Saint John Marie Vianney is the patron saint of priests. As far as I know – and I’ve been putting this challenge out for my entire life – he is the only priest to be canonized as a simple parish priest, not a martyr, not a founder of a religious order that he then joined, not a bishop, not a missionary, just a simple parish priest.
Being a parish priest puts one right in the middle of the ever present tiny group of entitled parishioners who are at the ready to be sycophants to insecure bishops who are looking for accolades from them. It’s the parish priest who is smacked down from both sides. And somehow that’s fitting, you know, to be like Jesus who had the crowds shrieking “Crucify Him!” and the chief priests playing their puppets. This is enough to make any faithful priest into a saint. We have Saint John Vianney as our shining star, and he’s enough for us in the General Roman Calendar, because we now have one day a year when we can humbly thank the Lord for making us His priests.
But this needs humility. The first job of a priest is get his hell out of the way of the One High Priest, Christ Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace. He does this by going to Confession. Priests have been passing through my parish in these two days. I’ve taken advantage and have gone to Confession two days in a row! Father John Harden said that, all things being equal, there is an infallible increase in sanctifying grace with a well-received absolution. Thanks be to God. When a priest gets his own hell out of the way, it is the priesthood of Christ Jesus who shines through such a weak human being. Glory be to God. It is truly stunning to witness.
But I know of about no bishops, especially the bishop of Rome, for whom being a Catholic priest is to be all about Jesus. There are some, but… it’s politically incorrect, embarrassing for them to insist that Jesus is the One, the only One, you know, to quote Traditionis custodes, “l’Unico.”
Instead, it is the sacrament of Confession – for which Saint John Vianney was rightly dedicated – which is mocked by the encouragement of fake, unrepentant Confessions such as find with “accompaniment” of Amoris laetitia, by the encouragement of homosexualist impurity, the denigration of our bodies which are to instead be temples of the Holy Spirit. This means no humility, no reverence before Christ Jesus, seeing no purpose in the priesthood.
It means that it’s not about Jesus, but rather ourselves, only, as if each one is the only one, you know, to cite Traditionis custodes, “l’unico.”
This self-entitlement of so many bishops and priests is sickening. Enough is Enough, as is now being proclaimed.
Hey! I have an idea for our bishops and priests that will turn all of this around, you know, all things being equal, infallibly:
Go to Confession! Frequently, regularly, with honesty, with new found integrity, so humbly thankful, then, for Jesus having gotten our own hell out of the way, that His priesthood can shine through us.
Oh, and that picture up top? That’s the chapel in honor of Saint John the Baptist that Saint John Vianney constructed on the one side of his parish church. Saint John the Baptist is one of my confirmation names. Thanks for that as well, dearest Curé.
Judas is in hell. Jesus in not in hell to save Judas who wants to be in hell, and would kill Jesus again so as to remain in hell. Let’s see:
As it is said: Judas went to his own place, which is hell. [I wouldn’t want that said of me.]
As it is said: better for that man if he had never been born. [I wouldn’t want that said of me.]
As it is said: he is the son of perdition. [I wouldn’t want that said of me.]
Unlike the other Apostles, Judas’ very office of Apostleship was removed from among the twelve. Another office of Apostleship was created and filled by the Holy Spirit. Matthias is one of the original twelve, so to speak. There are no successor bishops for Judas. He and his office of Apostleship were cut off – anathema – sent to hell. Gone, forever.
Judas is not a saint nor will he ever be a saint.
To say that Christ descended to hell to preach to Judas in prison, you know, to evangelize him, to have mercy on him, to bring him to heaven, is blasphemy, heresy, turning the faith and justice and mercy inside-out, upside-down, back-to-front.
I could go on. But why? There is plenty of commentary on all this throughout the Scriptures and in what we call the sensus fidelium.
I, for one, do not want to be distracted by darkness and ambiguity, the unleashing of hell… no… especially not during the Octave of Easter!
But just knowing there is such darkness and scandal, I beg the Lord: “How long?” This idiocy about “Saint Judas” started decades ago. I witnessed one of the main events bringing this to the academic world. I don’t want to give it space.
However, we have to deal in some way with what is before us. Just using the phrase “Scandal of Mercy” grants one bully-rights, a fake moral high-ground, superiority, the arrogance of the one having such condescending humility that only he will advocate for a mercy against justice. How courageous! How heroic!
But this is not Jesus’ mercy. That is the Islamicist view of mercy, which rejects that mercy is founded on justice, rejects altogether that the Son of God had to take on the punishment for sin that we deserve, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The Islamicists think – ever so unreasonably – that Allah is most merciful apart from justice, apart from reason.
Mercy cut off from justice leads instantly to cynicism, therefore to frustration, therefore to violence, to throwing it all back in Allah’s face, strapping kids with bombs and having them commit suicide like Judas while murdering others. Yep. Don’t think Catholics can’t be just as wicked. Catholics can choose to remain apart from the truth, therefore apart from justice, therefore apart from mercy.
As it is, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice as we read in Aquinas’ Commentary on the Sentences. No justice, no mercy. If Jesus doesn’t take on what we deserve for sin, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, He will have no right in His own justice to have mercy on us. It’s the justice that makes the mercy credible.
God will respect our usage of free will. After all, that’s only just, for God created us to use our free will. Judas chose what he chose. God respects that. Judas is not only not going to be rescued from hell, Judas would spit upon such a possibility: Judas does not want to be rescued from hell. Those who are in hell want to be there.
If Christ were to sin against His own creation by disrespecting the free will He Himself gave to Judas, and then went all giggly to hell to help Judas, well then, Judas, still wanting to be in hell, would have the right to set about killing Jesus once again, for, having sinned by disrespecting the very free will with which Jesus created us, Jesus would no longer be God. But it is impossible for God to sin. Jesus did not and does not help Judas in hell; Jesus did not and does not nor will He ever bring Judas to heaven. No. Jesus is God and will always be God, and He will respect the choices we have made with our free will. If we freely choose to be apart from sanctifying grace, if we freely choose to go to hell, Jesus will respect that. And believers rejoice in mercy founded on justice, and love to see justice put into action over against those who have freely chosen to reject mercy as founded on justice.
If mercy that is founded on justice is a scandal for the Jews because of rejecting that the Messiah is to be the Suffering Servant…. if mercy that is founded on justice is foolishness for the rest of the nations because of their foolish cutting mercy off from justice… then so be it.
But mercy that is based on justice is no scandal. People are a scandal to themselves by running after a mercy cut off from justice.
There are those who “proof-text” that Judas is not in hell because Jesus called Judas friend, but that was to give Judas one last chance at repentance, one last chance to break down in tears even after just having given Jesus the kiss of death. Nope. Judas rejected this friendship. He went to His own place. Then Jesus faced all of hell for those who assent in His grace to receive redemption unto salvation. Praise the Lord.
The Lord is risen and He has appeared to Simon Peter! Alleluia!
It’s extremely rare that you will find a Catholic priest or bishop who could care less about the murder of children in the womb by way of abortion, or who are against partial birth abortion, or who are against infanticide.
“Why do I say that?” you ask.
It’s extremely rare that you will find a bishop, backed by some henchmen priests, who will NOT push for the removal of a Catholic priest from active ministry, you know, a priest who is non-compliant with the culture of death, particularly the Wuhan Joe culture of death.
“Why do I say that?” you ask.
For such bishops, a priest who is not willing to sacrifice children to the demonic god of “death-power” is the enemy of their self-congratulations, their ♬ feelings ♬ of “power” of the cowardly killing of the entirely defenseless, you know, so that they can look likes heroes, clever, sophisticated, a valued member of the club… the proud hellions of the culture of death.
“Why do I say that?” you ask.
Go ahead, try to give me names of of those bishops who will NOT dismiss a priest from active ministry who insists on respecting the lives of defenseless children, you know, any bishops who ARE promoting vaccines developed and/or tested by the usage unto death of defenseless children, vaccines like Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, etc. Can you think of any besides Cardinal Bourke, Bishop Strickland, Bishop Schneider, or a few others anywhere in the world? Do you think the vast majority will tolerate the presence of a priest who speaks against taking such vaccines?
