Above is an icon of Saint Anne with Immaculate Mary, her infant daughter, who is already by vocation Mother of God, respected as such by the Holy Angels.
Anne in Hebrew is Hannah, חַנָּה. Most translate this name as grace, favor. That’s appropriate, since Saint Gabriel’s greeting to Mary so as to announce to her that she is to be the Virgin Mother of God, was this: “Rejoice, you who perfectly continue to stand perfectly transformed in grace since the instant…” [in context, that Mary’s vocation to be the virgin Mother of God was received, that is, at the first instant of her conception].
I first heard this explanation – grace, favor – of the name Hannah when I was slogging through the propaedeutic year of languages at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. But with me being freaky pedantic, I sought philological extravaganzas and, the next day, raised my hand to ask Sister Timothy Elliot, our professor, whether or not there was another possibility for the name Hannah, say, perhaps “womb”, indeed, “mercy.” She thought for a second and, eyes bright, said yes. Emboldened, I added a few philological notes, and she waxed poetic on that philology for a minute, confirming my findings.
Anyway, you’ll remember that Hannah is the prophet Samuel’s mother. She was granted the mercy of being a mother by God Most High, and she brought her little son to the temple to grow up there. “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.” Hannah sang about her experience, a hymn of praise and thanksgiving which, we can be quite sure, had been memorized and sung by another Hannah more than a thousand years later, the mother of Immaculate Mary. And surely Mary heard this, memorized this, carried this, sang this, the song of a Maternal warrior:
“My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides thee; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones; but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
Sound familiar? Let’s see how Immaculate Mary, The Warrior Woman of Genesis 3:15, recast this for her own circumstances as Virgin Mother of God, Jesus being the fulfillment of the new priesthood which Samuel, son of Hannah, put into motion back in his day:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.” (Luke 1:46-55)
To sing with such humility, truth, reverence, praise, with a military edge, demands of any singer, Hannah/Anne/Mary, an experience of suffering.
And that brings us to Mary’s name, Miryam, מִרְיָם, “bitterness” and “sea”. We recall once again the Lamentations:
“Is this nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see! Is there any sorrow like mine, which was inflicted on me, which the LORD made me suffer on the day of His fierce anger?” (Lamentations 1:12)
Back to Miryam, Mary. When I lived atop the cave of Elijah atop Mount Carmel for a month, I would sometimes look over the sea. I wondered out loud to my guardian angel what it is that Elijah saw coming out of the sea as a sign that the terrible drought of years was now over, you know, upon his praying seven times. The Hebrew is ambiguous, simply mentioning that his servant reported to Elijah that a small cloud (laden with rain) was seen arising from the sea, a cloud like a man’s hand/foot. הִנֵּה־עָ֛ב קְטַנָּ֥ה כְּכַף־אִ֖ישׁ עֹלָ֣ה מִיָּ֑ם
Forget translations, which often say “hand”. I think not. I think it was a small cloud laden with rain looking like a man’s foot. Why’s that? Because the cloud laden with rain as salvation for Israel is arising out of the bitter sea, that is Miryam, Mary. The first image of salvation we see in the Sacred Scriptures is in Genesis 3:15, whereby salvation is being brought by the initiative of the Savior to reach out His heel to crush the head of the great serpent, the ancient dragon, Satan, with that Redeemer/Savior Himself being crushed as indeed we saw with the crucifixion of Jesus, Son of Miryam, Mary, that Bitterness immense as the Sea under the Cross.
The moment I had asked my guardian angel about that cloud laden with rain back in the Book of Kings, a small cloud laden with rain immediately formed directly in front of me, over the sea, directly in front of Elijah’s cave. That’s the picture I took of that cloud above. Yikes!
Saint Francis of Assisi in times of TLM (Traditional Latin Mass): “Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.”
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, follower of Francis in times of TLM: “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”
Contrast this with Pope Francis in Traditionis custodes, with his inescapable “logic” that the TLM is both illicit and invalid:
Pope Francis in times of rebellion: Pope Francis says in Traditionis custodes, his “document” smashing down the TLM, that the Novus Ordo (the New Order of Mass) is “the only expression of the lex orandi [Law of Prayer] of the Roman Rite.” That lex orandi is defined in the accompanying letter with the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Last Supper united with Calvary, with what specifically happens with the two Consecrations. There is no expression of that Sacrifice to be found in the TLM, says Pope Francis. In other words, the Sacrifice of Jesus in the TLM is both illicit and invalid because the only expression of the lex orandi, the Sacrifice of Jesus, is to be found with the Novus Ordo. But if one says that the Consecrations in the TLM are invalid, one is also saying that the Consecrations in any rite of Holy Mass are invalid. People have the pretense to say that they are “stunned” when I say that Traditionis custodes is an evil document. I have not changed my mind on that. If one denies Jesus, it is Jesus who will deny him before our Heavenly Father.
Cardinal Arthur Roche, follower of Pope Francis in times of rebellion: Roche published his Responsa ad dubia, (responses to [contrived] doubts), execrating this: “The exclusion of the parish church [as a venue for the TLM] is intended to affirm that the celebration of the Eucharist according to the previous rite, being a concession limited to these groups, is not part of the ordinary life of the parish community.” Jesus offered to our Heavenly Father in the territory of a parish has nothing to do with the life of the parish? Nothing? But if you say that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is irrelevant in one rite, you say that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is irrelevant in every rite, including the Novus Ordo. I am stunned that anyone would support the assertion under any given circumstances that the Sacrifice of Jesus is NOTHING.
The real reason for all of this attack on Jesus and His Sacrifice?
Both Pope Francis and his protégé, Cardinal Arthur Roche, are claiming that they can mess around with the lex orandi, the law of prayer, which they themselves define as the Sacrifice of Jesus.
Both Pope Francis and his protégé, Cardinal Arthur Roche, are claiming that they can mess around with the lex credendi, the law of believing, for the law of praying is the law of believing. They have it that Sacred Tradition, the law of believing, can be manipulated by the Magisterium of the Church, you know, a power thing, so that any divinely provided living faith coming to the soul from the Holy Ghost with sanctifying grace, with divinely provided charity, with divinely provided hope, is NOTHING. For these two ecclesiastics, times so change entirely that world views, perspectives are also so entirely changed that Sacred Tradition (Traditiones in the Council of Trent’s description) is to be defined as merely whatever they say it happens to be in changing times. They don’t discount any truth in any time, but do assert that what they say to be today’s truth is different, even contradictory to yesterday’s truth, but is nevertheless valid, and, indeed, the only truth that is true today. But that means there is no truth in any time ever. God is eternal truth. God is absolute truth. Trent says that the apostles seem to provide for the continuance of the truth as if by hand – tradere – quasi per manus, but do not of themselves do this, for this work of Sacred Tradition is wrought by the Holy Ghost.
The trashing first of the lex orandi, which action itself trashes the lex credendi, sets up a vicious circle, so that now, the Sacred Liturgy is given over to idol worship, providing then for false belief. Witness Pachamama of Francis, Nian of Cupich, Ganesh sycophancy spreading among priests on the Asian Subcontinent, et alii et cetera. Desecration of the Blessed Sacrament being almost ubiquitous.
This is damnable. It’s gotta stop. It’s gotta stop now. But who will say no to Satan and yes to Jesus?
The time is coming, very soon, in the midst of this great apostasy, when those who could simply grant the provisions in Canon 87 to dispense from disciplinary rules odious to the faithful (thus assisting them to get to heaven) will instead choose to do the power thing because, you know… POWER! Of course, they could also simply ignore Traditionis custodes and the Responsa ad dubia as illegitimate assertions of disciplinary actions and let the Lord’s Little Flock get on their way to heaven.
Imagine the punishment for spitting on Jesus and Mary:
Continuing with some notes on the Two Hearts Rosary, let’s take a look at the third Glorious Mystery, fifty days after the triumphant Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We are witnessing to the Father and the Son sending the Holy Spirit upon us, that FIRE of Pentecost bringing us to be formed as members of the Body of Christ, that through Jesus, with Him and in Him we might be given by Mary’s Son as a gift to our Heavenly Father. We thus become tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, our very bodies becoming chaste sacrifices for this indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. However much we are formed to members of the Body of Christ as He is now, risen from the dead, upon this earth we perceive to united with Him, to stand in solidarity with Him in His trials.
