Tag Archives: Confession

“Mandatory Reporting” of Abuse Confessed in Sacramental Confession

PADRE PIO SEAL OF CONFESSION

– Katherine Gregory, a political reporter for ABC News (that’s Australia Broadcasting, btw), headlines this: “Catholic leaders ‘willing to go to jail’ to uphold seal of confession and not report child sex abuse.”

Wow. So, that makes it sound as if priests want to protect child abuse. No. The vast, vast, vast majority of priests are honest, have integrity of life, and are offended by those who have betrayed Jesus Christ our Lord and God and all the rest of us priests and all members of the mystical Body of the Divine Son of God who will come to judge the living and dead and world by fire.

So, this is dishonest and manipulative reporting from the outset. Irresponsible. It represents hatred of God, hatred of neighbor and, as we will see, actually promotes the abuse of those who are vulnerable.

But I’ll tell you this, people are eager – so eager – to tell all priests to go to hell with absolutely zero due process. Like Judas betraying Jesus. It is what it is in this cowardly society of tender snowflakes in which we live. Are we brave? Honest? Do we have some integrity? O.K. Let’s actually take a look at the issues then, shall we? Here’s her article with emphases and [[comments]] by yours truly.


South Australia has joined the ACT [[Australian Capital Territory]] in moving ahead with laws to force Catholic priests to break the seal of confession, to report paedophiles to police. [[No one is ever forced to do the wrong thing like breaking the seal of confession. One can always choose to face the consequences like going to prison.]]

Other states are still deliberating over whether or not they will adopt that recommendation from the royal commission. [[Another has already gone along with this. All the others are expected to follow in short order.]]

But Catholic Church leaders have rejected the idea. Father Michael Whelan, the parish priest in St Patrick’s Church Hill in Sydney, said priests would not break the seal of confession:

“The state will be requiring us as Catholic priests to commit as what we regard as the most serious crime and I’m not willing to do that,” Father Whelan said. [[That’s just a lot of bluster. He is willing to do this, but in a more idiotic manner, as we will see…]]

The New South Wales Government has said it would respond later this month about whether priests would be legally obliged to report confessions of child sex abuse.

“I expect every jurisdiction in Australia now will follow that recommendation and I expect the church throughout will simply not observe it,” Father Whelan said.

Asked if the Catholic Church was above the law, he said:

“Absolutely not, but when state tries to intervene on our religious freedom, undermine the essence of what it means to be a Catholic, we will resist. The only way they [the states] would be able to see whether the law was being observed or not is to try and entrap priests.” [[That would be right. But confessionals have been bugged in New York by the FBI. I was personally asked by the Italian Department of Defense to do this for them. I did not do this! Communist China regularly sends agents to “confess” to, say, subversion, like planning something like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. If the priest doesn’t immediately intercept the “penitent” and drag him to the police for torture and death the priest himself will be sent off to re-education and labor and prison camps where bad things like torture and death take place.]]

Father Whelan said he was “willing to go to jail” rather than abide by a law. [[But not really. Watch what he does:]] An alternative, if a priest hears a paedophile confess sins of child sexual abuse, would be to “stop them immediately”, says Father Whelan:

“I would say, ‘Come with me now, we will go down to the police station in order for you to show that you are remorseful’,” he said. [[Well, sugar. That’s the same as breaking the Seal of Confession. Even worse. This makes priests into Law Enforcement Officers because they are priests. I can see it now. The priest and therefore police officer with divine mandate causes a huge scene, tackling, fighting, hand-cuffing, pepper-spraying, tasering, and, if there’s resistence that turns into a life endangering fight (which it might at the first suggestion of a police station), shooting the guy until the threat stops. Yep. I can just see it now, all those priests so highly trained in interrogation and take down techniques, verifying IDs (impossible), arresting the worst criminals in society and singlehandedly bringing them down for a public interrogation, confession and absolution. That’s realistic. Not. Can you imagine? Does that also refer to anything else that would be against the law? Murder, theft, illegal parking? Where do we draw the line? Is any confession to be private?]]

NSW Labor senator Kristina Keneally, who is a scholar of theology[[!]] and a Catholic[[!]], said church [[definite article?!]] could not put itself above the law, but mandatory reporting was not the most effective way to prevent abuse. [[She sounds reasonable so far, but watch this, she’s going to capitalize on the suffering of real victims to get her ideology accepted:]]

“I would look to ordination itself, I would look to who we ordain,” she said. “I have no doubt that if more women and more parents were involved in the leadership of their Catholic Church, that the problem of child sexual abuse would not have been as big as it was and would have been dealt with far differently when it came to light within the institution.”

