Tag Archives: Irony

Pope Francis can’t be the one to do the Consecration because… (wait… what?)

  • “Pope Francis can’t be the one to do the Consecration because, like, he’s been to Confession before and like that means he confessed stuff and like that, so he’s unworthy forever, because, like, yeah, you know?”
  • And Pope Benedict can’t have been the one to do the Consecration because, like, he resigned or abdicated maybe for, like, stuff, and so he’s unworthy forever, because, like, yeah, you know?”
  • “And Pope John Paul II can’t have been the one to do the Consecration because, like, well, anyway, there must be something, like stuff and like that, so he’s unworthy forever, because, like, yeah, you know?”
  • “And Pope Paul VI can’t have been the one to do the Consecration because, like, well, anyway, there must be something, like stuff and like that, so he’s unworthy forever, because, like, yeah, you know?”
  • “And Pope Pius XII can’t have been the one to do the Consecration because, like, well, anyway, there must be something, like stuff and like that, so he’s unworthy forever, because, like, yeah, you know?”

So, obviously, I’m making parody of those who point out not the matter and form of the consecrations but rather the worthiness or unworthiness of the individual Pontiffs, as if that made a difference.

I’ll tell you what, it would be very beautiful and for the greater honor and glory of God if the worst of all sinners were brought to do something for the good.

  • “Hah! Father George! We caught you out! You’re calling Pope Francis the worst of all sinners! We hope you’re removed from the priesthood! Good riddance!”

No, no. I’m saying that I’m the worst of all sinners and that by the grace of God I am what I am now, and please God, that’s someone who thanks God for the grace of forgiveness in Baptism and Confession. I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God with my sins, my terrible sins. And Mary had to suffer for that as well.

And this is true for all of us. It is the Donatist heretics who held that no one who ever did anything bad could ever do anything good. What does that say about such heretics? Do they deny forgiveness? Do they deny mercy? Do they therefore think that Jesus was a fool to be crucified, because, like, there’s no forgiveness anyway?

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Filed under Fatima, Irony, Pope Francis

Jorge “The Heretic” Bergoglio smashes the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?

You have heard that it’s been said that on February 14, 2022, Pope Francis let us know about his latest motu proprio, Fidem servare, by which he divided up a bit more incisively the “Holy Office” into a section, effectively, for the old Promoter of Justice crowd and another section for the old Doctrine of the Faith crowd, and that this quite complete break (though under one Prefect) weakens the punch of executive action from the doctrinal section. I’m not so sure about that. Not at all. I think it’s the other way around.

There already was a division along these lines, more or less. But now, those who are faithful are wide open to being condemned as heretics and excommunicated without much oversight. The doctrinal crowd are supposed to follow the old Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, which fully encourages the declaration of excommunications which cannot be appealed. From my point of view, this gives the heretics more power to do damage to the faithful of the Lord’s Little Flock. I ask, from my perspective as a nothing-priest in the smallest parish of North America in the most remote area of Appalachia:

Why is it these days that believing in any and all the Catholic Creeds of old – the Apostles Creed (usually recited before the Holy Rosary), the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (often recited at Holy Mass) and the Athanasian Creed (usually recited, for instance, during exorcisms) – why is it, I ask, that believing in all the articles of Faith (Traditiones as the first dogmatic decree of the Fourth Session of the Trent called them) these days is bound to make one ♬ feel ♬ that one is oneself a heretic? Am I to ♬ feel ♬ guilty for what would, in any other time, be a basic prerequisite for being a priest, nothing special, just believing in the faith? Am I to ♬ feel ♬ guilty for upholding the integrity of the Sacraments? Am I to ♬ feel ♬ guilty for encouraging with joy and charity the following of the Commandments not as mere sometimes-suggestions but as Commandments which you do out of love of Jesus?

For me, as a priest just trying to do the right thing, this ♬ feeling ♬ of guilt comes about because so very many of my fellow priests and bishops are heretic apostates, and I, in my fallen human nature, ♬ feel ♬ left behind. I gotta tell you, that’s momentarily annoying, like for a nano-second, and is a ♬ feeling ♬ replaced instantaneously by the righteous aggression of an Elijah on Mount Carmel: If you think that the demon-idol Pachamama to whom human sacrifice is made is a demon-goddess who rules over all, then follow her; if you think that the Lord God is the one and only God, then follow Him. There is no middle ground: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before thee.”

We can multiply examples of blasphemy and heresy and apostacy and violent aggression. Should we bring up all the example of insulting Christ Jesus and His Immaculate Mother? Should we bring up the solicitation of sin in the encouragement of absolving people from sin that they don’t think is a sin and for which they are not repentant, “accompanying” them? Are we to be forced to be subject to abortion tainted “vaccines”? Are we to reject that the Sacrifice of Jesus has relevancy to the life of the parish? Etc.

Let me just speak to one example which goes to the very foundation of the Church, which to change is to reject the Church. These are just some random thoughts, incomplete, about infallibility, which are ever more necessary to express in these confusing, ambiguous times, not in any particular order:

