Father Jeremy Davies, Catholic has gone to his judgment. Born March 25, 1935. Died November 5 2022 at Walsingham Priory. 87 years old. As a medical doctor early on (from 1967), he did missionary stints in Guyana, Nigeria, Ghana. He was ordained April 15 1974 for the Archdiocese of Westminster, a priest of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Back in the 1990s, he co-founded the International Association of Exorcists. Rest in Peace, dearest Father, my friend and mentor. His words above will tell you in whom he had great interest, devotion. We shall miss him as the Church goes through a severe trial. Hail Mary…
Father Christopher Michael Riehl, ordained a priest of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Knoxville, TN, has more recently been helping care for his elderly parents in Hendersonville, NC. With lots of common priest friends, we met together quite frequently, having extended conversations reaching far into liturgical texts, deeply into theology. Father just died quite young, in hospital, some hours ago as I write this. It was at 10:42 PM on November 10 2022. This concluded an agonizing last battle, weeks long, with diabetes. He received all the Last Rites and ministrations of the Church before passing. Rest in Peace, dearest Father, my friend and mentor. We shall miss him as the Church goes through a severe trial. Hail Mary…
Father Riehl was the one who told me that our Lady asked for a third of the Rosary, every day, that is, five mysteries of the fifteen. To test me on this, he later asked if I had said my Rosary yet today, and I said “So far, two Rosaries.” He asked, “You mean two thirds of a Rosary is all you’ve said? A full Rosary is fifteen decades.” I love that. May your reward be great in heaven, dearest Father.
“I feel like I’d like to be a bishop, so I’ll join the seminary to get started on my career.”
This is no straw man. I know many like this. Zero faith. Nothing to do with Jesus. One spoke it out loud throughout the seminary, and soon after ordination to the priesthood he was made a bishop. He had “friends.” Or is it some sort of “mafia”? Another with the same attitude, thinking to be untouchable in his overconfidence in himself, was “laicized” on his way to being a bishop, monster that he was and is.
“I feel like I’d like to be a priest because, like, you know, you get to have the power of having the laity have fake power, like having the laity preach at Mass, and give out the ‘wine’ at Mass, and like in pastórial ministry, never doing anything by way of clericalizing the laity and having them do fake anointings like pretending to do Last Rites or even hearing Confessions. I’ll get to do nothing and they’ll all think I’m a hero. What a cushy life!”
This is no straw man. I’m thinking of one seminarian in particular. He made his choice to follow his heroes in the priesthood, those priests who were diametrically opposed to good doctrine, good morals, good instruction in the spiritual life, reverent liturgy. He verbosely, loudly, made it clear that he had friends and was protected and had a good career ahead of himself. Nothing and no one was going to stop him from ladder climbing. That consumed him. Too sad. None of these people have a single thought for Jesus, that a vocation is a call coming from Jesus.
“I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I for sure have a vocation to be politically correct in the seminary where you learn to be politically correct with the bishop. I know how to be a ‘yes man’ first time, every time. I’ve already compromised myself in the parishes I’ve been in as a seminarian and young priest. I’ve already lost my virginity… um… you know what I mean… Hahaha…”
This is no straw man. I know plenty of seminarians and young priests who are expert at not thinking, who have so learned to compromise themselves being ‘men of consensus’ with bishops and presbyterates that they cannot have a discussion about good doctrine, good morality, good instruction on the spiritual life, reverent liturgy, but immediately shut down, eyes glazed over, stone faced, but who are ever so ambiguously clever in stock phraseology, whether it fits the would-be conversation or not, about how it is that the bishops or priests have an “approach” or “posture” and that that is what they are following. Notice that this isn’t about following Jesus.
“I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I don’t feel like I’d like to be married and have a family.”
This is no straw man. This is a sickness. Everyone is called to be married as this is the image of God, male-female-marriage-family, as we read in Genesis. And this is how Jesus redeemed us, with His own recitation of marriage vows with His Bride the Church at the consecrations at the Last Supper united with Calvary, “My body given for you in Sacrifice” and “My blood poured out for you in Sacrifice.” Priests are married by the Holy Sacrifice they offer, reciting those vows in the first person singular, in Persona Christi. Other single people, religious or secular, fulfill this image of God united with Jesus. But the guy who goes into the priesthood not understanding that this is a vocation to be married to the Church is a walking disaster, a freak show, who is literally a danger to himself and others. Abandoning Jesus and misunderstanding His Sacrifice is what brings about the abuse of the Little Flock. Yep.
“I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I like doing holy stuff because it makes me look good to myself.”
And Jesus will say: “I never knew you. Get away from me you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23). Doing holy stuff doesn’t justify. God justifies. “But I absolved sin in your name! I consecrated your body and blood in your name!” Nope. That doesn’t count. Only God’s grace counts. Jesus doesn’t call someone to be a priest to do stuff. The priest might do things, but Jesus can raise up stones to be priests. The guy who simply enjoys doing nice stuff is all about being self-referential, a narcissist, perhaps a sociopath. This is the most dangerous guy of all. He can rationalize anything. He is diametrically opposed to Jesus even while doing holy things which, in his own mind, are for Jesus.
“I feel like I’d like to be a priest because I have a lot of talents to offer and I’m just the one!”
The only talents Jesus is interested in from anyone He calls to the priesthood is His own five wounds. Jesus had all talents much better than all priests put together. He’s interested in priests standing in solidarity with Him in His trials for us, His being in solidarity with us. If it takes getting rid of earthly talents, not using earthly talents, for this end of salvation of souls, that’s what Jesus will do. A priest is to follow the Holy Spirit who goes where He wills in forming priests to be one with the one High Priest, and that always involves the wounds of Jesus. Anyone who foists their talents upon the Church is a fraud.
Those are just some random thoughts in the early hours of a Sunday morning before 6:00 AM Holy Hour with Confessions, you know, the holy things of the priesthood, which, mind you, are holy, but that’s not what a vocation from Jesus to the priesthood is all about. I’m typing a million miles an hour and not reading over what I write. Sorry. There is so much more to say about what a vocation is not. But you get the idea. A fake vocation is a not a vocation. A fake vocation mocks the real vocation. Let’s put out some random thoughts on what a real vocation to the priesthood is all about:
WHAT A PRIESTLY VOCATION IS:
While the bishop confirms a priestly vocation by calling a man to Holy Orders, that vocation is not in the least from the bishop, but rather from Jesus. Jesus calls. No one else.
Jesus calls a man to get his own little hell out of the way of the one High Priest, Christ Jesus, so that Jesus can work through, with and in such a man. We recall the prayer of John Henry Newman (1801-1890): “Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be You shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen.”
A priest is called to go to Confession. Then he will offer that sacrament to others. He will know exactly why he is a priest, so that we might all be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus in heaven.
That’s about it. Everything else is contingent on God’s providence. Including offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A priest is called by Jesus to suffer with Jesus. For instance, say a newly ordained priest, having received his faculties for Confession at the end of the Ordination Mass (a quite common practice) is walking from the church to the reception at whatever social hall minutes after his ordination and he’s accosted between the two buildings by an apparently enthusiastically devout penitent wanting to be the first confession that the new priest will hear. The new priest obliges. But then the “penitent” runs to the bishop and is publicly accused of solicitation of sin during Sacramental Confession. The bishop then suspends the priest from active ministry and starts the preliminaries for laicization. It just means that the priest was called by Jesus to be in solidarity with Jesus in Jesus’ trials more fiercely, more quickly than other priests. And if that priest perseveres, Jesus will say to him: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 5:34). The priest and Jesus will know each other very well. Brotherhood in blood.
There are, of course, many more things to say, but allow me just one more, the most important for a priest to be close to Jesus, to answer Jesus’ call. If we are truly close to Jesus in His trials, we will know what hurt Him the most during His passion and death for us and it’s not the betrayal of some Judas-priest. What hurt Jesus the most was that His dear Immaculate Mother had to see Him tortured to death. A priest that Jesus calls is called to be in solidarity with Jesus in this greatest of His trials. It is for this that He sweat blood in His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. It is for this that there was that dichotomy, if you will, between the will of His human nature and that of the Father. He did not want His Immaculate Mother to suffer so terribly. But then: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” That’s the vocation of a priest. And should the priest have a chance to offer Holy Mass, absolve sin, send people to heaven, great! But the priest’s prayer absolutely, in view of the suffering of dearest Mary, must be with one voice with Jesus, una voce, through, with and in Jesus: “Abba! Father!”
We had our canonical retreat this past week. This was the best attended retreat in all my years. The retreat director was a believer. He wasn’t afraid to speak of Jesus. Great priestly fraternity.
But the best part of the retreat was the rearranging of the schedule diversely from previous years. This time the Holy Hour was a bit more coerced, if you will. Previously it was on it’s own in the schedule. Maybe half or less of the priests showed up. Now there is also the Rosary and Vespers and a conference during the Holy Hour. Everyone came. Ha! There was less time for quiet adoration, but we were before the Most Blessed Sacrament nonetheless. All good.