========= The rest of what follows are my comments:

Did you see the clever switcheroo in this last bit? What we’re talking about statistically is, say, a layman going to confession for committing abuse (pretty much 100% of that being incest) and whether the priest should bring that fact from the confessional to the police. But this politician all of a sudden takes the confessional out of the picture and implies that the whole problem rests with priests and that women and parents are always innocent. That sounds like guilt speaking, the ol’ projection of one’s own guilt trick. As it is, incest stats are staggering. The Atlantic has this:]]

“Here are some statistics that should be familiar to us all, but aren’t, either because they’re too mind-boggling to be absorbed easily, or because they’re not publicized enough. One in three-to-four girls, and one in five-to-seven boys are sexually abused before they turn 18 [[I think those gender-stats are in reverse…]], an overwhelming incidence of which happens within the family. [[“Overwhelming” – “Within the family”]] These statistics are well known among industry professionals, who are often quick to add, ‘and this is a notoriously underreported crime.’”

============ Some other points:

  • The priest has no right to what is said in Confession. This belongs to Jesus who shed His blood to forgive sin. If the priest betrays this it seems to me that he takes on the guilt of those sins himself. You won’t want to see the punishments he will receive in hell. If the State tries to get this information, recording this or whatever, it seems to me that the same dynamic holds. Whoever it is in the State doing this will take on those sins before God. Yep.
  • The Seal of Confession is absolute, between the penitent and God. What’s said in confession stays there.
  • The priest is not a law enforcement officer (and even if he was, he still wouldn’t have a right to this information).
  • There is often a screen between priest and penitent, and so the priest doesn’t know who it is anyway.
  • The mention of the crime may not be by the perpetrator, but by the victim, who is asking for advice on how to bring this to police and how to find some peace with God and neighbor.
  • If there is mandatory reporting for some sin, the result will be that either there is public confession of all and any sin or no confession at all. It is what it is.

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Calling people names? WWJD? Hah!

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said:

“Name calling ends the conversation. It is rude. It is counterproductive. It’s not what Jesus would do. It’s not what the saints would do. It is not Christian. It’s plain mean. It makes for enemies, not consensus.”

However, name calling can be a good and holy thing, so that, even though it is hurtful to pride and emotions, it just may be an occasion to assist someone in the salvation of their souls. Having hurt pride or hurt emotions is nothing compared to suffering eternal damnation, or being in purgatory for any length of time at all. Take note that this charitable aspect of some name-calling is to be found in the Sacred Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, both in Old and New Testaments. Take note, in particular, of the Gospel of Matthew, where we find the holy name-calling of the greatest of all the prophets, John the Baptist (3:7-12 – rsv), he being a saint, with his name-calling geared to repentance and salvation of souls. Mind you, he does this precisely as the forerunner of Jesus:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Sometimes, this greatest of prophets is called an old meanie, and dismissable with the anti-Semitic statement that he is merely Old Testament, full of justice lacking mercy (which is not justice), so that there is then an insistence that Jesus, instead, was nice. Let’s recall some name-calling wrought by Jesus Himself (Matthew 23:13-38 – rsv):

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity.

You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.

I remember a priest, many, actually, who said:

“We are now beyond John. We are now beyond Jesus. They were then. We’re now. We better because we live today. We are a post-Ascension New Testament people. So, let’s see if post-Ascension Saint Paul was shy about name-calling (Romans 1:18-32):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.

They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

Whew! Saint Paul says such things not because he is hateful, or “homophobic”, but because he loves all and is in anguish that all be saved, if possible. Recall his success in this new evangelization (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – nab):

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

So, can name-calling be charitable? Indeed. It can be a spiritual work of mercy essential to the new evangelization.

Saint John the Baptist and Jesus Himself turned the world upside down for the greater honor and glory of God. Turning the world upside down is not an evil, but can be a great good, done with all goodness and kindness, even if some are — hopefully only temporarily — infuriated. The entire history of salvation is loaded with glorious saints who turned the world upside down.

But what about CIC 220, you might ask, about the right of others to a good name. Yes, well, sometimes that good name was forfeited by these others by the very public actions and/or statements that they have made, so that corrective measures need to be taken, even and perhaps especially when this is not done but should be done by those who are more appropriate for the task.

O.K., but can’t there be a different, you know, nicer way to go about things, more civilized, more, well, NICE? I’ll answer that question if you can answer me these two questions: Was John sent from God, yes or no? Was Jesus sent from God, yes or no?

Is there a danger about the hypocrisy of a splinter in someone else’s eye while we have a beam in our own eyes? Yes, Jesus warned us about this as well. Some think that since we have all of us, you, me, all of us, put Jesus to death with our sins, that we cannot ever reprimand someone else. But this is just a bit too convenient. With full recognition of our own unworthiness, we can surely do this spiritual work of mercy. We had just better not forget how weak we ourselves are. Recall the frightening and yet hopeful words of Ezekiel 3,18-21 (nab):

If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life. If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him. When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

Having said all that, in the end, we are supposed to call ourselves names, like “sinner”, in confession. Confession is great. It is there that we meet with a potential part of the virtue of justice, that is, mercy, as the Common Doctor says in his commentary on the sentences. Don’t delay. I love going to confession. Because I’m such a sinner. But Jesus is very good, very kind, providing us the grace to be innocent as doves, though as clever as serpents.

“Oh, but, Father George, that’s very nice as a clever study and all, but we must be prudent and actually nice to people. You get more flies with honey than with fly swatters. Calling people names takes you out of the discussion. It proves you have nothing to say, no argumentation.”

