Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death. Then…

last rites

A good friend, an 82nd Airborne Fireman EMT Scots-Irish disaffected Baptist mentioned to me that he just ambulance-delivered an elderly friend of his to a hospital (a new one to me). “He’s Catholic,” he said, adding, “He’s pretty near death.” He told me more about him: “Everything for him is trucks, that was his whole life. He’s pretty crotchety. His parish is […] but we couldn’t get hold of the priest there.” “Just tell me about all those cases,” I requested. “O.K. I sure will,” he said, sorry that he didn’t tell me some hours earlier.

Thinking he might just still be alive, I took off and met this fellow in his hospital room. He was awake, but utterly non-communicative, other than fierce growling noises. He made it clear that he was the most obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death that anyone would ever meet in this world.

There being a chair in the room, I plopped myself down and told him about our common friend. The reaction was for him to be as obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety as ever, though this new information seemed to make him a bit curious. That was my invitation to continue.

Here’s the deal: Never believe obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety. That’s just a test to see if someone can respond in kind (that’s some people’s preferred method of communication and there’s no harm in it), a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing. Anyway…

I told him that Jesus wants him in heaven, that Jesus is just that good and kind, even for him, even for me. Always include yourself in making such statements. It’s a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing.

I walked him through how we would go about him receiving the Sacraments and blessings in the present circumstances, interspersing this with how it is that Jesus wound up on the Cross, taking our place, so that Jesus is deadly serious about getting us to heaven, that He didn’t do that so we could just go to hell. He gave a nod of agreement. So, off we went through a flood of sanctifying grace and hope and being pointed to heaven. Was that just about a tear in his eye that I saw?

As a thanks he tried to express his gratitude, but his impossible voice box and weakened state only made it all sound like more obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety sounds. And yet, these were polite, as it were. And the eyes told the whole story.

My one-time Baptist friend is the best for alerting me for needs for Last Rites. Don’t think that the angels are not at work.

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Filed under Death, Missionaries of Mercy

On dying, death and purgatory

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Allow me to share a couple of stories from the rehab / nursing homes of the parish. This is my joy in life, going to the rehab / nursing homes / hospitals / …

Diane:

I’ve been regularly visiting an elderly lady, Diane by name, at Valley View nursing home for many months. She received all the sacraments and last rites and got all the Pontifical blessings and indulgences. We prayed together some hours previous to her passing on, preceding the rest of us who remain – for the moment – here on earth.

I told her that she was leading the way, that we would soon follow. She expressed some fear. But grace was with her. She took in my words, inept as they were, about being at peace because Jesus has a good grip on her soul, flooded with grace as she was with so many sacraments and the rest. She became so peaceful. She was so very thankful. “Thank you, Father,” she weakly whispered many times. Such a gentle soul. Such a good soul.

As I heard from one of the nurses later, the door to her room was open, as usual, and, across the hallway, many of the residents were eating in the dining room, which also had its doors open. What I report next tends to give shivers to the listeners, with smiles and wide eyes of wonder. As seen from the dining room, a super bright light filled Diane’s room, like the flash of a soul come to life after a long exile upon earth: “The light was so very bright, and filling her room, so bright” recounted one of the residents in the dining room. That’s, of course, when she died. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. Hail Mary…

Marie:

Marie’s good sister, Cathy, is the one who put that sticky note pictured on the top of this post on the door of Marie’s room just as I was about to knock. “No priests allowed” – with a smiley face, mind you. Hahaha. What it means is that I’m not allowed to have a room in the rehab / nursing home and be one way to heaven before anyone else. They want all the sacraments and such so as to be on their way in good order.

There were many visitors there. Lots of laughter, some tears. Marie received a pretty devastating diagnosis. Going back another day, I was greeted outside the room by this new sticky note:

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Not that I’m a “good priest.” Hahaha. You might as well say, “No Father George allowed.” Anyway, this thing about being a good priest quickly turned into a discussion about purgatory, what with me saying that even though I’m so evil and bad, I still want to go to heaven. Miss Marie, as always, is want to say the following:

“Oh, that’s right Father George, just go ahead and go to heaven right now and then end up in purgatory until the. end. of. the. world. Or, you can wait until Jesus calls you and then you can go straight to heaven. Your choice, Father George.”

Stunning, really. Said like a modern day Saint Catherine of Siena who spoke so eloquently about purgatory.

This went on to a discussion about Saint Therese of Lisieux and her desire to go straight to heaven. She was berated by an elderly nun who said that she herself feared Jesus as the great Administrator of Justice and that she expected to be in purgatory. She died before Therese did, and appeared to Therese from purgatory to say that she was there because of concentrating on justice over against mercy. These two go hand in hand. Saint Therese, trusting in Jesus’ friendship, who Himself is eager to be good friends with us, calling us His friends, seems to have gone straight to heaven.

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Pope Francis: Let *us* journey together. What about Jesus?

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

There is no dialogue between Jesus and Peter regarding confirming the brethren in the faith. Jesus commanded Peter that when he converted he would be under constraint to confirm the brethren in the faith. Period. No dialogue. No ifs, ands or buts.

I must be a bad priest, a terrible Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis…

I always tell people to walk with Jesus, to walk in God’s presence, to be bound to the love and truth and honesty and integrity and goodness and kindness of Jesus, all in humble thanksgiving before Jesus, in a reverence of friendship with Jesus, promptly eager to learn more of the love AND truth of Jesus, promptly eager to be faithful, loyal, with purity of heart and agility of soul as we are brought by Jesus to be close to Him, as it’s all about Jesus, with Jesus being The OneThe Only One, whose loving truth is stronger than our weakness, stronger than temptation, stronger than our darkness, stronger than our feeling distant from God, stronger than death, so strong that in loving Jesus we will keep the commandments, as He said. In one’s weakness one learns to thank Jesus for His overwhelming strength. This is about love and truth.

