Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

White Lies and Truth Telling – In praise of Lillian Carter and Jesus

lillian carter

Southern Gentlewoman Lillian Carter gave an interview to Barbara Walters during Governor Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, during which Jimmy promised that he would never lie to the American people.

  • Barbara Walters: “Has your son never told a lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, he’s probably told a few little white lies.”
  • Barbara Walters: “What’s a little white lie?”
  • Lillian Carter: “Well, Barbara, you remember when you came here a few minutes ago and I told you how pretty you looked and how glad I was to see you? That was one!”

These kind of conversations carry the baggage of a universally understood societal convention of mental reservation. Such mental reservation, when accompanied by even the slightest note of sarcasm, immediately betrays explicitly what everyone knows even without the help of the sarcasm: “You look pretty [in your own eyes].” So, it’s not even meant even as a little white lie, just an understood mental reservation, which can be even sharper than what is otherwise considered polite.

barbara walters

A mental reservation shouldn’t be used very often by us fallen human beings as we can ever so incredibly very easily turn into habitual full-on liars of the worst sort.

Having said that, Jesus Himself used a mental reservation: “I’m not going up to the feast in Jerusalem [publicly]” (see John 7:8-10). This isn’t even a “white lie.”

In the Nazi era, good Germans used mental reservations to save the Jews: “There are no Jews hiding in my basement [that I want you to know about].” Great! This isn’t even a “white lie.”

jewish yellow star jude

Not helping people to prepare to go to heaven when it is quite certain they will presently be going before their Creator and Redeemer stating ever so “nicely” to them that “Nothing is wrong! All is well! We have no worries! La di da!” — all that is simply a great disservice and shows zero leadership and lack of depth, lack of conviction, lack of character, love, respect, faith. Don’t be afraid to pray with people.

If I were always to have told people lies about their state of soul while they are dying, lying to them that they are presently on their way to meet their Creator and Redeemer, I would never have witnessed innumerable and absolutely peaceful and joyful deaths, people now happy to be on their way to meet Mary’s Son. To be at the ready with all the Sacraments and Papal Blessings and Indulgences, and then just stand there telling them that they are nice and everyone is nice and no one will ever get sick and die and that they should just forget about any kind of eternity would, on my part, be diabolical. Right?

anointing

Confessors who lie to their penitents, telling them that their sins are not sins at all are not helping them know the goodness and kindness and forgiveness of Jesus (which is why they are there at Confession but are denied). That’s never a good thing. Ever.

confessional

People want to say that actual lies or any sin whatsoever, even those of the worst kind, are not sins at all and are even praiseworthy because there are reasons, you know, mitigating circumstances that make it all alright. They do this because they are scared to death, being members of communities which have a preacher-man screaming hell-fire and brimstone Puritan-esque threats at them, bullying them into thinking that all are condemned if they have ever even once sinned, so that they are all going to hell no matter what, that is, unless you can think of some rationalization for why one sinned. Catholics can be like this, with self-indulgent pride which acts as self-salvation. I saw this in Australia, which, instead of being like the “Old West” of the USA, was extremely Puritanesque on one level, while, on another, there was an extreme attitude of being laid back, the kids, for instance, being sexualized in school as kindergarteners, with those same kids committing suicide astronomically disproportionately more than other youngsters anywhere in the world. That Down Under country generally has the idea that if it’s a sin, it cannot be forgiven, for there is no real forgiveness. God cannot forgive. So, they rationalize that they have so many mitigating circumstances that they could never be responsible for a sin, and so go ahead and sin on purpose, you know, telling themselves little white lies.

Here’s the deal: We need not be afraid to share with others the greatest love of our lives, Christ Jesus, who, in fact, does forgive us, and does provide us with grace so that we don’t “have to” sin. We can be on our way to heaven. Why do we have to be afraid of Jesus? He laid down His life for us. He loves us. He’s not the Puritan-esque preacher man. We do that because we are afraid to be good friends with Him, giving Him control of our spiritual lives. We would rather die a tortured physical death than do that. Allowing Jesus, by His grace, to bring us up into the life of the Most Holy Trinity demands that we be crucified to the world and to ourselves. The otherwise most gentle nice pious person will turn into a monster of bitter cynicism before they let go and let God if they are depending on themselves instead of on God’s grace. They will rationalize anything which keeps people away from that good friendship with Jesus that they themselves are afraid to have. Pope Francis rightly says: “Humility, humility, humility.”

pope francis confession

In heaven, there is no self-serving lying about telling people that they look pretty (see above). Instead, everyone will have the splendor of the Most Holy Trinity shining out from within them. It is not evil to turn people to this hope. We can be good friends with Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. He is good. He is kind. And I don’t mind telling people about Him, whether in or outside the Confessional, whether at the moment of death or any other time. Jesus is our All in all. He is my Savior, our Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords, Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Pornchai Moontri & Fr Gordon MacRae on the move, or not…

south 2

Father Gordon has moved to the top floor of “South” (3B). He’s a new arrival and so lives out on the main recreation floor on the bottom of multi-tiered bunk beds until such time as a cell just a few feet wide opens up.

south 1

Pornchai Maximilian Moontri was supposed to go there as well, but that somehow failed and failed again and again. We will see how that works out or doesn’t in the future. They’re working on some serious matters at the moment, so this disruption makes communication between the two much more difficult.

