Re-post: Francis the Lutheran certainly to the left, and “Fr.” George Byers, “Novus Ordo Priest,” not quite right


[[Originally published December 6, 2015. I’m re-posting this for the sake of my Internet Stalker guy. Heh heh heh…]]

I’m happy to be mocked with you, Holy Father, all for the Year of Mercy.

Sometimes I’ll follow links to Arise! Let us be going! back the blogs/websites that put them up. This picture is from a sede-vacantist site. They did a photoshop of Pope Francis, making him into a Lutheran Pastor, since they think he is neither the Bishop of Rome nor any kind of bishop. They found this picture of yours truly who knows where. It was from my time in the hermitage. At least it’s not the infamous chainsaw and crucifix picture! :¬) The vestments were made for me by some good ladies in a parish North of Toulouse when I was a chaplain in Lourdes. The seminarian taking this photo was cursing and cursing and cursing yet again, since the camera lens was no good, making for a shimmer effect he thought was most inappropriate in attempt after attempt. He’s right of course, unless that’s my guardian angel next to me!

But, seriously, “they say” I’m not a priest (note that scare quotes around “Fr.”, because I’m what they call a “Novus Ordo Priest”, and therefore invalidly ordained, they think). I didn’t even know there was such a creature as distinct from any other. I do know that the traditionalists at the Second Vatican Council, a small number, but they were there, wanted only two things to change in the entire liturgy, and both had to do with the ordination of a priest. They wanted the newly ordained priest, who has just concelebrated his ordination Mass (yes, that’s right, it’s said somewhat alta-voce so they can recite all the words of the Canon with the bishop) to drink from the Precious Blood (which he does not do in the “Tridentine rite”, and thus his “first Mass” truly is the next day), and they also wanted the ordinand to be anointed with Chrism, not merely, so to speak, with the oil of catechumens. So, not even Chrism… And there’s a silly story of how that came to be. I’ve written on that before. Does that all make “Novus Ordo Priest” ordinations more better, so to speak? Sigh…

Anyway, this “Novus Ordo Priest” was the one who reestablished the traditional Mass in Lourdes after a hiatus of many decades, celebrating Solemn High Mass for some 7 to 8,000 people in the Basilica of Saint Pius X, with weekly Sunday sung Masses in the Immaculate Conception (upper) Basilica. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who was the one to start up a course of traditional liturgy in the Pontifical Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, with “liturgy” referring not just to the Mass, but to Baptism, Marriage, Confession, Exorcism, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who brought stability to the offering of the traditional Mass midway between Sydney and Melbourne. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who, as far as I know, came up with the Missionary of Mercy idea in regard to the regularization of the SSPX already six years ago, which would have worked in conjunction with extraterritorial properties, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who… well, I could go on, but one gets the picture, so to speak.

As for Lutheran Pope Francis (according to these sede-vacantists), well, I am almost envious of this treatment. Why not put me in a Lutheran Pastor’s collar? I’m German Lutheran on my Dad’s mother’s side. And, as is noted on the sede-vacantist website, which is bereft of any sense of mirthful irony, I like to cite the Hier stehe ich thing. Why not picture me with some Jewish Pe’ot (my mom being of the Jewish race though with Catholic faith), or whatever? I feel left behind. Kicked to the peripheries. I don’t feel the love! So, from Saint Cyprian:

“Finally, the Apostle, speaking of charity, unites it with endurance and patience. Charity, he says, is always patient and kind; it is not jealous, is not boastful, is not given to anger, does not think evil, loves all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. He shows that charity can be steadfast and persevering because it has learned how to endure all things.

“And in another place he says: Bear with one another lovingly, striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He shows that neither unity nor peace can be maintained unless the brethren cherish each other with mutual forbearance and preserve the bond of harmony by means of patience.”

Let me address these sede-vacantists directly: I’ll have to work on what Cyprian says. Join me. Saint Thomas Aquinas has it that there is no other motive for division in the faith than hatred. That really shocked me when I saw it, but, of course, it makes perfect sense. Thomas was perhaps the greatest interlocutor (dialogue master) in all that is interreligious (as in the Summa contra gentiles). And you hold us “Novus Ordo” crowd to be a different religion, don’t you?

I’m happy to be mocked with Pope Francis, but not happy that someone would want to mock anyone in the first place. So, finally, here’s my question to you guys on the sede-vacantist side of things. This is what I want to know, and this goes right to heart of the matter…

Is it not true that we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with our sin, original and otherwise? You. Me. All. And is it not true that the Son of the Living God redeemed all of us, though we are not all to be saved? The upshot of that is that we have to be a bit more serious about all this, don’t we? Otherwise, it is all a bunch of self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethian, neo-Pelagian cleverness, all the one-up-man-ship with which Saint Paul got fed up. He did the same thing I did in this post, bragging away to no good end, except to show that all such bragging is useless as all is nothing if not done through, with and in Christ, instead of just for ourselves and those we try to impress.