I never tell people who are already believers but just feeling a bit weak to go ahead and sin, thus putting themselves on some sort of journey. That would throw one into ambiguity, confusion, with lack of clarity bringing zero hope of change for the better, always being smacked down into depression and despair every time one wants to follow clear truth in Jesus and clear morality in Jesus, being told that it’s only and always a journey which never ends, so that we never meet Jesus, never meet Him who is Truth, Him who is Love, but instead we are always to come up with excuses for ourselves in all casuistry as to why ignoring Jesus is best for us who are a journeying people, a people of dialogue, a people incapable of knowing the truth, never being able to keep the commandments, never becoming friends with Jesus, always insulted that we are perpetually lusty thieves and liars who can never change and so we are to give up trying by always coming up with one more excuse, being content with the dark and distressing walk through the peripheries only to be hacked down by others as evil as ourselves, or hacking others down because, in the always unending dialogue, it just is what it is.

As a confessor, a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, instead of finding excuses for sin (which is solicitation by the way), I’ve always instead found that presenting Jesus’ love and encouragement is the way, the only way. Jesus is the way. He’s our truth. He’s our life.

In all of this I have NO IDEA what Pope Francis teaches, what he wants. Nothing. It’s always and only contradictions. It’s kinda good one day. It’s all BS the next. Nothing. Even the something is nothing as it’s then mocked with a contradiction. What to do?

What to do is to not give that maelstrom a second thought. Don’t go near it. Leave it be. What we must do is to be close to Jesus, keeping up with the sacraments. We must be holy. We must be saints. We must go to heaven. And… and… it is a great joy, a profound joy to be with Jesus, to thank Jesus. He truly is the One, the Only One.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

What do you even do as a priest?

That question is sometimes asked with the cynicism of someone afraid to know the answer. The question is not about Adoration and Confessions and Masses and whatever of other sacraments. The question isn’t about meetings, opening the mail, checking phone messages. All of that is dismissed as unimportant.

The question about what a priest does refers to “the rest of the time”, which is, in this logic, dismissed as even more surreally ridiculously unimportant than all the rest. Visiting the sick and shut-ins, those in the emergency rooms and ICUs and hospital rooms and nursing homes and rehabs just doesn’t count, you know, for the reason that all of that is not at all anything that they themselves would ever be caught dead doing. Not their scene.

The question is actually addressed to Jesus, to dismiss Him, using the priest as an excuse to vent. It’s a teaching moment, as is said. The teaching, however, is often in the form of just taking the rubbish in silence. The eloquence of that silence speaks through the years, and may be the one thing that will bring the cynic to call upon Jesus, even if only at the very moment of death.

It’s a good thing to be smashed to one’s knees in reverence before the irony of what’s happening. The very Word of our Heavenly Father is silent, and then silenced in death.

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On irreversibly changing the Church

PROMETHEUS

It takes a Prometheanesque power-hungery self-referential arrogant self-congratulator to proclaim that he is irreversibly changing the Church forever. And yet, this is a favorite proclamation of the in-crowd to make. They are the ones. They are the only ones. In their own eyes. How many Cardinals and Bishops and hipster Clergy repeat this self-congratulation.

Such people have no time for Christ Jesus as they refuse to recognize that the Son of the Living God is the very Creator of time, holding all of time in His hands. They are, instead, progressive, never ancient, only new.

But the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is the One who is, who was, and who is to come. In Icons of Jesus one often sees the three letters of the sentence inside the halo that read: The One Who Is, that is, all the time and in eternity.

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Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, ever ancient and ever new, because He is the One who is life, who is love, who is truth. The Church is the Body of Christ with Jesus as the Head and we the members. Irreversibly change the Body of Christ? Who do these anti-Christians, these atheists think they are?

And if you want to walk into the future accompanying each other without Jesus, know what that future has in store for you: Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Those who have denied Him will be denied by Him before our Heavenly Father.

Also, if you want scriptural accompaniment, lets see what happened in the Old Testament for misdeeds so as to smack people down to be introduced to the seriousness of original sin and personal sin so that they would understand what it means when the Messiah stands in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. He was tortured to death. In the Old Testament, people were continuously accompanied with getting stoned to death, with being beheaded, with being enslaved and forced into dispersion and exile. We have to shaken up so as to see that we have a serious situation here. We have to understand this so as to take in what is happening with the wounds borne by the Son of the Living God.

I’ve always told my seminarians and my fellow priests and my parishes that there is a simple discernment one can make of any commentary of any theology, philosophy, psychology, economic system, whatever… and it is this: Does whatever it is help one or forbid one from coming to be in humble thanksgiving and reverence and friendship with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception?

If the commentary is that one must wait millions of years for humanity to vicariously come to closer to the cosmic Christ, a vacuous imagination of ours placed somewhere in the coldest and darkest and impersonal regions of outerspace, then it is wrong.

If the commentary is that one must wait until dialectical materialism kills everyone in order to see goodness and kindness and honesty and integrity, then it is wrong.

If the commentary is that we cannot ever legitimately be in the good graces of Jesus, then it is wrong.

