In other words, the laity are to shut their damn faces in their support of Father Altman, who is presented as some sort of terrible, terrible criminal. This is so very ludicrous, but ever so sad.
In other words, the laity are to shut their damn faces in their support of Father Altman, who is presented as some sort of terrible, terrible criminal. This is so very ludicrous, but ever so sad.
The update is the lifesite video above. What a hellish nightmare…. The rest is from two years ago. I sure did get it right.
I got this as an afterthought, that is, I suppose, as a joke. Someone put me on the mailing list of the AUSCP. It’s already too late for the “Register by March 31” discount. Hahaha.
I guess someone wanted me to see this and put it up on the blog as an example of all that is wrong with the Catholic Church in these USA.
What especially caught my eye and what about makes me want to vomit is the insistence of being embraced with “America’s most inclusive place for U.S. priests.” That’s not true. What about Cardinal Burke. And what kind of ultra-nationalist agenda is that, anyway? What about being inclusive of other priests from around the world, you know, like Bishop Athanasius Schneider, like Cardinal Sarah?
But you know what “most inclusive” means, don’t you? Sigh.
Let’s review again:
Where are the followers of Jesus?
Where are the martyrs?
I would just add one thing here. Father Walker heard the horror taking place as his fellow priest was being smashed just about to death, and that other priest would likely have been killed had Father Walker not entered the scene without hesitation. He laid down his life for another. Amen.
It’s pretty subtle, but the hints are there, twice, just a second or two each. I heard these hints because I’m quite keyed into good priests being on a kind of hit list. Early on in this debacle, I heard about this hit list from any number of sources. Some of these priests are friends, even close friends.
In this case, “hit list” doesn’t refer to some hitman taking out the good guys. No, no. Nothing quite so terribly violent, at least not yet. It’s more about a cadre of ecclesiastics, perhaps some Cardinals (I can name names), and some up-and-coming bishops who are friends of those Cardinals, “powerful” in their own eyes. And if another bishop is lusting after, say, becoming an archbishop of, say, a “prestigious” archdiocese, you know, one whose archbishop would traditionally be given the “red hat”, in other words would normally be made a cardinal himself, well, hey, fallen human nature being what it is, that sycophant useless bishop guy is going to do the bidding of the “powerful” ecclesiastics to whom they are beholden. What they are supposed to do is follow the direction of those “powerful” ecclesiastics and smash down good priests who in their own dioceses speak, in all charity and calm, in all good prudence, too much truth about the Living Truth, too much goodness and kindness about God who is love, too much about keeping up with the Sacraments like Confession and Communion, not to mention Baptism, Marriage, Confirmation, Last Rites, even going so far as to encourage vocations to Holy Orders, to the priesthood, that is, not the priesthood of those evil ecclesiastics, but the priesthood of the One High Priest, Christ Jesus our Lord. These days, THE MORTAL SIN is being Catholic in the Catholic Church. And to speak the truth about that is all divisiveness and ineffectiveness, right? Pfft.
Good priests are inconvenient. They are going to point out the hate God and hate neighbor platform of the Democrat party: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, race-baiting, marxist dialectical materialism ideology, pro-LGBT, pro-trans, pro gay civil unions, pro gay “marriage”, etc. How may Catholics are Democrat? asks Father Altman. Zero, he responds, because you can’t be Catholic and a Democrat. :-)
The “powerful” ecclesiastics, frauds all, hypocrites all, must rid themselves of such a cancer from, in their view, the “Body Politic.”
Meanwhile, God bless Father Altman and all his supporters. The donations to him are adding up, enough to support costs of Canon Lawyers against those ecclesiastics who wrongly remove not only himself but also other good priests. There are plenty in need of help, I think a couple dozen. That’s great, because, otherwise, as Father Altman points out, the typical modus operandi is to outspend priests defending themselves with no budget for such a defense. Any (arch)diocese will happily go bankrupt as long as they can rid themselves of a troublesome priests. Money is no object to them whatsoever.
But isn’t that sad? There’s only a couple dozen outspoken priests among the tens of thousands in these USA? I mean, I’m outspoken, but it’s easy for me, as I have a great bishop and I’m in a great diocese, not that he nor the diocese agree with anything I say at all. I don’t represent them when I write on my own time on my own computers with my own internet connection and very loudly say that I don’t represent my parish, The priesthood, the bishop, the diocese, the USCCB, the Holy See, the Roman Pontiff, et al. Also, I’m already in the most remote parish in backridge moonshine Appalachia (Moonshiners was filmed mostly right here), in what is perhaps the smallest parish in North America, which I totally love, totally. So, I’m fine, for now, so far. Even if I were on a hit list as described above, it wouldn’t matter one little bit, not in this diocese. :-)
I mean, I get it, I could be taken out for any or no reason whatsoever, like Father Altman, and not by my bishop, but by someone higher up the chain. There was absolutely nothing anyone could level at Father Altman, so it was just said that he was divisive (an evangelical virtue!) and ineffective … Ineffective … ?! Hah hah hah. But how sad.