  • Infallibility is a negative expression. I’m not talking about ♬ negative vibes ♬ or ♬ negative feelings ♬. Infallibility refers to the inability to fail. That’s it.
  • Now buckle your seatbelt: Infallibility does not refer to any positive inspiration or ♬ positive feelings ♬, even if much more abstractly, as if to some sort of historical movement of dialogue, in which, although plenty of mistakes are made, generally things go toward an evolutionary advancement, because, yeah, you know, like a perpetual dialogue of right and wrong but somehow right includes wrong and that’s somehow more right than just right or wrong because we’re all together in total contradiction to each other, but all together, you know, in Hegelian Rahnerianism… Right? Let’s continue. ;-)
  • Infallibility only refers to Peter upon whose flesh and blood person the Church is founded by Christ Jesus.
  • When Jorge Bergoglio says that everybody is infallible in believing, and says this in Latin (infallibile in credendo) as if he’s citing a maxim of the ancient Fathers of the Church, that’s actually his own heretical statement that was never ever used in the history of the Church until it came out of his own heretical mouth. Again, no one is infallible except Peter and his successors, and only when he is specifically teaching as (1) bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, (2) to the universal Church, (3) on a matter of faith and morals (especially controverted in whatever historical circumstances), and (4) pronounces that what he is saying is already revealed in Sacred Revelation (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition), which Sacred Revelation has not been somehow more fully provided by God since the death of the last Apostle. Extremely few Popes have made an infallible pronouncement. Jorge Bergoglio has never done this.
  • Popes can be personally heretical and even publicly manifest their personal heretical opinions. This is really bad and evil on their part, but it does not offend against infallibility. They are just being jerks. They cannot do this and fulfill all the conditions for an infallible pronouncement listed just above. Thus:
  • A Pope cannot make an incorrect infallible statement. Many even saintly people said/say that a Pope can infallibly fail. Um… any saint who has said such a thing was not canonized for saying such a thing, but rather for their personal holiness. Thank God that also people who just don’t get it on some things can still be great saints that we all respect.
  • People are simply too soft these days, and think Christ Jesus was a wimp, and couldn’t possibly have meant what He said, namely, in an actual translation of the inspired Greek which NO ONE wants to translate literally: Whatever you bind or loose on earth already perfectly continues to stand and will perfectly continue to stand that way for all eternity in heaven, since before the foundation of the world onward. In other words, mind you, the very person of Peter is expendable before the eternal unmanipulatable unchangeable Truth: before he can fail in an infallible pronouncement he will die, be incapacitated, be martyred, whatever. It simply will not come to pass, ever, that Peter or his successors will be able to fail in an infallible pronouncement.
  • Just because a Pope is personally, manifestly, a total heretic, day and day out, to the scandal of the entire Church and the world, does not mean that he is no longer Pope. It matters not that he does this as Successor of Peter, bishop of Rome, on a matter of faith and morals and to the universal Church. It would be guaranteed that he has not pronounced his heresy as being also already that which is manifest in Sacred Revelation itself. It just cannot happen.
  • It’s not a matter of “Oooh! The pope has failed in his infallibility and so ipso facto he is no longer Pope.” That is to say, by definition, that the pope is not infallible. That’s heresy. But so many hold that today, you know, just because of their unreasoned ♬ feelings ♬. I get that. Scandal makes us angry. Rightly so. But don’t let anger make you into a heretic. He just said something heretical, but not infallibly because he didn’t fulfill all the conditions for infallibility. Right? Yep. That’s exactly right. It’s really annoying, and scandalous, and odious to the salvation of souls, but non-infallible heretical opinions of whatever pope are not infallible. Get it?
  • Just because any pope is personally, manifestly a heretic doesn’t mean that there is any legitimate mechanism by which to remove him, not a bunch of good-guy cardinals holding a meeting, not a trial by all the bishops of the world. Nope. That would be to say that everybody is infallible when the Pope is not. And that’s the very heresy for which such as Jorge Bergoglio would be removed by such a fake mechanism. Right? Don’t be so upset that you become cynical and become a heretic, being condemned to hell for that which you condemn. Irony. More on that below. But it’s a fact: people easily fall into the very heresy that they are combatting. Be careful. A lot of people are not careful. They give into their entitlement to ♬ negative feelings ♬, not because they are right – and they are right – because merely because they are entitled wusses and they gotta throw hissy fits. Dang. Be right, but don’t become what you condemn. Just be crucified with our Lord Jesus by Peter who denies you to your face. As the Master so the disciple. And if Paul should reprimand Peter because Peter thinks he is infallible in his non-infallible opinions about the faith (Galatians 2:11), know that Peter, although having stood condemned, converted and because a saint. Desire the conversion of the apostate heretic.

So, any objection?

  • “But Father George! Father George! You give too much weight to Matthew 16! You should take a look at the verbatim passage in Matthew 18 which is like everyone is infallible! Pope Francis is right! And you’re a fraud, Father George!”

Calm down, calm down. Matthew 18 merely has it that everyone may know the faith as exactly as Peter may know the faith, or even better than Peter knows the faith. But it doesn’t say they are infallible or infallible in their believing. In fact, it speaks of their being fallible, fallen human beings that we are, so that when we’re wrong, we’re to bring that disagreement to Peter, who alone is infallible. Yep.

But what if:

  • But what if Jorge published some statement of what he himself calls a mere dialogue (Amoris laetitia), isn’t that infallible and can’t we throw an entitled tantrum and say he’s not the Pope anymore? Well, you can, and many have, and will continue to do so, wearing themselves out as they pound sand and kick rocks, but that’s just being butt-hurt. Nothing more. It’s just some stupid dialogue. It’s scandalous. It hurts souls. It’s really bad and evil. But that’s it. It hasn’t offended against infallibility.
  • Alright, alright, but what if Pope Francis actually makes an upcoming infallible statement with all the conditions above being met that the church is now different, a dialogue church, in which all truth and morality and liturgy are up for grabs according to historical circumstance where might makes right because everyone is infallible and it’s all about the tyranny of relativism by majority rule (or really the rule of the tyrannical dictator? So glad you asked: As said above, he will firstly die, or be incapacitated or martyred. Get it?

Here’s what I suggest to those who think any pope can change the truth: Get over yourselves with all your pope-worship or across-the-mountain-ism, however you want to define those terms, and just be Catholic? The Truth is not the mean between two poles. The Truth is living. God is Truth. Jesus said: “I am the Truth.” The Truth doesn’t have to dance around between two poles of right and left made up of out-of-control-gyroscopes so that the Truth has to move way to the left of what was the center or way to the right of what was center to keep – ooh! – exactly between those poles that are simply in reaction to one another in all historical vicissitudes. No. Instead:

  • Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. [The Truth of the] Cross remains steadfast while the world spins madly.

And you know I’m going to say this: the only way people are not going to be cynical is by also praying for the conversion of heretics, and that includes the Pope.

By the way. There are heaps of really excellent arguments on both sides that Jorge Bergoglio is the Pope or is not the Pope. I wasn’t there. I don’t know. The Lord knows how to handle our prayers.

I do have some intense experience with the Sankt Gallen mafia, both in Rome (being dragged to the actual politicking session at the Irish College), and almost right to the campus of Sankt Gallen with one of the engineers of same), and being praised and defended by the highest powers that be of…. cough cough… giving a retreat to… gag… gag… but ending the career of… cough cough… I had better stop. What I know is that “Francis”, a close friend of many close friends, might well not be Pope. I don’t know. I wasn’t at particular sessions, certainly I was not present in the conclaves… although… dang… I gotta stop. My point in this post is just to clear up some matters on infallibility.

  • “Dang it Father George! You can’t do that! What about if Jorge is not actually the Pope. That means in theory he could make a fallible infallible pronouncement, as it were, so to speak, right? He could check all the prerequisites you listed above and pronounce, say, on Easter Sunday, 2023, that we have an everyone-is-infallible different church, no longer founded on the person of Peter by the Son of the Living God, but on the notion that everyone is infallible, right, Father George, isn’t that right?!”