Jesus had already ascended to heaven, to His Father, ten days previous to Pentecost, forty days after greeting His dearest Immaculate Mother, following upon those darkest three days and nights when Jesus was making all things new in Himself. Let’s review:
“It was the beauty and loveliness of the God-Man Christ which on the one hand made the crime so great, and on the other hand made the Divine forgiveness so final and so certain. That Figure on the Cross bore to the full not only the physical effects of sin which any man might suffer, and not only the mental effects of sin which all of us ought to feel, but the spiritual effects of sin which only He could feel because being sinless He was not part of it. Only the sinless know the horror of sin.” — (Father Fulton J Sheen, 22 March 1940, Good Friday Meditation)
What we say of Jesus we say of Mary:
About Jesus: Jesus was the Standard of Good, of Truth, He being our Life, and, even as Viator, One walking upon this earth, had what we call, uniquely for Him, not the beatific vision, as if this had to happen to Him as an event, but continued always in the blessed vision of His Heavenly Father. In contrast, He could see all the horror of sin, from Adam and the last man is conceived, being vomited upon Him as we tortured Him to death.
About Mary: Mary, Mother of Life because Mother of God, of Divine Jesus, was immaculate, and as such, had such purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision and profundity of understanding that, in contrast to what was almost the beatific vision, could also see the entirety of our sin, from Adam until the last man is conceived, smashed down upon her Son as she stood in solidarity with Him in His trials. As Jesus, she was sinless, and because of that was immersed in the quagmire of sin, and therefore not blinded to the reality of sin. Knowing our need perfectly, she could and did intercede for us perfectly, our Advocate. It is so fitting in justice that there be one of us mere human beings to seek the justice consequent upon the perfect Sacrifice of her Son. For Mary to ask for us the graces of the redemption won for us by Jesus alone provides her with the title of Co-Redemptrix and, in this way, another title: Mediatrix of all Graces.
We are so callous, so dark, so steeped in this world of sin that we have really just about zero idea what it means for Immaculate Mary to have witnessed all sin wrecked upon her Son. All the suffering in the world is incomparable to her suffering. From the Book of Lamentations (1:12), as if Jeremiah was seeing Blessed Mary holding Jesus having been lowered from the Cross into her arms:
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.”
That’s the Holy Ghost reprimanding us. When the Holy Ghost reprimands us, we have better take in what the Holy Ghost is saying to the Churches. But do we get it, finally? Are we still so scandalized that Saint Paul’s statement is shocking to us, that Jesus was made to be sin for us. And He did stand in our place, innocent for the guilty, so that He might in His own justice have the right to have mercy on us. In like manner, Mary was made to be sin for us. Look at her, they say, the mother of that criminal, as bad or worse than he was, they say. She was His Mother. It’s all her fault. She’s more of a criminal, a sinner, than Him.
Sigh… I lament all those who insist that Mary is and must remain a mere pious piffle, a fake niceness who is aloof from Jesus’ suffering, from the suffering of those who have returned with John to Calvary, so that Mary is a contrived safe-space for malicious sinners to continue sinning because she is so damned irrelevant in their eyes, so fake and nice is she to them, those malicious sinners who condemn to hell all those who bring the truth of the sufferings of Jesus and Mary because of our sins to the light of day. How very snarky we all are to pray the third Glorious Mystery, thus assisting those in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, the Spouse of Mary. How snarky we are to insist on actually accompanying Mary in the Sacred Mysteries of the Rosary.
“But Father George! Father George! You’re supposed to be talking about the spirit of Vatican II! The spirit is a movin’ among us! It’s the NEW Pentecost, Father George! Get with it! Do jumping jacks or something, you know, in the spirit!”
Here’s the deal: At Pentecost dearest Mary was still upon this earth, soul and body. She was still physically devastated by the three days and three nights of the passion, death and burial of her Son. Even if the actual sword of sorrow piercing her soul on Calvary had been removed some seven weeks previously by her now risen Son — note that it’s not the sword going into the heart which kills, but the removal — she was still suffering that mortal wound, the same, I dare I say, with which Jesus was mortally wounded in His agony in Gethsemane, as The Doctors of Calvary say, His Heart, His pericardium being sundered by a massive heart attack, not wanting in His human nature to see His Immaculate Mother having to see Him being tortured to death in front of her. In perfect solidarity with Him, did she not suffer in the same manner? “Father, not my will but thine be done” are also her words, this time about accepting the Father’s will regarding her Son, Jesus.
She would not survive long after Pentecost, the entire cycle of the economy of salvation being quite completed, we now being in the last times of purification and sanctification (that FIRE of Pentecost), we now awaiting the coming of the Lord Jesus once again to judge the living and the dead and world by that same FIRE. She died not because she was subject internally to the consequences of original sin, but because she was immaculate. The immensity of the absolute purity of her necessitated the mortal suffering she was to endure.
To be clear: The Holy Ghost was sent amongst us for the forgiveness of sin by way of sanctifying grace being brought to us, the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. There is no room for the guilt of sin upon this flooding in of divine grace. We are removed from eternal death by the granting of eternal life. All things being equal, you cannot pray the third Glorious Mystery without going to Confession.
Mary Immaculate is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Do you think she has nothing to say about who is to be forgiven all the outrageous sin against her Son? Jesus has something to say about this, and make no mistake, He is here speaking of the judgment of His Immaculate Mother about us:
“Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme” (Mark 3:28).
Get that? Mary is the one interceding in solidarity with her Son that we be forgiven of ALL sin. But Mary does have something to say in defense, as it were, of her Spouse, the Holy Ghost, following reason:
“But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin” (Mark 3:29)
Jesus says that, but it is only right in justice that He says this while looking over to His Blessed Mother, saying this in her honor, confirming her righteousness, her reasonableness in her being the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. This is her judgment that He respects.
Our Heavenly Father and Jesus send the Holy Ghost amongst us for the forgiveness of all sin except for sin against the Holy Ghost. The Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary have suffered together. Jesus redeems us and should like also to save us. We must look to Mary for her maternal intercession that we be provided the grace to repent of our sin and so that we do not fall into the eternal sin of being presumptuous of forgiveness (for that is to hate the forgiveness itself). It’s good for us to ask Mary to pray that we receive the grace of final perseverance.
The name Father Tissa Balasuriya was brought to mind in the past week. He was a “liberation theologian” from Sri Lanka, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, excommunicated for a while because of his many and disgusting heresies regarding our Blessed Mother. He died in early 2013, a week or so after Pope Benedict XVI did what he did (whatever it is that he did). It was Cardinal Ratzinger who had published the excommunication so many years earlier (1997). Here’s an excerpt:
“A fundamental aspect of the thought of Father Balasuriya is the denial of the dogma of original sin, held by him to be simply a product of the theological thought of the West (cf. pp. 66-78). This contradicts the nature of this dogma and its intrinsic connection to revealed truth. The author, in fact, does not hold that the meaning of dogmatic formulas remains always true and unchangeable, though capable of being expressed more clearly and better understood. [In contrast, I was able to demonstrate the “mechanism” (well, God’s justice precisely in view of how He created us), regarding the transmission of original sin not by imitation but by propagation, showing the inescapable logic of this from the Hebrew text, a first as far as I can tell after a quite exhaustive examination of millennia of commentary on the matter.]
“On the basis of these positions, the author arrives at the point of denying, in particular, the marian dogmas. Mary’s divine motherhood, her Immaculate Conception and virginity, as well as her bodily Assumption into heaven, are not recognized as truths belonging to the Word of God (cf. pp. 47, 106, 139, 152, 191). [In contrast, in my own work, I demonstrated how all these dogmas are necessary upon the examination of the text of the Sacred Scriptures, again, a first as far as I know in the history of Judeo-Catholicism.] Wanting to present a vision of Mary free from «theological elaborations, which are derived from a particular interpretation of one sentence or other of the scriptures» (p. 150) [In contrast, I demonstrated how Genesis 2:4a–3:24 is a tightly scripted equation, a syllogism], Father Balasuriya, in fact, deprives the dogmatic doctrine concerning the Blessed Virgin of every revealed character, thus denying the authority of tradition as a mediation of revealed truth. [In contrast, I demonstrated the revealed character of all the present Marian dogmas, and more, that is, regarding Mary as Advocate, Mediatrix, Co-Redemptrix.]