Is Father Altman being taken out as a way to put a chill on those priests who are like him, a kind of warning shot over the bow? That’s probable. But it ain’t workin’. It’s going the other way. More priests are rallying and really a lot of lay people are rallying. :-)
In the end, Jesus wins. And, oh, by the way, while Jesus’ Little Flock is being smacked down, Jesus wins. And the priests know this, and the laity know this. All things work for the good for those who love the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
By the way, this is the first time that Father Altman has hinted that the process against him might take as much as five years. I shouldn’t be envious. He’ll have time to write. He’s already signed on for a number of books he’s now already started to write. The first title, announced in the video above, is about the lies of the bishops. Yikes! That’s not divisive, that’s instructive, and gives hope, because now we know what is of the faith and what in the faith has been perverted. That’s always a great help. Blessings upon you, Father Altman. Hail Mary…
The larger context of this 6-second scene is that the casino needs a $20,000 permit. A Senator is trying to shake down the mafia guy by jacking this up another I think $230,000 – quite the extortion – even while the Senator insults both the mafiosi and their families. Hint: Don’t do either of those things, but especially not the latter.
The response from the mafioso guy is so predictable, and so perfect: “My offer is this: nothing.” And then the mafioso adds that it would be a wise move for the Senator guy to go ahead and himself pay for the $20,000 permit for the casino. Hah. The tables are reversed. Jesus does this all the time.
Hope is high that Jesus will laugh at the analogy which just must be made between Him and the mafiosi. I mean, if you’ve ever even once read the Sacred Scriptures, you’ll immediately see the ferocious irony, sarcasm, humor, the table-turnings (figurative and literal) all meant, of course, to put people back on the right track.
Look, I don’t see myself as being better than any mafioso if I am without the grace of God. We will all look upon Him, the One who is, who was and who is to come, the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, whom we have all pierced through with all our sin whilst He was lifted up on the Cross, yes, all of us, men of race, tribe, tongue, people and nation.
Having said that, yes, when I see someone trying to be even more mafioso than the mafiosi, well, they get what they deserve. I hope they also repent, but – yikes! – shaking down the mafia?!
About Jesus… the analogy here is that Jesus is the mafioso guy who says that His counter offer to the extortion is to jack up the stakes. The self-absorbed who use religion to make themselves heroes, feeling powerful in bullying, who say that they will kill Jesus unless He stops being… what is it? – more “popular” than them, well, they are answered in this way by Jesus: “My offer is… nothing.” But then Jesus will continue: Not only will I rise from the dead after three days, but if you are to serve my Heavenly Father in Heaven for eternity, you will have to be crucified to yourselves and to the world, and to do that, you will have to believe in the One whom the Father has sent into the world, you will love Him, and you will keep the commandments. Hah.
Perhaps there are some who are offended at this analogy. But I rush to be vindicated by the Venerable Fulton J Sheen, who made a similar analogy, even more ferocious. The good archbishop made an analogy between Jesus and – get this – atheistic materialistic dialectical Marxist Communism. Yep.
The difference, he said, was that the communists do this with terrible violence and fear mongering, always torture, always killing, always persecution.
Jesus, he said, does this with love, so that we love Him in His grace most willingly, even in the midst of the persecutions of this world, with that love of His that is stronger than our sin, stronger that our temptation, stronger than death, bringing us to heaven, with grace turning to glory. Amen. And that’s something!
A priest friend visited today. He instructed me on one of those “rule and regulations” that are so unpopular in Rome right about now. It’s about one of the most commonplace rubrics directing what the priest is to do when he offers that oft-repeated blessing of those assisting with Holy Mass: Dominus vobiscum – “[May] the Lord be with you.”
When the priest says Dominus vobiscum, he (traditionally) begins with hands together at the sternum and then moves his hands outwardly only as far as either side of his rib cage, not as far as he can stretch his hands (as has done by some religious orders and in various countries with another symbolism altogether). This limited action, he said, had been very strict in the strictly Roman Latin Rite (there being some 28+- Latin Rites).
The first time in, say, a Low Mass, that the priest says Dominus vobiscum is when he is just about to ascend the steps to begin Holy Mass. He surely feels entirely unworthy, and, indeed, he has just finished reciting the confiteor, striking himself thrice for having sinned: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. And now he makes brave to ascend to the Altar of Sacrifice, to the Most Sacred Mysteries. How could he do this, freakishly unworthy sinner that he is?
