Category Archives: Vocations

Censoring the already censored: that hurts bad

As long time readers know, yours truly, a Catholic parish priest, speaks with Father Gordon MacRae on average of about an hour a day. I edit articles for him which we discuss amidst the usual save the world and the Church banter so common among all priests, day-in and day-out.

Until recently, those articles went up on a site many of you know well: TheseStoneWalls.com, which, sad to say, is no longer a live blog. We’re in the process of transferring the old venue to what is appropriately called https://beyondthesestonewalls.com/.

Father Gordon describes just a bit of the censorship with his first post at the new site: https://beyondthesestonewalls.com/posts/life-goes-on-behind-and-beyond-these-stone-walls.

Yours truly continues to do the OCR scanning, then correcting that, then searching for links and pictures, then sending that on to our new anonymous helper behind the scenes. Blessings upon that volunteer. Yours truly chooses not to be anonymous as it’s more important that it be seen by the laity, by fellow priests, by bishops, by the idiots who hate God and their fellow man, who hate justice and due process, that a priest in good standing is willing to be public about his support for a fellow priest who has been unjustly kicked in the face. Jesus stood by all of us, right?

I’m no techy, but I’ve been able to put a note on the no-longer-live TheseStoneWalls.com site opening page so as to encourage people to go to Father Gordon’s fledgling site: https://beyondthesestonewalls.com/.

The new site is just in its infancy. Lots of hurdles with lots of difficult logistics, as you might imagine. All the nightmares, all at once.

All of this is a nightmare for us and the absolute worst possible time for us, what with Father Gordon’s long time friend, Pornchai Maximilian Moontri, in his terrible sufferings. This is all terribly painful, but it is also a new beginning and a freedom from censorship. First say a Hail Mary…. for Father Gordon and for Max, and then go to:

https://beyondthesestonewalls.com/posts/life-goes-on-behind-and-beyond-these-stone-walls

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Filed under Bullying, Priesthood, Vocations

When Padre Pio met Saint Michael. When Father Byers knew nothing at all.

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Elijah with the flaming fiery sword on Mount Carmel, Israel.

[It’s 2020. This was written now eleven years ago. It was Padre Pio’s feast day the other day, on September 23. /// BTW, today marks 26 years in prison of Fr Gordon MacRae. Hail Mary… St 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…

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revision

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].

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“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 scary 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?]

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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.]

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“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 SEAL OF CONFESSION

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!]

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Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Saints, Spiritual life, Vocations

Weird hits on the blog… Prayer warriors, I guess…

WEIRD HIT NUMBER ONE:

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just me -

From time to time the two pictures above will – weirdly enough – be downloaded from the blog, just those two, in a nanosecond, in tandem by a visitor from the Netherlands, and then, weirdly, by someone in Brazil. Nothing from either location for quite a while, and then it’s lockstep in the pattern, just those two pictures downloaded in a nanosecond first from northern Europe, then, just a bit later, in tandem, like lightning, in Brazil. That’s happened like four times over the last number of years. It just happened again, first the Netherlands, then the Federal District of Brazil, along with a grouping of villages in the general environs of and at Aparecida. I bet it’s the Tyburn nuns wanting to pray for me – as they do – and perhaps they wanted a couple of pictures to remind them. We both need it. Pope Benedict is in terrible health. I’m bad and evil. So, to whomsoever, thanks for the prayers for the two of us. I do have a good priest friend from Brazil who – a late vocation – studied in Rome and then became rector of a seminary in the Netherlands. So, it could also be him asking for prayers for me and Ratz from another friend in Brazil. Still, it’s weird, across the years, and those two particular pictures, only. I’m thankful for people who pray. I still pray the “Emergency Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception” for benefactors, including prayer warriors, of course. The weird thing is that the little boy you see in that picture above sat in that very chair in that very parlor in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within a very short time of that picture of the Cardinal Prefect being taken, pretty much exactly 33 years after the picture was taken of that 12 year old boy. I was on a bit of a mission on behalf of then Cardinal Ratzinger and now Saint Pope John II concerning some personnel working in the Holy Office. Any way, for Pope Benedict: Ave Maria…

WEIRD HIT NUMBER TWO:

Church Militant did up an intense investigation of the most untimely death of Father Joseph Moreno of the Diocese of Buffalo, who died from two gun shots to the upper-back side of his head hours before he was to provide evidence on abuse to the then Nuncio to the United States, the now retired and well known + Carlo Maria Viganó. The Diocese immediately pronounced this to be a suicide, the absurdity of which proclamation is evident, and not only because of the speed. The Diocese has a stake in the “game.” Just watch the video. Kudos to the investigative tenacity of Michael Voris.

