Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Communion Call and lots of water


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The other world comes to my parish because its the end of the world

dog among the pandas

The dog among the pandas is immediately, unmistakably recognizable. Right?

There are those who live in the day to day world, a surreal world unknown to be such by those who dwell there but known to be that way by those of the other world.

Then there are those who live in what they call the real world though they know that their other world is more surreal than the supposed real world of the day to day world.

We have a lot of day to day people in the parish. I like that. They do what they need to do to get through life and be on their way to heaven, come hell or high water, with all the sickness and death and drama and joys and sorrows that we all know. Good.

Because the parish is so very tiny, anyone from the other world stands out. All such individuals try to hide, but to no avail. If they were just newbies or those passing through from some other day to day world, they wouldn’t stand out. We would just notice some new faces and invite them to the social after Mass as always. No biggie.

But those who are, instead, from the other world stand out because they try to hide. They know they are different. They would like nothing more than just to be another soul in the day to day world, longing for this. They try too hard. Who are they you ask?

The parish is at the end of the world. There are lots of ends of the world in the world. They are all crazy places, like the end of Cape Cod, or Key West, or San Francisco. But here we have an out of the way place which isn’t crazy. Just day to day. And that’s what attracts those from the other world who are trying to hide without all the craziness. If only they didn’t try so very hard they would be alright.

  • There are high-value witness protection beneficiaries with escort.
  • There are those retiring out from specialized intelligence operations with escort.
  • There are those from the Department of Justice and other such agencies and companies just taking the scenic route between northeast VA and D.C. and, say, Atlanta.

You can always but always pick them out. It’s like seeing a liberal Catholic nun out of her religious habit. They never know how to dress. They always look odd.

  • The women come in wigs and big sunglasses, always with an escort who is obviously tied to them but is obviously not family, sitting elsewhere but nearby, always within line of sight, always in a pew directly across an isle. The women look totally spooked, totally shattered, totally in a different universe. One woman said to me: “They know that I have the right to practice my religion, to go to Mass.”
  • I’ve only once come across a man who had a handler, who, as always, was obviously tied to the guy but was obviously not family, sitting elsewhere but nearby, within line of sight in a pew directly across an isle. The two came in and exited thirty seconds apart. After Mass the one guy started talking with me about what was happening with him, on his way from a stint as an expert of assistance in GTMO. He was totally shattered. Totally devastated. He soooo just wanted to be in the day to day world once again. Then his CIA handler came out and heard what he was saying to me. What ensued was not a good scene, not a good scene at all.
  • Then there are the others just on their way to somewhere else, but still trying way too hard not to be noticed. It is almost comical with them. It’s like a uniform: jeans, but pressed, with creases, a button down shirt and a sport coat to hide the “carry,” a five day beard. Just too perfect in their slumming. No one does that. But them.

The first time I noticed anything like this was 25 years ago in a tiny parish church belonging to the Archdiocese of New York, but way up in northernmost reaches of the Archdiocese. Four men I’ve never seen previously came in together, all about forty years old, all sharply dressed with their sport jackets in the summer. There were only like eight others for the daily Mass so they could have sat anywhere together. But no. They chose a pew toward the back, as always, and spread out right across the the church. They were typical FBI, as described above (always the same, like Mormon missionaries!), but, as I was soon to find out, they were pretending to belong to the Moonies cult that had their largest institution in North America just down the road from the rectory (an old Christian Brothers School). They came to Mass a few times always in the same fashion, and then one day introduced themselves to me, inviting me to go to Russia as their special envoy, working with Moscow, but right across Russia, to adjust their policies on the exercise of religion. I told them how much I had tried to bring an end to the Moonies in that little town, but they tried hard not to let that phase them. They said that this was different. They wouldn’t take no for an answer. This went on for months, once every couple of weeks or so. Finally they gave up. But forever after that, I noticed special visitors trying not to be noticed, at least until they might introduce themselves with their otherworldly stories.

Some don’t introduce themselves, of course. They especially look to be trying way, way, way too hard not to be noticed. There was one lady recently for whom my heart broke. She had the usual wig and over-sized but not too dark sunglasses. She had an ever so typical handler. But it was the look on her face. Oh my. It’s like a Nazgûl Ringwraith sucked her soul right out of her. I prayed for her. People go through an unbelievable amount of hell in this world and they are really from this world and so desperately want to be in a day to day world but feel stuck in another world, unrelatable to the day to day world, not knowing which one is surreal, in a maelstrom of confusion. Sometimes it’s just all too much.

You would think that it’s so bad that in that other world we could crucify the Son of the Living God.


But we’ve done that in our own day to day world. Get it?

We disguise ourselves even to ourselves to pretend we are of the day to day world when instead we are from that other world. Yep.

When will we stop running?


Filed under Intelligence Community, Missionaries of Mercy

Re-post: Francis the Lutheran certainly to the left, and “Fr.” George Byers, “Novus Ordo Priest,” not quite right


[[Originally published December 6, 2015. I’m re-posting this for the sake of my Internet Stalker guy. Heh heh heh…]]

I’m happy to be mocked with you, Holy Father, all for the Year of Mercy.

Sometimes I’ll follow links to Arise! Let us be going! back the blogs/websites that put them up. This picture is from a sede-vacantist site. They did a photoshop of Pope Francis, making him into a Lutheran Pastor, since they think he is neither the Bishop of Rome nor any kind of bishop. They found this picture of yours truly who knows where. It was from my time in the hermitage. At least it’s not the infamous chainsaw and crucifix picture! :¬) The vestments were made for me by some good ladies in a parish North of Toulouse when I was a chaplain in Lourdes. The seminarian taking this photo was cursing and cursing and cursing yet again, since the camera lens was no good, making for a shimmer effect he thought was most inappropriate in attempt after attempt. He’s right of course, unless that’s my guardian angel next to me!