“Finally, it must be noted that Father Balasuriya, denying and relativizing some statements of both the extraordinary Magisterium and the ordinary universal Magisterium, reveals that he does not recognize the existence of an infallibility of the Roman Pontiff and of the college of Bishops cum et sub Petro. Reducing the primacy of the Successor of Peter to a question of power (cf. pp. 42, 84, 170), he denies the special character of this ministry. [In contrast, I have attempted, as a courtesy, to correct Francis’ assertions of power as an attempt to control Sacred Tradition (he taking up Balasuriya’s heretical assertions), pointing Francis instead to correct philological exegesis of Matthew 16 regarding the limits of infallibility apart from Sacred Tradition. This is speaking with parrhesia, with charity. I must say, this has been quite the exhaustive, comprehensive examination, though spread out over very many articles over very many years.]
“In publishing this Notification, the Congregation is obliged also to declare that Father Balasuriya has deviated from the integrity of the truth of the Catholic faith and, therefore, cannot be considered a Catholic theologian; moreover, he has incurred excommunication latae sententiae (can. 1364, par. 1). [In other words, the automatic nature of the excommunication was now also declared, therefore having external penalties imposed and supervised.]
“The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Notification, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
“Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2 January 1997, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph Card. Ratzinger Prefect” [So, that’s weird. I think the multiple dates here refer, perhaps, to the approval, and/or the signing, and/or the publishing.]
A year later, in 1998, this excommunication was lifted upon Tissa’s admission that there might be “perceptions of error” in his writings, whatever that means. While teaching in major seminaries in Australia a few years later, I saw a BBC interview with Tissa in which, if I remember correctly, he mocked this decision of the foolish Holy See rehabilitating him. I was intent on getting him excommunicated once again (with full encouragement of the Holy Office), and so contacted the BBC to get a DVD copy of the interview (which they advertised at the end of the program). To their credit, they responded and took my phone calls. But they got nervous and said that sharing a copy was, in this case, forbidden by the interviewee. Who would’ve guessed? The BBC guy was super nervous, as denial is against government policy (the BBC being a government agency). Anyway, you can fool what is now called the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith some of the time, but not Jesus, not Mary at any time. One way or the other, now Tissa knows the rest of the story, with great clarity. I hope he turned around before he died. I don’t wish anyone any harm, even with the infliction of penalties which are medicinal in nature. For the eternal repose of Tissa’s soul (We’re to pray for our enemies, right?): Hail Mary…
Whatever the perception of Tissa as a full-on heretic, he did get due process. That’s charity, right?
τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν – He who knew no sin was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Saint Paul’s shorthand speech, Jesus became sin for us. Ooo! That sounds scandalous! Heretical! Bad and evil! But Jesus stood in our place, Innocent for the guilty, so that He could have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. And Mary Immaculate stood in perfect solidarity with Jesus. Mary became sin for us with Jesus. Ooo! That sounds scandalous! Heretical! Bad and evil. But I say that this is Mary Immaculate’s glory. To those who cannot bear such reality, I say, grow up and see the suffering, witness Mary’s maternal intercession, the sword of sorrow piercing her soul that our thoughts may be laid bare. Grow up and lay aside all cowardice. Rejoice that we have such a good Mother, such a Holy Redeemer in her Son.
Rumors fly as they do, even across oceans do they fly. It seems that I have been denounced to the highest of ecclesiastical tribunals in an attempt to destroy my priesthood. It seems that I am a blasphemer when it comes to praising the perfect condescension of Jesus and His dearest Mother, that κατάβασις (katabasis = going down) of mercy founded on justice. It seems that I have been labeled as a blasphemer. Will I be put under some kind of interdict, suspended in some way, perhaps dismissed from the clerical state, or – hey! – even excommunicated?
Long time readers may remember when a top canonist of the Roman Rota, a friend, wrote up an interdict against me on behalf of co-conspirators at the Pontifical Seminary at which I was teaching and at which I was very active on the formation team for both philosophers and theologians. But that was humor.
My crime then was to be chaplain for the philosophers and not the theologians in the 2010 Mud Bowl extravaganza.
But the present denunciation against me is deadly serious, enough to rip me out of the priesthood.
What’s the kerfuffle about, really? Surely it’s about my praise of Jesus and Mary. But I am also a thorn in the side of some members of the Church for a number of reasons. Any and all of these, take your pick:
I think the Traditional Latin Mass is a valid and licit expression of the Roman Rite
I think the Hegelian-Rahnerian methodology of the Synod on Synodality is itself heretical
I think the encouragement of same-sex unchastity and any unchastity leads souls to hell
I think that the idol worship of demon idols such as Pachamama (Francis) or Nian (Cupich) or Ganesh (spreading in India with impunity) et alii is a direct violation of the first Commandment
I think Sacred Tradition is univocal and provided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to each sanctified soul and is not passed on by hand, but only quasi per manus, almost as if by hand (Trent). Sacred Tradition is not a tree or the roots of a tree, dynamic, growing. No. Tradition is absolute. Truth is absolute. God is Truth. God is absolute. Sacred Tradition is not something dictated by freakoids in the Roman Curia, not even by the Pope, not even in ex-Cathedra pronouncements. No. Sacred Tradition (traditiones) is the living faith provided in sanctifying grace and the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. Idiot human beings don’t do that. Infallibility is not equal to Sacred Tradition.
I think contraception, abortifacients, procured abortion, infanticide, euthanasia are all intrinsically dishonest, and, as with Ad tuendam fidem, with Ratzinger and JPII, I hold these to be definitive, infallible teachings of the ordinary magisterium of the Church.
I think murdering babies in the womb for research, development, testing of “vaccines” is the utilitarian murder of the least of the brethren, of Jesus.
I think that the money laundering and, therefore, the consequent financing of international terrorism is directly opposed to the mission of the Church. I agree with Jesus: you cannot serve God and mammon. I am working to bring the criminals down, hard.
I am Catholic and love being a priest of Jesus Christ and a son of Mary, Mother of priests. I know she suffered a hell of a lot for me, and I thank her for that and I praise her for that. That’s the problem.
My being denounced came about just days before my surgery, and, now starting my recovery, this is my new distraction. It’s about the wonderful statue of Mary with infant Jesus that is making its way to all of the parishes of the diocese.
I mean, that face of Mary. She sees the problems at hand. Finally, someone does. Great! And Jesus entirely exudes confidence that whatever it is she wants in her maternal solicitude for us, she’s going to get it.
But here’s what I said in the original post which I took down so that I would have to time to put up this response before being smacked down hard, it being that I was busy getting cut wide open and am now recovering. This is what was so very offensive:
“This is the Pilgrim Virgin Mary of Charlotte Diocese making her way throughout the parishes during the 50th anniversary of this relatively young diocese. She’s now at Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC. Another priest gave her the title: “Our Lady Most Patient with Father Byers.” Hmmm. I think I like “Our Lady Most Snarky” better. Whatever it is that she’s plotting, it’s Jesus who will make it happen. Totally.”
Our Lady is most patient with yours truly, but her patience extends to many more souls than just myself. This is why I mentioned the snarkiness of her expression, you know, like she’s plotting something, of course for our good, and Jesus will make it happen.
I’m guessing the problem people had, why they think I’m a blasphemer, is my usage of the word snarky.
Sigh… You try to speak in the now enculturated language of fairy tales, on the level of little children, and this is what you get. Gunned down. So, fine. Some explanations are in order.
It all starts with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland) penned in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. Lewis was a devout lifelong stratospherically high-church Anglican, a believer. His protagonist, Alice, is the original one to “go down the rabbit hole”. She meets up with all sorts of allegorical, anthropomorphic creatures, human adults if truth be known, who express their opinions (also by way of the manner in which they live) about the philosophies and political idiocies of the day. Alice struggles to stay herself even as she meets up with adults who have become all too self-absorbed in the myriad ways fallen human nature goes about this in unrepeatable circumstances.
Then, eleven years later, in 1876, Carroll writes The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits. This is about a bunch of seasoned guys from all types of professions who get together to traverse the waves to an island where their hunting of the Snark might well be successful. The chapters of poetic verse are called fits appropriately enough. The Snark isn’t much described other than that it is seems to be a dark figure, mysterious in a most sinister sort of way.
While they hunt, it seems that a Snark is spotted, and one of the crew dies in his attempt to get close. He had seen the Snark falling from the heights. The crew member dies a most calm and peaceful death. He simply disappears. All gone. The end.
People asked Carroll who or what the Snark is, and he would never let on. Well, to me, sorry, but this is obvious, and if you have to be told you won’t understand it anyway, but I will tell you, since it is too painful for this mystery to go on. Fallen society has made it quite impossible to crack the mystery today.