Review the name calling above, including the one about hypocrites. This is logical name calling, entirely different from, say, four letter words. We have to take people seriously and point out to them that they are on the wrong path (making sure we are repentant of anything wrong in our own lives, of course).

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Porn power sinning: “Run your world” “Break the rules”

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I’m going through some of the pictures I took while on my recent Missionary of Mercy trip to Rome. This picture was taken along the Tiber river near the Vatican outside of a hospital in which I was a patient back in the 1990s, in which, for a moment, Pope John Paul II was a patient after the assassination attempt.

The back of this bus depicts adults stuck in adolescent rebellion, making sin sexy power:

  • “Break the rules.”
  • “Run your world.”

Cute. And that’s the way it is. Zero thought. So egotistic. So dark. So crunched down in on just oneself. “I will not serve!” Non serviam! That’s the proclamation of the demonic.

The commandments are summarized as love of God and love of neighbor. Those are the good “rules” that the fallen world, the fallen flesh, the fallen angel – the devil – would have us break. But are those so bad that we should be entitled brats to shake our fist at God and disrespect our neighbor? Is that the way it should all work?

For instance, is beating down a girl friend and literally dragging her to an abortuary and then pushing her after murdering her child so that she then commits suicide really an effervescent niceness that’s attractive? That’s how “breaking the rules” works out. That’s what “running your world” looks like.

Satan makes sin look attractive to those who do not know God. But what’s on the back of that bus – to those with the love of God – is so very incredibly dark and ugly. The response, with all love of God and love of neighbor, is to share the greatest love of our life, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. The response to that, depending on the self-congratulations of the society of the time and place where one is, can be as bad as making their worship into putting you to death (the Gospel the other day).

The more sex is cut off from marriage and the family and therefore from life, the more it tends to push for death on every level.

Porn is super prevalent. It is everywhere. It is rationalized. “We’re mature!” “We’re adults!” But it goes from one stage to the next to the next. Those in the industry are treated nicely, until they’re not, until they are wasted in snuff films. If sex isn’t for life it’s for death.

But the thing is, it’s already a grave sin to do what David did when he so peacefully, wistfully, looked lustfully at his neighbor Bathsheba. But hiding behind this is violence of epic proportions, right from the beginning. It will come out. David would murder Bathsheba’s husband, betraying the entire armed forces, the entire nation.

Breaking the rules of love of God and love of neighbor is always about self-power, which is always about smashing down all others with violence. Yep.

But then, all is not hopeless. There is Confession. That’s not pious piffle. Look at the violence wrecked upon Jesus, tortured to death, taking our place, the Innocent for the guilty, now having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. “Father, forgive them.”

And then, with agility of soul and purity of heart, we love to keep the rules and let the fiery Holy Spirit run our lives. The love of God in all truth is infinitely more love and more truth than anything we could ever have with our own dark selves. God’s love and God’s truth is infinitely more attractive.

Thank you Jesus, for coming into this world to grab us and bring us to heaven.

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Happiness in the parish: Adoration, Confessions, Communion calls…

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My Confessor hates when I do this, but I know how weak I am. I’m still waaaaay overtired as I’ve been going non-stop after coming back from Rome. I knew early Sunday morning that if I didn’t get in my entire breviary I would miss saying even important hours like Vespers, so I did the whole thing during 6:00 AM adoration holy hour between confessions at the parish church before running up to Graham county for the first Mass at Prince of Peace in Robbinsville. As I say, my Confessor hates that. That’s not the way the breviary is to be said. But, it was a good thing I did it all at once. By the time all the Masses were over, and all the Communion calls and Anointing of the sick in the afternoon, I was ready to collapse. Which I did, in my chair, at I think 6:00 PM. I was out like a light. I didn’t move even once until 2:00 AM. I’m a very light sleeper, so this was crazy. I’m one happy priest.

I’m also happy to use a keyboard once again. I was doing all the posts on the blog while in Rome from my phone. I didn’t have a computer with me. I posted a lot during that second Missionaries of Mercy get together. That’s because it was all on the fly, most all posts being written beginning to end while on the bus or tram or subway or walking. Not great for situational awareness, but Italy, mind you, and in particular the big city of Rome, with characters from all over the world, and regardless of all the pickpockets, is so very calm and peaceful compared to my villages of Andrews and Robbinsville.

Anyway, this scene is next to me on the wall of the Confessional:

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  • I look Jesus in the eye as I give absolution.
  • I look at Mary in the eye as I give a penance.

I recall a story which Pope Francis has now told us Missionaries of Mercy for the second time in as many years. He said he knew an old confessor who would hear many hours of confessions every day, and afterward he would go to kneel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and confess to Jesus that he was surely a terrible priest, for he had forgiven really very much sin that day, maybe too much, and he would ask Jesus for forgiveness, a bit tongue in cheek however, for he would then immediately add that it was all Jesus’ fault, for Jesus Himself had given us such a bad example on the cross: “Father, forgive them…”

Communion Calls for me are the highlight of my life. Many priests delegate these to others. I mean, I get it. They are all, without exception, in bigger parishes than mine and they can’t do everything themselves. Only I have that joy in regard to visiting all the shut-ins. Priests are best for this as priests can hear confessions and anoint those in danger of death. There are many saints among us. It is such a day-brightener for the soul to be with them.