Those who parade themselves as more powerful than Jesus, more powerful than God, who think that walking together apart from Jesus is somehow going out into the peripheries are sadly mistaken. It is that type of condescending arrogance, that kind of dialectical materialism which threw people into the peripheries to begin with. Those thrown into the peripheries by the Prometheans suffer there, with Christ, who is also thrown unto the trash heap. Evangelizing the peripheries?

Those who walk together without Jesus – casting Jesus aside – are walking straight into hell. How dare they think they can cast aside God Himself, saying that His love and forgiveness and His insistence on us following the commandments in love are all bogus, a joke, to be ignored by those who are are wise and clever. I’ll leave them to it.

Much better to have Mary’s good Son revealed to us by our Heavenly Father. Much better to be as little children who are eager and prompt in obedience in all love to follow the commandments, doing the one thing necessary in being forgiven of any sin. Much better to have a future eternity in heaven by being in the state of that sanctifying grace which, as Saint Paul says will turn to glory in heaven. Love endures forever. Much better to be in that love immediately rather than going on and on and on in some blasphemous “accompaniment.”

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Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Spiritual life

Going to Jail

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In one of the many counties of the parish we have a new jail, partially pictured above.

I was able to arrange a face to face with a prisoner. There are a number of Catholics on the inside. If not face to face, a huge exception to the rule – conversations are all recorded by way of video conferencing from the entrance way. But it’s all recorded anyway  even when brought inside for face to face in an interrogation room! If Pope Francis only knew that his Missionary of Mercy is talking to people in actual interrogation rooms! Anyway, face to face is a real help.

My foray into face to face took yet another full law enforcement check on yours truly by the Sheriff, as the DOC is under him and they have to defer to him for such an exception. I think I’m the most checked priest ever.

I must say, everyone at the DOC and the adjunct Sheriff’s Office was entirely and totally kind and helpful to yours truly and I thank them for that.

Perhaps that check was easier and faster than normal since my last massive and entirely absolutely thorough check was spearheaded by the FBI quite recently. I had brought something to the Agency – which preliminaries took some months with various top-level agents – until they then decided to bring the case forward. What that means is that after such preliminaries, and then before they start in on whatever case which looks to have some merit, they do a massive, thorough check on the one bringing the case, you know, because, after all, he could be the guilty party trying to frame someone else, right? So that itself took a number of months. I was told that centers all over the country were involved with the investigation, each specializing in different areas of the law using different methods of investigation. Finally, I was told that I sailed through. So, after even more preliminary questions, they started the case. All I can say is that they are following the case rather closely. :-)

Anyway, the diocese then faxed the DOC a letter of good standing for me to be a volunteer.

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Ars-sur-Formans “Not this year”

There’s been a monkey on my back since last year, 2018, when – out of the blue – I was contacted by Father Patrice Chocholski, Rector of the Shrine of Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney in Ars-sur-Formans. As you know, his famed predecessor is the patron saint of priests, the Curé d’Ars, as far as I know, the only canonized priest who lived and died as a diocesan priest (though even he was also a T.O.S.F.). Sanctity is not easy for mere diocesan parish priests!

Father Chocholski was after me because Pope Francis has instituted me a Missionary of Mercy, and therefore as someone who is given to hearing confessions as much as this is possible. That’s what Father Chocholski needed: confessors! Saint John Vianney spent his life as a priest in the confessional. When people visit the Shrine in Ars they want to go to confession. This isn’t easy throughout the rest of France as there are so few priests, and so few among them hearing confessions. Two to three churches every day are attacked in France. No one speaks of this. The situation is dire.

Having put this to my ecclesiastical superiors, I awaited a decision, and waited, until just the other day. I pushed for an answer given that I would need to start on a religious worker visa, given that airline tickets would soon skyrocket in price for the Summer. A replacement for me in the parish here was sought, but as time went on it didn’t look good. In fact, just these past couple of weeks told the story, with various religious communities leaving parishes. This left the diocese stretched for resources. In the face of this the answer was given: “Not this year.”

So, what that means is, “Yes, this year, Andrews will be my Ars.” A profound feeling of being at home came over me.

All the same, at this late stage, I hope Father Chocholski might be able to find an English speaking confessor for the Shrine in Ars… Hail Mary…

Meanwhile, the renovation of the confessional is making good progress in the parish here. More on that later.

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Renovating Confessional encouraging Confessions

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An entirely appropriate Confessional, sure ’nuff (in the midst of Holy Week for those pictures, by the way). But, it could be better. Having discussed this with our Vicar Forane, and encouraged by him, I barely started to mention a renovation to some parishioners and they were all for it, only wanting to know more of the logistics. Lots of talent in the parish. It went to the Finance Council and everyone liked the idea in that august body as well. So, we got started:

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It’s advanced in the last days to be able to hear Confessions. Lots of Confessions! But it’s all a work in progress with lighting, with appropriate artwork, such as crucifixes on both sides, such as a framed “Act of Contrition”, two of them actually, in English and Spanish, to be placed on the left and right sides of the “Grill”. The “Grill” will get an added thin veil as well over the metal.

Flooring will have to wait for this next week when we start in on the church floor, which is a huge project what with moving all the pews and such. But, we forge ahead.

Religion is a virtue of justice. Religion is not a bad thing. The hatred of religion by, you know, “spiritual” people, is an attitude brought about by hopefully non-culpable ignorance. Religion is about rendering to God that which is His due in all justice. Only Jesus could do this, being obedient to the Father by walking among us and showing us the truth and love of God, which we hated unto death thinking that we are being incriminated by all this goodness. Having stood in our place, taking on the death we deserve because of sin, the Innocent for the guilty, Jesus had the right and has the right in His own justice to now command the Father on our behalf: “Father! Forgive them!”