Yes, that’s true. But here’s my thought on that. Even though that wouldn’t offend against infallibility because, after all, he’s not actually the Pope in that scenario, I don’t think our Lord will block the angels from taking the imposter out on the spot, seconds before he does that. It’s just too scandalous, too confusing. Our Lord says the time will be shortened, otherwise not even one of the elect would be saved. Let that sink in for a moment. It would be just too much. The time will be shortened to the second before Jorge could do such a thing. I’m quite sure that will be dramatic, like another lightning bolt out of the heavens. :-) But we pray for conversion. Right? Come on… Hail Mary…

P.S. I was once told that I write this blog not to have more clarity in my own thinking (the primary reason of this blog), nor for any apostolate in helping others in the Church and in the world have greater clarity regarding the faith (though I attempt to take this as deadly seriously, however weakly, as Christ Jesus took us deadly seriously, laying down His life for us, Innocent for guilty, on the Cross)… No… I was told that I write this blog for the exclusive motivation of producing admiratio, the vice of drawing attention to oneself simply to draw attention to oneself, that my efforts have nothing to do with a priestly desire to brings souls to the Sacraments, to Jesus, with all the honesty and integrity that demands of all of us.

My answer to is to say that, of course, absolutely, I’m full of pride, and would go to hell for my pride, diabolical as my pride would be if not for the mercy and forgiveness of my dark and wretched soul by Mary Immaculate’s dear Divine Son, Jesus.

But, here’s the deal: I might stand out like a sore thumb because those who are supposed to teach the faith do not teach the faith, and they are terribly offended by my incredibly mediocre efforts. As inept as they are, my own little writings show them up, not because my writings are any good, but they don’t make any effort at all. It’s like on a scale of 1-100, I’ve gone from zero to one, but they’ve remained at zero. My tiny effort looks out of the ordinary because they make no effort at all. In any other time, everyone else would be high up the scale and I would terribly pitied for being so unlearned in the faith. But these are terribly dark times. Amazingly, my little candle flame seems to shine with the force of the sun. Those who should be doing more do not. And they are upset. They are stunned by the mere statement of truth.

Two literary bits to keep in mind:

hilaire belloc


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

And “The Donkey” by Gilbert Keith Chesterton:

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

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

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

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

I don’t ♬ feel ♬ guilty in the least for putting up a post like this. It’s my obligation as a priest. I don’t bring on malicious division because of this. No, this is a sword of holy division – even divisiveness – however much I’ve made it dull, the sword which Christ Jesus came to bring. I’m happy to wield this sword, no matter how awkwardly, no matter how ineptly. Simply put: I’m happy to be a priest, even if there are those who think I’m a heretic for believing the faith with the kindness of Galatians 2:11.

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Original sin & murder of Jesus are remote, irrelevant! Kill remote and irrelevant babies for vaccines! Don’t be such a martyr!

sarcasm /// There is no such thing as original sin and even if there was it’s like really remote and so makes no difference to us today. There’s no weakness of mind and will today, no emotions all over the place, no sickness, no death. And besides, there is no such thing as sin at all. We’re all immaculately conceived and we’re all infallible. We’re all good because we live today, not, like, yesterday. And don’t worry about any Jesus. He’s also remote and makes no difference to us today, because we live today and He’s, like, so yesterday. He’s dead and He stays dead. There is no such thing as redemption or any need for forgiveness. So, being a martyr for Jesus is stupid. It’s not being a man of consensus. Our consensus is that we have to all run away from him, and we all have to murder babies made in His image for “vaccines” to benefit ourselves. “They’re so small, who’s going to care anyway?” [[as one icon-of-orthodoxy-priest told me.]] To be a martyr is to commit THE SIN: rigidity. If you’re a believer, you’re rigid. You deserve everything you get. You think you’ll be a martyr but you’ll just be a failure like Jesus, not a man of consensus, merely “rigid”. /// off sarcasm

hilaire belloc

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

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Vatican Bank sent first response to their investigation of me for money laundering & financing of international terrorism

just me pontifical family

That’s a real picture above, though taken as a joke. Those involved will recognize the office. See the “About” page on the menu up top. Below is a screen shot of my first response to their investigation of me:


This post was also tagged as “Humor” not because this isn’t a thing, but because when I mentioned this rubbish after all the Sunday Masses for a bit of humor, the congregation laughed and laughed: Father George, the international criminal! Ooooh! :-)

There is a darker side to all of this, all too sad. That’s why I’ve included those other tags of this post.

Here’s a link to a post earlier in the day for some just as humorous background:

Vatican Bank: Fr George do you launder money and help terrorists?

For me, this is all entertainment, who can bait the other with more alacrity. So far, I think I’m winning. Let’s see if they send me a name. Then it will get interesting, and more humorous. Otherwise, I suppose they will merely freeze the account, you know, probably to take the money for money laundering and the financing of international terrorism.

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Filed under Holy See, Humor, Intelligence Community, Irony

Irony Incarnate’s ferocious irony: the Hosanna that had me cancelled

Christianity cannot be without irony, without what G.K. Chesterton calls “Christian mirth,” wherein we are presented with mercy and justice being quite identified as one on the Cross. The Holy Spirit provides joy in living this Truth.

While I couldn’t record this homily – being rather busy at the time (Don’t tell anyone!) – it is easy to summarize:

  • Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in excelsis! !הוֹשַׁע־נָא בַּמְּרוֹמִים

Some points:

  • Hosanna (Hebrew!) is an imperative command put into action because of a situation (the “na” suffix).
  • The situation in context is being located “in the highest” place of all: “Because you are in the highest place, therefore…”
  • It is the same literal Hebrew root as the Holy Name of Jesus.
  • Jesus means “Savior”
  • The command being given is “Save us!”
  • Literally, in speaking to Jesus: “Because you [Jesus, Savior] are in the highest place, save us!” It’s a request to be saved, but it is almost a challenge: “Look here, you Savior, you are in the highest place, and therefore you can do this, you can save us, so, therefore, SAVE US!”
  • The crowd is proclaiming their request joyfully, as they have all hope that their prayer will be heard.