This new schedule was especially helpful on Wednesday when, immediately after the Holy Hour, well, adoration instead continued while Confessions took place. My station for hearing confessions was right next to Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One. Non sum dignus.
Confession for priests? Here’s a blast from the past:
Thanks for that, Father.
Speaking of dearest Mary… surprise, surprise. Our Lady of Mount Carmel (discalced!), had been repainted and was without a title. However, she was presented during the retreat as Mary, Mother of God. I had a good few minutes in front of these two.
More in future posts, but here’s a gem from the retreat:
The less one prays, the less one wants to pray. The more one prays, the more one wants to pray.
Elijah with the flaming fiery sword on Mount Carmel, Israel.
[[It’s 2022. This was written now thirteen years ago. It’s Padre Pio’s feast day. /// BTW, today marks 28 years in prison of Father Gordon MacRae. Hail Mary… Saint Michael the Archangel… ]
You can read things dozens of times over the years and just not “get it” at all. That’s me. But this year when I read the following letter of Padre Pio, I was mesmerized. I now know a bit more just how much I absolutely don’t know anything about the spiritual life. I have written academically about that of which he speaks, the flaming sword wielded by the angels at the end of Genesis 3. The suffering I went through to accomplish the academic feat on a level of historical philology, involving many, many years of library rat-ness, not REsearch but rather original hard work, agony, really, is nothing at all compared to what Padre Pio understood in an instant by experiencing personally this fiery sword which I have only come to know academically. I am, to date, the only one to have accomplished this academic feat through the centuries, through the millennia. I’m pretty proud of it – and that’s a sin – and I am trying to get over it. It helps to have come to know someone who was alive in my lifetime who experienced precisely, personally, exactly what I described on a merely academic level.
I am vindicated by Padre Pio’s experience. At the same time, on a spiritual level, well, I am thrust to the ground in deep humiliation, for I obviously know nothing of the spiritual life. But at least I know that I know nothing. These days, that’s something. And it’s way more than enough to ask for this great saint’s help. Apologies are given in advance for the inadequacy of [my comments] below. You can see from my Coat of Arms (thanks to Elizdelphi! No words on the banner yet) that I am grateful to have written about the sword of which Padre Pio speaks…
From the Letters of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest (Epist. I, 1065; 1093-1095)
I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him
“Out of obedience I am obliged to manifest to you [obviously, his religious superior] what happened to me on the evening of the 5th of this month of August 1918 [Vigil of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus] and all day on the 6th [Feast of the Transfiguration].
“I am quite unable to convey to you what occurred during this period of utter torment. While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [making them saints!], I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person [an angel] who presented himself to my mind’s eye [So, not an apparition, but entirely spiritual. People think angels are all fluffy chiffon pastels and cute. Pio speaks of torment and terror, and this angel is from heaven!]. He had in his hand a sort of weapon[“weapon”] like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. [This is the sword mentioned in Genesis 3:24. My academic, pedantic translation of this three-fold double-reverse verb is this in context: it is the sword which “turns-into-its-contrary-by-way-of-the-fiery-grace-of-enmity-against-Satan-and-by-way-of-friendship-with-God-whatever-is-presented-to-it.” Thus, if we were to try to grasp at the fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones, the work of this sword, of this grace, wielded by the angels, would turn that, with our assent, into humbly receiving the Fruit of the Tree of the Living Ones, that is, the Eucharist. This is also the sword with which the Carmelites depict Elijah. See their fiery coat of arms below. This is also the sword mentioned by Teresa of Avila. This is pre-eminently the sword of Saint Michael…] At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. [Seeing that such an angel could crush the entire universe if given permission from the Most High, this is saying really a lot…] I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boys to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. [What an understatement of all time. They must have been scared for him.] This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon,[“weapon”] and nothing was spared. [“nothing” – and here I try to hang on to this and that. And in doing that I am totally lacking in generosity. I’ve done nothing in my life. I’ve not laid down my life as so many have done. Pio is going through his purgatory all at once, 40 some hours for him, and much more than any purgatory: he is bringing souls to heaven by his life becoming an intercession for all of us. What would I do, I who surely have a purgatory lasting until the end of time?]
Elijah’s fiery sword on the Discalced Carmelite Coat of Arms
“From that day on I have been mortally wounded. [“mortally wounded…” And this is no longer his wound, but that of humanity, with Pio now being in solidarity with Jesus on the Cross even as Jesus is in solidarity with us, loving us while we are yet sinners, drawing all to Himself as He is lifted up on the Cross. And we watch with Him…] I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony. What can I tell you in answer to your questions regarding my crucifixion? My God! What embarrassment and humiliation I suffer by being obliged to explain what you have done to this wretched creature! [For we do nothing to save ourselves. Jesus is our Savior. We come to realize this. We are nothing. He is all. He shows us what He has saved us from, and not just us, me, but we see how He has saved all of us as we gain some heightened perspective on the cross.]
“On the morning of the 20th of last month [two weeks later], in the choir [making the traditional thanksgiving prayers after Mass], after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. All the internal and external senses and even the very faculties of my soul were immersed in indescribable stillness. Absolute silence surrounded and invaded me. I was suddenly filled with great peace and abandonment which effaced everything else and caused a lull in the turmoil. All this happened in a flash. While this was taking place I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of August 5th. [We entertain angels and even the Son of Man and do not know it. How much the angels reflect the Son of Man! And the fiery love of God, issuing from the throne of the Most High, from the Heart of Him who loves us so much, is just that fierce on that sword which transforms us utterly in God’s love.] The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should die and really should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. [We are utterly weak. It is all Jesus.] The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. [He speaks also and especially of his embarrassment, for he, as all of us from Adam until the last man is conceived, caused those wounds in our Lord. How is it that he, Pio, or any of us could share such wounds of love for all those Jesus has redeemed and wills to save?] The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday.
Padre Pio reprimanding the Bishop about the Seal of Confession.
“Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? [The embarrassment, mind you, is more than enough to end his life on this earth.] I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation. The person of whom I spoke in a previous letter is none other than the one I mentioned having seen on August 5th. He continues his work incessantly, causing me extreme spiritual agony. There is a continual rumbling within me like the gushing of blood. [This Hebrew description of this sword in Genesis 3:24 (which I think I am the very first to translate pedantically, as it really is just that difficult), the sword which the angel is mashing around inside Pio is variously and wrongly translated as the twirling sword, the sword which moves about this way and that, etc., is, instead, again, “the sword which causes that which is presented to it to be transformed into its contrary.” Again, we are not to grasp arrogantly for the Fruit from the Tree of the Living Ones, though we can humbly receive its Fruit (the Eucharist from the Cross).] My God! Your punishment is just and your judgment right, but grant me your mercy. Lord, with your Prophet I shall continue to repeat: O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your rage! Dear Father, now that my whole interior state is known to you, do not refuse to send me a word of comfort in the midst of such severe and harsh suffering.” [If it were I who had to respond to such a religious superior, knowing I know nothing, but despite that, I would say that in our very reception of mercy we must show mercy to the rest of the members of the Body of Christ, those whom Jesus has redeemed and wills to save. Our suffering is occasioned by the lack of others, lack of faith, etc., but it is not their cross we carry, but instead we come to know what we would be like if we ourselves were to be without the grace of our Lord and therefore our own lack of faith, etc…. and our remaining in friendship by the grace of God in such horrific circumstances acts as an intercession for those who are truly without faith, etc. This is drawing all to Christ on the cross in solidarity with Jesus, who does this by His grace. He, the Head of the Body does this, but we are members of that Body and we are with Him. Jesus said that He would draw all to Himself when He is lifted up (on the Cross). If we only knew! If we only knew! Now Pio had his eyes opened, his soul torn open, his hands and feet and heart torn open. But it’s all Jesus. Jesus’ love taking on our lack. Embarrassing to us? Yes. And we run away. Pio couldn’t run any more. The angel presented himself, and, fiercely raising his weapon of God’s love… I know nothing. Saint Pio: help this donkey-priest to come to know Jesus! Help all of us priests! Help all whom Jesus wants to transform in His love!]
τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν – He who knew no sin was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Saint Paul’s shorthand speech, Jesus became sin for us. Ooo! That sounds scandalous! Heretical! Bad and evil! But Jesus stood in our place, Innocent for the guilty, so that He could have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. And Mary Immaculate stood in perfect solidarity with Jesus. Mary became sin for us with Jesus. Ooo! That sounds scandalous! Heretical! Bad and evil. But I say that this is Mary Immaculate’s glory. To those who cannot bear such reality, I say, grow up and see the suffering, witness Mary’s maternal intercession, the sword of sorrow piercing her soul that our thoughts may be laid bare. Grow up and lay aside all cowardice. Rejoice that we have such a good Mother, such a Holy Redeemer in her Son.