Their compromise, their subsequent bloodthirstiness, their consequent Judas-like death mongering, is threatened, they feel, by any priest who insists on respecting the lives of defenseless children in the womb. And I just bet you that these will be the same bishops who, year after year, for decades, insist on collections being made for Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Campaign for Human Development, both of which fund abortion right around the world.
Just guessing here, but would not these be the same bishops who have given themselves to homosexualist abuse of minors, who belong to the homosexualist club. I mean, I don’t know, but it’s all consistent, you know, treating children like fresh meat on which to foist their “power.” Many of those children will later commit suicide. It’s all the same. Sex for death. Yep. It’s just that in the case of murderously taking children out of the womb for the sake of self-congratulations uses euphemisms like “product of conception,” or useless “tissue.”
“Father George, you exaggerate, we haven’t heard of any priest getting forcibly aborted from his parish, uh… getting administratively removed from his parish for cautioning people against vaccines! You exaggerate!”
But what if a priest, having preached very many times about the taking of such vaccines, at length, with incisive clarity, with great passion, so that there is no mistake about what he has presented, is accosted publicly in front of his congregation by someone who proclaims that they have gotten, say, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, damned be the damned babies as long as they themselves think they are getting some profit, some expedient, convenient benefit from murdering those children for themselves, proclaiming that Johnson and Johnson is “better” because in their opinion, even though it is developed within the cells of the murdered-for-this-purpose human being, at least it’s not changing their DNA like the other vaccines. But that’s like saying a murder for money is better than a hate-crime murder. They are both murder.
What if that priest then immediately says just as publicly, right in front of his congregation, with calm and respectful but firm voice, that in conscience he, as Jesus’ priest, cannot administer Holy Communion, our Eucharistic King to such a person, stating that it is immoral to use others for ourselves, what with Jesus having laid down His own life for us so that we would STOP murdering others for our own self-congratulations, Jesus, who was himself in the womb of His Immaculate Mother for nine months, Jesus, who said that what you have done to the least of these you have done to me?
What bishop, publicly promoting that his priests take such vaccines, what bishop would, or humanly speaking could tolerate a priest who will refuse Holy Communion to those who publicly proclaim what they have done in getting such a vaccine developed from and/or tested upon the most defenseless, the weakest of the brethren? They cannot tolerate such a priest threatening their “power” over death in mockery of our God of Life.
Just guessing, but any such hellion bishop will forthwith remove such a priest form active ministry, right?
Headlines around the world:
“Catholic priest denies Communion to any church members disagreeing on Covid-19 vaccines.”
Yep, that would take a nanosecond, and the whole world would be putting pressure on such a bishop to do away with such a priest, to make an example of that priest, once again making himself the hero before men even while denying God to His face. What did Jesus say He would do before His Heavenly Father at the Judgement for those who have denied Him in the least of the brethren? He said that He Himself would deny them before His Heavenly Father. But hey! I’m preaching to the choir of hellions. Already on this earth they desire hotly to go to hell. Can you ♬ feel ♬ the “power”?
Well, all that would make it rather quickly to Pope Francis, himself a Covid-19 vaccine taker. Say that such a priest is a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis. What happens then? Will such a priest be held up as a murderer in that it is said he is putting people at risk of death? Will the Holy Father then have that priest’s bishop contacted to force that bishop to threaten such a priest with not only removal from his parish, but with suspension, interdict? That not working, will the priest be threatened with papally sanctioned forced dismissal from the clerical state (“laicization”)? That not working, will the priest be threatened with excommunication, so that not only can he not provide Sacraments, but neither can he receive sacraments such as an absolution, such as Holy Communion, such as the Last Rites? Cut off. Anathema.
As the great Girolamo Savonarola, O.P., responded to the one excommunicating him not only from Church on earth but, acting ultra vires, also pretended to excommunicate him from entering into heaven: “Questo non tocca a te” – “This isn’t within your capacities to do.”
I’ll tell you this: I, Father George David Byers, will consider it an honor to stand in solidarity with those children murdered in the womb who then stand before the throne of God, with Jesus, at the Judgment. I will consider it an honor to tell Jesus that I threw away, buried all my talents so as to exercise the talents He, Jesus, the High Priest, provides to His priests, His wounds, that it is His wounds that I proclaimed, that I didn’t back away from putting into action, His wounds of being spoken against, persecuted, marginalized beyond the peripheries, His wounds of thirsting for justice, righteousness, in mourning for those executed, desirous of mercy for those used and abused, His wounds of the greatest love in all truth, in all goodness and kindness, with no ill will toward anyone, desirous that all are turned to God by grace to be saved by Him.
“Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you.” (Apocalypse 3:3)
And here we are. Seemingly, of a sudden, the entire world is being asked to make a decision. Are we willing to murder the image of God in the womb so as self-congratulate ourselves, or are we begging Jesus for His mercy and forgiveness so that we might love one another as He has loved us?
“I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
“Elijah appealed to all the people and said, ‘How long will you straddle the issue? If the LORD is God, follow him, if Baal, follow him.'” (1 Kings 18:21)
Those not watchful may get fooled into – or be purposeful in – choosing demonic violence with arrogant self-congratulatory sophistication and cleverness. They are all around us. They might be pillars of the community. They might be “nice” people. They might be people with money. Oooo!!! Money!!!
I remember a parish to which I was assigned as a deacon. The first thing the pastor said was that I was preaching all five weekend Masses so as to introduce myself. The second thing the pastor said was that I was never ever to even mention abortion or contraception because there is someone in the parish who supplies “the parish” with new cars every year. Always the same.
You cannot serve God and Mammon.
“Father George! You don’t understand! We have insurance to pay! Insurance companies have policies about Covid-19! You’ll throw a wrench in the kickbacks we get for parishes following the rules! Kill those babies! Everyone is doing it!”
Sigh. Anyone publicly, notoriously serving the death demons will be denied Holy Communion just as publicly, and that’s a favor to such a person, confirming to them that they have attacked the image of Jesus and need to repent of this with a firm purpose of amendment. That purpose of amendment would include not getting similar Covid-19 vaccines as “boosters” or as that which has the pretense to ward off “variants.”
“Whoever eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the [murder of the] Body and Blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the Bread and drink the Cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Body [of Christ], eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
The reprimand from Jesus to a priest by a bishop or pope smashing down a priest of Jesus for that priest’s respect for Jesus’ image in the least of the brethren is surely to be severe. A reprimand from Jesus to browbeating priests smashing down another priest’s respect for Jesus’ image in the least of the brethren is surely to be severe.
Have you recognized the time of your visitation? Have you chosen death thinking to have gained life in this world? Fool!
Have you realized that Jesus wants you to choose life? Do it.
By the way, this is not virtue signaling. I can’t clarify more than I have. I can’t retract. This is my conscience before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception while He is yet unborn in the womb of His Virginal Mother. This is me saying against the hellions:
“Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir.”
I say that with a different sense than Martin Luther heretic freakoid that he is. I mean that in the sense of being ecclesial, remaining with Jesus and His Church, the only true Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. That individuals in the Church like once Catholic priest Father Martin Luther lose their way and want others to lose their faith does not – by the grace of God – influence me one bit. Jesus wants me in heaven, and I’m good with that.
P.S. I’ve been doing this a long time – being at the ready to deny people Holy Communion – so much so, and to such effect, that the viability of Code of Canon Law 915 was confirmed and solidified at a General Wednesday Congregation of Cardinals at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the early-mid 2000s based on the total hell that I was suffering for this. Yep. That was me. ;-) I’m not going to stop now that I’m a “senior priest,” as I’ve been called. I’m not going to get along just for the sake of getting along. I want to go to heaven. Don’t credit that to me. It’s Jesus doing that. He want’s all of us in heaven.