Jesus has the right to take our sins. He has the right to forgive us. How dare we hold back and not give Him our sins for forgiveness and with us having all purpose of amendment so that we might walk in His friendship.

Go to Confession!

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Our perception of time is surreal until

salvador dali persistence of time

Salvador Dali calls this The Persistence of Time. That’s our fallen human perspective of reality for sure. Surreal.

Meanwhile, time is drawn into one hour upon the Cross where we find the very Creator of time, time being drawn together in our redemption, He drawing all to Himself right through that hell of Calvary.

This is where we find the mercy of forgiveness, mercy being a dirty word for many these days, you know, for those who have no need of mercy whatsoever, so self-righteous are they.

But it is good to rejoice in mercy in humble thanksgiving, which becomes the engine of any firm purpose of amendment. This is most beautiful in contrast to the arrogance of self-righteousness to which so many run ever so breathlessly, congratulating themselves.

Confession!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (cultural dancing in pantaloons, ed.)

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These are the Showy Lady Slippers – by the hundreds – that come out during the month of Our Lady, Jesus’ good mom, up at the hermitage. These flowers appear to me to be “Old World” dancing figures in fancy cultural pantaloons.

I am also reminded that it has been said that the depiction of Mary on the Tilma of Juan Diego – Our Lady of Guadalupe – is that she is calmly, gently, participating in a dance of joy. You’ll see that her left knee is held out quite a bit. And she does have much joy, as she knows that the dreadful slaughter of untold numbers of people, especially children, as sacrifice to the gods of the day is about to come abruptly to an end.

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And then I recall – should I make brave enough to even mention this – my own Missionary of Mercy “dance” in the Paul VI Audience Hall over in Vatican City State:

byers dance paul vi audience hall

There is much in which to rejoice in mercy based on justice and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth. Yes. Yet, there have been Catholic pundits who have publicly condemned me for this celebration of Jesus. They may just want to remember that it is Jesus who brought us mercy based on justice and truth, and that that is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all. Perhaps one recalls in regard to these pundits the Saul’s daughter Michal and how she despised David’s dancing…

“David, girt with a linen apron [signifying his priesthood in the line of Melchizedek], came dancing before the LORD with abandon, as he and all the Israelites were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn. 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. The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had pitched for it. Then David [priest in the line of Melchizedek that he was] offered holocausts and peace offerings before the LORD. When he finished making these offerings, he [as priest in the line of Melchizedek] blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. He then distributed among all the people, to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel, a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake. With this, all the people left for their homes. When David returned to bless his own family, Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has honored himself today, exposing himself to the view of the slave girls of his followers, as a commoner might do!” But David replied to Michal: “I was dancing before the LORD. As the LORD lives, who preferred me to your father and his whole family when he appointed me commander of the LORD’S people, Israel, not only will I make merry before the LORD, but I will demean myself even more. I will be lowly in your esteem, but in the esteem of the slave girls you spoke of I will be honored.” And so Saul’s daughter Michal was childless to the day of her death.” (2 Samuel 6:14-23)

That passage is about the Lord and His covenant. It is about the Ark, a symbol of the very mother of God, of course. David’s dancing is a foreshadowing of the Woman clothed with the Sun, who hold’s within her womb the promised Messiah, the King of kings and Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

So, yes. A flower for the Immaculate Conception.

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“Team Francis” wrote “The Letter”? Oxford offers a clue to the mystery.

pope francis asperges

You have heard that it was said that the authors of the most recent diatribe against the papacy as such “clarify” that (1) they are not saying that the Supreme Pontiff has “denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching” [and that is correct] and that (2) “We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit” [and that is also correct].

But then the most exalted and enlightened group of “they” have it that a “heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”

Wait a minute there… “Heretical papacy”? Did they just contradict themselves? Do they mean “personally heretical pope”? If they did they would say it. These are clever guys (et alii) after all. “Heretical papacy” is as ambiguous as the ambiguity they are attacking. To say “heretical papacy” jacks up the stakes, lighting the wood around any stake on fire.

Of course, any individual Bishop of Rome can personally be a heretic. Too bad, that. And if that were the case and if it were to be known it would surely adversely affect the salvation of souls. I do grieve should that ever be the case in the history of the Church (and it has been the case more than once).

But I should like to know by what act of self-appointment above the Supreme Pontiff is it which grants powers of judgment over the personal beliefs of the Successor of Peter such as to put him on trial so as to forcibly depose him, remove him, get rid of him. How is it that they can seriously think that they themselves will not be held accountable to the Divine Son of the Living God as they spit not only on the anointed of the Lord, but on the Face of Jesus, Mary’s dear Son? Are they going to storm the Vatican, kill the Swiss Guards with bombs, arrest the Holy Father and drag him out next to the Obelisk so as to put him on trial, and then hanging him on the Obelisk itself?

  • Peter, you denied me. Do you love me more than these? Feed my lambs…

And then:

  • Are any of us without sin? By our sin, original sin and whatever of our own rubbish, we have all crucified the Son of the Living God.

They speak of carrying out this coup with the cynicism said to be in accord “with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex — “the salvation of souls is the highest [first] law”. Pffft. I’m not judging them, but what they present outside of themselves, objectively, is nothing more than what amounts to glorifying themselves.

Cowards that they are, they hide behind the skirts of bishops who they call to be their henchmen, (1) by “admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies [forget the show trial], and (2) if he should persistently refuse [to listen to tantrums], by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.”