But, seriously, “they say” I’m not a priest (note that scare quotes around “Fr.”, because I’m what they call a “Novus Ordo Priest”, and therefore invalidly ordained, they think). I didn’t even know there was such a creature as distinct from any other. I do know that the traditionalists at the Second Vatican Council, a small number, but they were there, wanted only two things to change in the entire liturgy, and both had to do with the ordination of a priest. They wanted the newly ordained priest, who has just concelebrated his ordination Mass (yes, that’s right, it’s said somewhat alta-voce so they can recite all the words of the Canon with the bishop) to drink from the Precious Blood (which he does not do in the “Tridentine rite”, and thus his “first Mass” truly is the next day), and they also wanted the ordinand to be anointed with Chrism, not merely, so to speak, with the oil of catechumens. So, not even Chrism… And there’s a silly story of how that came to be. I’ve written on that before. Does that all make “Novus Ordo Priest” ordinations more better, so to speak? Sigh…

Anyway, this “Novus Ordo Priest” was the one who reestablished the traditional Mass in Lourdes after a hiatus of many decades, celebrating Solemn High Mass for some 7 to 8,000 people in the Basilica of Saint Pius X, with weekly Sunday sung Masses in the Immaculate Conception (upper) Basilica. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who was the one to start up a course of traditional liturgy in the Pontifical Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, with “liturgy” referring not just to the Mass, but to Baptism, Marriage, Confession, Exorcism, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who brought stability to the offering of the traditional Mass midway between Sydney and Melbourne. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who, as far as I know, came up with the Missionary of Mercy idea in regard to the regularization of the SSPX already six years ago, which would have worked in conjunction with extraterritorial properties, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who… well, I could go on, but one gets the picture, so to speak.

As for Lutheran Pope Francis (according to these sede-vacantists), well, I am almost envious of this treatment. Why not put me in a Lutheran Pastor’s collar? I’m German Lutheran on my Dad’s mother’s side. And, as is noted on the sede-vacantist website, which is bereft of any sense of mirthful irony, I like to cite the Hier stehe ich thing. Why not picture me with some Jewish Pe’ot (my mom being of the Jewish race though with Catholic faith), or whatever? I feel left behind. Kicked to the peripheries. I don’t feel the love! So, from Saint Cyprian:

“Finally, the Apostle, speaking of charity, unites it with endurance and patience. Charity, he says, is always patient and kind; it is not jealous, is not boastful, is not given to anger, does not think evil, loves all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. He shows that charity can be steadfast and persevering because it has learned how to endure all things.

“And in another place he says: Bear with one another lovingly, striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He shows that neither unity nor peace can be maintained unless the brethren cherish each other with mutual forbearance and preserve the bond of harmony by means of patience.”

Let me address these sede-vacantists directly: I’ll have to work on what Cyprian says. Join me. Saint Thomas Aquinas has it that there is no other motive for division in the faith than hatred. That really shocked me when I saw it, but, of course, it makes perfect sense. Thomas was perhaps the greatest interlocutor (dialogue master) in all that is interreligious (as in the Summa contra gentiles). And you hold us “Novus Ordo” crowd to be a different religion, don’t you?

I’m happy to be mocked with Pope Francis, but not happy that someone would want to mock anyone in the first place. So, finally, here’s my question to you guys on the sede-vacantist side of things. This is what I want to know, and this goes right to heart of the matter…

Is it not true that we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with our sin, original and otherwise? You. Me. All. And is it not true that the Son of the Living God redeemed all of us, though we are not all to be saved? The upshot of that is that we have to be a bit more serious about all this, don’t we? Otherwise, it is all a bunch of self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethian, neo-Pelagian cleverness, all the one-up-man-ship with which Saint Paul got fed up. He did the same thing I did in this post, bragging away to no good end, except to show that all such bragging is useless as all is nothing if not done through, with and in Christ, instead of just for ourselves and those we try to impress.

There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism, as Pope Francis said, yes, in the Lutheran Church. It was Saint Augustine, was it not, who said that he was in anguish until all such separated brethren were back in the fold? He called them brothers. We are brothers, are we not?

Whatever I said about any Roman Pontiff going too far, such as Sixtus V, my hero (a statement I don’t retract, by the way: see the Hier stehe ich thing), but I must say that I’ve learned a great deal from Pope Francis. He has shaken me to the very core of my being in these past weeks. I think I understand him now. I’ll be getting to that in some other posts about Matthew 16 and 18 and absolute truth. I think you’ll be interested.


Filed under Ecumenism, Lourdes, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood

Very Rev. Vicar Forâne & my day-off


My new Very Rev. Vicar Forâne (not sure of the spelling of that title: forane? or is it perhaps for âne?), always rightly concerned about the welfare of the priests in the vicariate under his ever watchful eye, insists that “days-off” be just that, days-off. For instance, I mentioned that I might get in an hour of shooting on a day off and he immediately complained, reprimanding me that that is hardly enough time for any kind of serious distraction and that I should put in many hours of target practice with the courses that I use. I love that. Lol. So, O.K. I have a bundle of “inside bottle” targets to bring with me to practice up on the pre-2001 FAM course:


However, I’m going to do lots of drills first. I always lose points on the first stage, drawing from a concealed holster and firing just one shot in a zillionth of a nanosecond, often getting one in but the second required repeat ending up on the line or just outside. No good, that. But I now know why that’s happening and I’m eager to fix it.

The other drill I really need to work on involves drawing from a concealed holster turned away 180 degrees and firing at three targets 7 yards away and three yards apart in a zillionth of a nanosecond. Two of those will usually be dead on, but the third will be just outside the “nervous system bottle”. I don’t have the arm movements down yet…

The six-in-a-row in a zillionth of a nanosecond also isn’t great compared to the double taps, the latter usually dead on.  I figured that out as well and want to fix that.

At any rate, the only excuse to do supererogatory work on a day-off, our new Vicar Forâne said, was if someone asks for some good Samaritan help. Well, that’s already happened. The neighbor of the hermitage is running out of wood, so I promised I would get my chainsaw in good order and bring my ultrasupercool gizmo sharpener with me. We’ll see how much destruction of the dead wood of the forest we can bring about.

Oh, and about the spelling of that title. I guess it’s reminiscent of the Vicar being the guy with the Blessed Sacrament, and the donkey being one of the subjects under his ever watchful eye:

donkey blessed sacrament


Filed under Day Off, Guns, Missionaries of Mercy

Should I feel guilty? Nah.


Sundays can be busy days for priests. Yesterday was about 16 hours non-stop. Rush, rush, rush. Besides Adoration at both campuses and Masses at both campuses and then the social, there were Communion calls to be done, just nine, but spread throughout the counties of the parish as far away from each other as possible, throwing Jesus and myself up into the heavens, as usual, on the tops  of the mountains. Above is the usual panorama I capture for the blog, this time changed in appearance with the various levels of cloud cover. I’m happy that the biggest parish in North America (in Charlotte) is helping this smallest parish in North America with the mileage reimbursement.

