Category Archives: Priesthood

Father Byers’ tender snowflake exam

dung snow

So, there’s a secular business in ultra super liberal Connecticut called Silent Partner Marketing that has come up with a pre-employment exam (chapeau to FoxNews for picking that up). The exam takes the tender snowflakes out of the running straightaway. Methinks that this kind of questionnaire would be useful for candidates coming in to the seminary. The article repeats some of the questions. Let’s just see how I fare for those questions for a secular business. I will be honest. Here goes:

WHAT DOES AMERICA MEAN TO YOU?

While any democracy of fallen human beings will have its faults and foibles and even downright wrongdoing, these can be overcome with the pursuit of justice and mercy, the honesty and integrity of which come about with the acceptance of salvation from God who has redeemed us all. I am everyday thankful for those who serve and lay down their lives in service. Upholding the Constitution by way of the first enumerated inalienable right to the free exercise of religion (along with the others) has pride of place in my heart and soul.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GUNS?

Self-defense / defense of the innocent is a right and duty enshrined in our Constitution and held up by natural law as a contribution to the virtue of justice. I’m happy to carry a concealed carry permit.

WHAT DOES ‘PRIVILEGE’ MEAN TO YOU?

No matter what unrepeatable circumstances we have, we are all gifted by God with some circumstances that we can rightly claim to be privileges if we humbly get out of those circumstances whatever we can in the time we have, that is, for our own sake and the sake of others. Being bitter and envious is sheer idiocy. Throwing away gifts for the sake of mere political correctness is madness.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED AND WHY?

This is a bit of a touchy-feely question, but that’s the world we live in here in these USA, right? I too can wear my heart on my sleeve. Here goes: I distinctly remember the entire scene in extreme detail since I remember everything when I was a little kid back to even one year old. It might be the one and only time I’ve ever cried. My mom told me I never cried as a baby. When I was two and a half years old, in mid-Summer, I was beaten to a pulp by my four year old brother. He had chased me into the basement with its tile floor. He tackled me and, sitting on my stomach (I thought my hips were breaking), he smashed my head repeatedly against the floor, making me see stars though not making me pass out, just whaling on me with repeated punches. I hid behind an old couch pushed against the wall and the tears flowed, making a puddle, the old “cry me a river” was true in this case. And that was that. When I was done it was over. I started to learn some self-defense after that with one of the neighbor kids, successfully I might add. Oh, yes, my eyes welled up when dad died, and then not long after when mom died. I do sometimes get choked up when speaking of a friend’s death.

WE WORK VERY, VERY CLOSELY WITH A LOT OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND SO YOU NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE AND WILLING TO SUPPORT THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVE AND PROTECT. ARE YOU?

Yes. I’ve even put on the Officer Down! Memorial Dinner in our little town with seven counties of local law enforcement in attendance, along with various levels and departments and bureaus of the Feds coming to pay their respects to those fallen in the line of duty, and also to have an enjoyable day together. I’m thinking of taking the civilian FBI course for those interested in working closely with law enforcement.

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O.K. Well, that’s that. But how about if we add a few more questions for the priesthood, you know, for would-be seminarians. I’ve come up with a few here, but help me by adding more questions in the comments. I admit, I’m ruthless here. The rule is that any insufficiently or otherwise dodged question demands a lengthy grilling, not necessarily GITMO style, but a grilling nonetheless. So, here goes, in two sessions:

First session:

  • What is a vocation?
  • To what, exactly, are you entitled as a priest? Be specific.
  • What do you think about mercy and contraception?
  • What do you think about mercy and divorce and remarriage?
  • What do you think about married priests?
  • What do you think about gay priests?
  • Is any truth absolute?
  • Is any moral law without exception?
  • Is hell forever?
  • What is your take on authority and the freedom of the children of God?
  • Have you ever volunteered for anything? List them all. If not, why not?
  • What do you think of the SSPX? If you have no opinion, why is that?

Second session:

  • Have you read the Bible? If yes, how many times?
  • Have you read the proclamations of the ecumenical Councils of the Church? Vatican Council II? Vatican Council I? The Council of Trent?
  • Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
  • When’s the last time you knelt in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament?
  • When’s the last time you recited the Holy Rosary?
  • Do you make a regular sacramental Confession?

Again, please add more in the comments section. Perhaps you can see where I’m going here. I remember an Archbishop who had would-be seminarians volunteer at the Cathedral parish for the Summer. He told them his own personal schedule to start the day with adoration at an early hour and invited the would-be seminarians to attend though it was up to them to do so or not. Their “real” duties were to be given them every day in the parish office. All the seminarians excelled in their “real” duties. Only some came to the adoration. The one’s who came to adoration were accepted, the others let go. Some think that is a good idea, some think it is horrible. It is what it is.