Dominus vobiscum, he cries out. And in spreading his hands from the sternum to the edges of his rib cage, he is symbolically ripping open his rib cage, revealing to all that while he is inept and entirely unworthy, his heart is now that of Christ Jesus, in whose Person he will offer the Holy Sacrifice of our redemption and, please God, our salvation. Those present, horrified by his unworthiness and yet taken by the great mercies of the Most High, pray for the priest as well: Et cum spiritu tuo (and [may the Lord also be] with your spirit [because you’re certainly in need of that mercy]).
Part I of the tripartite Sacrament of Holy Orders: Diaconate. They are on their way to Part II, the priesthood, being available to get out of the way of Christ Jesus, the High Priest, who will manifest His Priesthood through them. Part III, the episcopacy… what a fright! Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said that no one but no one appreciates how all hell has broken out on Calvary until one becomes a bishop, when the fullness of the battle is laid out to be seen, this being the meaning of “episcopate”, wherein the bishop by definition oversees all.
Meanwhile, there are other battles in this world which are necessary for defense of the innocent from unjust aggression. Those in that battle are also and especially in need of spiritual care. Our bishop has generously allowed now Deacon Darren Balkey (Ensign!) to be “on-loan” to the Department of Defense, which at least back in the day was for a five year period of service. Great. I’m happy for the our Military and for our good and holy deacon. For Ensign Deacon Balkey: Hail Mary…
Meanwhile, I know the wonderfully Catholic family of deacon Aaron Huber. With him we have another good and holy deacon taking up the battle in this ecclesia militans (Church militant) here at home, wherein the battle is most fierce, as it is everywhere. Satan is unleashing attacks more than ever, and I am happy that we have Deacon Huber joining the battle in a particularly intense manner right here at home. For Deacon Huber: Hail Mary…
Jesus is always calling men to Holy Orders. And many are hearing that call of our Lord. But we must make acceptance of that call from God possible:
You have heard that it was said that the bishops above made a short statement which implies that it is a good and holy action to label and proclaim and vaunt oneself publicly as LGBT, you know, without going into the chastity issue, and that at the least God is on the side of the person who is self-entitled enough to rebel against God in such manner, proud of their disorder, thus rejecting that it is a disorder. God hates the sin and the sinner in such manner as to get the sinner to no longer be a sinner. But Saint Paul writes this:
That’s from the the USCCB’s New American Bible. Lets take a closer look at some terminology.
Saint Paul says that those entrenching in whatever such temptation, caving to whatever such temptation, will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.
Saint Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is aghast at those who would label themselves any of these things, as that is going to seal them in that behavior until they stop vaunting themselves as proud of being disordered. To be proud of such disorder is a sin of unchastity in and of itself, even if there is no accompanying activity. It is a revolt against God, a proclamation of Satan: Non serviam! “I will not serve.” Of course, with that attitude, anyone proud of being unchaste is about 100% probably likely to be unchaste in activity. Anyone proclaiming that this is God’s doing when such unchastity is risking being forbidden entrance to heaven, meaning that such unchastity will have one risking being carried off to hell, is blaspheming against God. Is that what the bishops are doing? They should be careful. You know what our Lord says about those who lead youngsters into sin… I mean, you remember that, right?
Moreover, anyone who pushes those into being prideful for a disorder in direct rebellion against God is assisting that person in being carried off to hell, right? Are they unaware of what Saint Paul says?
The illogicities coming from ecclesiastics are enough to bring someone suffering such temptations to despair. The suicide rate among LGBT crowd isn’t so astronomically high because people like Saint Paul take them seriously and want them to turn to the Lord and have great hope that they can and many do turn to the Lord, and so are on their way to heaven. Hope is always hopeful, and does not lead on to despair.
But those ecclesiastics who do not take the LGTB crowd seriously, who disdain them, who use them for political points – I mean, I don’t know… Is that what they are doing? – …. anyway, in not taking the LGBT crowd seriously is it not these ecclesiastics who are bringing the LGBT crowd to despair, leading them to commit suicide? Just a question.
By the way, the LGBT crowd that this is all about are youngsters, minors. So, is this “protecting” not abuse? Just a question.
Lets put this a different way. I met up with a priest the other day who would like to come up with a survey, questionnaire, interrogation if you will, of priests in active ministry. They are all trick questions, which are tricky, you know, if you have no formation, no capacity to reason with logic, with no grounding in sharp philosophy and good theology.
His first questions just slightly rephrased the tenants of the Satanic Church. He added one of his own. I aced the “survey” which he imagined would be provided by way of a computer screen. I immediately said that it’s not a survey then, but rather an interrogation, to which he laughed repeatedly. His own question was this:
I can only imagine that even very many good priests would not be able to reason this through, and would immediately say “Yes”, rejoicing that someone is carrying their cross and living chastely with the grace of Christ Jesus over against untoward temptations as everyone is expected to do, you know, the old “good for the them and they will have a high place in heaven,” attitude. And this priest did admit this was a baiting question so as to better prepare an education for the presbyterate about the way things actually are, an instruction which would immediately be well received by good priests who just did not know how to make the distinctions they actually needed to make so as to be consonant with the teaching of the Scriptures and the Church.
