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 But we’re way out of date for any audits, both because of some diocesan planning logistics and because we’re about as far away from the Chancery as one can possibly get in these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.
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)
“Sister Raymond (Bernadette) Grieble, CSA, 79, a resident at St. Francis Home, passed away Friday, May 9, 2008 at the home. Bernadette was born February 20, 1929, to Raymond Grieble and Helen Elizabeth Schoch Grieble in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Taking her father’s name, Bernadette became Sister Raymond upon entering the novitiate of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes. Profession of first vows in 1948 fulfilled the first step of her lifelong dream to become a sister. […]
“Sister Raymond […] was assigned to Waspam, Nicaragua, in 1961. […] She served in Latin America nearly 40 years, with more than 30 of them being in Nicaragua. From 1982-1990 she was the regional coordinator for all the Sisters of St. Agnes in Nicaragua. […]
“During the civil war in the 1980s, she was in Managua, serving as coordinator for the Sisters of St. Agnes. When she returned after the war, she found Waspam destroyed and the convent as well. The native people had been forced out. As the people returned and began to rebuild, the convent was rebuilt as well, but with inferior materials. Like the people, she and the sisters had to deal with termites, low voltage electricity which sometimes led to the use of candles for light, poor plumbing, the scarcity of food, and non-potable water. Madre Raimunda, with her firm principles, courage, strong voice, exuberant spirit, and unlimited energy, became a tower of strength for the people.
“Sister Raymond’s leadership was recognized beyond Waspam. Though she did not actively participate in politics, she was trusted enough to be present at the peace dialogues between the rebel leaders and the government. […]”
Upon our first meeting, Sister Raymond “assigned” yours truly (she gets what she wants) to bring Mass stipends to Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo in Managua, Nicaragua. This brought me, however indirectly but ever so directly, into the whole world of the CIA and our Consulate/Embassy dynamics throughout Central America and around the world beginning with arriving to the airport in Miami. But I digress.
It wasn’t mentioned in Sister Raymond’s obit, but she had mentioned to me back in the mid-1980s what it was like to be shot. She said that, having taken a bullet to her lower leg, at first, there was no pain at all, but that she felt a trickle… of what had to be… blood. Grrr! She was going to have to reprimand her school students, who were, of course, all Catholic, and so many of whom had been her students right throughout the country, including the likes of Danny Ortega. How they turned out isn’t her fault!
So many memories. So many stories. What Catholic schools turned into under bad priests, the spying on all foreign mail in the country, the underground military sites, the unbelievable false flag operations, the terrible injustices, fraud, kidnappings… the whole complexity of how things really go down. Yikes!
Sister tried to keep clergy and and bishops in line. Her no-messing-around go-get-’em can-do attitude and insistence on prayer had great influence on my whole life. Holy Mass for her tomorrow. God rest you, Sister Raymond.
/// For my reactions after seeing the movie Tuesday night 4/12/2022, scroll to end of the post. ///
For theaters and show times just google – father stu theater near me – . For me, there’s a theater not far away on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week. Chrism Mass Tuesday. So, maybe Wednesday or I’ll have to wait for the DVD. This might be the sixth movie in my life I’ve seen on the big silver screen.
Caveat: I haven’t seen this, yet. I’m not at all strict about language and violence if it fits the story and character development and isn’t simply gratuitous, and all of that is apparently fitting here, but I am super strict about any sexual content as it’s a sin to stare at that and it’s a sin to produce it. Jesus and Mary and the angels would not be pleased.
Therefore, I got hold of a friend who is super-involved in the film to see what he said about the R rating:
Father George: “I got promo stuff for Father Stu. It kept repeating it’s R rated. Whatever with cuss words or violence, just tell me there’s no erotic scenes.”
The Guy: “There’s a kiss thing but it doesn’t go further. You get the idea that they are going to get it on but don’t see it & then he goes to confession where he says he sinned but all he could think about was disappointing God. It’s implied that they had sex but not seen.”
There’s David and Bathsheba in the Scriptures. And there are so many other passages. Later, we hear about young Augustine from Saint Augustine, et cetera et alii…
Here are the accompanying letters to the poster. I’m guessing that every pastor in America got these.
(1) From the Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, Montana, where the real Father Stu (RIP) was beloved by all.
(2) Then from Mark Wahlberg, who’s the actor who plays Father Stu:
(3) Then from Lisa Wheeler, President of Carmel Communications:
It would be good to see something that treats the priesthood with respect. It would be good to see something that portrays priests who are real men.
I, for one, am sick and tired of gender confused deniers of doctrine, deniers of morality, wreckers of the spiritual life, destroyers of the Liturgy, those who, in Holy Orders, act in Persona Christi at the consecrations at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass even while insulting Jesus with their sins.
I’d like to see something that honors the man’s Man, Christ Jesus, by honoring the priesthood of Jesus Christ even in Jesus’ priests. There are good priests. I hope this does well. The liberal main stream media narrative has to be abandoned so that there’s a change in the hearts and souls of the faithful. Let’s repeat that: the narrative of the liberal bishops has to change.
I’m hoping those to the far right will chill just a little so as to rejoice in the character development of young Stuart to Father Stu, that is, toward Christ Jesus. There’s a promotion of the Sacrament of Confession. I love that. I love that a lot. It’s refreshing that Jesus is the One. You gotta admit that Jesus is otherwisenot much mentioned much in the “American Church.” This is a move in the right direction. I’m hoping that those bishops especially on far left will have fear put into them by the presentation of a priest who knows his identity in Christ Jesus. That’s the last priest they would ever want around. And – Hey! – you never know. Maybe some will rediscover their vocation, also go to confession, and put their ordination graces into action by bringing souls to the Divine Son of the Living God. That would be good, would it not?
Also, just to say, this movie also stars Mel Gibson. Mel cares very much about the priesthood and is concerned about the present state of the priesthood. He saw something in this that he knows has to enter into mainstream of Americana. He’s right. The priesthood is about Christ Jesus. Father Stu gets it.
Tuesday of Holy Week was the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral in Charlotte, well over a 400 mile round trip. More on that later, but it was an appropriate day to see “Father Stu”. On my way home I caught the evening screening down in Georgia at a tiny back-mountain-ridge in the middle-of-nowhere family theater.
First reaction: Totally credible. I recognized, could relate to, have seen before a thousand times everything in “Father Stu” for the reason that I’ve been on the teaching and formation faculties of major seminaries right around the world. Our Lord calls fallen human beings. Hint: we are all fallen. I’ve seen to my great frustration stunningly out-of-touch with reality, out-of-touch with the faith priests and religious and laity who were on the teaching and formation faculties of seminaries just as presented in the movie. Totally accurate. Did they try to vote down such as “Father Stu”? Absolutely. Did I see some make it through to be ordained anyway? Absolutely. The ones who got ordained against all odds had to be fighters, had to learn to trust entirely in the Lord.