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Filed under Confession, Priesthood, Vocations

Gunslinger priests: on consecrated canonical digits vs trigger fingers

consecration-

A reader recently asked:

“Not to belabor it, but, did I miss the column where you explain why you (1) feel you need to carry a gun? (2) Don’t the same fingers that hold the Host, hold the trigger?”

(1) “Feel the need.” That’s a strange statement. If anyone carries a gun because of feelings, they should not, must not carry a gun. That’s the definition of psychosis. You’re right to rebel against that, but wrong to put that on anyone who does carry. Feelings are not the reason a sane person carries a gun. Not everyone who carries a gun is psychotic.

At any rate, I have many reasons (forget feelings) why I carry a “carry permit” in my wallet.

  • Is it that I have, in fact, been shot at and had a gun held menacingly in my direction many times in my life, throughout my life? No, that wouldn’t be it. I really couldn’t care less. I’ve lived this long, right?
  • Is it that I’ve had quite a lot of contact with “successful” terrorists these past decades? No, that’s not it either. A gun wouldn’t have been a help or been used in any of the situations in which I’ve been. Well, in one or two situations… Anyway, that’s hypothetical as I didn’t have a gun and I lived to tell the tale, right?
  • Is it perhaps that I have a background that is interesting enough for the State Department to issue me a false passport for my protection, and then put a perpetual protection order out on my behalf? Nope, not that at all. After all, they’re helping me, right?
  • It is that I think I will certainly run into a bad situation in which I wish I had a gun, you know, like Father Kenneth Walker? Certainly not. I mean, most law enforcement officers go their entire careers without ever even once taking their guns out of their holsters except for re-qualification at the target range. It could happen, but…
  • It is that I often am to be found on the most violent roads in Western North Carolina where I’ve faced deadly situations a half-dozen times already? Definitely not it. Those were all once-off incidents.

So, what is it then?

  • Is it that I want to be available for any contingency in which doing this would be helpful for the defense of the innocent when the police are only minutes away? Yes, that’s a reason, as this is always a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.
  • Is it that my legs, a bit crippley, are too unstable to do what young Francesco Possenti (Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows) did in stealing guns from the arsonist / rapists invading his village? Convenience can also be a reason to carry a carry permit.
  • Is it that to be a chaplain for the police in some parts of this diocese one has to go through the FBI course which includes getting trained up in weapons? Yes, that’s a reason. I would say it’s the reason.

(2) “The same fingers.” An attempt at helpful, glorious irony? Or simply a non-sequitur if I ever saw one? Here’s the deal: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by way of our Lord laying down His life, standing in our stead, taking on what we deserve for our sin so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is not contradictory to a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by way of defense of the innocent. Justice is justice and one is not to offer some sort of apology for justice.

Stepping up like this will, of course, lay one wide open to getting killed. I don’t see this as contradictory to the statement of Jesus that laying down one’s life for one’s friends is the greatest act of love.

It’s true! I’m not a LEO and I’m not in the military. I’m just a mere citizen. Ah, but that’s the answer, isn’t it?

Just to say: most priests I know have carry permits. Yes, most priests I know are both on the younger and more conservative side of things. But I’ll add a story about perhaps the most liberal priest in this diocese who would throw out LEOs if they came to Mass in uniform, including a full duty belt. Really. He would stop Mass and make a scene until they left. I guess that was a ploy to look liberal, you know, to get praise from the liberal crowd. That priest, mind you, carries a gun himself. I smiled a wry smile when I found that out.

Back to feelings… What if – God forbid – I shoot someone in the justifiable defense of innocent human life? Could I go ahead and consecrate the Body and Blood of our Lord with the same fingers that held the gun and pulled the trigger? Why not? Would feelings be quite overwhelming about having taken someone’s life? Maybe. Even probably. But that’s an occasion to be introduced more deeply to the Sacred Mysteries. Our fallen human nature tends to obfuscate in fear of the deadly seriousness of Jesus’ love for us. But that must be overcome in His grace.

Canon law forbids a man to be ordained a priest if he has ever murdered anyone, perhaps forgetting about Saul (later Saint Paul) and Saint Stephen. But killing is not necessarily murder. Also, shooting is not necessarily killing, as you never shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat. I’m sure there are many “Buts” to be answered. It’s a discussion worth having. Am I upset with the question? No. Not at all. There has to be a way to begin the discussion. Distinctions are to be made. We learn together.