Let’s use the example of the saints, this time from the Second Book of Maccabees, 6:18-31:
Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man of advanced age and noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he spat out the meat, and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture, as men ought to do who have the courage to reject the food which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life. Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately, because of their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him. But he made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God. He told them to send him at once to the abode of the dead, explaining: “At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense; many young men would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar had gone over to an alien religion. Should I thus dissimulate for the sake of a brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age. Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws.” He spoke thus, and went immediately to the instrument of torture. Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed, now became hostile toward him because what he had said seemed to them utter madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned and said: “The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that, although I could have escaped death, I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my devotion to him.” This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.
Go to Confession.
P.S. I’d like to recommend for the salvation of souls that I not be smacked down, but rather that I be given a chance to help bring people back to the sacraments in the proper manner, I mean, you know, if it’s thought that the above is not a merely hypothetical example. But, you know, just writing about hypotheticals can be met with all the fires of hell, right? So, here we are.
Otherwise, are we priests to say that there is no doctrine, no morals, no sin, therefore no forgiveness, no need for the very Son of the Living God?
Listen up! Christ Jesus, Christ our God, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.
Amen to that.
Oh, and the Missionary of Mercy thing. I would love to remain as a Missionary of Mercy. But I cannot give up on being in solidarity with those thrown beyond the darkest of existential peripheries, those littlies, so defenseless, so horrifically murdered. I will continue to stand by them with no apologies, come hell or high water.
Tessie the Toyota has been doing the grunt transport work for the church renovation, hauling the cement board, cement, mortar, grouting, tile, 4x4s and 2x4s and 2x6s and 4’x8′ sheets of plywood to the church, and then hauling away the ripped up upper sanctuary platform and pergo cardboard flooring to be done away with.
Meanwhile, Tessie had to haul a couple of trips worth of wood from a parishioner who’s moving to Iowa, dumping this wood in the front yard in preparation for trip waaaaay down the road for a family that survives on a woodstove. There’s some oak in here, but there are also pieces of apple and cherry, which will do nicely for smoking any deer or bear meat that they get. Before delivering that, I’ll have to get Tessie’s brakes worked up. I might have pushed her a bit too hard.
THE SITUATION: If an employee of Vatican City refuses to be “vaccinated” against Covid-19 without provable health reasons for that refusal, penalties might well include “the interruption of the work relationship.” In other words, they might well be terminated. To be consistent, Pope Francis would have to have “vaccination” imposed on bishops and priests throughout the world, and if they refuse, they should to be dismissed from the clerical state, that is, terminated. After all, it’s too easy to harass the laity. So, clergy should be the first to be sent into the darkest of existential peripheries.
Yours truly is one priest who will not be “vaccinated”. There’s no way anyone can force me to do this. Over my dead body. This is a moral issue, but one which is based on one’s knowledge about the “science” involved, on one’s knowledge about the assassinations of human beings in utero for the convenience of someone else. Or didn’t you know that these “medical devices” as they are more properly called were started from or tested on aborted human beings?
ADDRESSING POPE FRANCIS PERSONALLY:
Go ahead, Pope Francis! Show your worst! I would rather go to heaven than submit to your bullying.
You say, “It’s better for one person to die than that a whole nation perish.”
Jesus says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world only to lose or forfeit his soul?”
You say, “It’s better for one person to die than that a whole nation perish.”
But Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ and the little ones in the womb are also the members of the Body of Christ, and Jesus says, “What you done to the least of these you have done to me.”
And, in solidarity, I am that aborted baby, Pope Francis. That’s how I am your Missionary of Mercy.
Herod wanted all the children to die in Bethlehem because that would give him a feeling of power. What are you doing, Pope Francis? Are you distancing yourself from those human beings that were aborted for your convenience. “It happened before today!” You won’t be able to avoid them at the Judgment. They will be there to accuse you of their murder. All of eternity will be right in front of you. Are you saying that you would run up to Mary with a machete and have Jesus ripped out of her womb for development or testing of a “vaccine” for your convenience?
Oh, I forgot, you got the vaccine already, so, I guess we know the answer to that question.
This world is no longer our home. We are in exile here. We must look to the things of heaven, true love of God AND love of neighbor, also the little ones in the womb.
All you really going to countenance that people working in Vatican City will be terminated because they want to follow their informed conscience and NOT get the “vaccine”? Why don’t you do it right? Start with the clergy. Start with me. Go ahead and forcibly dismiss me from the clerical state against my will. Be the Promethean self-absorbed neo-Pelagian! It will be a badge of honor that I will be happy to wear to the gates of heaven, you know, out of respect for the little ones of Jesus’ little flock.
And I will still be a priest forever.
I will not compromise. I love Jesus and His little flock.
Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen.
I have begged through the years to be have relief from this interdict, at least from the sharpness of its cynicism and sarcasm, for it was known from the beginning that there is no possibility of circumstances under which I could possibly submit to ecclesial authority in this matter, that is, to wit, even though I no longer reside in said territory, for I continue to this day to be forbidden to even pass through, or say “Greetings!” There is no mercy for this Missionary of Mercy, it being having mercy on those banished to the peripheries at said institution which has brought about my own being cast into the same existential, anguished darkness. The holy angels, I reckon, were never happy with such a result prepared by the highest tribunals in the Holy See (note the exaggerated ecclesiastical Latin of penal decrees ossified by centuries of rote application to like offenders against expected loyalties).
Although the given reason for the interdict seems serious enough, I’m guessing that the T-Shirt art produced in my honor for the event in question is thought to be politically incorrect in any number of ways. I respond that this over-reaction is symptomatic of our day. Instead of that reductionism, I firmly confess that the faith is spread by the sword as it was when Jesus’ Heart was pierced through (truly this was the Son of God), when Mary’s heart was pierced by sorrow (when our thoughts are laid bare), and this ever since the ferocious cherubim back in Genesis 3:24 brandished their fiery sword (for our conversion), since Elijah used his sword (for the edification of believers and the pedagogical punishment of non-believers), since Saint Michael used his (to show forth God’s glory), since our Lord told Peter not to use the sword in that most dire of circumstances (so that He Himself could have a sword plunged into His Heart).
I recommend that all seminarians get to know faith by the sword.
BTW: How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity… Perhaps, as a punishment for my continued contentiousness, I will be sent back to this office in the Pontifical Family (after all, notice the donkey in the painting besides the one sitting at the desk):
And while I open myself up to the less perspicacious of the communications crowd over in the Holy See, letting them think that I’ve actually been put under interdict (what with their Latin surely not being up to speed), I think it would be downright humorous altogether should I be publicly castigated and recommended for excommunication for real, you know, based on the interdict already supplied to yours truly above.
That’s from an Advent Preface at Holy Mass. That Saint John the Baptist sang about Jesus, Christ our God, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, the Creator of all, makes me dance for joy:
So, I admit it. I’m baiting some ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists in putting up that picture once again. That picture has caused some to say I’m a heretic about mercy, because, it is thought, mercy is not that in which we are to rejoice. We have to be glum and dark and always despairing. That misery reminds me of the first decades of my life:
What I always heard growing up and in the seminary and Catholic universities is that John the Baptist was a shrieking madman foaming at the mouth, a wild-man in the desert: GOD’S JUSTICE IS SENDING YOU ALL TO HELL YOU DAMNED SINNERS! REPENT! REPENT!!!! “He represents justice without mercy,” they said, “you know, the Old Testament,” they said, “no love, sterile, hateful, bad and evil, you know, THE JEWS,” they said.
That’s just wrong, thought I, thus, rebel that I am, taking John the Baptist as my Confirmation name. John was pointing out Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.” I was thankful to John for this mercy of pointing us to Jesus by having us correctly recognize ourselves as sinners so that we might be open to forgiveness from the Lamb of God and thus be brought to eternal life. That’s really very good and kind of John. Thanks John!
But that part in the Preface about John singing of Jesus… That is just so very right. Of course John sang about Jesus. Yes. John is so very amazing. Yes. I mean, it would have been in solemn liturgical language, the Hebrew of the Scriptures, not street Aramaic. And John is like the first Desert Father, as it were. So, I bet these were the words of his singing of Jesus:
And maybe, just maybe, this is what it sounded like… just the first petition now…
I bet those who have so viciously condemned me for rejoicing the mercy of God that is founded on God’s justice, who are suspicious of rejoicing even with the angels singing with the shepherds of Bethlehem, might like to punch me in the nose for what they consider cultural appropriation and, at the same time, archeologism, because as tender snowflakes they can only hate as tender snowflakes do.