Prayers for success for what they are working on is much appreciated. Hail Mary…

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“New Phase” – Pope Francis recalls reconfirmed Missionaries of Mercy

MAFIA OMERTA

Since the very beginning of Pope Francis’ “Missionaries of Mercy” project there were indications that there would be progressive phases to the activities of the Missionaries of Mercy. With the present reconfirmation of some – I’m guessing most – Missionaries of Mercy, now mid-2017, there was again mention of a “new phase.” So far, this refers to the encouragement of the Missionaries of Mercy to get off their back-ends so as to provide opportunities for celebrations of mercy, this time with the added faculty (now five total) detailed on Arise! Let us be Going! previously.

mafia

I surmise that it was planned that by this time there would be a total of six special faculties, but all the hoops that civil and ecclesiastical penalties were not yet readied or were finally considered impossible. I’m referring to the desire of Pope Francis and his special two-fold Church and State commission to study and then, if possible impose the excommunication of those convicted by the State of mafia-esque crimes. You don’t impose a medicinal penalty unless you have at the ready a way to deliver the medicine. I’m guessing that the Missionaries of Mercy would be involved in revoking any such excommunication and the absolving any related sin. That might be the case if the revoking of an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See. I’m guessing that this would be the case since mafia-esque crimes often involve multiple ecclesiastical territories, even multiple countries.

The Missionaries of Mercy are required to attend a formation get-together in Rome shortly after Easter 2018. I’ve already arranged some lodging at a guest room of the best Benedictine Nuns in the world. I’m eager to return to the Holy City where I’ve spent so very much of my life.

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(5) Missionaries of Mercy: “New Phase” guidelines for giving a penance

adoration

The directive to the re-confirmed Missionaries of Mercy concerning providing penances to penitents for the “New Phase” of the Missionaries of Mercy phenomenon is this:

“Regarding the penance, I would strongly recommend that it be such as to truly assist the full conversion of the penitent.”

Mind you, the penance is always meant to be medicinal. The penance mentioned here is not the normal penance, but for sins so serious that a great deal of medicine is needed for much healing. Sanctifying grace heals immediately, but our Lord wants to continue to work with our minds and hearts and wills and the most profound reaches of our souls.

When last in Rome for all that which regards the Missionaries of Mercy, I had the opportunity to consult on various difficult questions regarding, say, the faculties given. I am thankful for the many and lengthy discussions I had with the Apostolic Penitentiary, particularly about penances to be given for such matters. Such penances, spread out over time, involved time before the Most Blessed Sacrament. Why? Because…

It’s all about Jesus!

ALSO SEE:

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(4) Remission of Censures: How to do it (Missionaries of Mercy “New Phase”)

confession general absolution

General Absolution before battle.

In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving  this instruction on the remission of censures (emphasis is in the letter itself):

“Regarding the remission of censures, it is sufficient that the Missionary use the regular formula of absolution, which remains unchanged, with the intention of absolving from the censure. However, if it would bring greater peace to the penitent, the Missionary may, before pronouncing the regular formula of absolution, absolve the penitent from the censure by pronouncing the specific formula proposed in Appendix I of the Ritus Poenitentiae. (In this regard, it is advisable to consult the version of the Rite of Penance used in your territory).”

Appendix I is very short, merely providing the formula:

  • Potestate mihi concessa, ego te absolvo a vinculo excommunicationis (vel suspensionis vel interdicti). In nomine Patris, et Filii,  et Spiritus Sancti. / Amen.

Of course, if one uses the traditional formula, this formula is incorporated into the rite with some conditional words (“inasmuch as I am able” and “inasmuch as you have need”).

Obviously, all this refers ONLY to the internal forum, and therefore, for instance, only to those censures which have NOT been publicly imposed on an individual. Therefore, for instance, the Holy Father’s proposed excommunication of those members of the Mafia who have been convicted of Mafia-esque crimes by the State and subsequently declared to be excommunicated would not fall under the jurisdiction for absolution by a Missionary of Mercy unless he was otherwise granted that extra faculty, it being assumed (we will see) that such an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See.

Also see:

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(3) Missionaries of Mercy: “New Phase” from the Holy See (Amoris laetitia internal/external forum guidelines?)