Here’s the deal: To label oneself as gay even if not publicly is a sin against chastity, even though chastity is used as a rationalization by the otherwise pious priest that his being gay is not that which disqualifies him from active ministry, from being the Father of the Parish Family, and married to the Immaculate Bride of Christ by way of Jesus’ own wedding vows during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the priest recites in the first-person-singular: “This is my body given you, my blood poured out for you.
Labeling oneself is by definition an entitlement excusing one’s disorder as no longer being a disorder, as being – quite ironically – so very unimportant that one will not let go of that label no matter what, come highwater or even hell.
One cannot get to Saint Paul’s admonition that “some of you were this way” without letting go of the labeling and self-entrenchment, and despair. One must actually allow oneself to be bathed by the Blood of the Lamb. That necessitates repentance from unchastity including the unchastity of labeling oneself. Again, proclaiming gayness is unchaste, sinful, and it is a scandal, which is a most grievous sin. One cannot be gay and chaste. Get it?
It is only the fully Catholic believing pastors who love those caught up in homosexuality so much as to bring them out of it, to bring them to Christ Jesus.
As for that list of 14 cardinals and bishops above. That’s not all of them. I think of Chicago, where Father Paul Kalchik is still being persecuted for taking LGBT individuals seriously, wanting their eternal salvation. That was not appreciated by the powers that be, who are not included in the list of the 14.
There are many bishops who are persecuting many good priests. The list of persecuted priests is growing. But that’s also a matter of hope. That means the number of priests who speak up for the salvation of souls is growing. Thanks be to God.
The more good priests speak up, the more good vocations to the priesthood we will see coming forward. We rejoice that here in Charlotte Diocese we are actually building a seminary – and it’s up and running for pre-theology – and we rejoice that our seminarians are believers, as are the faculty and administrators and formators. Thanks be to God.
The companions of Saint Charles refused to suffer the sexual abuse that the king wanted to foist upon them because they were following the good example and direction of Saint Charles. He was their protector.
Saint Charles is the patron saint of those who stand up against the abuse of office used to foist sexual abuse on others. The abusers get upset with the likes of a Saint Charles.
Here’s the deal: what the king was doing with abuse of office used to foist sexual abuse on others is not a once-off in humanity. It happens all the time. And we can’t say that it’s just some secular king who was a bit freaky. No, no. But it this way: can we deny that there are plenty of “kings” of their own imaginings, certain ecclesiastics, priests and bishops have not done the same as the king with minors?
Let’s take this a step further. Are there others who are like Saint Charles, who are going to protect minors against the sexual aggression of the freakoids? Yes, there are. And what if some of these emulators of Saint Charles are priests, and their bishops are playing the role of the sex-demented-king? Are those bishops going to slit the throats of the priests who call out sexual abuse, you know, at least by way of marginalizing them, dismissing them from the clerical state? Sure. And then we have more martyrs or at least saints with heroic virtue. Pray for good priests. Hail Mary…
Diocesan statement regarding Father James Altman — May 25, 2021 [with my comments]
“Fr. James Altman has recently made public the request from Bishop William Patrick Callahan that he resign his office of pastor of Saint James the Less Parish in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as his intent to decline the request. As a result, the Diocese of La Crosse will respond in accordance to the canonical process as needed for the removal of a priest from his office as pastor. [This will take a year or so. I have an idea! Hey Father! Come down to Charlotte Diocese. I think there’s a parish or two opening up mid-July.]
“During the past year, concerns have been expressed related to the ministry of Fr. James Altman, a priest in the Diocese of La Crosse. [“Concerns”? From whom? Marxists in a newspaper looking to sell newspapers, getting their facts wrong?] Bishop Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse, and canonical representatives have worked to fraternally and privately address those concerns. The process has been pastoral and administrative with a desire toward a just resolution among all parties. [B as in B, S as in S. Explain your comment, Bishop, that Father Altman’s ministry is “ineffective.” Can’t do it, can you? That’s just a catchall throwaway to slit the throat of a believer. You coward.]
