“Day Off” Slaying *The Dragon* x 4

Tail of the Dragon road map names

The day off started with the alarm ringing at 1:00 AM. Early to bed, early to rise and all that. After feeding the dogs and taking care of some chores, I jumped into Sassy the Subaru with a full tank of gas and put on 548 miles round trip that also involved the most intense road one can find anywhere in the world, that is, for a “normal state maintained road.” That’s for the second time in a week. So, four times on that stretch of road. I love it. The motorcycle crowd and sports car crowd come from all over North America to do this ride. There are no guard rails, as these slashers are more dangerous to those one two wheels or three.

I’ve had some scary incidents on the southern stretch of the Taconic Parkway heading down to the Big Apple during morning rush hour – wow… – but the “Tail” is an intensity of another kind, with the emphasis not only on constant acceleration and braking, but also on gear shifting even multiple times every few seconds… for more than 11 miles, with a steering wheel continuously wildly spinning 180 degrees+ in one direction then immediately in the other. Not for the those who fear heights or are not used to an adrenaline rush, that is, if you’re actually trying to keep up with the 30 mile-an-hour speed limit. I’ve never been able to keep up to the 30 mph mark through all the curves, hairpin turns and switchbacks. Nevertheless, the tires did sing, or was this the dragon’s tail itself, the Subaru making the dragon scream, slaying the Dragon and all that?

On a sad note, and as a warning, a deadly serious warning, you have to be careful when dealing with dragons: don’t mock them, don’t push your luck. There is this:

Tail of the Dragon road map deaths

Even Saint Michael the Archangel did not mock Satan:

  • “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment 1 upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 1:9)

Let the beauty of the nature of the ride, the joy of the ride conquer the Dragon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Homily 2020 01 26 Sunday of the Word

saint jerome albrecht durer

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Grey, the new black: New Evangelization, the New Proselytizing. Pfft. I love Jesus.

chess board robert van der steeg impossible world

A reader writes:

“When you have time, would you please explain what the New Evangelisation is? I hear/read the term a lot. Pope Francis has said on various occasions that Catholics are not to proselytise (not to convert people to the Catholic Faith) but I thought evangelisation (sharing the Gospel) involves proselytising. Hence, I am confused. Am I misunderstanding the terms “to proselytise” and “to evangelise” or is the “New Evangelisation” something different?”

Saint Pope John Paul II continuously used the phrase “New Evangelization” from the very beginning and throughout his pontificate. Benedict XVI followed suit. As did Francis. What they all mean exactly has been the subject of doctoral dissertations. I have to wonder if any of them actually settled on any kind of accurate description. But none of that matters. It’s how it’s used today, right now. And I have no idea what it’s all about.

Obviously, it’s all purposely unclear when no one defines the terms while causing world-class confusion and ambiguity and obfuscation and rancor and division and dissension on a continuous basis in the face of grave objections from basically everyone on the face of the earth. Since you can make of such confusion and ambiguity and obfuscation whatever you want, in the end it doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s just a tool for those considering themselves to be clever to bully others. And therefore it is to be ignored. There is nothing reasonable that one can do with… nothing. And whatever you do, don’t try to understand error as error is unreasonable by definition, and therefore cannot be understood.

On the one hand, maybe Pope Francis is simply calling to mind the admonition of Jesus:

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)

On the other hand, maybe Pope Francis really hates the idea that anyone would get to know and love Jesus, Christ our God, our Savior, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

I don’t know. He’s not clear. And, yes, that’s really annoying. For about 10 seconds. Then I get over it by ignoring it, because nothing means… well… nothing.

Meanwhile, for my part, in the worst case scenario, even if I were to be dismissed from the clerical state and excommunicated because of my wanting to share my love for Jesus (call that proselytizing or evangelizing or being just plain friendly), I will still share my love for Jesus in any way I can.

It is Jesus’ love which is stronger than all things, even death, bringing us to heaven.

It’s all so sad, I’ll grant you that. However, we are to be joyful in speaking of Christ’s good friendship. And if there are those who object of whatever class or rank, let them do their thing. For my part, I will continue to love Jesus and introduce others to Jesus.

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USS Shangri-La (CV-38) PTSD memories

The USS Shangri-La saw action in WWII in the Pacific in many of the same places where dad was. His USMC Fighter-Attack Checkerboard gull-wing Corsairs were hauled around by I don’t know how many aircraft carriers. Since the Shangri-La was also in Japan, I’m guessing that this was one of them, as dad was commander at the base there.