Missionaries of Mercy reconfirmation

In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving this excellent monitum (emphasis is in the letter itself):

“I would like to remind you that the Ministry of the Missionary of Mercy is limited exclusively to the internal forum. Thus a Missionary is not competent to enter into questions or measures which are the competence of the external forum.

This is a stand alone paragraph in the letter. There is no other context or references given. I have to wonder if this implies a partial answer to the dubia of some Cardinals presented to Pope Francis regarding the interpretation of various difficult passages and notes in Amoris laetitia.

If anyone had the idea that any notes of anything such as in Chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia indicate that it is possible in the internal forum (Confession) to permit a notorious and unrepentant grave sinner go to Holy Communion – whether that impression about anything in Chapter 8 is correct or incorrect – they should note that such is now no longer the case, if it ever was.

Of anyone, a Missionary of Mercy is encouraged, it seems, to permit that which the Church has never permitted, but not only is this not the case, but here we see that the Missionary of Mercy (and therefore all priests) are forbidden to extend the effect of the internal forum to the external forum, providing infamous “internal forum solutions” (condemned many dozens of times by the CDF upon inquiries over the past decades).

Also see:

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Missionary of Mercy’s “Forbidden Joy”

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Joy in the Lord is not forbidden in the Catholic Church, but I recall being thoroughly condemned by the bitter crowd much in the same way that David was condemned by Michal: “As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Saul’s daughter Michal looked down through the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16 nab).

There is much for which we must rejoice with an abundance of mercy:

“The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; he King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. I will remove disaster from among you, so that none may recount your disgrace. Yes, at that time I will deal with all who oppress you; I will save the lame, and assemble the outcasts; I will give them praise and renown in all the earth, when I bring about their restoration. At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; For I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, When I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the LORD” (Zephaniah 3:15-20 nab).

I tend not to bow to the scolding of those who forbid joy in the Holy Spirit.

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Pope Francis’ Missionaries of Mercy preaching hell: “age inappropriate”?

fatima children hell

It’s July in the Fatima Century. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima said:

“Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Lucia continues the account: As Our Lady spoke these words she opened her hands once more, as had during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now following back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.

hell is real

It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me do. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”

*     *     *

pope francis fatima

There are those who think that it is not only lacking in mercy but a downright aggression to mention hell in preaching especially if any children are present. Of course, kids are able to take in a great deal of reality of how things really are, and adults merely use children (that’s an offense) to attack any mention of hell that they, the adults, don’t want to hear, knowing themselves to be guilty of that which may well bring them to hell unless they go to Confession.

Our Lady doesn’t pull any punches, but for the benefit of all tells it and shows it like it is. Great. That helps us to say: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

I often say that kids often save their parents as parents should want for themselves what they want for their kids, eternal life. I think we will also be surprised in heaven (please God we make it!) to see that it is the prayers of the little ones which saved so many adults.

When preaching about any topic whatsoever, it’s all about how you do it. If the scene, if you will, included the love and security provided by the Holy Family, that makes all the difference. Jesus and Mary love us so very much. There is bad stuff around, but Jesus and His good mom want us in heaven!

By the way, as it is said, there is perhaps no other Roman Pontiff in the history of the Church who has mentioned hell and the devil and exorcism more than Pope Francis. So, what’s a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis to do?

Look: Jesus in the Gospel pulled no punches about telling people about hell. Jesus was extremely blunt in telling people that they WILL go to hell unless they change their ways. Telling people the way things actually are is the greatest mercy.

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Two thumbs down: “The Confession” – otherwise voted Best Short Film of International Catholic Film Festival

Begin rant: /// Cold as ice. Torture chamber. Shouldn’t force the guy to turn himself in or speak to the family. The priest is not a police officer. He’s not a shrink. He should have found out what “accident” meant, yes, but no more than that. The guy was guilty for getting drunk, for driving drunk, for the evil he committed while driving drunk, for hitting the guy, for running away and leaving him for dead. The priest should have given him a penance that he knew he could do regarding his resources (very often a really bad idea as people are vulnerable at that time and will say they can do something when they can’t) and his time left to live and his health capabilities (probably he was ready to die in very short order as he was hemorrhaging right there). The priest should have anointed him for that matter.

It’s not ever about the priest, ever. Period. It’s about Jesus. About Jesus’ mercy. Wow, he is totally lacking in his formation. He shouldn’t be working out his own problems, however far reaching, with his penitents. Would I have compassion on the priest if he came to confession to me? Sure. Great. But appraising this B.S.? Well, it’s B.S.