There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism, as Pope Francis said, yes, in the Lutheran Church. It was Saint Augustine, was it not, who said that he was in anguish until all such separated brethren were back in the fold? He called them brothers. We are brothers, are we not?

Whatever I said about any Roman Pontiff going too far, such as Sixtus V, my hero (a statement I don’t retract, by the way: see the Hier stehe ich thing), but I must say that I’ve learned a great deal from Pope Francis. He has shaken me to the very core of my being in these past weeks. I think I understand him now. I’ll be getting to that in some other posts about Matthew 16 and 18 and absolute truth. I think you’ll be interested.


Filed under Ecumenism, Lourdes, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood

Donuts after Mass? Yes. These too! Politically incorrect. Hah.




Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Recipes

Homily 2018 02 11 – Excoriating lepers and otherwise taking “lepers” seriously


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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 19 – *Dignissimus* for the next *terna*

palestinian donkey

Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 19 – Dignissimus for the next terna

It was 6:00 A.M. by the time père Jacques had returned to his quarters at the seminary. He began editing the videos, all of which were only a few seconds in length. Within an hour, he had the videos and photos uploaded onto the server of his ad hoc website that he had been preparing since the gossip of the arrival of Father Alexámenos began to circulate. All he had to do was upload the index page. Père Jacques wanted to become a bishop, and thought that this proffering of what he thought was a credible accusation was what was needed to put him in the running. He wasn’t very good at Church politics.

Père Jacques grinned when he thought of how he had taken advantage of père Roger, following Toma from the Nunciature as he had. On his return, he had hardly been able to run through the shantytown to his car after he had taken the pictures, shaking with fear. He had lost his way twice when making his way through the maze of shanties. He was not at home with the poor. He was not a father.

Père Jacques included captions for all of the videos and still shots, easily twisting the reality of what had happened. He began with a video of Pòl making the distinct pattern of cuts next to the eyes of Father Alexámenos. The edited video made it appear that Pòl had immediately given the machete to Father Alexámenos. The caption read, “Catholic priest becomes voodoo priest.”

The next image was of Father Alexámenos giving a blessing to Simon when Simon, naked, still needed an exorcism, was covered in mud, had only the whites of his eyes showing, and was foaming at the mouth. The caption read, “Priest commands evil spirits to enter man.”

When Father Alexámenos, wearing his cassock, had given his trousers to Simon, who was in his right mind after the exorcism, a picture was taken of the trousers around the feet of Father Alexámenos, and a video taken of him kicking them off. The caption read, “Priest strips down.”

The next video showed Father Alexámenos stripping off his cassock and shirt, and then Estè embracing Father Alexámenos with his own, blood stained shirt half falling from her. The caption read “Priest has ‘consensual’ sex with a minor.” Père Jacques laughed when he realised that he had changed the order of events, so that with these images only showing the waist upwards, it would be assumed that Father Alexámenos did not have any trousers on when he removed his cassock.

These images were followed by pictures of the boys jumping on Father Alexámenos for a few seconds after he had given the crowd a blessing. The caption read, “Priest has orgy with boys.” Père Jacques knew that the boys’ boxing trunks were grossly oversized, and the fact that the trunks of one of the boys having slipped down a bit in this mayhem was not the priest’s fault.

“Pictures are like statistics,” père Jacques whispered to himself, congratulating himself for being a sophisticated anthropologist-priest. “Without a context, only liars believe statistics, and everyone, like me, is a liar. I’m one of the few who’s honest enough to know it. It’s just like Continue reading


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Note for Jackass for the Hour: the phrase “dignissimus for the next terna”

A terna refers to a list of three episcopal candidates presented to the Pope, who chooses one, or not. They are ranked as dignus, worthy, dignior, more worthy, dignissimus, most worthy.

I have to wonder if that’s the ranking we need in the Church. There are other scales that regard humility before Jesus. Being really humble could be considered for worthiness, but the worthiness scale doesn’t lend itself to the consideration of humility as it’s primary concern.


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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 18 – Like the grief of Jesus at the death of Lazarus

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 18 – Like the grief of Jesus at the death of Lazarus

The older men extended their hands in greeting to Father Alexámenos. They were soon interrupted by the girls of the ex-brothel, beginning with the youngest girl, Estè’s little sister, who was so small that she had to jump up in order to be able to reach her arms around the neck of Father Alexámenos. She squeezed hard, not wanting to let go, as if her very life depended on it. She looked into the face of Father Alexámenos, all smiles, unafraid of the blood from the cuts next to his eyes.

He asked, “What’s your name?”

“Ev!” she squealed enthusiastically, and jumped down once again. She was the only one of these girls who had been modestly dressed the entire evening. Father Alexámenos knew that there was something different about her; she was joyful, but not superficially.