Look, no one ever wants to pull a trigger. But there are certain prosecutorial tricks used to convict someone, but none of them are true:

  • You have personal defense rounds which stop in the person you’re shooting, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply don’t want the round to go through the perp, wounding but not stopping, and then through an innocent bystander, and another and another, as can happen with full metal jacket.
  • You had a trigger job done, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply want to be as accurate and quick as possible in order to save lives. That’s what it’s all about.
  • You do target practice a lot, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply want to be ready to face serious untowardness appropriately, knowing well the tool you have to bring deadly imminent threats to naught.
  • You carry a gun because of feelings, whatever they are for whatever reason they are there, and the conclusion must be that you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. See above… etc. etc. etc.

Now, having said all that, my joy in life is not to carry a gun. Instead:

  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to consecrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus, gracious as He is to this sinner.
  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to absolve sins in the confessional, or out of it for that matter, though I am not as joyful then as I am when I myself am absolved from my own sins.
  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to pick flowers and give them to the Immaculate Conception: it’s what Jesus would have me do always in all circumstances. And we don’t need consecrated hands for that. More on that joy in another post. But for now…

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Filed under Guns, Priesthood, Vocations

Update: Father Byers’ run for political office?

just me 02Inspiration: My dad was commander of the famed USMC Fighter Attack Checkerboard squadron (flying the gull-wing Corsairs from 1943-1953), became whatever the jarhead equivalent of a JAG is by being put through Georgetown lawschool even while being the back-in-the-day equivalent of what is now called a Top Gun instructor at what is now Andrews (Air Force) Joint Command just South of the District of Columbia. He became the most powerful attorney in Central Minnesota, did some lobbying stints at the legislature, knew all the big name politicians, became Mayor of our town of @50,000, and had his sights on more encompassing offices in D.C. Meanwhile, he became father of my brother and myself, which I’m guessing distracted him quite a bit.

I asked him once why he wanted to be an attorney and a politician, and he said without hesitation (surprised at the question, stunned really), with all of his idealism shining out: “Because that’s my vocation, to help people. I want to help people. This is how I help people.” And, yes, he did quite a lot of pro-bono work, having deep respect, to the core, for salt-of-the-earth Americans who just want to do the right thing.

He very much wanted me to follow in his steps. We discussed that many times as he drove me to school on his way to work. My response was, of course, about the priesthood, and I would cite his own words back to him, and then wax poetic: “Because that’s my vocation, to help people. I want to help people. This is how I’m to help people……” He was wanting to start me off as a high school Page in the legislature. I can’t imagine what would have happened had I gone that direction.

Priests in politics are generally a catastrophe. Just recall a few: Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Haiti), Robert Drinan (USA), Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua / Libya) along with both Ernesto and Fernando Cardinal (Nicaragua). They were president, in congress, worked as foreign minister or ministers of the interior and of culture, etc. D’Escoto was a particular problem for me personally when I was in Nicaragua back in the Reagan years.

As for me, there is presently a push for me to be elected as Alderman of Andrews with its 1,700 population. O.K., nothing like those other priests on so very many levels! Ha ha ha! And don’t forget, I was one of the best students ever of Father of Liberation Theology, Gustavo Gutiérrez (now O.P.). Honestly!

But, seriously, there are far reaching, deep problems here in Andrews which are suffocating (purposely?) the town literally right out of existence, and sometimes a quiet voice interested in law and order and jobs and getting stuff for kids to do instead of drugs and wanting infrastructure for basic utilities like water and services like proper local law enforcement and fire-fighting can be helpful. And sometimes a foreigner (I wasn’t born here) can in fact be helpful as he is not beholden to feuding and the good ol’ boys’ club that might well protect, fiercely, the drug world and all sorts of corruption. Seriously.

But, what does the Code of Canon Law say?

Can. 285 §1. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law. [For instance, being a dealer for blackjack at the local casino.]

§2. Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state. [An arguable point, as some political offices are rendered out of service, or that’s at least a possibility, right?]

§3. Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices [This is pretty absolute, but there is some backtracking about the scope:] which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power. [And this is a question for an alderman whose job descriptions in various municipalities or districts thereof are as different as one grain of sand is from another. Is an alderman specifically of Andrews, who, unlike other civilians, has a vote at town meetings, and who is representing the best interests of residents… is he per se EXERCISING civil power by a vote that is quite removed from the actual execution of a resolution, the who, what, why, where, when and how, which is instead brought to bear not at all by aldermen, but by the Mayor, by the City Manager, etc.? In other words, is there not a distinction between public office and the “participation in the exercise of civil power”? Otherwise, why bother, in the law itself, with adding a clause which does in fact make a distinction between public office and “participation in the exercise of civil power” unless there is such a distinction recognized by the legislator. Diversely, all public office by its nature is a participation in the exercise of civil power on some level, or that public office would not exist in the first place. There is a distinction, then, about the immediacy of the impact of the public office on any exercise of civil power, so that a more remote action, such as a vote, is permissible and even perhaps becoming of the clerical state depending on the service involved for the common good, while a more immediate practical day to day application is what is forbidden by this sub-paragraph.]