Just because this is the smallest doesn’t mean not busy. But let me give you an idea of small. To say that our 8:30 AM Mass had a half dozen people present would be an exaggeration. Not that many. The 11:00 AM Mass had perhaps 25 individuals. Our Spanish Mass the night before did better, but I fear that was due to a delayed party for the festivities of the end of the Christmas season (40 days). That feast is a really big deal with our Latino community. As it should be.

Anyway, when I chase about on Communion calls and see the beauty of the Lord’s creation with the Lord, I also think of the suffering that we also have on this side of heaven. I should feel guilty being in the good place where I am, but I don’t. Our Lord is our Spiritual Director. He knows what’s good for us, how to have us trust in Him. He knows that right now being in this parish doing these things is good for me. Hey! I’ll take the good when I can in preparation for growth (and that’s also especially good), whatever that might entail. My internet stalker guy thinks my being in this parish is a colossal waste of time. But, last time I checked, Jesus doesn’t have to ask my internet stalker guy for permission to throw me about anywhere He wants. Jesus is the One. The only One. It is Jesus who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen.

P.S. I’ve been redacting the next chapter in Jackass for the Hour, which touched on some rather sensitive security issues at the Vatican and its extraterritorial jurisdictions. I’ve removed a paragraph altogether, not because it was wrong, but because it was all too right. And I’ve come to learn much more about all that, from the inside-out, as it were. As I was doing this editing, other incidents came to mind, not only about the Holy Office, but with various of the Gendarmes and posts. Sigh. Things are never as they seem. I’ve come to the conclusion that, well, I’ll keep my mouth shut, for now. Anyway, that editing is the reason for the delay in putting up another chapter. Later today, I hope, the next installment will be up.


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy

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

don pino puglisi

Blessed Father Pino Puglisi, killed by the Sicilian Mafia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Troppe cose conosce… padre…” [Bang!]

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


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

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

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

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

Or is there another way?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Peripheries are beautiful. Where are backsides of the beyonds? Violence?


Gorgeous! Stecoah Gap, just one of the places where the Appalachian Trail crosses a major, that is, actual two lane road[!] somewhere in the backsides of the beyonds in one of the three counties of my parish. Within living memory, what is today a two hour trip here, say, from the greater metropolitan Asheville, would take, back in the day, many days or even a week or two of grueling travel on a one lane, merely oil sprayed gravel road everywhere destroyed by tree roots bringing it up and pot holes and total washouts bringing it down. Even in my tenure at this parish in our own time I learned the advantages of carrying a chainsaw with me, having used it on seven different occasions to remove trees from the roads in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone signal available. Three different roads I travel regularly have been totally taken out with multiple landslides or have been buried with landslides. One of them, still closed, needs the entire mountainside to be secured. That’ll take a good year or so.

Visiting priests tell me that they appreciate the beauty. They also tell me that, in their opinion, almost no priest would ever want to be here, that is, in the imagined opinion of those straw men, about as far away as is physically possible from everything and everyone. Maybe “big” parishes have a draw, I don’t know, as in power or ladder climbing, or money, being someone. Of course, I wouldn’t want to put that judgment on my fellow priests. Those are, again, all straw men. I’m guessing that what they would really be saying is about greater opportunities for service. But what someone actually does is, of course, arbitrary, regardless of where they are. I can’t imagine not loving everything about the mystical body of Christ wherever our Lord is to be found.

At any rate, having grown up in the backsides of the beyonds in the North Woods of Minnesota I feel right at home. Here’s a google map image of my stomping grounds. Long time readers might guess that it is across this body of water that I was the target of incoming rifle fire on multiple occasions with perhaps a dozen shots or so on each occasion (all 300 yards), not far from where our entire family was shot at a half dozen times with I’m guessing just bird-shot bbs of shotguns, the distances starting at just 200 feet and ending at 350 feet, firstly in the trees above us, then right at us. The spray was then hitting us, but we were far enough away that there was no penetration. But you could feel it hit through Winter coats. My mom was hit in the head a couple of times. “Ow! Ouch!” she exclaimed. But she did have a polyester hat on, typical of that time. My dad said, “Don’t run, just keep walking really quickly.” A psychological ploy. For my part, I turned and faced our attackers, saying that I was going to go and deal with them right then and there, with no weapon. I was only twelve years old. My dad insisted that that was a really bad idea.


Hey! Just like big cities! So, where are the peripheries, in the country or in the city? Cities can be glimmering, shining. The country can be stunningly entrancing. Pope Francis speaks of the darkest of existential peripheries. Where are those?

Here’s the deal: People are the same at any time, in any place, in any culture. All need the goodness and kindness and truth of the Lord Jesus. Just like me.


Filed under Guns, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

“Jesus Confesses” – Giving my cynical Internet Stalker profiler guy a chance to come clean with the mafia

Jesus confesses

This was a gift from the artist who wants to remain anonymous. So, I’ll claim the copyright on this, lest it be misused to hurt the Church. (C) 2018 George David Byers. Hey! Note the flag of Saint George!

I have much to say about the above drawing. I’ll bide my time. I have to rush off to do some Missionary of Mercy stuff.

For now, I’ll leave you with some words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who is a canonized saint. And then some words of Hilaire Belloc. And then an invitation regarding some Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations (RICO).

“Jesus is the Word Made Flesh. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross. Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass. For the sins of the world and mine. Jesus is the Hungry, to be fed. Jesus is the Thirsty, to be satiated. Jesus is the Drunkard, to listen to him. Jesus is the Drug Addict, to befriend him. Jesus is the Prostitute, to remove from danger and befriend” (Mother Teresa: Meditation in the Hospital [summary]).

To put it in the words of Saint Paul: Jesus became sin for us.

Anyway, on to the irony without which there is no Christianity:

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

Now, for RICO and my Internet Stalker guy: I need some help, some advice, and you really a quite clever. Prove your good faith. Help me figure out how to bring about in a way that actually might work for all involved what Pope Francis wants to do with the medicinal penalty of automatic / declared excommunication for the RICO crowd.

  • How do you move from a State conviction to an excommunication, you know, legitimately?
  • How do you have, say, Missionaries of Mercy, lift declared excommunications and absolve crimes without making penitents and the Missionaries of Mercy into targets because, you know, they know too much? I would hate to leave this to anyone else either in Rome or in whatever local church as becoming a target should be a volunteer mission (as in Missionaries of Mercy).
  • How does one sweep for listening devices, it being that the FBI, CIA, DEA, BATFE, DOJ, et alii, really really really would like to listen in on such confessions and have been known to bug confessionals previously (twice that I know of in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York)? This being for undeclared excommunications.

