Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 1

palestinian donkey

Chapter 1 — Estè carried her home, which was yet another brothel

Laughter rang out from Le Rinascite, an antique shop on Via del Pellegrino in Rome’s historic centre. The owner, Libero by name, was dedicated to revolutionary societal rebirths as a journalist for the communist newspaper l’Unità Romana. He claimed that he could set his watch by the laughter, 6:30 every morning, to the minute, for years. Libero gave free cappuccino to whomever wandered through the door, among whom were a number of regulars. It was a tradition that had started many years before when Cardinal Emet had come into his shop at that early hour – four hours before opening time – to argue about the price of a mediaeval tapestry depicting Christ preaching to the crowds. Judging from what could only be candle soot stains at regular intervals along its bottom edge, it looked as if it had been stolen from above an altar of one of the nearby churches. The Cardinal had not intended to buy it; instead, he energetically disputed the price with pedagogic irony, saying that it was too low, for what was portrayed was invaluable, the Sermon on the Mount, which opened with the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

✵ ✵ ✵

At the same time as this laughter, though on the other side of the Atlantic, little Ev, seven years old, was used as an alarm clock for the others in the brothel. They were not restaveks, but were all closely related. Ev hated to be kicked awake by the ‘Madame’ while she lay on her mat on the dry-rotted plank floor, that floor being her one luxury. Her scream of pain woke the others. Sleep was more desirable than waking up early. To be able to close their eyes was a kind of welcome death by which they could escape their ‘life’ in the shantytown of Cité Soleil, a commune of Port-au-Prince, Haïti. They had slept much longer than usual. The ‘Madame’ was not feeling well. It was already half past midnight. They were late for their waking nightmare. Ev screamed that she didn’t want to go out, that she was afraid. “I don’t want to die,” she shrieked again and again. “Don’t make me go into the dark!” Within fifteen minutes they would all be busy as ‘zombies’ for their tourist customers, including Ev. It was her first night out.

✵ ✵ ✵

Just then, back in Rome, don Hash, in his late twenties, also having overslept, woke up with a start at Casa Internazionale del Clero, not far from Le Rinascite.

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Homily 2018 01 15 – The Bridegroom!


Chapel in “The Barn” for Donkey Priests like me.



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Homily 2018 01 14 – From the Lamb of God to the Messiah. How’s that?

abraham isaac

Having the smallest parish in North America, and with only six people attending, Father George was all calm at 8:30 AM Mass at Prince of Peace in Robbinsville:

At the 11:00 AM Mass at Holy Redeemer in Andrews, however, he was obviously all wound up, and unleashed, triggered somehow, letting us know what he really thinks. There were perhaps forty some people present:

I have to apologize. All my homilies are made up on the spot, even while reading the Gospel at Mass itself. So, they can be a bit disjointed. That’s the best I can do. I just can’t can’t can’t read a text. As soon as I start I start ad libbing. That’s just the way it is.


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Jackass for the Hour – Disclaimer: Both Judas & Peter betrayed Irony Incarnate


[[ Below is the intro for Jackass for the Hour. That novel needs revising. The intro needs to be revised. However, I reproduce the original intro here since that project of revising has not taken place. But perhaps this will whet your appetite. ]]

This novel is a disclaimer of religion for Jews, Christians and Muslims, who are angry with the world’s violence, angry with their inability to stop it, angry with their own revelling in aggression, even using children, but angry most of all – though unbeknownst to them – that some Catholics have sheathed the double-edged sword of Truth, sparking violence with half-truths of niceness, appeasement, false compromise. The interreligious mix of hell and heaven found in these pages provides a paradigmatic shift for understanding religion, peace, children… Novels can do that.

Jesus spoke of tying millstones to the necks of those scandalising youngsters so as to drown them in the sea. Self-defence contributes to justice. Violence is not always evil. John the Baptist advised soldiers. That’s reasonable. This book confronts religious violence difficult to understand, like past and present conquests of Jericho, with children being ‘religiously’ killed. Diversely, there is the spreading by the sword the faith one preaches, with, for instance, a poll-tax for infidels who are unable to pay, perhaps because of the number of their children. The list goes on.

Politically convenient misperceptions of this book may incite violence, but witnessing to love – whatever the cost – remains good, even while purposely seeking martyrdom is stupid, hateful, witnessing to oneself instead of God’s truth.

For atheists and agnostics — You will enjoy the book more than others. Intrigue will help you glut yourselves on difficulties that will, however, be regurgitated later in the book for a nutritive chewing of the cud. This is aggressive language, to be sure, but good things happen by falling headlong into the rubbish trough of ‘noble atheism’, amid things that were first tossed into that self-affirming magical bin that is transparent for everyone except the one scrapping inconveniences into it. Read what awaits Catholics below. Nervous bitterness is no excuse.

For homosexual activists — Your ‘right’ to obligate others to bless your activities doesn’t mean this book contains homophobic hate-speech. Don’t fear what is a critique offered in love!

For Muslims — An incisive critique of Islam’s central religious event – Ibrahim’s would-be sacrifice of his son, without which there is no Islam – is found in these pages. Hardhitting, it is not disrespectful. The purpose is to put the brakes on violence by an honest appraisal of Islam.

For Jews — Abraham’s would-be sacrifice of his son is also appraised, seeing it in its proper context centuries before the ‘common (read Catholic, that is, universal) era’. The book is not anti-Semitic, nor does it lose sight of the Shoah. It is critical of any ethnic cleansing of non-Jews.