Yesterday, in the local Walmart parking lot, I spied an older veteran wearing a cap with Shangri-La (CV 38) embroidered upon it. I stopped to thank him for his service, telling him that he might well have met my dad in passing on that ship.

During those couple of minutes this gentle old fellow remarked perhaps three or four times that when he had returned from his service to these USA my greeting to him was not at all what he and his fellows had met up with. They were not welcomed back. The hippie-druggie LSD freakoid communists were there to scream at them in protest, and to spit on them.

Imagine, some 50+ years later, the very first thing this guy says in 2020 is his terrible experience upon his return. He’s carried this intensely all these years, like it was today, like right now. I totally choked up. This could have been my own father, and in a real sense he and all veterans are. We owe our freedom to them, freedom to believe in and worship God, freedom to exercise and manifest our conscience in the public square, freedom to… be free to do good.

Thank a veteran today. The war isn’t over when they return. They carry it all with them. The entitlement tender snow flake anti-American flag hating freakoids of today put an edge on that hell. Lighten that up a bit for them. Thank a veteran today.

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POTUS March for Life 2020 & VPOTUS

Thank you very much and thank you, Jeanne. It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life. [applause] We are here for a very simple reason: to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential. [applause] For 47 years, Americans of all backgrounds have traveled from across the country to stand for life. And today as President of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you. [applause] I want to welcome tens of thousands – this is a tremendous turnout – tens of thousands of high school and college students who took long bus rides to be here in our nation’s capital. And to make you feel even better, there are tens of thousands of people outside that we passed on the way in. If anybody would like to give up their spot, we can work it out. [laughter] We have a tremendous group of people outside. Thousands and thousands wanted to get in. This is some great success. [applause] Young people are the heart of the March for Life. And it’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation. [applause] The life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith leaders, and brave students who carry on the legacy of pioneers before us who fought to raise the conscience of our nation and uphold the rights of our citizens. You embrace mothers with care and compassion. You are empowered by prayer and motivated by your unselfish love. You are grateful and we are so grateful – these are incredible people – to be joined by Secretary Alex Azar and Kellyanne Conway. [applause] And thanks also to Senators Mike Lee and James Lankford who are here. Thank you, fellas. And Representatives Steve Scalise, Chris Smith, Ralph Abraham, Warren Davidson, Bob Latta, John Joyce, Lloyd Smucker, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Brad Wenstrup. Thank you all. I have to say – and I look at it, and I see it exactly – we have many more politicians in the audience. But if you don’t mind, I won’t introduce them all. All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. [applause] Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life. [applause] When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. [applause] When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world – from my family, and I can tell you, I send love, and I send great, great love – and from the first day in office, I have taken historic action to support America’s families and to protect the unborn. [applause] And during my first week in office, I reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy and we issued a landmark pro-life rule to govern the use of Title X taxpayer funding. I notified Congress that I would veto any legislation that weakens pro-life policy or that encourages the destruction of human life. [applause] At the United Nations, I made clear that global bureaucrats have no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that protect innocent life. [applause] Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House. [applause] As the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made. [applause] We have taken decisive action to protect the religious liberty – so important – religious liberty has been under attack all over the world and frankly, very strongly attacked in our nation. You see it better than anyone. But we are stopping it. And we’re taking care of doctors, nurses, teachers, and groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor. [applause] We are preserving faith-based adoption and to uphold our founding documents, we have appointed 187 federal judges, who apply the Constitution as written, including two phenomenal supreme court justices – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. [applause] We are protecting pro-life students’ rights to free speech on college campuses. And if universities want federal taxpayer dollars, then they must uphold your First Amendment right to speak your mind. And if they don’t, they pay a very big financial penalty, which they will not be willing to pay. [applause] Sadly, the far left is working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious leaders from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life. They are coming after me because I am fighting for you and we are fighting for those who have no voice. And we will win because we know how to win. [applause] We all know how to win. We all know how to win. You’ve been winning for a long time. You’ve been winning for a long time. Together, we are the voice for the voiceless. When it comes to abortion – and you know this, you’ve seen what’s happened – Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades, and you can even say, for centuries. Nearly every top Democrat in congress now supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth. Last year, lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb right up until delivery. Then, we had the case of the Democrat governor in the state of Virginia, the commonwealth of Virginia. And we love the commonwealth of Virginia, but what is going on in Virginia? What is going on? The governor stated that he would execute a baby after birth. You remember that. Senate Democrats even blocked legislation that would give medical care to babies who survive attempted abortions. And that’s why I’ve called on Congress – two of our great senators here, so many of our congressmen here – I called upon them to defend the dignity of life and to pass legislation prohibiting late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in their mother’s womb. [applause] This year, the March for Life is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which forever enshrined women’s rights to vote in the United States and given by the United States constitution. Such a big event. Today, millions of extraordinary women across America are using the power of their votes to fight for the right and all of their rights as given in the Declaration of Independence – it’s the right to life. [applause] To all the women here today, your devotion and your leadership uplifts our entire nation and we thank you for that. The tens of thousands of Americans gathered today not only stand for life – it’s really here that they stand for it so proudly together. And I want to thank everybody for that. You stand for life each and every day. You provide housing, education, jobs, and medical care to the women that you serve. You find loving families for children in need of a forever home. You host baby showers for expecting moms. You make – you just make it your life’s mission to help spread God’s grace. And to all the moms here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes. [applause] Your strength, devotion, and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history. We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create. The discoveries they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting. And above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God. [applause] Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people. And with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, nobility, and grace of every American child. I want to thank you. This is a very special moment. It’s so great to represent you. I love you all. [applause] And I say with a true passion, thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all. Thank you. [applause]