The Snark, par excellence, is Jesus Christ, and, of course, His blessed Mother with Him. Yes, the monstrous Snark, so evil in every way, in fact, a projection, in our perception, of the evil within ourselves, which we try to kill, pretending to be our own saviors. We spend our lives doing this, going inside ourselves, travelling the world, hunting, hunting, hunting the dreadful Snark, Jesus Christ, who takes upon Himself all the punishment of our sin – He was made sin for us – and we mock Him as the criminal, the One who enslaved all in sin from Adam until the last man is conceived. And when we finally meet up with Him, like that crew member who dies, He falls from the heights to the depths, and it is there, far below the Cross, that we behold His Mother looking upon us, and we understand: He is God and she is His Mother. Both bloodied, both looking like criminals, monstrous. But then we understand a smidgeon of such love.
We die to ourselves and we ourselves gently just disappear as Snark hunters. We take our place with Mary and John and are now also in solidarity with Jesus. In our own way, we become just a little bit of The Snark. But Jesus and Mary are the epitome of being the Snark. Only they can bear the weight of all our darkness, all our sin which we project unto them. They are so good to us, so kind.
As a clincher, I should mention that the epic poem, The Hunting of the Snark, was published far and wide with multiple printings, all by itself. But that was not at all the case when this poem on The Snark was to be given to children, specifically “to those who love Alice” (of Alice in Wonderland fame). When The Hunting of the Snark was given “to those who love Alice” those children were also given a lengthy Easter Greeting also penned by Lewis Carroll. It was all about the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who triumphed over sin and evil, He having forgiven us our sin wrought in all our idiocy.
People dismiss Carroll’s writings as mere fantastical nonsense literature. That is because they don’t see the irony, the humor which Chesterton would later say is so necessary for Christianity itself. Irony is not nonsense. It is essential to life and breath. Irony is our hope. It is justice and mercy meeting upon the Cross. It is Christ being made to be sin. And Mary with Him. It slams us to our knees.
I believe that Lewis Carroll opened the floodgates of this kind of literature for those to come, say, C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia, or J.R.R. Tolkien and his works on Hobbits and Rings and Middle Earth. I say the same for the more outlandishly wonderful works of G.K. Chesterton such as The Ball and the Cross. But most of all, most of all, it is the summary of irony by Hilaire Belloc which most rings absolutely true with The Hunting of the Snark. You are reading about Jesus Christ on the Cross:
“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).]
/// That last bit about no man possessing irony and using it ever living happily? Yep. But mere happiness is one thing. Joy is another, in the Holy Spirit. It would be a great privilege to be penalized even by Holy Mother Church because of thanking Jesus and Mary for their sufferings for us. But my priesthood? That can never be taken away. It is a sacrament lasting forever. I have no fear. The Great Snark, and the Mother of snarky priests watch over me, having me die to my wretched self, but living for them.
The denouncement of blasphemy against me is so dark that I have to do this:
And if I’ve been beating down the wolves in this post, it is only so that they will turn into the sheep of the Lord’s Little Flock. It would be a joy to go to heaven together. Amen.
As soon as the massive hornworm hosts the eggs of the braconid wasp, cotesia congregates, the worm, while continuing to live as feeding host for the baby wasps, no longer eats or even moves. Nature working for you, as it should be. The little red wasps are friendly. Be nice to them.
While I was down for the count in post-op recovery, Brandon gave a speech, apparently literally from hell, pronouncing half the American population, the MAGA Republicans, as being a “clear and present danger” to the republic. That’s technical phraseology. It seems to me that this establishes open season on Americans.
Military and law enforcement agencies, all members of which have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, even over against an anti-American sitting President, are staring at that and scoffing, waiting for the next election… or… as political sycophants, consider themselves obedient to the marching orders given and are considering how to accomplish the task ahead.
Being the proud son of one of the most highly decorated USMC fighter attack pilots, I am particularly offended by the usage of Marines as props for this anti-American speech.
I realize that in making brave to speak of my ♬ feelings ♬ about this, the entitled-to-safe-space leaders of the FBI and DoJ will be frantic to have me thrown into solitary confinement, thinking that this confirms their power. Whatever. This life isn’t forever.
This isn’t about Donald Trump. This is about the the smackdown of the free exercise of religion, of the freedom of speech, of the freedom to assemble, the God-given inalienable rights necessary for the shining light of the visible Church founded by the Son of the Living God. Making America Great Again is, for me, about the rights of the visible Church not only to celebrate the Sacraments but to preach truth in the public square.
Sure, the entitled-to-safe-space leaders of the FBI and DoJ hate such freedoms of Americans, and the hubris of their “power” rises to begin “cleansing” society of believers. But, as I say, whatever. That’s all supremely boring no matter what happens. They think to be “it”, but Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception” is the One, the only One. Only Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life, is the One with true power, the power of God, God who is love. They hate that true power is love.
In any other time, anyone giving a speech like Brandon just did would be arrested. Remember the war crimes tribunal of post-genocide Rwanda, that Radio Station which pushed the same rhetoric? They were convicted.
But – Hey! – because Brandon is all about pushing for as much abortion as possible, always and everywhere – Hey! – let’s give him Holy Communion at Holy Mass! /off sarcasm (except the idiocy just keeps going…)
Two trees of drips for either hand and all sorts of electrodes over the chest.
A friend slew “The Dragon” (Route 129) for me, to the teaching hospital and back again. We got back after midnight.
The surgery was like getting hit by a Mac truck, but, this old body is getting better incrementally. It was necessary.
The best part was the great team of doctors, who were in a very good mood, laughing and making for a very pleasant work atmosphere. Never seen anything like it. Superb. The residents, the nurses, the assistants, all great, all with equally fantastic bedside manner.
There is a worst part with the very long lasting effects of the epidural. It’s worn off now. But there are other things which I’ll skip unless it all takes a turn for the worse. But I should be fine.
Meanwhile, I think of all those who don’t have the benefit of any kind of healthcare. And there are plenty.
Dear Lord, watch over them, provide them with your consolation, point their souls heavenward. Amen.
About a half a ton, but He ain’t heavy. He’s my Brother.
That method didn’t work. We thought about cranes, the works. Finally we figured it out. A special machine. Brute force. Prayers.
A caption for the statue? “Welcome home!” to those who have been away all too long. Is Jesus trustworthy? This statue also correctly provides instruction on trustworthiness: there are wounds, large and deep. Yes, Jesus laid down His life, Innocent for the guilty, to take us up in life for eternity.
That’s the PCI in Rome. The “Salone” to the left is where it seems electioneering for the papacy was taking place in 2005, you know, it seems by the Sankt Gallen crowd. Interesting that would happen just there.
Those who have suffered bloody persecutions will be the first to say that bloody persecution is not the worst persecution. Incomparably worse is a persecution of the faith of the Lord’s Little Flock from within, by the priests and bishops who not only negate doctrine and morality and instruction on the spiritual life and any reverence in the liturgy, but who actively lead people to hell, dragging them into cleverly concocted myths of self-absorbed “liberation” from… Jesus.
Suffering martyrdom and then going to heaven? Great! Losing one’s eternal soul in hell? Well, hell.
I was well acquainted with Irish seminarians while I was in Rome. They said that they were going back to Ireland to liberate their people from traditional faith. First thing to be axed upon their return? The Rosary. Yes, they said it plainly. Then Individual sacramental Confession. That’s the two steps to death. They were eager to do this. They’re the ones, the only ones who accomplish the “liberation of the Irish people” (their words) from… Jesus. And they did it.
And don’t think those are actual numbers above. The percentage of those who enter the seminary and who are ordained priests is always small. And in these conditions it would be almost impossible. If you count up the (arch)dioceses and subtract the Neo-Cats, that’s only about 1.something seminarians per (arch)diocese.
Take a look at Dublin in that list above. 0-0-0. You have to know that Dublin vied to be the largest Archdiocese in the world over against Milan. And I note that there is not even one seminarian at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. Just. Wow.
But the Lord’s Little Flock will survive. There is a rebellion amongst the young who see through the narrow narcissism of their elders who were once young like them. But this is no mere “revolution” of the young once again. This is about Jesus. This is about our Blessed Mother. This is about Jesus forming young men for future priesthood by first of all throwing them today headlong into the trenches.