For (non-)Catholic Christians — The Sacrifice of Jesus, Son of David, Son of Abraham, is considered. One Catholic priest working in the Holy See at the time he read this opus thinks these pages are a travesty, written by a Judas-priest, the most incisive bigotry against Catholics ever published: “The author hates the Church, handing over on a silver platter the best arguments against the Church to those who hate the Church.” He didn’t finish reading, rejecting, it seems, the Pope’s call for “self-critical dialogue.” Enter Hilaire Belloc:

To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power. […] The mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, Selected Essays (2/6), ed. J.B. Morton; Penguin Books (1325): Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958. See the essay “On Irony” on pages 124-127.]

If not happiness, irony brings blessedness, living life on the edge, marginalised as obscurantist, cut down by the sword for reflecting light. As for me, without grace, I am not ironic, but self-affirmingly trample on others, claiming a moral high ground swamped by my weakness. Given the circumstances, and without grace, I would be more evil than the worst monsters in the book.

Nice circumstances do not justify, but tend to delude. Anyone saying differently is a liar. Any irony in the book is, then, most ironic, for, with Peter, I learn not from any failure, but in being forgiven for culpable ineptness by the One I have often betrayed, Irony Incarnate. Irony is not diablerie. He who said – “One who talks does not know; one who knows does not talk” – spoke of nirvana, not religious politics. To remain silent would be a travesty.

On the one hand, some might feel disgruntled if they think that words similar to their own may occasionally be found on the lips of a character who may not be a hero. Aspects of a character are not to be attributed to any such person. No attack on a person is ever made. The characters are who they are for the sake of the plot. Sound-bites, jettisoned into a maelstrom of fictional characters, reflect reality. There is no need for paranoia. Such words are commonplace.

On the other hand, if a reader thinks to have found the original context for any given statement, and thinks again that it may be difficult or impossible to see any justification for the statement as originally intended, they can take consolation in the fact that error, or even heart stopping ambiguity, which promotes violence, has no rights, and is rightly crushed in these pages. Yet, they may well be wrong about the provenance of any statements. See the first hand, above.

Characters, situations and plots are fictional and ridiculously exaggerated, or not, making analogies with reality painfully recognisable. A vision or two, an outrageous trial, etc., merely speak to the urgency of the matter. Villains can say exceptionally good things; heroes need help to shine.

The story is set in the immediate future, but is woven with threads that can be verified, whether in history, modern controversy or on the street. To protect the innocent, mistakes are intentionally made regarding the location of an apartment, ‘cultural’ incidents near a village in Africa, the policies of an Apostolic Nunciature, what is taught in a seminary, membership in a religious order, and so on. I beg the indulgence of the institutions, Nunciatures, Episcopal Conferences and dicasteries of the Holy See (the ‘Vatican’) that are named, and especially of those who now hold offices which are specifically named, including that of the Bishop of Rome.

On a personal note, I must thank my father and many others (priests of some note), who, through the decades, urged me to write an autobiography, not any Cartesian “I think, therefore, I am” self-aggrandisement – neglecting the One writing the Book of Life – but rather, something akin to Saint Augustine’s Confessions, about the One who makes us restless until we are face to Face. But my unwieldy protestations would be unhelpful. Even if one must write about what one knows, I have revealed only my limitations in becoming all things to all men, in understanding the difficulties which many face, but for which, because they are so grave, I have tried to make myself available. Pop-psychology rejects irony as satire, a projection of self, an autobiographical laxative. Before such obtuseness, a disciple of Saint Francis described irony as understanding willingly at risk of being misunderstood. God ironically brings others to heaven by way of us. That is my hope.


© International 2005-2018 – George David Byers

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Jackass for the Hour: Names

donkey floating

First, a note on the names of some few of the characters in the ecclesiastical thriller novel Jackass for the Hour.

  • Names in Haïtian creole are easy: Pòl (Paul); Ev (Eve); Mari (Mary); Pyè (Peter); Toma (Thomas); Jozèf (Joseph); Jidit (Judith); Pòv (Poor); Estè (Ester); Filmèna (Philomena)… You get the idea.
  • Names such as Ahan, Ámura, Cromeu, Absj, de Colines, Elzevir, Froben, et al., may have ulterior historical meanings.
  • Various characters have names which may make ancient personages come to mind, such as al-Hasan and al-Husayn; Fātimah, daughter of Muhammad, had two sons with those names. In this book, they are simply two modern characters.
  • Some names, like Emet, Tsur-Ēzer, Alexámenos and Hash are explained in the story.


© International 2005-2018 – George David Byers


That’s quite a few names. And that’s just some. A gentleman I consider to have been perhaps the most brilliant person in the world (RIP), well on his way to be the Prime Minister of his country and friends with Pope Benedict, a layman who could sack and have bishops appointed at will, took nine full days, 24/7, to read the 750 pages of Jackass for the Hour, calling it un-put-down-able, a page turner, a thriller, I guess because he knew the issues behind what I was trying to get across and so didn’t mind that it was so very tightly scripted and somewhat difficult to get through.

But he did have one disappoint. Being an attorney and a researcher and an incredibly able interrogator (Yikes!) he way rather dismayed after some chapters at the number of characters. But then he understood that it was reflective of the terribly complex situation in Rome even and perhaps especially today.