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Dear Pope Francis: *Noli timere!* Missionaries of Mercy of USA rejoice

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Many others wanted to come but logistics were made difficult for them because of last minute scheduling due to the delay of the international meeting in Rome this year. So, this was our first national meeting, but in future we voted to include the few Missionaries of Mercy that there are in Canada.

Just some random thoughts, not in any particular order:

This was a get-together that was most encouraging, most inspiring. The priests were wonderful. Honestly, I learned a great deal about the desires of Pope Francis for the Missionaries of Mercy. In presenting the thoughts of our break-away session group to the gathering at large, I was able to phrase things in such a way about the desire of Pope Francis that quite the round of applause was made in agreement. This was most heartening.

Also, I was able to make and renew friendships. This was much different than the international meeting, which has its own character and purpose, what with being ad limina Apostolorum, but this national meeting was much more personal, much more – how to say? – allowing much greater freedom of expression. Those who made presentations were most animated, passionate, highly expert in the fields in which they have dedicated themselves to be Papal Missionaries of Mercy.

There was, in fact, some indications of the desire to add the appellation Papal to the title “Missionaries of Mercy.” Indeed, our local Vicar Forane in this Diocese, heavily into his Canon Law studies, not a Missionary of Mercy, says that the closest thing in Canon Law that might describe our place in the Church is Papal Legate. This would have to do with the special faculties for absolution. However, there were some who were into international aspects of going out into the peripheries which caught my attention, having me immediately think of analogies for other types of ministry much needed in the Church and which would benefit from this Papal freedom to go out to those in need more easily. I will attempt to follow up on this bit of thinking outside the box, something I think Pope Francis would not only allow but encourage.

There was time for networking. One priest in particular who is well known to and highly respected by Father Gordon MacRae let me know some of the finer points of international law, speaking with the highest authority. A revelation. He was able to answer questions which I’ve had for very many years. Great!

I cannot emphasize enough that I was entirely surprised by joy, by truth, by a deeper introduction to the very Heart of our Lord by the Bishop from the New Evangelization. He made many interventions, took down our suggestions – one of which, from yours truly, he will provide to the Holy Father in a few days from now (though he wants me to provide my suggestion also in written form that he might send this along in different ways (also useful in the Holy See, he said). He also provided a conference (rather technical, as might be expected) and then a more at ease homily (which I am most happy to say was surely the best homily that I have heard, by far, without comparison, on the new evangelization, using the example of Saint Marianne of Molokai (January 23, 1838 – August 9, 1918), the great friend of Saint Damian the Leper. This homily was so stunningly beautiful, simple, profound, far reaching, spiritual, that is, pointing to the Lord Jesus through one of Jesus’ saints, that I rejoiced in that… [well, you get the point…]

We all very much hoped that we would have another such encounter, perhaps in the year following the international get together planned now for 2021 in the Vatican.