Rumors fly as they do, even across oceans do they fly. It seems that I have been denounced to the highest of ecclesiastical tribunals in an attempt to destroy my priesthood. It seems that I am a blasphemer when it comes to praising the perfect condescension of Jesus and His dearest Mother, that κατάβασις (katabasis = going down) of mercy founded on justice. It seems that I have been labeled as a blasphemer. Will I be put under some kind of interdict, suspended in some way, perhaps dismissed from the clerical state, or – hey! – even excommunicated?
Long time readers may remember when a top canonist of the Roman Rota, a friend, wrote up an interdict against me on behalf of co-conspirators at the Pontifical Seminary at which I was teaching and at which I was very active on the formation team for both philosophers and theologians. But that was humor.
My crime then was to be chaplain for the philosophers and not the theologians in the 2010 Mud Bowl extravaganza.
But the present denunciation against me is deadly serious, enough to rip me out of the priesthood.
What’s the kerfuffle about, really? Surely it’s about my praise of Jesus and Mary. But I am also a thorn in the side of some members of the Church for a number of reasons. Any and all of these, take your pick:
I think the Traditional Latin Mass is a valid and licit expression of the Roman Rite
I think the Hegelian-Rahnerian methodology of the Synod on Synodality is itself heretical
I think the encouragement of same-sex unchastity and any unchastity leads souls to hell
I think that the idol worship of demon idols such as Pachamama (Francis) or Nian (Cupich) or Ganesh (spreading in India with impunity) et alii is a direct violation of the first Commandment
I think Sacred Tradition is univocal and provided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to each sanctified soul and is not passed on by hand, but only quasi per manus, almost as if by hand (Trent). Sacred Tradition is not a tree or the roots of a tree, dynamic, growing. No. Tradition is absolute. Truth is absolute. God is Truth. God is absolute. Sacred Tradition is not something dictated by freakoids in the Roman Curia, not even by the Pope, not even in ex-Cathedra pronouncements. No. Sacred Tradition (traditiones) is the living faith provided in sanctifying grace and the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. Idiot human beings don’t do that. Infallibility is not equal to Sacred Tradition.
I think contraception, abortifacients, procured abortion, infanticide, euthanasia are all intrinsically dishonest, and, as with Ad tuendam fidem, with Ratzinger and JPII, I hold these to be definitive, infallible teachings of the ordinary magisterium of the Church.
I think murdering babies in the womb for research, development, testing of “vaccines” is the utilitarian murder of the least of the brethren, of Jesus.
I think that the money laundering and, therefore, the consequent financing of international terrorism is directly opposed to the mission of the Church. I agree with Jesus: you cannot serve God and mammon. I am working to bring the criminals down, hard.
I am Catholic and love being a priest of Jesus Christ and a son of Mary, Mother of priests. I know she suffered a hell of a lot for me, and I thank her for that and I praise her for that. That’s the problem.
My being denounced came about just days before my surgery, and, now starting my recovery, this is my new distraction. It’s about the wonderful statue of Mary with infant Jesus that is making its way to all of the parishes of the diocese.
I mean, that face of Mary. She sees the problems at hand. Finally, someone does. Great! And Jesus entirely exudes confidence that whatever it is she wants in her maternal solicitude for us, she’s going to get it.
But here’s what I said in the original post which I took down so that I would have to time to put up this response before being smacked down hard, it being that I was busy getting cut wide open and am now recovering. This is what was so very offensive:
“This is the Pilgrim Virgin Mary of Charlotte Diocese making her way throughout the parishes during the 50th anniversary of this relatively young diocese. She’s now at Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC. Another priest gave her the title: “Our Lady Most Patient with Father Byers.” Hmmm. I think I like “Our Lady Most Snarky” better. Whatever it is that she’s plotting, it’s Jesus who will make it happen. Totally.”
Our Lady is most patient with yours truly, but her patience extends to many more souls than just myself. This is why I mentioned the snarkiness of her expression, you know, like she’s plotting something, of course for our good, and Jesus will make it happen.
I’m guessing the problem people had, why they think I’m a blasphemer, is my usage of the word snarky.
Sigh… You try to speak in the now enculturated language of fairy tales, on the level of little children, and this is what you get. Gunned down. So, fine. Some explanations are in order.
It all starts with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland) penned in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. Lewis was a devout lifelong stratospherically high-church Anglican, a believer. His protagonist, Alice, is the original one to “go down the rabbit hole”. She meets up with all sorts of allegorical, anthropomorphic creatures, human adults if truth be known, who express their opinions (also by way of the manner in which they live) about the philosophies and political idiocies of the day. Alice struggles to stay herself even as she meets up with adults who have become all too self-absorbed in the myriad ways fallen human nature goes about this in unrepeatable circumstances.
Then, eleven years later, in 1876, Carroll writes The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits. This is about a bunch of seasoned guys from all types of professions who get together to traverse the waves to an island where their hunting of the Snark might well be successful. The chapters of poetic verse are called fits appropriately enough. The Snark isn’t much described other than that it is seems to be a dark figure, mysterious in a most sinister sort of way.
While they hunt, it seems that a Snark is spotted, and one of the crew dies in his attempt to get close. He had seen the Snark falling from the heights. The crew member dies a most calm and peaceful death. He simply disappears. All gone. The end.
People asked Carroll who or what the Snark is, and he would never let on. Well, to me, sorry, but this is obvious, and if you have to be told you won’t understand it anyway, but I will tell you, since it is too painful for this mystery to go on. Fallen society has made it quite impossible to crack the mystery today.
The Snark, par excellence, is Jesus Christ, and, of course, His blessed Mother with Him. Yes, the monstrous Snark, so evil in every way, in fact, a projection, in our perception, of the evil within ourselves, which we try to kill, pretending to be our own saviors. We spend our lives doing this, going inside ourselves, travelling the world, hunting, hunting, hunting the dreadful Snark, Jesus Christ, who takes upon Himself all the punishment of our sin – He was made sin for us – and we mock Him as the criminal, the One who enslaved all in sin from Adam until the last man is conceived. And when we finally meet up with Him, like that crew member who dies, He falls from the heights to the depths, and it is there, far below the Cross, that we behold His Mother looking upon us, and we understand: He is God and she is His Mother. Both bloodied, both looking like criminals, monstrous. But then we understand a smidgeon of such love.
We die to ourselves and we ourselves gently just disappear as Snark hunters. We take our place with Mary and John and are now also in solidarity with Jesus. In our own way, we become just a little bit of The Snark. But Jesus and Mary are the epitome of being the Snark. Only they can bear the weight of all our darkness, all our sin which we project unto them. They are so good to us, so kind.
As a clincher, I should mention that the epic poem, The Hunting of the Snark, was published far and wide with multiple printings, all by itself. But that was not at all the case when this poem on The Snark was to be given to children, specifically “to those who love Alice” (of Alice in Wonderland fame). When The Hunting of the Snark was given “to those who love Alice” those children were also given a lengthy Easter Greeting also penned by Lewis Carroll. It was all about the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who triumphed over sin and evil, He having forgiven us our sin wrought in all our idiocy.
People dismiss Carroll’s writings as mere fantastical nonsense literature. That is because they don’t see the irony, the humor which Chesterton would later say is so necessary for Christianity itself. Irony is not nonsense. It is essential to life and breath. Irony is our hope. It is justice and mercy meeting upon the Cross. It is Christ being made to be sin. And Mary with Him. It slams us to our knees.
I believe that Lewis Carroll opened the floodgates of this kind of literature for those to come, say, C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia, or J.R.R. Tolkien and his works on Hobbits and Rings and Middle Earth. I say the same for the more outlandishly wonderful works of G.K. Chesterton such as The Ball and the Cross. But most of all, most of all, it is the summary of irony by Hilaire Belloc which most rings absolutely true with The Hunting of the Snark. You are reading about Jesus Christ on the Cross:
“To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.” [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]
/// That last bit about no man possessing irony and using it ever living happily? Yep. But mere happiness is one thing. Joy is another, in the Holy Spirit. It would be a great privilege to be penalized even by Holy Mother Church because of thanking Jesus and Mary for their sufferings for us. But my priesthood? That can never be taken away. It is a sacrament lasting forever. I have no fear. The Great Snark, and the Mother of snarky priests watch over me, having me die to my wretched self, but living for them.
The denouncement of blasphemy against me is so dark that I have to do this:
And if I’ve been beating down the wolves in this post, it is only so that they will turn into the sheep of the Lord’s Little Flock. It would be a joy to go to heaven together. Amen.
That’s the PCI in Rome. The “Salone” to the left is where it seems electioneering for the papacy was taking place in 2005, you know, it seems by the Sankt Gallen crowd. Interesting that would happen just there.
Those who have suffered bloody persecutions will be the first to say that bloody persecution is not the worst persecution. Incomparably worse is a persecution of the faith of the Lord’s Little Flock from within, by the priests and bishops who not only negate doctrine and morality and instruction on the spiritual life and any reverence in the liturgy, but who actively lead people to hell, dragging them into cleverly concocted myths of self-absorbed “liberation” from… Jesus.
