Category Archives: Vocations

03 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Chastity

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

This is the football “Mudbowl” jersey I helped to design for the “philosophers” of the seminary where I was teaching. The “name” at the top is for my own jersey only. I was one of the spiritual directors for the philosophers. Note the fiery sword of the great prophet Elijah!

As we continue our series, we’re still establishing some of definition of the terms. It’s all technical vocabulary. It’s worth the effort. Knowledge is good. Truth has good effects. Know the truth. Set the truth free in your life and you will realize that it it The Truth Himself who has set you free. Let’s talk about chastity:

Chastity— to be chaste, comes from castus, the past participle of carere, which means to [be] cut off. The meaning of “cut” is not in reference to castration[!] but refers to the result of living in a manner contradictory to the fallen ways of the world, keeping the commandments, cut off from the utter stupidity of the world specifically to be in awe before God, especially the priest (see ἁγνός – 1 Timothy 5:22).

“Do not lay hands too readily on anyone [in reference to ordination to the priesthood], and do not share in another’s sins. Keep yourself chaste.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

That term, ἁγνός, refers in its most ancient usage, going back to Sanskrit, to one who is set aside for worship. I find that to be most impressive. However, it our present usage:

Everyone is meant to be chaste, so that begetting children in the married state is living chastely. Chastity is holiness of life in regard to sexual morality. Priests are held up as examples in this regard since people have a sense that priests are to know that they are married to the Church, and are therefore to have the ferocity of spousal self-giving that is faithfulness, and this as a faithfulness in their vocation unto death to themselves so as to live for this Bride of Christ, the Church. What a travesty is bad example!

Christ “married” His Bride, the Church, at the Last Supper, with those ferocious wedding vows said by the priest today in the first person singular, acting in the Person of Christ: This is my body, given for you in sacrifice…. This is the chalice of my blood, poured out for you in sacrifice. This is total self-giving to the other, in this case right through death.

Again, if the priest does not realize that he is married to the Church by the very sacrifice that he offers at daily Mass, then surely he will be lost to all sort of sexual idiocy, at least in his spirit if not otherwise.

The sword here is double-edged. The same sword which would cut the priest off from the stupidity of the world, setting him off for worship, for offering the Sacrifice, is the very same sword which is medicinally cut him off from that worship should he fall into such grievous un-chastity that such a cutting off is merited.

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02 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Continence

holy souls hermitage ad orientem 3

As we begin this series, the definitions might seem a bit pedantic, but even these will start to get rather interesting. Anything really worthwhile takes some effort, right? Bear with these first posts! Our first word to describe is continence, which can have a spiritual sense to it, however physical is seems.

Continence — from continentia and continere, means to contain. In its most graphic sense, this refers to the proper containment of sexual behavior, but not at all to the repression of untoward sexual behavior (which repression, as mere repression, is always evil, for mere repression fails to correct problems and is only escapism).

So speak of continent sexual behavior is open to the understanding that one who is continent or contained enjoys a lively peace of soul in that, by grace, he is contained in God, “hidden with Christ in God” as Saint Paul says, happy to walk in God’s presence. To put it another way, when speaking of “containing”, one recalls this from Saint Paul (2 Corinthians 4:5-7):

“We do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.”

Other passages from Saint Paul come to mind:

“Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Or how about this one…

“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

One will sometimes read the phrase perpetual continence as referring to the result of undertaking a promise or vow of chastity, so that the application of the word refers to not getting married and having children.

When understood with the nexus virtutum in the Thomistic sense, continence, in reference to temperance, can be said to be a virtue. John Paul II speaks of the “imperative of self-control,” bringing one to “the necessity of immediate continence and of habitual temperance” (27 Oct and 4 Nov, 1984).

Biblically, priests who are incontinent deserve death, such as Hophni and Phinehas, the ever so truly evil sons of Eli, who spent their priesthood raping the women at the entrance of the temple (1 Samuel 2,22).

This description of continence may bring up more questions, and that’s good. The series continues.

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00 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Intro

wedding of cana mosaic lourdes rosary basilica doors

Some fifteen years ago I wrote a series of handouts for my seminarian students at Good Shepherd Seminary of the Archdiocese of Sydney on Priestly Celibacy. I was invited by the Rector, now an Archbishop elsewhere, to provide something, anything to the seminarians so as to – in his words – inoculate them against the horror they would be getting at the filthy liberal Catholic Institute of Sydney. One of the Cardinal’s advisers asked the Cardinal why he didn’t have me teach right at the Institute, and the Cardinal’s response was that he would have to replace the entire administration and faculty if I were to go there. The response to that is that’s exactly what he should do. ;-)

Anyway, this series will include much of what I gave to the seminarians back then – which was post 2002 mind you – as well as some new material.

It’s obvious to all and sundry that hardly anyone of any standing in the church in the world has any kind of grasp of the issues at hand. Most all seminaries have zero clue how to provide “human formation”. Bishops won’t permit seminarians to formed according to the teaching of the Church, according to natural law. The fraudulence is coming from the top down, hardly the other way.