As Ev jumped down, it was Mari who told Father Alexámenos about what Ev had said about heaven, and how God was going to save them soon. Recounting these things brought a tear of joy to her eyes. The reality of God’s power was hitting her hard.

While the other girls greeted him, Ev had run up the stairs and into the ex-brothel, spontaneously bringing a pail which she placed between the tall Cross and, next to it, the statue of Mary. She began to divest herself of her costume jewellery that Mari had forced her to wear that evening, throwing it in the pail to be sold. The other girls, seeing this, followed her example.

After this, the others in the crowd came up to greet him, all except for Pòl and his group of boys, who deferred to the eagerness of the others.

In all of this, Father Alexámenos knew the presence of Christ in their midst to be almost tangible. It made him remember his First Confession and Holy Communion, and his experience during Mass at Mater Ecclesiæ convent in Vatican Gardens.

When the flurry of greetings subsided, Filmèna spoke to Father Alexámenos once again in their west African language, saying, “As you’ve been able to gather, Father, the girls in the house and the boys dressed like Pòl are all part of the family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The younger they are, the whiter they get. They were prostitutes for generations at Simon’s voodoo clubs, generations were spaced by puberty. The clients were mostly all white tourists and business men. Some of their customers were extraordinarily cruel. The children have been injured, and have even had bones broken. No one was ever killed, thank God. They worked all night and slept all day. Simon only gave them a little money to bring home. Because of that, both the boys and girls were made to go out at night, sometimes with a gun to their heads or machetes to their throats, but I think they’ll do alright now. It’s the fist time I’ve seen Continue reading


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No police in entire parish. Last police officer hired in better pastures.

police are only minutes away

We wish our last police officer well. He was great. I had a lot of respect for him.

Our newly elected mayor ferociously and publicly and, I must say, terribly wrongly attacked our last police officer in town. That hero officer had heroically responded to a mutual aid backup request for the nearest unit for an officer in distress. He was the nearest. He did it. He did a great job. He was publicly, highly commended for his actions by the police department of that other town. It was that obligation to assist in those conditions (that’s the law in North Carolina) that our mayor had outrageously rejected, wanting to ensure, apparently, that officers around us are endangered by his policy of refusing to assist any other officer in distress who is calling for backup in a mutual aid request. I’m guessing that police around the State flooded our mayor’s office to explain the matter to him. Perhaps the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) intervened.

The mayor apologized in the local newspaper just now. But it’s not good enough.

He’s ensured that the town has the reputation of being a “chief killer.” The mayor has appointed himself interim police chief – no experience, no certification – which is his right, but the thing is, he is still micromanaging. That ensures more mistakes will be made, doesn’t it? He really needs to back off, resign as police chief, and publicly state that he will not micromanage the police. They have their own internal workings. He really, really needs to leave them do their job which he knows nothing about. He’s a grave danger to police everywhere. He reminds me of the mayor of Baltimore during the riots there the other year.

For instance, about that micromanagement continuing, many law enforcement agencies in this state hire individuals and give them a year to get their training, which is paid for by the agency. But our mayor just stated that indigent applicants can attempt to apply for financial aid so as to get their classroom training. Let’s consider that. Someone who couldn’t afford the little bit for tuition and applies for financial aid (incredible bureaucracy) most likely can’t afford to be a weapons guy, and so has no guns, and certainly no ammo. So, like, he’s going to be able to pass the pistol course, or the long rifle course, or the shotgun course? I just don’t get it.

Moreover, I know of law enforcement agencies around here which hire an individual and give him a year to get in his training, paid for in full by the agency. See the difference?

He needs to hire a police chief and just let the police chief do the hiring. Seriously.

This is a WNC town that will suffer in being bereft of police.


Filed under Law enforcement, Politics

Homily 2018 02 09 “Be opened!” – Jesus / “Be open! Don’t be rigid!” – Sem profs…

prayer rigidity

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Pope Francis, faithful priests loyal to the papacy, and… and… China

torture in china religion

This lady complained about the persecution of Falun Gong. She died of mistreatment. And so it is for other believers, including Christians, including Catholics.

It’s inevitable, you know, the question that comes from faithful young priests:

Why is it that liberal non-believing atheist priests who smash down the faithful in every possible way are always favored by both liberal and perhaps especially noticeably by conservative, devout, believing bishops, and this specifically over-against faithful priests who are just quietly trying their best to follow the doctrine and morality of the Church, the proper way to offer Holy Mass and the other sacraments, who are just being good and kind in their parishes? Why is that? It’s always that way, or at least it seems that it is always that way, since it is just such a betrayal of all that one would otherwise expect in reason and justice and integrity and honesty. So, why is it that faithfulness is not rewarded with at least being left alone to practice the faith, to be good to others?

And this is not just true in parishes, it is also true in the Holy See, in the appointment of Bishops and Cardinals. On and on.