§4. Without the permission of their ordinary, they are not to take on the management of goods belonging to lay persons or secular offices which entail an obligation of rendering accounts. [But permission is in fact a possibility so possible that it is placed in the law itself.] They are prohibited from giving surety even with their own goods without consultation with their proper ordinary. They also are to refrain from signing promissory notes, namely, those through which they assume an obligation to make payment on demand.

By the way, just to say, for those who don’t know what an example of the Good Ol’ Boys club might be, here is an example: a statute that prohibits residents from running for office or getting a job with law enforcement if they are not “lifers”, that is, born here. Imagine the law suits on that one! And the results! “We do things our own way ’round here!” Etc.

I don’t need a membership to validate
The hard work I put in and the dues I paid
Never been to good at just goin’ along
I guess I’ve always kind of been for the underdog

Favors for friends will get you in and get you far
Shouldn’t be about who it is you know
But about how good you are

Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club
Cigars and handshakes, appreciate you but no thanks
Another gear in a big machine don’t sound like fun to me
Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club

There’s a million ways to dream and that’s just fine
Oh but I ain’t losin’ any sleep at night
And if I end up goin’ down in flames
Well at least I know I did it my own way, hey

Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club
Cigars and handshakes, appreciate you but no thanks
Another gear in a big machine don’t sound like fun to me
Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club

Favors for friends will get you in and get you far
But when did it become about who you know
And not about how good you are?

Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club
Cigars and handshakes, appreciate you but no thanks
Another gear in a big machine don’t sound like fun to me
Don’t wanna be a part of the good ol’ boys club
I don’t wanna be a part of your good ol’ boys club

Just to say, being an Alderman for this tiny town hardly takes away from my priestly duties. In fact, I think it facilitates some of my objectives which I share with our police chief regarding community leaders finding ways to get us out of the quagmire we are in.

Any canon lawyer out there who is willing to take a stab at this? Be nice! I know I’m ignorant and that’s why I’m asking for help. Isn’t that a good thing that I’m wanting to follow the codified summary of the pastoral wisdom of the Church distilled from millennia worth of countless events? Whatever you think are my motives, don’t think I’m wanting to run for public office or not. That’s actually not my point. I’m wanting to know this for a multitude of reasons, and this is just one more thing that finally pushed me into investigating this aspect of the Church’s jurisprudence. Can you help?

UPDATE: O.K. So, that would be a NO! vote from one of the best canon lawyers in this dark world of ours. Absolutely not, he said. He even went so far as to say that being an Alderman for this itsy bitsy village would be an impediment to Holy Orders if I wasn’t already ordained. I’m slowly backing away away from the situation and then turning and running so fast I’m outrunning gamma rays. Having said all that, it’s nice to know you’re wanted. There was a bit of a powwow last night at a brewery with some of the local best of the best good guys representing all the first responders and even the office of the […edited…] doing their best to convince me to go ahead and see if this would be possible.

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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Politics, Priesthood, Vocations

Mother Xavier McMonagle, OSB: Conference for priests about a priest

  1. The life and the person of an outstanding priest who befriended the Tyburns.
  2. The Eucharist as the source, sublime divine unique prototype of all reality which we all live and experience today.
  3. How do you know which priests are really holy? Watch them at Holy Mass!
  4. The sudden death of a priest…

Father Daniel sounds like a really good priest who always wanted to share the greatest love of his life, Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. From the description here, I wish I were half the priest he was, as I would then be much better of a priest than I am now. A goal! ;-)

There will be, I know, a wide variety of impressions about this priest via the pictures of him shown in the video during the conference of Mother Xavier. So, I would say this:

  • Note what Mother Xavier holds to be important.
  • Note what the fruits of his ministry were: Vocations.
  • Note that the Tyburn nuns have made it their project to help priests and pray for priests, and that, because of this most impossible of all good works upon the face of this earth, they are eager to rejoice with the angels over any priest who believes in and loves Jesus. Father Daniel surely did. I would love for that to be said about me when I am called to leave this world.

May the soul of Father Daniel and the souls of all faithful departed priests, rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer for Priests (given by Marie Adèle Garnier to her spiritual daughters)

O my Divine Jesus, You are not only the Supreme Pastor but also the Life of the Pastors of Holy Church, breathe again upon the soul of each of them as You did upon Your Apostles.
Renew in them all the gifts and graces that you lavished on their souls on the day of their Ordination.

Make their hearts unsullied tabernacles where Your Spirit of Love may ever dwell.