Let’s not be afraid of reason. Let’s not be afraid of faith. Let’s not be afraid of Jesus. Let’s not be afraid to fix what’s busted. Let’s attack CYA tactics by telling the truth of the glory of what God our Creator has created and how it is that He redeems us, saves us, and draws priests into the Sacred Mysteries. Instead of just reacting to stuff, let’s put something out there that positive, which presents solutions by presenting the fullness of Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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FBI Pistol Instructor re-qualification course: first time for this priest

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You can’t practice what I’m guessing is the FBI Firearms Instructor Pistol re-qualification course at an indoor range what with all the running and jumping around, so it’s away to the great outdoors where one appreciates the beauty of God’s creation. And that’s all part of it, btw, and all the more for those who are in deadly situations every day. The integrity of knowing how to be safe with some tools of self-defense is consistent with the integrity of walking in God’s presence.

The hermitage gun range is stretched up a super-steep pathway – at about 3,000 ft up, close to heaven, if you will – with the only kind-of-flat place being the starting firing line (used in this case for the first stage only), the rest of the path/course being as steep as 38º. But I won’t allow myself extra time for the parts where one is supposed to run, in this case climb, even with my middle-aged-ness kicking in. Real situations don’t allow for extra time. I’m told that shooting up-hill is more difficult. Good.

Here’s a downloadable graphic presenting in my own shorthand what I’m guessing is the briefest of re-qualification courses for FBI Firearms Instructors. This is only part of what they do, excluding the drive-by shooting scenarios, the “kill-house” scenarios, the pop-up discern bad-guy from good-guy exercises, etc. You can copy the graphic of this most basic part of the course below and fit two of them on one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper. The timings are very generous.

FBI Tactical Pistol Instructor Course

If there are any mistakes with that, let me know. It’s a point per bullet. But I don’t know if a “hit” refers only to entirely inside the line of the QIT inside bottle or the whole “body.”

I only briefly researched this once like a year ago. I tried to verify it just now. There’s a lot of BS on-line. For instance, the entire first stage above is, from my research, to be done continuously in a total of 75 seconds or less. One guy put up four minutes for the first stage. That can’t be right. My times – which I thought were really slow, even for a first attempt, and not having practiced for a good while – came in at about 60 seconds. I mean, the entire course shouldn’t take but two minutes shooting time max, which, as I say, is already very generous. Of course, if you’re not changing out the target, you’ll still have to stop to count hits and mark out already fired shots after each stage.

Btw, I use not-foreseen-for-this-course Glock 19 Gen 4 that was refurbished by Glock down in Smyna, GA. With that, I use the absolutely forbidden ultra-evil never-to-be-used Blackhawk Serpa (it has a dangerous trigger-finger unlock for the holster). It’s just that it’s safe for everyday carry as it’s almost impossible for a bad-guy to take the gun. Any suggestions are welcome for an alternative OWB holster that’s similarly close to the body (which excludes pretty much all LEO holsters).

Previously, I’ve tried my own makeshift running courses – like running by a small target [paper plate] some seven yards away while shooting with whatever hand – but this is the first time I’ve done an “official” tactical pistol course involving running, or going from prone to a knee to standing, back to a knee, amid combat reloads and after that more running. The extra activity is done for the sake of getting the adrenaline going, and to make for a more realistic exercise. Great.

But perhaps I should combine the courses I’ve been doing, like the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal TPC (the timings for which are hilarious for me, as they are two and three times quicker than the FBI instructor course), and what I know of the SEALs TPC (even quicker), as well as a few exercises of my own, like shooting a suspended wobbly stake in half. Even direct hits with target ammo won’t snap it. It’s gotta be hit many times in the same place:

It’s not a sin to have some innocent fun that is also useful in real life. As I say, I’ve already had to draw up on a carjacker who had just robbed everyone at a rest stop and wanted a get away car. I had a police officer in desperate straits as a passenger. I was bringing him to the hospital for major surgery for an almost fully ripped-off arm at the shoulder. He was already helpless besides that as he was still suffering from a broken back because of one of the traffic stops he had made in the past. This cop in my passenger seat desperately said that this was a car-jacking. What was I supposed to do, let him be kidnapped, become a hostage (because he’s a cop) and perhaps be murdered? I support our LEOs! Surely saving the life of a cop and otherwise protecting a cop from grave injury isn’t an unseemly activity for a priest, is it?

Thankfully, at that very nanosecond, another LEO screeched to a stop in front of the robber, now would-be carjacker, kidnapper, hostage-taker guy. Then eight more cruisers joined that cop within seconds, and how many more from the other direction I don’t know as the first cop let us go as other cops joined in the apprehension.

If I write such things, it’s to demonstrate that priests are people too. It’s good for priests to know that they are human beings. And good for other people to know that priests are human beings. Just because of my background, this is my way of having fun. But it comes with a price – enjoyable – of keeping sharp, a bit edgy, well-practiced. I was happy for a day off. And, yes, lots of prayers were said too.