Suffering martyrdom and then going to heaven? Great! Losing one’s eternal soul in hell? Well, hell.
I was well acquainted with Irish seminarians while I was in Rome. They said that they were going back to Ireland to liberate their people from traditional faith. First thing to be axed upon their return? The Rosary. Yes, they said it plainly. Then Individual sacramental Confession. That’s the two steps to death. They were eager to do this. They’re the ones, the only ones who accomplish the “liberation of the Irish people” (their words) from… Jesus. And they did it.
And don’t think those are actual numbers above. The percentage of those who enter the seminary and who are ordained priests is always small. And in these conditions it would be almost impossible. If you count up the (arch)dioceses and subtract the Neo-Cats, that’s only about 1.something seminarians per (arch)diocese.
Take a look at Dublin in that list above. 0-0-0. You have to know that Dublin vied to be the largest Archdiocese in the world over against Milan. And I note that there is not even one seminarian at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. Just. Wow.
But the Lord’s Little Flock will survive. There is a rebellion amongst the young who see through the narrow narcissism of their elders who were once young like them. But this is no mere “revolution” of the young once again. This is about Jesus. This is about our Blessed Mother. This is about Jesus forming young men for future priesthood by first of all throwing them today headlong into the trenches.
Jesus has an eleventh commandment, that we are to pray to the Master of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Just know that when you thus praying, you are also praying that conditions be such that good and holy vocations will survive the seminary and whatever interference from their (arch)dioceses.
Those who will be ordained have been called during this time of annihilation to have the privilege of standing in solidarity with Jesus in His trials, in the midst of His Little Flock being attacked relentlessly by the wolves. To be clever as serpents but innocent as doves means no compromise, no half measures, all for Jesus, all for His Blessed Mother.
What to do? Glad you priests asked!
Rosary, always, before every Holy Mass, and you start it off
Confessions, always, before every Holy Mass
Offer Holy Mass with humility, reverence, thanksgiving
Fullness of doctrine, morality, instruction on the spiritual life, reverent liturgy
Forget Hegelian-Rahnerian “dialog” from hell. Teach the faith! Drop celebrating “gay”, protecting abortion, promoting euthanasia, lesbian priestxes…
And priests: You are to do 100% of Communion calls, visits to hospitals and rehabs and nursing homes. You be in solidarity with those who suffer. Don’t schedule Last Rites. Go immediately.
Meanwhile, I’m sure there must still be some good priests with whom I was with as seminarians. Praying for them. I can’t imagine the nightmare they are living. Hail Mary…
Meanwhile, I’m aghast in thinking about this. I know those who brought this about. The mantra as the seminaries were emptying out already in those days was “More novelty! Keep up with America!” Really. Don’t follow Jesus, but keep up with America.
What does that say about America? I’ve been complaining about Ireland, but what does Ireland breathlessly wanting to keep up with America say about America? I can’t imagine the nightmare some of my fellow priests here in America are suffering. Hail Mary…
Yesterday, after Holy Mass up in Graham County, still attempting to recover from the epic “Day Off” at U.T. Med. Center in Knoxville, more doctor’s orders came my way: “Go ahead, Father, it does a soul good to get out on the water. Duc in altum!” That’s all the encouragement I needed. This is a yearly event with a number of pontooners in the parish. I’m thinking this is good with Jesus, as he spoke about it:
“No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
The dam in the slideshow above is about 100 years old, with sirens to the sides that are at the ready for when the dam fails. Myths include divers of the TVA inspecting the cavernous hole at the bottom, only to vow never to go down again, having seen the massive carp lurking there, “able to swallow a car”.
I look forward to seeing the Osprey nest every year. This year there were two. I grew up with Ospreys. Here’s a picture someone took who knows where:
In Minnesota, water everywhere, just glancing out a window one is likely to see an osprey sitting in a branch of a dead tree high above whatever body of water. As a kid growing up in Minnesota, frequently spotting an osprey, scanning their usual perches, I’d watch for a moment and, sure enough, he would drop down, grabbing a fish, circle back up to his perch, and start eating.
Some ospreys are also good at long range infiltration, getting the job done, and exfiltration:
That’s not an out-of-place video in this post, as the pontooners are as Military as you can get. And pretty much everyone in Graham County is a veteran. And… and… afterward we attended a get-together of the “town”, a cook-out, put on by the locals with all the law enforcement and fire department and EMS invited. Most of them are, of course, ex-military as well. They, of course, had to advertise their arrival to this entire region of the state, with sound travelling far and wide across the waters, with all sirens blaring.
If you take a look at that top picture again, that far, far mountain… on the far side of that 4 miles down the other side lies Andrews where the “main” church of the parish is situated.
Back to Jesus’ instruction, you know, that bit about “with persecutions”… The 100 times crowd in this parish is fully aware of that, all good with that. However much of a paradise that is here, our eyes are pealed on the heavens, eternal life, into which Jesus ascended to our dear Heavenly Father. Our Father…
There are some who would say that I’m being “political” in publishing such a post, but about 99.99% of all legislation concerns morality. Pope Paul VI said that because we also have to follow the Natural Law in order to be saved, you know, things like “Don’t murder the innocent,” therefore the Church also has the right to teach about the right way to follow the Natural Law, such as, “Don’t murder the innocent,” even if “Don’t murder the innocent” is also enshrined or smacked down by whatever politicized legislators. Who cares about the powers of this world; we need to get souls to heaven.
But there are (Cardinal) (Arch)Bishops who say that any mention of morality that overlaps into political platforms is off limits, and these (Cardinal) (Arch)Bishops immediately slit the throats of priests who say things like “Don’t murder the innocent,” and they condemn these priests for being “political.”
So, we then have more priests who are forbidden to feed the flock, no longer being able to provide the Sacraments. We start to end up only with priests in parishes who are sycophants to political correctness. But of what use is a priest who is diametrically opposed to all that is Catholic.
“But Father George! Father George! We have a prudent priest! You sure could learn something from him, Father George! Like how prudent he is! Our priest will be here to provide us the Sacraments because he will never say anything Catholic lest he gets in trouble! It’s true Father George! No doctrine! no morality! No reverent liturgy! But we still have a priest!“
No you don’t. Jesus said: “He who is not with us is against us.”
These (Cardinal) (Arch)Bishops, and then those who follow them, little by little, incrementally, rationalizing, sociopaths all, will have to answer to Jesus at the last judgement, and Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.
But the anti-Catholic (Cardinal) (Arch)Bishops and their henchmen should know that Jesus is the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. These guys offend her, in front of her Son.
“Who gives a damn about abortion, and that Jesus was in the womb of His Mother for nine months as a little baby? Who cares that healthy live babies were purpose murdered for their living organs so as to research, develop and test fake “vaccines”?
Jesus will also and especially be offended that His dear mother is offended. To offend Jesus in this way is mockery of God. God will not be mocked. How can they not see this?
The gist of the conversation was that Jesus’ Little Flock is everywhere and the wolves in sheep’s clothing can’t do anything about it, it being that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus’ Little Flock know Jesus, listen to Jesus, follow Jesus. And Jesus’ Little Flock want priests to follow Jesus.
To my fellow priests, and there are many good priests:
Our vocation was not to accept any heretical teaching in any seminary but rather to follow Jesus who is living, unmanipulatable Truth.
Our vocation was not to collect money for any malicious financial prestidigitations of any bishops conference, stealing money from Jesus’ Little Flock and giving it to the abortion industry around the world, but rather to follow Jesus, who was Himself in the womb for nine months.
Our vocation – get this – was not to any bishop, so that the bishop becomes a god in his own right, creating his own truth and morality and liturgy, but rather to Jesus, so that although we will respect and obey whatever bishop, we also do this by was of Galatians 2:11, helping our bishops get to heaven by our own following of Jesus with no mediocrity, even if we’re punished right out of active ministry by those same bishops for whom we were providing the greatest respect and obedience by, as it were, laying down our lives for them, reprimanding them as they stand condemned for following not Jesus, but the world, the flesh and the devil. The greatest charity is to remain with Jesus, who is God, who is love.
I’ve always said that the one preoccupation of a priest is to get his own little hell out of the way of Jesus, the One Priest, doing this by following Jesus. Jesus is One Good Shepherd.
“LifeSiteNews has learned from Keith Armato, a leading Catholic layman close to the situation, that the archbishop of Chicago had demanded for months now that the Institute [ICKSP] signs a document with five or six points. Among the points they had to sign – each priest individually – was that the Novus Ordo rite is the only true expression of the Roman rite. This formulation stems directly from Pope Francis’ own document Traditionis Custodes, an explanation that makes it clear that the traditional Roman rite has to disappear altogether.”
I mean, I don’t know what any of this even means. Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the Ambrosian Rite of the Latin Rite up in Milan as recently as 2017. There are very many Rites in the Latin Rite. And what about the Congolese Rite, the upcoming Amazonian Rite, etc.?