Wow. I thought I heard a lot of stupid, stupid, stupid things about the papacy, but this takes the prize. You’ll remember the stupidity of some, saying that if Pope Francis infallibly spoke fallibly – or is that fallibly spoke infallibly? – then, after the fact, he should be deposed, meaning that he would be able to do that in the first place, you know, infallibly speak fallibly – or is that fallibly speak infallibly? – The lack of logic should be clear. But pretty much all of the Tradition-al-ism-ists grabbed on to this. And if anyone went against their illogic and, indeed, heresy, these outsiders were simply dismissed as “Team Francis.” But this present statement of these cowards on the deprivation of the papacy is worse for its insanity.

They say that it can be declared against the will of the Holy Father that the Holy Father is doing something freely. How stupid is that? Look, people. These guys may not realize it, but they are mocking you all as being incredibly stupid and unable to think for yourselves. They think you are their puppets. They want ever more puppets. Doesn’t that mean that it’s about power, Power, POWER! It’s mine! My Precious! Get it? Let me take nine seconds of your time that you’ll never get back:

They say that the Holy Father would have “freely deprived himself of the papacy” by not receiving such a declaration made by others, even just a small group of others.

Then, when they drag him away into exile and set up a puppet pope, an anti-pope, there will be no confusion among the faithful as to whether the “hallowed adage” of the salvation of souls being the first law has been served, you know, while smashing down all other laws in the church, right?

I mean, imagine the outcome of an anti-pope who cannot legitimately be elected as the Successor of Peter and therefore does NOT have the Power of Keys, and cannot delegate the Power of Keys.

One could go on with devastating consequences for the Church a thousand times more damaging that whatever these guys think is the damage going on under Pope Francis.

So, I ask, if these guys are saying that “Team Francis” is destroying the Church, and what want to be done would provide deep, deep wounds for the Church, whose “Team” are they actually on? Oh. I get it. Irony. Yep.

More than that, the last thing Pope Francis wants is that anyone be on “Team Francis.” This is about Jesus.

Anyway, if it’s not bad enough of me to cite John Ronald Reuel Tolkien by way of Gollum, then I may as well go on to cite Hilaire Beloc:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power. […] 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, Selected Essays (2/6), ed. J.B. Morton; Penguin Books (1325): Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958. See the essay “On Irony” on pages 124-127.]

So, what’s the upshot of all that?

  • Pray for Pope Francis. Hail Mary…
  • Pray for these others working as hard as they can for an anti-Pope. Hail Mary…

Maybe I’m really just a meany, you know, citing such as Belloc and Tolkien, both Oxford-ites. And maybe I should give some slack to some of the “top” names of “The Letter.” After all, their country has a long history of fake pope stuff going on. Not a big deal then, I guess. Nevertheless, the reality of the matter is that it does matter, regardless of Oxford-ites know it or not.

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Homily 2019 04 28 Divine Justice Sunday

DOUBTING THOMAS

The fiercest Divine Mercy Sunday homily I’ve ever preached, that’s for sure.

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“Don’t mess with mother” – analogy

Sorry, I couldn’t help but make the analogy…

pieta

Of course, Mary’s ferocity is to get us to go to Confession and go to heaven.

Anecdote time – and this does NOT break the Seal of Confession!

When I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes and hearing zillions of Confessions of the 12,000,000 pilgrims that 150th anniversary jubilee year in the “Confessions Chapel,” the last penitent left the confessional leaving the door open. Another pilgrim appeared and, before coming in, declared before God and everyone else in ear shot (really a lot of people as it was jammed) that he didn’t know what he was doing there, that he didn’t want to be there, that he hated this, but it was just that after some moments in the grotto he felt compelled to come into the Confessions Chapel, and there he was, hating the whole thing, surely with his guardian angel smacking him down hard. And then he came in, closed the door, and…

That’s how our Lady works. Don’t mess with Jesus’ good mom. She’ll get you every time.

P.S. I have not ever, not now, nor will I ever, as far as I know, ever own an iPhone.

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cardinal joseph ratzinger cdf & just me

cardinal ratzinger parlor cdf -

This picture above, from pre-2005, seen all over the internet was once put up on the blog but was since taken down. Meanwhile, the same is true of the following picture of yours truly from when I was a little kid, some 47 years ago; it was up at the same time as the picture above, years ago, but then was also taken down from public view:

just me -

These are screen-shots of the media archives of the blog. The pictures are in the administrative folders of the blog. They are not published on the blog. They’re listed as “unattached” to any blog post.

Strange: someone in Denmark, of all places, went straight to and downloaded both of those pictures in nanoseconds and then was gone, hopefully to a chapel to pray for the both of us. That would be great! I know I need it. I was a brat as a kid. Not to mention still today! ;-)

It seems like everyone in the world has the password to the administration pages of the blog. And does really weird research. Whatever. As long as they don’t change too much. My life is an open book. Maybe it’s just the snarky clever smiles on the faces of Ratz and me that is interesting. I guess…

By the way, I sat just in that very chair where Ratz is sitting in that parlor when I was taking down an intel guy, a long story I’ve told elsewhere. ;-)

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Missionary of Mercy “on the road” – Invaluable Legion of Mary

img_20190401_142345~24913227340546551897..jpg

Hospitals and clinics spread out in three different states, most of them multiple hours away, are this Missionary of Mercy’s lot in life. I love it. I’m forever bringing parishioners to and from hospitals, anointing them there, hearing confessions, bringing Holy Communion. Lots of “Last Rites” – in the plural – as also included are papal blessings and plenary indulgences. I love it. My only regret, and their only regret, is that I cannot bi-locate. I’m only me.