Confession: There’s great catechesis, blatant, not hidden, super-clear about kinds of contrition and going to confession and having a firm purpose of amendment. Repeated. Really excellent. This is a movie which encourages going to confession. Great confession scenes of someone learning to go to confession later in life. Ha! I was shocked to see all this on the big silver screen. Wonderful. Anyone hesitating to go to confession that you know? Bring them to see the movie Father Stu. Ha! Have a good priest for them to go to confession to. That’s important.
About 100% of viewers will be thinking that they wish their priests were more like Father Stu.
There isn’t much subtlety in any of the film. The character development is rather extreme, leaving no room not to get the point.
Father Stu becomes a fighter in a different way, and is always a better fighter, a fighter for the Lord by the Lord’s strength, always down to earth, but developing in his friendship with the Lord for sure.
The nerdy seminarian, I forget his name, is, perhaps, the most important character in the film. He’s a caricature of all that is wrong, but has his own narrative changed by Stu as the film goes on. There quite a bit of psychodrama going on with him, all interwoven with the whole film. Fine. The prison scene portrays the state of affairs, the nerdy guy who doesn’t get “the plot” and the guy who does “get it.” There are plenty of these guys in the seminary who don’t get the plot, perhaps ever, and because of that, do untold damage. The film presents one reason for a seminarian not “getting it.” There are many. That amount of space given to the nerdy guy is geared to changing the narrative that such guys can entrench in. Maybe in seeing this film they will recognize themselves and allow themselves to get found by Christ Jesus.
The girl friend… I better let any of the women out there comment on her character development… I do think that Father Stu understood her much better than she understood herself.
The reaction in the theater: The family theater was just a stone’s throw from a parish church. I’m guessing most everyone in the theater (a good crowd by the way) were Catholic. They laughed out loud, a lot, I’m thinking because the whole film reflected reality quite accurately.
About the R-rating: Yes, plenty of bad language, mostly F-bombs, a bit jarring out of the mouth of Stu’s mother. But then you gotta know that she comes around and does get baptized along with Stu’s equally foul-mouthed dad. There’s not much violence. The “adult content” is basically not existent, just like described at the top of this post, basically nothing. The “R” rating is engineered, that is, just to get the R rating so as to get more to get tickets. Really. If it was PG not one person would see it. Get it?
After describing the film to Father Gordon, he said something I had said would make a great blog-post title:
“Self-absorbed policies of liberal-assed bishops” [Hahaha]
People like to make almsgiving easy, you know, outsourcing their charity. I’ll give you cash, but you do the dirty work. Sometimes giving money is good, just make sure you know what going on. Giving in church can be a little too easy. Let’s see…
After seeing that great video above, you know, about non-Catholics, those prosperity gospel guys, I think of $1,200,000.00 of Peter’s Pence going to an Elton John homosexualist propaganda film.
And then I think of $200,000,000.00 going to an allegedly illegit Vatican real estate venture in London, and then something like another $200,000,000.00 going missing from the Vatican.
And then you think of – what – the bishops skimming “service fees” off veritable oceans of government (read: U.S. taxpayers) money to distribute to things like abortion clinics or sex and human trafficking right around the world through – what – Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities.
Whatever with the “prosperity churches”. Their gluttony has nothing on the greed that comes at the price of the murder of the least of the brethren. There is no argument that can make any of that good.
I recall a scene in, I think, Malcolm Muggeridge’s film on Mother Teresa of Calcutta, when a guy walked up to her to give her something like a million dollars, and she refused it. She said that it’s too much work for her sisters to spend this money even if all for the poor, and that he should do it himself, that is, he himself should actually do something for someone instead of outsourcing his charity. Ha! And when I was in Byculla district of Mumbai at the Missionaries of Charity living in the tuberculous ward,
People like to say, “I gave at the office,” whether they did or not. That usually refers to United Way. Sometimes, it’s all about braggadocio:
“My company is in competition with the business across the street for how much we raised average per employee for United Way, and we put that on signs out front, changing the signs every day. By the way, did you give, yet?”
When I was a young seminarian, when my dad was still alive, I wrote a letter to the editor of our home town paper, signing my name, of course. I share my name with my dad, who had been the mayor and leading attorney of the town, known by everyone, and so asked his blessing before I hand-delivered it to the editorial page editor’s desk. He did give me his blessing, saying how proud he was of me. He knew that this could get me thrown out of the seminary, but you gotta do the right thing. As he said: “Goodness and kindness, George, goodness and kindness.” Dad’s goodness and kindness dealt with charity, not being nice.
The problem was that 90+% of United Way donations came from Catholics because those were the demographics of the region. So the Catholic Bishop was on the board of United Way. Well, United Way was giving monies to Lutheran Social Services which offered abortion referrals and, I think, rides to abortion clinics. And there was a second recipient involved in some way with nefarious anti-life matters. The bishop and others were saying that anything like that doesn’t matter because monies also went to adoptions, etc. In my letter to the editor I condemned the High Priest Caiaphas’ moral principle that it is better for these aborted babies to die with United Way monies so that some facilitated adoptions might take place. I say, “Do the adoptions, but don’t fund abortion.” The message couldn’t have clearer.
The United Way collection that year plummeted to almost nothing.
I was public enemy number one for the bishop. He couldn’t do anything with me then, since, obviously, everyone agreed with me. But after years he attempted to get his revenge at a bishops conference. He sat next to my own bishop for lunch. He took the opportunity to attack yours truly. Imagine, he was carrying that for years. In any other case I would have been tossed out of the seminary. This story was told to me by my own bishop. God bless him. He didn’t hold it against me.
It is possible to do the right thing. You’re not ever forced to do the wrong thing, even if you’re killed for it. No one can force you to do the wrong thing. You can be at joyful peace in doing the right thing, for Jesus.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AND SEMINARIANS – MAIN CAMPUS
To achieve our goal of at least 80% immunity within our community, undergraduate students who will be taking classes at the Emmitsburg campus in Fall 2021 and seminarians are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus in August 2021. The deadline to submit an exemption request for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs has now passed.
Students must submit a record of their vaccination to the Health Center before returning to campus and no later than August 18, 2021. This information will be kept confidential.
GRADUATE STUDENTS AND CONTINUING EDUCATION STUDENTS – FREDERICK CAMPUS
To achieve our goal of at least 80% immunity within our community, graduate students and undergraduate students in the Continuing Education program who will be taking classes solely at the Frederick campus in Fall 2021 and beyond are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them and no later than August 18, 2021. Students must submit a record of their vaccination to the Health Center. This information will be kept confidential.
This is the execration of demons, more nicely known as bull****.
The vaccines for Covid are research and/or developed and/or tested on fully developed absolutely healthy babies removed from the womb in 100% sterile conditions of pharmaceutical research laboratories. They used to do such research on mice, gerbils, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, etc. But now all fellow brothers and sisters are being murdered and used as their living organs are removed from them while they live (for a few more seconds) so that uncorrupted cells and be made to replicate.
This is murdering the least of the brethren for self-congratulation. Jesus will judge just how it is that what is done to the least of the brethren is done to Him, personally. All of these bishops and priests and seminarians and laity, if they go along with this murder, effectively, of Jesus, are risking going straight to hell.