Jesus has an eleventh commandment, that we are to pray to the Master of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Just know that when you thus praying, you are also praying that conditions be such that good and holy vocations will survive the seminary and whatever interference from their (arch)dioceses.
Those who will be ordained have been called during this time of annihilation to have the privilege of standing in solidarity with Jesus in His trials, in the midst of His Little Flock being attacked relentlessly by the wolves. To be clever as serpents but innocent as doves means no compromise, no half measures, all for Jesus, all for His Blessed Mother.
What to do? Glad you priests asked!
Rosary, always, before every Holy Mass, and you start it off
Confessions, always, before every Holy Mass
Offer Holy Mass with humility, reverence, thanksgiving
Fullness of doctrine, morality, instruction on the spiritual life, reverent liturgy
Forget Hegelian-Rahnerian “dialog” from hell. Teach the faith! Drop celebrating “gay”, protecting abortion, promoting euthanasia, lesbian priestxes…
And priests: You are to do 100% of Communion calls, visits to hospitals and rehabs and nursing homes. You be in solidarity with those who suffer. Don’t schedule Last Rites. Go immediately.
Meanwhile, I’m sure there must still be some good priests with whom I was with as seminarians. Praying for them. I can’t imagine the nightmare they are living. Hail Mary…
Meanwhile, I’m aghast in thinking about this. I know those who brought this about. The mantra as the seminaries were emptying out already in those days was “More novelty! Keep up with America!” Really. Don’t follow Jesus, but keep up with America.
What does that say about America? I’ve been complaining about Ireland, but what does Ireland breathlessly wanting to keep up with America say about America? I can’t imagine the nightmare some of my fellow priests here in America are suffering. Hail Mary…
Amidst all the wars and floods and earthquakes and persecutions right around the world, causing so many to be murdered, displaced, and amidst all the weirdness of the complications of world-politics and church-politics, that weirdness being an occasion by which people can lose their souls, I’ve nevertheless allowed myself to be distracted, self-absorbed, as Pope Francis says, in my own tiny little world.
I’ve been doing some preps for a medical intervention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, a teaching hospital, recommended precisely because it is a teaching hospital by my own doctor and a specialist surgeon, both outside of that health care system. There are complications. Two hospitals were fighting for me to be their patient. I’m grateful.
It’s a super-easy, super-common, merely outpatient intervention. A generous parishioner is driving me there and back. But medicine is a practice, right? If there is a rather catastrophic complication, some logistics will have to be confronted. Since as a priest I’m quite continuously in hospitals, I’ve personally seen that complication. Alas, it’s best to be prepared.
It’s one of those situations whereby… “You have to confront the trees when going through a forest.” This is our lot in life, attempting to be a steward for the entire forest, but, in trying to have oversight of the panorama, we can walk right into individual trees. Bonk. Thus, the distraction.
The upside of any such would-be complication in my little world is that it might well save me from another possible intervention, which I’ve been warned by specialists would necessarily be catastrophic. So, one regrettable complication saving me from another. That would be really cool. I love that. I’m patient. But chances are there will not necessarily be another complication.
Anyway, that’s why I’ve not been posting much. Busy with preps. Chances are chances. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Lots of people don’t have that opportunity. I’m grateful to be able to get psyched, as they say. Still doing the usual sprinting from Holy Hours to Confessions to Holy Mass to Communion calls, to Last Rites… and feeding Shadow-dog… all those things that I have hopes of continuing to do regardless of any complications one way or the other. It’s complicated, but obstacles are not insurmountable. For the record: “Not insurmountable.” Sometimes it has to be said.
P.S. That picture up top of John Paul II, who, like that young man, would then himself be transferred into a wheelchair…
I put that poignant photo there because my memory is jogged regarding what a certain papabile said to me about that sainted pontiff, that he, JPII, is an embarrassment to the Church in front of the world. What a shame, he insisted, a pope in a wheelchair. He added: We’re trying to figure out a way to have him removed. Get that? But I’m sure it wasn’t because of physical infirmity that there was a desire to discard JPII like trash. JPII’s crime was that he was Catholic while being pope. This same papabile said that Jesus was a “kind of failure”, you know, a loser, for having been crucified.
I recall a priest saying of me already decades ago now that I myself was an embarrassment to the Church in front of the world, you know, because at the time I was in a wheelchair. I was just as much of an embarrassment to the Church in front of the world as was another priest in a wheelchair in his diocese. He was an out-and-out Marxist, so, for him, rusty cogs in the machine are to be discarded like trash. I’m sure it wasn’t because of my physical infirmity at the time that there was a desire to get rid of me. My crime was that I was being Catholic while being a priest. It would only be a year or two and I would wheel myself in my wheelchair a couple of miles away to the Missionaries of Charity, giving them the wheelchair, making brave to walk away on crutches, and then, later, walk miles on those crutches to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and place my crutches, as a kind of statement of thanksgiving, behind the altar-rails at the side-altar of St Pius X, making brave to walk away, and I did.
Years later, I recall a seminarian asking about a limp of mine which at some times is more pronounced. I told him what had happened. While spinning about and walking away quickly, dismissively, he called out, “What a loser!” you know, with an attitude, as in, “What a f***ing loser!” — Like… wait… what? If I’m a loser for having a limp, is Jesus a loser for having been crucified?
Anyway, the present intervention for which I’m distracted with many preps has nothing to do with any lifetime quasimodo ambulation. Chances are there will be no complication, which might be complicating, a veritable forest of trees:
Meanwhile, that’s just my own little world. Boring.
It’s Jesus who is the One. The only One.
I get that. I can’t even count how many times JPII traced the cross on my forehead.
The picture above is out front of the rectory. That’s Jasmine, which most often has five petals, or even six. Almost exclusively the Jasmine out front next to our Lady has four petals, little white crosses. Mary stood next to the Cross in solidarity with Jesus. Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
Meanwhile, underneath those particular Jasmine, is Brakeman, which a master welder friend made and later gave to me. Here’s a previous picture:
As you can see, he’s made out of parts of brakes. His nickname is Adam, who put on the brakes for mankind with his original sin, darkening himself, attempting to hide from God. And if you think he looks quite monstrous, well, we have no idea how awful sin is, how much it destroys us.
Corrupt Catholic priest Father Martin Luther, of Reformation Rebellion fame infamy, held that Redemption wrought by Christ Jesus does not redeem us, but merely covers over our corruption in sin like a blanket of snow over a heap of manure, for eternity, so that, he says, God the Father is pleased to see us because God the Father is tricked into thinking that the glistening snow He sees, Christ’s grace, is really how we are, though we are not. We are manure and we remain manure in heretic Martin Luther’s view.
Meanwhile, the truth of our Redemption in Christ Jesus is that we are made to be members of the Body of Christ, and Christ Jesus is not a heap of manure. Jesus provides that we are drawn to Him in sanctifying grace, and we are, indeed, sanctified, becoming tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. In this world, we still bear the weaknesses consequent to original sin, weakness of mind and will, emotions all over the place, sickness and death, suffering the violence of others. But all those things will fall away upon our entrance, please God, into heaven. We must have hope! Martin Luther purposed his hopelessness to insult our Redemption in Jesus and to mock God the Father.
What’s the real analogy of that picture of Jasmine up top? It’s that although we, the sons and daughters of Adam, are so weak, we nevertheless have hope, for Christ’s grace does sanctify us, and we can, in humble thanksgiving, make brave and, say, as the littlest of children, give flowers to Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception.
The “Den of Thieves” documentary is about how some few people, allegedly dazzled with money, allegedly cynically used the desire of others, that desire being to provide for the common good as motivated by genuine religious piety. It’s not that those others who were being used were “important” or “had extraordinary talents.” No. They were simply convenient stooges in the eyes of the cynical, nothing, pawns to be removed at will.
This resonates with me because it seems to me that, at a certain point, I was set to be one of the stooges for this alleged money laundering scheme, just another convenient, useful idiot in the eyes of those same cynical people. It was a perfect storm of coincidences. Nothing more. I’m nothing, nobody, but certainly eager in my naïveté. Apologies for dragging you though some personal history, but what is recounted here about my being thrown into the dark side of the Church and then about anti-Mafia connections feeds into what I think may be a lead someone might want to take up regarding the alleged money laundering of the (Catholic) American University of Madaba, Jordan (AUM) and the alleged money laundering of Vatican Bank. No apologies, however, for my throwing in some humor with this. We gotta lighten it up, right?