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Donkey Day: Donkeys on Coats of Arms. Benedict XVI and myself

benedict xvi coat of arms

Recall that Saint Corbinian’s bear on the coat of arms of Benedict XVI was actually a donkey, that is, fulfilling the role of the donkey after he killed the donkey. Benedict called himself that “donkey”. No, really. A Pope who is a jackass. Luther, with great malice, called the Pope of the time a jackass. Benedict is from Germany. Anyway, see the outrageously wonderful 2005 article of Archbishop Raymond Burke about the newly elected Pope Donkey, Benedict XVI. And then, to those of you who are fuming mad and flinging the rest of us into hell in all the mortal sin you suppose I and Ratzinger and Burke are in for speaking of the papacy being filled with the likes of a jackass, to you I say, lighten up. Have some Christian mirth. Some irony. Rejoice! The Lord is good and kind. Again, I will say it: Rejoice! My coat of arms, breaking all the rules of heraldry, as any donkey might do, so far:


This recalls the Discalced Carmelite coat of arms:


I think Tom Clancy wrote on the etiquette of sword ceremonial. What is the military symbolism of the sword held high as with Elijah or with Saint Michael atop Castel Sant’Angelo who is sheathing his sword? What of ceremonial stuff, like the the sword being held straight up or pointed upward or straight down or pointed downward? Anyone?

Benedict XVI was Pope. Cardinal Burke could well be Pope soon. I’ll never be, but I’m happy to have a donkey on my coat of arms anyway! Just in case that article by Cardinal Burke disappears, I include the bit towards the end commenting on Pope Benedict XVI as being a Jackass:

[…] In his memoirs published in 1997, then-Cardinal Ratzinger commented on his life as a bishop, reflecting upon the image of the bear of St. Corbinian, founding bishop of Freising, the ancient see which is now the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, to which Cardinal Ratzinger was called to serve as archbishop. He relates the story to a meditation of St. Augustine on the text of verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 73 (72). St. Corbinian’s bear:

As the story goes, St. Corbinian was on his way to Rome when a bear attacked and killed his pack animal, his donkey. St. Corbinian rebuked the bear and placed the load of the donkey upon his back to carry to Rome. The story of the bear of St. Corbinian reminded the cardinal of St. Augustine’s meditation on the verses of Psalm 73 which he translates thusly: “A draft animal am I before you, for you, and this is precisely how I abide with you” (Psalm 73:22-23; Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, page 155). The cardinal, like St. Augustine, had chosen the life of a scholar, but God called him to take up the burdens of the episcopal office, eventually serving the Holy Father as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He comments on the frustrations which St. Augustine experienced in dealing with the many practical concerns of a pastor of souls, when he had in mind to carry out great intellectual and spiritual works. The text of the psalm reminded the saint and reminded Cardinal Ratzinger that God chose to keep them close to Him by having them serve as His “draft animals,” carrying out the humble tasks of the pastoral office, rather than the exalted service which they had in mind for themselves. Relating the meditation of St. Augustine to the story of St. Corbinian’s bear, Cardinal Ratzinger comments: “Just as the draft animal is closest to the farmer, doing his work for him, so is Augustine closest to God precisely through such humble service, completely within God’s hand, completely His instrument.He could not be closer to his Lord or be more important to Him. The laden bear that took the place of St. Corbinian’s horse, or rather donkey — the bear that became his donkey against its will: Is this not an image of what I should do and of what I am?”A beast of burden have I become for you, and this is just the way for me to remain wholly yours and always abide with you” (Milestones, pages 156-157). Tonight, we thank God for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who has found his happiness in serving as Christ’s “donkey,” His “draft animal,” who has given his entire self to working humbly and steadfastly with Christ in the vineyard of the Father. When we see the image of the bear of St. Corbinian on his coat-of-arms, may we be reminded of how he has given and gives his life in service to Christ and His Church. Assisting our Holy Father with his burdens Conscious of the many and heavy burdens which our Holy Father carries, with Christ, for us, let us assist him, offering him the joy of our faithful prayers, loyal affection and unfailing obedience. Our Holy Father, in continuity with the teaching and direction of his much beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, has already given us an indication of his desires for our growth in holiness of life.In his first address to the College of Cardinals on the day after his election, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the Holy Eucharist “cannot but be the permanent center and the source of the petrine service entrusted to [him]” (Benedict XVI, a pope of Christ, communion, collegiality, Vatican Information Service, April 20, 2005, page 2). Reflecting upon Divine Providence, which called him to the office of St. Peter during the Year of the Eucharist, he has asked that the Solemnity of Corpus Christi “be celebrated in a particularly special way.”He reminded us that the celebration of World Youth Day in Cologne in August will center on the Holy Eucharist, and that the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held this coming October, will devote itself to the theme: “The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.”He concluded with a solemn request addressed to us all: “I ask everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations” (Benedict XVI, a pope of Christ, communion, collegiality, Vatican Information Service, April 20, 2005, page 3). As we thank God tonight for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI, let us help him shoulder his heavy burdens by deepening and strengthening our knowledge and love of the Holy Eucharist, above all by the piety with which we participate in Holy Mass, and adore and worship the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. As we are now united sacramentally to the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, let us lift up to His glorious and open Heart the intentions of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Placing our Holy Father and his intentions into the all-merciful and all-loving Heart of Jesus, we trust that no grace will be lacking to our Holy Father as he pours out his life, with Christ, as Christ’s “donkey”for our salvation and the salvation of our world. We ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to pray with us for our Holy Father: “The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies” (Enchiridion of Indulgences, June 29, 1968, no. 39). Conclusion I hope that the text of my homily has helped you in some way to understand the office of St. Peter and the deep trust in Divine Providence with which Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the office from our Lord.He is the humble worker in the vineyard, Christ’s “draft animal” who seeks only to do God’s will. Let us continue to assist our Holy Father by our daily prayers.I ask especially that you remember the intentions of our Holy Father when you pray the rosary. […]

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Donkey Day: Donkeys are intelligent

donkey blessed sacrament

Donkeys aren’t stubborn. Mules are stubborn. Mules have a reason. Donkeys instead are so very intelligent that they refuse to do something until they understand. When they understand, no problem. People get frustrated with donkeys because people are stupid and want donkeys to things they don’t understand just like those stupid people.