People think that compassion is telling people that there is no sin, that there is no forgiveness for sin if it’s a real sin, so just tell people that their sins are not sins and so don’t ask forgiveness or be forgiven for those sins. Is human niceness better than God’s forgiveness? No. That guy was actually guilty of a hit and run which could certainly could have killed someone, and that’s also a sin even if later he thinks that the guy didn’t die (though he did). That doesn’t make it any less serious. If you fully intend to kill someone but they somehow live you’re still guilty of murder before God for having made the attempt. Make the analogy with lust, as Jesus says that a man who lusts after a woman in his heart is as guilty as the one who actually goes after the woman.

The message of the film is that you really can’t be forgiven for real sin. This is the absolute worst message that could be given. What? Jesus really didn’t die to forgive our sins? His death, His standing in our place to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is just a damned lie? Really? That’s the message we should give? No.

There is so much wrong with this whole film. You can let people know that something is a sin and that they did sin in a big way, but let them know the completeness of God’s forgiveness. That’s what’s healing. Not psycho-counseling. It’s all about Jesus’ love, and Jesus’ love is something, someOne in which, in Whom we can rejoice. Really. This isn’t hard. But it seems no one knows about true mercy. True mercy involves Jesus. Does anyone know Jesus anymore? Is it all just a mind game?

Also, now that I’m ranting, I hate the attitude he has with the woman, laughing to himself at her. What a jerk he is. Does no one see what a proper reprimand should be that brings people to rejoice in the love that our Lord has for us? /// O.K. End of rant.

So, why the rant? Because I’ve met so many priests just like this, those who play mind games and make their emotions into prayer but no more than emotions. They can rationalize anything. It’s horrific to watch them and what happens to their parishes. Ships without rudders. Blown by the winds. Aimless. No identity.

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(1) Missionaries of Mercy reconfirmed: New list of faculties…

pope francis confession

The decree itself is spectacularly elegant with raised seal and all. The accompanying letter lists the particular sins reserved to the Holy See but which may be absolved by the Missionary of Mercy. These differ slightly but importantly from the original list.

Here’s the original list:

  1. profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose;
  2. use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff;
  3. absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue;
  4. a direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.

The second list, valid now and into the future indefinitely is as follows. It repeats more or less verbatim the list of four, but then adds a fifth, expanding on the fourth:

  1. Profanation of the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose.
  2. Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff.
  3. Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment.
  4. Direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
  5. [1] The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (whether real or simulated), or [2] the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication. (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Decretum de sacramenti Paenitentiae dignitate tuenda, 23 September 1988 (AAS 80 [1988] 1367).

This last, new addition, is double-barreled. The conjunction “or” is rather significant. The mere recording without any divulgation is already enough to commit a sin reserved to the Holy See for absolution (and now the Missionaries of Mercy). A person who comes across such a recording but did not make it, but does make the divulgation is also committing a sin reserved for absolution to the Holy See or to a Missionary of Mercy. Of course, these two actions usually go hand in hand, committing the first so as to commit the second. Thus:

I could easily see a bitter Catholic media personality with an ax to grind against the Church going to real Sacramental Confession and confessing real sins which everyone knows about but which are considered and proclaimed to the whole world not to be sins by the impenitent “penitent” journalist, so that he is just baiting the priest to say whatever, so that he, the journalist, has something to rant about on the radio or on television or in the newspapers or internet, using the confession, whatever direction it goes, as fodder making the Church the butt of jokes during the morning commute. This is actually a problem in France, where such nauseating cowardice is a national pass time. Of course, the sins need not be real to incur the wrath of God and the need for absolution lest one risk going straight to hell. Fake sins don’t make the mockery any less incisive.

But what of the case of someone who is just a bit slow in understanding, and makes a real recording of a real confession to a priest who is his hero as that priest has helped him so very much, making the recording for his poor memory and only for his own edification, not divulging it? Take that same recording of that same person and say that he then put it up online because he wants to share his joy with the world for the edification of all? Actually, he needs to confession for the first and then also the second if he does that too.

And then what about the person who fakes like he has a recording of what was, in fact, a Sacramental Confession? He lies about it, saying that he has a real recording, and makes up content, using it for blackmail and extortion. That’s falls under this rubric as well. I can see it now, lawyers and accusers looking for easy settlements from bishops who just might throw money at anyone and everyone who says that they don’t like the advice they got in confession. The bishop or anyone connected with him cannot ask to hear the recording and so don’t know if it’s real or not. The priest can’t defend himself in any way. It would never make it to court, but this would basically re-bankrupt the Church, with the lawyers and accusers saying that the church is mocking the victims by excommunicating them with their evidence, bullying them. They would then get settlement money, you know, to make it go away even while priests are once again thrown out of ministry for life.