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Homily 2019 01 20 Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. John 2:4. *The* Wedding. Priests are married.

wedding of cana mosaic lourdes rosary basilica doors

These are the massive central portals to the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes, in front of which the candlelight rosary procession is led nightly in Lourdes, France. The artist attempts to get us to understand that the two scenes are one by distributing the jars of water now turned to wine at the Wedding in Cana on both sets of doors. He also has us pointed to where the real “Wine” is to be had, as well as Mary’s solidarity with Jesus at His Hour, where she is to intercede for us in the redemption of the image of God, as Genesis has it, one man and one woman for marriage and family.

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου (John 2:4).

  • Mary’s statement: “They have no wine.”

After all, we have to celebrate the image of God as to be found in marriage and the family when the Redeemer of the image of God within us is present. All the Sacred Scriptures point to this. She, who is the Mother of the Redeemer of Genesis 3:15, knows she can go to her Son who is set for the rise and downfall of many in Israel, He who is the Light unto the Nations.

  • Jesus’ title for His mom: “Woman”

Some think that this is an insult. Since when is being a woman an insult?! Anyway, this is the epic title of the Woman in Genesis 3:15, the War Hero over against Satan, and the Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, the War Hero by way of her maternity of “her Seed.”

Then we see the Woman below the cross who, already having given birth to the Head of the Body, Jesus, becomes mother also to the members of the Body, that is, by way of her perfect intercession for us under the cross, with all the “birth pangs” as it were that that entails. This is when all of hell is broken out. This is when she is successful in the battle with her Seed, her Divine Son, Jesus, who crushes the power of Satan over us and is crushed in His human nature for us.

Then we see the Woman in the Apocalypse, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under he feet, and crowned with twelve starts, she, again, depicted as victor over Satan by way of her maternity.

For Mary to be entitled Woman is not an insult!

  • Jesus’ question: “What is that to me and to you?”

That question refers to both Jesus’ good mom and Jesus. Jesus wants to draw out the truths that are taking place. The Vulgate gets it exactly right: “Quid mihi et tibi est?” “What is that to me and to you?” It’s a real question, seeking the deeper truths to be spoken publicly. Great!

The Holy Spirit inspired the words to be the way they are. If we rewrite the Scriptures, bad things happen. Thus:

The Catholic NAB translates this if not with true malice, then with sheer incompetence: “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” That makes it sound like Mary just wants more alcohol for everyone, and that Jesus couldn’t give a hoot about anyone there, so that He wants to point out her stupidity publicly.

The KJV is even worse: “What have I to do with thee?” It’s like these rebels are having Jesus disowning His mother. That’s bad, really evil.

One of the Spanish translations simply has “déjame,” “Let me take care of it” (which leaves Mary out of it altogether. No good, that. And that’s only if we give it the far-fetched best sense, which would otherwise be: “Leave me alone!” Sigh… The Lectionary version we had was this: “¿Qué podemos hacer tú y yo?” That puts way too much emphasis on stuff to do instead of what the real question was about, namely, the explication of the deeper realities at hand.

  • Jesus’ hint for the answer: “My hour is not yet arrived.”

His Hour is when He is on the Cross on Calvary when all hell is broken out and the battle is on, when Mary’s hour of intercession for us is to be in full operation.

Let’s do the analogy: Cana has a wedding banquet. The Last Supper is Jesus’ wedding banquet. His vows refer to the epic battle for our souls mentioned above: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice.

If Jesus wants Mary to make the realities of our salvation more apparent by this question, if Jesus wants to point out that we are to celebrate such a marriage at Cana because Jesus is set to redeem all marriage and the image of God within us by way of His own marriage with His Bride the Church at the Last Supper and then on the Cross, then we understand Mary’s “response.” She simply has to turn and say to the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”

We priests and bishops MUST understand this, that we are married to the Church by way of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer, by way of the wedding vows that we recite in the first person singular: This is my body… my blood. And we have to be just that ready instantly to lay down our lives for the flock just as Jesus, that is, by way of the love and truth and goodness and kindness of Jesus granted with sanctifying grace.

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27 years a priest in a time of abuse, happy to remain a priest. Why?

Today’s the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Ordination doesn’t refer to “orders given” as even some Catholics say today in such de-sacramentalizing, democratic fashion as if a mere commissioning given by a commission was ever sufficient, as if a degree and certificate saying “ordained” was actually something, like a graduation, a rite of passage. No.

The Sacrament of Orders refers to how the person himself, ontologically, is ordered, structured, fit to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, so that the priest might act in Persona Christi, in the Person of Christ, or perhaps better, so that the Person of Christ might act in the priest, accomplishing His sacraments, His priesthood through His merely human priest, regardless of whether or not that human priest is worthy, or even a believer of any kind. There’s really only One Priest: Christ Jesus. Holy Orders is not about putting the priest on a pedestal, but rather about smashing him down so that he is all about and only about Jesus alone.

Yours truly, 4 January 1992, ordained a Catholic priest. All except one other has already passed away in this picture.