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“You’re nothing special” – Pope Francis to Missionaries of Mercy

“Moreover, be sure you understand well that you’re nothing special, you Missionaries of Mercy.” – Pope Francis

That’s right. What weak and sinful man can forgive sin? So, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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Missionaries of Mercy – Future

Umbrellas were useless as we Missionaries of Mercy walked a good kilometer in bucketing rain to a parochial school chapel to hear each others’ confessions. We passed by a most famous mosaic-icon street shrine. Look up “divino amore”:

“Oh Virgin Immaculate Mary, Mother of Divine Love, make us saints!

I am reminded of the exclamation of the Pontifical North American College: “Monstra te esse Matrem!

If we Missionaries of Mercy cry out for our Lady’s maternal love, that is, to make us saints, surely something good for the Church will take place, like us continuing to go to Confession.

If we do that, some other good things in the future might come about. Of course, we remember the admonition about making plans for the future so as to make God laugh.

We’re supposed to return in two year’s time. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to have regional or national gatherings amongst ourselves, and also promote the Sacrament as best we can in whatever ways including occasions for the Sacrament.

I’m thinking of organising something especially for priests in various regions throughout the United States as represented by the Cathedral of whatever Archdiocese taking in all its suffragen dioceses. Perhaps we could have continuous confessions during adoration. During the week, mind you. All priests especially of that region invited. All priests released from other duties during that time. And encouraged to come. I’ve spoken with a couple of other Missionaries of Mercy about it and they like it a lot. So we’ll see.

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From CBS News to the Holy See: “Can I record a Confession?”

In the above picture some 600 Missionaries of Mercy waited for the closing Mass to begin at the Lateran. Waiting. Waiting.

A short while after Mass was over, this hit came in from the Holy See.

Referring URL:

(No referring link)
Host Name:Browser:Chrome 65.0
IP Address:212.77.3.[…]
OS/Platform: Win10/Desktop
Location:Holy See (vatican City State)
Javascript: Disabled
Visit Length:Not Applicable
ISP: Holy See – Vatican City State

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage (No referring link)

11 Apr 06:48:30

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2017/07/14/missionaries-of-mercy-reconfirmed-mafia-excommunications-undecided/

I had had a chat with our boss, his Excellency Archbishop Fisichella, that is, about automatic excommunications for corrupt organizations. But that part of that post became it’s own post. The interest with the post linked above is instead about recording confessions.

There is great interest in this topic by journalists. That post was just visited, for instance, by CBS News. I’m guessing they want to put undue pressure on the Church.

They should know that the Diocese of Manchester already betrayed the Church in a much worse manner:

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2017/01/09/confession-settlement-that-could-halt-the-sacrament-of-confession-in-the-catholic-church-pope-francis-missionary-of-mercy-complains/

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First up 2018-4-11: Archbishop Octavio Ruis Arenas

This guy’s number two to Archbishop Fisichella, therefore the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the umbrella organisation for the Missionaries of Mercy.

His talk is entitled “Pastoral Indications on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” I’m guessing this will be a rehash of the Vademecum for Confessors. It would be great to hear a few words on the Curé d’Ars. This being the closing conference, a bad and evil temptation to entrench in a bad and evil thought came to me, that this will be all about Amoris laetitia, reducing the Missionaries of Mercy to only one perspective of the ever so political chapter 8 of that iteration of what Pope Francis himself in the same papered volley calls a dialogue. In view of the other conferences, I have to doubt that. It’s been all good, in fact, fantastic up to this closing conference. It’s been my fear during these years that we would be political pawns in a much larger chess board. But that’s just stupid me, and I know it. I’m sure I’ll rejoice.

Update:

  • Confessors must be faithful, dedicated, joyful, conscientious.
  • Missionaries of Mercy are to promote the Sacrament of Confession in their dioceses.
  • Priests are instruments of Jesus’ mercy, acting in His Person in this Sacrament.
  • Those in the darkest of existential peripheries want a Confessor who totally understands them and is in solidarity with them to bring them into the light of the joy of “seeing” the risen Lord.
  • Don’t treat penitents badly!
  • Mulier adultera of John 7:53–8:11. All traditional interpretation.
  • Curé d’Ars! Yay!
  • San Leopoldo Mandić, OFM.Cap. Yay!
  • The joy of filial dignity provided to the penitent.

That’s it! Great!

Fisichella is adding a personal story about Padre Pio…

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Scary decadence depicted

This guy, perhaps a political figure back in the day (quite a particular face, reminding one of the practice of Dante), seems to be truly bad and evil. He was staring down at me with evil intent there in the Sala Regia all during our audience with Pope Francis. He’s bearing the weight of one of the stone frames of the frescoes.