Just to say, the Italian Military liaison to the Holy See actually invited me to be appointed to a parish in Southern Italy admitting to the possible bugging of my Confessional in that parish for the purpose of going after the RICO crowd, admitting as well that if I didn’t play the game of absolving a local mafia guy by insisting he first go into hiding elsewhere I would most likely be shot right through the confessional screen by that mafia guy who was simply using the confessional to put the local priest (to whom all things come) under the seal of confession.

Here’s the deal. Interest has been growing in this topic of late in and around D.C. and North-East Virginia. I’m guessing something has been put in front of Pope Francis. I’m guessing he wants to present something to the Missionaries of Mercy after Easter this year. I’m guessing it will be insufficient. I’m guessing I would like to work something up a bit more nuanced from the confessor’s angle and send this in beforehand.

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Filed under Confession, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

Jesus goes to Confession

confessional jesus

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

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

confession jesus

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

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

confession sacrament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Yesterday was really cool. I made a “General Confession.” Yikes!

pope francis confession

FIRSTLY, make the distinction between General Absolution and General Confession.

  • General Absolution is validly done with the mandate of the local bishop in special circumstances when there are not enough priest for individual confessions and there is some imminent deadly event about to take place, such as for soldiers who need to respond to a surprise attack in the throws of war. They make a quick examination of conscience, an act of contrition, and intend to go to individual confession to confess their sins if and when (as soon as possible) that they can do so. This does not include big parishes with few priests, or pilgrimages with large numbers of people. The absolutions for the latter circumstances are invalid. Get that? Invalid. Moreover, people who say that like this absolution of a crowd thing really don’t like it at all. Let them do it a few times and then they’ll stop. They know it’s just wrong, vacuous, not what Christ or the Church or their souls want. They just stop going even while they lie about how nice it is. Then they stop going to Church. Just that simple. Go to Confession. Go to individual Confession. You’ll continue to go to Church. You’ll continue to go all the way to heaven.
  • General Confession is another thing altogether. It is not for everyone. It might be hurtful to the scrupulous. It is not for them. It might be helpful to some people. For instance, those who are about to get married, or enter the seminary or religious life, or be ordained or profess vows, or become bishops or someone elected to be bishop of Rome. They all might want, with renewed contrition and thanksgiving for Jesus’ forgiveness, to confess past sins which were already forgiven, not to be forgiven more (that would be heretical), but to give to Jesus a more apt sorrow for past sin, more apt because they are now, thanks be to God, hopefully a bit closer to Jesus and, from that perspective closer to Him, can have that more apt sorrow. This is really very wonderful. I did that yesterday. Very cool indeed.

SECONDLY, make sure you are ready in two ways:

  • Do an examination of conscience.
  • Confess with a priest who goes to Confession himself, who loves Confession, preaches about the joys of Confession, who is happy that you would like to do a General Confession.

THIRDLY, make it easy on yourself and your Confessor. Remember the four words beginning with the letter “C”, thus, the four “Cs”. Be…

  • Clear… Don’t use ambiguous words like: “I kinda, well, you know, like that” because in saying that the priest won’t know what you’re talking about. If you say something like “I struggle with impatience,” the priest won’t know that you confessing a sin. He might think that you virtuously carrying the cross of your weakness well. Just confess sins.
  • Complete… You must confess all grave sins in kind and number and circumstances which add more sin or change the gravity of the sin. “I killed an old man” is not the same as “I killed my dad.” “I committed an impure act” is not the same as “I’ve been committing adultery weekly for two years, destroying both families.”
  • Concise… Priests DO NOT want to hear useless details. No congratulating yourself. No making excuses for yourself. No confessing the sins of other people.
  • Contrite… Having confessed your own actual sins clearly, in kind and number, make an act of contrition which necessarily includes a firm purpose of amendment. If you intend already in the Confessional purposely to continue committing sin, then you are not contrite and you cannot receive fruitfully any absolution you might otherwise have tricked out of a priest.

FOURTHLY, be thankful, joyful.

Oh, and, by the way. I didn’t make a General Confession because of any foreseeable life change like becoming a bishop. ;-) I just did it because I love Jesus and I want to go to heaven.

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Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

Pope Francis and an FBI guy on interrogation – torture sessions and Catholic Sacramental Confession

torture chamber

Pope Francis has made it clear that he doesn’t want Catholic Confessionals to be torture chambers and Interrogation Rooms, as if there was a difference for any in the Intelligence Community. Narco-interrogations can be real torture – bringing on the most intense pain bearable just this side of death – if you know how to ask questions the right way:

interrogation room

I’m guessing that 100% of priests agree with Pope Francis on that one.

Anyway, a Catholic FBI guy spoke to me recently about the kind of interrogations he would like to see conducted on entire classes of people, you know, shall we say, complete and coerced confessions. The FBI doesn’t mess around when they want to do interrogations, pushing the envelope on so many levels and in so many different ways. Call it torture? Enhanced interrogations techniques?

What surprised me about this was that he compared this to Catholic Sacramental Confession, saying that their methodologies bring about a cleansing of the soul. Hah, I wonder if he thinks that his little polygraph sessions he himself has been happy to go through are some sort “soul cleansing.” It is to laugh, or cry, really. The guy is Catholic.

Here’s the deal: in Catholic Sacramental Confession the emphasis is not on sins (though they are indeed to be confessed in kind and number and important circumstance), and not on some sort of psychological catharsis, but rather on the joy of being forgiven by our dear Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

And oh, I entirely disagree with Pope Francis. The Confessional is always and each time to be a Torture Chamber and Interrogation Room, well, that is, you have to know that Jesus has done this for us, taking our place, here…

Jesus Pilate Ecce Homo

… and here:

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

… now having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. But, Pope Francis knows that. The FBI apparently does not. The FBI has nothing on the Romans, nor on that Jewish Good Guy, Jesus, who does it all by love, by being in solidarity with us.


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Filed under Confession, Intelligence Community, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Ignace de la Potterie, S.J., my friend, defender of those beyond peripheries

ignace de la potterie sj

Father Ignace de la Potterie, S.J.