Illumine their minds with the light of Your Divine word, that they may be able to illumine those who sit in darkness, and to guide into the right path the souls confided to their care.
Strengthen their whole being by Your Divine Power that they may conquer all their foes, seen and unseen.

Beloved Jesus, gentle, patient Lamb of God, make their life like the life You led on earth.
Divine Spirit, influence their every thought, word and action; take possession of their minds and hearts so that they live in You and You live in them.

Holy Mary, defend and protect them, each and all, under your mantle. Keep them close to you until Jesus calls them to the reward He has prepared for them in eternity. Amen.

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

themediareport

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

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

snap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Abuse, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

I think of beer when I recall the great priest-saints & also my unworthiness

Yep. That’s about right. It’s really cool being a donkey-priest.

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Filed under Donkeys, Priesthood, Vocations

Reverence at Mass, Homilies and Vocations to the Priesthood

Our Bishop is always happiest on ordination day. The video above was taken during the Ordination Mass this past year, at which yours truly was also present. A joyous occasion. Some of that joy was renewed for me this past weekend.

A young man came up to me after Mass and said, with significant pauses (like, four seconds, which is really hard to do in a conversation) after each of the four statements he made to me, looking intensely into my eyes. His was quite the declaration which he said straight from his heart. Read these statements with the long pauses…

  • Look, Father George, I have to tell you something……
  • I watch you say Mass, really different than other Masses I attend……
  • I listen to your homilies, really listen……
  • I want to be a priest……

And then he gave me a bear hug common among the Latino community……

We then talked about how the priesthood must be all about and only about Jesus, his truth, his love, his goodness and kindness……

It is good, very good, when the Mass is obviously, clearly, and very personally all about Jesus, only Jesus. He’s the One. The only One.

It is good when homilies or sermons, however they start, and by whatever which way, come around, indeed, bring everyone around to Jesus, His sacrifice for us, so that the most Sacred Mysteries are just that, the living truth of God Most High, who personally loves us so much as to bring us close to Himself, that with Him, by the Holy Spirit, we are brought before our Heavenly Father.

I’d like to put my homilies up on line, but it is simply impossible here. In the mountains, the internet service is pretty much zippo. There is Verizon metered access, with 4G being like the old time “long distance” dial-up, costing an arm and a leg for each gigabyte. The other internet companies just make people angry about there being pretty much no service whatsoever. Ah well….. I should be content with helping to bring men to the priesthood, those who can also preach about Jesus.

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

PROMETHEUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Priesthood: 25 years of amazement

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I’m still amazed at how Jesus, the High Priest, the only priest, works through us who have been ordained to be instruments of his priesthood. There have been so many times where it was so very obvious even to blind me that Jesus was happy to work through my priesthood that it seems I almost heard him say often enough: “Hey! Did you see that!” And that, of course, would leave me laughing. This would generally take place when the stakes of the irony were so great that the entire heavenly court just had to be looking on. To be Jesus’ priest is to be in a band of brothers because Jesus is the One, the only One.

Those are your 25 years Jesus. I’m sorry for the times I got in your way. I’m sorry for the times I’ve sinned, set a bad example, when I was afraid. Thank you for your patience. I’m happy to be available to you for your priestly service.

Jesus makes it so that I love to hear confessions, I love to offer Holy Mass, I love to preach, I love to be with him as he exercises his priesthood. I love to be in reverence before him by his grace. I love that absolutely none of that has anything whatsoever to do with me. It’s all his grace. That’s so clear. My one desire is to have the purity of heart and agility of soul to be available for him to take up residence with the Father and the Holy Spirit in my mind and heart and soul. It’s all about Jesus. Only Jesus. Jesus!

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia expects sinful obedience. But priests are free to “disobey.” How? Don’t be a dog.

laudie-dog

Laudie-dog, listening intently, eager to follow orders

Obedience is not a descriptor for a reaction to a cold authoritarian command that negates one’s very existence as a person with free will, but rather, instead, obedience, from the Latin OB-AUDIRE (referring to intense listening) is all about an eager following of commands given in love and received in love. Our Heavenly Father speaks himself in one divine Word, who is already, then, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who is always listening intently to the Father with love. Our Heavenly Father speaks Jesus into us, as it were, with that Word reverberating within our hearts and souls, now a symphony. Obedience isn’t a bad thing!

If a command is given that negates the very existence of a person as someone with free will who is meant to follow our Lord, so that one is expected to reject conscience and reject our Lord, that is not a command given in love and it doesn’t need to be followed. As Aquinas says, law is not law if it contradicts God’s law. “Disobedience” in such a case is actually true obedience.

Any priest in Malta who obeys the sinful direct command of the bishops of Malta to provide the Most Blessed Sacrament to notorious sinners flaunting their sin but protesting that they are at peace with God commits a number of grave sins that put them in eternal peril of losing eternal life.