If he’s scary to us, perhaps let’s skip such depictions and do something much more scary, looking in ourselves and seeing that we could crucify the Son of the Living God.

Oh wait, by original sin and our own we did do that.

For an even scarier depiction of ourselves we can look at the wounds of Jesus and then, with Thomas, put our fingers through the wounds in His hands, our hands into His side, His heart.

And then break down in tears of humble thanksgiving, joyful that our Lord has been deadly serious about bringing us to life. Not scary, that. After that, anything scary is a source of laughter: “That’s supposed to be scary? Because it’s not. Haha!

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About those wounds

A priest I met at the bus stop.

We had a good conversation about Jesus and the cynicism of the world. He said that people have so many wounds that a few more on Jesus isn’t going to affect them one bit. He spoke of how terribly difficult the mission is. He didn’t blame the modern world, but recognized that all times are quite the same.

Now I go one step more…

Having priests start going to Confession so that they bring this Sacrament once again to their parishes isn’t good enough. We have to be willing to rejoice that we are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord. So, let me change that all too set in stone saying of mine to…

Humble, joyful thanksgiving.

Pope Francis says it best:

“Joy greater than any doubt.”

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Making it personal: 600 of us

And with joy. I like that. I like that a lot.

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The gate called Petriano

I used to drive through here full speed in a car or on a scooter getting salutes from the Swiss Guard while bishops were stopped. Those were the days. Now I stand in line. Haha! That will get me ready for the line to heaven. I always think I will be last in line, but I’m very happy with that as that involves going to heaven. We’ve got to make it to heaven at all costs, even that of learning humility. So, we go to Confession. Remember, Peter in heaven left the keys to the gates here upon this earth, in the confessional with whatever even inept priest, like me. Remember, it’s all about Jesus.

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Confessional Screen Tabernacle?

After all was said and done yesterday for the Missionaries of Mercy I couldn’t resist taking this picture. Jesus is ready to listen to you. But for absolution, listen to the ecclesial indications of Jesus and go to Confession.

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Also today: Archbishop Arthur Roche on priests and sin

Small groups this afternoon. These are the English speakers. Yes, that’s Exposition while he’s speaking about priests confessing to priests. Good.

I had quite the conversation with his Excellency some ten years ago when he helped to lead a pilgrimage to Lourdes where I was a “permanent chaplain”. We agreed after some argumentation that the only way to renew the priesthood and therefore parishes was to get priests to go to regular confession.

I knew his talk would be fantastic when he started by saying that he’s been a priest for 43 years and a sinner for much longer than that.

He said forgiveness of sin is the raison d’être of Jesus coming into the world but we wrongly treat sin as unimportant. To counter this he told stories.

He spoke of a young man going through the holy door during the year of mercy, you know, all non-chalantly, then breaking into tears realizing what God has done for him.

Miserando atque eligendo… We need to be protagonists in mercy, begining with ourselves.

Really an excellent talk. I think some of these talks will be published in the future.

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San Lorenzo in Damaso: when Church – State politics get hot go to Confession

Jumping off bus 46, I headed into the side entrance of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso. Greeting one of the elderly security guards – one of the quiet Saint Joeph like personages one sometimes meets – I then took this picture at a side chapel where a priest might say some prayers of thanksgiving after offering Holy Mass.

The security guard, spying with perpicasity my devotion, tapped me on the shoulder and silently bid me to follow him. He never once spoke. He pointed at a side altar and then at the explanation written out for pilgrims on the altar rail.

Many relics are above the altar as you can see, including those of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I had much to do with Mother Teresa. She was a huge influence in my life. Sorry, I’m nostalgic. I just about cried.

This is the Blessed Sacrament chapel whose altar rail and floor are featured in a certain book, as is the Tabernacle.

Glancing up one sees Saint Lawrence.

A most important place in the Basilica…

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Picture of Fathers Day for Priests

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Fathers Day for Priests is the day they renew their promises all together with the bishop of their (arch)diocese in the Cathedral. The promises are all about renewing what their intentions were at the time of their ordination, that is, to be of service to Christ Jesus in His Priesthood, doing this through preaching the Word, through the Sacraments, through getting the members of the Mystical Body of Christ on their way to heaven. All of this is summarized in the photo above. Gotta love the shoes of the kid in the picture above (sent in by a reader).

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Unleashed as a kid. Still unleashed. Psychology for kids: Go to Confession!

Image result for forrest gump gif running

Maybe I’m wrong, exaggerated, lacking in nuance. Some of you know child psychology really well. Am I wrong?

Born in central Minnesota in early 1960, there wasn’t a kid I knew who was leashed. I wasn’t. Heck, I was walking to Kindergarten all on my own, a whole kilometer or over half a mile, which included crossing the crazy-fast, crazy busy 9th Avenue North. On the first trip, both mom and dad walked with me until we crossed that avenue (only half way), and then just pointed me in the right direction. That was it. I had to find the school and my room in the school up on the second floor all on my own. I learned how to tie my special orthopedic “Forrest Gump” boots (minus the bars, which was my choice) on my own on these trips. My sister showed me once how to do this but I couldn’t do it until, of course, I did it myself. I loved this freedom. It gave me lots of confidence. I have lots of stories about all that. But you know what? All went well in the end. Basically, until today, I have no fear about going anywhere at any time. I can’t run as fast as Forrest, having about 5 pounds of metal inside the one leg… serves me right for not wearing the metal on the outside of the leg, ever, back then. But I’m not complaining. I compensate for  not being able to run in other ways whenever possible.

