Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

The Gift of Father Gordon J MacRae and Pornchai Maximilian Moontri

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These spiral notebooks of blank, lined pages were envisioned and created and sent to me by Father Gordon and Max and dearest Charlene Duline (my all time favorite State Department diplomat who also totally spoils Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog).

I’m wondering what they have in mind with these notebooks, as they have at other times said in all humor and in all truth that “Father Byers doesn’t have an unpublished thought.” Ha ha ha.

When I was doing my doctoral thesis, and when I was writing my first[!] novel, I used to carry around paper and pen everywhere, no matter what. After all, you never know when ideas, when solutions to impossible conundrums are going to pounce on heart and mind. I many times had to control myself from stopping mid-step while crossing busy Roman streets so as to jot down some notes. Many times I could be seen writing notes while driving a scooter on the way to some Missionaries of Charity house outside of Rome to say Mass early in the morning. But with the pictures and titles of these note-pads, what could the message possibly be?

Anyway, it is they, Father Gordon and Max who are themselves gifts to me. Both are the most extraordinary people, so balanced, so humorous, so insightful, having not only the wisdom of suffering while at the same time always coming to know Jesus’ friendship all the more. I do not know where I would have been without them. Jesus is good and kind in granting that we help each other get along to heaven.

Anyway, anyone have any ideas about what is intended to fill the pages of these note-books?

The subtitles to the books: TheseStoneWalls.com /// MercytotheMax.com

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison

“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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Filed under Abuse, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

Why are you in *that* parish, thus removed from the life of the diocese?

Holy Redeemer church

You have heard that it was said that bishops should politicize appointments of priests by capitalizing talk of “plum parishes” and “difficult parishes,” blah blah blah. And some bishops do that, moving priests to punish or reward them. Sometimes people our ask our great bishop why a certain priest is in a certain parish, city or mountain, proximate or remote, with a strained history or not, and his invariable answer is that he puts his best priests into such parishes, all of them.

Before I was assigned to any parish in the diocese I had quite an extended discussion with the bishop about the state of affairs in this most remote vicariate being that I had some years of experience here before I belonged to the diocese. I was, then, of course, assigned to this most remote of parishes in this vicariate. Before it was something made popular by Pope Francis, who said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes, I said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes. I’m not the best priest, but the bishop appreciates irony. And, as I say, his forever-response to such things is to say that he puts his best priests in all his parishes, never distinguishing a parish as being this or that. Indeed, the *life* of the diocese is fully to be found in every corner of the diocese. I fully agree.

It’s true that the personnel committee that assists the bishop in placement of priests sends out a questionnaire to all the priests every year asking them if they like parishes with no other priests or with many priests, parishes in a city or away from a city, with hospitals, schools, nursing homes or not, etc. My one time answer was that I love all aspects of priestly ministry and have done pretty much every ministry imaginable as a priest in pretty much all conditions. The members of the Body of Christ are everywhere in all conditions and I’m available for that. Here, I spend really a lot of time bringing parishioners to the hospitals round about. Most hospitals in the area are not certified to do pretty much of anything. These parishioners are old with no family and no finances. All the real hospitals are two hours away, some out of state in Georgia and Tennessee. Though some in Asheville or between Asheville and Hendersonville. This was especially fun in the 1987 Toyota pickup:

toyota pickup

So, here I am and I’m loving it all. This is not a typical parish but, then again, there is no typical parish. When some people ask the question – “Why are you in that parish?” – they mean it as a kind of back-handed compliment, you know, the old you have so many talents BUT you’re way (the hell) out there and therefore you must have done something to get some people disgruntled with you! Well, that is absolutely certainly true. I never hesitate to participate in the old speak truth to power thing, enough to make priest friends really, really, really upset with me, telling me what the results will be and telling me what a fool I am. Whatever. I can’t be hurt no matter what retaliation is brought to bear wherever I happen to be in world at any given time, in Oceania, in the Middle East, in western Europe, in eastern Europe, in Central or South or, for that matter, North America. I love everyone and everything everywhere. So, is it a punishment to be put somewhere, anywhere? Gosh! I just never noticed, ever. And, anyway, I’m a priest forever, and that can’t be taken away, not ever. So, what do I care about anything in this life except that I myself try to do the will of God wherever and however I happen to be?

And then there are the priests who call me up to tell me of all the dramas they have in their parishes and I tell them that I’m so happy to be in my little parish! But, of course, as I say, I would be most happy to be in those parishes as well. It is what it is in this world, wherever we are in whatever circumstances with whatever people wherever they are in their lives. Because that’s what Jesus does when He’s up on the cross: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself.”

UPDATE: A comment came in that I was bidden not to publish (that’s the case with lots of comments and emails etc). But I can’t resist saying that the person said that I was, in fact, perfect for this parish in every way. Meanwhile, just to say, when I covered the Cathedral alone for nine days some years ago now, it was told to our great Bishop right in front of me that the Cathedral parish would be perfect for me. Meanwhile, I think pretty much any priest is perfect for any parish if he simply tries to let the priesthood of Jesus shine through, so that like John the Baptist, the priests recedes so that all can see Jesus alone. I wish I were more like that: All Jesus! All Jesus! All Jesus!