Holy Orders is about the One Priest, Christ Jesus. It is Jesus who consecrates at the Last Supper; it is Jesus who forgives sin. Just as mysterious as we becoming members of the Body of Christ as Saint Paul puts it, so does Jesus take up mere men to accomplish His own priesthood. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus marries His Bride, the Church, by way of His wedding vows at Mass, the Last Supper, that Wedding Feast of the Lamb: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. The mere human priest recites those words, those vows in the first person singular and is himself thereby married to the Church by the sacrifice that he offers, and should thereby be willing to lay down his life for the flock as much as Jesus. But this is Jesus’ wedding with His Bride the Church by which He redeems the image of God within us.

How dare anyone say that priests are not married! It is that ignorance and malice and hatred for Jesus and His priests which has brought us the crisis we are in. People think they are nice in wishing that priests could get married, but this is really quite demonic. Listen up! If we priests don’t know that we are married to the Church, that we are to be fathers of the family of faith, what do you think is going to happen in living a lie that one is just a secular administrator, a functionary, and is not otherwise married for no discernible reason? The fruit of any marriage, children, will be attacked. It’s clockwork. Either everything that the priest is is given over to the priesthood of Jesus Christ – whose Priesthood is established by the vows of His own being married to His Bride the Church – or that priest will be a detriment to the salvation of himself and others. Period.

The priesthood of Jesus is all about re-establishing the image of God within us, and as Genesis says, this is a one-man, one-woman marriage and family image of God. Jesus has the right to marry His Bride the Church, that is, to redeem us, fill us with the life of God, eternal life, sanctifying grace, because He has, at the Last Supper and Calvary, laid down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty. That re-establishment of the image of God within us by way of that marriage must respect the one-man, one woman for marriage and the family structure of creation in the sacrament of Holy Orders. Women priests would be a sterile, lesbian, monstrous image, a mockery of Jesus’ marriage with His Bride the Church, a mockery of redemption and salvation, a blasphemy. Even if one goes through a ritual and says the words of ordination, a woman cannot ontologically be ordained. That’s the way marriage works. It’s not unfair. It is what it is.

Does that mean that I think I’m worthy to be a priest because I’m a man? Pfft. No! And any priest who does think that is a danger to himself and others. Without Jesus I know that I could commit any sin anywhere at any time for any or no reason, given whatever wildly varying circumstances and history of life. I don’t have all those varying circumstances or histories of life – nor do any of us – and so it would be psychologically quite impossible at the drop of a hat to do this or that monstrous thing even if lacking the grace and friendship of Jesus. Fine. But lack of monstrous actions doesn’t justify. I know that fallen humanity is such that we do need redemption and salvation and that nice circumstances don’t save and that anyone self-congratulating themselves for their own niceness has already granted themselves a licence to sin in whatever way, even in the most monstrous ways. Are there specious motives for a man to become a priest, like running from a past from which he wishes to emancipate himself by pretending to be holy? Sure. But that doesn’t mean all priests have done that or are doing that. We need to know that we are already married, married to the Church by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer daily. That changes everything. No false celibacy. No loneliness. A robust spiritual life in which the priest is nothing and Jesus is all.

Priests should know more than anyone what all of sin and all of redemption looks like. Priests should have the perspective of being high on the cross where Jesus is drawing all to Himself, across Calvary, through all of hell, starting with us when we are yet sinners. Priests should see all the breadth and width and depth of hell and our need for redemption because of noting the breadth and width and depth of the mercy founded on justice that Jesus came to bring to us, from the cross, from the fulfillment of the wedding vows of the Last Supper, the Mass, that the priest celebrates daily, like any other day. It’s just that that day, today, this very day, is Dies Domini, the Day of the Lord, which stretches from Creation until the end of the world, until there is a New Heavens and a New Earth. Priests should see, because of seeing all the rest of this, that they are the most unworthy of all.

Rant. Rant. Rant. For some, the question is this:

“Hey, Father George, you seem like a nice guy. So, like, why don’t you leave the priesthood in view of all this abuse stuff we hear about? Don’t you get sick of people cat-calling and being dismissive and calling you a pedophile just because you’ve been ordained a priest?”

Actually, that monstrousness of bad priests attacking the fruit of marriage, children, is symbolic of precisely why we need holy priests for the One Priesthood of Jesus, that is, to go against the sin, to weed out those who would be so monstrous. You don’t help the Church by leaving the Church. You stay. You fight. You suffer. It’s just that serious. Serious enough not to abandon the flock. Jesus was ripped to shreds, tortured to death on the cross. As the Master, so the disciple. Just because some idiot does an unthinkably monstrous deed doesn’t mean everyone is like that. We priests need to man up and fight the good fight, keeping up with Confession ourselves, being fit instruments of Jesus, because we are nothing and He’s everything. It shows our thanksgiving to Jesus to stay. If I can keep up with Confession and help other priests to keep up with Confession, well then, I think I’ve done something as Jesus’ instrument for the Church and the world. I remember a bishop who gave us Missionaries of Mercy a talk and a talking to, as it were, over in Rome, introducing himself as a sinner since the year he was ordained, and for a long time before that. Good for him to recognize it and encourage us all to participate in the Sacrament of Confession frequently, you know, for sins of thought and mind and deed and… oh my… of omission

just me pontifical family

The Joke Picture. It’s real. But purely a Joke. Hahaha.

