatric men who were to be in residence with them long term. “Showers.” That’s a euphemism. “Shower” means literally scrapping off of these helpless geriatrics their diarrhea which was long dried and caked and melded into their stand-on-their-own trousers. The stench! After that, maybe some of their other medical problems and issues could be dealt with. But first things first. I did this one morning every week for years. And, yes, if you’re wondering, this did lead to the spiritual life where there was none before. Tears on their part. Rejoicing on my part. Seeing a soul contrite before the living God, even while getting dried and caked diarrhea scrapped off of you is entirely beautiful to behold. “What you did for the least of these you did to Me” and all that.

Which brings me back to my stopped-dead-in-my-tracks walking by the chapel door at the rectory experience. I was instantly in the place of any one of the geriatric street geezers at that hospice, while Jesus and Mary were in the place of the Missionaries of Charity. Jesus was discussing with Mary what could possibly be done for me to wake me up to the glories of the Living God right before us, with me being so blind to all of this. I have no idea about that discussion, except my own two-fold reaction to the fact of it:

  • On the one hand I realized a bit more of my dire need, also that I was ignorant of knowing most of that of which I am in need.
  • On the other hand I rejoiced that Jesus and Mary had me in mind.

Those are both things that we can know and rejoice in on an intellectual level. It’s just that this were very personally to the center of heart and mind and soul, with the emphasis on a personal connection with them, even if I was just another of the geriatric old street geezers needing a bit of help from them. I could see that they did this in their great love that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything about any worthiness or unworthiness of mine. This was about their entirely gratuitous great love.

That’s the kind of thing that wins my heart over to the Heart of Jesus, you know, like the soldier on Calvary, after he had thrust his sword into the Heart of Jesus. That’s when that soldier knew that Jesus was the One, the only One. That soldier then immediately said: “Truly this is the Son of God.” No self congratulation there. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus is the One. The only One.

Should anyone proclaim that surely I’m a sinner in this way or that, you know, the usual, that I’m lazy because I don’t bilocate, that I’m gluttonous because I’ve had to go on a Keto diet (44+ pounds now lost in 2.5 months), that I’m a slob because I didn’t trim my beard today, and so on, my response is that they should update their condemnations, and say that I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God. I have. But while I have Jesus’ words “Father! Forgive them!” ringing in my ears while I continue to do my worst, piercing open the Heart of Jesus like that soldier, in recognizing that that’s what I would absolutely do if without the grace of God, that’s also my invitation to take the attention off myself and put it on Jesus, proclaiming “Truly this is the Son of God.”

And that’s how Jesus and Mary scrape the s*** off of yours truly and have me know that I’m part of the family, rejoicing that I can thank not me for this, but them alone.

Experiences like this speak nothing whatsoever about one’s growth in the spiritual life. Such experiences might speak to the fact that one needs special help, because of almost being a lost cause. Although nothing is impossible with God. Whether we notice that we are noticed by Jesus and our blessed Mother, we are nevertheless taken under their charge. We are all their special projects. We are all in need of being set right by them. For me, it is perhaps that I am in such need of getting a kick in the back end that I noticed the two of them noticing just me, a donkey priest. Not a vision, not a locution, no. Just my blackest and beadiest of black and beady hearts averting to the fact that Jesus is the One, the only One, and that His Mother is ours. Please God I will follow up on this. Our time is so short upon this earth.

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Filed under Adoration, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

On becoming an old geezer. I like it.

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It’s important to keep a sense of humor.

This was seen at a Communion Call the other day. The old geezer guy there, down at Shootin’ Creek (a real place in these most remote of back ridges of the Appalachians), has stage four cancer. His wife is so helpful and loving to him. Neither are senile.

I love being a priest, taking Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament through His beautiful creation to His Little Flock. It’s so very easy to see Jesus in His Little Flock.