Oh, I get it. Pope Francis is saying that the particular Roman Rite of the much more comprehensive Latin Rite only has one true expression, which is the Novus Ordo and not at all the Traditional Latin Mass. I see. He surely means that this refers not to validity but to liceity, not to the fact of the Most Holy Sacrifice being offered in the TLM (which always remains true), but only to his modus operandi of holding that the only legally acceptable way of offering Holy Mass in Roman Rite is by adhering to the Sacramentary of Novus Ordo instead of the Missale Romanum of the TLM. I get it.
Oh, but wait! Text without context is pretext, right? Let’s see… Ah yes! Here we go! From Traditionis custodes:
“Art. 1. The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique [“l’unica espressione”=only, sole] expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”
Oh, but wait! That’s not just a foundational disciplinary statement; that’s about doctrine, the very fact of the Sacrifice of Jesus being offered. Gotta put on the brakes and drill down into this. That “lex orandi” is the law of prayer which is the source and summit of the lex credendi, the law of believing. Is any of this defined for us in the broader context? Yes, indeed! Let’s turn to the accompanying letter of Traditionis custodes addressed to the bishops:
“Most people understand the motives that prompted St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to allow the use of the Roman Missal, promulgated by St. Pius V and edited by St. John XXIII in 1962, for the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”
That’s from paragraph 2 of the letter. It’s clear that Pope Francis admits that John Paul II and Benedict XVI consider the TLM to be a valid manner to offer “the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”
“Benedict XVI declared ‘the Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and newly edited by Blessed John XXIII, as a extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi‘, granting a ‘more ample possibility for the use of the 1962 Missal’.”
That’s from paragraph 3 of the letter. It’s clear that Benedict speaks of “expressions” of the “same lex orandi,” which is thus defined by him as the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus.
“The Motu proprio recognized that, in its own right, ‘the Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite’. The recognition of the Missal promulgated by St. Pius V ‘as an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi‘ did not in any way underrate the liturgical reform, but was decreed with the desire to acknowledge the ‘insistent prayers of these faithful,’ allowing them “to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass according to the editio typica of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as the extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.”
That’s from paragraph 4 of the letter. Again, it is crystal clear that the lex orandi, the law of prayer, refers to the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus present in any form, in any expression of the Roman Rite, of the Latin Rite.
But Pope Francis, with a slight of hand, you know, some prestidigitations, now has it in Traditionis custodes that the only expression of the law of prayer in the Roman Rite is the Novus Ordo, exclusive of the TLM. But if the law of prayer, literally the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus, is not to be found in any way with the TLM, Pope Francis is now saying that the TLM is an invalid Mass, no Mass at all. Nothing. No Sacrifice. No Sacrament. No Eucharistic Sacrifice. Nothing. It’s in fact an excommunicatable offence, for it is therefore only a simulation of a Mass, a simulation of a Sacrament.
I could never put my name to a document forcing me to deny Jesus in His very Sacrifice for me. Never!
Anyway, all this is why, in the Responsa ad dubia, it is said that the TLM has nothing to do with the life of the parish. Get it? Jesus’ Sacrifice has nothing to do with the life of the parish.
Sure, I might well be thrown out of the priesthood if I were ever to reject being forced to sign such a document, thus signing my ticket to hell if I did that. But I would be joyful in being thrown on the trash heap. Maybe I would finally have time to write about the Immaculate Conception. And in that I would most certainly rejoice. My voice of joy would be heard up to the heavens!
That picture above shows the chief to the left (on the phone) and a few others. Apparently, the deadly “by-stander syndrome” had gripped a few of the officers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde:
“There’s someone else in charge, and we need to choose our battles and be prudent and live to fight another day. So what if there’s ongoing sporadic gunfire.”
BORTAC arrives, negatively assesses that “rationale”, goes in and instantly neutralizes the threat of the shooter as was possible to all 376 responding officers.
There is no choosing such battles. Each one must be fought, first time, every time, regardless of any stand-down orders. The guy who doesn’t fight every single battle like the one in Uvalde will never fight in any battle unless he radically converts.
Analogy for the priesthood. You have heard that it was said:
“There’s an epic battle with hell going on right now with bishops everywhere attacking faith and morals and the spiritual life and reverent liturgy, and, we’re gripped by the deadly “by-stander syndrome.” We priests have to stand by each other and say that someone else is in charge, and because of that we’re going to say that we’re forced to stand by idly all day and do nothing, we’re being forced to go along to get along, forced to live and fight another day, because you gotta choose your battles, you know, you gotta be prudent, you know. We’re the clever ones, the sophisticated ones, the one’s who have the power of being aloof, with power to have the largess to tolerate even hell, watching everyone go to hell. That’s on them, but we’re good to go. We’re heroes. We’ve seen it all. We can accompany even Satan himself. We’re the ones. We’re the only ones. Learn from us who are prideful and arrogant of heart.”
Meanwhile, the church and the world run as fast as possible into hell. The guy who doesn’t fight today will never fight tomorrow unless he radically converts. Every battle for doctrine, morals, the spiritual life, reverent liturgy must be fought. We have to be ready to die on any hill during any fight, and then go to heaven bringing many others to heaven with that example, with that intercession of one’s very life for the salvation of souls.
Galatians 2:11 — “When Cephas [=Rock=Peter] came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face [yep, that’s literal, “to his face”], because he was being perfectly condemned.”
That Paul uses the Aramaic translation of Peter’s name, Cephas – Rock – is an incisive and well deserved emphasis of mockery against Peter, as being a “Rock” is exactly what he was not being. Peter allowed himself to be reduced to the shifting sands of relativism. That description, κατεγνωσμένος, a perfect passive participle – refers to Peter perfectly continuing to be perfectly condemned. This refers to Peter’s blasphemy of our redemption in Christ Jesus with Peter insisting that that redemption is useless, to be discarded, thrown away, spit on, because we should all instead just follow the old pedagogical punishments of circumcision, you know, for the sake of passing political correctness (like that‘s going to save us). Peter was a bullshit artist, and Paul called him out on it.
In fact, etymologically, to be pedantic about it, κατεγνωσμένος, comes from κατά (against) and γνῶσις (knowledge), so: knowledge that is held against someone. Paul’s judgment against Peter was consonant with God’s Living Truth. Thus, Peter stands condemned, perfectly.
Paul made the correction and thus became a saint.
Peter took the correction and thus became a saint.
That’s so very Catholic. We are to correct and admonish one another, helping each other be humble before Christ Jesus. We gotta get to heaven. We depend also on such admonishments. And it was not Paul who was bullying Peter. Peter was abusing his authority.
Not to correct someone is to be condemned to hell, and to assist others in being condemned to hell.
To correct someone is a great act of charity. One risks being smacked down by the one being corrected.
The ugliest thing in the world is when the one being corrected attacks the one correcting. That’s ingratitude that cries out to heaven for vengeance. God is The Authority. God hates abuse of authority.
Remember that in all this Paul is, in his own words, like an abortion compared to the super-apostles. Peter is “powerful”, the one on whom the Church is founded by the Son of the Living God. Peter could have thrown a self-entitled “Karen” tantrum embarrassing himself all the more, and the entire Church. Can you imagine that cataclysmic disturbance this would have caused in the early Church. The Church would continue, but wounded. Thank God Peter converted once again.
But now there’s a law in the Code of Canon Law which can illegitimately but very possibly be used by the powers that be to hurt with brutal hypocrisy those who would correct ecclesiastical superiors:
Canon 1373. A person who publicly incites hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical office or duty, or who provokes disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.
For a bishop, even the bishop of Rome, to use such a law over against someone who is doing them the charitable courtesy of correcting them for evil behavior or the corruption of doctrine and morals is, to repeat, a supreme abuse of authority, for which, all the more, they need to be called out.
Is it easy for the upper echelon to kick those below them in the teeth, sending them into a coma, disallowing them to preach, to hear Confessions, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? This is so very, very cruel. Demonic, really.
Pope Francis once gave good advice about this; “Humility, humility, humility.” Yep.
If one offers a necessary correction, this is, in and of itself, a justified attack on all that which is self-absorbed, promethean, neo-pelagianistic,, neo-gnostic, casuistic, “Karen”-self-entitled entrenchment into rigidity that betrays deeper psychological and spiritual problems… Whew!
The answer by the cowardly hissy-fit crowd is, of course, to say such things about those who instead are just doing their best to be charitable and courteous, whatever the cost.
Those who charitably correct their brothers are not hurt in the least by those who would smack them down. Instead, they are filled all the more with joy at having the opportunity to suffer for the Holy Name of Jesus.
And given all those who are necessarily correcting the powers that be these because of all that needs to be corrected, I’d like to suggest to the powers that be that need correcting not to be so arrogant in slamming those who risk all to make that correction. They are vulnerable, not powerful, and it is an almost inescapable temptation to simply lash out against them. Don’t do it. Just take the correction, and convert. That Christ Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire is no joke. You should, instead, be thankful, first of all to Jesus who redeemed us all and wants that “the many” be saved.