As the now sainted Mother Teresa often said, we don’t need more priests; we need holy priests. Indeed. We need priests who know they are married to the Church. We need priests who know that they are fathers of the family of faith. We need priests who know that they are totally unworthy and are utterly dependent on Jesus, the One Priest. We need priests who go to Confession. We need priests who won’t run away because the wolf says: “Boo!” We need priests who have a love within them provided by Jesus that is stronger than death, stronger than mockery, stronger than slander. We need priests of the horrifying exhilarating life of the beatitudes: Blessed are you when…

Am I happy to be a priest even today? Oh yes. Especially today. When all of hell has broken out. I want to be where Jesus is: In the midst of this hell so as to grab souls for heaven. Today I offer Mass wherein the One Priest lays down His life for us, as unworthy as we all are. Yes, I’m always happy for one more day as a priest, as Jesus’ priest, a day like any other day in the One Day of the Lord, the One Worthy Priest using the likes of me, such as I am, utterly nothing and worse than that so that He might show us all the more stridently His wisdom in having such priests as me and my fellow priests who I know to be dedicated to Him. He can use even me! Even us! All glory to God for His wondrous mercies. As Jesus said to Saint Paul: “My strength shines out through your weakness. My grace is sufficient for you.” Yes, Lord. Thank you.

As it is, I’m having a great time at this stage in my priesthood taking Jesus through these back mountains to parishioners. Jesus’ creation is gorgeous:

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As I think back on the 27 years, some of the best times, were of course, at Holy Souls Hermitage when I was writing about the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of the Redeemer, in Genesis 3:15. Long time readers from way back in those days will remember the different scenes:

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“Hold on, please! They’re coming!”

kristallnacht

Apologies for making an analogy with Kristallnacht and the Shoah. It’s just that, honestly, this is what popped into my mind this morning when on the phone with Father Gordon, who’s in prison. The guards were coming to do count. When this happens, almost daily while we’re on the phone, Father Gordon J MacRae (ABOUT) says:

“Hold on, please! They’re coming!”

He then has to run out and stand in line and get counted. Big deal, right? I’ve heard him say this thousands of times over the years. But this time it was different. For me, it was electrifying: “They’re coming!” Honesty, the Nazi murderers coming to kill came to mind.

I mentioned this to Father Gordon just a few minutes ago when he got back on the phone, and then told him of a step even further that that. It struck me that this murderous analogy is not only what he himself meant to convey, but that he meant something even further. It came to mind that the “Hold on!” referred to just wait until we’re both in heaven, momentarily, and then we’ll pick up on this conversation where we left off…” as if to say, “Big deal about getting murdered; who cares about that if we have the Lord’s life within us, a life which is stronger than death?”

Father Gordon, becoming quiet for a moment, then responded to say that he can’t really speak about this, but, he said ever so reflectively, “The analogy is not totally improper.”

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Adoration on the Vigil of Immaculate Conception: record numbers, again.

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While the world goes crazy, ripped in this direction and that, there are those who are stably before our Lord Jesus. Mary does that for us, leading us to her Son. Meanwhile, there are a zillion Confessions during adoration. This is when I am most happy as a priest and it very much strikes me that I am living out the fatherhood of priesthood, being a father of the parish family. Meanwhile, during these dark times, from round about this region, there are a number of men who are expressing interest in being candidates to be seminarians for Charlotte Diocese.

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Suspect *because of* being a priest yet having been a victim

I remember a time some ten years ago when I met some priest friends for the first time in something like 13 or 15 years. They were friends, so I spent some time with them catching up. They were by anyone’s reckoning, “traditionalists”. Whatever, they were my friends I refused to sneak about and hide in order to speak to them. I did so openly, and got smashed down for it. It was said that now, I too, was suspect, since, bluster, bluster, bluster, I had been seen speaking with them! I had no idea, having been overseas for so many years, that things had disintegrated so badly in these USA. Anyway, I figured I would get some spiritual direction about it from yet another priest, and I was again smacked down by my superiors, and this time it was demanded that I reveal what the conversation was about with my stateside spiritual director. I protested that it was spiritual direction and so was privileged, and so I wouldn’t say. That was the end of me.

Years later, in speaking with another ecclesiastical superior who I think is a saint about all this, I could tell he was interested in what the conversation with the spiritual director was about as well, though he told me not to say anything if I didn’t want to. I said that, actually, it’s pretty humorous. The discussion of the spiritual direction was about how to deal with ecclesiastical superiors who want to know about one’s spiritual direction! He roared with laughter. Hahaha.

Anyway, it is pretty tough being a priest these days, as many treat priests as being guilty by association with priests who are guilty or not, as that isn’t known, as no due process is allowed, what with the accusation itself being the proof of whatever crime. Really? Yep. That makes the bishops into heroes, you know, the same old abuse of power so as to do the self-worship thing by which all the abuse came about to begin with.