And this is not just true with individuals, but also with entire countries and regions of countries. For instance, with China. I cannot think of any other part of the world where the laity and clergy and bishops have suffered more to remain loyal to the Holy Father only apparently to have been smashed down by him. It almost seems he wants to have the laity and priests and bishops loyal to him be disappeared or put into labor or re-education camps, to be tortured and put to death. It almost seems that he just doesn’t give a damn. Does he really think he will get concessions? Does he really think that this will not embolden the government religion police to crush believers all the more, using this move of Pope Francis as psychological torture. I mean, imagine: “The Pope doesn’t want your loyalty. He despises your suffering and the suffering of all those with you and who went before you. He spits on you.”

But that should make one pause and ask why, and ask not with cynicism, but with a view to getting an answer. To be cynical is deadly. Surely that is not what is wanted by anyone. I am weak. If I were in China and was seemingly betrayed by the Holy Father like this, I must admit that I would be wide open to slipping into this deadly cynicism, wide open to slipping straight into hell. Even though that would not make sense. We are all so fragile.

The answer to the question of my own priest friends about why faithful priests who are loyal are smacked down in favor of filthy-liberal non-believers is two-fold:

  • It is thought that Jesus will take care of those who are faithful. But this is tempting God, is it not? We have an obligation to love and respect others with God’s love and God’s truth and God’s goodness and God’s kindness.
  • It is thought that concessions will win friends and influence people, so that people will simply suffer less, because you know, that’s what it’s all about. But this seems only effectively to reject what little light is in the darkest of peripheries, and it all descends only farther into the depths of hell.

So, can we think about all this in any way that is positive? Well, what if the actor, in this case, Pope Francis, only has concern for less torture and sincerely believes that concessions will make for less torture? I mean, I would not want to be tortured. That would indeed be horrible. Horrible. No, really… horrible. Pope Francis might even think that this “less torture” benefit will solve both points above. Could be.

We pray for Pope Francis. We pray for China.


Filed under Free exercise of religion, Politics, Pope Francis

Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 17 – A wave of reality swept over more of them

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 17 – A wave of reality swept over more of them

Father Alexámenos described of the first Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, the Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying, “God loves us so much that He wants us to trust Him.”

“The hell He does!” Toma shouted, cursing himself with a new voice. “Look how we live.”

“To show us His love,” continued Father Alexámenos, unabated, “God’s Son, Jesus, God Himself, was born of the Virgin Mary, and walked in the squaller of this world. He was with us, God with us. He knew we had adulterous hearts, and would want to get His goodness out of the way, since we stupidly think His goodness incriminates us in our adulterous ways, as if He is too good, just wanting to show us up for who we are. But it is not a competition. His goodness saves us. He showed us His love; we killed Him. It was not that He trusted us, but that He knew the Father would hold out forgiveness to us no matter how badly we, at first, rejected Him…”

Damn you! Can’t you see that we’re damned?” Toma shouted, throwing a machete at Father Alexámenos, who had seen it coming and, knowing it would miss him, watched it strike the wooden light pole next to him. Father Alexámenos waited for the inevitable reactions against Toma, since their beloved Filmèna had also been put in danger. This left almost a quarter of the men scoffing, nervous that their obtuseness was all too evident. Others in the crowd compared the words of Father Alexámenos to what he had done with Pòl, seeing the reality of what he said. Those who had no interest in words, but did have a stake in getting some money, were agitated. They thought that he had better say something worthwhile soon, or bitterly regret that night.

Damned? Of course were damned. All of us, me, you, the youngest baby here, even Filmèna,” said Father Alexámenos, just as some of those men had started to walk away, ashamed in the presence of Filmèna. “How could we not be damned after all humanity fell into sin from the very beginning with the very first sin? And it gets worse. The Son of God knew that we would be in trouble even before He created the world. He knew that we would fall into sin, and that we, without His grace, would continually throw ourselves into sin, hurting ourselves and others.”

“Right, so damn you too, priest of God,” answered Toma, ripping a machete out of the hands of another man and holding it toward Father Alexámenos.

“We’re damned,” continued Father Alexámenos, “but that doesn’t mean God can’t save us.”

“So, just tell us we’re saved and happy! Damn you to hell!” screamed Toma, eyes wide.

“You’re so spiritual!” exclaimed Father Alexámenos sarcastically. “Damned be the one who says God declares us to be forgiven, and that that’s all there is to it. You’re right! In that case God would be cheating justice, cheating us, cheating Himself, cheating reality. God created us with free will and must give us what was freely chosen with that first sin of humanity, including weakness of mind and will, sickness and death…”

“We’re suffering from the sins of others!” said Toma. “Look at this poverty. Look at these children. What did they do? If God’s so interested in justice, why doesn’t He come here? He knows nothing about us, nothing about suffering, nothing about death.”