There are certain presentations – captured on video – that I think would be great for the Church at large to hear, but they were most personal, and it just wouldn’t be right for me to share them.

In sum, I think these days were very good for me, healing, really. So, very happy.

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Keto Day 55: 1 step forward 6 steps back, good fats, bad fats, falling down

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The Day Off this week was extended by three days. It was inconvenient to bring or find Keto-esque food. Once I got a Keto friendly lunch (the meat and cheese platter), other times I was content to devour just one item on the menu that I could find. The problem was the calories (way too many) and not being able to measure anything over against any macros.

In three days I gained three pounds, going from 226.6 to 229.6. So, that’s six steps back as I normally lose on average of just over a half pound a day on Keto. But – Hey! – back home and back to the Keto routine fully, always, mind you, staying in Ketosis.

This is the reason I don’t like to accept even Keto food from others as I don’t know the values (precisely!!!) and even if I did, I might well exceed my macros with that gift, with carbs enough to knock one to a carb metabolism. Not good. This is the one draw back of Keto. But sometimes you have to take a hit for the team. This was the case during these three days.

Now, someone mentioned that there are good fats and bad fats. I know some good fats:

  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Fat from seeds such as flax and chia

But is good fat also to be had from:

  • full fat non-sugar yogurt, butter, cheese
  • pork sausage, pork brats, bacon

I’ve been told that there are bad fats, besides McDonald’s deep fry oil, such as:

  • hamburger fat

Some questions, then:

  • Is all of that true?
  • Are these few points on the lists above correct?
  • Should some be moved?
  • What are others to pursue or avoid?

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Drinking to Mercy is not Drinking the Kool-Aid

On the evening of the Day Off we got a good talking to by Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The other presentations to date have been absolutely fantastic, all of them taken with Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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Commonwealth Ambassador Byers commissioned by Secretary of State

Thank you, Madam Secretary.

Very kind of you. I’m much obliged.

The mysterious “Day Off” continues.

Much good news to report.

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Tail of the Dragon today making tires sing!

I was escapading today on the Tail of the Dragon. Being named after Saint George I had to slay that dragon, making him scream in pain. Or was that just my tires singing on the curves?

This being Tuesday, this being the infamous day off, I figure I always have to do something spectacular. Today I’m due to get a good talking to by a bishop from the Holy See, that is, me and other troublemakers like me. More on that after the fact.

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Experience of a Jewess: Auschwitz Gas Chambers

I think it was in 2008, while residing in Lourdes as a “permanent chaplain” (as they are called), living in the chaplains’ house far above the grotto, I was witness to all four FSSPX Bishops assisting at Holy Mass in the Underground Basilica of Saint Pius X. There were well over 20,000 pilgrims in attendance. To be specific, Bishop Richard Williamson was, of course, among them. Bishop Williamson is a Holocaust denier, particularly of the gas chambers. He should watch this video of this Jewess’ account of the gas chambers.

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“Police Tribute”? Call it “The Striving”

This is a police tribute that forces me to recall advice given to me by one of our best CIA operatives:

  • “Do NOT hold up anyone, putting them on a pedestal impossibly beyond your reach. Instead, just strive to live their example.”

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Homily 2020 1 19 The Lamb is God’s Son

sacred hearts

Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

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Andrews NC unanimous: Fr Byers to be first Police Chaplain (I’m humbled)

Humble thanks go to our Police Department, our Chief of Police Michael Hobgood (who, with his words about why we need a chaplain, sets the bar very high indeed), our Mayor James Reid (and his very kind words), and all of our hard working Aldermen. It is a vote of confidence that demands that I strive to live up to expectations. I will do my best.

Some points touched on by the Chief:

  • We need a chaplain because…
    • of some dramatic calls
    • of the officer getting injured
    • of the officer having to shoot someone
    • it all takes a toll on the officer

Let’s review:

Might one think that the video above is a bit too dramatic, the music too adrenaline pushing, somehow glorifying violence (though it’s not; it’s just reality), somehow capitalizing on the adrenaline rush that can come along – going from zero to a hundred in one second in any number of mundane situations such as traffic stops, domestics?

If you think so, erroneously, then do have a listen to “Mike the Cop”, who was inspired to be a cop by his brother, who went into law enforcement before him, and who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Mike rounds out the perspective that you might have not seen above as you’re not in it. But here’s the way it really, really is. I agree with everything Mike says here:

More on the journey of establishing a Police Chaplaincy where there was none before will follow on this blog. That will include commentary on aspects of what a law enforcement chaplain gets himself into.