The Hebrew you see is the Agnus Dei sung at Holy Mass, but in Hebrew. The audio file is yours truly singing just the first petition. I’m not a great singer, but I can still rejoice and leap for joy and sing with John. :-)
My good neighbor was asked by, I’m guessing, a common friend who was all shocked and awed as to whether my good neighbor is going to war with me, a Catholic priest, because, after all, my good neighbor hoisted a Freemason Knights Templar flag. I’m not sure of any particular symbolism of that particular form of hoisting other than that he might be baiting all and sundry to make a comment… and if you know, leave a comment!). My good neighbor laughed as he told me this story of alarm about whether or not he was going to war with me. He’s not a Freemason. He just tries to read up on a bit on the history, and, of course, he knows he’s also baiting me all the while, as many have been doing regarding Freemasonry for quite some time, although with a different motivation.
I’ll take the bait. I’ve just ordered a yet much older flag to put up, pre-dating any Freemasonic rubbishing of the Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, you know, the Hospitalers that you see in great force during their annual Lourdes pilgrimage with untold numbers of sick in wheelchairs and rolling beds. The flag is due to arrive in a box on December 30, 2020. The flag is three feet by three feet. I can’t wait to put it up:
Maybe I don’t have the right to fly that standard, but if I remember correctly, I was honored in some way back when I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes. I would help them in what ways I could when they all arrived in great numbers.
Anyway, that flag will go nicely between the American Flag and the Thin Blue Line Flag on the rectory. The weather-worn papal flag is gracing the inside of the always open car port, still very visible to all on the street.
Here’s the deal. There’s been some rough, violent history between the Freemasons and the Catholic Church. Yes. Emotion doesn’t solve anything. Even entrenching in all entitlement to be upset with historical data doesn’t solve anything. What makes a step forward is fearless reason. Of course, being the Catholic priest, I know that the only way to be fearless in reasoning is to be enlivened by a faith which doesn’t fear being forgiven, doesn’t fear giving witness to all that is true and good, even laying down one’s life to do this.
To put it bluntly: I’ve offered to give a conference to all the Freemasons in the region about the more recent history specifically from the perspective of Canon Law, that is, the published law of the Catholic Church concerning various “societies.” We would start, say, with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, then go through some wild interventions of the “Inquisition”, that is, the “Holy Office”, that is, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, starting in the early 1970s, that is, within living memory of some of our more distinguished gentlemen round about. The truth provided in reason is always enthralling.
My offer is still hanging in the air. Just…. hanging….
My neighbor, I’m guessing, is trying to get all this kick started, and I thank him for that.
The last thing we need these days to have antagonism that is based merely on known unknowns which can all be easily rectified, as a start, with some good knowledge. There are also unknown unknowns, but that’s for another day. Let’s put it in a way that the local crowd in WNC and beyond can easily understand, at least by way of their own vocabulary:
Let’s bear some light, doing up some architecting. I want to reach out to what for many in the Church are peripheries beyond peripheries, though not perceived to be that way at all by those consider themselves to be there.
To the Masons I ask this: Am I beyond hope? If I’m someone just trying to do good all day, every day, to everyone, am I beyond hope?
To the Catholics I ask this: Am I beyond hope if I’m trying to reach out across an emotional divide whereby the mere placement of a flag is thought to be a declaration of a war? Am I beyond hope to bring out the what and wherefore and why of present Church legislation?
There was nothing traumatic in all that. I was never much traumatized by my being shot at I don’t know how many times over decades and the ten thousand other “incidents” any one of which might throw someone into a trauma-recovery program, say, in North East Virginia, say, at Wolf Trap or at Liberty Crossing Campus. As I’ve often said however, bullets buzzing by one’s ears are certainly memorable.
In that more recent article linked above I mentioned that I carry. It’s a Glock 19, chambered. I like the Serpa Blackhawk OWB, for convenience, my stupid record (as I’ll never repeat that again) is 1.01 seconds for 2 to the “body” (spine) 1 to the head (brain-box) 25 feet out from the holster. Being in a state of prompt readiness to protect the innocent from unjust aggression is a virtue related to justice. Just to say it, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice, as Saint Thomas Aquinas points out in his commentary on the Sentences. Providing justice is a mercy. Yes.
I received a very clever comment on that more recent article. At first glance I thought this was a denunciation of carrying a Glock. But it’s not that at all. I didn’t let it out of moderation there as I wanted to give it a bit more visibility. I include my interlinear [comments]:
“We cannot rely on our own ability to fight evil [she’s referring to Peter slicing off the ear of Malchus when Jesus is being betrayed, as we’ll see momentarily] but must depend on God. [I agree.] How often we forget our survival is totally dependent on God. [Hey! I forget all the time, you know, not having the beatific vision and all that. Yep. I agree. I want to go to heaven!] Eventually we all learn [well, some of us] that the unstable world [crux stat dum volitur orbis: let’s just call it a fallen world and figure this out] cannot be the source of our security, of true peace of heart. [“My strength shines out through your weakness” – Jesus to Paul] I’m interested in how you square your essay with Luke 22:51. [I’m paraphrasing because of bad translations, but Lk 22:51 is this: Jesus said: “All of you let me do this!” And He touched the ear of (Malchus) and healed him.] Your words make it sound like you live your trauma recovery [with me being Malchus and all… (adn with trauma recovery being a very technical term betraying much background in the same] in a state of protection with a clenched fist. [That is, not trusting in God and full of fear, whereby Malchus steals Peter’s sword and I forge it into a Glock. Very clever, that. And lots of work to be able to spit that out just like that. There’s no way out except like this:] Meanwhile another hand, not yours or mine, reaches out in the Eucharist. [See top picture on the Eucharist. And I agree with that, to a point.]
Malchus was an enemy, a servant of the High Priest, literally dead set against Jesus. Malchus learned from the mercy shown him to be sure. It being that I’m the Missionary of Mercy of the High Priest, Pope Francis, maybe I too should learn something of mercy. But is carrying a tool to protect the innocent from unjust aggression a lack of mercy making me the enemy of Jesus?
Jesus was a special case. His reprimand not only to Peter but to all the Apostles (it’s a plural imperative) was not about the inappropriateness of what Peter was doing so much as it gave Jesus a moment to show mercy to the end. This was precisely like His reprimand to John the Baptist: Let it be so for now for the fulfillment of righteousness! When Jesus was baptized He was asking our Heavenly Father to treat Him as if were guilty of sin, not just like the charioteers and soldiers of Pharaoh who were drowned for their sin of enslaving the chosen people, but He was asking to be treated like He was guilty for having enslaved all in sin, all peoples of all times, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Jesus lays down His life, taking on the punishment we deserve for original sin and all our own rubbish, so that He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The Apostles see this mercy with Malchus and off they go.
Is it wrong to protect oneself and others while trusting in God while doing this mercy? No. In fact, it’s a contribution to the virtue of justice.
Two points and excuse my theological language:
First of all, I don’t want any trauma recovery, particularly not anything from Northeast Virginia. Why not? Because I’m not traumatized enough, not yet. As some priest friends from Colombia told me, “We’ve done nothing; we’ve not lain down our lives for the brethren.” Get me away from all that is trauma recovery. If anything, my therapy will be to put my fingers into Jesus’ wounds in His hands and my hand right into the wound in His side, into His heart.
My saying, “My Lord and my God” will be my entire trauma recovery, good enough to take my right through torture and death. I deserve everything I get along the way of the effects of original sin and my own, including being available to the malevolence of others (there ain’t no Glock that’s gonna stop that). And because Jesus laid down His life for me and called me to be His priest, He deserves that I un-clench my fists so as to Consecrate His Body and Blood at Holy Mass, so as to provide Absolution of sin, so as to Baptize, so as to Confirm… Yes. But I still carry. In calmness. Tranquility. You know the drill: “Carry! And carry on!”