 

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood

“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” – Take of “ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists”

The movie is released in theaters wherever it is today, May 18, 2018. The Trailer seems innocent enough. I haven’t seen it. I don’t think it will be carried in theaters in the back mountain ridges here where there are literally only a handful of Catholics.

I only do this once every year or two or three, but I looked at a couple of the video responses of the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, that is, until I didn’t. I could only stand a few seconds of each:

(1) The first I looked at for a few seconds immediately cut to sleazy soft-porn excerpts of other films which have nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So, yuck. No. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, soooo impure. Just. No. Never again. Again, all of that rubbish had nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So dishonest.

(2) The second one I looked at, presenting itself more as a documentary, opened with some video of the magnificent and traditional and indeed chanted-in-Latin with the traditional text Exsultet, you know, that long and glorious piece sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil by the priest or deacon. The scenes in this case were from Saint Peter’s in more recent years, but still the Exsultet of old, beautifully chanted in Latin. The video kept flashing on the screen some of the final words of the Esxultet which twice include the word “lucifer,” used, however, not as the name of the fallen angel, but for what it actually means in Latin, which refers to the Easter Candle, which refers to Christ: “lucifer” literally means “light-bearer” in Latin much like “Christopher” means “Christ bearer.” The idea of the video was to make it seem that under Pope Francis the Catholic liturgy is singing to the fallen angel Lucifer, but that is not at all the case. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, sooooo impure. Just. No. Never again.

But, I’ll tell you this, those kind of presentations are about the only ones that conservative Catholics (I know; “conservative” is a mere political term, but is appropriate in this context)…. those kind of presentations are about the only ones that “conservative” Catholics will follow on the internet. If what is presented is full of hatred and vitriol and lies, that is exactly what will be followed. It’s says more about the “reporters” and their avid followers than about who the report is supposed to be on.

And, yes, I am also dissed and mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists because – even if very rarely – I call them out on this kind of hatred which smells of the evil one.

Anyway, I’m guessing that this is NOT a documentary on Pope Francis. It simply amounts to whatever personal take it is that the director has. So, whatever. It’s not infallible, is it? No. I’m sure there are inspiration shots of meeting up with those who are suffering, who are in the darkest of existential peripheries, but even that kind of thing is totally mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists. Why?

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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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You’re playing hooky from priesthood for a day? We’ll, I mean…

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After going to the Urology group next to Saint Joseph’s Hospital next to Mission Hospital (the doctor said that he’ll contact me soon about results: I’m not dead yet!!!), I couldn’t just return to the parish the same way I came as a bridge is being replaced on the return side of the Interstate causing a five mile backup. So, I passed by a friend’s house on a far away detour and was asked: “So, you’re playing hooky from your parish today?” Hahaha.

Getting back to the parish, finally, by mid-afternoon, I called an appointment in another state (I have six other states not too far away) and apologized for being late. Finally, I made it there, and spent the next four and a half hours doing priest stuff at the request of the bishop of that diocese. Missionaries of Mercy do stuff, right? On the way back, I snapped the picture above racing back into my own region of these United States. Having gotten back home, with the dogs fed and put to bed inside the rectory, I conked out until Father Gordon called at 6:00 AM.

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Consecration at Mass: The irony!

consecration- 

Father Gordon J MacRae (About) over at These Stone Walls asked me to publish some pictures of day pilgrimages during my Missionary of Mercy trip to Rome in the days surrounding Mercy Sunday 2018. The churches and basilicas involved saints who had been imprisoned, a kind of tradition throughout the centuries.

God’s revelation to us of love and truth and goodness and kindness is also manifested through these members of the Body of Christ, and is a kind of Sacred Tradition if you will, so to speak, as it were. As the great Cardinal Siri pointed out in Gethsemane, the supernatural faith and charity received with sanctifying grace are univocal, always the same, ever ancient, ever new, as they always have the same source in the Holy Spirit.

Christ Jesus was imprisoned. As the Master, so the disciple:

jesus mary solidarity prison

So, we have the tradition of Tradition. We are captives of the Captive One. His love and truth and goodness and kindness is captivating. People push and test His love and truth and goodness and kindness in us, wanting it to be true, but treating us in the same way as our sins treated Mary’s Divine Son. We are, then, captives of Catholic Tradition.

Fr. Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Moontri: Captives of Catholic Tradition

That seems to have gone a little viral with more than 20,000 shares as of this writing. Father Gordon complains: “So, my first post to hit 20k was not even written by me?!!!!” :-) It’s really a very short post. Pretty much all pictures. If you haven’t seen it yet or don’t know Father Gordon or TSW, go over and take a look, especially at Father Gordon’s About Page.

Anyway, Monica Harris dropped a comment on that post saying this:

“The root word of Tradition can also mean betrayal, right? Makes the title of this post true in both senses.”