I’ve heard the statement that the moral culpability is reduced because of time. No, it’s not. For instance, I hold myself to be guilty by way of my own sins of the my past (wow, have I ever been judgmental of hypocrites!) in such manner that in order to redeem me, please God save me, in all justice, Jesus would have do die, taking my place, innocent for the guilty. But by His grace, I admit all that, repent from all that, and am thus opened up to receiving His forgiveness, opened up to going to heaven.
GO TO CONFESSION!
There are many bishops who send their seminarians to the Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. Guaranteed, all those bishops will soon coerce their priests into getting vaxed. This is one priest who will simply say two things:
(2) Go to Confession.
This is all hard to comprehend, but only because of my unwilling naivete, not wanting to see how horrible are the wounds of Jesus.
This seminary is holding the vocation of seminarians hostage to the murder-vaccine. Imagine, the gateway to ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ is to murder innocent children…
/// sarcasm on: /// Hey! I know! Let’s celebrate the demon-idol-Pachamama to whom children are sacrificed, buried alive in Mother Earth to placate the wrath of death mongering Pachamama! That way our consciences will be dulled to murder of the innocent. That way we won’t care about the Sacrifice of the Son of the Living God! /// sarcasm off ///
I, for one, will be happy to have my throat slit by demonized bishops demanding priests be vaxed. I’m with Jesus in the arms of our Blessed Mother. Are you?
SOLUTION: In canon law, bishops don’t need to use a seminary, but can have a seminarian be trained in by a competent priest. Hey! That’s a good idea!
MONITUM: No one is ever coerced into doing evil. Our lives are expendable in this world. We must act morally according to proper doctrine with honesty, with integrity. If that means being marginalized, or killed, that’s the crown of white and red martyrdom that is awaiting us. Let’s be on our way to heaven.
Mary is saying above: What are you doing to my priests, my seminarians, you hypocritical murderous bishops?
The update is the lifesite video above. What a hellish nightmare…. The rest is from two years ago. I sure did get it right.
I got this as an afterthought, that is, I suppose, as a joke. Someone put me on the mailing list of the AUSCP. It’s already too late for the “Register by March 31” discount. Hahaha.
I guess someone wanted me to see this and put it up on the blog as an example of all that is wrong with the Catholic Church in these USA.
I admit: “prayer” is mentioned. I bet that’s in the style of Los Angeles REC.
I admit: there is an icon pictured, but I have to wonder if that’s token bait.
AUSCP wrongly says that it speaks for me, a Catholic priest. How arrogant of them.
AUSCP wrongly says that it co-promotes with Pope Francis the implementation of the vision and values of Vatican II. But that’s another rant.
What especially caught my eye and what about makes me want to vomit is the insistence of being embraced with “America’s most inclusive place for U.S. priests.” That’s not true. What about Cardinal Burke. And what kind of ultra-nationalist agenda is that, anyway? What about being inclusive of other priests from around the world, you know, like Bishop Athanasius Schneider, like Cardinal Sarah?
But you know what “most inclusive” means, don’t you? Sigh.
Let’s review again:
I don’t want their respect. I expect them to be aggravated with me, because I’m actually a Catholic and a priest and a believer, all three at the same time. The life of a Catholic priest is not about receiving condescension. It’s to be all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the Only One. No one has spoken about Jesus since what? 1962?
I don’t want their support. What does that even mean? A kind of accompaniment? The life of a Catholic priest is not about being served. It’s about being one with Jesus who came to lay down His life as a ransom for many. It’s about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the Only One. And since Cupich is going to be there, I ask this: Are the thugs threatening Father Kalchik going to be there? Is Father Kalchik invited?
I don’t want their comfort. What is that? One better not ask. The life of a Catholic priest is to fulfill the saying of Jesus crucified: “As the Master, so the disciple.”
I don’t want their nourishment, the massive banquets that scream it’s all about me! Jesus said, “I thirst.” I would rather eat out of a much more familiar dumpster that eat at those sumptuous banquets.
I would just add one thing here. Father Walker heard the horror taking place as his fellow priest was being smashed just about to death, and that other priest would likely have been killed had Father Walker not entered the scene without hesitation. He laid down his life for another. Amen.
It’s pretty subtle, but the hints are there, twice, just a second or two each. I heard these hints because I’m quite keyed into good priests being on a kind of hit list. Early on in this debacle, I heard about this hit list from any number of sources. Some of these priests are friends, even close friends.
In this case, “hit list” doesn’t refer to some hitman taking out the good guys. No, no. Nothing quite so terribly violent, at least not yet. It’s more about a cadre of ecclesiastics, perhaps some Cardinals (I can name names), and some up-and-coming bishops who are friends of those Cardinals, “powerful” in their own eyes. And if another bishop is lusting after, say, becoming an archbishop of, say, a “prestigious” archdiocese, you know, one whose archbishop would traditionally be given the “red hat”, in other words would normally be made a cardinal himself, well, hey, fallen human nature being what it is, that sycophant useless bishop guy is going to do the bidding of the “powerful” ecclesiastics to whom they are beholden. What they are supposed to do is follow the direction of those “powerful” ecclesiastics and smash down good priests who in their own dioceses speak, in all charity and calm, in all good prudence, too much truth about the Living Truth, too much goodness and kindness about God who is love, too much about keeping up with the Sacraments like Confession and Communion, not to mention Baptism, Marriage, Confirmation, Last Rites, even going so far as to encourage vocations to Holy Orders, to the priesthood, that is, not the priesthood of those evil ecclesiastics, but the priesthood of the One High Priest, Christ Jesus our Lord. These days, THE MORTAL SIN is being Catholic in the Catholic Church. And to speak the truth about that is all divisiveness and ineffectiveness, right? Pfft.
Good priests are inconvenient. They are going to point out the hate God and hate neighbor platform of the Democrat party: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, race-baiting, marxist dialectical materialism ideology, pro-LGBT, pro-trans, pro gay civil unions, pro gay “marriage”, etc. How may Catholics are Democrat? asks Father Altman. Zero, he responds, because you can’t be Catholic and a Democrat. :-)
The “powerful” ecclesiastics, frauds all, hypocrites all, must rid themselves of such a cancer from, in their view, the “Body Politic.”
Meanwhile, God bless Father Altman and all his supporters. The donations to him are adding up, enough to support costs of Canon Lawyers against those ecclesiastics who wrongly remove not only himself but also other good priests. There are plenty in need of help, I think a couple dozen. That’s great, because, otherwise, as Father Altman points out, the typical modus operandi is to outspend priests defending themselves with no budget for such a defense. Any (arch)diocese will happily go bankrupt as long as they can rid themselves of a troublesome priests. Money is no object to them whatsoever.