As I put up some chapters of Jackass for the Hour, difficult but good memories of Ignace de la Potterie, S.J. flood into my heart and soul. Father Ignace was by far one of the most astute biblical scholars of this past century. As with all Jesuits, he struggled a bit with the Catholic faith, but then, with the friendship and encouragement of others, he converted to be a believing Catholic. I got to know him at the end of his life, when he was in reminiscence mode, when he was looking for a priest and biblical scholar who was also actually Catholic, and with whom he could share his frustrations and his desires for the good of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. There were many he met daily who instead spent their time attempting to destroy the Church in whatever way they could. He was trying to distract himself by writing frequently for the Catholic journal Famiglia Cristiana.

Although someone – I think an American – had already tried to assist him with one project, translating at least some of his work on Luke 1:28, he turned to me to do this again with a revision. As this comes to mind again, I have renewed purpose. That little opus has had a profound, very far reaching effect on my academic life, on my spiritual life.

don dolindo899435824..jpg

Father Dolindo Ruotolo

Other than this, it was only after many discussions that he shared with me his real passion at the end of his life, namely, to bring some justice to the memory of don Dolindo Ruotolo aka “Dain Cohenel”. He knew and accepted the fact that Father Dolindo was an amateur in all things biblical, as we Pontifical Biblical Institute zombies like to say about everyone who does not sport a degree from this institution as we do. And yet, the bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit for more people than just a few snooty academics like us. There is room also room in the Church for those who want to pay attention to the faith and morality of the Church, who expect reverence and devotion from their pastors, who desire to lead others to Jesus and to heaven. Right? And if those souls are backed into a corner by those bullies who would shirk their duties of pastoral leadership in favor of being popular, well, there is also room in the field hospital of the Church for those who are hurting from bullies, from those who arrogantly flaunt their faithlessness, even if, mind you, even if those who have been bullied lash out a bit in their anguish. Those who are their pastors in whatever way are to have patience with them, and show them a bit of goodness and kindness and encouragement, changing their own ways to be more faithful if need be.

Father Dolindo’s treatment by the Holy Office is a source of wonder for those who know the story. It was the extreme nature of the bullying which grabbed the attention of Father Ignace. There must be more to the story, thought he. And, indeed, there is. Almost no one alive in the world today knows the story, though they think they do. But they do not. They cite all sorts of documents with furrowed brow so as to beat down anyone who would go near this diminutive priest. Father Ignace, at the time of his conversion, decided to do up a little investigation. He shared with me the results of his travels to Naples and his research on this diminutive priest. This sparked my own interest. This was yet another priest thrown out beyond the peripheries by the untouchable powers that be.

When I raised some questions about Father Dolindo to those untouchable powers, I was told about the filing cabinets in the Congregation for Bishops (of all places) dedicated to him, and that there were plenty of people still upset with him for a comment he had made about the fidelity of the Holy Office way back in the day. Although his cause has begun at the Congregation for Saints, it demonstrates the kind of politics involved that the Congregation of Bishops are surveiling just who it is among the episcopacy that support Father Dolindo (who died not quite 50 years ago). In fact, there were many who pulled me aside to tell me just how entrenched the emotions are still today. Those who were warning me to keep my distance included a range of simple priest-officials of various dicasteries to cardinals, from long time friends of Father Dolindo and Father Ignace to the most ferocious enemy of Father Dolindo. That latter fellow is still alive.

But more than this, Father Ignace provided me with a copy of the controversial document that Father Dolindo had written. Outside of now just a copy or two remaining in the world locked away in some archive in the Congregation for Bishops and the Holy Office and a few others, I’m guessing that I’m about the only other person in the world with Un gravissimo pericolo. Comparing that to what the Holy Office said, I am quite appalled by the treatment of this cast off priest by the powerful ecclesiastics of the day. I tend to go with the underdog. I should like to publish this document with that of the Holy Office with a running commentary.

I think I should do this both as a biblical scholar and as a Missionary of Mercy.

I can hear the objections pouring in already:

  • “He was an obscurantist! An idiot! He didn’t understand!”
  • “Have you seen how he unapologetically cites the Fathers of the Church?!”
  • “He criticized the Holy Office!”
  • “He’s a simpleton, a priest in a remote parish! Poor! Nobody!”
  • “Who does he think he is?! He’s not like us! The nerve!”
  • “He didn’t like us!”

No, really. I’ve heard all of these even from princes of the Church.

Other similar tantrums follow about me if it was suspected that I might try to do something with Father Dolindo, such as:

  • “Just leave us alone!”
  • “We’ll destroy you!”
  • “We’ll make sure you won’t be able to publish!”
  • “No promotions for you!”

Blah blah blah. What I like about Father Dolindo is that he wanted to bring people to Jesus. That’s a lot. That’s not to be discounted. Jesus is the One. The only One. Father Dolindo knew that. Not everyone knows that, especially those who should know better.

Just to say, there are two difficulties militating against Father Dolindo:

  1. He understood the kind of textual criticism of the bible that was sanctioned by the Council of Trent in its decrees of April 8, 1546, one of the few, the others being (finally) Saint Robert Bellarmine, Leo XIII, Saint Pius X. This is the one thing that would undo completely the false ecumenism of ignorance of truth that is so pervasive today. This is the real reason for the attacks on his person.
  2. Envy. Here’s the deal: Father Dolindo’s massive commentaries on Scripture utilizing the Fathers of the Church and which ran for many thousands of pages were being snatched up all around Italy and internationally. Bishops were buying entire sets of his works to give as gifts to all their priests as examples of how to preach. Father Dolindo touched the hearts of true pastors by touching the Sacred Heart of our Lord.

It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. The only One.

It is not the persecutors of Father Dolindo, but rather Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

P.s. If you have any doubts about the purity of heart and agility of soul of Father Ignace, just read this fantastic work on priestly celibacy, which I used in teaching in seminaries on various continents:


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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy

The luckiest priest in the world


The various seasons of the year here in the mountains lift me up into the profundity of all that is ever ancient, ever new, Him who is ever ancient, ever new, the Creator of creation, Jesus, who wants us to be like the littlest of children so as to enter the Kingdom of God. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit autistic, but I like doing things such as counting the ridges on the mountain chains when they have a light layer of snow on the trees. I count 25 vertical ridges in the picture above. I’m amazed at things like light and darkness. The scene below grabbed my attention. Brrrrrrr!


Bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to the shut-ins is always a great joy. He’s my companion while wandering through His creation. I love it.