Here’s a fictional conversation between myself and a certain law enforcement officer:
What’s up with the Mafia, Father Byers?
I’m a priest, not a rat.
You’ve made it point to get to know a guy helping head up GICO of GdiF.
That antimafia freakboy? I’m impressed. You’ve done your research. But you’re wasting my time. Am I free to leave?
You’re right. It was his initiative. He made it a point to get to know you. We put him on to you.
But for years, with bribes that would embarrass Church and State, with extortion that would have left me bereft of lifesaving medicine, even threats to bring my priesthood to an end in any number of ways, all witnessed, so annoying. Typical craft. What of it?
But life as a spy, full of adrenaline, the assignments he was giving you… You resisted…
I guess you’re having a problem with my answer at the start of this interrogation.
You misunderstand. This is just a conversation. We’re all friends.
So, I’m free to leave, friend?
There is the matter of that liaison between the Ministero della Difesa and the Holy See that we had living at your college in Rome.
You mean that idiot wanting to get me assigned to a certain parish with the end of having me break the Seal of Confession should any members of the mafia sing about what they’ve done? That weasel, sorry excuse for a human being, pezzo di merda?
Um… the best attorney Italy has to offer, Father Byers. He was getting his doctoral degree in Church Law as well if I remember. But, yes, that’s why we’ve brought you in.
I cannot break the Seal of Confession. What’s said there stays there, buried deep in the wounds of Christ. I would die before breaking the Seal of Confession. I don’t want to be excommunicated. I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to heaven. I cannot betray the blood of Christ Jesus in the Confessional. I have no right to anything said there. If I were to betray sins confessed in Sacramental Confession, I would take the guilt of all those sins on myself. I won’t do that. As for you… you betray your oath to uphold the Constitution, the First Amendment, the free exercise of religion. You should go to Confession. We’re done here.
But we thought you might be brave enough to go up against the mafia.
I want those in the mafia to go to heaven, repentant, with a firm purpose of amendment, with changed circumstances of life, with absolution.
We just want to listen in. We wont act on anything. It’s privileged information. You can do your duty as a priest and help to protect innocent people.
After all this time, you, the religious expert — one-time seminarian, is that right? — you still don’t get that I’m not against flesh and blood. I want people to go to heaven, including the mafia. I am against the fallen angels. And you’re siding with them, aren’t you? I believe in God, because I see His wounds.
I’ll tell you whose wounds I see, those of the sheep inflicted by those damned mafia wolves.
You only lust after promotion. You come to me only because you can’t do your own job. You just want to imprison the mafia. But I can do more to end the multiplication of victims by converting individual members of the mafia, relying only on integrity and honesty and honor and respect.
Read that article to the end. It includes the priest’s response to Pope Francis in his own words.
This priest can now only offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass “privately”, but even that will be taken away unless he absolutely refrains from saying anything that the Supreme Pontiff might just possibly not like.
This martyr priest is, of course, being used as an example to all other priests and bishops. Say anything whatsoever to assist the Bishop of Rome to be closer to Jesus and that Bishop of Rome will attack you with all the fury of hell.
My response to such self-righteous abuse of authority Karen drama on the part of the Successor of Peter – how embarrassing – is to cite Galatians 2:11, you remember, when Saint Paul reprimanded [not yet Saint] Peter:
“When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, however, I [Paul] opposed him to his face, because he stood to be condemned.”
As I’ve said before, had Paul refrained from doing this, both he and Peter would have gone to hell. Had Paul done this but Peter rejected the rebuke, Paul would go to heaven but Peter to hell. As it is, Paul did do this and now both are in heaven, Saint Paul and Saint Peter. Great!
Canon law recognizes the God-given right of the Christ’s faithful to bring their concerns to the pastors of the Church without fear of getting kicked in the face, without fear of having their throats slit by those who would throw infantile tantrums against such charitable souls. This priest isn’t an old meanie. Reprimanding someone who needs it is extremely difficult. The easy way until everyone goes to hell is just to say that abortion is a Holy Sacrament, that good is evil, that Jesus is not divine, that there is no sin, that there is no doctrine, no morality, nothing. But this priest isn’t taking the easy way that leads to hell. He trying to get himself and Pope Francis to heaven, like Paul did with Peter. Is that so bad?
In solidarity with this priest, who says he will continue to speak up, and who’s probably heading for laicization because of that, and in solidarity with the Successor of Peter now ingloriously reigning, who needs to receive such a reprimand from that priest, prayers go up for both. Please join me: Hail Mary…
That post was about him. This one is about my own usage of the dynamic of alcohol.
As I said in that last post, dad is totally my hero for how he went from being the active alcoholic to getting really close to Jesus with daily Mass and spiritual direction from priests. He became sober in the early-mid 1970s, successfully going cold-turkey on a certain Ash Wednesday, and sticking with it. That really impressed me. Great example.
Do I drink? Not much. Nothing against it. Catholics know how to party, as we know from the Wedding of Cana. But to say that any drinking on my part is a rare event doesn’t quite tell the story.
In younger days, when offered a slice of salty pizza, I might be given a beer. Whatever.
More recently, I’m sure I’ve had a craft beer here or there. We didn’t have those when I was a kid. Back when I was in Europe I do remember having a panaché or two. Some will say that doesn’t count. Even more recently, I remember having a sip of apple cider. But hard liquor? I would try a Bailey’s Irish Cream on a spectacular occasion, every other ten or twenty years. The rector of the seminary at which I was a new faculty member ordered a Manhattan for me at a meal for all the new priest-professors at Ruth’s Chris. I didn’t know what a a Manhattan was. Now I know it’s not for me.
Here’s the deal: as I grow older, I find out that my larynx swells up because of the trauma of a drink with too high of a percentage of alcohol. I have a super rare hereditary disease and I gotta be careful. My mom, from whom I got this hereditary malady, suffocated to death with her throat swelling up (not because of alcohol), as do about 1/3 of those affected. Not pleasant. I’ve been at that point of my esophagus just barely not being entirely tightly swelled shut more than a couple of dozen times throughout my life. I’m just waiting my turn for the 100% event at anytime. So, it’s just not worth having a hard drink. That’s all been good for my spiritual life, but – Hey! – there are other ways, like a Rosary.
Besides, now, for some six years, I carry G-19 Gen-4. That doesn’t mix with any drinking, ever. Period.
Whatever about having a panaché or a craft beer or even the rare Bailey’s in days of yore, my attitude toward alcohol my entire life was simply benign neglect. You like it? Go for it! I enjoy having a sharp intellect as much as that’s even possible through my fog.
Reflecting on this now, I cannot for the life of me even once think of any occasion ever when dad offered any alcohol of any kind to me, ever. He totally respected me on this point. That respect of his for me was very formative. He wanted better for me. I took that in stride. Thanks, dad.
I’ve lost good friends in just saying “no” to their offer of hard liquor. But it’s not a friend of any kind who, even in knowing my medical condition, still doesn’t care one bit about that. I know how to be polite, but then entrench. When I was a kid there was never a problem with any forcing dramatics. The first time I had to learn how to say “no” to alcohol was when I was a new deacon just assigned to a parish Stateside for a month or so during the Summer break in between school years over in Rome. Learning how to say “no” was an event, that is to say, it happened all in the space of a couple of days which brought all the premises of a lifetime together, so to speak, in the argument that would play out to a conclusion of how to deal with… trouble. Just say “no.”
It was a huge rectory with three priests assigned there. The pastor was an alcoholic in total denial. The parochial vicar befriended me but stayed out of the way of the other two priests, one of them being “in residence.” This would be a perfect experience for me for me to be trained up in saying “no” to alcohol just to test the psychological dynamics. Was I welcome as a human being bringing with me an entire life history, or, as a deacon wanting to be a priest, did I have to conform to some behavioral standard just to impress the powers that be so as to get a good word put in for me to the bishop? In other words, would I have to drink hard liquor just to fit in, or else?
For the first week at this new assignment I stayed in my room in the evening, reading, studying, praying, whatever, anything but making myself available in the “common room” of the rectory, trying to avoid the drama of the alcoholism. But then it struck me that this was no way to live.
I made my way to the “common room” one evening with something to read, a large tome of moral theology, something about Humanae vitae by Italian author Father Ermenigildo Lio, something that would take me days to plow through. The “common room” was very spacious, with all sorts of couches and chairs and coffee tables, a large television, always stocked with chips and drinks and a beer-keg fridge with a tap through the door. The door of the “common room” was always open. I sat down, turned on the reading lamp next to me, and opened my book.
In no time at all, so predictable, the pastor appeared, taken aback at my presence, but he said hello, and then went to get a beer stein and fill it up at the tap of the keg fridge, but only, say 1/3 full. He would then waddle back to his room. Five minutes later, a repeat. This went on for hours. Finally, I had him spooked. He spoke up:
So, you’re just reading, right?