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Oh deer! Reason #289076092873490857 why this priest visits the sick and dying

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Even if priests have hundreds on their sick and dying lists, they should personally visit all of them. “EMsHC” cannot cannot cannot provide the sacraments of say, Confession and Anointing.

That’s reason number one for priests to do this. Aren’t priests supposed to be fathers of their parish families? Yes.

Reason #289076092873490857 for why I visit all the sick and dying is that, in this paradise of a parish in the heart of Appalachia, I rejoice to see lots of nature while I am out and about going from county to county, taking Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with me. There are the mountains and rivers and beasts of all kinds. Who wants to sit in an office all day?

There were actually five deer in this group. The picture is taken from the front porch of one of my home-bound. They stopped to listen to our conversation about them.

Today will be interesting. Sassy the Subaru will see some hundreds of miles, twice. A Mission of Mercy. A Hail Mary please.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Priestly Celibacy, Jesus, Pachamama BS

crucifix drawing john of the cross

People put forward all sorts of “nice” arguments in favor of priestly celibacy, economic, logistical, practical, in favor of availability for anything and everything from missionary work to being moved from parish to parish and so on. I don’t buy any of those arguments. All of those could be overcome in one way or another. Putting priestly celibacy on the level of expedience is the fastest way to get rid of celibacy altogether, as these are all disciplinary. The debate – dialogue if you want – would be unending.

Forget all that rubbish! Let’s talk about doctrine. Let’s talk JESUS. He’s never mentioned in this except for things like – and this is truly stupid – “Jesus was celibate.” Yeah, well, He’s a special case isn’t He? So, drop that dumb argument as well.  Along the same lines, forget the bit about the Apostles not being married. They were in special circumstances as well.

On the other side, with Peter being married (remember the mother-in-law having the fever account?), that doesn’t hold either, as it seems from what we can surmise from Matthew 19:12 (I’ll get to that) and Paul’s letter to Titus, Peter surely became celibate. Not only would Peter be following up on Matthew 19:12, but he would be in line with this continuing tradition as spoken of later by Saint Paul, the the clergy are to be married but once, that is, to the Church. It would be insanity to say that “married only once” only refers to not being divorced and remarried, or to polygamy that they did not practice at that time. So, again:

Let’s speak of Jesus:

  • Jesus stood in our place, Innocent for the guilty, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, redeeming us from original sin and personal sin.
  • If we want, He forgives us, sanctifies us, makes us one with Himself, with the Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body, we the members of the Body, as St Paul says.
  • We were created as the image of God, male and female, marriage and the family, as is eloquently pointed out in Genesis.
  • Jesus redeems that image and saves us by it by way of His own marriage with His bride the Church, as spoken about countless times explicitly throughout Old and New Testaments.
  • The marriage vows of Jesus, rendered in mercy founded on justice, are recited by the priest in the first person singular at the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Last Supper united with Calvary, at the Consecrations, those wedding vows:
    • This is my Body being given for you… in sacrifice
    • This is my Blood being poured out for you… in sacrifice
  • The priest is married to the Church by the Sacrifice he daily offers at the altar. How dare anyone say that a priest is NOT married. What an insult to both Jesus and the priest. How dark and hateful is that insult. How damnable.

Having said all that, let’s mention a few hateful assertions:

  • The stupid man says: “Priests should get married because that will cut down on abuse.” No, that superstitiously throws one sacrament at another sacrament as if that’s going to solve grave psychological issues and sin. All you are going to get is more incest.
  • The stupid man says: “Let’s ordain priests to say Mass but nothing else.” No, that just sets up people going to Holy Communion without any opportunity to confess their sins and be forgiven, which is the point of the Sacrifice of Jesus in the first place.
  • The stupid man says: “Let’s have women priests.” No, that just sets up an anti-image of God anti-redemption. Jesus redeems with a marriage, Himself with His BRIDE the Church (as we see throughout all the Scriptures). This is to redeem the image of God in us as at creation: male and female as the image of God in marriage and the family. The image of God is NOT lesbian, nor homosexual.
  • The stupid man says: “Let’s have temporary priests.” No, that’s like a self-serving divorce, the ol’ “Here for the good times, gone for the bad times.” This is about not sticking around as a father of the family. No father =  extreme high risk of bad kids. The stats are insane on that. Check them out. I’ve always seen the same in revolving door parishes where the priests are changed out even multiple times a year, where priests are not pastors, just administrators, just there for the quicky, so to speak, and then gone, leaving their parishes entrenched in clericalized power groups wanting to kill each other. Really, that’s NOT what Jesus wants.