For now, again, thanks to Chief Hobgood, the guys in the Department, to our Mayor James Reid and all our Aldermen.

 

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Priestly Celibacy, Jesus, Pachamama BS

crucifix drawing john of the cross

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

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

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

Let’s speak of Jesus:

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

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

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

Having said all that, what does Jesus want?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis: you with him or against? But that’s actually not the question.

That cute comment coming from a lady who once lived in these WNC mountains actually sidesteps the question as to whether one is with him or against him. But that’s not actually the question either.

This isn’t a matter of being for against someone, or whether they are cute or not, as Saint Paul says (Ephesians 6:12):

  • “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

The question comes down to whether or not we prayer for the Successor of Saint Peter as both Jesus and His good mom prayed for Peter. Praying for someone doesn’t mean we agree with any word or action, just that they follow the will of God. Everything is right about that.

If we don’t pray for him, I would make brave to say that all our judgments for or against are about as relevant as to whether someone thinks the Pope is cute. Having said that, I think my one-time parishioner is cute in saying Pope Francis is cute.

Also, to be “WITH” Pope Francis shouldn’t be a matter of being sycophants, parrots of whatever he says and does, as if he were a commandant of puppets, robots, cogs of a Promethean machine.

Just because someone offers a critique of this or that writing, this or that “document,” this or that action, does not mean that one is “AGAINST” Pope Francis. That would be absurd bullying. Pope Francis says he doesn’t want “Yes men.” So let me oblige in whatever helpful way I can.

It does seem, however, that there is a culture (to abuse that term) of those who are self-appointed bullies of all those who are not mini-versions of Pope Francis, thinking that they are currying favor with him by smashing down those who they think are his enemies. How very sad. It’s very much the dialectical materialism I’ve personally witnessed in many countries right around the world.

Jesus is the one who is neglected by these princes of the Church, just as Jesus was abandoned by the Apostles as He hung on the Cross. Outside of a handful such as Sarah or Burke et al., NO ONE but NO ONE speaks a word about Jesus.

Sinner that I am, I’m with Jesus, and with God’s grace, I will not leave His side.

The question isn’t about being with or against Pope Francis. That’s stupid. The question is about whether or not we are with Jesus, and are willing to be crucified with Him so as to give witness to many, so as to bring many souls to heaven… for eternity…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Dead of Winter Hermitage death, ed.)

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Being at the hermitage for the last time yesterday, grabbing some last minute items such as buckets and a special “stations of the cross” brought lots of memories, lots of nostalgia.

The tree above rises some 140 feet from the top of the ridge right next to the hermitage. The base is something like 12 feet around. I realize the little red flower isn’t a flower, but that’s all there was. I think my guardian angel pointed it out to me.

Here are those stations of the cross, and yes, those are thorns:

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And then I recall, next to another hermitage-cave:

I am very grateful to our dear Lord for my time in the hermitage. My whole time was having the privilege of giving flowers to Jesus’ good mom. Again, my favorite, on the path up to the hermitage, destroyed later by – I think – the person who also, on multiple occasions, was throwing out deer rifle rounds in my direction, perhaps a dozen each time. But our Lady remembers them:

flores - holy souls lilies

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Day Off: Goodbye Holy Souls Hermitage: Keys of the Kingdom handed over.

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After doing the usual thing of providing the sacraments across Western North Carolina with hundreds of miles put on Sassy the Subaru, I arrived at the hermitage, where there was blinding fog. That’s the way it was, 24/7 non-stop, for months on end, when I first arrived years previous. The area is classified officially as a rain forest, having, in fact, twice the average rain fall as a rain forest.

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I handed the key over. Apparently, a buyer has appeared and wants the key, entirely enthralled with the hermitage. So, I gave over the key:

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Of course, this means no gun range either. I dismantled the bits and pieces I had there. This was was already gone:

That one above, starting with the far bucket: ABCBA low ready three seconds. The one below is to be shot in half. This is with 9mm FMJ which goes right through without snapping it, meaning it takes quite a few hits in the same spot to get it done, with each hit keeping the movement going. This is 1″ x 1″ by three feet.

All things you can’t do at a National Forest range or even LEO range. All gone. Now where am I going to get some firearms recreation?