That’s why Jesus, with heaps of irony, says it would have been better for those who interfere with kids — not having any idea of the damage they do — would instead have had a donkey-millstone tied around their necks so as to have been thrown into the depths of the sea. The point is that donkeys are incomparably more intelligent than such people. Donkeys do the will of God. Many people don’t. Many people would be better off if they were donkeys.

Donkeys are really cool. Not only are they intelligent, but they can sing, and sing well.

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Donkey Day: Recalling ecclesiastical thriller novel *Jackass for the Hour*

jackass for the hour

It seems like a lifetime ago. And it was, really. My doctoral thesis moderator, the Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome, was having trouble reading the first chapter, as it was a bit technical, to say the least. I didn’t want to go on until he got through that chapter. It was now the Summer of 2005 and I was free for the Summer, in Rome. With a blank computer screen in front of me I decided to just start writing. With nothing particularly in mind, within months out popped a super tightly scripted ecclesiastical thriller novel solving one of the most thorny ecumenical problems of the Reformation / Counter-Reformation until today and especially now. 750 pages if it were to be published in novel form. It was incisively set in the time of “This is going to happen tomorrow.” But now it’s twelve years on and lots of changes in attitude and approach et cetera have been seen through the Church right around the world and especially in Rome.

It’s only twelve years ago. Much of the dialogue of the characters of the book uses direct quotations from real people, including Popes, Cardinals and various others especially in the Holy See and in other political-diplomatic positions right around the world. I had a bit of fear at the time. I used a pen-name: Renzo di Lorenzo. As I found out, this isn’t good for the soul. One can hide behind a pen-name. Or not. Only I write like myself. I revealed who I was and I’ve never used a pen-name since, though I’ve been tempted. I even asked someone of a particular website to let me contribute under a pen-name. But even since then, just some years ago, I’ve become more entrenched now against pen-names. There is a use for them, and in future I may have to use one once again. I don’t know. But now you know. Just to make myself untraceable as an author, I went so far as to pretend I was from Africa and was only just now learning real English, you know, the U.K. version. The spellings are rather outrageous for Americans. A common language separates us as they say.


From the Thanksgiving of Jackass for the Hour

by George David Byers (Renzo di Lorenzo)

It is with gratitude that I dedicate this book to the many men and women who have generously read the manuscript, making many suggestions. They represent a dozen countries and almost as many language groups. They have the most diverse backgrounds, cultures and levels of education that I could find among those with whom I could entrust the work. Their patience and humour have, I hope, stripped the manuscript of at least some of my ineptitude. Yet, I apologise for still managing to make what is easy into something difficult, a defect of one who has little understanding. Seeing how assiduous I was in taking suggestions, the comment was made that the book shouldn’t become like the jackass who trotted into a spurious collection of Aesop’s Fables – you remember the one – who, depending on the suggestions of passers-by to his owners, carried nobody, or did carry the little boy, or the old man, or both, or was carried by them, ending up being drowned in the river which flowed, appropriately, under Market Bridge. What a jackass does is not acceptable to everyone. It makes life interesting for the one who insists on being a…

J A C K A S S   F O R   T H E   H O U R


© International 2005-2018 – George David Byers


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Donkey Day. Jackass Jubilee. Jan 14. Patron: [Saint]: Alexamenos [Martyr] Gilbert Keith Chesterton to the rescue.

alexamenos crucified donkey

Yesterday was Donkey Day, or better, the Feast of “Jackasses” should we use the more technical, archaic English “jack” [for the male of the species such as Jackdaw, Jackrabbit, and so on] and the Latin scientific description asinus, short for its combined form with its high classification, equus asinus.

There is much to be said about this great feast day going back many centuries. There are videos, musical tributes, “liturgies.” But all of that has lost the plot, it seems to me. I think the origins of this ancient feast were obscured by time with the asinine (so to speak) activities of irony that abounded to such a degree that the more serious side was overshadowed.

I’m guessing that the original inspiration for this feast, inviting all the irony and carry-on to celebrate the irony that is so essential to Christianity, goes back to what I’m guessing is an incident which sparked the martyrdom of Jewish boy named Alexamenos (“Defender”) who had converted to Christianity and somehow found himself on the lower South slopes of Monte Palatino, opposite the Roman Forum and Colosseum, overlooking the Circus Maximus, in the Imperial School, studying up on how best to serve the Caesar of the day.

At the time, the chariot races and battle ship matches and such taking place in the Circus Maximus, for which he and his fellow students always had a front row seat, also afforded him a view of what was happening in the central divider island inside the “circus” itself. At regular intervals there were places where Christians were placed, and where they would be made sport of by gladiators until they died, one after the other.

It seems this was too much for little Alexamenos, so indignant, who then spoke of how wrong this was because it is another Jewish fellow, Jesus, God, who standing in our place, and crucified, was put to death for what we deserved because of sin so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Being a Christian was, however, obviously outlawed by the Caesars of the day. It was a blood bath. The classmates of Alexamenos would first mock him, and then, I suppose, see an opportunity to be seen as being loyal to Caesar, they would betray Alexamenos and have him put to death.

The mockery involves the graffito etched into the stone walls of their classroom. That entire bit of the wall was removed when it was relatively recently discovered. A replica was made and placed into a museum just a stone’s throw from the Imperial School, the Antiquarium del Palatino. Yours truly took a picture of that, which is reproduced on the top of this post.