But isn’t that sad? There’s only a couple dozen outspoken priests among the tens of thousands in these USA? I mean, I’m outspoken, but it’s easy for me, as I have a great bishop and I’m in a great diocese, not that he nor the diocese agree with anything I say at all. I don’t represent them when I write on my own time on my own computers with my own internet connection and very loudly say that I don’t represent my parish, The priesthood, the bishop, the diocese, the USCCB, the Holy See, the Roman Pontiff, et al. Also, I’m already in the most remote parish in backridge moonshine Appalachia (Moonshiners was filmed mostly right here), in what is perhaps the smallest parish in North America, which I totally love, totally. So, I’m fine, for now, so far. Even if I were on a hit list as described above, it wouldn’t matter one little bit, not in this diocese. :-)
I mean, I get it, I could be taken out for any or no reason whatsoever, like Father Altman, and not by my bishop, but by someone higher up the chain. There was absolutely nothing anyone could level at Father Altman, so it was just said that he was divisive (an evangelical virtue!) and ineffective … Ineffective … ?! Hah hah hah. But how sad.
Is Father Altman being taken out as a way to put a chill on those priests who are like him, a kind of warning shot over the bow? That’s probable. But it ain’t workin’. It’s going the other way. More priests are rallying and really a lot of lay people are rallying. :-)
In the end, Jesus wins. And, oh, by the way, while Jesus’ Little Flock is being smacked down, Jesus wins. And the priests know this, and the laity know this. All things work for the good for those who love the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
By the way, this is the first time that Father Altman has hinted that the process against him might take as much as five years. I shouldn’t be envious. He’ll have time to write. He’s already signed on for a number of books he’s now already started to write. The first title, announced in the video above, is about the lies of the bishops. Yikes! That’s not divisive, that’s instructive, and gives hope, because now we know what is of the faith and what in the faith has been perverted. That’s always a great help. Blessings upon you, Father Altman. Hail Mary…
The larger context of this 6-second scene is that the casino needs a $20,000 permit. A Senator is trying to shake down the mafia guy by jacking this up another I think $230,000 – quite the extortion – even while the Senator insults both the mafiosi and their families. Hint: Don’t do either of those things, but especially not the latter.
The response from the mafioso guy is so predictable, and so perfect: “My offer is this: nothing.” And then the mafioso adds that it would be a wise move for the Senator guy to go ahead and himself pay for the $20,000 permit for the casino. Hah. The tables are reversed. Jesus does this all the time.
Hope is high that Jesus will laugh at the analogy which just must be made between Him and the mafiosi. I mean, if you’ve ever even once read the Sacred Scriptures, you’ll immediately see the ferocious irony, sarcasm, humor, the table-turnings (figurative and literal) all meant, of course, to put people back on the right track.
Look, I don’t see myself as being better than any mafioso if I am without the grace of God. We will all look upon Him, the One who is, who was and who is to come, the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, whom we have all pierced through with all our sin whilst He was lifted up on the Cross, yes, all of us, men of race, tribe, tongue, people and nation.
Having said that, yes, when I see someone trying to be even more mafioso than the mafiosi, well, they get what they deserve. I hope they also repent, but – yikes! – shaking down the mafia?!
About Jesus… the analogy here is that Jesus is the mafioso guy who says that His counter offer to the extortion is to jack up the stakes. The self-absorbed who use religion to make themselves heroes, feeling powerful in bullying, who say that they will kill Jesus unless He stops being… what is it? – more “popular” than them, well, they are answered in this way by Jesus: “My offer is… nothing.” But then Jesus will continue: Not only will I rise from the dead after three days, but if you are to serve my Heavenly Father in Heaven for eternity, you will have to be crucified to yourselves and to the world, and to do that, you will have to believe in the One whom the Father has sent into the world, you will love Him, and you will keep the commandments. Hah.
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. (Mark 10:29-30)
But Father George, Father George! “A hundred times […] houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands” is not nothing! What are you talking about! Jesus’ offer is a prosperity Gospel! It’s all about this world, “now in this present age,” you know, besides “eternal life in the age to come”!
First of all, these were given up, and then when more are added, it is only with persecutions. It’s the ol’ “My offer is this: nothing.” And, by all appearances, it then gets worse. Have you ever been in a persecution? Any mafioso earner might temporarily spare the life of a recalcitrant priest who speaks out against the mafia because the arm of his grandmother was just broken by a mafia “earner” for not paying her “pizzo” (protection payment), but that “earner” might then kill a member of that priest’s family as a warning if that priest insists, you know, his brother, or sister, or mother, members of his parish family… His rectory might be burned down, lands destroyed. When Jesus calls us from death to life, when He calls a man to be a priest, wretch that he is if without the grace of God, the offer is this: nothing. And less than nothing, that is, in this world. Even the little we think we have can be taken away at any moment, all those “houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands” by way of the promised persecution. Ah, but then there is eternal life, not only for the faithful priest, but also for Jesus’ Little Flock for whom that priest was available to get out of the way of the One High Priest so that He Himself might lead them to heaven with His goodness and kindness and Living Truth.
Perhaps there are some who are offended at this analogy. But I rush to be vindicated by the Venerable Fulton J Sheen, who made a similar analogy, even more ferocious. The good archbishop made an analogy between Jesus and – get this – atheistic materialistic dialectical Marxist Communism. Yep.
What I recall from his conferences very many decades ago (distributed on cassette tapes by Keep the Faith), was that he described the demonic communist oppressors as totalitarian: they want to control your food and water, your medicine, your housing, you work, your possessions, your family, your friends, your conversations, your faith (none allowed), your very thoughts.
Meanwhile, Sheen went on, Jesus wants everything from us as well, citing the famous oft-recited passage:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
The difference, he said, was that the communists do this with terrible violence and fear mongering, always torture, always killing, always persecution.
Jesus, he said, does this with love, so that we love Him in His grace most willingly, even in the midst of the persecutions of this world, with that love of His that is stronger than our sin, stronger that our temptation, stronger than death, bringing us to heaven, with grace turning to glory. Amen. And that’s something!
A priest friend visited today. He instructed me on one of those “rule and regulations” that are so unpopular in Rome right about now. It’s about one of the most commonplace rubrics directing what the priest is to do when he offers that oft-repeated blessing of those assisting with Holy Mass: Dominus vobiscum – “[May] the Lord be with you.”
When the priest says Dominus vobiscum, he (traditionally) begins with hands together at the sternum and then moves his hands outwardly only as far as either side of his rib cage, not as far as he can stretch his hands (as has done by some religious orders and in various countries with another symbolism altogether). This limited action, he said, had been very strict in the strictly Roman Latin Rite (there being some 28+- Latin Rites).
The first time in, say, a Low Mass, that the priest says Dominus vobiscum is when he is just about to ascend the steps to begin Holy Mass. He surely feels entirely unworthy, and, indeed, he has just finished reciting the confiteor, striking himself thrice for having sinned: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. And now he makes brave to ascend to the Altar of Sacrifice, to the Most Sacred Mysteries. How could he do this, freakishly unworthy sinner that he is?
Dominus vobiscum, he cries out. And in spreading his hands from the sternum to the edges of his rib cage, he is symbolically ripping open his rib cage, revealing to all that while he is inept and entirely unworthy, his heart is now that of Christ Jesus, in whose Person he will offer the Holy Sacrifice of our redemption and, please God, our salvation. Those present, horrified by his unworthiness and yet taken by the great mercies of the Most High, pray for the priest as well: Et cum spiritu tuo (and [may the Lord also be] with your spirit [because you’re certainly in need of that mercy]).