Father Moreno was placed in a totally relaxed pose on a chair impossible to someone who just blew his brains out – twice[!] – from above and behind his head- with the gun then placed in the wrong hand (a medically unusable hand to him, something the assassin didn’t know), with no blood splatters anywhere, meaning the assassin shot through a towel or some-such, not wanting blood on him or herself, and taking that towel or whatever away, along with a filing cabinet of all that which Father Moreno was going to bring to the Nuncio, as well as the fax machine which had in memory transmission-logs of faxes of some of those documents Father Moreno had sent to a reporter some hours previously. “Nothing to see here, folks!” the perp(s) mumbled driving away. Considering the filing cabinet, there was probably more than one person.

The weird thing is that, some time after posting about all that, a certain guy in Iowa who trolls this blog – though rarely – had gone to that post about Father Moreno’s murder. Very quickly that same post was visited from Vietnam, in I think it was Ho Chi Minh City (otherwise known as Saigon). After quite some time – months – the same thing, in lockstep fashion: Iowa, then Vietnam. As far as I know, those two were the only visitors ever after a week or so of it being posted. Only that post, across the past couple of years. Directly to it. Altogether maybe that’s happened in the same fashion like that four or five times, perhaps checking for comments, but perhaps the guy in Iowa was asking for prayers from the person in Nam. That’s it.

In fact, Father Moreno deserves our prayers for the repose of his soul. I also think he’s a martyr, so I say a prayer for him and then to him. God knows there are plenty of similar stories of priest martyrs in Vietnam.

If Father Joseph F Moreno Jr is raised to the altars quickly it will be for the good of the whole Church, pro bono ecclesiae and all that:

SANTO SUBITO!

Ave Maria

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About your trauma recovery dear Father Byers… ;-)

A couple of articles have been published in recent years about terrorist suicide bomber Saeed Hotari.

There was nothing traumatic in all that. I was never much traumatized by my being shot at I don’t know how many times over decades and the ten thousand other “incidents” any one of which might throw someone into a trauma-recovery program, say, in North East Virginia, say, at Wolf Trap or at Liberty Crossing Campus. As I’ve often said however, bullets buzzing by one’s ears are certainly memorable.

In that more recent article linked above I mentioned that I carry. It’s a Glock 19, chambered. I like the Serpa Blackhawk OWB, for convenience, my stupid record (as I’ll never repeat that again) is 1.01 seconds for 2 to the “body” (spine) 1 to the head (brain-box) 25 feet out from the holster. Being in a state of prompt readiness to protect the innocent from unjust aggression is a virtue related to justice. Just to say it, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice, as Saint Thomas Aquinas points out in his commentary on the Sentences. Providing justice is a mercy. Yes.

I received a very clever comment on that more recent article. At first glance I thought this was a denunciation of carrying a Glock. But it’s not that at all. I didn’t let it out of moderation there as I wanted to give it a bit more visibility. I include my interlinear [comments]:

  • “We cannot rely on our own ability to fight evil [she’s referring to Peter slicing off the ear of Malchus when Jesus is being betrayed, as we’ll see momentarily] but must depend on God. [I agree.] How often we forget our survival is totally dependent on God. [Hey! I forget all the time, you know, not having the beatific vision and all that. Yep. I agree. I want to go to heaven!] Eventually we all learn [well, some of us] that the unstable world [crux stat dum volitur orbis: let’s just call it a fallen world and figure this out] cannot be the source of our security, of true peace of heart. [“My strength shines out through your weakness” – Jesus to Paul] I’m interested in how you square your essay with Luke 22:51. [I’m paraphrasing because of bad translations, but Lk 22:51 is this: Jesus said: “All of you let me do this!” And He touched the ear of (Malchus) and healed him.] Your words make it sound like you live your trauma recovery [with me being Malchus and all… (adn with trauma recovery being a very technical term betraying much background in the same] in a state of protection with a clenched fist. [That is, not trusting in God and full of fear, whereby Malchus steals Peter’s sword and I forge it into a Glock. Very clever, that. And lots of work to be able to spit that out just like that. There’s no way out except like this:] Meanwhile another hand, not yours or mine, reaches out in the Eucharist. [See top picture on the Eucharist. And I agree with that, to a point.]

Malchus was an enemy, a servant of the High Priest, literally dead set against Jesus. Malchus learned from the mercy shown him to be sure. It being that I’m the Missionary of Mercy of the High Priest, Pope Francis, maybe I too should learn something of mercy. But is carrying a tool to protect the innocent from unjust aggression a lack of mercy making me the enemy of Jesus?