Let’s see some logistics about that highest place:

  • Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, His city, high atop the foul of donkey. He is humble in His majesty, the perfect image of the Suffering Servant, who takest away the sins of the world by standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, fulfilling the prophesy in Zechariah:
    • “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
  • Jesus says about His being lifted up from the earth, on the Cross, where salvation “in the highest” will be wrought:
    • “‘When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:32-33)

Those shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” weren’t paying much attention to the humility of the One in the Highest.

Let’s take a look at logistics in time:

Holy Mother Church, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, places these words – “Hosanna in the highest!” – immediately before the Consecrations, then having the priest lift up, in the highest, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Our response to those elevations of our Eucharistic King humbly held on high by any donkey-priest, is to repeat: “Therefore, you, Jesus, Savior, who are in the highest, and can therefore save us, do so! Save us, Savior!”

The homily went a bit more smoothly than all that, but you get the idea.

This is like unto a homily I gave in Rome decades ago in front of dozens of priests including a particular priest who is quite singularly responsible for the downfall of the seminaries in Ireland, the destruction of the faith in Ireland, he who is surely the “most spiritual” among pretty much all mostly English speaking Bishops Conferences. Afterward, he literally ran out of the sacristy after me, grabbing me by the shoulder, commanding me (as if he had such authority) to never, not ever say such things ever again, never again, ever. “That was terrible!” he exclaimed, “Terrible!” He was sweating, filled with adrenaline, apoplectic, eyes wildly darting about. His fear of truth was palpable. The truth about Jesus, Irony Incarnate, just about kills people, I guess…

So, just to impress the point for the sake of anyone apoplectic in reading this – and having already mentioned G.K. Chesterton – let’s bring to the fore the great Hilaire Belloc once again. I believe that all priests and bishops including the Bishop of Rome should memorize this passage:

hilaire belloc


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

By the way, that priest who “commanded” me never to tell people what “Hosanna!” means, threatened me that if I did try to publish such things in future he would, instead, use his connections, his power, not to allow anything I write to be published by any Catholic or Christian publisher, he being on the boards of most publishing houses. Yep. “And I am quite powerful in the publishing world,” he insisted again.

I guess he had a rather too grandiose opinion of himself or at least had the idea that I somehow feared him. Um… no.

I will continue to call out to the Lord to save me when He is lifted up from the earth on the cross as He draws me to Himself to also be on the cross with Him. I am the most wretched sinner. I need Salvation, Jesus! In my desperation I must call out: Jesus, Savior, you who are in the highest, because you in the highest, save us, save me!

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Homily: Saint Matthew’s moment of saving irony, Chestertonian mirth

I’m so bad and evil, precisely the reason why I rejoice for Matthew becoming Saint Matthew. The irony is crushing, exhilarating, joyful, mirthful, utterly and only Christian…

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

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

solemn intercession good friday secular rulers

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

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

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

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

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

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

hilaire belloc

“But this IS my smile.”

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

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

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

[Then: wait for it…]

Image result for gifs three men laughing

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Filed under Humor, Irony, Politics

RIP Marjorie Harris my friend: Dorothy Parker, Hilaire Belloc, GK Chesterton

CHESTERTON FATHER BROWN

The great receptionist lady at Valley View Nursing Home told me quite a while back that I had better not just see Marie McIsaac (who died Nov. 21, 2019), but I had better see Marjorie Harris as well.

“Who’s Marjorie Harris?” I asked. Of course, I would have to find out for myself.

I went to her room and saw a terribly pitiable sight, that is, to all appearances. What a strong woman, what a fierce wit. How much she has suffered. The currents run deep in those who suffer. Marjorie was effectively without a family. They are far away. So far.

Marjorie had what’s called an essential tremor. The brain sends it own signals to the muscles on its own and there’s a Parkinson-esque tremor especially in the head which continuously shakes and especially in the hands especially when trying to hold flatware or pick up a cup to drink. Sitting in a wheel chair staring at a corner of her room she looked pitiful, as I saw, until I noted (it didn’t take long) a piercing ironic brilliant wit. Wow! I love to see this. I am rightly reprimanded for being tempted to judge appearances. Stupid, stupid, stupid me. She quickly became a close friend.

We spoke much about her family… We spoke a great deal about the faith, about the sacraments, about the ironies of life, about literature. Regarding the literature thing, take a hint about her from the comment she made to me the other day with some dismay at the state of affairs with education today:

  • “Father George, you’re the only one who speaks to me with the subjunctive.”

Marjorie made me laugh. I was able to bring her to laugh, almost to tears. She thanked me for that. I learned that from the great Venerable Fulton J Sheen, who spoke of breaking the suffering of those in a hospital or institution. He said those who suffer do suffer in the present, but they are also tempted to drag all suffering of the past into the present and they project all that heap of suffering into the future and drag that back upon themselves into a suffocating, frustrating web of suffering so great that it seems it is impossible to extricate oneself. And then one is brought to laugh. It all breaks apart.

We spoke of Jesus and His great wit, how He turns tables with but a word. Yep.

Testing me, Marjorie told me about Dorothy Parker and asked me to find a quote from her aphorisms. Marjorie told me this was a test of my own wit or lack thereof. I brought Marjorie this quote:

  • “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

I laughed when I saw that. I printed it out and brought it to her. She struggled a bit trying to hold the paper still enough to read it, trying to see around dark spots in her eyes… Then she laughed and laughed and laughed a howling laugh making me laugh with her. Lovely, really.

Marjorie loved the likes of T.S. Elliot, Kipling, Frost, Wordsworth… Knowing this, I promised to bring her, in big print, my summary of Hilaire Belloc’s chapter on the greatness of irony:

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

She loved it totally. So, full of thanksgiving. Then she brought up GK Chesterton and The Man Who Was Thursday. Testing me again, I’m sure, she said ever so non-nonchalantly: “I’m not sure what it means. I had to read it seven times.” I brought her commentary on that work of Gilbert Kieth and on where Chesterton was in his life, he writing that more than a decade before his conversion. Instantly I could see everything click, all her questions answered. So I promised to bring her THE CHAPTER.

“The Secret of Brown” in a volume of the Father Brown stories also sporting that title,” said I. It was that Secret which accompanied Marjorie to the next life. It is so filled the greatest suffering, with the greatest hope, going to the heart of Chesterton’s own friendship with Christ Jesus, the greatest expression of spiritual irony surpassing even that of Belloc’s take on irony.

Marjorie was the most incisive literary wit I have ever know, ever. And, believe me when I tell you, after hanging around the most brilliant people in the world for a lifetime, all at the top of their game, that that’s saying a lot.