“I will appoint over you shepherds after my own Heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.” (Jeremiah 3:15)
Part I of the tripartite Sacrament of Holy Orders: Diaconate. They are on their way to Part II, the priesthood, being available to get out of the way of Christ Jesus, the High Priest, who will manifest His Priesthood through them. Part III, the episcopacy… what a fright! Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said that no one but no one appreciates how all hell has broken out on Calvary until one becomes a bishop, when the fullness of the battle is laid out to be seen, this being the meaning of “episcopate”, wherein the bishop by definition oversees all.
Meanwhile, there are other battles in this world which are necessary for defense of the innocent from unjust aggression. Those in that battle are also and especially in need of spiritual care. Our bishop has generously allowed now Deacon Darren Balkey (Ensign!) to be “on-loan” to the Department of Defense, which at least back in the day was for a five year period of service. Great. I’m happy for the our Military and for our good and holy deacon. For Ensign Deacon Balkey: Hail Mary…
Meanwhile, I know the wonderfully Catholic family of deacon Aaron Huber. With him we have another good and holy deacon taking up the battle in this ecclesia militans (Church militant) here at home, wherein the battle is most fierce, as it is everywhere. Satan is unleashing attacks more than ever, and I am happy that we have Deacon Huber joining the battle in a particularly intense manner right here at home. For Deacon Huber: Hail Mary…
Jesus is always calling men to Holy Orders. And many are hearing that call of our Lord. But we must make acceptance of that call from God possible:
It is a command of Jesus to pray that the Master of the harvest sends out laborers to gather in the harvest: that’s a commandment, not a suggestion. So: Hail Mary…
Families need to raise their children in such manner that they have purity of heart and agility of soul in keeping up with the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion that they can hear the call of Jesus should He be pleased to call one of their sons to Holy Orders.
Families need to “make it a thing” to pray for vocations within family prayer, daily, say, a Hail Mary, not putting pressure on anyone, ever, but such prayer making it clear that certainly no one is going to complain if a younster expresses interest in Holy Orders.
Dioceses need to promote vocations. Yes. Not many do this, you know, in protest that women cannot be ordained, and so, if women cannot be ordained, then no one will be ordained. I know a diocese like this. They proclaimed in their diocesan newspaper that it’s good for women to be able to become priests because that will dismantle patriarchal whatever, you know, just like it is good for women to have abortions inasmuch as that dismantles patriarchal whatever. Yep. Just like that. We need bishops to stop this satanic idiocy. We need bishops to promote vocations.
We have to make it known that priests are married to the Church by way of the wedding vows they themselves recite, acting in Persona Christi, in the Person of Christ, when they recite the Consecrations at Holy Mass, at the Wedding Banquet of Christ with His Immaculate Bride, the Church: This is my body, given for you in sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice.
We have to make for a culture of chastity. The world is extremely aggressive, but it can be done. Remember Blessed Carlo Acutis? He was a computer genius. Did he use the internet for unchastity? NO! Carlo is the best. He died from cancer at just 15 years old, but it is his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament on the internet that I wish all priests would have as they offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Take a gander at the Wikipedia article on him: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Acutis and then at the website he himself created, and about the presentation of Eucharistic miracles which has been making it’s way right around the world, and may be coming to Charlotte Diocese for the Eucharistic Congress, and perhaps even to the smallest parish in North America right here in Andrews if we have a big enough venue: http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/Liste/list.html
I’m quite sure our Eucharistic Congress here in Charlotte Diocese, with the Eucharistic Procession right through the city streets, was formative in the vocations of our two transitional deacons, who are now only a year away from being ordained to the priesthood.
You have heard that it was said that the bishops above made a short statement which implies that it is a good and holy action to label and proclaim and vaunt oneself publicly as LGBT, you know, without going into the chastity issue, and that at the least God is on the side of the person who is self-entitled enough to rebel against God in such manner, proud of their disorder, thus rejecting that it is a disorder. God hates the sin and the sinner in such manner as to get the sinner to no longer be a sinner. But Saint Paul writes this:
“Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals […] will inherit the kingdom of God. […] That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
That’s from the the USCCB’s New American Bible. Lets take a closer look at some terminology.
πόρνοι – fornicators, the unmarried having heterosexual sex with the unmarried.
εἰδωλολάτραι – idolaters, which also includes making of oneself an idol.
μοιχοὶ – adulterers, specifically possibly married men who are running after married women.
μαλακοὶ – this actually refers to men wearing luxurious clothes that women themselves would not wear, in other words, a very direct translation would be “drag queens” who, in our fallen human nature, appear in every culture throughout history, men who hate themselves, who hate women, and who hate the image of God as we read in Genesis: male, female and family. μαλακοὶ can be men or boys who sell themselves for sex, in other words, male prostitutes of whatever age, including and especially minors, but there is reference both to those who are paid and who pay.
ἀρσενοκοῖται – men having sex with men.
Saint Paul says that those entrenching in whatever such temptation, caving to whatever such temptation, will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.
Saint Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is aghast at those who would label themselves any of these things, as that is going to seal them in that behavior until they stop vaunting themselves as proud of being disordered. To be proud of such disorder is a sin of unchastity in and of itself, even if there is no accompanying activity. It is a revolt against God, a proclamation of Satan: Non serviam! “I will not serve.” Of course, with that attitude, anyone proud of being unchaste is about 100% probably likely to be unchaste in activity. Anyone proclaiming that this is God’s doing when such unchastity is risking being forbidden entrance to heaven, meaning that such unchastity will have one risking being carried off to hell, is blaspheming against God. Is that what the bishops are doing? They should be careful. You know what our Lord says about those who lead youngsters into sin… I mean, you remember that, right?
Moreover, anyone who pushes those into being prideful for a disorder in direct rebellion against God is assisting that person in being carried off to hell, right? Are they unaware of what Saint Paul says?
The illogicities coming from ecclesiastics are enough to bring someone suffering such temptations to despair. The suicide rate among LGBT crowd isn’t so astronomically high because people like Saint Paul take them seriously and want them to turn to the Lord and have great hope that they can and many do turn to the Lord, and so are on their way to heaven. Hope is always hopeful, and does not lead on to despair.
But those ecclesiastics who do not take the LGTB crowd seriously, who disdain them, who use them for political points – I mean, I don’t know… Is that what they are doing? – …. anyway, in not taking the LGBT crowd seriously is it not these ecclesiastics who are bringing the LGBT crowd to despair, leading them to commit suicide? Just a question.
By the way, the LGBT crowd that this is all about are youngsters, minors. So, is this “protecting” not abuse? Just a question.
Lets put this a different way. I met up with a priest the other day who would like to come up with a survey, questionnaire, interrogation if you will, of priests in active ministry. They are all trick questions, which are tricky, you know, if you have no formation, no capacity to reason with logic, with no grounding in sharp philosophy and good theology.
His first questions just slightly rephrased the tenants of the Satanic Church. He added one of his own. I aced the “survey” which he imagined would be provided by way of a computer screen. I immediately said that it’s not a survey then, but rather an interrogation, to which he laughed repeatedly. His own question was this:
“Is it possible to be gay and chaste?”