Saying that they are coerced into doing so is no excuse. Will they be removed from ministry? Most likely. Will their names be blackened, their personnel files filled with notes about being divisory, unfit for ministry, etc.? Most likely. Will they eventually be dismissed from the clerical state as useless? Yes, even that can happen a number of years later, you know, when no one is looking. The priests know this. They do feel the pressure. But that is no excuse to sin. Instead, they are to rejoice and be glad that they are treated like the prophets before them, indeed, just like John the Baptist, just like Jesus.

The judgment will come much sooner than later. We will all stand before those wounds of Jesus and he will ask where our wounds are. What will we have to say for ourselves if we simply compromise so as to do what? Keep our “jobs”?

Priests are not dogs. Dogs are treated better than priests in some places.

For all the background documentation for what is in this post, see:

The idea for +CJ Scicluna’s version of Amoris laetitia is this: even if you are a notorious in your sin, known by all as an adulterer, not only flaunting your sin but murdering anyone who disagrees, but you feel yourself to be at peace with God, hey!, just go up and get that white wafer Communion thingy with television cameras uplinking to the world:

henry-viii

P.S.

  • Question: Am I fomenting disobedience among the priests of Malta?
  • Answer: No, I am encouraging true obedience to Jesus and to the Church.

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia: priests are the body-politic’s cancer to be excised

scicluna

The reason why I say that Archbishop’s opinion of priests is that they are cancer of the body-politic that needs to be excised is found in the previous post on this blog of ariseletusbegoing, namely: +CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment.

When people have cancer, their hair falls out because of the treatment they must endure. Often enough, friends and classmates shave their heads to show their solidarity with those who have cancer. Very nice, that.

cancer-shaved-head

I’m wondering if there is a way to be in solidarity with priests who are thrown out of ministry into the darkest of existential peripheries precisely because of the priestly love they have for their sheep in Christ Jesus our Lord. If there is a priest thrown out of ministry because he sees that this or that sheep is fully capable and otherwise willing to rejoice in the love of our Lord and so the priest wants them to continue to accompany a certain sheep but is then for that reason smacked down by Archbishop Scicluna or any other like minded (arch-)bishop right around the world, is there a way to be in solidarity with those good priests, some of whom will feel lost and bewildered in their having been so terribly betrayed.

There should be a registry of such faithful priests. We should keep track of them as they enter the darkest of existential peripheries where the mercy of the Church in the eyes of some cannot or at least should not reach.

Even more than this, and quite specifically, I’m wondering if it is possible for priests who are in good standing and in active ministry to self-report their love for Christ Jesus and their desire to share the greatest love of their lives, Christ Jesus, who is at the same time the greatest truth in their lives. In self-reporting, can they also be thrown out with the other priests, you know, suspended or even dismissed at a later date from the clerical state? After all, it can be said that they are rebellious and the cause of division and perhaps even the cause of uncomfortable feelings. Self-reporting to be removed from active ministry would be like shaving one’s head to be in solidarity with those who have cancer. “I should be thrown out as well since I believe just like they do.”

God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to be in solidarity with us, himself being thrown into the darkest of existential peripheries, spit on, mocked, ridiculed, rejected, called all sorts of names… As the Master so the disciple… right?

I wonder if there is a way. I wonder. As a Missionary of Mercy, I feel obliged be in solidarity with Jesus and his priests as he and they are once again betrayed by one of their own.

JESUS JUDAS

I remember Archbishop Fulton Sheen telling a story of a Jewish girl when, during the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp climbed up a veritable mountain of corpses and sat down to die, even while other survivors were leaving the camp. She was asked what she was doing. Her response was: “How can I live while all my people are dying?”

auschwitz

So, this Missionary of Mercy has done some logistical investigations… ;-)

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment

scicluna

The Archbishop of Malta, C.J. Scicluna has high praise for dialogue, discernment and accompaniment in a document directed to priests which he published in the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano (Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris laetitia), but he rejected all of this, including papal authority, by adding this:

10. If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

The words “cannot be precluded” are directed at the priests, telling them that they have no real voice in dialogue, discernment and accompaniment, undercutting their priestly ministry and, quite frankly, threatening them with what would have to be removal from active ministry if they wish instead – knowing well the smell of their sheep – to prolong  the process of dialogue, discernment and accompaniment for the good of those very sheep.

The Times of Malta reports that “Archbishop Charles Scicluna refuted the criticism, insisting Bishop Mario Grech and himself had decided not to engage with individual bloggers on the matter.” “Decided not to engage” is also not a dialogue. The “criticism” refers to Ed Peters, a canon lawyer whose blog entries on this topic can be found HERE and HERE. Ed Peters has a serious analysis. I’m amazed that +CJ Scicluna, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, dismisses Ed Peters so readily, since Peters is a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s top tribunal.