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It’s the exclamation point! Greetings! UPDATE…

charlotte diocese holy redeemer

Instead of taking that as a death notice to the parish – humanly speaking, it is – the parishioners and I, before the Lord, instead understand this to be a challenge. For the record, I say: “Cool!” Humanly speaking, this will bring us to bankruptcy in the foreseeable future. But we’ll have to see what Divine Providence has for this smallest and most remote of parishes in these U.S.A. Graham County and Cherokee County are this year vying for the absolutely most impoverished territories in N.C. (civil statistics) which is saying something. This only energizes me. But we’ll see what the Lord has in mind. Our first response is adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Greetings to Jesus!

UPDATE: A number of people have offered to help with the shortfall. Please don’t. Not yet. I want to know the intentions of the Bishop. I’ll see him Tuesday week.

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Zed for TSW

Fr Zuhlsdorf has a good intro at WDTPRS to Fr Gordon MacRae’s latest at TheseStoneWalls:

Recommended online reading at “These Stone Walls”

Please run, don’t walk, to These Stone Walls, the blog of Fr. Gordon MacRae, unjustly jailed and innocent of crimes against minors.

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“Once upon a time” – drugs & druggies

fairy tales

Starting off with “Once upon a time” means that it’s just a fairy tale. We all know that fairy tales only happen in fairy tale land in a time warp not belonging to our own. So, having said that:

Once upon a time a priest saw that the drug trafficking in the rural territory of his tiniest of all parishes was once upon a time skyrocketing. He knew that it wasn’t his responsibility to do anything about the drug problem other than to lead people to Jesus. He knew that others had a more direct pragmatic responsibility. But in that regard, there was once upon a time that he had to wonder about all the once upon a time incidents that were taking place once upon a time in fairy tale land:

  • Once upon a time not quite a couple dozen kids, many of them minors, all tripping out on cocaine, were under the supervision of a certain person in that certain person’s house, and the whole lot of them were caught. That particular person was transported nicely for questioning, at the end of which, within I think two hours, said person was let go. That’s it. Never happened. Once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time a certain person was caught with perhaps less than 150 kg of cocaine, or even more[!], but then enjoyed the “fact” that it never happened. That’s it. In my once upon a time opinion a thin red line was crossed with that one, you know, once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time it was made made known in fairy tale land that budget constraints (there are so many budgets in so many regions in fairy tale land) meant that there is no way that known once upon a time drug houses would ever be closed down, because, at any rate, such things all belong in the category of once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time, certain persons began to act as if they were above the law, thinking that they could get out of anything at any time for whatever reason, you know, things like recklessly endangering the lives of others, you know, once upon a time.

Backing out of fairy tale land, said priest, having a secret time-machine by which he travels back to reality (the Heart of Jesus) which uses a secret time-warp (the Hour in which Jesus draws all to Himself as He redeems us upon the Cross), said priest, I say, wonders again what to do about all this, and concludes that he should involve the very once upon a time perps in real evangelization of the once upon a time criminals. I have to wonder about that priest. Sounds like he’s a real donkey of a priest. Surely imprudent. It probably won’t work. But it reminds me of Jesus, who called twelve Apostles, all of whom, like all of us, crucified the Son of the Living God with their sin, original sin and their own, Jesus thus using the very criminals to evangelize. Hmmm. It still sounds imprudent to me. And all the Apostles ran away just at the time all the criminals were being helped out the most. It must be a fairy tale, once upon a time.

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O.K., those are words, now for actions!

The editor of our Catholic Newspaper sent this note to myself and my fellow Missionary of Mercy in the Diocese of Charlotte:

Fathers, your work with us for the Year of Mercy was recognized with a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association for Best Coverage of the Year of Mercy, among all large diocesan newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for your contributions that helped our print and online audiences go deeper into Church teaching for the jubilee year!

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Amoris laetitia officially published in Latin in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS) – Still a dialogue, not any kind of teaching

From paragraph 4:

Quapropter aequum iudicavimus Adhortationem apostolicam post-synodalem conscribere,quae sententias colligeret duarum proximarum de familia Synodorum, aliis additis considerationibus quae cogitationes, dialogum vel pastoralem actionem dirigere, et eadem opera animum erigere, concitare familiasque iuvare earum in muneribus ac difficultatibus possint.

Since it is all as ambiguous as ever and I have absolutely no idea what it means in the least, I will continue to adhere to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church throughout the centuries, such as we find in the Sacred Council of Trent. Period.

And that’s all the thought I’ll give to this. As it is, I’m late for my “day-off” and much, much more important things than unhelpful confusion. To those who are upset with mere vacuousness, listen up:

  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Jesus, who is God.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Scripture, both old and new Testaments.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Tradition spoken to us by the Holy Spirit and to which we listen as if it were given to us by hand (quasi per manus as the Council of Trent put it in its first dogmatic decree of April 8, 1546).
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church, including, for instance, Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and the great Councils throughout the history of the Church.

At the judgment, we won’t be able to blame anyone’s “dialogue” for our moral failure if we go ahead and use “dialogue” as an excuse to reject Jesus, Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. Period.