I can only imagine that even very many good priests would not be able to reason this through, and would immediately say “Yes”, rejoicing that someone is carrying their cross and living chastely with the grace of Christ Jesus over against untoward temptations as everyone is expected to do, you know, the old “good for the them and they will have a high place in heaven,” attitude. And this priest did admit this was a baiting question so as to better prepare an education for the presbyterate about the way things actually are, an instruction which would immediately be well received by good priests who just did not know how to make the distinctions they actually needed to make so as to be consonant with the teaching of the Scriptures and the Church.
Here’s the deal: To label oneself as gay even if not publicly is a sin against chastity, even though chastity is used as a rationalization by the otherwise pious priest that his being gay is not that which disqualifies him from active ministry, from being the Father of the Parish Family, and married to the Immaculate Bride of Christ by way of Jesus’ own wedding vows during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the priest recites in the first-person-singular: “This is my body given you, my blood poured out for you.
Labeling oneself is by definition an entitlement excusing one’s disorder as no longer being a disorder, as being – quite ironically – so very unimportant that one will not let go of that label no matter what, come highwater or even hell.
One cannot get to Saint Paul’s admonition that “some of you were this way” without letting go of the labeling and self-entrenchment, and despair. One must actually allow oneself to be bathed by the Blood of the Lamb. That necessitates repentance from unchastity including the unchastity of labeling oneself. Again, proclaiming gayness is unchaste, sinful, and it is a scandal, which is a most grievous sin. One cannot be gay and chaste. Get it?
It is only the fully Catholic believing pastors who love those caught up in homosexuality so much as to bring them out of it, to bring them to Christ Jesus.
As for that list of 14 cardinals and bishops above. That’s not all of them. I think of Chicago, where Father Paul Kalchik is still being persecuted for taking LGBT individuals seriously, wanting their eternal salvation. That was not appreciated by the powers that be, who are not included in the list of the 14.
There are many bishops who are persecuting many good priests. The list of persecuted priests is growing. But that’s also a matter of hope. That means the number of priests who speak up for the salvation of souls is growing. Thanks be to God.
The more good priests speak up, the more good vocations to the priesthood we will see coming forward. We rejoice that here in Charlotte Diocese we are actually building a seminary – and it’s up and running for pre-theology – and we rejoice that our seminarians are believers, as are the faculty and administrators and formators. Thanks be to God.
The companions of Saint Charles refused to suffer the sexual abuse that the king wanted to foist upon them because they were following the good example and direction of Saint Charles. He was their protector.
Saint Charles is the patron saint of those who stand up against the abuse of office used to foist sexual abuse on others. The abusers get upset with the likes of a Saint Charles.
Here’s the deal: what the king was doing with abuse of office used to foist sexual abuse on others is not a once-off in humanity. It happens all the time. And we can’t say that it’s just some secular king who was a bit freaky. No, no. But it this way: can we deny that there are plenty of “kings” of their own imaginings, certain ecclesiastics, priests and bishops have not done the same as the king with minors?
Let’s take this a step further. Are there others who are like Saint Charles, who are going to protect minors against the sexual aggression of the freakoids? Yes, there are. And what if some of these emulators of Saint Charles are priests, and their bishops are playing the role of the sex-demented-king? Are those bishops going to slit the throats of the priests who call out sexual abuse, you know, at least by way of marginalizing them, dismissing them from the clerical state? Sure. And then we have more martyrs or at least saints with heroic virtue. Pray for good priests. Hail Mary…
Diocesan statement regarding Father James Altman — May 25, 2021 [with my comments]
“Fr. James Altman has recently made public the request from Bishop William Patrick Callahan that he resign his office of pastor of Saint James the Less Parish in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as his intent to decline the request. As a result, the Diocese of La Crosse will respond in accordance to the canonical process as needed for the removal of a priest from his office as pastor. [This will take a year or so. I have an idea! Hey Father! Come down to Charlotte Diocese. I think there’s a parish or two opening up mid-July.]
“During the past year, concerns have been expressed related to the ministry of Fr. James Altman, a priest in the Diocese of La Crosse. [“Concerns”? From whom? Marxists in a newspaper looking to sell newspapers, getting their facts wrong?] Bishop Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse, and canonical representatives have worked to fraternally and privately address those concerns. The process has been pastoral and administrative with a desire toward a just resolution among all parties. [B as in B, S as in S. Explain your comment, Bishop, that Father Altman’s ministry is “ineffective.” Can’t do it, can you? That’s just a catchall throwaway to slit the throat of a believer. You coward.]
“The ministry of pastor was instituted in the Church not for the benefit of the one to whom it is entrusted, but for the pastoral and sacramental care of those for whom it is conferred. The salvation of souls takes precedence over the stability of the pastor in office when these two values come into direct conflict. [And there’s the accusation: The bishop is saying that Father Altman is working for the damnation of souls and couldn’t give a damn about pastoral and sacramental care of his parish family. Pretty brave, there, bishop. You’re playing the part of the Eternal Judge, Christ Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, including you.] Although attempts were made to allow Fr. Altman the opportunity to respond to fraternal correction, a resolution of this situation has been unsuccessful. [Were the actual complaints in Father’s file forwarded to him so that he could make a response? No. UPDATE: But two boxes of items were delivered to him. Great! Father Altman reported that 99% of letters were entirely supportive of him, while 1% were critical, but were not signed, had no return address. Pfft. This seems to have everything to do with the Dems being diametrically opposed to God and the Church on all fronts such that Father Altman correctly stated that one cannot be a Democrat and a Catholic. Father Altman also rightly cautioned people about taking non-approved experimental drugs, and against any forceful measures to forbid the Sacraments to the Jesus’ Little Flock because of Covid. Those are his crimes? Pfft. He’s one of the few witnesses to faith today.]
“It is important to note that this is not a penal remedy but a pastoral remedy. [Removed from office not penal? Penal is not medicinal? This is one truly confused bishop. This is the thinking of a bully.] Bishop Callahan asks for your prayers for Fr. Altman, for the congregation of St. James, and the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse and beyond. While any change made to the ministry of a pastor is difficult [There seems to be zero intention of possibly letting Father Altman back to the parish as pastor], it is done with the hope that God’s work of justice, reconciliation and healing may be realized in the Body of Christ for a positive outcome.[!]
“The Diocese of La Crosse asks for the consideration of respect, safety and prayers at this time for all involved.” [Hahahahahah! There must be letters and phone calls and messages pouring into the diocese in gentle support of Father Altman. What a bunch of cowards before Father Altman, a gentle but manly soul.]
My thoughts on how this is going. The secular journalists have blood on their hands, are happy that such is the case, and are now encouraged by this to look to their next victim priest for any or no reason whatsoever. They already know that the bishop is their personal sycophant. All priests are now on notice. And that’s the point.
Also, and just to say, no priest I know of has followed so exactly the Covid protocols of his diocese. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that Father Altman is a believer. Imagine that. A priest who is a believer. That’s the crime.