“The ministry of pastor was instituted in the Church not for the benefit of the one to whom it is entrusted, but for the pastoral and sacramental care of those for whom it is conferred. The salvation of souls takes precedence over the stability of the pastor in office when these two values come into direct conflict. [And there’s the accusation: The bishop is saying that Father Altman is working for the damnation of souls and couldn’t give a damn about pastoral and sacramental care of his parish family. Pretty brave, there, bishop. You’re playing the part of the Eternal Judge, Christ Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, including you.] Although attempts were made to allow Fr. Altman the opportunity to respond to fraternal correction, a resolution of this situation has been unsuccessful. [Were the actual complaints in Father’s file forwarded to him so that he could make a response? No. UPDATE: But two boxes of items were delivered to him. Great! Father Altman reported that 99% of letters were entirely supportive of him, while 1% were critical, but were not signed, had no return address. Pfft. This seems to have everything to do with the Dems being diametrically opposed to God and the Church on all fronts such that Father Altman correctly stated that one cannot be a Democrat and a Catholic. Father Altman also rightly cautioned people about taking non-approved experimental drugs, and against any forceful measures to forbid the Sacraments to the Jesus’ Little Flock because of Covid. Those are his crimes? Pfft. He’s one of the few witnesses to faith today.]
“It is important to note that this is not a penal remedy but a pastoral remedy. [Removed from office not penal? Penal is not medicinal? This is one truly confused bishop. This is the thinking of a bully.] Bishop Callahan asks for your prayers for Fr. Altman, for the congregation of St. James, and the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse and beyond. While any change made to the ministry of a pastor is difficult [There seems to be zero intention of possibly letting Father Altman back to the parish as pastor], it is done with the hope that God’s work of justice, reconciliation and healing may be realized in the Body of Christ for a positive outcome.[!]
“The Diocese of La Crosse asks for the consideration of respect, safety and prayers at this time for all involved.” [Hahahahahah! There must be letters and phone calls and messages pouring into the diocese in gentle support of Father Altman. What a bunch of cowards before Father Altman, a gentle but manly soul.]
My thoughts on how this is going. The secular journalists have blood on their hands, are happy that such is the case, and are now encouraged by this to look to their next victim priest for any or no reason whatsoever. They already know that the bishop is their personal sycophant. All priests are now on notice. And that’s the point.
Also, and just to say, no priest I know of has followed so exactly the Covid protocols of his diocese. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that Father Altman is a believer. Imagine that. A priest who is a believer. That’s the crime.
And if other bishops notice this, they will be likewise emboldened to slit the throats of all their priests as well.
Oh, I forgot. There’s not many who are believers.
Pray for vocations who are faithful to Jesus.
(1) Just some peripheral facts about Father Tim’s life:
Tim told me lots of stories in the seminary way back in the 1980s, which he entered after a stint at Franciscan University in Steubenville. He had been of help to his family with a number of food and drink establishments, which he missed terribly, being very much a people-person. And before entering the seminary, despite being an FBI (foreign born Irish), he won three world championships for the ol’ Irish dance. Here’s a sample:
He also played basketball in Europe for three years, another in the Philippines, and then for ten years with the Washington Generals over against the Harlem Globetrotters, covering Curley Neal, the Trotters’ ace dribbler. Super talented guy.
After ordination, Father Tim was in two parishes, one of which sported thirteen Masses on a weekend, all in different languages. There were plenty of priests assigned to that parish. I visited him there when he was just newly ordained. He himself had learned to speak seven languages fluently and many more just less than perfectly fluently.
After those parishes he became an Air Force chaplain, attaining the rank of Major. I’m guessing this picture was taken back in 2018:
Father Tim had been assigned to bases all over the world. Let’s see: Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and closer to home at Dover and Sheppard, not to mention Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and at Joint Base McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. He loved ministering to the young military families.
(2) What my experience was of seminarian Tim and young Father Tim:
We exchanged lots of enthusiasm about the faith, that is, real belief, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This was way back in the early-mid 1980s and then early-mid 1990s. With the help of his bishop at the time, he ditched the North American College in Rome for another seminary where I was at for the same reason. The NAC at the time time was a cesspool of heresy, anti-Catholic in every way, doctrinally, morally. Those not like that were smashed down, you know, with all sorts of excuses. For instance, he recounted many times, the “policy” of the NAC at the time was to get rid of those seminarians who were held to be rigid and superstitious because they wanted to go to daily Mass. Really. Truly. I have a thousand stories like this. He told me how he would surreptitiously exit the seminary early in the morning so as to attend Mass at one of the zillion churches in Rome or at Saint Peter’s Basilica a stone’s throw away before classes at the Pontifical Universities. And then the seminary where we were at went bad. Somehow, the Lord got us both ordained and only a year apart. So many war stories. So many. The seminarian Tim and then the Father Tim I remember was all about honor and integrity in the midst of so much dishonor and lack of integrity. His one desire was to lead people to Christ Jesus all the more despite all that hell going on back in the day and today.
(3) The suicide?