Meanwhile, what if you were to have a priest who is – ooo! suspect for being a priest! – who is totally disgusted with such abuse, who was himself abused as a kid? Pretty tough, that. I’ve written at length about my own experiences as an unwitting kiddy porn star in what is surely still by far the largest kiddy porn operation ever wrought anywhere at any time to date – as this lasted for years in multiple junior high schools on a massive scale.

Oh, I should add here that the story of speaking with traditionalist priests wasn’t the only thing that made me suspect. I was also loudly claimed to be a priest who abuses kids because, get this, because I also offer what is called the Tridentine Mass, the Old Mass, the Latin Mass, the 1962 Mass, the Traditional Mass, and that Mass – it was said – was in and of itself abusive to any kids present with their families as they would also witness adherence to the Truth of our Redemption, which was said to be passé, overwith, done, a thing of the past, of history, it being a disservice then to celebrate the Mass of the Ages, an abuse of kids and everyone else.

So, the Mass of the Ages = abuse. I see. I’M GUILTY!

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You are a donkey but you carry Christ

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“Asinus es, sed Christum portas.”Saint Augustine

The Palestinian donkey above, near the hermitage yesterday, guards the herds from predators, as donkeys do. He sports the Cross of Christ well.

I should always like to be the guard-donkey priest that carries Christ, The Priest.

DONKEY FOX

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Poetry by six year old Gordon J MacRae

scot beer

Father Gordon J MacRae, troublemaker that he is, since he was a six year old, composed and broadcast this poem out loud, before God and everyone:

Isn’t it nice that we have faces
They contain my favorite places
Eyes to see
Ears to hear
Nose to smell and
Mouth for beer

Wow. At six years old! I love it.

It’s reminiscent of SCOTUS Justice Brett Michael Kavanaugh’s love for beer. ;-)

BTW, there’s no yearbook for six year olds, nor any Senate Committee by which he might defend his reputation against, say, Voice of the “Faithful.”

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Ensuring Low Mass rubrical precision at diocesan priests’ retreat with a Glock

Some practice altars were set up to refresh the exactness of rubrics of the guys for low Mass.

It’s surprising who was assisted on this or that point. It’s always good to have other sets of eyes for that which is important.

When teaching a seminarian the low Mass back in 2010, he was cautioned that should he mess up on this or that rubric he might hear a gun get racked in the congregation as a warning to stay awake. There are those who get apoplectic with an honest mistake. When he made a mistake I would imitate the sound of a gun being racked. There was laughter all around.

He’s now a priest. He was with us sharpening up his rubrical precision. Upon a miniscule mistake I tapped my holster… click… to laughter… bringing things full circle.

One of the vicar foranes of the diocese, himself expert with guns, asked for the Glock and – ensuring it was empty of any possible magazine and any possible chambered round – waited for the next small slip up so as repeatedly to make the tell-tale racking sound with the slide multiple times, again to the laughter of all.

A good time was had by all. Newly scheduled low Masses are being added around the diocese. I love this diocese.

By the way and just to say, I once asked an FSSP priest if any of their members would make a breathless correction if anyone made an honest mistake. He said never. Not in the seminary. Not after ordination. Breathlessness is only for those who don’t know Jesus.

To the point:

  • All things liturgical are NOT about all things liturgical.
  • All things liturgical are about Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, He who is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

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Ultra-clericalistic notes on the retreat. Mysterium tremendum et fascinans.

img_20181009_204643232~26310944525712038803..jpgI don’t drink at all. Because I carry. But, hey! I’m on retreat. I was still wanting to celebrate the *Justice*. So I Kaved in, so to speak.

Meanwhile, as I listen to stories of my fellow priests and share a few of my own, I am heartened at what a great diocese we have here in Charlotte. There are so many good and holy priests. Such good laity. A good and holy bishop who prays for us, has time for us. I had an hour and forty minutes with him the other day.

Our retreat director, a church history prof and a student of all things Ratzinger, is hitting all the right notes. I’ve heard only good reactions.

Meanwhile, there is all the right sort of clericalism going on, you know, besides talking shop, lots of adoration and getting guys up to speed on the Low Mass[!] For instance, tonight, before confessions, we have a super-clericalized meal planned: massive steaks, baked potatoes, wine (I might have to Kave in again).

And before us all in all this is what the retreat director has been putting before us:

Mysterium tremendum et fascinans.

When’s the last time you’ve been on a good spiritual retreat? With Confessions, Adoration, no apologies for being Catholic?

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Homily 2018 10 04 Lambs and wolves

wolf angry

Wolves are scary. As a youngster I remember walking back home from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the parish for miles along a forest gravel road in the north woods of Minnesota and about halfway I heard what could only have been a wolf (LOUD!) obviously with rabies screaming and crying and shrieking and hoooowling and hooowling as it traveled parallel to me, instigating me to ask my guardian angel that I be invisible in every way to that wolf so that I might get home safe.

Jesus said that He would be sending out his disciples as lambs in the midst of wolves. So what are we to think about that? Wolves would nip at a hoof of lamb and toss it spinning into the air, bleating helplessly. They would then each take a hoof and the nose and pull it apart, gorging themselves.