Encouragement to get to know the dark side
Just by happenstance logistical circumstance, as a nobody seminarian, way back in the day, I became friends with a newly ordained priest who was actually a believer, solidly Catholic, pious, one of the few truly brilliant minds in the Church today. Over the decades he became concerned that I was too entrenched in being oblivious to the real world, the way things are, the glaring wounds slashed upon, hammered into the Body of Christ. Over a period of some months he tried to convince me that part of being faithful is to recognize all the unfaithfulness there is all around us, also in the Holy See, the Roman Curia, Satan prowling to murder souls. I had been too content with seeing myself as evil, but, please God, saved by Jesus Christ. Out of sloth, I didn’t want to also much notice the needs of the Lord’s Little Flock.
One day, many years having gone by but still repeating his mantra against my naïvité, he then added that a certain papabile (someone quite likely to be elected Pope in a future conclave) with whom he was acquainted ex officio, needed a driver, and that I would be perfect for this, as it would be my chance to get to know the dark side, those individuals in the Church who had chosen not to follow Jesus. Finally I would be put face to face with the needs of the Lord’s Little Flock that my friend knew all too well. But, he warned me repeatedly, this papabile is likely a homosexualist. Well, that was no surprise. I had been surrounded by that in the seminary and throughout my priesthood. This simply meant that I was to meet up with sociopathic rationalizations now more than ever.
This is the kind of thing an ecclesiastical library rat – the most extreme in wanting to be nobody so as to make the silence of a highly protected library effective – would be happy to do, as it would permit (1) continuing in the joy of being nobody, (2) it would afford entertainment (which was otherwise walking about Rome memorizing Greek and Hebrew paradigms) and (3) might possibly aid in the betterment of the Church, however that would work out, trusting my friend that he knew what he was doing. He was an occasional Confessor for me and, on occasion, also a spiritual director. I was well aware that this was also for the good of my soul, meant to rip me out of the entirely too-easy-life of the naïve.
My friend then said he’s going to make a phone call to set this up. Some days later, he told me that I was expected at that papabile’s residence at my convenience. I put this off for weeks, but at his insistence, I went. Was I being set up to be a spy, reporting back to my friend? Sure. Obviously. That’s also the point. I trusted him and still do trust him to this day, entirely. Is that being naïve? I was learning.
On the periphery of Sankt Gallen
In the space of just a year and a half I was catapulted into extreme Church politics, gaining in perspective. This included moving amongst the movers and shakers and other papabili of the time. For instance, I gave a retreat to a certain group of priests and power-monsignors of the Archdiocese of Milan as a favor to Cardinal Martini, S.J., a fellow “Scripture scholar” of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, if you’ll forgive my adding myself in name to such a gnostic group. After that retreat, Martini tried to draw me in closer, having his minions, now inside the Jesuit Biblicum, put pressure on me to do translations for his non-stop verbiage published at the time everywhere in the world. On one occasion, I was brought to within a few miles of Sankt Gallen when that particular papabile for whom I was a “driver” threw an apoplectic tantrum as he remembered some real-time church politics taking place there. This actually scared me. He was frantic: “Turn into that parking lot! Now! – Now turn around! – Go, go, go!” I had no idea what Sankt Gallen was back then. Needless to say, this incident indicates that I wasn’t quite in the inner circle, though I would continue to be invited to accompany the power-Cardinals at whatever Pontifical event. I’ve been given the name “the janitor”, but now I was “the driver”. Still a nobody, thanks be to God. Sorry, just a little humor to lighten it up a bit:
Again, for me, all this was entertainment in the midst of stratospheric academics. It was an opportunity to do what I never do, provoking or responding to ferocious discussions on the most essential refinements of perspective that was “steering the policy” (a phrase I hate) regarding the world and the Church. I would try to point out that our redemption wrought in Christ is the driving engine of history, that Jesus is the Lord of History. Deaf ears for that pronouncement.
In those years I could and would wend my own way throughout, say, the Secretariat of State, from the “Tower” to the Terzo Piano, always starting from the wrong door, say, the back door of the back door, just to gaslight security, teaching them a lesson in just how unprepared they are, just to do it. Conversely, I would be brought into even the most remote offices and back corridors throughout Vatican City State. For instance, I was left home alone, if you will, for hours, with the secret archives specifically of the Congregation for Bishops, right in front of me, I’m guessing as a test. The chain of custody, if you will, wouldn’t be lost if there were cameras. But maybe I was the stooge. Or simply trusted. There’s my naïveté.
Weirdly, I was invited, pressured really, by a number higher-ups and papabili throughout the years to investigate the maze of tunnels also used for electrical conduits and old pneumatic communications systems crisscrossing below Vatican City, throughout the Roman Curia, and everything inclusive in between, and one of which was still used. My questions, retrieving answers, and countered with recommendations, were all about security. I heard later that one of those recommendations for the residence “Santa Marta” involving what I’ll call “security windows”, with a certain chemical barrier, was taken up with the most up-to-date technologies. Another recommendation was taken up for the Holy Office after my own computer was disappeared, which is laughable; whoever it was got a lot of Greek and Hebrew paradigms and exegetical notes. Ooo! The Hail Mary in Greek! The Lord’s Prayer in Syriac! Many offices in the Curia had been hit that very night.
My friend who threw me into this maelstrom told me frequently that I was beginning to be “feared in the Roman Curia.” This was a warning. And this wasn’t because I was important. It’s because I was an unknown quantity. People hate that. He himself was taken aback as all this was taking on a life of its own. He didn’t elaborate, but the original papabile to whom I was “assigned”, so to speak, often mentioned… incidents… meetings… in which I was brought up by this or that Cardinal Prefect, this or that Archbishop Secretary, including various and sundry at the top of the Secretariat of State. There were objections about me that were met with strong defenses. That particular papabile (who set me up with Martini), named names, stating who my friends were, repeating their names again and again over the years. This surprised me, as I had never met or talked to such people, and wondered what that was all about.
I am not bragging about this. It makes me feel unclean. But learning about the dark side was good for my priesthood. Being at least slightly less naïve has provided that I can be a bit more available to Jesus for what He wants of me in navigating all the hell there is in this dark world.
But such a life history can and did have unintended consequences. Whenever one moves in the circles of those who are also, say, at the center of international finances, to the point of teaching financiers philosophical nuances of rationalizations for whatever economic systems, that is, to the point of manipulating world leaders, or those who in turn manipulate world leaders, through larger than life institutions such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, various parliaments and influential mega-rich individuals, it is then that one is also noticed by the intelligence community. They want to know who such a person is, for better or worse. And that’s just really annoying for them. I was annoying for them. Again, it’s not because I’m important. It’s because I’m happy to be the useful idiot for the good of my own soul. The question for those who notice this regards whether I’m willing to be even more of an idiot than I already am. Trusting my friend is one thing. Trusting intel is quite another.
Recruitment tactics of anti-Mafia GICO
Years after being thrown into the dark side, so, now in the mid-2000s, I was at targeted for recruitment by the Gruppo d’investigazione sulla criminalità organizzata (Organized Crime Investigation Group = GICO), which is a specialized department of the Guardia di Finanza, the Guardians of Finance, an Italian law enforcement agency, a subsection of their Department of Defense. That should tell you something about those in the Roman Curia I was hanging around with. Some of the GICO are Tier 1 operators. They investigate and finish what they start regarding international drug trafficking, smuggling, financial crimes, money laundering, terrorism, what always goes hand in hand with money laundering, which is the financing of terrorism, not to mention their attempts to tamp down human and sex trafficking. They also have much to do, therefore, with customs and border protection. But most especially, with intensity, any GICO adrenaline rush is being everywhere and everything all that which is anti-Mafia. They’re the ones.
My recruitment, at first, wasn’t meant to tear me away from the inner sanctums of the library of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, where I was daily, literally, the first to enter and the last to leave. Academic endeavors having nothing to do with the Mafia were one of the aspects of my life lending me, strangely, the street cred needed to move among those who were to be my named targets for spying, that is, some particular Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. On the Italian peninsula, where there’s money, there are also all-too-clever mafiosi. There were two individuals involved in my recruitment to assist with anti-Mafia activities, one I’ll call The Thug, the other The buffoon.