I will miss you terribly Marjorie. Remember me from where you are, this donkey-priest. Tell Jesus this donkey priest needs His special help. Here’s what Marjorie had with her:

THE SECRET OF FATHER BROWN

FLAMBEAU, once the most famous criminal in France and later a very private detective in England, had long retired from both professions. Some say a career of crime had left him with too many scruples for a career of detection. Anyhow, after a life of romantic escapes and tricks of evasion, he had ended at what some might consider an appropriate address: in a castle in Spain. The castle, however, was Continue reading

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Devil Dog’s Son, Fr Byers: ironic proof

image

Yours truly on a day-off, of sorts. Smiling and what all. The gall. A snake-handler preacher man ruint with longevity. Way too snarky. Having waaaay tooooo much fun. And who ever heard of a day off for a priest anyway? Sounds demonic. Anyone who casts out Satan must be doing this by Satan, and is a devil himself, a downright snake in the grass. And… and… I’m the Son of a Devil Dog. So, that seals it.

VMFA 312 Marine Fighter Attack Pilot Devil Dog six 50 cals

While the USMC in general has a nickname of Devil Dogs, dad was a commander of the Checkerboard Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of gullwing F4U Corsairs (VMFA 312) each sporting six 50 Cals and having the logo of a Devil Dog carrying the same. But the idea that the Marines are Devil Dogs isn’t that they are demonic. Here’s a one minute recruiting commercial about that:

The idea of extreme violence of a Devil Dog is not that goodness and kindness and truth are suppressed. No no. Instead, it is to bring goodness and kindness and truth to those who are happy to receive it even if it means battling in hell to do it, and looking, for that reason, finally coming out of hell, very much like the devil himself for having fought battles in hell over against the devil, that serpent who, for all his bluster, has been vanquished by Christ. I mean, isn’t it true that Christ Jesus looked demonically criminal on the Cross for having battled all of that hell that was broken out all at once against Him on Calvary?

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

One of the greatest defeats of contemporary mankind is the loss of a sense of irony. We don’t see behind the truths plainly spoken to see… the truth! What to do when we are just learning to live with Him who is Truth, but who for all intents and purposes and constructions looks to be Untruthfulness. He did that for our sake, by the way, laying down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. I might have said that once or twice before… ;-) Jesus is very much the Devil Dog Himself. You don’t think so? A blasphemy you say? Let’s review something I’ve many times posted, but not in a while. It bears a re-reading. We MUST get a sense of irony back if we are to be Christian, if we are to have a sense of identity, a solid base from which to work, that is, a oneness with Christ Jesus, Himself Irony Incarnate, as it were, so to speak, a Devil Dog. Let’s turn to the great historian Hilaire Belloc once again, for, after all, we bear the burden of being naive, or, as he says, “young”, “pure”, “ingenuous”, so easily thrown into fear, unthinking, cowardly fear. Enough of that! Behold: irony!

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

If there’s any proof that I’m a Devil Dog, it’s that I love such irony in the face of my being the most naive, the “youngest”, the “purist”, the most “ingenuous”, the most stupid idiot in the world, unable to appreciate such truths until they smack me down with such extreme violence that I gotta pay attention. It’s like Thomas the doubting Apostle. I’m forced to put my finger into the holes the nails made in the hands and feet of Christ. I’m forced to put my hand into the side of Christ, where I touch that beating heart, still pierced open. “My Lord and my God,” I blurt out. The irony is, I’m the absolute last person who would ever say that. Not me. I’m the one who put those wounds there. But the truth, “vivid with ironical power”, shines the light, and makes me a Devil Dog too. Thank you Jesus, you who want to make us all Devil Dogs.

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Getting smacked down: How Voltaire-esque!

François-Marie Arouet (Zozo, or “Voltaire”) was disgusting in pretty much every way and in every manner and on every level possible. His rule number one in baiting is related in the cartoon above, but in this he is wrong as he is with pretty much everything else he – it seems to me – merely reacted against, thus always equating himself with all that is bad and evil or, more probably in pretty much every instance, all that which is bad and evil in his own perception. A mere reaction is merely equal and opposite, right?

Our Lord Jesus gives us full freedom to speak whatever criticism we want regarding His goodness and kindness and truth, His self-sacrificing love for us. But, of course, He does rule over us and is the Lord of History. He will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. But we can misuse our freedom if we would like to do so. It’s just that there are consequences.

When I write, if not with a flurry at the end of which I just hit the publish button with no further edits, I instead tend to do drafts of expanding notes which begin with that which I don’t want to publish because it’s what I don’t think about the matter at all. Those drafts are done up in an even greater flurry than anything else, not in a reactionary way, but by purposely entering the mindset of all that which is not right at all. A third party reading those mere drafts without also reading my mind on the matter would certainly be like reading an entirely obnoxious Voltaire on his worst day. Anyway, those drafts eventually come around to something a bit more readable but they are still not what I think, not in the least. They are merely something akin to what statistically most people might think to be somewhat civilized. This adds a bit of “culture”! Pfft! All things to all men, or words of Saint Paul to that effect. Then those drafts are in turn brought to another level with an appraisal of the way things actually are, perhaps with an analogy about what happens with Jesus entering into our dodgy human history.

Which brings me to what’s been happening behind the scenes with “Arise! Let us be going!” So, it’s like this… […stay tuned…]

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What makes mass shooters tick?

Upshot, as it were: Help the police do their job in this dangerous world.

There were warning signs about the shooter: Ignored, of course. The Canadians want to think that everyone is nice all the time. How dare we ever even insinuate that someone might not be nice. Everyone is entitled to be thought of as being nice! And then tantrums and hissy fits ensue. Just like in these USA these days.

Image result for hissy fit gif

The upshot of that ignorance: train up not only to see the warning signs but to act on them. It’s called situational awareness. But it’s not as easy as all that. Quick and easy solutions are usually the fast road to death and grieving. Sure, arm the police. Sure, pay attention to the guy who says he wants to kill people. Easy. Do that. But those aren’t the only things.