Jesus was a special case. His reprimand not only to Peter but to all the Apostles (it’s a plural imperative) was not about the inappropriateness of what Peter was doing so much as it gave Jesus a moment to show mercy to the end. This was precisely like His reprimand to John the Baptist: Let it be so for now for the fulfillment of righteousness! When Jesus was baptized He was asking our Heavenly Father to treat Him as if were guilty of sin, not just like the charioteers and soldiers of Pharaoh who were drowned for their sin of enslaving the chosen people, but He was asking to be treated like He was guilty for having enslaved all in sin, all peoples of all times, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Jesus lays down His life, taking on the punishment we deserve for original sin and all our own rubbish, so that He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The Apostles see this mercy with Malchus and off they go.

Is it wrong to protect oneself and others while trusting in God while doing this mercy? No. In fact, it’s a contribution to the virtue of justice.

Two points and excuse my theological language:

First of all, I don’t want any trauma recovery, particularly not anything from Northeast Virginia. Why not? Because I’m not traumatized enough, not yet. As some priest friends from Colombia told me, “We’ve done nothing; we’ve not lain down our lives for the brethren.” Get me away from all that is trauma recovery. If anything, my therapy will be to put my fingers into Jesus’ wounds in His hands and my hand right into the wound in His side, into His heart.

My saying, “My Lord and my God” will be my entire trauma recovery, good enough to take my right through torture and death. I deserve everything I get along the way of the effects of original sin and my own, including being available to the malevolence of others (there ain’t no Glock that’s gonna stop that). And because Jesus laid down His life for me and called me to be His priest, He deserves that I un-clench my fists so as to Consecrate His Body and Blood at Holy Mass, so as to provide Absolution of sin, so as to Baptize, so as to Confirm… Yes. But I still carry. In calmness. Tranquility. You know the drill: “Carry! And carry on!”

It is no trauma to follow up on Jesus’ invitation: “As the Master, so the disciple.” Why not? Because His strength shines out through our weakness. His love carries us in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.

Let me give an example. This very morning, while that lady wrote her comment, I myself at the same time was being stripped of my carry and locked in jail. I’m out now, obviously. But you have to know that I feel most at home among sinners like Malchus because I’m so like him. I make lots of friends in jail. I have a Bible study with the guys every week. I love it. What a joy. And I gotta say, lots of the guys are much better prepared in the Scriptures than were my seminarians anywhere around the world. Truly. I love it. We help each other out to get to know the Lord. Believe me, no protection or clenched fists inside the stone walls. No, no. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about putting that ear back on Malchus. And about letting that ear get put back on me by those, you know, “sinners” and all that.

But, hey! Not to worry my interlocutor comment friend. Maybe you can help me with a bit of trauma recovery after all. There are some adjustments to the “recovery program” that I’m on – if you want to call it that – (DS or DipSec might have another name for all that), adjustments which I would like to be implemented, but I won’t write about that or say it over the phone. I need an in-person interview with someone, say, I don’t know, just up from the Rosslyn metro stop, maybe at the Campus… Can you swing that, maybe with CCS oversight? That would be really, really cool. Seriously, if you want to help me, that would go a long way.

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Filed under Guns, Intelligence Community, Interreligious dialogue, Law enforcement, Military, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Prison, Terrorism, Vocations

Priestly ordinations during Covid-1984

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pius XII to Catholic Priests

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

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

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

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

Pax, Father […]

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Police Chaplains: detrimental to faith?

There are all sorts of chaplains. Yours truly is a Catholic priest. But am I, specifically, or is any other police chaplain a detriment to the faith? Are you ready for the answer? Hold on tight!

Who, I ask, is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone.

The lawless knuckleheads kill men and women, boys and girls, infants, babies, shooting, beheading, chainsawing, burning, melting in vats of acid until nothing is left. No, really: all the time, entire villages at a time, no exceptions in those towns, adding up over the decades now to hundreds of thousands. Mayhem. Chaos. The domain of Satan. So, let me ask again:

Who is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone. That putting on the brakes, my friends, is a contribution to the virtue of justice. Defense against unjust aggression is natural law. It is of divine right.