“Instead,” said Father Alexámenos, “Jesus Continue reading


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Holy Mass for Father Gordon J MacRae, for Max, for other prisoners


M.D. has started to regularly send in a couple of Mass stipends a month with the intention being for Father Gordon J MacRae, for Pornchai Maximilian Moontri and for the other prisoners with them. I’ve been offering those Masses for them. I wouldn’t want to take more than that in favor of respecting the Mass intentions we already have in the parish. Right at the start I had asked Father Gordon whether or not I should send those on to him, but he said that he only had just a few opportunities a month to offer Mass and wanted to be free to offer those Masses for specific intentions he has in mind. Anyway, one way or another, Holy Mass is offered for the intention intended.

P.S. Regarding that picture above – I forget who put that up on the internet (they should be commended for staging this) – I have to say that it has freaked out a number of people, including a seminarian preparing to recite the consecrations at Mass as a priest of Jesus. This is exactly what happens.


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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Situational awareness edition)


This was near the door of my farthest away Communion Call. Soooo tiny.

I’m happy that the few skills I have with situational awareness come into play in finding flowers for the Immaculate Conception even in unexpected impossible Winter conditions when one is conditioned not to look for flowers for any reason. Situational awareness is like that.

A fellow seminarian waaaay back in the day introduced me to situational awareness by way of humor.  We were quite the team in the seminary, fixing the massive boiler for the seminary deep in the underground bowels of the expansive building, fixing the industrial sized washing machines, etc. After entering whatever extremely poorly lit room to do the necessary for the rest of the community, he would tell me not to turn around, but that I should tell him what I should have seen above and below and to either side of me as I entered whatever dungeon-like place we had entered. After he did this a few times he explained some tricks as to how to notice things, and then spoke to me about GK Chesterton’s Father Brown series. He used psychological tricks in saying, as he trained me up, that I was a much better Father Brown than he could ever be. I doubt that. He had a mind that couldn’t forget anything. He could “listen” to a symphony orchestra in his head (without music playing) and “see” the sheet music for all the instruments pass by (without the sheet music) and not miss a note. I’m not like that. But I am happy that the gift of situational awareness to which he introduced me bears fruit in finding flowers for the Immaculate Conception. He would be most pleased in knowing that. He’s a most excellent priest, very devoted to our Lady. He’s now a hermit. Imagine that. A hermit. He’s the one who also taught me about the spirituality of hermits over the decades. Amazing. He is himself another flower for the Immaculate Conception.


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Ever ancient, ever new, we are in exile


Peter Strzok would call this a hillbilly house. This is one of the extremely few stick-built houses in the northern region of my parish that I past by at the tops of the ridges of these mountains on Communion Calls. Dwellings are mostly mobile homes of the extremely tiny variety, although there are longer ones that fit the description if not the reality of single-wide and double-wide.

Just in the 4 1/2 years I’ve been racing around the mountains here this house has decided to disintegrate markedly. When they get to this stage they collapse altogether before you know it. I’ve seen quite a few houses and barns simply fall under their own weight, weighted down as they are by humidity and mold, weakened by rodents and carpenter bees and termites.

Such dwellings would be filled with memories, but their owners are long gone as well. The forest reclaims the house and the Forestry Service reclaims the property. We think we keep such houses alive with imagined memories, but they just continue to cave in to the inescapable pressures round about. And they don’t even do that. They just fall down.

We, however, think that we are as young as we feel, that is, not regarding our health situation (for we can have all the aches and pains and misery anyone could ever experience), but regarding the state of our minds. If we have discarded past baggage of whatever, and we feel free, and we set about having a second childhood, well, maybe then the reality sets in that good memories in the dwelling that these bodies are don’t quite give us back the health we once had. I have great memories of insane extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean I can do them up again.

If we have the wonder of a child before the entire universe and God Himself – hey! – we are in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new. But our bodies can’t quite keep up. Walking through life in the stability of being with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, provides a youthfulness that does not shun the grave, but rather, with living hope, in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, one looks forward to heaven, knowing that, in that present friendship, it is already starting.

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Homily 2018 02 08 – Greek Canaanite Syrophoenician Dog-Woman Exorcism


O.K. My bad. I combined details from the Gospels of both Mark and Matthew in which event of the “Dog-Woman” is recounted. This is like a mortal sin for Scripture Scholars, but, hey, it’s just a daily homily by which we are in awe of Jesus and we are introduced to this amazing woman. Lots of Scripture Scholars deny her existence anyway, so, what do they care. They deny her because they are deathly afraid of her, lap-dogs that they are. And this is long for a weekday homily, but no one has complained so far. Usually, though, they are not this long. It’s just that this is one of my most absolute favorite women of the Gospels. She is just so pure of heart and agile of soul, such good friends with Jesus.