But it seems that in most every place in these USA kids are now leashed, and have been for a long time, what with actual laws about kids being leashed lest their parents / guardians / foster-whatevers are jailed for child neglect. This is catastrophic for kids. I don’t think that’s ever been the case in North Carolina, but elsewhere, I guess so.

  • On the one hand, some kids are coddled and therefore have zero situational awareness and zero confidence. How can they even cross a street?
  • On the other hand, some can react by being ultra-super-entitled and violent bullies with zero confidence merely masquerading as power.

On or off. No balance. No reason. No assessment. Where did that come from? What I’m guessing is that, in part, this is about the parents not going to Confession and the kids not going because they don’t go to church because their parents don’t after the first Confession and first Holy Communion of their kids, if that. No conscience that they know about.

just me climbing tree

What kept me in line (well, more or less, but pretty well) in view of all the freedom I had was my going to Confession regularly. I had a conscience. Sometimes I fell into sin in being a real brat, but I did have a conscience. I knew what guilt was. And it wasn’t a bad thing to have if I did something wrong. I can’t imagine not being able to play with the other kids in my neighborhood or in neighborhoods all over my city at that time of 48,000 people, not being able to ride a trike or, later, bike, not being able to climb trees, or plant trees, or crawl through culverts, or get into trouble in construction zones, or ride the elevators of the hospital[!], or visit the elderly in the “Old Folks Home” all on my own just to do it, or pick flowers for mom or for church, or hurtle far above the trees for insanely long distances in seemingly out of control downhill skiing (it was Minnesota, after all), or blow up stuff with firecrackers, or make sometimes huge dams in the gravel roads after and during hard rains, or go camping overnight far from home (many times well over twenty miles away at a lake or up in the forests all on my own with pup-tent and ax and matches and a bit of food, or fly bat-kites in electrical storms and on the edges of tornadoes, or get good with boomerangs in the wind, or get good with bows and arrows and slingshots (homemade mostly), or swim in the Mississippi river, or make jumps for snowmobiles and sometimes crash, or climb out under bridges, or get good on my own with my shotgun (after certification at the VFW) at 12 years of age, or explore abandoned buildings, and airport hangers and fire departments and supermarkets and churches and more churches and yet more churches again (meaning explore!)…

lighterWhat stuns me is that for some decades now it is almost impossible to find a kid who has been fully trained to serve at the altar who is not scared to death to light a match to light the candles. They can’t. They won’t. They are petrified. I found this to be true in Australia and Italy and France and in these United States. What goes on in schools? Thank goodness there are now huge propane lighter things for them to use.

Of course, the problem is NOT the kids. It’s the parents. They were the no-rules-for-us crowd and they remain so, but they then became control freaks regarding their kids. What’s that? And is there a difference between conservative and liberal parents? Ironically, it seems that conservative parents are for freedom and the liberal crowd micromanage absolutely every last detail of everything. Kids are allergic to everything because they’ve never been exposed to anything. But, as Forrest said about his momma:

Related image

You can’t control God’s permissive or positive will, God’s providence. You can’t control your guardian angel. What God wants, what our guardian angels want, is that we regularly participate in Confession. Or am I wrong about this, that society has replaced the confessional and conscience with overbearing micromanaging that leaves kids without consciences?

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Mention wanting to go to heaven and some people say “Go to hell!” Yikes!

byers dance paul vi audience hall

I never said I never bait people about spiritual stuff that matters for life eternal.

When I put up this post (Ask your Guardian Angel to help you make a good confession. I did. He did.) If you haven’t read that post, you should do it now. What a fright! I knew that post would get some reaction, and I did, immediately, in email, basically with the idea that I should just go to hell just like all other priests. That’s O.K. Their guardian angels will catch up with them and explain the matter to them. And that’s a good thing.

If you think I’m mean in doing that, baiting I mean, I beg you to read the Gospels. No, really! Be prepared to be amazed. Jesus is baiting people all the time, pushing them, antagonizing them. They hated Him for it, tortured Him to death for it. He knew it would happen. He did it anyway. It’s what got and gets the most to heaven: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Do priests go to Confession? Yes. Or they should. Is every priest guilty of all sins of all priests in the history of the world? No. But that’s what lots of people actually think. And they say it. With dark bitterness. Not fair. But it’s to be expected.

Priest penitent: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. My last confession was last week. As you know, I’m a priest, and since last week, well, it’s not that I said anything, but I let myself get a bit impatient in my own feelings with someone who said I was guilty of all sins of all priests of all time because I was also a priest as if guilt by the association made in the mind of whoever is a real thing. I’m weak, Father. I could spend my time better. I’d like to include all the sins of my past life.”