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Nature

Caving to my Internet Stalker extortion deadline. Arise! Let us be going! Look, my betrayer is at hand!

gethsemane sleeping apostles

Here are some snipits of some missives from my Internet Stalker guy:

“I shall soon stop writing to you. But before I do I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to correct your statement that you attributed to me. Saying that I said ‘all priests should resign in protest at Pope Francis’. You know I never said that. This is a false allegation and I would request that you withdraw it. If you refuse to correct that statement then I shall consider my next step which is to […] I give you one week to correct the injustice of your false statement.”

First of all, I don’t know who you are, Mr Internet Stalker guy. It’s pretty brave of you to make demands by way of extortion with your “next step” when you don’t even identify yourself. How can you be offended when you don’t even say who you are?

And, previously:

“You said that I said all priests should resign in protest at pope Francis. Now why would you say that? You know it is a lie. Why would you lie? You know I never said that. Are you used to lieing?”

I like that spelling of “lying” by this super-intelligent guy, who writes “lieing” so as to emphasize the word. He’s trying to speak both to the Apostles sleeping (in context, as we’ll see) and to untruth. Anyway, we continue, and this time he is denying he could be the Internet Stalker guy. Going back in time with his comments:

“Your stalker guy must be very bad to demand that priests should resign in protest at pope Francis. Who would suggest such an evil notion?”

Who indeed? We continue, going back to his original demand (though not his first comment by far) that all priests in good standing resign in protest against Pope Francis. Let’s see what he says. I’m skipping the parts in which he attacks Pope Francis since error has no rights and my Internet Stalker as an Internet Stalker has no rights. [My comments in red]:

“Hi, I have read a bit about about your background. This helps me in making comments. I should be more understanding. You were probably born after Vatican II. [That’s just baiting. Instead, see: My Internet Stalker Guy apparently doesn’t know this about Jesus and me. Anyway, I find it interesting that he doesn’t say that he’s read my entire blog since inception, which would be assumed to be the case in regard to an Internet Stalker guy, but rather that he’s read about my background, which assumes other sources of information. That I find most interesting. It really is quite revealing.] So you have no idea how far the Church has drifted from its core ethos. [He speaks of the Church as no longer being in touch with “its (sic) core ethos,” thus revealing himself to be a heretic. “Ethos” refers to mere human custom. And that is exactly what some of his comments reflect. But, instead, the Church as the Church is always the Immaculate Bride of Christ. Period. If you can’t distinguish between some in-name-only members of the Church and The Church, or between some non-infallible dialogue and ex-Cathedra pronouncements, you are just another hypocritical protéstant.] Nevertheless. It is a fact that Francis is changing Church dogma, which he has no right to do. [My Internet Stalker, heretic that he is, claims that Pope Francis can actually change the doctrine of the Church, change the truth, which the Pope has not done. The Pope has spoken about “dialogue” which is not teaching. That the Pope cannot change dogma (if he did he would make himself God, but God cannot change the truth either) is a matter of faith essential to being Catholic. It’s called infallibility.] […] Tell yourself I’m right. [Umm… No. Your tantrums do not the truth make. Might does not make right.] You are leading the good life as a pastor. [Wow. What sarcasm about Jesus who would have his priests be pastors. This is hatred of Jesus and the Church. So, I’ll say this: I do love being a priest. But that’s not what he especially means. He wants priests to resign in protest against Pope Francis. For my Internet Stalker, priests in public ministry in good standing are necessarily hypocrites because to remain in public ministry means that one has not made enough waves so as to be forced to make a resignation or worse. That’s the only honest thing to do for the Internet Stalker guy as we’ll soon see.] But are you really, really following Christ? Are you not just swimming with the tide? Why don’t you support Fr Wineandy? [Father Weinandy was forced to resign. And, at any rate, I have supported Father Weinandy, and this guy has researched this if we are to believe him. See: Father Thomas Weinandy: Thank you! Hoping Pope Francis reinstates you, a post which I’ve written about at some length here: My internet stalker’s impossible litmus test: damned if I do, damned if I don’t. So, obviously, supporting Father Weinandy is not enough. Resignation in protest against Pope Francis by all priests in good standing in active ministry is the only way for my Internet Stalker.] Are you looking for a comfortable life?. Are you like the Apostles who when Christ returned the third time found them still sleeping? Are you sleeping like them? [If you think he’s being a bit repetitive here, it’s for a reason. He’s reminding me of the title of my blog, which are the words of Christ in reprimand to the sleeping Apostles: “Arise! Let us be going!” My Internet Stalker guy is making me out to be some sort of Judas for still being in public ministry and loving being a priest, purposely continuing to sleep, as it were, making me not just a drowsy Apostle, but Judas himself. My Internet Stalker guy doesn’t realize that the words which immediately follow this admonition of Christ to the Apostles are about Judas: “Look! My betrayer [Judas] is at hand.” My Internet Stalker guy makes himself the voice of Christ, Christ Himself. But it is Judas who makes himself Christ by raising his heel against Jesus as Jesus said at the Last Supper. But Jesus is the one to crush the head of Satan with His heel. But Judas thinks that Christ is Satan. Meanwhile, Judas is possessed by Satan at the Last Supper. The ironies are rife.] Don’t defend or support a bad Pope [Such commands! I guess for my Internet Stalker guy the Pope is the High Priest paying off Judas whom he supposes to be me if I keep on sleeping on purpose:] just because he was nice to you.” [So, I’m to direct my priestly efforts against Pope Francis until I am forced to resign in protest against Pope Francis. Otherwise, I’m to be condemned as a hypocrite, a sycophant, someone looking for thirty pieces of silver, for the Pope to be nice to me. If you didn’t know, hypocrites and sycophants, who for the sake of human respect effectively deny Christ will be denied by Christ and condemned to hell. But, perhaps, now, in stepping back from all of this, perhaps Judas and my Internet Stalker are the same. After all, he wants to effectively kill me off, and this is, in fact, what his threat is all about, to effectively kill me off. Not with blood mind you. But he’s stated his other means to do this, to take me out by other means, indirectly, but effectively, his extortion.]

In another place my Internet Stalker speaks of supporting the office of the papacy but not the Pope. But this is also a heresy, for the office is founded on the very person of the Pope. What that means is not that the Pope can be fallible regarding dogma, the claim of my Internet Stalker, nor that I would necessarily support some claim made by the Pope that is in itself not a dogmatic assertion but a mere volley in a mere dialogue. What I mean by the ways and means of infallibility is that the Person of the Pope, by divine intervention, will not survive in whatever way an attempt made by the Pope to change the doctrine of the Church (as Pope Benedict has so eloquently laid out for us). To pray for the Pope, to defend his person, is always a good thing, but supporting the Pope is precisely what is forbidden by my Internet Stalker.