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Excommunication of Mafia by secular courts? What’s this about? Anecdotes…

MAFIA OMERTA

“Hello Fr. George: I had a doubt if excommunication of mafia is also extended to those co- cooperating directly or indirectly by running  illicit businesses like gambling dens and bootlegging. — With prayers [Priest friend from India]”

We’ll have to see the language, which I imagine will be quite filled with legalese. As it is, more than fifty prosecutors, bishops, United Nations representatives and victims of organized crime have just tried to come up with a new legal doctrine concerning “the question of excommunication for corruption and mafia association.” “New” is right.

The novelty in this is that Pope Francis is seriously thinking of moving forward on entirely handing the Church’s own judicial processes of imposing excommunication over to the State regarding the Mafia, so that the opinion of the State as to the guilt of someone in, say, racketeering (a conviction), is what effectively imposes and declares the excommunication. Or is there to be an “administrative process” in some Vatican “Pontifical Council for the Excommunication of the Mafia” whereby the poor fellow has his State conviction rubber stamped by some Vatican office worker? What a sick joke against both justice and mercy. This seems to be insanity, real evil, putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

mafia

The State is often the enemy of the Church in various countries. What do you do if you are a kind of Henry VIII and you have a troublesome cleric like John Fisher or a troublesome Chancellor like Thomas More? Just trump up charges of racketeering and the poor fellows will be not only be convicted by the State but also excommunicated by the Church based solely on that secular conviction. It’s no longer Saint John Fisher but damned John Fisher. It’s no longer Saint Thomas More but damned Thomas More. The Church would no longer has any voice in the public square with this kind of pressure for ecclesiastics to be sycophants of the State. The U.S. Department of State is having a celebration, along with so many governments in other countries.

But there are so many insurmountable problems that I doubt Pope Francis will be successful in moving forward with this kind of legislation for State sponsored Catholic excommunication, this delegation of investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing to the State. If he is successful, I can only imagine the immediate wholesale convictions of racketeering followed by death sentences for church leaders in countries that are terribly annoyed with the Catholic Church (and there are many which are just that violent). And what’s the Church to do if all those church leaders are also said to be excommunicated?

Some important personal anecdotes:

(1) For quite a long time I lived in the same house as the head legal liaison between the Italian Department of Defense (Ministero della difesa) and the Holy See. He approached me with the request that I agree that he might arrange an assignment for me as pastor in a parish in Southern Italy so that he might better deal with the Mafia in that region, my anti-Mafia activities apparently being known to some. I knew exactly where he was going in the conversation and got him to admit easily enough that his purpose was to go ahead and put listening devices in my confessional box so that they might have evidence to convict whatever mafia went to confession. The Mafia do go to confession, but not with the purpose of being forgiven, but so as to shut the priest up, for the priest would then feel obliged by the seal of confession even if he otherwise heard the information outside of confession as well. This liaison was quite blunt about this, quite open, even telling me the procedures they use to set this already well established policy into practice. This happens all the time. In these USA the FBI has done this numerous times in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. I asked him what would happen if I actually did my bit as a priest and did not give the mafia guy absolution, but told him to get his wife and kids and skip the country taking nothing with him so as to get out of the mafia altogether and then get absolution elsewhere. The response was that I would, of course, be shot right through the confessional screen. Of course. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): none whatsoever.

(2) A good “friend”, one of the very top anti-Mafia investigators in Italy for DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia) wanted me to spy for him on who else but the Cardinals who are resident in Rome. He was offering me all sorts of favors toward this end, even putting local law enforcement at my beck and call, regardless of how long I might take them away from their duties. The thing is, I did know very well and have been in the houses and various main offices and back offices and off to the side offices of many of the Cardinals. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): None whatsoever.

(3) A bishop in southern Italy, a close friend with no fear in publicly and continuously denouncing the mafia in his diocese, was threatened with death numerous times to no effect. Finally the mafia, in this case the ‘Ndrangheta, got a hold of the Pontifical Family to pass along the message that if the bishop was not moved by the next morning he would certainly be found dead. He was moved to another diocese that very night. In other words, the church revealed that it will not back up the pastoral initiatives of those who stand up against the mafia, but will just do the expedient thing, showing what respect there is for actual courage: none whatsoever.

(4) A mafia priest, a pastor in a large parish in the western region of Rome, has constant contacts with the Pontifical Family, making personal visits. He’s got many of the big political mafia bosses in his parish. They are taken care of very well by the parish, favored members of the parish. What does that say? (I did try to do something about this at one time. Response? None whatsoever that I know about.)