I only found out about this just now, at the end of May 2021, just yesterday, as it hit me strongly that I should look him up. I haven’t done that since the early-mid 1990s. Googling his name, suicide was the news that greeted me. His death occurred in mid-August, 2020, as a pedestrian outside of Sheppard Air Force Base, at a railroad crossing. The police ruled it a suicide. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Neither were they. In NYC it’s become a way too frequent thing to throw people in front of moving subway trains. Just saying.
But even if it was a suicide – which, objectively speaking, is a mortal sin that, objectively speaking, will send one to hell – is there not hope for salvation, you know, subjectively speaking? Those who commit suicide are most often in a swirling vortex of confusion and depression. It doesn’t mean that they’ve turned their back on God, just that they were in a terrible swirl of confusion and depression such that they did not have proper use of their faculties. That’s why the Church allows funeral rites for those who have committed suicide, all things being equal.
Mind you, this was in the midst of the most terrible Covid-lockdowns, whereby he was entirely cut off by the military from all ministry. I have not had that experience being where I am, far from such draconian measures coming from whatever direction. Just to say, there are many who took their own lives while suffering horrific lockdowns, from the most diverse backgrounds. We are all fragile. It can happen to anyone. It happened to my friend. And he was a priest, and a good man. And that’s not the first priest friend that has done this. Sigh.
(4) The saint we call Padre Pio:
A woman once ran up to Padre Pio distressed, to say the least, because her husband had just thrown himself off a bridge and was killed. His answer was that she should not worry about his eternal salvation, saying that he turned to the Lord on his way down. I have told this story umpteen times to those in similar distress, saying that we must always have hope, and pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed.
Last night I got a call from a good friend who, not knowing any of this, just felt inspired to call me just to talk about Padre Pio. I was thunderstruck. I then told this friend about Father Tim. We recited a Hail Mary for the repose of Father Tim’s soul. Might you join us?
(5) Just to say:
It makes zero sense to be so scared of anything whatsoever that priests are ordered from on high to forbid absolutions to be given, to forbid Last Rites to the dying, to cancel the Sacrifice of the Mass. This may end up “cancelling” lives and eternal life. It needs to stop. Really. We’re back to normal here in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C. The Diocese here was simply careful. We’ve been back to normal in my parish soon after Easter 2020.
Meanwhile, in the midst of grief, I’m still very happy to be a priest, in fact, all the more after this latest news of Father Tim. Jesus stepped into all the hell of this world to grab us and bring us to heaven. And Padre Pio is a favorite. And I have hope that some of us, even some of us priests may be saved.
Don Claudio Tonini, whom I consider a saint (without prejudice over against the Congregation for the Causes of Saints), was the parish priest of a fairly populous parish named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a mid-peninsula coastal smallish industrial and quite entirely unapologetically Marxist city of Italy (opposite the island of Elba). The town’s name is reminiscent of bullets: “Piombino,” “A Bit of Lead.” It’s nickname is “La Piccola Russia,” The Little Russia.
Don Claudio died in his 80s in March 1993, some 12 weeks after catastrophic injury-instigated medical disintegration consequent upon the murderous assault he suffered some months previously, in December 1992, only months after my own ordination to the priesthood.
That December of 1992, I was finishing up coursework for a Licentiate degree in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. A list of parishes right around Italy went up on the bulletin board next to the infamous Aula IV of the PIB, requesting that any available student-priests sign up to travel to whatever parish throughout Italy in order to help out with hearing Christmas Confessions. I waited for other priests to take their pick, but then it was too late. My hesitation was surely the work of my guardian angel. The next thing I knew, the list was taken down. Feeling utterly useless, I went to one of the upper-hierarchy of the Jesuit community who was in charge of this project and asked him if there was still another parish that needed a priest.
“Yes,” he said enthusiastically, and then added immediately:
Taking the train from Rome, walking from the train station to the parish, dragging some luggage, I found myself quite alone, the church open, but dark. I looked around, prayed a bit, but the rectory was all locked up. I had been given instructions to stay in the guest room of the religious community around the block. Off I went.
The nice sisters led me to my a small “cell” in the guest quarters and then pointed to a table in another room with some bread and water and some tid-bits of food (very delicious, mind you). I was heartily thanked as the sisters came in to get a look at the one who was apparently a brave young priest for taking on this task. I was something of zoo animal. This simply couldn’t believe that any priest would be brave enough to take on the task. But I wasn’t brave. I was just there to hear some Confessions. That’s it. I didn’t know the story.
But our Lord would use the drama in that parish to continue training me in about the heart of the priesthood from the point of view of the High Priest, Christ Jesus. Our Lord was training me in to be a donkey-priest. Mind you, all donkeys are guard-donkeys, apt at protecting any flock of sheep from the wolves. I didn’t know there was a wolf in this situation, not yet.