If anyone wants to know what I think about Papal Infallibility, all you have to do is read what I wrote about it with extreme precision: Papal Infallibility: The Gospel Truth (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18)

And if anyone wants to know what Pope Francis thinks about Papal Infallibility, all you have to do is read what I wrote about that with extreme precision: Pope Francis gets it right about Absolute Truth

I find the ranting of my Internet Stalker against the person of the Pope to be rather interesting in the wake of the shot over the bow, the assassination of Pope Francis’ incredibly competent “Front of House” receptionist and the child in her womb at the time of Italy’s gay union/marriage referendum the other year.

If my Internet Stalker is who I think he is (a self-admitted contraceptor or by the way), whether a guy in politics, whether someone tasked with profiling, I’d say he’d better know that he is now being profiled by others in politics, by others who supervise such profiling. This goes doubly if my Internet Stalker guy is just your run of the mill average Joe Schmoe.

My suggestion to my Internet Stalker guy is this: even though I’ve fulfilled your extorted demand abundantly in this post and already in others, go ahead and do what you threatened to do anyway. But make sure to associate your actions with your full name and plenty of other distinguishing, unmistakable, inescapable identifiers so that what you intend to do can be traced back to you personally by those who do such tracing for a living. So far, you’ve revealed only that you are a coward, hiding behind pseudonyms. Typical. And note that I have baited you pretty intensely so as to find out who you are, and that is certainly the right of the victim of stalking.

I call you friend, Mr Stalker guy. Christ Jesus also called His betrayer friend, but He also let Judas hang himself. I’d rather you not do that, Mr Stalker Guy. I’d rather you find out that you are not Christ Jesus. I’d rather you find out that Christ Jesus is the One, the only One. I’d rather you come out of the darkest of existential peripheries and know what it means to be a true friend of the Most High. I’d rather you pray for and support Pope Francis.

Arise! Let us be going! Look, my betrayer is at hand!

P.S. As a side note to all this silliness I should provide some background to the title of this blog. It came about when a previous blog (holysoulshermitage) was forced to be shut down altogether by someone in Rome who was offended by the hard truth that he saw there. At the time, I had requested to do some writing after many years of pastoral ministry all over the world, as well as many, many years of academia and teaching all over the world. Being a hermit (really a hermit, with no income other than gifts) by request has its difficulties. Being silenced by a bully immeasurable adds to those difficulties. I not infrequently took to finding culinary delights in unexpected places:


I’ve done that flip many times. I was really good at it. It’s like an extreme sport. I love extreme sports ever since I was a kid. So, mind you, I’m not complaining!

At the time, it was a quiet time. The providence of God, really. Perhaps His permissive will, but He arranged it all. There were some difficult times. But it was mostly a happy time. Especially because I was able to write something about the Immaculate Conception, and for that I’m grateful to Jesus and His dear Mother. What I wrote is the gem of my life, and that was their gift to me, especially at that time.

It is this…

which is based off of this…

Anyway, His Holiness intervened on my behalf. No more dumpsters. It is this favor which my Internet Stalker has pointed out in his missives, precisely this favor which has set the sights of my Internet Stalker against me. I guess he wants me back in dumpsters. Remember what he commanded me?… “Don’t defend or support a bad Pope just because he was nice to you.” But if I was back in a dumpster, perhaps I could write more on our Lady. At any rate, this bitterness of my Internet Stalker is especially interesting in that the one and only thing my Internet Stalker has commented on in a positive way about me regards my disagreement with the policy that does not afford due process to priests. But even with that he says that he was only beginning to think I was right. After all, he affords me no due process: I am guilty of supporting the person of Pope Francis and after that all is lost and I’m hopeless. I’m beginning to think that my Internet Stalker is the one who had me silenced to begin with for the very reason that I support due process for priests. That was precisely, exactly what the silencing was about at the time. Interesting.

At any rate, I’ll tell you this: I would rather live in a dumpster and be faithful to Jesus (and write about Mary) than to do the wrong thing and go to hell. It seems this Internet Stalker guy has been playing the vulture overhead, surveying my blogging for very many years indeed, waiting to take revenge for my promotion of due process for priests like Father Gordon MacRae (About, at TheseStoneWalls). Interesting.


By the way, there are many, many other things I have not commented on regarding the missives of my Internet Stalker guy for the reason that if I did, I would fear attorneys of some rather strident ultra-traditional-ism-ists who seem to think that they somehow stand in the very place of Sacred Tradition and so are ready to litigate anyone who crosses their paths. Not because I’m afraid of them, but I’m busy being a priest. The Internet Stalker guy is a distraction which he will have to answer for. Yet, I have to take care of him as one of my flock as well. He volunteered to be part of my flock. Am I not to search out the sheep who are in the darkest of existential peripheries?


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Vocations

My Internet Stalker’s disgust for LEOs

black lives matter police car

My Internet Stalker guy has a deep disgust with Law Enforcement Officers. His comment, which is stuck in the moderation queue, reflected his sarcastic negativity with Law Enforcement that is so very typical of stalkers. In his comment, he said: “I hope you get the police you deserve.”
The phrase: “I hope you get […what…] you deserve” [filling in the “what” blank with anything] is universally used as a sarcastic, negative statement made in bad faith. This guy hates Law Enforcement in general and Law Enforcement Officers in particular. Apparently he wants them to be bullies and be corrupt and be violent and self-serving. Who would wish this? Who indeed. This should be noted in future for his profile if he doesn’t get what he wants with his ultimatum and extortion to me. Just. Wow.
The thing is, we all deserve hell for original sin and all of our own personal rubbish, but Jesus stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty. Does my Internet Stalker guy also begrudge the generosity of Jesus? Does he want us to get what we all deserve?


Filed under Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy

Isn’t Christmastide 40 days?

Seen during a Communion Call. 

Can you guess the hymn played by this modern drummer boy?


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Homily 2018 01 11 – Dissed obedience


I’ve met and worked with plenty of lepers in my life, of all kinds. One in particular, who was one of the ones actually suffering from what is otherwise called Hansen’s disease, as the gentleman in the picture above. He would sit below an ATM at a bank on Via Nazionale near Piazza della Republica in Rome. I would sit there with him. I would try to convince him to come with me to the Missionaries of Charity who had plenty of medicine for him, but he said he wanted the wounds so as to get money for his family, that this was the only thing he could do. The desire to be cured completely must be immense.