For instance, what about the Stephen Paddock or whatever his name is, who shot up Las Vegas? To this day “no one knows the motive.” Really? Cowards! How does one get people to face reality? See my rant on the cowardice of some of our intel community:

Stephen Paddock’s motivation and our motivation in not finding his motivation

Humility. Humility. Humility. Start with oneself. Sure, we all have unrepeatable circumstances by which – right now anyway – none of us would do those terrible things. But that’s an occasion for us to congratulate ourselves to the point where we don’t know that by so doing we give ourselves a licence to do those very things. Ah, the irony of it. People are afraid of irony. It’s too hard hitting. It’s offensive. It’s to be dismissed as literary trickery. And because of that arrogance that we are all better than the rest of men, people will die either because we won’t catch out those who are murderous or we ourselves will fall into that violence. Impossible, you say? Just following “orders” you say? Where have we heard that before by people who have congratulated themselves? It happens more quickly than you think.

Solution (in case you missed it): Look at the link about Stephen Paddock above.

No, really! Click.

hilaire bellocAnd if you fail to understand irony. Think of Jesus on the Cross, standing in our place, the Innocent for guilty, He bearing the weight of our evil, becoming like a mirror of our evil. And now, with that in mind, read over this frightening bit on irony from the great Hilaire Belloc:

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

[Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

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Conquering today’s demonic abuse of power with hellfire? Yep!

Today’s crisis is all about abuse of power. In our fallen state and without grace we think free will is power over God Himself. We can in fact choose to destroy the image of God: male and female God created them, in the image of God God created them. Male and female was rejected for sex without procreation, making sex about pieces of meat only, so why not same-sex sex? And why not smash down youngsters just when they are able to procreate so as to pervert them into a lust after the power to think one can trounce God by destroying the image of God as male and female? Today’s crisis. It’s about abuse of power. It’s about arrogance challenging God Himself.

People see this abuse of power as hell fire setting people ablaze with demonic machinations of mind games about what is to be bullied into being acceptable and tolerated until it is celebrated. And so it is.

And people fight this often on the same level, lowering themselves to the demonic mind games of bullying, just trying to be louder and more obnoxious. But that gets no one anywhere except perhaps hell. Let’s take a 24 second caricature of a caricature of the burning fires of hell:

As was mentioned on this blog a couple years back, sometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic-esque to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love Him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:

  • Those in heaven rejoice in this ardent fiery love.
  • Those on earth who follow Jesus are purified by this fiery love.
  • Those in purgatory are purged by this fiery love.
  • Those on earth who reject Jesus are thrown into agonizing frustration by this fiery love.
  • Those in hell, upon whom God’s love shines, scream in the agony that this love brings to them – “IT BURNS!” – for they want nothing to do with such love; their intellectual burning frustration sets their souls on fire. They perceive this love as hatred because that’s what they are all about. They hate themselves, others, God.

Irony is scary, isn’t it? But we are to fight hell fire with hell fire because hell fire is actually the love of God. If we one with God’s love we can see that the scariest thing – hell fire – is not scary at all if we are one with God’s love. That means we can take on the entire onslaught of hell while in our weak state in this world, because it’s not our strength on which we depend: it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

We can and must rejoice in irony, all the more if it is scary, as we know that it is then bearing such magnificence of truth in love.

But maybe I’m “evil”. Hilaire Belloc might say so. Perhaps we should all be so “evil”, just as Jesus was on the cross, bearing as He did the very reflection of the evil from which He was redeeming us, saving us. So majestic. I can’t help but put it up again:

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

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Homily 2018 09 14 – Cross’ Triumph… Cri-de-coeur for Irony Incarnate

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

This is my cri-de-coeur for an appreciation of irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate.

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Ringwraith stabbing: my trip to Rome. Hilaire Belloc “On Irony” ;-)

Image result for ringwraith stabbing

Did you ever see the Lord of the Rings? Do you remember when Frodo Baggins was stabbed by the poisonous sword of the Ringwraith?

frodo ringwraith

It wasn’t those to whom I spoke. It wasn’t those about whom I was speaking. The “Ringwraith” in this case was the political atmosphere storming about Vatican hill. Get near that in any serious way as I did when I went up into the Apostolic Palace the other week to deliver some packages going to the heart of the current crisis and you’ll get stabbed by that Ringwraithness. Again, this doesn’t at all refer to those to whom I spoke or about the packages so delivered.

Getting stabbed doesn’t necessitate becoming a Ringwraith. It just means that you have to struggle a bit. I’m sure we all have an experience like that of Frodo. And we all have “Elvish medicine” by which to conquer.

I’d like to think of that medicine as giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception. After all, she saw her own Son get crushed by Satan and all the powers of hell and saw Him risen from the dead.

To put it another way: When Jesus lays down His life, it is in that very action that He also lays down our lives with His, we being members of the Body of Christ, we being children of Jesus’ good mom, you know, like the Master so the disciple. That’s for all of us.

But that is a burden to carry in this world. I don’t know how those on the straight and narrow in the Vatican can survive. It’s all God’s grace. They carry an enormous burden. They are getting stabbed by Ringwraithness on a continuous basis, 24/7/365. For them: Hail Mary…

But there is more. There is irony. It is so fierce that people can scream running away. Don’t run. Don’t be afraid. Perhaps a re-read of some irony will help:

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

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Filed under Abuse, Holy See, Irony, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Jesus goes to Confession

confessional jesus

A very sweet, nice image from, I think, the Baltimore Catechism. Fine. There is some correct theology there. Good. Jesus is making happen what He commanded His Apostles and their successors in Holy Orders to do. Great. But there is more.

Here’s another image, more recent, which emphasizes that the priest is acting in Persona Christiin the Person of Christ, for the absolution of sins:

confession jesus

That’s um… nice too. I like it. But, well, sheesh… there is so much more to what is happening in Confession that people really should realize, so that they have more of a sense of how deeply and completely they are forgiven even if their fallen human emotions still weigh them down with a guilt which isn’t there (which is a cross we sometimes carry, a cross which we are commanded to carry by Jesus, a cross which doesn’t hold us back spiritually, just the opposite).

I would like to see an image, a line-drawing say – even from someone thinking they have no talent for drawing faces, hands and such – of Jesus going to Confession to a priest, and perhaps in a more traditional Catholic setting, something like the photo below, but with an adult Jesus, with His wounds, going to Confession to the priest:

confession sacrament

Here’s the deal: Jesus walked among us so that He could stand in our place (or kneel in our place, or be crucified in our place), the Innocent for the guilty, so that He would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Effectively, He was taking our place, not only for original sin but for all of our personal sins, however hidden, however embarrassing, however shameful, confessing them, as it were, as if those sins were His own sins: “I did this…. I said that… I thought the other thing… I omitted doing…” And, by the way, Jesus got a penance, a big one, being tortured to death, the Innocent for the guilty. And He did His penance. Why? Because He really does, in fact, indeed, love us.