The graffito depicts a little boy worshiping a crucified donkey. Other nations held that the donkey was the national symbol of Israel, the Hebrews, the Jews. Jesus, the “King of the Jews” as Pontius Pilate had written, was to be depicted as a donkey.

The mockery is rather incisive. But Jesus came precisely to receive that mockery, to be that donkey, indeed, as Saint Paul says in his short hand, to become sin for us, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty. If we have no sense of irony, we have no faith.

G.K. Chesterton, like St Augustine before him, had a great sense of irony. He has this about the greatness of donkeys.

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Or did you not know that donkeys were always with the Holy Family:

  • On the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem
  • At the manger when Jesus was born
  • On the trip from Bethlehem to Egypt
  • On the trip from Egypt all the back to Nazareth
  • On the trip into Jerusalem for Jesus to be crucified

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Caving to my Internet Stalker extortion deadline. Arise! Let us be going! Look, my betrayer is at hand!

gethsemane sleeping apostles

Here are some snipits of some missives from my Internet Stalker guy:

“I shall soon stop writing to you. But before I do I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to correct your statement that you attributed to me. Saying that I said ‘all priests should resign in protest at Pope Francis’. You know I never said that. This is a false allegation and I would request that you withdraw it. If you refuse to correct that statement then I shall consider my next step which is to […] I give you one week to correct the injustice of your false statement.”

First of all, I don’t know who you are, Mr Internet Stalker guy. It’s pretty brave of you to make demands by way of extortion with your “next step” when you don’t even identify yourself. How can you be offended when you don’t even say who you are?

And, previously:

“You said that I said all priests should resign in protest at pope Francis. Now why would you say that? You know it is a lie. Why would you lie? You know I never said that. Are you used to lieing?”

I like that spelling of “lying” by this super-intelligent guy, who writes “lieing” so as to emphasize the word. He’s trying to speak both to the Apostles sleeping (in context, as we’ll see) and to untruth. Anyway, we continue, and this time he is denying he could be the Internet Stalker guy. Going back in time with his comments:

“Your stalker guy must be very bad to demand that priests should resign in protest at pope Francis. Who would suggest such an evil notion?”

Who indeed? We continue, going back to his original demand (though not his first comment by far) that all priests in good standing resign in protest against Pope Francis. Let’s see what he says. I’m skipping the parts in which he attacks Pope Francis since error has no rights and my Internet Stalker as an Internet Stalker has no rights. [My comments in red]:

“Hi, I have read a bit about about your background. This helps me in making comments. I should be more understanding. You were probably born after Vatican II. [That’s just baiting. Instead, see: My Internet Stalker Guy apparently doesn’t know this about Jesus and me. Anyway, I find it interesting that he doesn’t say that he’s read my entire blog since inception, which would be assumed to be the case in regard to an Internet Stalker guy, but rather that he’s read about my background, which assumes other sources of information. That I find most interesting. It really is quite revealing.] So you have no idea how far the Church has drifted from its core ethos. [He speaks of the Church as no longer being in touch with “its (sic) core ethos,” thus revealing himself to be a heretic. “Ethos” refers to mere human custom. And that is exactly what some of his comments reflect. But, instead, the Church as the Church is always the Immaculate Bride of Christ. Period. If you can’t distinguish between some in-name-only members of the Church and The Church, or between some non-infallible dialogue and ex-Cathedra pronouncements, you are just another hypocritical protéstant.] Nevertheless. It is a fact that Francis is changing Church dogma, which he has no right to do. [My Internet Stalker, heretic that he is, claims that Pope Francis can actually change the doctrine of the Church, change the truth, which the Pope has not done. The Pope has spoken about “dialogue” which is not teaching. That the Pope cannot change dogma (if he did he would make himself God, but God cannot change the truth either) is a matter of faith essential to being Catholic. It’s called infallibility.] […] Tell yourself I’m right. [Umm… No. Your tantrums do not the truth make. Might does not make right.] You are leading the good life as a pastor. [Wow. What sarcasm about Jesus who would have his priests be pastors. This is hatred of Jesus and the Church. So, I’ll say this: I do love being a priest. But that’s not what he especially means. He wants priests to resign in protest against Pope Francis. For my Internet Stalker, priests in public ministry in good standing are necessarily hypocrites because to remain in public ministry means that one has not made enough waves so as to be forced to make a resignation or worse. That’s the only honest thing to do for the Internet Stalker guy as we’ll soon see.] But are you really, really following Christ? Are you not just swimming with the tide? Why don’t you support Fr Wineandy? [Father Weinandy was forced to resign. And, at any rate, I have supported Father Weinandy, and this guy has researched this if we are to believe him. See: Father Thomas Weinandy: Thank you! Hoping Pope Francis reinstates you, a post which I’ve written about at some length here: My internet stalker’s impossible litmus test: damned if I do, damned if I don’t. So, obviously, supporting Father Weinandy is not enough. Resignation in protest against Pope Francis by all priests in good standing in active ministry is the only way for my Internet Stalker.] Are you looking for a comfortable life?. Are you like the Apostles who when Christ returned the third time found them still sleeping? Are you sleeping like them? [If you think he’s being a bit repetitive here, it’s for a reason. He’s reminding me of the title of my blog, which are the words of Christ in reprimand to the sleeping Apostles: “Arise! Let us be going!” My Internet Stalker guy is making me out to be some sort of Judas for still being in public ministry and loving being a priest, purposely continuing to sleep, as it were, making me not just a drowsy Apostle, but Judas himself. My Internet Stalker guy doesn’t realize that the words which immediately follow this admonition of Christ to the Apostles are about Judas: “Look! My betrayer [Judas] is at hand.” My Internet Stalker guy makes himself the voice of Christ, Christ Himself. But it is Judas who makes himself Christ by raising his heel against Jesus as Jesus said at the Last Supper. But Jesus is the one to crush the head of Satan with His heel. But Judas thinks that Christ is Satan. Meanwhile, Judas is possessed by Satan at the Last Supper. The ironies are rife.] Don’t defend or support a bad Pope [Such commands! I guess for my Internet Stalker guy the Pope is the High Priest paying off Judas whom he supposes to be me if I keep on sleeping on purpose:] just because he was nice to you.” [So, I’m to direct my priestly efforts against Pope Francis until I am forced to resign in protest against Pope Francis. Otherwise, I’m to be condemned as a hypocrite, a sycophant, someone looking for thirty pieces of silver, for the Pope to be nice to me. If you didn’t know, hypocrites and sycophants, who for the sake of human respect effectively deny Christ will be denied by Christ and condemned to hell. But, perhaps, now, in stepping back from all of this, perhaps Judas and my Internet Stalker are the same. After all, he wants to effectively kill me off, and this is, in fact, what his threat is all about, to effectively kill me off. Not with blood mind you. But he’s stated his other means to do this, to take me out by other means, indirectly, but effectively, his extortion.]