It is no trauma to follow up on Jesus’ invitation: “As the Master, so the disciple.” Why not? Because His strength shines out through our weakness. His love carries us in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.
Let me give an example. This very morning, while that lady wrote her comment, I myself at the same time was being stripped of my carry and locked in jail. I’m out now, obviously. But you have to know that I feel most at home among sinners like Malchus because I’m so like him. I make lots of friends in jail. I have a Bible study with the guys every week. I love it. What a joy. And I gotta say, lots of the guys are much better prepared in the Scriptures than were my seminarians anywhere around the world. Truly. I love it. We help each other out to get to know the Lord. Believe me, no protection or clenched fists inside the stone walls. No, no. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about putting that ear back on Malchus. And about letting that ear get put back on me by those, you know, “sinners” and all that.
But, hey! Not to worry my interlocutor comment friend. Maybe you can help me with a bit of trauma recovery after all. There are some adjustments to the “recovery program” that I’m on – if you want to call it that – (DS or DipSec might have another name for all that), adjustments which I would like to be implemented, but I won’t write about that or say it over the phone. I need an in-person interview with someone, say, I don’t know, just up from the Rosslyn metro stop, maybe at the Campus… Can you swing that, maybe with CCS oversight? That would be really, really cool. Seriously, if you want to help me, that would go a long way.
Wherein a rather vivacious apologetic is offered for the medicinal usage of excommunication. Here’s the deal: I’m Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy. Most of what we do is to lift non-declared excommunications, you know, latae sententiae. And then we absolve whatever sin, however reserved, according to the faculties granted us by the Holy Father. Pope Francis didn’t say that there is no such thing as excommunication anymore. No, no. He holds that there is so much latae sententiae excommunication going around that we need more personnel than is present in the Apostolic Pentitentiary over in Rome. Thus, the Missionaries of Mercy.
My internet interlocutor who challenges me on the Gospels of the day sent a missive just before Mass. So, what could I do, but preach on all of that after some remarks on the Gospel. I love it.
Father Gordon has never seen his own FaceBook page but others post on his behalf. Content from TheseStoneWalls has been very popular on TheseStoneWalls FaceBook page. Posts from TSW have been very popular there especially with Catholic FaceBook “Groups”. There are people who post dozens of times a day elsewhere on FaceBook on their own pages, but nothing had been posted on my behalf for well over two days.
FaceBook blocked the graphic above from being posted on the following groups:
Roman Catholic Republicans Faithful to the Church
Priests for Life
Catholic News Agency
Catholic News and Discussion
Catholic Fellowship on Facebook
One Million Connected Catholics
Catholic Spiritual Warfare in Today’s World
The Catholics Writers Guild
…including many others such as FoxNews Groups, etc.
Even just two or three of the above have a readership of over 1/2 million followers.
The reason FaceBook gave is:
“FaceBook must place limits on how often you can post.”
FaceBook invited Father Gordon MacRae to make a rebuttal, which is as follows:
“FaceBook has been criticized for limiting or blocking conservative content. This is an example.”
The other morning a request for Last Rites came, asking that I meet up at the Emergency Room. A family member was told that zero visitation is allowed because of new rules just then imposed. A security guard made his presence felt. I asked about giving the non-Covid-19 patient an extremely abbreviated form of the Last Rites used in just such circumstances. No way. We were told to move next to the parking lot, about 75 feet away from the entrance.
Not wanting to let this go, I googled the phone number for Governor Cooper’s Office here in North Carolina. He’s notorious for his outrageous discrimination against anything religious. I explained to the nice lady on the phone that I wanted an emergency intervention by the Governor’s Office with the hospital, so that I might provide Last Rites, you know, because bureaucratic red tape doesn’t otherwise hurry up even for death. I mentioned how Vice President Pence said that the rules have exceptions in end-of-life circumstances, allowing both family and ministers to attend to the dying.
“Oh! I’ll put you through to someone who can help with that!” chirped the nice lady at the Governor’s Office ever so joyfully. *Ring* – *Ring* – It was the Department of Justice which picked up.
In other words, the Governor’s Office entrenched in disrespecting religious ministrations, even Last Rites, and wanted me to go ahead and try to get an emergency hearing from the Supreme Court of North Carolina and then, I suppose, the Supreme Court of the United States. But there’s no time even for that. Emergency for the court system is not the same as the emergency of death.
Meanwhile – hahaha – it seems that the Governor’s Office had a quick change of heart and forthwith called the admin at the hospital and told them to just let me do it so that it doesn’t go viral on the media and such. The Governor has already been smacked down by a Federal Judge. The admin guy sent a nurse out to invite me to come in and give the Last Rites. ;-)
The squeaky wheel and all that, right? This turned out good for the patient, this time. But I’m sure this is a new policy. And I’m really not so sure that other ministers would insist on religious rights for whatever the various faith communities do, and that generalized comment might well include quite a number of Catholic priests.
It seems to me that the religious powers that be should get up with the political powers that be and agree together that unalienable rights provided by God such as those enumerated in the first amendment are to be respected. I’d like to see legislation providing criminal penalties to those who disrespect the free exercise of religion.
There are all sorts of chaplains. Yours truly is a Catholic priest. But am I, specifically, or is any other police chaplain a detriment to the faith? Are you ready for the answer? Hold on tight!
Who, I ask, is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone.
The lawless knuckleheads kill men and women, boys and girls, infants, babies, shooting, beheading, chainsawing, burning, melting in vats of acid until nothing is left. No, really: all the time, entire villages at a time, no exceptions in those towns, adding up over the decades now to hundreds of thousands. Mayhem. Chaos. The domain of Satan. So, let me ask again:
Who is going to risk his life to assist in lessening hell on earth if not whatever kind of law enforcement? I mean, you know, directly. There really are bad and evil people who need to be assisted in halting their deadly aggression against everyone. That putting on the brakes, my friends, is a contribution to the virtue of justice. Defense against unjust aggression is natural law. It is of divine right.
I have a good friend for whom I have much respect. We discuss things quite intensely. I love that. It’s a kind of rabbinic discourse, answering a comeback by raising the stakes with a provocative challenge begging for an answer which itself raises the stakes once again. Well…
This friend of mine played the devil’s advocate with my being a police chaplain, making me think, so that I might get around to publishing some thoughts about a Catholic priest who is busy in his parish also being a police chaplain, you know, writing then about whether or not also being a police chaplain is detrimental to the faith of the parish, that police “accompaniment” meaning that, in a fake zero-sum game, that is just how much I am not paying attention to my parish, failing in my duty just that much in my assisting our Bishop in his apostolic mandate to care for the souls given to him by the Lord, failing therefore in my duty to nourish those souls in the faith, failing in my duty to protect those souls from the wolves.
Let’s put that differently:
In being a police chaplain, do I fail my priesthood? Do I fail my parish church? Do I fail the diocese? Do I fail the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Do I fail Jesus? Do I fail His good mother, Mary Immaculate? In choosing to be a police chaplain, am I signing up to go straight to hell? Am I the devil’s puppet, Satan’s little play-thing? Am I racist? A white supremacist regardless of my pigmentation or lack thereof? Do I lack in honesty and integrity in being a priest who is also a police chaplain? Should I just go loot and pillage and commit arson and be… you know… on the right side of dialectical history?
Let’s put that differently again:
Are the police, of late, proving to be inhumane as a totality, so that ALL police officers are inhumane and also inhuman, so that they are not only in a basket of deplorables but are also irredeemable, rightly marginalized from any encouragement, any support, so much so, in fact, that all police must be discredited, defunded, disbanded, thrown on death row even for perfectly following protocol, agency policy, city law, county law, state law, federal law, the Constitution, natural law, God’s law to love one’s neighbor as oneself, they being at the read to lay down one’s life at any given moment? Is it downright harmful to the Church and to humanity to be a police chaplain?
This is insane, but let’s put that differently yet once more:
Is it impossible that any member of a police force belong to one’s parish family? It is impossible that any member of the police force could benefit from chaplain support? Are we all to just say: To hell with them all!?! Saint Michael, patron saint of law enforcement, protect us!