“Where’s the parish priest, Don Claudio Tonini?” I asked the sisters. They looked at me, dumbstruck that I hadn’t been told what had happened. And they didn’t want to tell me, speaking in ambiguities that meant nothing. But I knew I would be alone in covering this Italian parish for Christmas, something I didn’t expect I would ever be doing a month before.
Eventually, asking really a lot of people, I found out what happened. My heart sank. Don Claudio was still in the hospital when I got there.
What had happened is that don Claudio’s assistant priest “Quel M” as don Claudio charitably called him, was finishing Sunday Mass, and while everyone was still there don Claudio went up to the pulpit to announce that all the youth were to gather over in the youth center after Mass, so, an announcement of ten seconds or so. Don Claudio was great at teaching the kids about Jesus on their level, but preparing by reading the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
“Quel M” let himself get enraged about this, becoming volcanic, but able to get back to the sacristy, rip off his vestments and storm away. But he disappeared only for a few hours, coming back that afternoon to hunt down diminutive don Claudio (mid-80s, frail, about 5’5″ and perhaps 125 pounds), who was sitting at his desk in his office.
With both hands, “Quel M” (mid-30s, strong as an ox, about 6’5″ and perhaps 310 pounds) grabbed the largest volume of the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and proceeded with all his might to bash don Claudio over the head and on his face with it, then choking him in a strangle hold trying to crush his throat which don Claudio had used to preach about Jesus throughout his life. Don Claudio, strangled for what I’m sure seemed like an eternity for don Claudio, dropped to the floor. “Quel M” left don Claudio for dead. Three days later (three days, mind you), don Claudio awakens from his coma and, from the floor – still on the floor precisely where he was left for dead, is just able to reach the phone on it’s stand and call an ambulance, face and head swollen like a basketball, eyes still swollen shut after three days. I still shudder today at the monstrosity of “Quel M”.
The assistant, “Quel M,” as don Claudio called him, successfully escaped to the mountains and then, not being arrested, hid out (ironically on any number of levels) at “La Misericordia” (The Mercy, an ancient funerary organization in Italy) located at a crusader era church at the waterfront just down the street from the parish.
The most the bishop and the vicar general would do at that time is, basically, nothing. They and the other priests of the Diocese of Massa Marittima – Piombino were scared to death of “Quel M”.
Senseless, you say? Sick, you say?
Meanwhile, “Quel M” returned to the parish (though forbidden by the bishop), in order, he thought, to preside at the funeral of the head of Italy’s Catholic Action. She was from the parish and all sorts of politicians and dignitaries and untold numbers of churchmen of every rank showed up from throughout the Italian peninsula. I asked the higher-up ecclesiastics if they would like to preside over the funeral. They were afraid, and so cited my appointment by the local ordinary to surveil the situation. I couldn’t believe it. “Quel M”, standing right there in the sacristy before Holy Mass, was a volcano. A monsignor whispered to him that he shouldn’t be there and “Quel M” erupted violently, but somehow got himself out the door like a twirling Tazmanian devil of Bugs Bunny fame, though there was nothing funny about this. He could easily have killed all of us. The priests were wide-eyed, truly afraid. “Quel M” again had murder in his eyes and was totally out of control. Within a few minutes he was back in again. In order to calm down the situation I asked him if he would do the first reading. “Si!” he exclaimed. But then, during Mass, from the side, he said all the parts that I was to say as the “main celebrant” as the phrase goes in the Novus Ordo (back in 1993). “Quel M” said those prayers in a very loud voice indeed, almost shouting them out. Just so sad. I let him read because I was afraid that he would actually have killed a number of the old priests there. Truly… Anyway…
Don Claudio survived his stay at the hospital, returned to parish, and he and I became instant life-long friends if such a thing makes sense. It’s just that it seemed we knew each other forever. He loved Jesus. He loved the truth. He called our friendship in the priesthood a “sintonia” in the truth, explaining that sintonia has to do with radio waves being on the same frequency, strengthening each other. It would only be weeks before he died. When one is smashed about to death as an elderly person, this will exacerbate all other medical conditions, and it will not be long before one dies.
When Saint John Paul II got wind of all this, he was pretty upset, furious really, and sent a letter to all the Italian bishops about how to deal with their priests. It was like a lightning strike. Bishops were on notice. Yikes! This was a saga which carried on some years and was infamous everywhere in Italy. When priests found out that I had been the one to stay with don Claudio they instantly exclaimed: “You’re the one!” incredulous that I was standing before them. But I was nothing but a donkey-priest doing what I had to do. It is don Claudio who is inspiring. Let me tell you a bit about that:
The rest of the story: I repeatedly begged don Claudio to tell the police what had happened, to tell the full story to the bishop, but he would not do this. Don Claudio didn’t want to hurt “Quel M” in any way. Don Claudio wanted with all his might that “Quel M” come to know the mercy of the Lord. Don Claudio taught me much about the priesthood in view of other priests. I don’t know if I leaned what I should have learned, but my experience with him has nonetheless been invaluable for me. Thanks, don Claudio! I went to visit his tomb in the mid-2000s, brought there from Rome by a friend who has served as a kind of special secretary, so to speak, for a successive number of Roman Pontiffs. Even after so many years, his tomb was surrounded by huge bouquets of fresh cut flowers. That’s impressive. I prayed for the repose of his soul, and then asked that he pray for this donkey-priest still upon this earth.