The thug entered my life after I once again arrived in Italy, and had sent boxes of books back to Rome. The thug had waylaid those boxes, sending them instead to his anti-Mafia office he was temporarily using at the docks down in Naples. Killing two birds with one stone, I first attended the celebrations for San Gennaro on 19 September and then went to “his” office. He himself didn’t appear, though we had had many phone calls leading up to this would-be meeting. He threatened me with all sorts of trumped up charges, such as tax evasion for using old and tattered dictionaries instead of buying new ones in Italy. Pfft. More seriously, I had sent restricted medicine to myself from oversees, a supply of some months as it takes forever to get a doctor in Rome and this was medicine on which I depend to stay alive from day to day. My bad. I had brought a supply on the plane with me, but I would need this other medicine soon enough. My anti-Mafia friend had waylaid this at the airport in Rome. I complained that I would have to go overseas to get the medicine and then return again, continuously. I told him honestly that I didn’t know it was restricted. Kicking me in the face was now counterproductive for him, so he let me have the meds as well.
This anti-Mafia thug, never letting up, was forever bragging about his accomplishments, what rank he held in the anti-Mafia and what his role had been in famous Mafia take-downs up to that point. He was poised to become part of the top council of the anti-Mafia. I’m guessing that such stories, true or not, were meant as a threat as much as some sort of credibility statement. He would literally hunt me down wherever in Italy I was, befriending me by, say, taking me on day-trips to whatever ecclesiastical pilgrimage site. I played along with such shenanigans because in doing so, one learns much about motivations. Indeed, the whole time he would speak of what he wanted me to take on as assignments from him, so that I would report to him about – you guessed it – the Cardinals whose names and residences he correctly iterated. He had this witnessed, though such conversations would not be public. I was to to be a spy, but this time for the Italian Ministry of Defense. One of the more ironic day trips was to Orvieto. He said he wanted to get my comment on Signorelli’s mural of the anti-Christ in the side chapel of that zebra-Cathedral. Clever.
For a really cool slide-show about the zebra-esque “Duomo” from Google Maps: HERE. Really awesome. And he was right. I was truly impressed. But I think my explanation of the anti-Christ went right over his head.
By now any threats were over, and he had moved on to bribery. For instance, for the summer months of my return to Italy I was living on the top of a mountain some 100 kms North of Rome. I would commute by bus which normally went to the top of that mountain. He had said that he had arranged with the chief at the local police station at the base of the mountain to give me a ride, personally, wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. Imagine the hatred that chief would have for that guy, and by extension, for me. Immediately after such arrangements were made, the bus was cancelled at the bottom of the mountain, and likewise the train. Just when I arrived. Again and again. Coincidence?
This left all the bus passengers flustered. Even though a number of times it would be raining, and even though it was a hike of many miles up the all too steep mountain, an old volcano, I wouldn’t take the bribe. I was asked about my not taking the bribe some time later. The guy was really angry. I had made a fool of him. Bribery is the flip side of extortion. The thug was so very sleazy that I didn’t trust him at all. Hence, my nickname for him, the thug.
Soon after this failure, still in the mid-2000s, I was at targeted for recruitment once again by GICO, this time intensifying the pressure by using someone a bit more clean, more refined, more polite, with a judicial grasp of the Italian language, a talent preemptively winning all arguments in Italy. This buffoon was the top Italian military attorney, now also getting his degree in Canon Law as he was the named liaison between the Italian Department of Defense and the Holy See. The Italian military cooperates with the Holy See in just about everything security-wise, and there is a lot of legal maneuvering what with ever refined concordats and such. He had moved into my priests’ residence in Rome and after no time he was wanting to arrange that I become a pastor of a certain parish in southern Italy in order to help them arrest certain mafiosi by their bugging of my Confessionals, etc.
Unlike the thug, he did this recruiting as if it were all good, above board. He did this publicly, hoping to legitimize his request by attempting to make such an agreement with me in front of important and well connected ecclesiastics in Rome, one of them a well known professor, a consultant for the Holy See, entrenched in the Middle East, and a Pontifical Confessor at one of the major papal basilicas in Rome, always at hobnobbing events, known to everyone in the Holy See and amongst the worldly politicians of the day. Since I’m actually a priest, there’s no way I’m going to betray the Seal of Confession. They would all have known of the automatic excommunication awaiting any priest who breaks the Seal of Confession. I said this plainly. This attorney guy failed as well.
Yet, for him to get to that point, finalizing arrangements for this rather sensitive operation with the Holy See, this attorney guy would have already done his due diligence in my regard. Such a background check, if you will, would have not been possible unless it had been put directly in front of the guy in this series whom I nickname Bellissima. In proportion to this being out of the ordinary, coming from the Italian Department of Defense, such a request would be duly noted, remembered. More than that, Bellissima would have been acutely aware that I had gotten a Propaganda Due “P2” guy out of the Holy Office right at that time. That was quite the nuclear explosion all on its own, and was confirmed for me years later by the head of Intel for the Holy See. But I digress.
But perhaps this buffoon guy was actually doing me a favor, giving me the opportunity to publicly manifest a rejection, thus distancing myself from any mafia-esque disgruntlement. But I’m not “important” enough for that kind of cover which is at best ineffective. There would still be a question mark over my name. Even a buffoon would know this, and so would anyone hearing of this. After my rejecting his offer to assist in taking down some individuals in the Mafia, he could have come to me later, privately, and said, “Well played! Hahaha. So, what’s your real answer?”
Back to alleged money laundering at the American University of Madaba and Vatican Bank
Fast forward a few years when it’s now crunch time for the new American University of Madaba, Jordon, which was seemingly, allegedly, from the beginning, set up as a front for money laundering as pointed out in Church Militant’s documentary “Den of Thieves” (which I’ve repeatedly showcased at the top of every installment in this series). It’s now 2010 and AUM, though incorporated in, of all places, New Hampshire, has zero accreditation in the USA, not even in New Hampshire. It all seems to be just a lot of deceptive fakery. Important donors, to the tune of millions of dollars, were getting skittish. It was all about to implode. The perfect storm.
When it was discovered that I was willing to work and teach in Israel and then be transferred to within an easy bike ride of the American University of Madaba, and that I had already assisted a university level Catholic institution to get their accreditation, and that I could easily have supplied the Holy Mass and sacraments and whatever, say, optional courses in philosophy, theology, Scripture (even though AUM was not explicitly mentioned in that trajectory of life laid out for me), well, that information would allegedly have been shared with Bella in New Hampshire. I’m thinking Bella is the guy who assisted AUM with incorporation, with “accreditation”, and, most importantly, with the money laundering. I’m thinking that Bella knew absolutely nothing about me. But happy to capitalize on such an opportunity in giving AUM a little boost, he immediately called his friend, Bellissima, with whom he’s as thick as thieves, so as to say: “We have a convenient stooge, a useful idiot, someone who’s nobody, who can help AUM’s standing.”
See previous installments of this series about Bella and Bellissima. It would have been quite impossible for Bellissima not to have known about my activities in the Holy See and then with the anti-Mafia. For all of them, I’m exactly, precisely the person that would have to be kept far away from AUM. As I mentioned in a previous posting in this series, a threat, delivered with consummate politeness yet thuggery of enforcing the threat was called into my own ecclesiastical higher-ups, putting a kibosh on my getting on the plane to Tel Aviv within hours, that cancellation causing catastrophic difficulties in many countries. I was entrenched in being a nobody and that was the problem. I couldn’t be verified as a friendly, and there was a question mark as to why I had been hanging with papabili and anti-Mafia for years.
All just my opinion. I’m not implicating anyone, not naming anyone. The underlying allegations of money laundering are made by someone else whom I don’t know, whom I’ve never talked with, in the video up top of this post. What I write here might perhaps be considered as a lead by some few. I don’t know. I’m just putting my own experiences out there. At least for me, this narrative answers the most questions the most consistently and the most simply. Perhaps it’s all fiction. I don’t know. To me, it raises questions.
As the Lord’s providence would have it, I would again cross paths with both Bella and Bellissima not long thereafter. And it wasn’t pleasant.
Next up in this series: “Den of Thieves” Vatican Bank – J’accuse!
This was now my second visit to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, this time to plot with the anesthesiologists on the far side of the campus just how this is going to work out given some hereditary conditions. It went very well. I’m very impressed. They’re very well organized. This is a teaching hospital, which means that the resident remembered accurately what he had read about my most obscure and rare condition. Kudos to him. Great.
Meanwhile, I always take a mnemonic picture, which I didn’t need anyway. But just in case.