Priest Confessor: “For your penance, Father, you are say the Memorare one time for the souls in purgatory. Now, say a good act of contrition.”

Pundit: “What?! Impatience?! He should confess being a chainsaw murderer! After all, there’s a picture! And he’s surely guilty of everything anyway!”

GEORGE DAVID BYERS CHAINSAW PICTURE

;-) Look, we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever of our own sin. People shouldn’t think they will be justified before the Living God – who alone will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire – justified just because they condemned everyone else of everything else.

So, here we go again. I’ll say it again about why I go to confession:

I want to go to heaven. I don’t want to go to hell. Heck, I don’t even want to go to purgatory, not even for the tiniest moment. I want to rush to heaven and thank Jesus, the Eternal Word of the Father, for being my Savior, He having become, after all, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, His dear mama and ours.

Terrible baiting, that. I mean, after all, I do not deserve heaven, but rather hell. But Jesus is good and kind. Really, He is.

But more than this, Jesus took on the punishment for all our sins. If we condemn people for wanting to go to heaven by throwing themselves down before Jesus begging for His mercy, do we not, then, condemn Jesus Himself? God will not be mocked. Aligning oneself with Satan, the Accuser, just ain’t gonna work out at the judgment.

  • We should be happy that Peter repented of his denial of the Lord.
  • We should be happy if Judas would have repented of his betrayal of the Lord.

bike stingray schwinn

It was with a bike just like this that, as a kid, I left even thirty foot skid marks and longer on sidewalks in front of people’s houses, dozens, overlapping, making designs, where they would remain for a good half year or more, lowering property values, making for angry comments while I would then speed away, perhaps on one wheel, getting me reprimands from my parents. It was a bit of a thing. I was a real brat as a kid. And, come to think of it, that’s something I’m sure I never confessed in my entire life, including today when I was really trying to include everything. O.K., well, maybe next time in the confessional if I remember it.

If you ask your Guardian Angel to remind you of things you didn’t confess for whatever reason, or were ambiguous about it, or making excuses for everything, he will let you know so that you can confess well. Don’t be afraid.

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Ask your Guardian Angel to help you make a good confession. I did. He did.

confession sacrament

Recently I asked my guardian angel to smack me down and let me know if there was any sin in my life which I had left un-confessed for whatever reason, or confessed in a bit of an ambiguous manner, or with WAY TOO MANY excuses in my own mind or even as verbalized to a confessor.

I want to go to heaven. I don’t want to go to hell. Heck, I don’t even want to go to purgatory, not even for the tiniest moment. I want to rush to heaven and thank Jesus, the Eternal Word of the Father, for being my Savior, He having become, after all, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, His dear mama and ours.

Here’s the deal: when you ask your guardian angel something like this he will take you seriously and he will do it. Long story short: he did. Stuff came to mind from decades ago, as a kid, even as a little little kid. That I remember pretty much everything makes any of my obfuscations in the distant past and then never quite totally suppressed quite evil and bad. Having said that…

There is no greater rejoicing in heaven before the angels of the Lord than when a donkey like me runs to the mercy of our Lord.

My penance: A Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

So, have you ever asked your angel to do something like that?

I think smacking me down is an extreme sport in which my guardian angel delights.

Hint: when your guardian angel smacks you down you’re supposed to say, ever so politely, and mean it:

“Thank you, Guardian Angel.”

The mercy of the Lord is most wonderful to receive in confession.

What was it like to be smacked down by my Guardian Angel? Good question.

The revelation of whatever sin from so many decades ago was so incredibly clear, but not as a memory. It was an event, as in dying, and, in that first nanosecond after death, being confronted with that sin as a present possession, and all of eternity in hell yawning wide before me. It was like a lightning bolt. Clear as clear as clear can be. Angels are like that. All this, but still being held by my Guardian Angel. After all, the point in this kind of smacking down isn’t for the guardian angel to wipe out his charge, but to get him to confession safely and then off to heaven.

guardian angel

Thank you, Guardian Angel!

Dear reader, at this point you are supposed to be saying, “Hey! If that donkey priest Father George can be brave enough to ask his guardian angel something like that, then I can do that too. I want to go to heaven too. My guardian angel wants me to go to heaven too. Dear Guardian Angel, if there’s anything which I had left un-confessed for whatever reason, or confessed in a bit of an ambiguous manner, or with WAY TOO MANY excuses in my own mind or even as verbalized to a confessor, can you please smack me down and get me to confession and then, when the Lord wants, to heaven? Please!”

Hah. I tricked you into saying all that to your guardian angel.

You won’t regret it. Just say, Amen.

“Amen.”

;-)

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Absolving excommunicated Mafiosi. Pope Francis’ conscience. Targeting Missionaries of Mercy. My fault?

don pino puglisi

Blessed Father Pino Puglisi, killed by the Sicilian Mafia.