I had to say goodbye to “The Barn” that was a home for this Donkey-Priest until I got the hermitage built enough to keep out some weather:

The window space had been set up as a gorgeous ad orientem altar. I used to sleep on the floor behind where you see the live trap for the raccoons and the mason jar boxes. I’m a bit rough and tumble. I got a picture also of a bit of yellow-jacket nest, as that brings back memories of just how bad they were, a plague really. Within some weeks that year, I killed some 135 queen yellow-jackets (which represents untold numbers of furiously stinging workers). It was the Violin Spiders I didn’t like. I was bit some 25 times through the years but had an ingenious way (thanks to the neighbor) to get rid of the poison and heal the rotting wound before any amputations had to be done.

None of that put me off in the least. I told Jesus I wanted to be a hermit for a while so as to write about His good mom. He arranged everything within hours. I did write on Jesus’ good mom. I’m very happy with that result. But that doesn’t mean Jesus was going to make it easy. I’m sure, though, that He directed my guardian angel to make the extra effort so that I wouldn’t actually get killed despite for all the dangers I would encounter in building the hermitage, in getting shot at, in somersaulting down little cliffs with a running chain saw in hand, on and on. The memories.

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I collected a bunch of rocks from the path up to the hermitage so as to make a little grotto for our Lady, kind of a reminder of my time in Lourdes, but also as a reminder of where I had been going at the time, to become a chaplain at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, also teaching at the Franciscanum in the Old City, and then heading up their pilgrimage site on Mount Nebo in Jordan way above the far side of the Dead Sea. The bishop told me to make the hermitage my Holy Sepulcher to pray for priests. Great memories, all.

After all was said and done, and the very second I got back to the rectory, texting messages started to make my phone sing. It was late in the evening, and the town board was in the midst of conducting a closed meeting with yours truly being on the agenda. A unanimous decision was made about the fate of this donkey priest in time to come. I am humbled. More on that later.

All this happened January 14, 2020, the long standing Feast of Jackasses. I like that a lot. More on that later.

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Things that make me laugh, or not. Better than all levity is this…

Yep. Sorry. I guess I’m uncharitable. I laughed out loud when I heard the pencil neck comment. It was the intonation. And then it got worse, or… better. Hahaha. Sorry. Having said all that:

solemn intercession good friday secular rulers

Meanwhile, there are those who send me bits and pieces from SNL. I’ve never in my life ever found anything on SNL funny, just terribly sad. They all seem depressed, desperate, lost, expert in all that which is truly evil and bad and therefore deathly boring. That has always been my opinion, since it came on the air until now.

Meanwhile, anyone plying any sexual innuendo trying to be comical I also surmise to be depressed, desperate, lost, expert in all that which is truly evil and bad and therefore deathly boring.

It’s not that I’m virtuous, mind you. No. Not at all. But, as a priest, I do come across situations which are truly evil – straight out of hell – and those almost always involve abuse of the sex, and abuse of others, including minors by way of sex. I see the destruction of lives. Not good. Really evil.

More than that, personally, I’ve already written about how I was unwittingly made into the kiddie-porn star when I was a little kid. So, no, I don’t find that kind of thing humorous. Even if people are way the other way, so that they are so jaded by the horror of the aggression of the world in these matters that they make a joke so as to be sarcastic with the stupid ways of the world, still, even then, it is better to concentrate on the things that are above, not on those below.

  • It is better to hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 3:3).
  • It is better to be built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (see Ephesians 2:22)

What is better than all mere levity is true humor, which necessitates a sense of irony before the Sacred Mysteries: God would use the likes of us specifically in our fallen human nature to evangelize His goodness and His truth, His kindness and His truth, His respect for others and His truth. Did I say truth? Did I mention how it’s ironic to us because of our fallen human nature that we find it odd that justice and mercy are but one in God? When we get a hold of this even just a little bit in our lives it is an occasion for great joy in the Holy Spirit. This joy is seen in this great smile of Hilaire Belloc:

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“But this IS my smile.”

The humor that he’s smiling about so enthusiastically is this bit he wrote about irony, specifically Christian Irony. When you read this – as some of you have done many times – remember to keep Jesus and Him crucified front and center, or else you won’t understand in the least what Hilaire is saying.

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

[Deadpan statement:] So, you might say, Hilaire Belloc is hilarious.

[Then: wait for it…]

Image result for gifs three men laughing

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