I’m totally flat out with my parishioners at all the far-flung hospitals beyond the mountains. But for other priests, there is help to be had, that is, when there’s a hospital in the parish, you know, a big-city-parish, with a better opportunity to involve, say, the Legion of Mary in discovering if there are any Catholics in the hospital that day who would like a priest to stop in for a visit. This is especially helpful in anti-Catholic regions.

The Legion of Mary is great, as they actually work with and not against the priest. They won’t pretend to anoint people or hear their confessions. They’ll leave that to the priest. And the priest should visit new patients himself to see what’s up with them, if they need Confession and Anointing and would like to be put on the list for Communion during their stay and possibly then later at home, depending.

The Legion of Mary is doing great in southern Korea (so to speak), and in Africa, where, in many places, it is limited to men, as it’s really quite the ordeal to visit villages that might be a refuge for violence including anti-Catholic, anti-Christian violence. I think we’ve lost sight of the militancy we should have.

I do think the time is coming in America when martyrs will be abundant. Europe is ripe for this. First it was the Jews who laid down their lives for believing in the Messiah who is to come into the world. Then it will be the those who follow the Jews in believing in Jewish Jesus who is the One who is to come into the world, as Jewish Martha says in the Gospel of John.

If we use the Legion of Mary as a canary in the coal mine, as it were, these USA look like were going to go even farther into the darkness. I remember a priest saying that there is no way that he would work with the Legion of Mary. “I’m not going to attend any meetings with them,” he exclaimed, “as long as they continue to say that old-fashioned Rosary.”

Whatever. The “little flock” of the Lord can say the Rosary all on their own! And do! Hah!

And then we help each other get to know Jesus and Jesus’ good mom.

Then we help each other get to heaven, helping each other keep up with the sacraments.

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Staged attack? Smollett? Hutsko?

saint michael byzantine church merrillville indiana

For whatever reason, I’ve been getting some hits on posts on Father Basil Hutsko of the Eparchy of Parma from the old city of Stalingrad (now Saint Petersburg) and then Petrozavodsk, both in northeast Russia. There were reports of a cowardly attack on him on 20 August 2018 in the sacristy of his church by an unknown assailant, who then escaped without a trace. That attack landed him in the hospital for a review of injuries. The Eparchy had put out a call for prayer. Months later, the same Eparchy put out this disclaimer, which I only saw today, more than five months later:

Father Basil Hutsko, a priest of the Eparchy of Parma, has been placed on administrative leave in response to a credible accusation of sexual misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred 35 years ago. Though Father Basil Hutsko denies the accusation, Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, having heard from the priest, the Review Board, and the Promotor of Justice, has found the accusation to be credible. A finding that the accusation is credible is not a finding of guilt. Father Basil Hutsko has been placed on administrative leave. While on administrative leave, Father Basil Hutsko is unable to function in any capacity as a priest anywhere. Also the Eparchy of Parma has recently verified with a member of Father Basil Hutsko’s immediate family that the incident Father Basil Hutsko reported on Aug. 20, 2018, did not occur.

All that happened before the Jussie Smollett case went viral, raising consciousness about the possibility of a faked attacked on a personal level. I know that militaries right around the world have done this kind of thing since time immemorial – all. the. time. – so as to give themselves the “right” to attack some other nation. It escalates tensions, draws on resources, tears down trust of everyone in every institution.

I always thought of myself as being bad and evil enough to think on the level of a criminal, and so not dismissing possibilities of evil before even starting. Stupid me. I was having too high of an opinion of myself. I’m not nearly open to thinking like a criminal as I should be. It never entered my pea-brain to think that someone would do this to themselves. I mean, I’ve just never run across that. Never. Not with domestic abuse cases, not with anything. It was always non-staged, real violence that had occurred.

I’m guessing Father Hutsko is claiming innocence since the Eparchy goes out of its way to state that “credible” does not mean “guilt.” I’ll believe Father Hutsko until he’s proven guilty, which probably necessitates an admission of guilt in these days of “all priests are always guilty,” when there is no statute of limitations on s/he said – s/he said allegations and counter-allegations. Let it be said: statutes of limitations protect justice. Unlike so very many real cases where admission of guilt is easily obtained, that is not so with the case of Father Hutsko. On the other hand, it seems his own family is saying that the attack was staged, and that was all before the Jussie Smollett case. But perhaps Father is not feeling well. Maybe he has PTSD for whatever reason. Perhaps his family doesn’t like him. I don’t know. God knows. I don’t. Nor do you.

What I do know is that it will be more difficult for Father Hutsko because of the Jussie Smollett case. Much. More. Difficult.

What I also know is that we all have to help each other get to heaven.

And we do have to remember that it does no favor to anyone, especially to any real victim, to make a real victim into a seething vindictive cesspool of burning hatred for his or her entire lifetime. It’s helps any real victims to be able to forgive. That doesn’t mean saying any crime was unimportant. It doesn’t give anyone permission to do any crime (again). It doesn’t mean that the person forgiven can take in that forgiveness or even want forgiveness. It doesn’t mean that that forgiveness can actually be voiced. What making an act of the will by the grace of God to hold out forgiveness at least spiritually means a great deal of healing for any real victim. It means not being controlled by the aggression of that experience. It means growing, and not in mere reaction to an aggressor. What would we not want that for anybody?