If the police are thought to be so far out in the peripheries that we are not bother with them, then I answer in three ways:
(1) Pope Francis wants members of the Church to get over themselves, to stop being self-referential, self-absorbed. He wants that especially his priests and bishops to go out into the peripheries. I’m NOT saying that police are actually on the peripheries, even though the media and my interlocutor would present them as being such. Yours truly is a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis. I’m mandated to go out into the peripheries by the Pope. I say all that just to shut people up.
(2) But that’s not good enough. Let’s turn to the greatest of all prophets, Saint John the Baptist. The great Saint John pointed out the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, thus setting the good example for any police chaplain, shielding any police chaplain from the unjust aggression of police-haters. Saint John went out of his way to encourage even the military occupation style of law enforcement of his day so that – get this – so that they might also be saved (see Luke 3:14). Get that? No, really: Get that?
(3) But that’s not good enough for some. So, let’s just go ahead and turn to Jesus’ take on such self-referential, self-absorbed idiocy:
“A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy (the thief being play-acted by my kind interlocutor above); I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I HAVE OTHER SHEEP THAT DO NOT BELONG TO THIS FOLD. THESE ALSO I MUST LEAD, AND THEY WILL HEAR MY VOICE AND THERE WILL BE ONE FLOCK, ONE SHEPHERD. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” (John 10:10-18)
Again, this is not to say that any officer – because of being a police officer – does not belong to the the sheepfold of the Lord. This statement of our Lord is offered for the sake of my interlocutor, who was challenging me to defend my being a police chaplain. If our Lord Himself wants us all to help each out in getting to know Him – and He does want that – then there should be no problem whatsoever in being a police chaplain. In that case, being a police chaplain is not inconsistent, contrary, or contradictory with being a parish priest. One’s ministry is not divided by being a police chaplain. This is not a zero-sum game. Our Lord Himself wants all to hear his voice. We all need to help each other in hearing the voice of our Lord so that there may be but one flock, one shepherd. That is His will. Anyone going against the will of the Lord is risking… risking what? You tell me.
Let’s put that a different way:
My interlocutor is saying that we are instead to be so self-righteous that we are not to evangelize, not to proclaim the good news, not to help others get to know Jesus even while these others might already know Him better than we do, that being beside the point, the point being that we, regardless of anything, are to try to help each other get to know Him, Jesus, all the better.
Truth be told, some of our police officers are so keenly interested in the faith that they speak as do the Fathers of the Church and I am the one learning. Yes. How could it be otherwise? Christ also comes to us through others, whomsoever they may be, for it is the Lord who is working on all souls, having all of us help each other out in getting to know the Lord.
Does all that make for better policing? Yes.
Does all that make for great evangelization all around? Yes.
Does joy and enthusiasm for all that is good and holy and honest and patriotic and honoring of the Constitution of these United States make for a better society? Yes.
Does all that build up the Church, the Body of Christ, with Jesus the Head of the Body and we the members of the Body? Yes.
Finally, again, my interlocutor is a great guy, entirely pro-police, but he’s really, really good at baiting people to reach for excellence on any and every topic. Kudos to him.
There are not zero sum games when it comes to friendship with the Lord. Being a police chaplain in one’s parish does not take away from being a parish priest in that same parish. It is one. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.
The deer on the left has no idea that peeking out from behind a tree with one eye and one ear doesn’t hide the rest of his body. Ha ha. A lesson to learn.
This is, of course, the best parish in the world. I love bringing the Most Blessed Sacrament around to Jesus’ little flock in what is effectively now a four county area. That puts a few miles in the mountains on Sassy the Subaru, but I am supremely happy rushing about Jesus’ beautiful creation heart to Heart with the Creator Himself.
On May 29, 2020, Chief Justice John Roberts sided (again) with the four anti-Constitution Justices on the nine member U.S. Supreme Court so as to reject the free exercise of religion in the first amendment of the Constitution so that, in this illegitimate legislation from the bench, discrimination against religion is held to be lawful.
ABC Liquor and big-box stores have long been opened up to record crowds, jammed with customers more than they’ve ever been, even while mega-churches that can seat thousands are limited to a minister and nine others. What is it that governors quite commonly landed on the number ten? It’s arbitrary. A mockery. An attack on religion. It’s out and out discrimination. No one gives a damn. Will there be any faith when the Lord returns?
The consequence of this illegitimate legislation from the bench is that governors are free to burn the Constitution, and then burst into churches and drag people out, arrest and fine and imprison the minister.
In North Carolina the way this plays out is that the first offense by the minister is a second class criminal misdemeanor. The second and third offenses are felonies. That means a very long time in prison.
When the first enumerated unalienable right in the U.S. Constitution, recognized as provided by Almighty God Himself – the free exercise of religion – is trashed by fallen human politician, all other rights fall, the right to assemble, the right to free speech, the right to… write, the right to defend the innocent, on and on. And we immediately saw that with so many of the tyrant dictator governors. It’s lockstep, from freedom to being smashed down, 0 to 100, in just moments.
The great Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in dissent, had it that such anti-Constitution wrongful legislation from the bench is a restriction on the free exercise of religion that “discriminates against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.”
Those in the judiciary who wrongfully legislate from the bench, those in executive office who usurp the legislature to themselves as tyrant dictators, are, of course, cowards. I would like to see them personally come to this smallest parish in these United States and brutally attempt to interfere with the reverent celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It’s an attempt that will not end in desecration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I will personally see to it that the Son of the Living God at what is the celebration of the Last Supper will not be smashed to the ground. It’s not gonna happen on my watch. But they are cowards.
What will happen? This Catholic priest will continue to offer Holy Mass and provide all Holy Sacraments to Christ’s faithful, come what may. I don’t look to the coward John Roberts to get permission from the State to exercise my priesthood for Jesus. I don’t give a hoot what the Supreme Court says. The free exercise of religion is a right which is unalienable and provided by God. Compared to God, who in hell does John Roberts think he is? He’s just another coward. I never cave to cowards.
How about the Department of Justice? Will Bill Barr back a case that will overturn the Supreme Court’s own B.S.?
As the POTUS said: Open the churches! We need prayer!
Back to tyrant Governor Cooper and directly addressing him: Here’s the schedule today, Governor. I’m making it easy for you:
6:00-7:00 AM Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Confessions at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
8:00 AM Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Confessions at Prince of Peace Church in Robbinsville, in Graham County.
8:30 AM Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Prince of Peace Church in Robbinsville, in Graham County.
10:30 AM Confessions at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
11:00 AM Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews, in Cherokee County.
Distribution of Holy Communion all over WNC.
And, hey! Yesterday, we had a funeral.
Here’s the deal: I give people all the warnings, policies, dispensations, but I’m not policing anything from the Altar as I’m not a minister of justice of the State while I’m proceeding with religious rites. Never. Never, ever.
Here’s the deal: there are multiple rounds of applause and cheers and statements of agreement from my tiniest of all congregations.
But, go ahead, tyrant Governor Cooper. Come in person and break us up and smash us to the ground and arrest and imprison us. Go ahead and try to throw the Blessed Sacrament to the ground. It will be an attempt, only.
This Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis is entirely in accord with the great Cardinal Sarah as seconded also by Monsignor Bux regarding the distribution of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, that the priest or deacon or Acolyte or EMHC wearing any kind of gloves for this distribution is objectively committing sacrilege against the Most Blessed Sacrament. I’m paraphrasing. Cardinal Sarah uses most extraordinary language to insist on this insane, blasphemous, ridiculous, clownish, faithless, immoral mocking of God.
Maybe some of my fellow priests carried away in “creativity” will come to their senses and realize that they’ve done something wrong, terribly wrong, along the lines of “nefas est.”
An automatic excommunication comes about and, as long as it is not declared (no chance of that, methinks), a Missionary of Mercy can lift and absolve such an excommunication.
As a Missionary of Mercy able to do this, I only ask that the priest be penitent with a resolve to never do it again, even in a “second wave” or “third wave” or with a thousand other viruses, etc., that are sure to come our way.
In giving the absolution, I’ll use the “old formula” in Latin, which firstly deals with the excommunication and then goes on to the absolution, a method of proceeding asked of us Missionaries of Mercy by the Holy See.