I didn’t mention this in the homily – I was really overtime already – but it needs to be said. The Apostles at the time would rather that her child continue to be sacrificed to Satan rather than it be delivered from Satan. And if, after listening to this homily and considering that fact, and if you tempted to cynicism against the successors of the Apostles, then also take in this fact: this most incredible wonderful woman did not ever hold the dark idiocy of the Apostles against themselves. She recognized and dealt with it in solidarity with Jesus who was trying to teach them a lesson through her, with her. She’s totally my absolute heroine. I say “Thank you” to her across the centuries, from earth to heaven, “Thank you!”


Filed under Exorcism, HOMILIES

Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 16 – What are you going to do, Father?

palestinian donkey

Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 16 – What are you going to do, Father?

After six hours of continuous sleep, at 2:00 A.M., Father Alexámenos woke up refreshed and full of energy, grateful that he had been able to get in some sleep before any eventual sick-call. There were no religious images in the room, not even a crucifix. He opened his Liturgy of the Hour to the Office of Readings, whose page he had marked with a modern painting of the Holy Family. There looked to be two dozen children besides Jesus. The Gospels, he thought, didn’t necessarily point to the brothers and sisters of Jesus being merely his cousins; more probably, most were the adopted children of Joseph and Mary, the street urchins orphaned or thrown away by their “families.” He would have gone to the chapel, but he did not want to miss any phone call. He dressed, knelt down, and recited his morning offering and the Angelus, which he combined with the ‘Three Hail Marys’ prayer often recited at the end of Mass. Rising to his feet, as his custom was when not in chapel, he recited the psalms for the Office of Readings and Lauds. Remaining on his feet, he continued his prayer, dedicating his attention to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

✵ ✵ ✵

Pope Tsur-Ēzer had just begun a quiet prayer vigil at San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in honour of Pope Pius IX, which was significant so early into his pontificate. He spoke from the lower part of the old Basilica, next to Pius IX, facing the tomb of Saint Lawrence, in front of which is the marble slab on which Lawrence’s charred body had been laid after being removed from the grill. The stains of his remains had seeped deeply into the highly porous “rock”.

Don Hash attended, but avoided the crush of people, remaining near the Blessed Sacrament in the side chapel of the main Basilica to fulfil more of his Penance, spending ten minutes in contemplation of the Most Holy Trinity. Unlike his experience in San Lorenzo in Damaso, he Continue reading


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Father Byers, what makes you angry?

There is righteous anger, call it zeal if regulated by humility before both truth and mercy, a righteous anger which is necessary in justice, such as when Christ Jesus cleansed the temple with whips, overturning also the moneychangers’ tables, reprimanding those who prostituting the Temple of His Father (a symbol of Himself). The Gospels are rife with examples, Jesus castigating the hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, et alii. Some ecclesiastics are angry that their fellow ecclesiastics could ever be angry for anything or on behalf of anyone, ever. But that is itself unjust. Righteous anger is always righteous, even if there are those who think all anger is always unrighteous.

Truly unrighteous anger, lashing out, using others – a bit of self-referential transference – to punish oneself, is, of course, an evil. People get angry when they are pushed on whatever because they are frustrated in their lives with whatever issue that happens to be. They are frustrated because of realizing they are not in control of that situation. They are not in control of that situation because they are depending on themselves for a strength and balance and fortitude they don’t have on their own. They depend on themselves in proportion to how much they have not learned to walk through life with Jesus, who, in solidarity with us, wants us to be His constant friends.

Rarely is it the case that anger is totally righteous or totally unrighteous. So, the Lord, as our spiritual director, along with our angel guardians, provide and permit circumstances which will push us down on our knees, having us go from whatever bit of even just temptation to be somewhat angry to a greater reverence before Jesus – more simple as a child – just as soon as our brains can assent through conscience to the truth of this economy of salvation in which we are saved, Jesus using our weakness to encourage us to give up on trusting in ourselves so that we can take just everything in stride, as it were, nailed to the cross, dead to ourselves, alive, with enthusiasm, for Christ Jesus.

Of course, we want to make ourselves believe that our anger is always totally righteous, you know, because we want to congratulate ourselves to compensate for the stupidity of things being a bit out of control because of trusting in ourselves. So, motivations are complicated, too complex for us to figure out, figuring it out being always a fail inasmuch as this ignores the way in which our Lord and our angels deal with our fallen human nature by way of grace.

So, having said all that, what makes me angry? Well, I’ll give you an example. Watch the video above. What it doesn’t say is the posse was a thousand men strong. What makes me angry, you know, that I feel that a bit out of control of the situation, is the utter lack of conscience, the vacuous arrogance, the un-human-ness. Of course, righteous anger is part of this, but it is nevertheless a bit of a fright to see nothing in the souls of racists. That’s just how much I don’t yet understand about the wounds of our Lord Jesus. I should just be able to take this in stride and instead of having any hint of unrighteous anger, what I do to right whatever situation, it should be about zeal, as Elijah said, Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum. As Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn said, it wasn’t so much the torture that bothered him even as he was being tortured as much as seeing no conscience in the eyes of his torturer.