So, what’r you reading?
Oh just something by Ermenigildo Lio. Good stuff. On Human vitae.
So, is your room O.K.?
Perfect. I just thought this would be a change of scenery. This is a nice chair.
We can get a chair like it for your room.
This is O.K.
So, just so you know, I only fill up the stein just a bit. I’m cutting back. Doctor’s orders.
[[… back to reading … head down … I wasn’t thrown out … yet … but it wouldn’t be long now …]]
I’m so bad and evil. But I got the message across. He knew better than to get plastered every night like this. He was upset with me for calling him out just by reading quietly in chair in a “common room.”
The next day I was told by the in-residence priest to make sure to show up for the evening meal. It was a setup, of course. The in-residence priest brought some very expensive hard liquor and made up some special occasion which didn’t sound special at all. The parochial vicar didn’t show up, smart as he was. No food was on the table yet, but the bottle was de-foiled and un-corked, and I was given one of the special glasses he also brought. I politely refused, setting the glass upside down on the table, now guessing the connection with the night before. I wasn’t going to be manipulated. He insisted. I even more politely refused, ever so soft-spoken, going out of my way to be very nice indeed. He insisted again, picking up the glass and filling it up, shoving it in my hands. I put it back on the table. We played this game a few more times as the pastor watched intently. It was all quite aggressive by this point as the in-residence guy told me that he was involved with seminarian formation and then instructed me:
“If you’re going to be ordained a priest you’re going to have to learn to drink sociably.”
“This is an issue we’re going to have to raise with the bishop.”
“Fine with me.”
And in anger, he stomped out, not staying for the meal. The pastor said nothing, but that evening repeated his beer stein waddlings.
If they were going to deny me ordination to the priesthood over politely refusing a drink (they weren’t interested in reasons), that means I was already dead. I was transferred to another parish, just like that.
Look, I’m no paragon of virtue. I’m not putting these guys down to say I’m great. No. It’s just that I did learn something from my dad and I thank him for that and I want more people to gain from the lessons he taught me. It’s about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One. He knew that. Jesus’ Little Flock can know Jesus. He’s our pastor. It’d be great if priests would get to know Jesus like this as well. We’re nothing without Jesus.
Jesus saw me, and I saw Him seeing me, beckoning me to follow Him in His priesthood priesthood 60 years ago today, 24 June 1962, the First Class Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (and also this year the First Class Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus). The call from Jesus to His priesthood came to me most appropriately during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when I was just 28 months old, not even 2½ years old.
Formation faculties at seminaries today disdain reports of such vocation events especially at such a very young age, for they instead want to feel useful, and have “conversations” about “the process” of discernment, creepily digging into feelings and such. Consistent with that, the useful ones kept repeating that we would know we had a vocation when our names were called by them at the Ordination Mass. Nice ecclesiology, that. But I tell you I suddenly knew absolutely that I had a vocation at 28 months old in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. There was no process at all: I didn’t choose Jesus; He chose me. It’s one of those “Let the children come to me” things. He drew me to His Heart. It’s His fault!
It was a beautiful but hot Summer’s day both outside and inside Saint Paul’s Catholic Church on the northern side of Saint Cloud, Minnesota. The church building looks the same today as it did on that day, 60 years ago.
At the time, there was a magnificent High Altar at the center-back of the sanctuary, behind altar rails, of course. The Tabernacle was in the center of that High Altar, where Jesus Himself was enthroned. Jesus utilized those logistics the Most Blessed Sacrament in calling me to His priesthood before it all disappeared.
It would only be a few years later that I was devastated to see and hear that the church had to be closed for police investigations and repairs. This took many months. That’s when the family started “church-hopping,” a term coined later, in post Vatican II chaos. What had happened is that the backside of the High Altar had suffered from an arson attack, say, in 1964 or 1965, and then was quite severely wreckovated, which did much more damage than the fire did.
It would be more than 3½ decades later, in the late 1990s, when, over in Rome, I told a papabile Cardinal friend my vocation story. He was instantly angry with me, reprimanding me sternly to impress the point: That means you’re especially responsible for every moment of your priesthood. Take His priesthood seriously! I objected that everyone should take seriously whatever vocation they have from Jesus whenever they get it. My snarkiness didn’t go over well. He was angry. Anyway…
Every vocation does have a lived context in which Jesus makes His call to follow Him. My vocation event happened 3½ months before the opening of the Second Vatican Council later that year, 11 October 1962. Mind you, preparations for the opening session were well under way and, just when Jesus was calling me, the “too traditional” schemas of the documents for the Council were being rejected while a general rebellion against doctrine and morality and reverent liturgy and proper instruction on the spiritual life was being prepared.
Excuse the lack of subtitles in the video below. Just the scenes are well worth the few minutes to situate you back in those waaaay too optimistic, heady, self-congratulatory times. Believe me, subtitles would be a bit frightening. Some were well intentioned, but others worked for the demise of the Church.
Back to the vocation event where even the fine details are important, and, yes, I remember everything when I was kid. I’m still able to describe, like I’m seeing it now, the house we lived in until we moved, when I was still just one year old. Anyway…
I remember with a perfectly clear memory, clear as a bell, seeing right now, as it were, the white fiddleback Roman Mass vestments on that Sunday of my vocation, 24 June 1962.
I was with my entire family on the central aisle side of the long wooden pew, the second from the back of the church, on the Gospel side. I was next to dad, my brother on the far side of him, with both sisters being surveilled by mom on my other side. I was straining to see through the jam-packed crowd of everyone in their Sunday best, with all their flowered hats and veils for the women, and suits, despite the day being so hot, for the men. Yes, churches were jam packed, standing room only, back in 1962.
I was trying to behave, but, being in the midst of the terrible twos as I was, mom had to keep repeating that I should just stay seated. But by the time the first reading was going on over on the Epistle side of the High Altar, ad orientem, of course, I was on my feet, standing tippy-toe on the kneeler, both hands on the top of the pew in front of me, hanging on for dear life, with me just being able to see over the top of the pew and between the shoulders of the two people in front of me. I remember the person in front of me on my right leaning a shoulder hard on my fingertips – ouch! – claiming their space. I stood my ground. I was interiorly compelled to see what was happening up in the sanctuary of the church, some 170 feet away (I just did a google-maps check).
The priest had now made it over to the Gospel side, pausing in the middle of the High Altar for the prayers of purification before the Gospel, even while the Missale Romanum was brought over for him. When he finished the Gospel, he took off what I now know is a maniple, and he placed it over the Missale Romanum. Then, and this is allowed by the rubrics of the time, and because it was such a hot day, he proceeded to take off the fiddleback vestment for the preaching.
Poor guy, he hadn’t untied the strings that hold it in place. I know that now, using such Roman vestments all the time. All I saw back then is that he was really struggling. He had flipped the vestment over his head, which is where it stayed because of it still being tied on. Both deacon and subdeacon came to his rescue. I felt sorry for him, but I was also a little scared, even at that distance, because he was really quite flustered by the time he was freed of his entanglement. In anger, he crumbled up the vestment and then placed it in a ball on top of the maniple and Missale.
He made his way down the steps and went to the pulpit and began to preach. I was trying to pay attention, not to what he said, for I was too young. It’s that I was interiorly compelled to pay attention, but I didn’t know to what, to whom, but I had to pay attention. Then it hit me that there was something, that is, Someone else who was drawing my attention, namely, He who is the One, the only One, back at that High Altar, in the Tabernacle, with me not knowing anything about God or the Blessed Sacrament, but for me, right then, right there, I recognized Him who was recognizing me, looking upon Him who was looking upon me, His powerful, majestic, personal, loving Presence, beckoning me. I was agape, bonded to Him. Let me be clear, without seeing anything or anyone with my physical eyes, I most certainly saw Him seeing me. I was transfixed. Suddenly self conscious, I quickly looked from side to side for reassurance, only to see the Styrofoam bored looks one might expect to see during a boring homily on a super hot Summer Sunday morning in church. I quickly looked back at Him whom I saw seeing me, looking right into my soul, and I was all the more taken, enthralled.
What Jesus saw was the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in my soul by way of the sanctifying grace from my baptism. That grace, reflecting God Himself, was not besmirched, for I was too young to commit any personal sin. The call was clear as clear as clear can be. He wanted me there, with Him for my whole life, at His Altar of Sacrifice. Not that I knew this was His altar of Sacrifice. Not that I knew what it meant to be a priest other than to be totally available Him, dedicated to Him. He’s the One. He’s the only One. I don’t know how to describe this adequately, but there was a fast bond established right then, right there.