Archbishop Scicluna then turns his attention to those he might think are a more vulnerable class of people, the priests: “I am saddened by the reaction from certain quarters and invite priests who may have concerns to come forward and discuss them directly with us because we want to be a service to our people.” I’m sure the priests want to be of service to their people as well. But here’s the problem. If any priests go to him with their concerns they are merely self-reporting that which is absolutely intolerable, reporting that they are precluding or envision precluding that which Archbishop Scicluna says cannot ever be precluded. If they open up a dialogue with him they will simply have their heads cut off. That’s another example of what he really thinks about dialogue, discernment and accompaniment. Moreover…

The threat to impose sanctions that is inescapably implied in the absolutist phrase “cannot be precluded” goes so far beyond Pope Francis’ direction in this matter that Archbishop Scicluna is de facto usurping the authority of Pope Francis to guide the Barque of Peter. And that I find disgusting.

The direction Pope Francis gave to us Missionaries of Mercy began by all of us singing together the Salve Regina with Pope Francis. I’m sure he remembers the exuberance:

Pope Francis brought all of us Missionaries of Mercy together and brought us through, with incisive distinctions, refined moral and sacramental theology, using anecdotes some of which were terribly sad and some of which were hilarious. He did his best to form us priests into being good confessors, those who would dialogue with, discern with and accompany penitents on their journey to know the will of Christ Jesus in all of their unrepeatable circumstances.

But Archbishop CJ Scicluna rejects that effort of Pope Francis. Sad, that. Sad for him. Sad for the penitents. Sad for the priests who are treated as his robots, not as Jesus’ fathers of their parish families. And this is also the point: CJ Scicluna rejects the unrepeatable circumstances of people, ideologically putting them all in one group.

Much more could be said about anthropology, psychology, grace, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, etc., with some saying I say too much and others too little. What I’m writing about in this post is just this one aspect of what is happening:

the ministry of priests is unimportant in the Church because + Scicluna said so.

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Father Philip Gerard Johnson – video

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

JESUS I AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fr Philip: “So guess what I just learned about my ordination day of January 7!”

father-philip-johnson-mass-of-thanksgiving

“It was St. Bernadette’s birthday! LOL”

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The joy of the friends of Jesus.

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

lourdes confessional

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

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

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

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

* * *

Diocese of Manchester settles with parents over sexual comments lawsuit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Father Philip Gerard Johnson

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Ad multos annos! (here on this earth)
In aeternum! (in heaven)

I hope to meet up with the good Father in the coming months. I was all set to assist, but then eleven inches of ice and snow and sleet and slush and ice again and hundreds of vehicles flying off the highways and byways all over the state (until this morning) prevented the journey.

Meanwhile, I was busy shoveling and salting the the driveways and parking lots and sidewalks and entrances of the two churches of this mountain parish, happy to have been able to offer Mass here and be of service in some way. Thanks go to “The-Other-Father-George” in the area for having been willing to take my place here.

Philip’s ordination brings back many memories of Lourdes, of the Eucharistic Congress, of many courses I provided to him when he was too sick to be in the seminary.

Father still has the brain cancer he contracted while serving these United States in the Department of the Navy while on a ship in the Persian Gulf. The aggressive form he has usually takes victims within 18 months. He’s been going some ten years and counting. Things started going well when the Bishop of Raleigh took action by calling on the entire diocese to pray a novena to the Immaculate Conception many years ago.

Father Philip has vowed to spend his priesthood speaking about the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mother of God, of her Divine Son, Jesus, Christ our God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who, with all His elect, will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen.

Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Mary, for bringing Philip to the priesthood of the Incarnate Word.

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Pearl Harbor Attack: Story of First Chaplain Killed in WWII, Fr Schmitt

father-aloysius-schmitt

Jill Kruse of CNS reports that Father Aloysius Schmitt’s remains have been identified and have been returned to Iowa for burial.

There was nothing yet infamous about Dec. 7, 1941, when Father Aloysius Schmitt woke up aboard the battleship the USS Oklahoma to celebrate Mass that Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor. But just minutes after the liturgy ended, a surprise Japanese attack was underway, and Father Schmitt would lose his life while helping save the lives of 12 others, becoming the first U.S. chaplain to die during World War II.

On the fateful day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Father Schmitt’s ship was hit by four torpedoes and capsized, trapping him and much of the rest of the crew below deck.

Father Schmitt and a number of other sailors who were in one of the ship’s flooding compartments managed to find a small porthole that provided a way out of the ship. In the frantic moments that followed, survivors reported that Father Schmitt scarified his own chance of escape and instead helped 12 men through the porthole to safety.