And if other bishops notice this, they will be likewise emboldened to slit the throats of all their priests as well.
Don Claudio Tonini, whom I consider a saint (without prejudice over against the Congregation for the Causes of Saints), was the parish priest of a fairly populous parish named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a mid-peninsula coastal smallish industrial and quite entirely unapologetically Marxist city of Italy (opposite the island of Elba). The town’s name is reminiscent of bullets: “Piombino,” “A Bit of Lead.” It’s nickname is “La Piccola Russia,” The Little Russia.
Don Claudio died in his 80s in March 1993, some 12 weeks after catastrophic injury-instigated medical disintegration consequent upon the murderous assault he suffered some months previously, in December 1992, only months after my own ordination to the priesthood.
That December of 1992, I was finishing up coursework for a Licentiate degree in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. A list of parishes right around Italy went up on the bulletin board next to the infamous Aula IV of the PIB, requesting that any available student-priests sign up to travel to whatever parish throughout Italy in order to help out with hearing Christmas Confessions. I waited for other priests to take their pick, but then it was too late. My hesitation was surely the work of my guardian angel. The next thing I knew, the list was taken down. Feeling utterly useless, I went to one of the upper-hierarchy of the Jesuit community who was in charge of this project and asked him if there was still another parish that needed a priest.
“Yes,” he said enthusiastically, and then added immediately:
“I was going to go myself, but, believe me, you are the perfect one to go there. You are the only one who could go there. You’re perfect for this. Thank you for volunteering. You have the perfect balance and reserve and judiciousness for this [and on and on, making me suspicious]. Thank you for doing this. There are problems. But you’re perfect for this. Thank you.”
“What are the problems?” I asked, dead-pan.
“You’ll see when you get there,” he said, refusing to tell me even when I pressed him on this. But then he praised the parish priest of the parish: “He’s a famous missionary up and down the Italian peninsula, always in demand as a preacher of parish missions, called in by bishops far and wide. The [Marxist] town built a youth center for him next the church since everyone in town respects him so much.”
Taking the train from Rome, walking from the train station to the parish, dragging some luggage, I found myself quite alone, the church open, but dark. I looked around, prayed a bit, but the rectory was all locked up. I had been given instructions to stay in the guest room of the religious community around the block. Off I went.
The nice sisters led me to my a small “cell” in the guest quarters and then pointed to a table in another room with some bread and water and some tid-bits of food (very delicious, mind you). I was heartily thanked as the sisters came in to get a look at the one who was apparently a brave young priest for taking on this task. I was something of zoo animal. This simply couldn’t believe that any priest would be brave enough to take on the task. But I wasn’t brave. I was just there to hear some Confessions. That’s it. I didn’t know the story.
But our Lord would use the drama in that parish to continue training me in about the heart of the priesthood from the point of view of the High Priest, Christ Jesus. Our Lord was training me in to be a donkey-priest. Mind you, all donkeys are guard-donkeys, apt at protecting any flock of sheep from the wolves. I didn’t know there was a wolf in this situation, not yet.
“Where’s the parish priest, Don Claudio Tonini?” I asked the sisters. They looked at me, dumbstruck that I hadn’t been told what had happened. And they didn’t want to tell me, speaking in ambiguities that meant nothing. But I knew I would be alone in covering this Italian parish for Christmas, something I didn’t expect I would ever be doing a month before.
Eventually, asking really a lot of people, I found out what happened. My heart sank. Don Claudio was still in the hospital when I got there.
What had happened is that don Claudio’s assistant priest “Quel M” as don Claudio charitably called him, was finishing Sunday Mass, and while everyone was still there don Claudio went up to the pulpit to announce that all the youth were to gather over in the youth center after Mass, so, an announcement of ten seconds or so. Don Claudio was great at teaching the kids about Jesus on their level, but preparing by reading the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
“Quel M” let himself get enraged about this, becoming volcanic, but able to get back to the sacristy, rip off his vestments and storm away. But he disappeared only for a few hours, coming back that afternoon to hunt down diminutive don Claudio (mid-80s, frail, about 5’5″ and perhaps 125 pounds), who was sitting at his desk in his office.
With both hands, “Quel M” (mid-30s, strong as an ox, about 6’5″ and perhaps 310 pounds) grabbed the largest volume of the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and proceeded with all his might to bash don Claudio over the head and on his face with it, then choking him in a strangle hold trying to crush his throat which don Claudio had used to preach about Jesus throughout his life. Don Claudio, strangled for what I’m sure seemed like an eternity for don Claudio, dropped to the floor. “Quel M” left don Claudio for dead. Three days later (three days, mind you), don Claudio awakens from his coma and, from the floor – still on the floor precisely where he was left for dead, is just able to reach the phone on it’s stand and call an ambulance, face and head swollen like a basketball, eyes still swollen shut after three days. I still shudder today at the monstrosity of “Quel M”.
The assistant, “Quel M,” as don Claudio called him, successfully escaped to the mountains and then, not being arrested, hid out (ironically on any number of levels) at “La Misericordia” (The Mercy, an ancient funerary organization in Italy) located at a crusader era church at the waterfront just down the street from the parish.
The most the bishop and the vicar general would do at that time is, basically, nothing. They and the other priests of the Diocese of Massa Marittima – Piombino were scared to death of “Quel M”.
Senseless, you say? Sick, you say?
Meanwhile, “Quel M” returned to the parish (though forbidden by the bishop), in order, he thought, to preside at the funeral of the head of Italy’s Catholic Action. She was from the parish and all sorts of politicians and dignitaries and untold numbers of churchmen of every rank showed up from throughout the Italian peninsula. I asked the higher-up ecclesiastics if they would like to preside over the funeral. They were afraid, and so cited my appointment by the local ordinary to surveil the situation. I couldn’t believe it. “Quel M”, standing right there in the sacristy before Holy Mass, was a volcano. A monsignor whispered to him that he shouldn’t be there and “Quel M” erupted violently, but somehow got himself out the door like a twirling Tazmanian devil of Bugs Bunny fame, though there was nothing funny about this. He could easily have killed all of us. The priests were wide-eyed, truly afraid. “Quel M” again had murder in his eyes and was totally out of control. Within a few minutes he was back in again. In order to calm down the situation I asked him if he would do the first reading. “Si!” he exclaimed. But then, during Mass, from the side, he said all the parts that I was to say as the “main celebrant” as the phrase goes in the Novus Ordo (back in 1993). “Quel M” said those prayers in a very loud voice indeed, almost shouting them out. Just so sad. I let him read because I was afraid that he would actually have killed a number of the old priests there. Truly… Anyway…
Don Claudio survived his stay at the hospital, returned to parish, and he and I became instant life-long friends if such a thing makes sense. It’s just that it seemed we knew each other forever. He loved Jesus. He loved the truth. He called our friendship in the priesthood a “sintonia” in the truth, explaining that sintonia has to do with radio waves being on the same frequency, strengthening each other. It would only be weeks before he died. When one is smashed about to death as an elderly person, this will exacerbate all other medical conditions, and it will not be long before one dies.