Question: How do we prepare for such encounters? Disguise oneself as a wolf? Be all tactically prepared, as if that would save us analogously from the spiritual pitfalls associated after original sin with the world, the flesh and the devil?

Answer: Just be the lamb to whom Jesus provides a love stronger than any pitfalls, a love stronger than death. I want to go to heaven. That‘s what’s important. How about you?

Be the lamb!

And be that lamb in the midst of the wolves!

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Adoration, Confession, Peter’s Keys

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Our weekly Sunday morning holy hours 6:00-7:00 AM at Holy Redeemer sometimes have a quiet moment or two, during one of which I took this picture. We have the rosary or a chaplet, lauds, chants. After exposition, to make sure we have some quiet, I stay on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament for the first ten minutes. But after that, I go back to the Confessional. I mean, people kneeling before our Lord makes for a busy confessional. Always so very inspiring, making any priest, even me, happy to be one with Jesus in His priesthood.

I would just like to point out the bit of yellow that you see through the window on the outside of the door. That’s the flag of the Holy See, the Papal Flag. We have to remember, do we not, that the Holy Father, whatever anyone might think about him, whatever Jesus might think about him, still has the power of keys, still delegates such powers with the apostolic mandate of bishops, who still sub-delegate that to the priests.

I make no apologies for being in solidarity with the Bishop of Rome – the most attacked-by-Satan bishop in the world – praying for him. I always mention him during Mass (not all do, you know), and at the end of the intercessions, the bidding prayers. I mean, I have cloistered nuns who pray for my wretched soul. When I complain to them that they are getting me in trouble with all those prayers because Jesus will ask me what I actually did with all those graces, they instantly say that such trouble with Jesus is alright since – “Look at it this way” they say – just think of where you would have been if we weren’t praying for you at all. Oh my.

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Our Courageous Seminarians: Happy to be called to the hell of Calvary in solidarity with Jesus. Beatitude!

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So many! Might you pray in solidarity with them as they follow our Lord’s call even while all of hell is unleashed? Here, then, is the prayer:

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In the midst of the present crisis we’re trying to do right by our Lord Jesus, building our own seminary to do this.

All our big donors for the seminary – who do their research – have said that things have changed because of the present crisis, saying that because of all the horrible news and the lackadaisical attitude to be found pretty much everywhere about faith and morals, from seminaries to priests to bishops all the way to Rome, they have changed their minds on their big donations.

Instead of donating what they promised, because, they said, we’re trying our best to do the right thing in every way, they are all going to double their donations. That means, from $500,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 for one donor, and so it went with the others.

Here in the diocese of Charlotte, we’re doubling down, entrenching with our Lord Jesus. More attendance at Mass. More Confessions. More Adoration. More vocations. And after that, more vocations again.

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Speaking against priests retirement assessment and what happened then

DONKEY FOX

Donkeys are often the Shepherds of Sheep because they kill the wolves.

This past weekend we started taking up a second collection for priests retirement, which is an obligatory assessment proportionally burdening parishes as stipulated by the “central administration” of Charlotte Diocese.

I told everyone that I totally DISagree with this collection as it should be totally unnecessary. “Just my opinion,” I said, “but I don’t think priests should ever retire. I think they should be martyrs.” My “tone” was that of encouragement for priests.

Of course there was laughter with that statement as I had preached rather ferociously about the present crisis. The laughter means that they agreed. ;-) But, of course, they know that such a grace is up to our Lord’s providence, so they contributed with generosity to the retirement fund. Priests are humbled with this lay led shepherding of the older donkeys shepherds.

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Knotted nylon rosaries for priests? Update: Encouragement for priests!

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This was made for me by a seminarian at a seminary where I was teaching a while back. He added the miraculous medal. He’s now a priest after the Heart of our Lord. I added the medal of Saint Benedict (gift from a cloistered Benedictine nun who prays for me).

I really like unbreakable rosaries as I’ve broken all other “unbreakable” rosaries. Also, I guess it’s the nylon, it doesn’t twist up into unknottable knots. Perhaps it carries the blessing of Our Lady Undoer of Knots. Anyway, I love everything about it.

To the point: A priest friend noted my EDC mention of this rosary and wondered where he could get one. I’m going to be brave and ask if anyone knows how to make such things and wouldn’t mind making such a rosary for a priest. Note the color! Note that the “Our Father” knots about twice as many twists as the “Hail Mary” knots. Don’t worry about medals. Priests know how to add their favorite medals or crucifixes.

I mean, we want to support good prayer of our priests, right? Even priests can be saints. Difficult to imagine that, I know, but it’s true. We need to help each other get to know Jesus through Mary all the more all the time. But if we can’t attempt such a rosary, perhaps a Hail Mary for him and all priests would be awesome: Hail Mary…

Update: We have a promise of a rosary or even a few coming up in a few days. This is great encouragement for us priests from the laity. This is much needed these days. So, thanks especially for that. In fact, this is what I’m sensing: the Holy Spirit is firing up the Mystical Body of Christ, more Mass attendance, more Adoration, more Confession, more personal support and encouragement. All priests thus encouraged are most thankful.