In another place my Internet Stalker speaks of supporting the office of the papacy but not the Pope. But this is also a heresy, for the office is founded on the very person of the Pope. What that means is not that the Pope can be fallible regarding dogma, the claim of my Internet Stalker, nor that I would necessarily support some claim made by the Pope that is in itself not a dogmatic assertion but a mere volley in a mere dialogue. What I mean by the ways and means of infallibility is that the Person of the Pope, by divine intervention, will not survive in whatever way an attempt made by the Pope to change the doctrine of the Church (as Pope Benedict has so eloquently laid out for us). To pray for the Pope, to defend his person, is always a good thing, but supporting the Pope is precisely what is forbidden by my Internet Stalker.

If anyone wants to know what I think about Papal Infallibility, all you have to do is read what I wrote about it with extreme precision: Papal Infallibility: The Gospel Truth (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18)

And if anyone wants to know what Pope Francis thinks about Papal Infallibility, all you have to do is read what I wrote about that with extreme precision: Pope Francis gets it right about Absolute Truth

I find the ranting of my Internet Stalker against the person of the Pope to be rather interesting in the wake of the shot over the bow, the assassination of Pope Francis’ incredibly competent “Front of House” receptionist and the child in her womb at the time of Italy’s gay union/marriage referendum the other year.

If my Internet Stalker is who I think he is (a self-admitted contraceptor or by the way), whether a guy in politics, whether someone tasked with profiling, I’d say he’d better know that he is now being profiled by others in politics, by others who supervise such profiling. This goes doubly if my Internet Stalker guy is just your run of the mill average Joe Schmoe.

My suggestion to my Internet Stalker guy is this: even though I’ve fulfilled your extorted demand abundantly in this post and already in others, go ahead and do what you threatened to do anyway. But make sure to associate your actions with your full name and plenty of other distinguishing, unmistakable, inescapable identifiers so that what you intend to do can be traced back to you personally by those who do such tracing for a living. So far, you’ve revealed only that you are a coward, hiding behind pseudonyms. Typical. And note that I have baited you pretty intensely so as to find out who you are, and that is certainly the right of the victim of stalking.

I call you friend, Mr Stalker guy. Christ Jesus also called His betrayer friend, but He also let Judas hang himself. I’d rather you not do that, Mr Stalker Guy. I’d rather you find out that you are not Christ Jesus. I’d rather you find out that Christ Jesus is the One, the only One. I’d rather you come out of the darkest of existential peripheries and know what it means to be a true friend of the Most High. I’d rather you pray for and support Pope Francis.

Arise! Let us be going! Look, my betrayer is at hand!

P.S. As a side note to all this silliness I should provide some background to the title of this blog. It came about when a previous blog (holysoulshermitage) was forced to be shut down altogether by someone in Rome who was offended by the hard truth that he saw there. At the time, I had requested to do some writing after many years of pastoral ministry all over the world, as well as many, many years of academia and teaching all over the world. Being a hermit (really a hermit, with no income other than gifts) by request has its difficulties. Being silenced by a bully immeasurable adds to those difficulties. I not infrequently took to finding culinary delights in unexpected places:


I’ve done that flip many times. I was really good at it. It’s like an extreme sport. I love extreme sports ever since I was a kid. So, mind you, I’m not complaining!

At the time, it was a quiet time. The providence of God, really. Perhaps His permissive will, but He arranged it all. There were some difficult times. But it was mostly a happy time. Especially because I was able to write something about the Immaculate Conception, and for that I’m grateful to Jesus and His dear Mother. What I wrote is the gem of my life, and that was their gift to me, especially at that time.

It is this…

which is based off of this…

Anyway, His Holiness intervened on my behalf. No more dumpsters. It is this favor which my Internet Stalker has pointed out in his missives, precisely this favor which has set the sights of my Internet Stalker against me. I guess he wants me back in dumpsters. Remember what he commanded me?… “Don’t defend or support a bad Pope just because he was nice to you.” But if I was back in a dumpster, perhaps I could write more on our Lady. At any rate, this bitterness of my Internet Stalker is especially interesting in that the one and only thing my Internet Stalker has commented on in a positive way about me regards my disagreement with the policy that does not afford due process to priests. But even with that he says that he was only beginning to think I was right. After all, he affords me no due process: I am guilty of supporting the person of Pope Francis and after that all is lost and I’m hopeless. I’m beginning to think that my Internet Stalker is the one who had me silenced to begin with for the very reason that I support due process for priests. That was precisely, exactly what the silencing was about at the time. Interesting.