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Internet Stalker upset: I’m not humble

bishop ordination

My Internet Stalker is also upset that I lack all humility. Well, that is true. I do lack all humility. Of myself, I am full of stinking, filthy pride. On my own, without God’s grace, I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God, as have we all. Of ourselves, we all lack humility. But my Internet Stalker narrows this down to a particular. Let’s take a look. He says:

“You also said you could have been a bishop or even an archbishop. Is this humility?”

Well. The truth is humility is it not? There were two occasions.

academia ecclesiastica

  • One was being invited to transfer from the seminary I was attending so to attend the Accademia ecclesiastica, you know, for clerical diplomats for the Secretariat of State for the Holy See (a different authority structure back in the day). The successful candidate would end up eventually being a Nuncio (in a derived sense, a diplomat) of some kind, which at the time also meant ordination to the episcopacy. There was an attempt in South America some decades ago to appoint a non-Archbishop as Nuncio. The local episcopal conference complained that they were being slighted by having such a terrible situation arise amongst themselves. Oh my! So, the guy was made an Archbishop. Hah! My response through the years to the Church diplomat thing was always that I would never compromise the doctrine and morality of the Church; I would never smash someone down for the sake of mere politics, or play politics with listing candidates for episcopal appointments in whatever country. This attitude of mine was rather offensive, to say the least, to those in such diplomatic circles. I was able to successfully avoid being a bishop.

San Callisto-

  • Another occasion was being best friends, quite literally, at least from his point of view, with the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (now deceased). He was very much interested in having me become a bishop and pointed this out to me. Me being me, however, I made sure this wouldn’t happen by having him do something much more important, that is, having him be the second reader for a doctoral thesis on textual criticism of biblical manuscripts, something which, along the way, called into question some various dumbed-down ecumenical initiatives of the Holy See. He was a biblical scholar as well, and was furious with what I had done. I wanted only to do something much more comprehensive for the sake of a profound, true ecumenism. This was politically incorrect at the time. I knew that. But he did something for me which I thought was much more valuable for the Church than me becoming a bishop. He took a chapter of the thesis (250 pages) to the secret archives for six weeks. He was furious. But he had done what I wanted, something I could not do because I had no access. He did. He was able to confirm everything I wrote. Perhaps he put a block on my ever becoming a bishop in my file. I don’t know. I must say, however, that he was constantly training me in about concern for both the Church and the world. Anyway…

I guess that lack of humility, that pride of mine, goes along with what I wrote in this other post about my unstoppable arrogance, or is it enthusiasm[?]: Fr George David “Peter Abelard” Byers I just reread that. What a fright.  ;-)

Of course, what I was doing in avoiding the episcopacy was avoiding something which had scared me to death because I was full of fear at the time. No longer. But what was ringing in my ears was the admonition of Archbishop Fulton J Sheen that becoming a bishop means getting crucified, crucified, crucified. Perhaps Jesus will reprimand me for avoiding the suffering that episcopacy entails. I’m quite happy being a priest way out on the back ridges of the backsides of the beyonds in the unique Appalachia of Western North Carolina. But if the Holy Father asked me, I would do it, you know, be crucified. Perhaps that is said with all arrogance, but, hey! I’m only me. And of my own self, I am, of course, full of stinking pride. Thank God for Jesus Christ who saves me from all of this.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy

My Internet Stalker Guy apparently doesn’t know this about Jesus and me

cardinal burke lourdes

Sacrifice of the Mass I helped to set up as best I could for the soon to be Cardinal Burke when I was a “permanent” chaplain over in Lourdes, France, including being the Traditional Mass Chaplain (for which I suffered really a great deal, not to brag, but just saying how things were and still can be, but that it’s all worth it, of course).

My Internet Stalker guy, who berates me for being young (younger than him!) and having no memories of anything pre-Vatican II (so he thinks), apparently knows nothing about me, or, if he knew it, would hate me all the more for it I’m guessing. He should read these two posts which I published relatively long ago as far as social media goes. And yet I hope that I think he will be inspired by them. Perhaps he will remember good things of his own childhood days and not be so dismissive of Jesus, the Church and priests. Perhaps he will have some hope.

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“Up to now we have done nothing”


“Up to now, we have done nothing.”

  • Are those the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was then crucified? Yes.
  • Are those the words of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, who was then crucified? Yes.
  • Are those the words of a young Colombian diocesan priest doing up some advanced studies in Rome, whose affirmation met agreement with the other Colombian priests sitting with us at lunch at our collegio, for they all personally knew fellow priests who had been taken out by drug cartels, Marxist guerrillas, military or paramilitary operators? Yes.

ak 47

Is there a difference between a priest who receives the stigmata upon seraphic visitation (I love the irony of that, by the way) and a priest, for instance, who, on his way to providing the last rites to a dying parishioner, knowing the dangers, is instead ambushed by the very ones who, with deception, put in the call? No.

But those are all special circumstances provided by the angels according to the will of the Lord. “Special” means not for everyone. What is for everyone is holiness. And the ordinary means of holiness are keeping up with the Sacraments, prayer, and love of neighbor. But I’ll tell you this, if what you are up to in your life involves both love of God and love of neighbor, the angels will assist you in dying to yourself so as to live in God’s love. That’s true for Francis, Pio, the Colombian priests, all of us. This gives us hope. Hope is important.

Meanwhile, my internet stalker, who has not taken back his ultimatum of all priests in good standing having to resign in protest against Pope Francis (the stalker guy especially shoving this in my face in true stalker fashion) believes that the ordinary means of holiness are impossible for those priests who do not resign in protest against Pope Francis. And so we priests, especially me, are hopeless. There is nothing we priests can do, that I can do, no amount of prayer and piety and all good priestly things, that will appease the internet stalker guy short of resigning in protest against Pope Francis. In fact, all good things like prayer and fasting and almsgiving become, for the internet stalker guy, a kind of hypocritical blasphemy deserving punishment of hell.

This is usual modus operandi of stalkers of religious people. The only solution for them is to stop that which isn’t consonant with their now anti-religious worldview which they may or may not realize they have. Even those who do this kind of thing for a living. Ah well.

It is, instead, Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen. And blessed are those show mercy, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are those who provide hope, for they are given hope. Even internet stalkers, even those who do this for a living, can come to know that love who is truth, that truth who is love. Amen.

Some people say, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Well, yes. But this is no troll. Even he deserves mercy.


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