(5) My own case worker (let’s call him J.J. for short) in the U.S. Department of State surely has everything to do with this legal conference of Pope Francis and is likely the instigator and provider of legal language for much of it. He has everything to do with the law, with the United Nations, with the Hague, with this kind of legal maneuvering by teams for or against individuals on an international level in such manner that international relations between countries are affected. I smell a rat in all this. There is a difference between the Holy See and the Vatican, a difference which, if not protected, will bring damage to Vatican City State fairly quickly. This conflation of prosecution of the Mafia by Church and State could well be a precedent. This effort has been going on for many years in many ways also by way of powerful ecclesiastical figures who bow down to those at the United Nations and other diplomatic / legal organs… Maybe the legalese will provide a way out of this conflation. Maybe not. We will see. What are the tangible benefits? None whatsoever that I can figure out. Everything can go wrong; nothing and no one is better off with this sort of action. Quite literally this would set up the Holy See / Vatican City State for extortion by the U.S. State Department, forcing what the DoS would call “policy” decisions, or assignments of bishops, or whatever. Not a good position to be in.

(6) A little test of all this before any promulgation of any decree by Pope Francis might well be in order. What I have in mind is to […].

(7)  I should mention the Archdiocese of Malta, where C.S. resides, and also the little town of Salem, New Hampshire, USA, where E.A., “thick as thieves” with C.S., is continuing to serve out his prison sentence…

Et cetera

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Excommunicating the Mafia – part 2 – Missionaries of Mercy to absolve?

You have heard that it was said that Pope Francis is intent on excommunicating the mafia, you know, more officially than did Pope John Paul II back in 1982. You can see how scared Marini was in back of him, surely thinking they were going to get shot on the spot. As it is, the mafia was killing priests, threatening the Cardinal of Palermo, executing judges, and doing all their horrible protection rackets, prostitution, drugs. At the time, at least in the Archdiocese of New York, it was forbidden to provide the sacraments or funerals to the mafia. Now, I don’t know. Perhaps it wasn’t “officially” done by JPII and Francis wants to make it more “official.” There are plenty of mafia priests around, especially in Italy, but elsewhere as well, certainly in these USA.

Maybe Pope Francis will make the excommunication something only the Holy See or Missionaries of Mercy can take away. We will see. I have some stories to tell along those lines which involve the Italian Military and the Holy See, with me right in the middle of the whole thing. Perhaps this is what inspired the brain-stormers, you know: “Let the Missionaries of Mercy be put on the spot.” Fine. Whatever.

It is imperative that a bit of thought goes into advice for those absolving such things. I would not recommend that any priest be allowed to do this. I recommend that the possibilities for absolution are made known at the same time as the excommunication, which is supposed to be medicinal, right?

Unless things have radically changed in Rome over the past number of years in regard to the mafia, I would guess that no one has a clue what the political maneuvering is really like. I will try to write more on this, also to Archbishop Fisichella (my boss in this matter) and Pope Francis.

Perhaps it might be thought that my little parish is out of the way and inconsequential in this matter, but, in fact, it is because it is perhaps the most remote place in these USA that the mafia is to be found in abundance, along with, unknown to each other, those in witness protection.

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Filed under Confession, John Paul II, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off

sunset-

The magnificent sunset nearing home after a super happy day-off yesterday. About 95% of the day was spent with the sick and shut-ins in the twilight of their lives, many of them living in far-flung places, with Sassy the Subaru putting on hundreds of miles. I love a “day-off” like this, sooooooo happy to be a priest.

There are plenty of people, however, who have a bitter reaction to priests getting a “day-off”. They may wish to read Mark 6:31-32:

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”

That’s called a “day-off”. Jesus recommends it. Having said that, we move on to the next verse (Mark 6:33), because text without context is pretext. So, let’s see what a “day-off” is actually like:

“People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

Yep. That’s what happens. I love it. Jesus is so very good and kind. He directs all through his beloved flock, who say things like: “Did you hear that so and so is terribly sick today as well?” This is when the “breaking of the bread” means that the Eucharistic Host is broken to be smaller and smaller. They love that Jesus would come to them riding along with a donkey-priest. As Saint Augustine said: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” (You are a donkey, but you carry Christ.)

But then I had a few minutes to spare at the hermitage, so, sorry, but, of course, I just had to relax a little as well. A donkey has to be a donkey once in a while. Triple taps drawing from the holster, trying to draw, point and shoot all three within three seconds. I don’t have a timer, so I assume I’m slow, perhaps 2 1/2 seconds. That’s an eternity in combat. Any suggestions for a timer? Here’s a magazine’s worth, which means five draws with three shots each:

target 3 taps-

And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

target 3 taps

Real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I’ll be the first to admit: this was fairly close range But for me it’s pretty good. It seems that the less aim is taken in favor of muscle-memory pointing, as it is said, the greater the accuracy and certainly the less anticipatory over-compensation for any muzzle-flip. Still, if there’s any risk of a bystander being hit, I’m thinking I would like to combine the point with the aim a little bit. Again, real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? The best shot in the world humbly says that his ultra-perfect aim is nothing special, as anyone would be as good as him if they also threw out a million rounds. Um… I haven’t done that…

Anyway, I just have fun doing this. And it’s not like I wasn’t also answering the phone pretty much constantly. Three shots out, another call. Three shots out, another call. But it’s all good. Shepherds love to hear the bleating of the sheep. As it is, I also bleat quite a bit, and The Shepherd always hears my voice, and, at least sometimes, I hear His.