To be Christian we have to have a sense of what to us in this world seems to be such biting irony,  mercy being founded on justice, mercy and justice being one in God. Otherwise, we are a train-wreck:

  • Mere mercy cut off from noticing the above mentioned justice brings us instantaneously to the darkest of existential states of cynicism and doubt.
  • Mere justice which doubts even the possibility of mercy is a crushing darkness throwing us into the most existential peripheries of dark bitterness.

We’re just not strong enough to bear such horror, as it is untruth, for mercy is founded on justice and Jesus does bear the wounds which give Him the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Does He love us? Does He forgive us? Yes.

Do we, in our weakness, want that our weakness goes away already in this world? Yes. And it doesn’t happen because, in justice, we have to suffer all the effects of original sin, even while carrying the grace of Christ within us, while we are in this world. To be free of the effects of original sin we have to be in heaven, where there will be no more weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all the hell over the place, no more sickness, no more death. Jesus isn’t going to throw away justice, for then He would also be throwing away mercy. Jesus instead lets all our weakness teach us how to be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want that we beat ourselves up. He wants that we accept the forgiveness, but as mercy founded on justice. It is hurtful to have false expectations, as in “no more weakness in this world,” “no more cross,” “a method of salvation I came up with so that I can ditch that dumb Jesus with His dumb mercy founded on His dumb justice.” But, as said in the bulleted points above, that leads to an impossibly heavy, crushing darkness which throws us into the most impossible self-made peripheries, having us think we are outsiders. No. That’s not the way. Jesus is the Way. He’s the only Way. Jesus is the One. He’s the only one.

Let’s watch Him, let’s listen to Him confess all our sins. Let’s watch Him do His penance for us. We imposed our misery on ourselves. Jesus doesn’t like that. He came among us to take that misery away. We’ll see that especially in heaven. But we can already get a sense of His love for us here, even amidst all the chaos within and without. It’s like Saint Therese said, it’s not necessarily a jump up and down peace, but a peace bound by love which enables us to go on. We gotta be little children. Little. Children. Look at Jesus, in wonder, as He confesses our sins.

I would love to have a line drawing of this, even one with little talent.

And more, how about a little boy or girl watching Jesus go to Confession, with mouth agape in thankful wonder and surprise and joy.

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Filed under Confession, Irony, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

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

alexamenos crucified donkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Policing justice is mercy: We need cops. Ironies abound in this anti-cop era.

alexamenos crucified donkey

Alexamenos, surely an early Jewish-Christian martyr, bidding us to worship his God and ours (as mocked in this graffito by his Imperial Schoolboy classmates just above the Circus Maximus and Imperial Forum of the Caesars of the early centuries in Rome. His later namesake is the protagonist in a 750 page novel I wrote between chapters of the doctoral thesis on Genesis 2–3.

In God, Justice is Mercy. We can discuss our fine points and distinctions, whereby, as the Common Doctor says, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice. But, in God, they are the same. Just stare at Jesus crucified, on Him whom you have pierced. No, really, do it. He became a jackass criminal for us, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, redeeming us by becoming exactly what we were, who we are without His grace. How ironic. But there are many who don’t get that. There are many who may think that Jesus didn’t “become sin” for us (see St Paul) evil while remaining innocent. Irony just kills them instead of enlivening them. But that’s entirely their fault. That’s no reason not to provide the irony. And it is true that irony bears the very reflection of what it hates. And I think this bears memorization:

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

But let’s take a very practical example, shall we? We just lost our entire police force in Andrews except for one officer, the youngest, who started with us. Will he stay? The rest were instantly all snapped up to become Federal agents, that is Tribal Police, which is Federal. Now we need applications. Who will apply. The media has been giving the police around the country a bad rap, undeservedly so.

I’ve heard the shadowy opinion that it’s not nice to be a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer). ‘Tis better to be a missionary of mercy than to be a minister of justice, they say, as if the two were mutually exclusive. But let’s take a look at that. What do police do?

  • Police mostly do domestic calls. Surely this involves the administration of justice for the jerk who is beating his wife to death and is throwing kids through sheet-rock walls in drug/liquor induced temper tantrums. But it is also a great mercy to end that hell for the wife and kids, to get them medical treatment and then a way out of that living hell. And it’s also mercy for the perp, who needs to be tripped on his way to hell. Maybe he can go to heaven.
  • Police do a lot of traffic stops. Surely this involves the administration of justice for the jerk who is driving drunk or is on drugs or is a road-rager or is driving at out-of-control speeds, for he is an imminent danger to himself and the public. But this is also a great act of mercy for the driver and the general public. All will be safer.

Of course, it is said that the down side to all this is that the bread-winner is taken out of the house in the first instance or will lose his job in the second instance as the vehicle will be impounded, blah blah blah. Leave well enough alone they say. They were fine before the police interfered they say. Yet they are happy to watch women and children get smacked down and killed. They are happy not to have the woman and children get safe housing and be put on programs until she and kids can get on their feet again. They are happy to let the perp not get the tripping up he needs. Just the good ol’ boys, you know.

I’m hoping that youngsters who are not carrying the baggage of their elders will become indignant with the reasoning of the good ol’ boys and go ahead and provide a lot of mercy by way of being ministers of justice, LEOs and all that.

To do that well, they would have to be able to bear all the baggage, all the evil of this present generation as if they themselves were guilty of it, that is, to understand that they could be the very criminals they seek to arrest, or better, are the very criminals they seek to arrest, that is, except for the grace of God. Remember the old adage: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Then, after that realization, it’s all about loving others as you would want to be loved by them. If we need tripping up while we are on our way to hell at breakneck speeds, should we not be thankful for someone tripping us up? That’s mercy isn’t it?

With incredible racism and anti-Semitism, Saint John the Baptist is hailed by many as being all about justice and has nothing to do with mercy, because, you know, he’s all about the Old Testament and we’re children of the New Testament. I know of no more merciful prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures than John, who is praised by none other than Jesus, the very Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder-Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, He who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

 

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Filed under Donkeys, Irony, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

The fires of hell with Hilaire Belloc

sacred heartsSometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:

  • Those in heaven rejoice in this ardent fiery love.
  • Those on earth who follow Jesus are purified by this fiery love.
  • Those in purgatory are purged by this fiery love.
  • Those on earth who reject Jesus are thrown into agonizing frustration by this fiery love.
  • Those in hell, upon whom God’s love shines, scream in the agony that this love brings to them, for they want nothing to do with such love; their intellectual burning frustration sets their souls on fire.