At any rate, I’ll tell you this: I would rather live in a dumpster and be faithful to Jesus (and write about Mary) than to do the wrong thing and go to hell. It seems this Internet Stalker guy has been playing the vulture overhead, surveying my blogging for very many years indeed, waiting to take revenge for my promotion of due process for priests like Father Gordon MacRae (About, at TheseStoneWalls). Interesting.


By the way, there are many, many other things I have not commented on regarding the missives of my Internet Stalker guy for the reason that if I did, I would fear attorneys of some rather strident ultra-traditional-ism-ists who seem to think that they somehow stand in the very place of Sacred Tradition and so are ready to litigate anyone who crosses their paths. Not because I’m afraid of them, but I’m busy being a priest. The Internet Stalker guy is a distraction which he will have to answer for. Yet, I have to take care of him as one of my flock as well. He volunteered to be part of my flock. Am I not to search out the sheep who are in the darkest of existential peripheries?


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

On commenting on the blog

In no particular order:

  • On this blog all comments by readers go into a moderation queue. I make some public. Others, like from my Internet Stalker, I do not. If you don’t want your comment made public just let me know in the comment. No worries. I’m the only one who sees it.
  • Other than that, you can’t privately respond to other commenters.
  • Willful error has no rights. If you are belligerently rejecting the teaching of the Church you lose your rights. If you threaten anything whatsoever or for any other reason I come up with, you lose your rights. So, those are not really rights, are they? No entitlements!
  • I’m a pretty reasonable guy about this and if someone likely in good faith wants to keep their comment private in whatever instance I’ll certainly try to respect that.
  • I keep a pretty tight grip on the comments because otherwise they become a cesspool of trolls. I’ve always had a really good comments box.
  • You are in my house when you comment, so, please, be civil, don’t be blasphemous, don’t threaten. Because I take this seriously 99.999% of commenters are civil and just really wonderful people.
  • It’s good to see comments, to get some feedback.
  • You can ask questions, request topics, etc. I do ask that comments, if possible, refer to the post at hand.
  • If there are comments that say nothing about the post here but only refer elsewhere those might be dealt with as spam. But maybe not.
  • Some people have difficulties communicating without using expletives and condemnations. I understand that. We live in a pretty rough world. If I see even a minimum of good will I’ll try to have a conversation with a commenter, even if it has to be in the style I’ve recently been having with my Internet Stalker guy.

By the way, the picture of the police cruiser being destroyed is not in Andrews, but rather, if I remember, in Baltimore. But attitudes do get around.


Filed under Uncategorized

My Internet Stalker’s disgust for LEOs

black lives matter police car

My Internet Stalker guy has a deep disgust with Law Enforcement Officers. His comment, which is stuck in the moderation queue, reflected his sarcastic negativity with Law Enforcement that is so very typical of stalkers. In his comment, he said: “I hope you get the police you deserve.”
The phrase: “I hope you get […what…] you deserve” [filling in the “what” blank with anything] is universally used as a sarcastic, negative statement made in bad faith. This guy hates Law Enforcement in general and Law Enforcement Officers in particular. Apparently he wants them to be bullies and be corrupt and be violent and self-serving. Who would wish this? Who indeed. This should be noted in future for his profile if he doesn’t get what he wants with his ultimatum and extortion to me. Just. Wow.
The thing is, we all deserve hell for original sin and all of our own personal rubbish, but Jesus stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty. Does my Internet Stalker guy also begrudge the generosity of Jesus? Does he want us to get what we all deserve?


Filed under Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy

OPM justice for a little boy? We’ll see.

Jesus Boy Sacred Heart Cross

Long time readers will remember this drawing of a nine year old boy in one of my parishes in one of the many continents around the world in which I’ve served. They’ll also remember the terrorist guy who took umbrage with this drawing and this little boy and proffered a threat on my blog, and how that terrorist guy was, as we discovered, working in the New Executive Office Building of the POTUS caddy-corner from the 2012 White House, and how he had an accomplice on the inside. I say “threat” and “terrorist” because the link he dropped on his comment led to his personal website at which he expressed the desire of the death of anyone religious. After my reporting of that incident, he simply disappeared for exactly five years. Now, five years later, he has reappeared in the sudden removal of anything and everything to do with himself. He’s going dark and I suppose he wishes he could have done that five years ago. Anyway, with my new posting about all that (here: When the Executive Office of POTUS becomes a den of terrorism: analogy), I see there has been some interest right around the D.C., Maryland, North-East Virginia area in that post. Whatever about that, there is one in particular that was heartening to see:


In other words, they went directly to and only that post. Ha ha.


Guess which location doesn’t fit in with the other predictable locations of Bowie, Sterling, D.C… Parker is in the middle of absolutely nowheresville. It’s a major FBI station.

So, maybe the guy has repented. Maybe he’s gone dark. Maybe he’s pretty upset.

Anyway, as a hint to the FBI: this terrorist guy, from DC, has green eyes.

arab league flag

A nice color, that.

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Filed under Intelligence Community, Terrorism

Homily 2018 01 12 – Political correctness: We MUST be like the others!

canadian lemmings


Filed under HOMILIES

Unpolished better than polished


When the Little Drummer Boy is too professional I feel like I’m in the palace of Herod. This is just kids doing their best. I like the kneeling at the last second. Hah.


Filed under Christmas

Isn’t Christmastide 40 days?

Seen during a Communion Call. 