Oh, and, by the way, don’t think that guns and shooting wasn’t part of the conversation with all the sick and shut-ins that I visited with Jesus. You have to know that Western North Carolina is armed to the teeth. People can move seamlessly from talk of armed combat to the arms of spiritual combat without blinking. I am humbled to walk frequently among the saints of God.

By the way, I make my own targets with poster-board and 3/4 inch sticky dots, mapping out the dots at 4″ intervals so that there are 35 dots per poster-board. Once one board is mapped out, another can be marked on the edges using the same measurements. Easy. Only takes about two minutes for the whole thing. It’s a lot of shooting for one target. The problem is that the targets are not moving, and there is no mayhem. But I have a solution…

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Follow-up on Father Gordon J MacRae’s health: great news.

GORDON MACRAE

Last week the post Fr MacRae’s request of Padre Pio: help! was published here and on Father Gordon J MacRae’s Facebook Page. That got 915 shares as of this writing, with quite a good number those people being pray-ers. This was a request for Padre Pio’s help. There is news. This morning during our usual hour-long telephone conversation, I asked Father Gordon if there was any news on the health front. Here are some notes of what he said:

  • My neck is substantially better.
  • I can use my right shoulder.
  • The pain is gone entirely. I can move my head more than I have been able to in the last number of years.
  • And the lump has receded enormously.
  • And we have not yet been moved.
  • Padre Pio came through. I thanked him last night for coming through.
  • Thank everyone for all the prayers. Their prayers are very efficacious.

So, there you have it. Now, I have another few requests:

  • Thank Padre Pio for coming through.
  • Continue to ask Padre Pio about the resolution of Father Gordon’s situation.
  • And please, please, say a wee prayer for each other, as I’m afraid that quite a number of you did up some extraordinary prayers and sacrifices for Father Gordon and need a bit of support from each other as well. Hail Mary…

Thank you all for showing Jesus’ goodness and kindness to Father Gordon.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Requesting Martyrdom edition)

flores papist

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

That’s today’s Gospel. Jesus is commanding us to ask for the grace of martyrdom, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest love, how He loved us. That’s the logic of that passage. Inescapable. Totally. This is what we are to ask of our Heavenly Father. I’m guessing that that request would make our dear Mother Mary most happy.

The flowers I put up for this post are in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception at the rectory. They are yellow and white, the colors of the Holy See, a tad bit Papist of me. Yes. This really makes people angry. It makes Islamists upset. It makes ultra-traditional-ism-ists upset. It makes the filthy liberals upset.

It is most Catholic to support not only the idea of the office of Peter (which support, cut off from Peter himself as so many do, is a heresy for the reason that the Church is founded on Peter and not on a mere idea of an office), but it is also most Catholic to support Peter himself, his very person, which filthy liberals, ultra-traditional-ism-ists, Islamists, etc., are loathe to do. I take a lot of heat for supporting the very person of Pope Francis. And that’s just fine with me.

Just because one is supporting Peter himself doesn’t mean that one is supporting everything that Peter says. That would be absurd. Peter himself wouldn’t stand for it. I couldn’t care less if Peter bets on a certain horse for the Kentucky Derby. I’ll bet on my own horse, or actually not bet at all. But I will pay attention when the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ speaks not just for himself but as the head of the Catholic Church, and not just to some group or another or as part of some dialogue (such as is the case with Amoris laetitia), but when he is speaking to the universal Church, to everyone, and as a teacher, not a mere participant in ongoing dialogue, and also, conjoined to this, when he speaks on a matter of faith or morals as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (or in the natural law for that matter), especially when this is deciding a controverted point.

But not only. I will also pray and stand in solidarity with Peter to the point where I feel that it is true that he who insults Peter insults me. Indeed, he who insults Peter insults Jesus who established Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built. He who insults Jesus insults me. Why? Because Jesus did the same for the likes of horrible, sinful me. Thank you, Jesus.

But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, I’m aware of that and about a million other things you haven’t even thought about. I know. And so I ask: “So? Does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? That I shouldn’t be a good son of the Church? Does it mean I can’t do my best to be the best priest I can be, teaching the best I can, praying the best I can, encouraging the best I can? I stand with Peter. I’m Catholic. I’m a priest.

 

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