Sacred Tradition, traditio, or, as the Council of Trent puts it, traditiones – traditions in regard to the articles of faith supernaturally infused into us by the Holy Spirit with Sanctifying grace, refers to a handing on among us of the faith it seems as if by hand (quasi per manus), but really wrought by the Holy Spirit. The Second Vatican Council in its dogmatic decree Dei Verbum, against all definitions of the “spirit of the Council”, repeats what Trent pronounced in Sacrosancta, its first dogmatic decree of the Fourth Session on April 8, 1546.

Judas handed over Jesus to be imprisoned and put to death. Judas, in handing over Jesus, betrayed Jesus. Yes.

In the consecration at Holy Mass, Jesus says:

Hoc est enim corpus meum quod pro vobis tradetur.

For this is my body which will be handed over (given up, betrayed) for you. In the inspired Greek of the Gospels, this is expressed in the present participle: διδόμενον “being handed over now”, thus uniting the Last Supper with Calvary.

The Holy Spirit’s action upon us, flooding us with sanctifying grace, bringing us supernaturally into faith and charity, Sacred Tradition, thus forming us into being the members of the Body of Christ depends on, has its foundation on the obedience of Jesus to the Father, obedience, ob-audire, the eager, prompt listening of Jesus unto death, our redemption. When Jesus lays down His life in this way He also lays down the life of the members of His Body. The most holy moment in the history of the universe, the consecration at the Last Supper, that upon which even Sacred Tradition depends, speaks of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, indeed, of all the members of the Body of Christ. It is Tradition to be handed over, to be made captive so as to be free. Jesus unites us with Himself in His offering to the Father, handing us over to the Father with Himself.

Good one, Monica.

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Filed under Eucharist, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison, Spiritual life

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)

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Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!

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Rome airport security stops this Jewish prodigal son on his way home

Though I’m a Catholic priest, I’m also Jewish. I’m also a prodigal son. In all my travels, I’ve never been stopped by airport security, being given a different kind of treatment. We’ll, I take that back. The Israeli military did stuff to my laptop computers and computer junk like Hebrew keyboards throughout the decades, sometimes in front of me, with, say, flash drives[!] sometimes taking them away to work on them in private. As I say, the life of this Jewish Catholic priest has always been an open book. ;-)

Other than that – which was for stuff- I myself have never been an SSSS (Secondary Security Screening Selectee). But now I’ve seen a fellow Jewish prodigal son unceremoniouly pulled out of line right in front of me. Poor fellow. He was stripped down and given the full going over.

It’s all Pope Francis’ fault, of course, giving us those heavy bronze castings pictured above (a detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica). The lady security officer rendering the examination said (my translation): “Awwww, that’s so good of Pope Francis.”

prodigal-son-maze

Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact. Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors…” But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. But the fugitive’s fault finding frater , faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile. His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.” – Originally composed by Rev. W. O. Taylor

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Starting underground, ending up in the peripheries

So, the Missionaries of Mercy sojourn in Rome is at an end. Re-commencement for the next two years has begun.

Above is Metro Roma Linea A in the early morning.

Checking in online (on the phone) for the return Delta flight to Atlanta, I find that, as usual, my seat has been changed by some 20 rows, but, of course, never next to a “bad seat.” We’ll see.

Anyway, emerging from the depths onto Piazza Cinquecento, Stazione Termini, one sees Jesus, the Sacred Heart, surveilling the City from the pinnacle of a church.

If there was a place to sit for a coffee, this would be a great people watching place. Everyone’s from everywhere.

If I put up such pictures leaving Rome, I guess it must mean that I’m nostalgic. That’s not a bad thing, is it? Waiting…

On the move into the peripheries…

Not the peripheries are always all around us…

Sometimes you can even look inside yourself. But Jesus visits the peripheries.

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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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Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

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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How prodigal of Pope Francis! Thank you Holy Father.

A solid bronze replica (weighs a ton) of this detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s.

The Holy Father commissioned one for each Missionary of Mercy.

My licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was on this scene of Luke 15.

I am deeply touched by this gesture of his thanks to us. Thank you, Holy Father.

Btw: that’s a donkey with his ears laid way back, right?

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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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Paul VI Audience Hall

After a day with Pope Francis, the Missionaries of Mercy were treated to a nice lunch at the Audience Hall. With ice cream, btw.

In the Atrium, this image of JPII carried by the winds of the Holy Spirit always catches my eye. Here’s a detail of suffering for the Church, weighed down with the burden, as it were, of the glory of God:

Of course, I think it’s really cool that St. George has his back.

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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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A day with Pope Francis

First we’ll have a conference with Archbishop Fisichella, then another by Pope Francis, then just us for Mass with Pope Francis at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, then lunch, then…

So, off to the gate into Vatican City called the Petriano, which isn’t actually called that according to the Swiss Guards, who call it what I’ve called it all the decades, “Porta di Sant’Ufficio.”

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