Pope Francis’ problem in declaring the excommunications of Mafiosi is not that there would have to be a publication by name of individuals involved (which they wouldn’t care about as they would be convicted and imprisoned and publicized as such), but rather a publication by name of individuals who have sought to have their excommunications lifted.

Part of that lifting of the excommunication involves a confessions of sins, which would involve many if not all the crimes for which they have been convicted, if not many, many, many more.

Those “pentiti” might rarely seek out a witness protection program of the State. That program would be granted along with immunity to those who would rat out others in the mafia and confess to the State even more crimes.

And yet, those individuals, not trusting the State, might want to avoid all of that and simply wait until they leave prison. If they then seek to have their excommunications lifted, whether in prison or, finally, out, they would simply go to, say, a Missionary of Mercy (if they are granted the faculties for such a situation) or a priest who could put them in touch with the bishop of the place or the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, depending on the logistics of delegation for the lifting of the penalty.

However, upon the publication of their names that they have had their excommunications lifted, those individuals would then have a contract put out on them by the Mafia, a death sentence, for it is known that part of this would be a confession of their sins, again, surely everything, not just that for which they were convicted, but all other crimes, murder, extortion, usually involving many others of their Mafia crowd.

And now there is someone who has a 1st hand Confession of that which both law enforcement of whatever country and the now betrayed Mafia will want to put down. Thus, there will be a hit put out not only on the ex-Mafia guy, but also the priest or bishop.

“Troppe cose conosce… padre…” [Bang!]

Fine. That’s O.K. Happy to do it. Missionaries of Mercy volunteered to do just this kind of thing, right? But that’s Pope Francis’ conscience problem, right? It shouldn’t be.

 

The status quo just isn’t working. The status quo is that, say, a Mafia funeral is being arranged at the funeral home for whatever parish; the undertaker rings the priest who already knows he’s going to get the call. The priest agrees, even though he knows that the Mafia guy is a notorious sinner and such a funeral would be a scandal. He does this because he doesn’t want untoward consequences. This happens all the time.

The same is true of Mafia weddings: “Padre, you will be at the villa on top of the mountain at 1:00 PM today to witness a marriage.” The priest knows that this is a Mafia wedding, that probably the girl is unwilling, even with a gun to her head, that a previous spouse could have been killed, whatever. No premarital investigation. He does it.

The priest does it because if he doesn’t there will be consequences, probably not involving himself, but others. His mother gets a broken arm. The family bakery is burned down. A drugged up teenage unwilling mafia prostitute is dragged in front of him and has her brains blown out.

But what we’re talking about here is not just the “Mafia” but such as MS 13, Calle 18, the Aryan Brotherhood, et alii, but also all the diverse thuggish ethnic groups, all the cartels.

Or is there another way?

Pope Francis is used to doing things a little differently, so why not with this as well?

Could any priest lift the excommunication? Guaranteed, this will just have any number of priests indiscriminately killed. That would become the initiation murder into whatever organization. There are hundreds of extremely violent groups who day in and day out torture and kill men, young and old, but also women, boys and girls, infants, babies. All the time. Day in, day out. The old Mafia honor thing doesn’t exist anymore.

So, I say, just give it to the Missionaries of Mercy.

But, here’s the deal: Law enforcement wants the info of those confessions just as bad as does any corrupt organization. The FBI, you have to know, will also stop at absolutely nothing to get that information. When you see enough hell, torture, death, of kids, day in, day out, becoming so frustrated, and here are these priests sitting on this information, first hand sincere confessions, just how is it that you get those priests to rat out their penitents and break the seal of confession. All the same extortion and tactics can come into play. Technological ploys are common place. But there are ways to overcome all these things. But I’ll tell you this, the FBI makes a thing of coming to these posts specifically on the absolution of the possible excommunication of the Mafia-esque crowd frequently, especially lately. Something’s afoot.

And as far as the declaration that the excommunication being lifted goes, the Missionary simply, though secretly, provides the name of the one who, outside of confession, before the confession, had his excommunication lifted. That name then simply disappears from the list published on the Vatican web-site rather than from any local (arch)diocese.

But there’s more. It’s not just a godfather or a made man that we’re talking about, is it? What about the guy who creates a drug problem among your kids, then makes money from the problem he himself created by profiting from the drug habit of those kids, he being the street dealer or someone in the middle or higher up. It’s all RICO. Are we talking all drug pushers? Wow. I’m your guy, Pope Francis. I’ll do it. As reparation for my sins, for those of my “Shadow”, for those of some of our law enforcement, some of those in the State Department, some priests who caved and only facilitated such criminals.

===============

Perhaps I’m at fault here regarding all this business about excommunications. Some years ago I put in a bid to have exactly this kind of thing done. It wasn’t long after that that an episcopal intervention about this was made here in these U.S.A. It wasn’t long after that that Pope Francis began this process of finding a way such excommunications effected. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. At any rate, you can’t just do stuff and guardian angels let you get away with nothing happening to you while others are done in because of your intervention. Fine. Whatever. I just don’t care, meaning, I’m not the one to decide how life goes. God guides history. The angels make it happen. So, it’s all good by me.

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