And there’s another aspect to that. It’s like I was directed to understand that there was an analogy to be made of that priest with myself, again, not on any intellectual level – I wasn’t even 2½ years old – but spiritually, and before Jesus, and in view of that ever so personal bond I now had with Jesus. I perceived that the priest who was preaching was inept, unworthy of being in the presence of the One, the only One, but so was I. I was in objection mode with a sense of not being worthy, but that being dealt with by the One calling. That’s on Him. From the get go, I perceived that humble thanksgiving to this Majestic One was the only way to proceed. The emphasis was and still is on thanksgiving, without losing sight of knowing I’m unworthy. Being in solidarity with that priest has always been an aspect of the priesthood for me, trying to be available to other priests, sometimes for friendship, sometimes for the sacraments, giving and receiving, and sometimes that’s for offering reprimands, or in getting reprimanded. :-)
Look. I get it. We don’t hear much of that kind of experience happening with an infant. Granted. But I’m not saying that my reflections on the experiences had all the intellectual descriptions with refined vocabulary back in the day. That I’m making those descriptions now with all my present vocabulary is simply speaking to an experience as personal and alive now as it was then, that steadfast bond of love and truth being unchanging, as if it were happening right now, and it is, and it still the same Jesus, still the same call, still the same bond that He creates. On the level of love, this is absolutely possible back in the day just as it is right now, filling me with joy. The least of the brethren, mere infants, have souls that are wide open to the goodness and kindness and truth of God even at a very young age. Children are drawn to real goodness, real kindness, to Him who is Truth, and can absolutely assent to that bond of love that is created by the One, the only One who calls.
But, one more thing to say about this: my guardian angel witnessed Jesus calling me to His priesthood, and this added to this great angel’s burden to light, to guard, to rule, to guide, also in view of the chaos that came my way and has come my way throughout my life, with much that chaos being how the gangsters hijacked the Church already way back in the day.
Finally, this call from Jesus is the foil I use for an examination of conscience. Jesus’ call obviates that I am not up to living up to that vocation. That’s with me constantly, but that also spurs on the thanksgiving. Jesus is very good. Jesus is very kind. I’ve known that, been convinced of that, for 60 years.
Msgr Burrill’s very public, extensive, profound renunciation of past sinful lifestyle, with a very public, extensive, profound and clearly faithful orthodox evangelism of the moral theology so clearly presented throughout Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church.
Such days of distraction we’ve had, however necessary such an essential service is as provided by the diocese. All the parishes are supposed to be audited every few years or when a pastor is transferred. I doubt that I’ll be transferred out of this, my most favorite of all parishes. But we’re way out of date for any audits, both because of some diocesan planning logistics and because we’re about as far away from the Chancery as one can possibly get in these back-sides-of-the-back-ridges of beautiful Western North Carolina. But now we’re up to date and good to go for another few years.
It was quite the eye-opener for our auditor, the actual Director of Internal Audits, you know, our smallest of all parishes as compared to the big city parishes. Most of the audit inquiries were entirely irrelevant in our tiny parish, such as what kind of compensation oversight did we have for oversight teams for hiring third-party oversight teams for whatever project teams we might have, for instance, in creating oversight teams for oversight teams. Sorry, just a bit of humor there. ;-) But you get the idea. Some things are relevant only to the mega-big-city-parishes. Having grown up with wolves and moose in the North Woods of Minnesota, I’m so happy to be waaay out in here in the State and National Forests.
Our patron saint to whom we pray at the opening of our Finance Council meetings in the parish is Saint Turibio, a Mexican priest, a Cristero martyr, who the day and night before he was murdered took his horse from parish to parish to parish to get all the books in order! I’m impressed.
I bother to make this a post on this blog for the sake of encouraging good vocations to the priesthood who are going to be squeaky clean regarding finances. You cannot serve both God and mammon. Don’t be scandalized by all the scandal. You just do what is right. And that’s already its own reward. You are free of the darkness, free to serve Jesus with one’s whole mind, soul, heart, strength. A joy.
To the left is my now broken oleum infirmorum (oil of the sick) stock. I have no idea how old it is. I think it was already a lifetime old when I was gifted it as a young deacon getting ready to be ordained a priest also a lifetime ago. It’s got really a lot of history to it; it could tell many end of life dramatic stories of God’s good grace all over this world on so many continents in so many countries. This was a nostalgic moment for me.
The new cotton and oleum infirmorum from this year’s Chrism Mass just weeks ago was transferred from the broken stock to the “new” old stock pictured on the right. I’m guessing that this “new” old stock I had on hand is from the late 1800s or early 1900s. I think I inherited it from a priest in my first assignment as a deacon waaaay back in the day. He had been a priest for some 60 years already. I have no idea of its long history and, it looks like, heavy usage. I’m eager to begin adding to its saga of dramatic stories of God’s good grace who knows where in this world from now on as I myself get older and it will go to some other priest as time goes on.
I’ve also been gifted stocks or bought stocks other than these, always but always a total disappointment. Mere trinkets. You get what you pay for. If it’s in a “sick-call set” it’s always useless, with junk metal flaking off in chunks when you try to screw off the cap the first time. And then there’s no room for the cotton or oil, and there’s certainly no all-important hinged-ring on the bottom (also important for grip in screwing off the cap). The hinged ring is for the priest holding his sacramental ritual book and the opened stock upright in one hand while he’s anointing the Lord’s suffering soul with his other hand.
You can hardly get these older style stocks with plenty of room for cotton and oil inside and a hinged-ring, and made from at least brass. Yes, brass is also a junk-metal, but it can be plated and it’s really, really, really strong, and that’s what’s needed more than the gold. Nothing works like brass. Not gold. Not silver. Not alumini[!]um. Nothing else. That’s my constant, continuous experience. I remember a pewter stock with a hinged ring. That broke off in like the first use. Sigh.
Older style stocks are mostly unavailable, are on forever-back-order, etc. I’m happy for the inheritance of two O.I. stocks from ages past. I’m thinking that making these things is a lost art whilst insane-liberal-unbelieving priests invalidly delegate Last Rites to be given by whoever the EMHC happens to be, sending them out with weird glass jars with huge corks with surely coconut or cbd oil, maybe essence of aroma therapy oil, you know, while they all sip effete elitist leftist lattes while also handing out the white cookie thingies… Grrr. That’s not my Church. And that’s not a straw man story. I’ve been an assistant priest in many parishes in past decades right around the world where those were the circumstances of [not] pastoral care, so that I took over all the Communion Calls because people were not getting Confession and the Last Rites, even if they thought they were because that’s what the heretics told them.
Anyway, I’m guessing this other stock will make it to it’s second century mark before it quits. I think I myself will have received the Last Rites (please God) and die in the Lord’s good graces (hopefully) long before this other stock pictured on the right breaks down. There are good priests in my diocese.
Reminder:Call the priest for Last Rites before someone dies! You can’t receive a sacrament after you’re dead. It is a terrible thing not to call the priest when someone is dying and needs the last rights.
Instruction: Some parts of some cultures, particularly Italian and Latino in my experience, will absolutely not call a priest for Last Rites until someone has died because, as they tell me, we can’t call a priest for Last Rites when someone is living, because then they’ll die. Aaarrrrgghh! It’s not infrequent that I’ll get “the call” days after someone has passed away. This, even though I frequently instruct about calling the priest right away while the person is still alive.
Lemme tell you, I can’t even begin to tell you all the miracles that have happened because of this sacrament, saving the person’s soul, but then also at times bodily life in this world if that’s what the Lord wants. This can often give the person some reprieve to do more for the Lord in this world before they definitively are on their way to the good Lord Jesus.
By the way, this is NOT an advertisement for anyone to get me another stock! No! I’m going to do a deep clean on the broken stock (they both need an outside clean-up) and I’m gonna fix it. I know how to do these things. It would be a just-in-case stock if the new old one also breaks. So I’m nostalgic.
“But Father George! Father George! This just shows how extremist you are! The laity have been handing out – what did you call it? – communion, for a long time, and we have oil too! You have a broken oil stock?! That proves you’re superstitious: “The priest has to do it!” And you think the laity can’t provide that sacrament?! What do we men and womxn have to do, get ordained?”
smh. My response to that is to admit that I’m really hard on such things as oil stocks as I give them a terrible work-out in the field, all the time, thanks be to God.
All of these flowers for the Immaculate Conception are at the house of some friends. They love our Blessed Mother. I’m sometimes able to visit them on the always epic “Day Off”, which was dedicated this time to watching the woodworking skills of Joseph, who whipped up a large cross that will go high atop the cupola of Prince of Peace mission church across the mountain in Graham County.
The cross will receive coatings protecting it from the weather before it’s exalted on high.
After taking pictures of flowers for the Immaculate Conception (that being the first priority), they generously provided me with an exaggerated-bacon breakfast.
That provided energy to spend the day solving all the problems of the church and the world.
The irony of that is appreciated, it being that I’m a troublemaker amongst the problems of the church and the world.
On the way back home, I did something I haven’t done in a very long time, taking the old, non-truck route 64:
And then at the very last second I turned off on Wayah Road. It all made me realize once again that I have the most beautiful parish in the world, the Lord’s Little Flock and also the paradise that WNC is.
“No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)