He received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart for his brave actions that day. In 1943, the U.S. Navy named a destroyer escort in his honor — the USS Schmitt.

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My best friend Father Gordon J MacRae lives in a coffin sized prison-space

four-man-prison-cell

So, looking at this picture, double the amount of bunks, coming up with eight bunks, meaning every bunk is:

  • 2 feet high
  • 2 feet wide
  • 6 feet long

That’s 24 square feet of total living space. A normal coffin is actually a bit bigger.

The prison officials were in his cell the other day, measuring the bunks, apparently to see if they could fit in more bunks into the same space.

It seems they are trying to get him to lie about his innocence, in which case they would put him in the offender program in a pod with comparatively infinitely more space and he would then get out of prison as soon as the program was over. He could have done this any time in the last number of decades. He could have taken a plea deal and been out in a matter of months from the beginning. He hasn’t lied about being innocent until now. This kind of “space torture” won’t budge him either. Good for him. See his ABOUT page.

I wonder if those responsible (lay, civil, ecclesial) for putting him in such a situation live in a space that is bigger than 24 square feet for the few moments they are still in this world. I wonder how much space they think they will have in eternity.

Many forget, whether lay, civil or ecclesial, that regardless of anyone’s religion, or atheism, or whatever, Christ our God will nevertheless come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. Maranatha!

Oh, and on that note, I should add that once in a while some are horrified to find out that Father Gordon was accused, and they take that to mean he is absolutely necessarily guilty, even though the accusers get tons of money, don’t have to prove their case (just pocket money immediately), even though Father Gordon has not only not had due process, but has not been able to speak for himself in civil or ecclesiastical tribunal until this day, and even though the jury was criminally stacked against him, even though all have overlooked mind-numbing conflicts of interest by pretty much everyone involved, etc., etc., etc.

Those who have such pious ears are guilty of abuse as much as those who actually did it, for they promote a situation in which people will eventually get tired of cutting the heads off the innocent with no due process, and simply wont listen even to real cases anymore.

Did I say that Christ our God will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire? Now is the time to repent. Now is the day of salvation.

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Filed under Priesthood, Prison

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Clergy 10x and almost 10x edition)

flores-clergy

A priest who sometimes reads this blog stopped by the other day, going way out of his way to get this rose at the local supermarket as a gift for the Immaculate Conception. He was happy to note that he was greeted with enthusiasm at the supermarket with “Hi Father!” and “Hello Father!” “You just don’t get that where I’m from,” he said. By way of reprimand, he mentioned that I haven’t been putting up many flowers for the Immaculate Conception lately and wanted to show me how it’s done. :¬) I will take his reprimand most seriously, since one just doesn’t happen to stop by this parish, as we are at the very end of the backsides of the beyonds, one of those “you can’t get there from here” places. I’m sure our Lady looks upon his efforts with benevolence. He’s right on target.

At Walmart the other day, at the sports counter, getting some ammo, I met perhaps one of the most ferocious prosecutors and then hanging judges ever from Florida, now just retired and moved to WNC. He was stunned that a priest would be buying ammo but was, I must say, very pleased about it all. We have some common friends and we will surely meet again. I have some questions for him. Anyway, he made the rather snide remark that he thought that priests were only to be found in the flower section of the store. Ha ha. I’m happy to jolt him out of his misconceptions. There are very few priests and seminarians I know who are not armed to the teeth. All of them, and in my experience only them, by the way, are the ones who would be such good sons of our heavenly mother as to give her a flower. Very manly, I reckon. Very priestly.

Speaking of ammo, I was able to get a few rounds off the other day, getting just a little bit tighter pattern. A couple early strays, but then closer. Only one kill, but even that wasn’t 10x. I’m far from being a good shot. Still pitiful. And I gotta work on mechanics. I’m still waiting for our new deputy sheriff (also retiring to WNC) to put in a home shooting range so that there will be a place close by to get in some practice. You can never be too practiced. I’m still left and to the South.

target

Oh, and is that offensive, putting this in a post about giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception, you know, all this terrible violence and stuff like that? I reckon not, for the reason that self-defense of self and others is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice. Mercy is built on justice as Saint Thomas Aquinas has it in his commentary on the Sentences. Self-defense for self and others is mercy, to put it technically, a potential part of the virtue of justice. The provision of justice is also mercy. As Saint Thomas More said, “If I am threatened with justice, then I am not threatened.” The one who massacres innocent church goers or supermarket shoppers is not threatened with justice either, for he expects this. Justice is not revenge. It is not cruel. It is not somehow un-Christian. Self-defense of self is good. Defense of other innocent people is really good. It is also what some priests who give flowers to the Immaculate Conception might also do.

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