Having said all that, what does Jesus want?

  • Jesus wants a priest after His own Heart, who is humble of heart, who has integrity and honesty, who loves the truth and virtue and goodness and kindness, shunning evil and corruption and wickedness and lies and all manner of darkness.
  • Jesus wants a man who is a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus wants a man who will sacrifice himself for his family of faith, not counting the cost, even life.
  • Jesus wants a man who will rejoice to see Him, Jesus, exercising His own ministry of High Priest in the parish, letting Jesus take the lead, no matter what.
  • Jesus wants a man who knows full well and rejoices in the fact that he recites his own wedding vows daily to his Bride the Church as he recites in the first person singular the wedding vows of Jesus to His Bride the Church at the Consecrations at Holy Mass: my body being given for you… in sacrifice, my blood being poured out for you… in sacrifice.

By the way, just to say, if priests would only be who they are supposed to be in being fathers of their parish families, knowing they are married to the Church, encouraging people to go to Confession and doing the same himself, providing for them what Christ Jesus and the Church have always wanted to be provided with Truth and Morality (the splendor of the Truth), there would never have been such an abuse crisis, or financial corruption, or seeking after “power”, or whatever other self-centered rubbish fallen human beings can come up with.

But I’ll tell you this, no liberal jerky-boy Bishop wants to speak of Jesus when it comes to priestly celibacy as that would destroy every bit of liberal agenda they have on any given topic. Destroy priestly celibacy, destroy the Church (as everything about the Sacrifice of Jesus will be ignored. We will have no understanding of marriage, or the redemption of the image of God. Nothing.

And don’t think that procrastination in dealing with already married Anglican clergy or the practice of some in the “Orthodox” churches is that which bears doctrine. It doesn’t.

  • That’s a lot of fallenness to deal with, you say? Sure. What did you expect. This goes to the absolutely heart of our faith, to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Himself.
  • This is about Jesus, so let priests know that they are married to the Church.
  • And, please, don’t be so afraid to share this and similar posts.

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Filed under Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Priestly Celibacy, Priestly Celibacy Series, Spiritual life, Vocations

Wherein *The Lion* kills donkey priests

This video and note was sent in by a priest friend:

  • “Happy anniversary, Father! From one donkey priest to another. Along those lines, many spiritual analogies in this video about lions and donkeys. Thank God, we have a Lion on our side too! [Rev. 5:5 Lion > 1 Pt. 5:8 lion.] I will be praying for you this day, that the Lord grant you many more years of fidelity to His Goodness and Kindness.”

Thank you, dearest Father. Likewise. I like the “>” symbol with the nuanced lettering. How kryptic. ;-)

Of course, the only way to conquer Satan is to “stand one’s ground” as did Christ our God, ever so intransigently… on the Cross, being killed off for us, conquering death, rising from the dead and bringing us to life. Running does nothing. But, yes, that’s me all over the place: Run, George! Run!

As the good Father points out with Rev. 5:5, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah being greater than > the demonic lion of 1 Pt. 5:8, our dear Lord will make it a project of His to kill off His priests, so to speak, as it were, so that, dead to ourselves we might live only for Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). The Lion and the lion look ever so much the same, but Christ Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, with all his scars and dripping from blood from the battle on Calvary, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace is the last one standing. He will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. We avoid judgment by just letting ourselves be dead to this world so as to live for Him in this world and the next. Amen.

lion of the tribe of judah

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