When becoming Pastor of this Catholic Parish of Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC, I immediately asked our great Bishop for permission to provide the Exorcism of a Place for dwellings in my parish and those in other parishes in the diocese as long as those pastors gave me permission. Granted and granted again, always and immediately.
The most recent exorcism of a place was just the other day up in Graham County, a house newly acquired by new parishioners moving in from way out of state. They had a good reason for this specialized house-blessing and it wasn’t that everything everywhere was smothered in thick poison ivy:
The house is a wreck, and not just because of mold, having been uninhabited for quite some time. It seems this was a druggie house, and a satanic ritual house. I didn’t take pictures of the “artwork” provided by the druggie satanists. Awful. But I did take a picture of that graffito up top of this post… um… edited… but you get the idea.
Of course, druggies, in all of their coolness in acting against society and any authority such as the police, die of overdoses, and that also happened there. Horrible.
But, the house will be gutted physically just it has now been of any presence of Satan because of the exorcism.
Just a coincidence, but I was immediately escorted, if you will, by Law Enforcement from this house all the way back to Andrews (which is in another county). Thanks, guys.
The Catholic Parish of Holy Redeemer (HR) in Andrews, North Carolina, covers the north-eastern half of Cherokee County (Valleytown township), the north-western half of Macon County (Nantahala township), and the entirety of Graham County, which boasts of its own “Mass center” called Prince of Peace (PoP) in Robbinsville, North Carolina. We border the Diocese of Knoxville for more or less 20 miles.
Here’s our present Mass schedule (with Confessions before all Masses and Last rights, etc., anytime):
6:00 PM Saturday – Vigil Mass in Spanish (HR)
6:00 AM Sunday – Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament (HR)
8:00 AM Sunday – Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament (PoP)
8:30 AM Sunday – Holy Mass in English (PoP)
11:00 AM Sunday – Holy Mass in English (HR)
Weekdays Mass, given other things going on:
Monday – 12:00 Noon (HR)
Wednesday – 5:30 PM (HR)
Thursday – 12:00 PM (PoP)
Friday – 12:00 PM (HR)
Accompaniment by law enforcement already some weeks ago:
I like that. I’m sure there’s a story behind it. Nice guy, I’m sure. :-)
Regarding Communion on the tongue: we do that, and that’s the norm. We border a certain diocese which does not permit that – against the universal law of the Church and against science (hands being horrifically worse than the tongue). Anyone visiting from that diocese or anywhere else will not be refused simply because they want to receive on the tongue (all things being equal, as in they being Catholics who are in good standing).
To Governor Cooper: You’ve demonstrated yourself in your specious legislation about enforcement of Covid-19 regulations to be discriminatory against the free exercise of religion, singling out religious institutions with draconian policies compared to leniency for state owned profit-making endeavors like ABC Liquor stores, or compared to private essential companies such as Lowes and Walmart, which are allowed up to 20% and 50% of the maximum capacity imposed for whatever buildings by the County Fire Marshall. This is not true for religious institutions, which – no matter the capacity even of a megachurch that would hold thousands – are limited limited to, say, a minister and nine other people, you know, for a quorum of ten like for a synagogue. That demonstrates bad faith in leadership, an abuse of power to please constituents, you know, Democrats who have outlawed God in their platform. Kick the faithful in the face and get votes! What was it, 5 out of 100 counties that voted you in to “power”?
I’m good with cooperating with national emergencies, national security, etc., when there isn’t any blatant anti-free-exercise-of-religion legislation. I think I can prove that cooperation in a court of law by subpoenaing a long list of witnesses right up the chain of law enforcement.
Speaking of the chain of law enforcement, Bill Barr of the Justice Department is demanding that ordinary citizens like me rat out politicians like you, Governor Cooper, so that overreach oppressing religion can be smashed down hard. I would welcome a legal challenge from the likes of you Governor Cooper. You’ve threatened for a long time now the imposition of a second class misdemeanor for a first “offense” of praying, which quickly turns into – if memory serves me – class “I” and “H” felonies for repeat offenses. I would love to do a lightning appeal to the Supreme Court to kick your policies where the sun don’t shine.
And, by the way, a note to LEOs: Just because the Governor has pretended to give you arrest powers for any free exercise of religion, he has no authority to do this, and he cannot support you; you also will be brought to court for upholding wrongful law, that is, you personally, as well as your department, town, county and state.
Here’s the deal: every time we’ve seen a politician suppressing religion in a discriminatory manner throughout human history – going back for last number of decades, going back for last number of centuries, going back for the last number of millennia – what we’ve seen is not just some tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths from any virus, but instead we’ve seen genocides on a grand scale, what with the likes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot… on and on. Hundreds of millions murdered. It’s all about POWER. Oooo! Power! Hmmm… the weighing of thousands of deaths over against hundreds of millions of murders. And it’s like clockwork. And it takes no time at all. And it’s frequent. And it can happen anywhere, anytime. Just ask people in the countries where it’s happened. Oh, right, they’re all dead already, starved, shot, incinerated…
So, over my dead body, Governor Cooper. Sure, my dead body might be because I die from Coronavirus – a horrific death I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but maybe that will stand in witness to protection of the free exercise of religion.
So, go ahead Governor Cooper. Let’s see your worst. I’ll bring you to the Supreme Court, along with any law enforcement individuals, towns, counties or State which try to enforce your anti-God, anti-neighbor, and anti-Constitution policies.
Methodology of proceeding:
Holy Mass is offered by myself at the altar in the sanctuary of the churches of the parish, during which time the doors will be open. I do not request anyone to come. I tell people that it is imprudent and dangerous for them to come. I make rather intense appeals to those who are elderly or health compromised to stay away, saying that I will bring them Communion at home, and I do. I tell people that if they do wander into the church at the time I’m there that I think it’s a good idea for them to wear a mask, do social distancing, etc. There is no shaking of hands. The fact is, when I had to get a MethylPREDNISolone shot and a DosPak of the same because of the “worse case of poison oak seen in Cherokee County”, I had no immune system and I did not offer Mass publicly at that time. Having said that, and now back to public free exercise of religion:
I am NOT a minister of justice of the state
I am not in the employ of the state
I am NOT going to attempt to police any would-be non-compliance from the altar as if a minister must police imposed anti-constitution policies. Ain’t gonna happen.
If you don’t like this rebellion against your anti-American policies, Governor Cooper, a rebellion coming from the smallest parish in these United States of America – so tiny, so vulnerable to your power – then, by all means, shut us down, you know, with all the Law Enforcement in your power (which is a lot). Send in the National Guard. Send in SWAT teams of the State Bureau of Investigation. Call in emergency assistance from anywhere and everywhere. As I say, I’ll have you in the Supreme Court so fast that you’ll be a good example of what not to do. But if you do that, just have me arrested. Don’t be a cruel jerk and raid the church, throwing kids through the windows and smashing the elderly to the ground, giving people heart-attacks and causing injuries. I’m a model of quiet and peaceful compliance. Just throw cuffs on me and stuff me in the cage in the back of whatever vehicle and cart me off. But anyone else who happens to be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass… let them go; let my people go. Don’t be a jerk, Governor Cooper. Just make me the target of attacks on religion, the free exercise of religion.
Yours truly took this picture early Monday morning after sleeping over at the Kure Beach beach house of some good friends to which I arrived at about 12:30 AM Sunday night. I was told to go right in to the second floor of that house (which is up on stilts, of course), and then head up to the third floor, go the end of the hallway, and use the bedroom suit that I will find with pictures of Pope Benedict and Saints John Paul II and Mother Teresa.
That means that I had to have left the rectory in Andrews, NC, at least some eight hours previously, Sunday afternoon. Indeed, after Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, and while doing up a ride-along with the PD as chaplain, a call came in requesting my presence at the beach. Great! Off I went in Sassy the Subaru.