I have a good friend for whom I have much respect. We discuss things quite intensely. I love that. It’s a kind of rabbinic discourse, answering a comeback by raising the stakes with a provocative challenge begging for an answer which itself raises the stakes once again. Well…

This friend of mine played the devil’s advocate with my being a police chaplain, making me think, so that I might get around to publishing some thoughts about a Catholic priest who is busy in his parish also being a police chaplain, you know, writing then about whether or not also being a police chaplain is detrimental to the faith of the parish, that police “accompaniment” meaning that, in a fake zero-sum game, that is just how much I am not paying attention to my parish, failing in my duty just that much in my assisting our Bishop in his apostolic mandate to care for the souls given to him by the Lord, failing therefore in my duty to nourish those souls in the faith, failing in my duty to protect those souls from the wolves.

Let’s put that differently:

In being a police chaplain, do I fail my priesthood? Do I fail my parish church? Do I fail the diocese? Do I fail the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Do I fail Jesus? Do I fail His good mother, Mary Immaculate? In choosing to be a police chaplain, am I signing up to go straight to hell? Am I the devil’s puppet, Satan’s little play-thing? Am I racist? A white supremacist regardless of my pigmentation or lack thereof? Do I lack in honesty and integrity in being a priest who is also a police chaplain? Should I just go loot and pillage and commit arson and be… you know… on the right side of dialectical history?

Let’s put that differently again:

Are the police, of late, proving to be inhumane as a totality, so that ALL police officers are inhumane and also inhuman, so that they are not only in a basket of deplorables but are also irredeemable, rightly marginalized from any encouragement, any support, so much so, in fact, that all police must be discredited, defunded, disbanded, thrown on death row even for perfectly following protocol, agency policy, city law, county law, state law, federal law, the Constitution, natural law, God’s law to love one’s neighbor as oneself, they being at the read to lay down one’s life at any given moment? Is it downright harmful to the Church and to humanity to be a police chaplain?

This is insane, but let’s put that differently yet once more:

Is it impossible that any member of a police force belong to one’s parish family? It is impossible that any member of the police force could benefit from chaplain support? Are we all to just say: To hell with them all!?! Saint Michael, patron saint of law enforcement, protect us!

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If the police are thought to be so far out in the peripheries that we are not bother with them, then I answer in three ways:

(1) Pope Francis wants members of the Church to get over themselves, to stop being self-referential, self-absorbed. He wants that especially his priests and bishops to go out into the peripheries. I’m NOT saying that police are actually on the peripheries, even though the media and my interlocutor would present them as being such. Yours truly is a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis. I’m mandated to go out into the peripheries by the Pope. I say all that just to shut people up.

(2) But that’s not good enough. Let’s turn to the greatest of all prophets, Saint John the Baptist. The great Saint John pointed out the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, thus setting the good example for any police chaplain, shielding any police chaplain from the unjust aggression of police-haters. Saint John went out of his way to encourage even the military occupation style of law enforcement of his day so that – get this – so that they might also be saved (see Luke 3:14). Get that? No, really: Get that?

(3) But that’s not good enough for some. So, let’s just go ahead and turn to Jesus’ take on such self-referential, self-absorbed idiocy:

  • “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy (the thief being play-acted by my kind interlocutor above); I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I HAVE OTHER SHEEP THAT DO NOT BELONG TO THIS FOLD. THESE ALSO I MUST LEAD, AND THEY WILL HEAR MY VOICE AND THERE WILL BE ONE FLOCK, ONE SHEPHERD. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” (John 10:10-18)

Again, this is not to say that any officer – because of being a police officer – does not belong to the the sheepfold of the Lord. This statement of our Lord is offered for the sake of my interlocutor, who was challenging me to defend my being a police chaplain. If our Lord Himself wants us all to help each out in getting to know Him  – and He does want that – then there should be no problem whatsoever in being a police chaplain. In that case, being a police chaplain is not inconsistent, contrary, or contradictory with being a parish priest. One’s ministry is not divided by being a police chaplain. This is not a zero-sum game. Our Lord Himself wants all to hear his voice. We all need to help each other in hearing the voice of our Lord so that there may be but one flock, one shepherd. That is His will. Anyone going against the will of the Lord is risking… risking what? You tell me.

Let’s put that a different way:

My interlocutor is saying that we are instead to be so self-righteous that we are not to evangelize, not to proclaim the good news, not to help others get to know Jesus even while these others might already know Him better than we do, that being beside the point, the point being that we, regardless of anything, are to try to help each other get to know Him, Jesus, all the better.

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Truth be told, some of our police officers are so keenly interested in the faith that they speak as do the Fathers of the Church and I am the one learning. Yes. How could it be otherwise? Christ also comes to us through others, whomsoever they may be, for it is the Lord who is working on all souls, having all of us help each other out in getting to know the Lord.