But it’s all God’s love. I’m sure there are those who just won’t get this, and who will insist that I’m not a priest anyway for the fact of being Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy, and will stomp their feet while shouting that I’m a heretic for saying that God’s love is in hell and that that’s what makes hell hell for those in hell. But, hey, I can only say what is right. Irony is scary. And somehow, I can’t apologize for that. Maybe I’m evil. Hilaire Belloc might say so. I haven’t put this up for a little while, so, here it goes up again (I think I should memorize this; it would do anyone good to memorize it):

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

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Being civilized: Can’t I just, like, you know what I’m sayin’, like, be a priest?

place setting etiquette

A priest in a far away place, a friend, thinks that any priest is terribly odd and ill-equipped for dealing with the real world if he does not always and at every time have a dinner table in a dining room dedicated to the purpose set for, say, ten guests, and in the exquisite fashion pictured above (and more so). He’s actually an excellent priest, very dedicated to everything priestly. And yet, I feel utterly foreign to all this non-barbaricness. Mind you, my mom could dress up a table for Thanksgiving much better than this and I was enthralled as a four year old little boy, feeling very special indeed to be sitting at such a table. The kids sat with the important grown-ups for Thanksgiving. But having this all the time puts me off. I feel foreign to it. It’s almost insulting. I’ve always thought that manners that were all too proper were self-serving and meant to kick others in the face. That’s not always the case, of course, just how I feel (’cause feelings are important!).

In the South American country of Colombia there is an “American Restaurant” which only serves chicken, which is served without utensils. You have to eat with your hands, because, you know, Americans are barbaric and it’s ever so exciting to go slumming every so often; it’s what cultured people do, but, you know, not really. The Colombian cultured elite could never ever eat with their hands, and so, instead of utensils, plastic food prep gloves with which to eat are supplied to the customers. I kid you not. If I ever ate there, I wouldn’t use the gloves. I just couldn’t, being, you know, a North American. My Colombian priest friends joked about going there. Ha ha ha. Even they thought that this was too much in the way of manners.

When I was teaching up in the Pontifical Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, an etiquette course was required of the seminarians. Ugghh. But, I must say, the seminarian who introduced that is now an excellent priest, very dedicated to everything priestly. I rather appreciate the manners, however, of another seminarian who was the cause of all this etiquette, for he would, say – elbows on the table – twirl a whole pork chop on the end of his fork, chomping on it occasionally as he twirled it about. I mentioned this to an old priest in Maggie Valley last night, and he said that he had the same etiquette course when he was in the seminary in the earlier part of the 1900s (he’s really old), and he liked it a lot. That he was a military chaplain his whole life didn’t take that away. I’m amazed. I must be missing something somewhere.

A South American Cardinal friend back in the day took me under his wing, with me being pitiable and uncultured. He would bring me to museums all over the Italian peninsula in an attempt to make me a man of culture. Ha ha ha. He was no match for this North-woods and now back ridge mountain boy. He was a Scripture Scholar there in Buenos Aires and environs, edging ever so slightly in the direction of marxism, surely having a certain Jorge Bergoglio as a protégé. The whole culture thing didn’t work on me at all. It’s not easy to have manners when one speaks of, say, El Che (as we did, a lot, as he knew him really well). At any rate, this Cardinal was very appreciative of – of all things – proper table manners. I think I’m just a failure with all this, never knowing which fork or spoon or knife to use when, or which glass to pour water into.

Note well that, as with martial arts and guns, you can actually never be “the best,” which is a danger. For instance, I can easily put everyone to shame with their pride in etiquette and culture by recalling being invited to a dinner at “The Bishop’s House” in Lourdes. Besides the table setting pictured above, there was a little rack next to the plates to be used to cantilever a knife after it was used, as it is never placed on a plate (which would indicate that one was done eating). At this point I start to think of the police rolling into the little town of Lourdes when the Pilgrimage of the Gypsies would take over the Sanctuaries, the fights they would get into, blood and broken bones… I would think of anything but etiquette and manners and being civilized, thinking that such things are themselves a bit surreal and odd and meant to amaze. It bores me.

Trying a different tack to get me civilized, one of our parishioners just the other day, noting Laudie-dog at the rectory, bought a pooper-scooper so that I might become a civilized dog-poop-slave. I resisted, of course, but there comes a time in life when resistance is futile. I caved. And I notice that this is happening with many aspects of my life. Am I heading in the direction of etiquette and manners and being civilized? Perhaps I am just learning not to be the odd man out so as to become all things to all men, as long as faith and morals are not jeopardized. And that’s perhaps not a bad thing, all things being equal. It’s a slow process, so I beg the indulgence of others. I hope it is not a step in the direction of political correctness.

I hope I would still do the priest thing of being a man who, by the grace of God, at least tries to be a man for all seasons, preaching the truth in charity with no respect for persons, that is, with respect for all persons, whatever office they hold, offering them what is the best of our faith and sharing the greatest love of my life, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, regardless of the consequences.

There is, however, one aspect of this barbaric child that I’m guessing that, with the grace of God, will not ever be ripped out of me, a certain cleverness that some might see as being bad and evil and be perceived as having too close an affinity to Bre’r Rabbit, who was born and bred in a briar patch, which was scorned by others but loved by himself:

Ah yes. Such a trickster. That clip was sent in by a very classy lady, who has the blessing of having all the best of etiquette and manners in the very best of ways, that is, with real class that hesitates not one second to be concerned with the likes of me, who am rather on the darkest peripheries of whatever is defined as culture.

One may indeed take such a scene to make an analogy with the irony which must be lived as a priest, the irony which explodes any pretense of out-of-place self-referentiality, the irony by which one will always be marginalized by others as being the odd man out, you know, as a way to be kept safe, away from having to bother with the irony he presents to all and sundry, both rank and file. We priests must have a sense of this irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate, made to be sin for us, truly the odd Man out. I haven’t cited this for a while, so now’s the time:

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

Even Jesus was made to be sin, right? ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν (2 Cor 5:21).

Irony is what priests are supposed to do. It’s what Jesus did. It’s the charitable thing to do. Something about justice and mercy being one in God.

Now, what was that about holding one’s pinky out when sipping a cup of tea at 4:00 PM? Perhaps the 3:00 PM experience is more important…

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