The picture below is taken from the exact same spot as the picture on the top of this post, just turned to the South. That’s the pier just north of Myrtle Beach, which brings back many memories with mom and dad. We all walked down the pier together some thirty years ago. It would only be a few years later that they would both have passed on. I’m so nostalgic…
Those good friends? She’s a prosecuting attorney, and he, after a spectacular career in law enforcement, enjoys providing consultation presentations all around the world to assist in strategies for the most difficult logistics in law enforcement and incarceration and parole. He was home because of… of course… the Coronvirus lock down. Here’s what I found on the other side of “my room” for the night:
Scandalous! Absconding from duty! A priest going to the beach while there is a declared State of Emergency (read the government notice in the top picture)! What about taking care of the Lord’s little flock? What about providing the Last Rites to those in need? And worse, using pious pictures to cover over such cowardice, leaving the flock untended!
There’s always two sides to any story, right? Well, here’s the truth of it:
After these good friends provided me with coffee and scrumptious scrambled eggs early the next morning, after just a few minutes of catching up, the pastoral plan they had hatched with me hours earlier on Divine Mercy Sunday afternoon went into action. My Google Maps feature on the phone was locked in, and away I went to another residence which sports this massive well-done statue out on the road (reminding me of The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark +1965, a book my mom made sure I read so long ago):
You have to know that the Director of Liturgy in that far away diocese has draconian policies on the provision of sacraments in this time of Coronavirus. This is public knowledge. Horrific. A nightmare for the faithful who want to the sacraments. Some of the reaction of some of the priests of that diocese are less than beneficial. It seems one would not provide the proper sacramental formulae, just saying something invalid for any sacrament, such as Have a nice day. Another just left a message saying he’s unavailable at this time. Another does up sacraments, invalidly, over the phone.
So these great friends of mine called me, who am not quite a 900 mile round trip away. We have a mutual friend, a close friend, who could not find a priest to do what any priest should do, even with him now leaving this life to be on his way to the next. I dropped everything and got there as fast as I could.
Don’t think I’m virtuous in doing that. Not at all. I absolutely love racing about as a Missionary of Mercy, as Jesus’ priest, and doing what any priest should do. I have great neighbors who watch over the house and feed the dogs. I had an absolutely wonderful time racing back and forth at night on pretty much entirely empty highways and entirely empty back roads. Fortunately, it was a day after a fierce rainfall, and the fallen trees had already been pushed out of the way by bigger vehicles than mine:
That’s on the way back, early Monday afternoon, at the start of the one-lane gravel road up Holy Souls Mountain, though still a few miles from the Holy Souls Hermitage. At the house of the neighbor to the hermitage I picked up fully seven October Beans which had been set aside for me to plant. That’s a lot. I am most grateful. More on that later.
The neighbors there weren’t home and I didn’t need to stick around for more Last Rites. They were at the doctors, which should tell you something in these times of basically zero face-to-face meetings with any medical personnel if at all possible. As it is, all reports of a zillion invasive tests came back with the best outcome possible. No Last Rites – again – were needed. I’m very happy with that. Thank you, Jesus.
Meanwhile, I do have a standing invitation to “go to the beach” any time I want. ;-)
Sometimes, honestly, I think I have way, way, way tooooo much fun as a priest. I’m totally happy watching Jesus be the priest, with me just going along for the ride. :-)
When I got back, I did up some grocery shopping for the elderly health-compromised in the parish, delivered those groceries, also delivering bacon to some good friends that I had picked up on the way back (10 pounds!), and then got back to the rectory once again. It’s now Tuesday morning. How did that happen so quickly? In just a few minutes after I publish this, Father Gordon MacRae is going to call for an hour or so, as I missed the usual Monday morning call. So I better end this here. Glad to be back.
Just before midnight, Monday night, stretching into early Tuesday of Holy Week – the usual day for the Chrism Mass in this Diocese – I was assisting at an urgent situation that included someone presenting with a persistent slight cough (I noticed), and who – hours later on Tuesday trundled off to get tested because of sharply increased symptoms for COVID-19. Of course, since we are in a healthcare desert, any test done here doesn’t take five minutes. The results can take four to five days or even longer. Yours truly was within six feet of said person for perhaps thirty minutes or more all told. Said person later Tuesday evening informed someone who, about 10:30 PM that same Tuesday, just 23 hours after the “proximity incident”, informed yours truly.
Meanwhile, Tuesday afternoon, before that information came my way, on way way back home after retrieving the Sacred Oils after the Chrism Mass in Charlotte, I stopped to see some friends to drop something off – this taking only seconds and with me wearing my N-95 Mask. I then repeated this a few hours later, at 8:00 PM, leaving another package with another friend, with me wearing my N-95 Mask and already being in the car before that friend came outside. So, both of these stops were in less than a day of the “proximity incident.” As I understand it, it takes more than 48 hours to begin to start “shedding” Coronavirus molecules. All are safe and sound.
So, now, as of this writing, now late Wednesday morning, some 58 1/2 hours have passed since assisting in the midst of that “proximity incident.” That’s about the time, right now, that I would start to perhaps begin “shedding” Coronavirus molecules, regardless of whether or not I myself developed any symptoms. I could turn out to be a “carrier.”
Should I quarantine myself, or self-isolate? Let’s review the technical terms and the regulations regarding same that were in force until Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020:
“According to the CDC, quarantines are meant to restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These individuals are asymptomatic but have either traveled to an area with an active outbreak of the virus, or have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. Self-quarantining allows health officials to closely monitor the development of symptoms, if any, while preventing further transmission of the virus. Those who are asked to self-quarantine will be told to stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days.”
Isolation, meanwhile, refers to separating those who are already sick from the rest of the population. Self-isolation provides individuals the opportunity to recover from the virus without spreading it to others. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate until the following:
You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. The decision to stop home isolation should be left to healthcare providers and local health authorities.
Later on Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020, at the usual presser, that advice was somewhat changed, to wit (from PBS):
The federal government has released new guidelines for when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus. The guidance pertains to essential critical workers who have been exposed to COVID-19. For those individuals, the guidelines advise:
Take your temperature before work.
Wear a face mask at all times.
Practice social distancing in the workplace as work duties permit
The guidelines advise individuals not to:
Stay at work if you become sick.
Share headsets or other items used near one’s face.
Congregate in the break room, lunchroom, or other crowded places.
Employers are asked to:
Take the employee’s temperature and assess their symptoms before the employee starts back at work.
If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately.
Increase the air exchange in the building.
Increase the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
Test the use of face masks to ensure they don’t interfere with workflow.
[…] The CDC defines a potential exposure as “being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.”
The new guidance apply only to workers in critical infrastructure jobs. That category has been defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (part of the Department of Homeland Security), but only as an advisory list, not a federal standard.
By CISA’s reckoning, the category includes certain workers in healthcare and public health, law enforcement and first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation, public works, critical manufacturing, financial services, communications, among other sectors. […]
Redfield said the new guidelines are for workers in critical roles who “have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case,” so that they can go back to work under certain circumstances. […]
So, will this priest continue to offer Confessions and Last Rites, and will he continue to assist as Chaplain to the Law Enforcement family? There are essential roles to play even in the eyes of an atheist, such as suicide prevention and death notification. Wicked, horrifically violent crimes continue to happen even in this small hamlet of Andrews, NC. Hearing Confessions and giving the Last Rites are protected under the First Amendment, even under the Federal, State, County and Town restrictions. And they are essentially important. I can’t imagine the despair and the chaos that might well ensue if this was all to be taken away as well. I will continue.
By the way and just to say, CISA, mentioned above, is a rather serious player in all this. I just met with a close friend who is a member of CISA, who “does stuff” for CISA, who carries a “pass”, if you will, that has all check point law enforcement wave him right on through when he gets to the check point. He has no problem with me doing all that I am doing. :-)
Oh, and also, as of this writing, as of this publishing, I have zero symptoms. Regarding temperature, since I started Keto last November 1019 – losing now fully 63 pounds (and this is common) – I am no longer at 98.6 F, but hover around ~97.6 or ~97.7. For now. I mean, I never get sick, until I do, right?
Having said all that, I would like to stay put for the next days to see what happens. I am semper paratus for the Sacred Triduum to begin later this evening.