  • Does all that make for better policing? Yes.
  • Does all that make for great evangelization all around? Yes.
  • Does joy and enthusiasm for all that is good and holy and honest and patriotic and honoring of the Constitution of these United States make for a better society? Yes.
  • Does all that build up the Church, the Body of Christ, with Jesus the Head of the Body and we the members of the Body? Yes.

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Finally, again, my interlocutor is a great guy, entirely pro-police, but he’s really, really good at baiting people to reach for excellence on any and every topic. Kudos to him.

There are not zero sum games when it comes to friendship with the Lord. Being a police chaplain in one’s parish does not take away from being a parish priest in that same parish. It is one. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Vocations

Preaching about the Lamb of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yes.

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Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

Steven Crowder: Best ANGRY Pro-Police Rant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus: Pope’s Missionary of Mercy Beach Day on Divine Mercy Sunday

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Yours truly took this picture early Monday morning after sleeping over at the Kure Beach beach house of some good friends to which I arrived at about 12:30 AM Sunday night. I was told to go right in to the second floor of that house (which is up on stilts, of course), and then head up to the third floor, go the end of the hallway, and use the bedroom suit that I will find with pictures of Pope Benedict and Saints John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

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That means that I had to have left the rectory in Andrews, NC, at least some eight hours previously, Sunday afternoon. Indeed, after Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, and while doing up a ride-along with the PD as chaplain, a call came in requesting my presence at the beach. Great! Off I went in Sassy the Subaru.

The picture below is taken from the exact same spot as the picture on the top of this post, just turned to the South. That’s the pier just north of Myrtle Beach, which brings back many memories with mom and dad. We all walked down the pier together some thirty years ago. It would only be a few years later that they would both have passed on. I’m so nostalgic…

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Those good friends? She’s a prosecuting attorney, and he, after a spectacular career in law enforcement, enjoys providing consultation presentations all around the world to assist in strategies for the most difficult logistics in law enforcement and incarceration and parole. He was home because of… of course… the Coronvirus lock down. Here’s what I found on the other side of “my room” for the night:

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Scandalous! Absconding from duty! A priest going to the beach while there is a declared State of Emergency (read the government notice in the top picture)! What about taking care of the Lord’s little flock? What about providing the Last Rites to those in need? And worse, using pious pictures to cover over such cowardice, leaving the flock untended!

There’s always two sides to any story, right? Well, here’s the truth of it:

After these good friends provided me with coffee and scrumptious scrambled eggs early the next morning, after just a few minutes of catching up, the pastoral plan they had hatched with me hours earlier on Divine Mercy Sunday afternoon went into action. My Google Maps feature on the phone was locked in, and away I went to another residence which sports this massive well-done statue out on the road (reminding me of The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark +1965, a book my mom made sure I read so long ago):

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You have to know that the Director of Liturgy in that far away diocese has draconian policies on the provision of sacraments in this time of Coronavirus. This is public knowledge. Horrific. A nightmare for the faithful who want to the sacraments. Some of the reaction of some of the priests of that diocese are less than beneficial. It seems one would not provide the proper sacramental formulae, just saying something invalid for any sacrament, such as Have a nice day. Another just left a message saying he’s unavailable at this time. Another does up sacraments, invalidly, over the phone.

So these great friends of mine called me, who am not quite a 900 mile round trip away. We have a mutual friend, a close friend, who could not find a priest to do what any priest should do, even with him now leaving this life to be on his way to the next. I dropped everything and got there as fast as I could.

Don’t think I’m virtuous in doing that. Not at all. I absolutely love racing about as a Missionary of Mercy, as Jesus’ priest, and doing what any priest should do. I have great neighbors who watch over the house and feed the dogs. I had an absolutely wonderful time racing back and forth at night on pretty much entirely empty highways and entirely empty back roads. Fortunately, it was a day after a fierce rainfall, and the fallen trees had already been pushed out of the way by bigger vehicles than mine:

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That’s on the way back, early Monday afternoon, at the start of the one-lane gravel road up Holy Souls Mountain, though still a few miles from the Holy Souls Hermitage. At the house of the neighbor to the hermitage I picked up fully seven October Beans which had been set aside for me to plant. That’s a lot. I am most grateful. More on that later.

The neighbors there weren’t home and I didn’t need to stick around for more Last Rites. They were at the doctors, which should tell you something in these times of basically zero face-to-face meetings with any medical personnel if at all possible. As it is, all reports of a zillion invasive tests came back with the best outcome possible. No Last Rites – again – were needed. I’m very happy with that. Thank you, Jesus.