When Saint John Paul II got wind of all this, he was pretty upset, furious really, and sent a letter to all the Italian bishops about how to deal with their priests. It was like a lightning strike. Bishops were on notice. Yikes! This was a saga which carried on some years and was infamous everywhere in Italy. When priests found out that I had been the one to stay with don Claudio they instantly exclaimed: “You’re the one!” incredulous that I was standing before them. But I was nothing but a donkey-priest doing what I had to do. It is don Claudio who is inspiring. Let me tell you a bit about that:
The rest of the story: I repeatedly begged don Claudio to tell the police what had happened, to tell the full story to the bishop, but he would not do this. Don Claudio didn’t want to hurt “Quel M” in any way. Don Claudio wanted with all his might that “Quel M” come to know the mercy of the Lord. Don Claudio taught me much about the priesthood in view of other priests. I don’t know if I leaned what I should have learned, but my experience with him has nonetheless been invaluable for me. Thanks, don Claudio! I went to visit his tomb in the mid-2000s, brought there from Rome by a friend who has served as a kind of special secretary, so to speak, for a successive number of Roman Pontiffs. Even after so many years, his tomb was surrounded by huge bouquets of fresh cut flowers. That’s impressive. I prayed for the repose of his soul, and then asked that he pray for this donkey-priest still upon this earth.
Having said all that, if I had walked in on “Quel M” attacking don Claudio, I think I would have – in one movement – thrown him through the window (high up along the ceiling with those way too narrow windows) and out into the garden far below. If he had broken down the doors (I think we had already changed the locks) so as to reenter to do away with me, a kind of post-hoc witness to the murder… Well, I’ll just stop there… Yikes! So, I’m no saint.
As the years went by, “Quel M” visited the student priest residence where I was staying in Rome. I sat at the same table with him at lunch (twelve to a table). He sat across from me. His eyes bugged out like a cicada eyes when he realized that I had been the priest who had rescued don Claudio’s parish many years previously:
“Splutter, splutter, splutter…” was all he could say. He was once again a volcano, but had to control himself, but just couldn’t, so outraged was he. Meanwhile, he knew he was being watched by the powers-that-be at the table, who were way too well connected for him to be able to throw a fit.
Meanwhile, the bishop of that little diocese back in the day was kicked upstairs to about the very top of the Vatican hierarchy. I just couldn’t believe it.
Meanwhile, “Quel M” had been a mockery of what it means to be a donkey-priest, killing the shepherd by crushing his esophagus, instead of keeping the wolves away by doing the same to them, figuratively speaking.
I had already been well aware of the spiritual hideousness that priests can get into, but I had never met someone like Judas who would just go ahead and kill a fellow priest. But, now, I had an experience that this was also possible. I know Judas betrayed Jesus, but it’s different somehow when you see someone with blood on their hands for having done this quite literally.
This prepared me for more opening of my eyes to how far Jesus had to reach to get all of us, so very far, right into hell, so as to save us. My eyes were opened, like that cicada pictured above, as to how far Jesus had to reach to get me. I realized a bit more how bad and evil I am if I am without the grace of our Lord: so very bad and evil. “Quel M” and yours truly, I realized, are not so very different. Given the circumstances in life, you know, from birth, it’s all “There but for the grace of God go I.” If we don’t get that, we are liars to God, to neighbor, to ourselves.
Graced humility is the only way. Don Claudio shows us the way. He didn’t at all want to hurt “Quel M” in any way, but only wanted that also “Quel M” know the mercy and goodness of the Lord. This donkey-priest has so much to learn about that graced humility that don Claudio exemplified. No wonder he was in high demand for conferences retreats for priests and for parish missions right around Italy. Thanks be to God for don Claudio Tonini.
This “Rules” notice was seen in one of our Faith Formation classrooms. This used to be the discipline in Catholic Schools and why Catholic Schools generally and regularly through the decades were fully two grades (at least) ahead of all other public schools.
But, of course, discipline means nothing without the interior wherewithal to be disciplined, that is, by way of friendship with God, which we are provided with the Sacraments.
Faith Formation is great, but…. what we really need are Catholic Schools with teaching orders of religious Sisters.
Some 7,000+ pilgrims, facing liturgical and actual East, were jammed into the eastern side of the Lower Basilica of Saint Pius X in the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes in France on the National Feast Day of France, the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God to heaven, soul and body, for a Solemn High Mass with yours truly being the “permanent chaplain” who, however unworthy, having once again kick-started after decades of dormition the official offering of the Traditional Mass starting in 2007, had the privilege of offering this Mass on this day in 2008, during the 150th anniversary jubilee of the apparitions in Lourdes.
Our dear Lord called me to be a priest during the offering of the Traditional Mass on the feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1962. I was born in February of 1960. So, just two and half years old. But I remember pretty much everything in my early years – always have – in fine detail, in color, with smells and bells, as it were. So, just to say, yes, I have a very deep seated, entrenched, and ever living “attachment” to the “Old Mass” (a misnomer on so very many levels). And it’s not just about entitlement of emotional attachment, you know, a weakness to be pitied. No. The Traditional Mass is who I am as a priest, who I am before God, quite literally and in every way, on every level.
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it has been celebrated throughout the life history of Holy Mother Church has for a long time been and is still today denigrated, held to be criminal, opening a priest up to persecution, bullying, brow-beating, suspension, removal from ministry, so that his salary is stripped from him, and all that he has to live on, including a place to say, something to eat, and then his insurance is removed, then his faculties, so that he is then held to be a mere liability and is dismissed from the clerical state. Just like that. Yep. Not infrequently either. This is the history of so many priests of my own acquaintance through the decades and still today.
After some eight years of catechesis of the parish, I have started to offer Holy Mass ad orientem, with “the people”, toward the East, toward Jesus, toward the Holy Sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.
On Monday, I offered the Holy Sacrifice in what has been called the Extraordinary Form, the Old Rite, the Latin Mass, the Traditional Mass, the Gregorian Mass, etc. A crime? Surely, in the eyes of some. Pope Benedict ensured that priests could do this at their own discretion.
“But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! You’re divisory! You’re not pastórial or pastóral or however you say it! You’re not appreciative of the Novus Pontifex, the New Scriptures, the New Liturgy, the New Morality, the New Doctrine! We worship Pachamama! We’re clever and sophisticated and up to date! Follow us, not that outdated not-divine Jesus! There are no sacraments! Come with us, for friendship!”
Mind you, none of that straw-man rubbish above is reflective of my parish. Only positive to date, 100%.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis and many of his favorite cardinals and his favorite bishops and his favorite priests and his favorite laity have been pushing for a localization of pachamama style liturgies as he himself has wrought on the central altar of Saint Peter’s, meaning anything even demonic is all good. The Novus Ordo Misae? I’m about done. It’s the boiling the frog so slowly that it’s dead before it knows it. I’m wanting out.
And yes, it’s true, with the “Old Mass” comes all that is ever ancient, ever new, all the goodness and kindness of Jesus, and the Living Truth that He is, all the doctrine, all the morality, all the sacraments. I’m for Jesus. How about you?