Part of the solution to all this is stated by a gentleman in that video above, a truly brilliant analysis, he saying that until we realize that we can all do this kind of horrible deed (of false accusation and smashing others down to build ourselves up), we will keep repeating such things. Humility before the Lord is, of course, the only way to do this.

So, having picked on this one thing, does that mean I myself am undergoing some sort of prejudice against myself? Well, I am Jewish, and Catholic, and a priest. My “Shadow”, who stole my identity (passport, driver licence, birth certificate…) back in the late 1970s-1980s, has spent a lifetime making himself perceived to be anti-Semitic, specifically, anti-Jewish, posing as a demographic conspiracy theorist analyst sympathetic to “David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950)[…] an American white supremacist and white nationalist politician, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (Wikipedia). That’s a distraction. A cover. Nothing is ever as it seems until injustice is actually perpetrated, until people are wrongly imprisoned, until blood is shed. Then we know exactly where things stand. Oh, wait a minute, isn’t my “Shadow” the one who did up illegal international arms transfers to cartels, all in my name, leaving countless people dead having been killed with guns that were acquired in my name? So, yeah, I am angry with that. How much of that is righteous anger and how much myself just being offended for being used is known only to the Lord. But, there it is.

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Filed under Racism, Spiritual life

Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 15 – The terror on the face of the little boy froze in his mind

palestinian donkey

Chapter 15 – The terror on the face of the little boy froze in his mind

Father Lia-Fáil soon arrived with the gray car don Hash had seen. Padre Emet took the front seat so that don Hash and Father Alexámenos would benefit from the tinted windows of the rear seat.

“Times are certainly changing,” said Father Alexámenos as they started to drive away.

“The car looks terrible on the outside, but the engine works well,” replied Father Lia-Fáil. “Diocesan bankruptcies due to fear of extortion have reduced the amount the Holy See receives in contributions,” he added as he sped down the hill of the Vatican gardens toward Santa Marta. “One of the first things Pope Tsur-Ēzer insisted upon is a draconian cutback in the extravagance of all that is connected with the Apostolic Palace. It was always Spartan, but it looks more like a monk’s cell than anything. I once thought that it would be a financial crisis which would change the minds of some of the more outrageous bishops, but that is not the case. That was my mindlessly secular version of ultramontanism. I’m now depending on de Colines to present some decent episcopal candidates to His Holiness, bishops who will transform their seminaries to be what they should be.” Having said that, he sighed. The comment was a test of the others in the car, whom he did not know except for his having briefly met Cardinal Emet a half-dozen times since the election of Pope Tsur-Ēzer.

“Of course,” said padre Emet, “seminaries don’t carry all the blame. The problem is almost exclusively with those who were ordained during or soon after the Second Vatican Council. Much of the younger generation of seminarians and priests have seen through the rubbishing of doctrine and morality by the bishops, administrators and teaching staff of the seminaries in many countries. But you don’t have to go outside of the Pontifical Universities in Rome to find a cesspool of heresy. The Congregation for Education simply washes its hands to the effect that…”

“To the effect that so many of the faculty and administration think that everyone is infallible, except for the Pope,” interrupted Father Lia-Fáil. “And with heresy following on heresy, corrupting into immorality, they then think that they are immaculately conceived, sinless, everyone, of course, except for the Blessed Virgin. I was saved from all that since my bishop – God rest his soul – taught me himself. He despised seminaries no matter what kind of apostolic visitations were carried out. To him, it was all damage control having little to do with encouraging the students to know Christ, to adore Him, to have a union of charity with Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in such a way that they knew that, in their priesthood, they would be married to the Church in that Holy Sacrifice. He was a great bishop.” For a change, Father Lia-Fáil drove out the gate near the Holy Office, doing so, as always, without braking. The Swiss Guards jumped back, now getting used to the driving habits of the new papal secretary. Continue reading


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My “Shadow” sent my entire texting history with him to the *destination*


This is just one of those boring, kryptic, for-the-record posts.

Pictured above is the safe-house of my “Shadow.” He’s the guy who stole my identity, becoming me back in the mid-late 1970s, looking like me and the same age as me, but with maybe just a tiny little bit more grey in the mustache. He wants to gain weight so as to be an identical copy of me. I have trouble losing weight because of a medicine I take. He even wanted me to sign off on all his properties (many) not for me to own them but so that he could disappear. This has been going on for decades.

Pictured below is my “Shadow”. He looks like a tramp for my visit. He’s really good at what he does. He doesn’t live at his safe house. He has a much nicer place. And a super-decked out conversion van, you know, for work. He seems to live far beyond his means. Hint, hint, hint.