Meanwhile, I do have a standing invitation to “go to the beach” any time I want. ;-)

Sometimes, honestly, I think I have way, way, way tooooo much fun as a priest. I’m totally happy watching Jesus be the priest, with me just going along for the ride. :-)

When I got back, I did up some grocery shopping for the elderly health-compromised in the parish, delivered those groceries, also delivering bacon to some good friends that I had picked up on the way back (10 pounds!), and then got back to the rectory once again. It’s now Tuesday morning. How did that happen so quickly? In just a few minutes after I publish this, Father Gordon MacRae is going to call for an hour or so, as I missed the usual Monday morning call. So I better end this here. Glad to be back.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Coronavirus: Criticize priests without need? People won’t go to Confession…

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I heard some very cynical people the other week presenting their views to the world on the internet, you know, when lock-downs were being announced. They were saying that there are priests – OF COURSE! PRIESTS! – who will think of this time as a vacation and go off and enjoy themselves, carefree, happy to forget about their flocks.

Really? A generalization, that? Calumny of a entire class of people, that? It used to be that people would notice ever so many canonized saints severely warning people not to criticize priests unnecessarily. It seems that they are purposely selectively ignoring canonized saints so as to promote a generalized anti-clerical agenda.

The reason canonized saints insisted on not criticizing priests unnecessarily is not any double standard. It seems like it is a double standard, for we are not to criticize anyone unnecessarily. Why make not criticizing priests unnecessarily a thing? Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote at length of fraternal correction, and said that sometimes we have to criticize priests and bishops publicly if they are egregiously publicly leading people astray, etc. Great! But still, why the emphasis by canonized saints on not criticizing priests unnecessarilyThat would be a sin, as it would be for anyone, but more so. Why?

Sin… That brings us to the reason for insisting in a special manner that we are not to criticize priests unnecessarily. If people do that, what do you think the result is going to be? The result will be that people who desperately need to go to Confession will use this unnecessary criticism as their excuse that they cannot go to Confession to such a terrible, horrible priest.

Let me give you an example. Someone came up to me in church a while back (whom I’ve never seen before) and with very dark face and with grave concern told me that I was losing really a lot of weight, and that this was alarming, and that I needed to somehow stay alive.

I mentioned this to someone else who immediately said that, yes, of course, that other person surely thought that I had AIDS, because, you know, I’m a priest and all that. Actually, that was also my thought about what the first person was thinking. I mean, it could be that I have cancer, right? Or, might it just be that I’m ever so happy on my Keto diet?

To the point, with that kind of nuanced gossip going around, how many people who are desirous of integrity and honesty are going to want to go to Confession to me? Probably zero.

For the record, yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Today it’s just over 60 pounds I’ve lost since November 21, 2019. For the record, I don’t have cancer. I don’t have AIDS. And as far as I know, I don’t at all have any Coronavirus. It’s the Keto Diet. I recommend the Keto diet for those who are not diabetic and who have good kidneys and who can and will drink plenty of fluids every day, and who are willing to face the gossipers and all their unnecessary calumny and grave concern. I don’t know if that’s what the first concerned person meant to do, but… whatever the intention, that kind of thing doesn’t help. Not at all. And certainly the seemingly malicious group prejudice of an entire class of people is not good for the Sacrament of Confession.

Having said all that, know that there are plenty of great priests out there and that you can and must go to Confession. Look, even a terrible, bad and evil and even entirely faithless and atheist priest still gives a valid absolution. It’s Jesus who is at work in the working of the sacraments: ex opere operato and all that. That’s what you want, right?

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Those who unnecessarily criticize priests are risking judgment upon themselves for all the people who would have gone to Confession but didn’t based on that unnecessary criticism.

Now, will I be attacked as if I didn’t say “unnecessary,” as if I said never to criticize any priests at all no matter what? Sigh. But, that’s fine. I signed up exactly for this, you know, the beatitudes and all that. I’m good with it, as long as people go to Confession more than ever. And what’s more to say, in this diocese we have great seminarians, and this is exactly what they also signed up for. Bring it on. We’re happy to face the unnecessary criticism for others.

This is not about pleasing others the frantic criticizers.

This is about bringing souls face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Filed under Confession, Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Saints, Vocations

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

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

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

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

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

Any self congratulation is self condemnation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On becoming an old geezer. I like it.