Slaying “The Dragon” was especially fun on the way up, as I got behind a red Porsche with a super loud muffler and an altogether outrageous license plate message, perhaps a large shareholder of the company. He was going out of his way to be very loud and altogether too fast, but I was able to keep up with him for part of the way, the most curvy bits. Great entertainment. I slowed down when I saw a cop on the side. No need. I wasn’t even going the speed limit. Can anyone do the speed limit while slaying The Dragon? I’m guessing that’s impossible. The cops aren’t there to give out tickets, but rather to direct traffic when inevitable accidents occur. Meanwhile, I’m the luckiest priest in the world. This is truly paradise on earth.
Meanwhile, I fully realize that when I’m having waaaay toooo much fun, that’s when disaster strikes. But that’s when Saint Paul (Romans 8:28) says:
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Saint Teresa of Avila complained that she felt awkward when all things were going well. Did she displease the good Lord, you know, what with all things going well? I get that.
Maybe I’m just thinking what could happen with the surgery. Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter what happens. It’s all good, just like Saint Paul says.
Whilst writing a series of posts on the Church Militant documentary “Den of Thieves” I have once again been stunned by the memories it has brought up. Connecting the dots after all these years is quite the experience. It’s like finding a lost piece of an upside-down jigsaw puzzle which will finally permit one to load up the back of the puzzle with masking tape and gently flip it over to reveal the picture for the first time. Un-cooking the books is my life story.
But that’s all on the level of gray matter.
Then there’s reality… into which Sacred Heart one is drawn by the Most High, the Almighty. I myself am a big puzzle needing to be set right. Jesus is a Master puzzle-solver, having learned from His dear Mother, Mary, undoer of knots. :-)
This post is about a personal trajectory that would inescapably involve me personally with the American University of Madaba (AUM). This came to a dead stop, so to speak, with the strangest death threat I ever heard about, and it’s the weirdness that, I think, is telling. I never would have connected the dots without the Church Militant documentary “Den of Thieves.” I am most grateful for life-altering questions in my life being answered.
Time lines are useful. Let’s see:
Mid-2005: Pope Benedict XVI blesses the cornerstone of an important new project for the Middle East, the American University of Madaba in Jordan. Yours truly, meanwhile, is 24/7/365 working on a Doctoral Thesis in the Library of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
Mid-2010: I’m invited to go back to Jerusalem where I lived for seven months during Saddam Hussein’s missile attacks decades earlier. I was to go to a certain institution which I had visited a thousand times, even in the most terribly violent of circumstances when not even one other person of whatever religion or law enforcement position would show up. I only mention that to demonstrate what is perhaps a stupid lack of fear, as a confession of idiocy. But it is what it is. No fear. This will become important as the timeline continues. While at that particular institution, I was to teach at a certain academic institution which grants doctorates for the Holy See in certain matters. From there I would be brought across the Allenby Bridge by a certain most significant personage in the Middle East so as to be established at a certain pilgrimage center in Jordan. Meanwhile, my CV has been growing significantly. That pilgrimage destination is an easy bike ride in proximity to the American University of Madaba. In mid-2010, it was crunch time for AUM, as it was now five years since construction started in 2005 as donors were getting nervous about everything to do with AUM. There wasn’t much in the way of professors to make the AUM “Catholic”, as promised. AUM had absolutely nothing in the way of accreditation in the USA where AUM is incorporated. As a coincidence I might mention that by this time in my life I had already aided another university level international Catholic institution to get their accreditation and had taught at university level for many years. It would have been a perfect fit. To be clear, no one had mentioned any purpose of putting me at AUM in any capacity. However, my participation in the circumstances would have been entirely inescapable. I didn’t know this at the time. I didn’t know such a place existed.
Still mid-2010: To get things started, I had to get a visa as a religious worker in Israel. The problem was that already for a year and a half the Israeli consular services were on strike, and were not granting visas to, say, Catholic priests and nuns, so that institutions were limited or shut down, such as hospitals and clinics and schools and orphanages. Yet, with most unique arrangements worthy of a movie, I was given a visa, which had to be only in person, only in Washington, D.C.
Days later: With everything in my life packed up stateside, and with tickets in hand, and just hours from heading to the airport, someone, I don’t know who, called my ecclesiastical higher-ups stateside and reported that, what with increased violence in the Middle East (which increase is normal for thousands of years), it was probable that I would be murdered. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve about ever heard in my life, and the strangest. This has nothing to do with the personages in the Middle East who arranged this trajectory in my life. The one offering that cautionary threat over the phone hours before I got on the plane, you know, as a supposed courtesy, offered a further threat, this time to my ecclesiastical higher-ups: Since they were now forewarned by this out-of-the-blue phone call, they would also consequently be blamed publicly by the caller if they allowed me to get on the plane to Tel Aviv in some hours time. So, that’s (1) a threat for me and (2) a threat for my higher-ups. Effective. That’s someone who is practiced.
Minutes after that phone call, I had to call Israel and inform those who had already placed me on quite literally do-or-die schedules to take me off. That was like a nuclear bomb going off in the Old City of Jerusalem. The chaos of the next hours and days for them trying to get coverage for me also involved three European countries and the disruption of very many lives. It’s not something anyone will forget. This proves the innocence of most anyone connected with the underlying alleged fiasco simmering below the surface. Whatever about Bella, mentioned previously in this series, the identity of the one proffering the threat was likely someone seemingly entirely removed. Needless to say, I did not get on the plane.
A couple of years raced by, and I was soon pastor of the parish where I am now. I’ve been here for nine years. Only now, with the documentary “Den of Thieves” do some things begin to make sense for me.
So, what’s my conjecture about the identity of the one relating the death threat? It may be significant as a lead in trying to understand what’s happening. I asked the one who received that phone call many times about the identity of the caller. The response was anger and refusal. So, that’s a dead end, as it were. But I think Bella (see the post prior to this one in this series) found out I was going over to the Middle East and was on a trajectory to be situated right next to the American University of Madaba and, knowing nothing about me, was happy to relate the news that someone was found who would be an asset to the University in such manner as to calm down and encourage anxious donors. Being happy about this, he had to call a best buddy, a gentleman we’ll call Bellissima, who in turn works in the Holy See, wherein the IOR, Vatican Bank, is found. Criminal homosexualist Bella has for decades been “thick as thieves” with criminally homosexualist Bellissima.
Bellissima already knew me by way of reputation. He could offer a report on my usefulness as a stooge or the danger of my being anywhere in the vicinity of the American University of Madaba in Jordan. Why is it that as soon as he heard my name he would immediately make a death threat to keep me far away from all operations in the Middle East is fodder for yet another post.
Next up in this series: “Den of Thieves”: Oh no! Anti-Mafia!
This post is simply about some rather interesting coincidences regarding international finance and money laundering. I have a certain guy in mind whom we’ll call Bella for convenience. These coincidences are such that some people in the know may consider them to be leads for investigation. I’m not making any connections, nor any allegations. I’m certainly not identifying anyone. But it’s all rather shocking.
Bella lived and worked in New Hampshire. Of all places in the world for the American University of Madaba, Jordan, to be incorporated, AUM has done that in New Hampshire. Interesting. Who did that for AUM, someone somehow associated with Bella? Just a question of coincidence.
Bella is particularly skilled in international finance. AUM is particularly proud of it’s academic skills in regard to international finance. AUM has allegations of malfeasance against it in regard to international finance. I know, I know, just a coincidence. Here’s a screen shot:
Bella is extremely skilled in risk retention strategies, perhaps the best alive today in the whole world. And that’s an understatement. AUM is particularly proud of it’s academic skills in regard to risk retention. I know, I know, just a coincidence. Here’s a screen shot:
Bella seems to be administering some 900+ million dollars in a particular account, but that could be mistaken. I don’t have the bandwidth or access or financial background to check that. A researcher mentioned this. AUM, meanwhile, was being given a 900 million dollar loan as mentioned in the video. It seems that this was already delivered before the would-be fall guy in the video backed out. Not it’s just sitting in an offshore account. I know, I know, just a coincidence. Happens all the time. And I’m waiting for the researcher to come up with something a bit more convincing. But the coincidences I’m not mentioning in conjunction with this are… just… wow. I know, I know, all just coincidences.
Bella has had entirely life-changing difficulties with the law, going to prison for financial malfeasance. There are now grave allegations against AUM for financial malfeasance. I know, I know, all just coincidences.
These coincidences continue. And this series will continue.
Next up in this series: “Den of Thieves”: Death threat! Bellissima!