Anyway, and just to say, if this was all staged, and that can be proven, Father Hutsko may be in for an unpleasant surprise. If I remember correctly, the FBI may have been interested in looking into this case as a hate crime, that is, with a motivation of terrorizing a class of people, holding all individuals in that class to be guilty and worthy of a possibly lethal attack. If any law enforcement wasted time and resources, well, it doesn’t look good. But, as I say, I don’t know. God knows. I don’t. Nor do you.

What I also know is that we all have to help each other get to heaven.

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1/3 kids in ER assessed as suicide risks: loss of identity, self-esteem because…

calvin and hobbes puddle reflection

  • The stats are stunning, with 1/3 of kids admitted to Emergency Rooms being assessed as suicide risks.
  • The stats are stunning, with that suicide risk stat being in direct correlation with the rise of kids with smart phones using social media.

Kids can be horrific bullies. Kids can be ultra-conformist. If insulted, it’s pretty much 100% certain that kids will take the insult to heart, including the bullies, who are, by the way, the most cowardly, the most projecting of themselves upon others: it’s not them with issues; it’s others! Kids without an identity apart from manipulated reactions to social media use are thus brought to the lowest common denominator of death. If you thought such drama to be limited to those we wrongly call “adults”, you’re wrong; it’s a power thing, even with kids.

Generally speaking, kids don’t have the emotional wherewithal to withstand this kind of assault, or the ability to assault from behind a little screen without having to answer to people right in front of you. That’s why we call young people minors, giving them a different status, limiting their participation in society in all sorts of ways and on all sorts of levels – or at least we used to do that.

But with smart phones, all bets are off. The put-downs, insults, threats and extortion, the sexting, the manipulation, the marginalization… it’s all there, just like with adults. We’re all subject to the weakness of original sin, but kids are less apt to be confronting the world with a full sense of identity and therefore reason and balance.

So, what’s the solution? Merely take away or limit use of smart phones? That’s part of it. The real underlying cause, however, is a lack of identity. Social media has become the identity of kids. But why?

People are seeking self-esteem in the face of a fallen human nature that is so easily manipulated particularly when we have no sense of identity, no base, no foundation, as it were, from which to interact with the world. And people fall, and as they fall, they are smashed down and mocked all the more by those who are just like them, only worse in bullying and cowardice. Seeking self-esteem, they make the absurd claim for themselves that what they do in leveling ranker and insults at others, in hurting themselves with immoral behaviors as manipulated by others, is to do the right thing, because everyone is that way, because in that way they are getting for themselves an identity, however cruel, however much this beats oneself up. “I’m me!” they cry in their self-provided self-esteem, beating themselves up, beating others up. And now they’re adults, they think, being able, however, not to act from any real identity, but in being all the more cruel with those with whom one has chosen to give one’s life in being in mere reaction to them, still defining one’s identity by way of reaction to another. How very mature!

So, again, what’s the solution to a lack of identity, to a lack of self-esteem? Religion.

There’s a politically incorrect answer: religion, which, as a virtue of justice, renders to God that which is due to God, our Creator. God expects us to use our free will to be His good creatures. To use our free will we have to have a base, a foundation of identity from which to act, and this is uncomfortable as people are used to having no identity, to being in mere reaction to others. We don’t like this because we are immediately confronted with the fact that in our weak human nature after original sin we have no way to establish an identity from which to act. For fallen creatures to all of a sudden be good creatures – still in all our weakness in this world – we need the intervention of our Creator, His forgiveness, and the wherewithal – in a bond of friendship, of humble thanksgiving with Him – to have an identity once again, a real identity, that of a creature walking in the presence of his Creator.

Religion: God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, to re-establish us before Himself, thankful to Him for giving us our identity which we threw away with original sin and whatever of our own. Jesus rendered to His Father, on our behalf, that which God the Father is due. Jesus is religion Incarnate. That’s religion. That’s all it is. Nothing scary. It’s all Jesus. We have our identity in Jesus.

Self-esteem is no longer sought in reaction to others, which is entirely contrary to self-esteem, making oneself lose one’s self-esteem. Self-esteem in Jesus is now provided by Jesus forgiving us and establishing a friendship with us. He says: “I call you friends.”

We get self-esteem by going to Confession and being brought into this friendship with Jesus. Jesus Himself wanted it done this way. Sin offends both God and neighbor, no matter what, no matter how private – even the “privacy” of hiding behind a screen in social-media. Being reconciled isn’t just a matter of saying, “Sorry, God!” Jesus wants us to be reconciled with Himself and all of us. Saint Paul speaks of this as Jesus being the Head of the Body and we the members of the Body. The priest represents all the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ. When the priest gives absolution of sin in the first person singular – “I absolve you…” – it is Christ Jesus who is speaking, and we are reconciled to both Jesus and our neighbor.

Mind you, the guilt of sin being put aside, while that is a great thing, is only the tiniest part of the story in obtaining self-esteem and identity. The absolution brings about forgiveness by way of flooding the soul with sanctifying grace, with the friendship of Jesus.

Self-esteem? “Jesus, God, loves me!” “Jesus, God, loves us!”

Identity? “I am found by Jesus to be one in friendship with Him. He gives me the base, the foundation, to have an identity in Him. In His friendship I need not give in to the temptation to be in mere reaction to others, to the temptation to be down to the lowest common denominator of death. In Jesus, in His friendship, I can even do something good for others, helping to introduce them all the more to the liberty of wholesomeness, of integrity, of honesty, of goodness and kindness, of friendship with Christ Jesus, who will come to the judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen. Maranatha! Come once again to us, Lord Jesus!”

confessional

That’s a bit counter-intuitive, isn’t it? Get self-esteem by confessing one’s sins? Yep. I love it. Christianity is full of irony, the wit and wisdom of Jesus. He loves us. Truly.