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It’s important to keep a sense of humor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Priestly Celibacy, Jesus, Pachamama BS

crucifix drawing john of the cross

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

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

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

Let’s speak of Jesus:

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

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

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

Having said all that, what does Jesus want?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wherein *The Lion* kills donkey priests

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

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

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

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

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

lion of the tribe of judah

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Donkey priesthood! Padre Pio’s Pauses

Father George's ordination 1-4-1992

28 years ago, yours truly, January 4, 1992, ordination to the priesthood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in a tiny oratory in a town so small that it lost its postal code. Birds singing outside just for those minutes of the actual sacramental ordination and the laying on of hands were almost deafening, as many people remarked at the reception. The other thing people commented on who could see from the oratory choir stalls was that at the formulaic words about the Holy Spirit there couldn’t possibly have been a bigger smile on my face: Jesus has chosen a donkey, crippled and blind and inept on so many levels, a donkey scorned as less than useless, a donkey whom the Lord Himself chose to ride into Jerusalem for His crucifixion, a donkey whose sin also set the occasion by which the Eternal Word now Incarnate of the Father has chosen to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. I would – on my own, without His grace – have chosen hell.

  • “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (John 15:16 nab)

Two moments of pause come to mind from Padre Pio’s life, both of them regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Last Supper and Calvary:

  • One moment of pause I’ve written on previously. In exiting the sacristy to the side of the sanctuary for Mass Padre Pio stopped suddenly, looking as if he were to drop in a faint, obviously caught off guard by a most horrific vision. Asked what it was when regained some strength to speak, he said that the Lord had just showed to him the souls of all priests who were about to offer Holy Mass just at that moment and who were unworthy to do so. I count myself among that group since all priests are unworthy, all of us the worst sinners in whatever we have done, be it impatience, sloth, judgmental and uncharitable attitude in word or deed, whatever… including Pope Benedict’s favorite item for an act of contrition, coming from the psalmist:
    • “Who can detect heedless failings? Cleanse me from my unknown faults.” (Psalm 19:13 nab)
  • The other moment of pause of Padre Pio was at the consecrations at Holy Mass. He would take forever, it seems, to continue. In fact, he was specifically reprimanded for this by those sent from the Holy See to reprimand him. This scene is depicted in the great film Miracle Man. He, of course, was incredulous about their concern for his pause after the consecrations, responding: “But this is Jesus…” I have to say that this unworthy priest always wondered about this pause from the time when I was a seminarian until almost today. It’s just that the other day, I think I may have gotten a glimpse of what I should have known as a seminarian, but because I am a bad and evil priest have not averted to all this time. The prayer is addressing God the Father about Jesus, but then, suddenly, at the words of Institution – This is my body… This is my blood… – one is speaking with the words of Jesus in the first person singular. It only strikes me a bit more now that one is speaking to our dearest Heavenly Father about His dearest Son, and then, freakishly unworthily, reciting the words of His Son right in front of Him, the Father, doing this in Persona Christi, in the Person of Christ. Taking that in – Jesus laying down His life for us then and there – and being with Him in such intimate solidarity, watching Him draw all to Himself with such love… and then, feeling some of the unworthiness, but nothing like it truly is lest we die, having to go back to addressing the Father in view of His Son has just done for us, and also because of my sin… How is that ever possible? How can one just move on so quickly? It’s a matter of forcing oneself. Look, I have no idea about Padre Pio and what he experienced. But I think that this might have something to do with it. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak of such things. Anyone else would say they are ineffable, so that either you know it or you don’t. But I think that we must encourage each other. I think that this must be an encouragement. I say that fully realizing that my fellow priests will think of me as the most know nothing priest ever to have lived. How could I have offered 28 years of Masses and counting and not have known all this from the first day? But, of course, it’s not a matter of knowing such things academically – that’s a given – it’s a matter of – how to put it? -being tolerated to be granted the faintest littlest glimpse of the Living Truth, that is, beyond just academic stuff, more personal. I’m at a loss.

Some people are mystified by my favorite animal being a donkey. There are a thousand reasons, all of them better than the other. It started when I won a Palestinian Donkey in a parish raffle at the parish picnic just hours before went off to the seminary for my very first day of formation. Anyway, I think all priests should be guard donkeys:

DONKEY FOX

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Daily Prayer for Priests

O Almighty Eternal God, look upon the face of Thy Christ, and for the love of Him who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the Enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests, for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.

But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted, and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me, or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly N. O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

IMPRIMATUR
+Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, 6 September 2018

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Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord…

purgatory

The first encounter I had with the the following prayer was when a great priest, that is, a real believer, close to Christ our God, gave me a prayer card with this prayer on the back. I was a pre-first year kind-of-discerning seminarian, right after high school.

  • Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord, keep them, for they are Thine – Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
  • Keep them, for they are in the world, though from the world apart; when earthly pleasures tempt, allure – shelter them in Thy heart.
  • Keep them, and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain, when all their lives of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
  • Keep them, and O remember, Lord, they have no one but Thee, yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
  • Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress; their every thought and word and deed, Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

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Update: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick / PoS Priests & gatekeeper MDs

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Seen from out front of the nursing home late Sunday evening, November 24, 2019, after a day of Adoration, Masses, socials, Communion calls, and nursing homes in various towns and beyond. It’s so cool to be able to take Jesus around His beautiful creation to the members of His little flock He loves so much. I am unworthy, just another PoS. But Jesus is so good and kind. I love being a priest for Jesus, with Jesus.

Update: A priest friend on the other side of the Diocese texted me the following. I asked his permission to put it up. He said yes. So here’s his response to my original post below:

“Read your piece about anointing. It sickens me that priests will make excuses about just doing their job. When I get the call, I go. If there’s even the slightest reason to think someone needs anointing, I do it. I throw in the Apostolic Pardon as well if there’s any whiff of danger of death. In my mind, I will be in more trouble at the judgement for the people I didn’t anoint that I should’ve than the people I did anoint that I shouldn’t have.

“I was talking to a (Protestant) hospital chaplain about a training I want to do for the chaplains around here to help them better understand what priests do and what the sacraments are so they can secure better pastoral care, i.e. by communicating with us better. She says on their end the biggest problem is getting priests to show up, which breaks my heart. There is nothing more important when that call comes in, unless I’m in the middle of Mass.”

You have to know, most priests feel this way. I’m also personally upset about this because Jesus has provided that I meet up with priests who are really idiots when it comes to this Sacrament. I myself have a certain malady which can bring death very quickly, or leave you just barely hanging on to life until it passes. It’s hereditary. I got it from mom, who died from it, as to about 1/3 of people who have it, regardless of any would-be emergency room intervention. The priests either refused to give anoint me (sooooo disheartening) or would be cutesy cutesy and make up their own sacramental words, you know, after praying, anointing with words to the effect of “God is nice. Have a nice day.” Then they would run away (just as disheartening).


Original post:

There are excellent, holy, dedicated, good priests, shepherds who wouldn’t hesitate at all to lay down their lives for the sheep in the face of the wolves. I know heaps of those good priests, so very many of them in my diocese. I rejoice. But once in a while one encounters a PoS priest who will do anything not to do the priest thing. My ire is stirred, indignant for the needs of Jesus’ little flock.

Late last night I got a call requesting, later today, a pastoral intervention in another parish that will require from some hundreds of miles of travel. I won’t say what diocese it’s in. It’s about a doctor scheduling an urgent operation for someone who is, as the hours go by, ever more in extremis, at the extremes of this life, death. When a request was made of the parish priest for Anointing of the Sick, the priest said that the policy is that no Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be provided to anyone whomsoever who does not trundle off to a doctor to get a note saying that such person is a candidate for the Anointing of the Sick. But that’s what the urgently scheduled operation is all about. So, someone direly sick is to make an arduous mountain journey to the in-town doctor – assuming that such appointments could ever be made – so as to get a note, and then make an appointment with the priest. As if whatever doctor (likely not Catholic and possibly atheist) could make a pastoral decision about a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. And all that could take days, or where I am, weeks, months. Well. Four letter expletives come to mind.

Dear priests, listen up. The doctrine of the Church on this is that if a person has an illness which without intervention could possibly lead a person to death, whenever that might be, such a person is already a candidate for this Sacrament. In other words, don’t hesitate. Provide the Sacrament. Bring Jesus’ little flock encouragement, strengthened in good friendship with Jesus. I mean, y’all do know the spiritual benefits of this Sacrament, don’t you?

If there have been abuses of this Sacrament in the past, so what? Are you holding that against the sheep right in front of you? That doesn’t make sense. So, this isn’t about protecting the Sacrament, is it? No. What is it about? Clericalism of the worst kind? That’s for any priest who has such a malicious and insane policy to answer.

Meanwhile, please God, I’ll be able to take care of member of Jesus’ little flock in some hours. And then I’ll see if that policy in that parish can be changed.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta often said that we don’t need more priests. Not at all. We need good, holy priests who are close to Jesus. That’s what she used to say. I agree. Jesus is calling young men to this end.

But everyone: Go to Confession. Pray for good, holy vocations to the priesthood.


My own personal update: The trip to provide this Sacrament, with Holy Communion, was very successful. The person is now under the knife. Yesterday, when I arrived with Jesus, the person was shedding tears, saying saying that this is proof of just how much Jesus loves us. It is such a joy to be a priest, hanging around Jesus, watching Jesus at work. Truly a great joy and consolation.

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