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Perfecting EDCC for priests: “car carry”

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EDCC (every day car carry) for a priest should include rituals new and old with useful quick reference pages for emergencies at the moment of death. I have a standing permission from the bishop to do house blessings as exorcisms of a place as long as it’s within the territory of my parish, which is gargantuan geographically, and also for elsewhere as long as the parish priest of that parish is good with it. Holy Water with the old blessings / exorcisms is a must not only for blessings and exorcisms but also for emergency baptisms, for the blessings of graves at burials.

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An epi-pen is a regular for the EDCC, as is THE EXTRACTOR. You can get one SAWYERs EXTRACTORs on Amazon for like 12 bucks. It’s a reverse syringe, so that pressing the plunger make for suction. There are different size cups depending on the kind of wound or snake bite. There are so many brown recluse spiders and timber rattlers round about, not to mention yellow jackets and such. This is extremely powerful, much better than anything else I’ve ever seen. I’ve used it really a lot, enough to wear one out, and these are heavy duty. I guess I either look for trouble or trouble searches me out.

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This rides around with me for any eventuality… as does this:

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A fire extinguisher? It’s pretty small, fitting into the passenger door bottle holder. I guess the reason is past experience with an el-cheapo car, which was leaking gasoline onto the red hot headers, so much so quickly that the gasoline was cooling the headers. I mentioned that I smelled gas to a truck driver and he took a look and said that I had a really good guardian angel, because there’s absolutely no way that a fire shouldn’t have immediately engulfed the whole car right through the so-called firewall. And here I had been driving around like that for quite a while. That was years ago.

On the floor of the back seat there’s all that’s needed for the day-off target practice…

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Perfecting EDC for a priest

[…]

Starting with the lower left moving clockwise, not on the belt:

  • Unbreakable nylon rope knotted rosary with miraculous and St Benedict medals.
  • Purple stole for Confession and sacraments and sacramentals like exorcism.
  • Hospital I.D.
  • Bait wallet with a dollar bill and fake credit cards etc. I’ve been shaken down before. Not a pleasant experience. But I don’t want to be hamstrung without the contents of my real wallet. If this works until you can exit the scene, great. If not, it buys you precious seconds to put another plan into action.

Inside the belt also not carried on the belt (left to right):

  • Oleum Infirmorum (unseen: personal medicines)
  • Voice recorder, for when I can’t take notes but have to remember something, also for homilies at whatever of the churches on whatever day.
  • Pen, which goes on the shoulder pen pocket.
  • El-cheapo watch that no one would want to steal or be envious about.
  • Real wallet, which includes medical cards, credit cards, drivers licence, gun permit, car insurance and registration, USCCA insurance (I can’t recommend this more), enough cash for rubbish food if on the road way too long on any day, and for ammo for the days off.
  • Phone which also contains all medical indications such as conditions and meds taken and those that are essential and why and counter-indications for whatever might be done in an emergency situation.

Lower right corner:

  • Scapular of Mount Carmel (I have a super long and wild history with this). This goes  over the undershirt and under the 5-11 shirt.
  • Pyx from Lourdes given to all permanent chaplains by UNITALSI. Of course, I only have this when I’m carrying the blessed Sacrament. It hangs around the neck but the Pyx is placed deep in a very useful 5-11 shirt cargo pocket over the heart. Ritual books can also fit in these huge cargo pockets when visiting hospitals, rehabs, nursing homes, shut-ins. The 5-11 tactical shirts are the best clergy shirts I know.

On the belt, starting with the handgun:

  • Glock 19 Gen 4 with no backstrap, no Hogue grip, with tritium sights installed in Smyrna (this is something I’ve had to bring to the fore for real a number of times). I’m guessing I’m one of the most shot at priests. Nothing has ever connected. All it takes is once. Many have suffered that and are on their way… For them: Hail Mary… The Glock is chambered with 15 in the magazine. These are defensive rounds. The Glock is carried appendix, but outside which makes it possible. I don’t even know it’s there even after all-day carry, which is, in fact, all day, every day.
  • Keys by the zillions, which hang from the Serpa Blackhawk, the dreaded, hated, dangerous holster which I love to pieces as an aggressor simply cannot defeat it’s locking mechanism, but which is, relatively speaking, zero problem for the carrier.
  • Tourniquet. This is not just about guns. I’m often doing dangerous things with chainsaws and such. Also, the leg is such that if there were even a minor accident in the wrong conditions, compound fractures would be all too easy and multiple.
  • On the right side, a flashlight, really bright, also with strobe. Use it all the time.
  • Two mags situated for quick combat reload with full metal jacket. I mean, if you need this, someone’s wearing a ballistic vest, right?
  • […]

Just to say, I wear the 5-11 tactical shirt NOT tucked in, and so a multitude of sin is covered over, you know, like the love of God and neighbor in all good contrition covers a multitude of sin. ;-)

Then there’s car-carry EDC for a priest. More on that in another post.

Any suggestions most welcome.

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