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Hating Divine Mercy Chaplet unites ultratraditionalismists and liberals

Jesus cleanses the temple

To be just is to be merciful. To be merciful is to be just. Mercy is potential part of the virtue of justice, as Aquinas says in his Commentary on the Sentences.

Filthy liberal priests hate Divine Mercy Sunday. They won’t have anything to do with it, rebelling against Holy Hours, devotions, Confessions. “Why do that?” they ask. “There’s no such thing as sin anyway,” they say. I have personally witnessed this around the world.

But then, unexpectedly (though opposites attract), ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists get into the attack mercy game as they want to be “tough” and “heroes” over against all that wimpy and way too saccharine and sugary mercy rubbish, which, because it is mercy, must necessarily manipulate and reject justice, which is what they stand for, you know, being “tough” and “heroes” and all that. And gullible multitudes follow them.

This latter crowd ever so condescendingly and with such aloof finesse and sophistication attack canonized saints and particular devotions. Surely you’ve heard, for instance, the rejection of the saccharine Divine Mercy Chaplet with all of its sugary prayers. Ever sooo sweet and therefore ever sooo to be rejected by those who are serious in their spiritual lives. But let’s just look at that for a moment:


The Sign of the Cross: Let’s see: the Most Holy Trinity; the ultra violent instrument of torture and death, the cross. Bad and evil for being way too sugary and saccharine, I guess.

The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles Creed: All of these, bad and evil for being way too sugary and saccharine, I guess.

Decade prayer: Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. — So, this description of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of sin and redemption, of our Lord’s obedience to the Father, is to be damned as bad and evil for being way too sugary and saccharine? I don’t get it.

On the 10 Small Beads: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. “For the sake of” is an explication of… wait for it… JUSTICE. The same for the Decade prayer above. Mercy is founded on justice. So, all this talk of justice is bad and evil for being way too sugary and saccharine? I don’t get it.

Conclusion: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. For those who don’t know, this prayer recalls a part of the ferocious reproaches (the Improperia) on Good Friday during the Veneration of the Cross. That part reaches back to time immemorial and is called the Trisagion:

  • Holy is God! Holy and strong! Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!
  • Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis.
  •  Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς 

All these prayers go to the very heart of all that is Catholic, all that is Christian, all that is of Tradition. It all slams us to our knees in the reality that we are sinners directly on our way to hell if not for Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God. But that’s all bad and evil for being way too sugary and saccharine? I don’t get it.

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Missionary of Mercy in 2019 rants on hateful pundits who condemn mercy

missionaries of mercy 2019 letter

Yes, I’m still a Missionary of Mercy. Yes, I still have special faculties that encourage especially priests to go to Confession with rather difficult sins. I think it’s a good idea. It’s done for the good for the Church. I thank Pope Francis for it.

Hateful pundits speak of statistics of Confessions of priests who have had the special faculties for absolution from the Missionaries of Mercy applied to them, saying that it’s all useless since these faculties are never used anyway. How do they know? Seriously. Do they have Satanic gnostic witchcraft seances, looking into crystal balls? Seriously.  There is something called the Seal of Confession. I, for one, take it seriously.

That there are haters is to be expected, but – oh my – look at the multitudes of gullible people who follow them. What the haters want is that no one but no one goes to Confession. I’ve heard the haters say that all Missionaries of Mercy are not priests. Really? The haters will have to answer for their statements stopping people from going to Confession. If the haters want justice and no mercy, they might well be on their way to getting what they want. That’s just too sad. I’ll happily grant them absolution if they properly desire it. Firm purpose of amendment is required, even for the haters.

For myself, I have not committed any sins against the doctrine or morality of the Church by utilizing these special faculties of the Missionaries of Mercy. I’ve not gone against justice, or anything that is good and holy with the special faculties the Holy Father has granted to me. And I don’t know of any Missionary of Mercy who has done such a thing.

In fact, these faculties are provided with the proviso that nothing in the internal forum will have publicly knowable, practical effect in the external forum. There is to be no internal forum solutions for “marriages”, etc., etc., etc. The Missionaries of Mercy are not agents of Amoris laetitia, which is merely, in the words of Pope Francis in that very document, just a volley in dialogue.

But, I’m all ears. If anyone has cogent arguments as to why Missionaries of Mercy are not validly ordained priests, or that being a Missionary of Mercy risks eternal damnation for such priests, drop a comment in the comments box.

To the rest of those who desire the Mercy of the Lord Jesus in a validly provided absolution in the Sacrament of Confession, don’t worry about what the haters say. Just go to Confession, and go to heaven. We’ve got to make it to heaven!

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The one thing necessary, saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

Did not Jesus redeem us all? Does He not want that we also be saved? Were we not all in the peripheries of left and right until we assented to allow ourselves to be drawn by Him to the Cross when He was lifted up to that great height? Can we do that if we pretend that we’ve never ever been on the peripheries, that He never had to forgive us, that we were always correct even as we crucified Him? That we were always expert in prayer and fasting and almsgiving?

What does a good son of the Church say? He says:

“Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner.”

And then a good son of the Church says:

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was […]. I accuse myself of the following sins: […].”

That’s what a good son of the Church says. Yep.

A good son of the Church never says: “I’m so holy! I’m without sin!”

“If we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:7-10nab)

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