A little while back my “Shadow” copied and forwarded all my text messages with him to an unknown destination upon that destination’s request. That was very soon after I put in a case with the FBI that would involve the FBI, CT at McLean and Main State (because of what Main State had said to me, confirming that two days later, both being extensive conversations). Interesting. I am reminded of texting conversations these days what with all the flurry about the not analogous but perhaps not too separate case of Stzrok and his girl friend.

Back in 1992 Main State wrote me a two page single space letter saying that they couldn’t care less about my Shadow, but were instead going to track me, and this in perpetuity. In 1996 the FBI at the U.S. Consulate in Rome tried to force me, a citizen in good standing in these USA, to forego my identity and disappear altogether, letting the guy who took my identity years before go on with his life as me. To their disgruntlement, I didn’t do it. It has been chaos all these years, stretching back into the 1980s. I could write volumes about this. It isn’t about to end soon:

I have to say that my “Shadow” has a human side to him, you know, a little bit of guilt, a weak spot. I like that. It works for me. He seems to have “mistakenly” let me in on the texting he had with the destination of my texting history with him. Heh heh heh. For the record. It’s surely not that they didn’t have that texting history already available to them; it’s that they wanted to see if he would be so loyal to them as to do their bidding, no matter what. Whatever about him, it was written for them.

For the record, let’s say that that request of mine at the top of that texting (the destination will know what that is) is actually serious. That would solve particular endangerment that I’m put in because of this, right? Along with that goes something else that goes along with that and is one of the primary reasons for that, and that would solve a lot as well, right? Be nice.

[Could I possibly be more kryptic than that? Lol. ;-) ]

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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Intelligence Community

Laudie-dog happily in the Shadow


Lots of people have been inquiring about Laudie-dog. It’s not that Laudie-dog is retired, though now she’s getting on in years, but she is happy to be in the shadows on the dog-pillow behind my chair where she yawns whenever she likes to express her contentment, I mean, you know, now that Shadow-dog has taken pride of place in serving and protecting.

But no one have one up on Laudie-dog’s history of going up against wolves and coyotes and bears and lynx and panthers. She still battles with that panther that dark and stormy night (really!) in her nightmares. I try to ever so gently wake her up when that happens. She’s happy to be reassured.

People make fun of me when I say that, but it’s true. You can almost pick out which incident it is that’s being replayed in her mind, whether the bear (yappity yap yap yap!) or the panther (scream-cry-howl-bark-scream). People say that dogs don’t dream and have no emotions or memory, but they just don’t know dogs. I think that by assessing a dog I could draw up a fairly accurate profile of its owner.

Trouble is, sometimes, that dogs can sometimes have multiple owners, as is the case with both Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog. I think those who had Shadow were fairly friendly with him and let him be the alpha-iest alpha GSD ever. But who knows. Poor Laudie-dog adopted me after having starved, with mange, and been shot between the shoulders, and was ultra-timid, and it was obvious she had suffered some abuse. Best dog ever.


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Shadow-Dog pooped a Timber Rattler


Ho-hum. Looking out the kitchen window this morning I see that Shadow-dog just pooped out a full size Timber Rattlesnake. Markings. Fat body. Relatively short tail. Ultra-fat head with fangs. Wikipedia says that “Potentially, this is one of North America’s most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield.” They warn with lots of antics, but I think that only makes Shadow-dog’s adrenaline pump all the more. Sorry that this next photo didn’t focus, but this is the decapitated head:


Out of focus or not, that’s good enough for me. All very poopy.

Not to worry. I looked it up. Dogs eating venomous snakes for breakfast doesn’t hurt them in the least. :-) Shadow-dog was simply content with a good snack.

It’s been raining and raining and raining after snowing and snowing and snowing. The back yard is a bit of a mess. I’m planning on extending the fence and planting lots of grass seed. Meanwhile, don’t feel sorry for wet and muddy Shadow-dog. He has a warm dry shelter out of the weather tucked far back under the non-mud-cement-patio corrugated roof. Also, he comes in for most of the night. You just have to know that a GSD loves water and mud. He’s been expanding his mud holes with water in them just for fun. I don’t mind. I did that as a kid. Why not?

Anyway, a thought came to mind. You can see how there is zero shelter, zero hiding places for a snake, particular a Timber Rattler which stays in, well, you know, the timber, the forest. We’re in the middle of a city. How is it that that Rattler would insist on being inside that fence line slithering immediately right into the jaws of Shadow-dog, who, by the way, wouldn’t be hidden. It just doesn’t make sense. Ain’t gonna happen if you ask me. The snake, on its own, would zip away. Poor snake. Maybe he was thrown in while I was on my day off. If that’s the case, the result is the following:

  • One proud and brave Shadow-dog.
  • One now impressed but scared snake-handler.


  • Just when people think they “have you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when the devil thinks he “has you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when your fallen human nature thinks it has won, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.


Filed under Dogs