Can you guess the hymn played by this modern drummer boy?


Filed under Christmas, Missionaries of Mercy

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Even in the dead of Winter edition)


Found in back of Prince of Peace Mission Church in Robbinsville, up in Graham County, part of our parish. Kind of like holly. Kind of like grapes. Pretty rare in these mountains. I went searching for this bush on a hunch that there might be something there for our Lady. And there it is. If you want to find something, you can. Even in the dead of Winter.

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Filed under Flores

Homily 2018 01 11 – Dissed obedience


I’ve met and worked with plenty of lepers in my life, of all kinds. One in particular, who was one of the ones actually suffering from what is otherwise called Hansen’s disease, as the gentleman in the picture above. He would sit below an ATM at a bank on Via Nazionale near Piazza della Republica in Rome. I would sit there with him. I would try to convince him to come with me to the Missionaries of Charity who had plenty of medicine for him, but he said he wanted the wounds so as to get money for his family, that this was the only thing he could do. The desire to be cured completely must be immense.

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Filed under HOMILIES, Missionaries of Mercy

Internet Stalker upset: I’m not humble

bishop ordination

My Internet Stalker is also upset that I lack all humility. Well, that is true. I do lack all humility. Of myself, I am full of stinking, filthy pride. On my own, without God’s grace, I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God, as have we all. Of ourselves, we all lack humility. But my Internet Stalker narrows this down to a particular. Let’s take a look. He says:

“You also said you could have been a bishop or even an archbishop. Is this humility?”

Well. The truth is humility is it not? There were two occasions.

academia ecclesiastica

  • One was being invited to transfer from the seminary I was attending so to attend the Accademia ecclesiastica, you know, for clerical diplomats for the Secretariat of State for the Holy See (a different authority structure back in the day). The successful candidate would end up eventually being a Nuncio (in a derived sense, a diplomat) of some kind, which at the time also meant ordination to the episcopacy. There was an attempt in South America some decades ago to appoint a non-Archbishop as Nuncio. The local episcopal conference complained that they were being slighted by having such a terrible situation arise amongst themselves. Oh my! So, the guy was made an Archbishop. Hah! My response through the years to the Church diplomat thing was always that I would never compromise the doctrine and morality of the Church; I would never smash someone down for the sake of mere politics, or play politics with listing candidates for episcopal appointments in whatever country. This attitude of mine was rather offensive, to say the least, to those in such diplomatic circles. I was able to successfully avoid being a bishop.

San Callisto-

  • Another occasion was being best friends, quite literally, at least from his point of view, with the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (now deceased). He was very much interested in having me become a bishop and pointed this out to me. Me being me, however, I made sure this wouldn’t happen by having him do something much more important, that is, having him be the second reader for a doctoral thesis on textual criticism of biblical manuscripts, something which, along the way, called into question some various dumbed-down ecumenical initiatives of the Holy See. He was a biblical scholar as well, and was furious with what I had done. I wanted only to do something much more comprehensive for the sake of a profound, true ecumenism. This was politically incorrect at the time. I knew that. But he did something for me which I thought was much more valuable for the Church than me becoming a bishop. He took a chapter of the thesis (250 pages) to the secret archives for six weeks. He was furious. But he had done what I wanted, something I could not do because I had no access. He did. He was able to confirm everything I wrote. Perhaps he put a block on my ever becoming a bishop in my file. I don’t know. I must say, however, that he was constantly training me in about concern for both the Church and the world. Anyway…

I guess that lack of humility, that pride of mine, goes along with what I wrote in this other post about my unstoppable arrogance, or is it enthusiasm[?]: Fr George David “Peter Abelard” Byers I just reread that. What a fright.  ;-)

Of course, what I was doing in avoiding the episcopacy was avoiding something which had scared me to death because I was full of fear at the time. No longer. But what was ringing in my ears was the admonition of Archbishop Fulton J Sheen that becoming a bishop means getting crucified, crucified, crucified. Perhaps Jesus will reprimand me for avoiding the suffering that episcopacy entails. I’m quite happy being a priest way out on the back ridges of the backsides of the beyonds in the unique Appalachia of Western North Carolina. But if the Holy Father asked me, I would do it, you know, be crucified. Perhaps that is said with all arrogance, but, hey! I’m only me. And of my own self, I am, of course, full of stinking pride. Thank God for Jesus Christ who saves me from all of this.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy

Jesus, extraordinary baiter of the murderer from the beginning


In the Gospel today, in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we see the whole town gathered around Jesus as he cures their illnesses and exorcises demons. That seems nice. Jesus is popular. He shrugs this off. This is not His purpose. But we’re amazed at His enthusiasm.

Preaching about this today, I spoke of His purpose in establishing the Kingdom of God by disestablishing the kingdom of Satan. But it’s not just about exorcism. You have to know that exorcism infuriates Satan and his minions. Jesus is targeted now by Satan like never before. Jesus is baiting Satan to do this. After Judas is possessed at the Last Supper, it will all end with all of hell broken out against Jesus on Calvary. Satan was baited by Jesus to do just this. Now Jesus stands in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking the brunt of everything Satan has and, in this way, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. And then Jesus rises from the dead to bring us to life. Hah!

You would think that Satan, so very extremely intelligent, would not allow himself to be baited by Jesus. But there it is. Baited. However intelligent, Satan has no wisdom. So he continuously frustrates himself. His punishment in Genesis is not that he crawls on his belly, but rather, literally, with all due historical philology, he writhes along on his writhingness. This is the very image of being frustrated. Intellectual frustration on a spiritual level is the worst suffering there can be.

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Filed under Exorcism