Having said all that, if I had walked in on “Quel M” attacking don Claudio, I think I would have – in one movement – thrown him through the window (high up along the ceiling with those way too narrow windows) and out into the garden far below. If he had broken down the doors (I think we had already changed the locks) so as to reenter to do away with me, a kind of post-hoc witness to the murder… Well, I’ll just stop there… Yikes! So, I’m no saint.
As the years went by, “Quel M” visited the student priest residence where I was staying in Rome. I sat at the same table with him at lunch (twelve to a table). He sat across from me. His eyes bugged out like a cicada eyes when he realized that I had been the priest who had rescued don Claudio’s parish many years previously:
“Splutter, splutter, splutter…” was all he could say. He was once again a volcano, but had to control himself, but just couldn’t, so outraged was he. Meanwhile, he knew he was being watched by the powers-that-be at the table, who were way too well connected for him to be able to throw a fit.
Meanwhile, the bishop of that little diocese back in the day was kicked upstairs to about the very top of the Vatican hierarchy. I just couldn’t believe it.
Meanwhile, “Quel M” had been a mockery of what it means to be a donkey-priest, killing the shepherd by crushing his esophagus, instead of keeping the wolves away by doing the same to them, figuratively speaking.
I had already been well aware of the spiritual hideousness that priests can get into, but I had never met someone like Judas who would just go ahead and kill a fellow priest. But, now, I had an experience that this was also possible. I know Judas betrayed Jesus, but it’s different somehow when you see someone with blood on their hands for having done this quite literally.
This prepared me for more opening of my eyes to how far Jesus had to reach to get all of us, so very far, right into hell, so as to save us. My eyes were opened, like that cicada pictured above, as to how far Jesus had to reach to get me. I realized a bit more how bad and evil I am if I am without the grace of our Lord: so very bad and evil. “Quel M” and yours truly, I realized, are not so very different. Given the circumstances in life, you know, from birth, it’s all “There but for the grace of God go I.” If we don’t get that, we are liars to God, to neighbor, to ourselves.
Graced humility is the only way. Don Claudio shows us the way. He didn’t at all want to hurt “Quel M” in any way, but only wanted that also “Quel M” know the mercy and goodness of the Lord. This donkey-priest has so much to learn about that graced humility that don Claudio exemplified. No wonder he was in high demand for conferences retreats for priests and for parish missions right around Italy. Thanks be to God for don Claudio Tonini.
“For your penance spend a few minutes before the Blessed Sacrament thinking about these things,” said my confessor.
I had accused myself of perhaps not excluding judgment of motives of those exteriorly presenting untoward speech and/or actions.
“The same tongue of judgment is the same which pronounces the Consecrations at Holy Mass,” he had said.
Dearest Donna was called by our Lord to the next life the other day. This was a sudden death. Her funeral is this coming Wednesday at 11:00 AM (April 6, 2021) at Saint Dorothy’s Catholic Church in Lincolnton, NC. Donna was a best friend, as is her husband John, and their son, John Brian.
I should like to write more at length about these great witnesses to our Lord and our Blessed Mother in future.
But for now, a humorous story. It is NOT a canonization of Donna. And I’m not saying I’m some sort of visionary. No. I think that no matter what we are to pray that those who die be released from purgatory forthwith and be on their way to heaven, and if they are already there, our prayers will go – in their honor – for other souls to be on their way. It’s all good.
To preface this story you have to know that for a million reasons, one more far reaching than the other, I think that donkeys are the coolest of all God’s creatures, ever. They can sing, they only do what they understand, they are always with the Holy Family, they are the hard-working symbol of Israel from time immemorial. I could go on for volumes, and I have written at great length quite innumerable times about the glories of donkeys. I believe that the Lord’s Little Flock must have shepherds, priests, who are guard-donkeys, for donkeys protect the flock from the wolves, a swift kick, and then suffocation by crushing of the esophagus and then a quick side-to-side, ripping their throats right out.
Know that St Corbinian’s bear on Pope Benedict’s Coat of Arms is actually a donkey, and that Pope Benedict fancied himself as that very donkey. So very many stories in my own life, from the seminary to the Pontifical Bibilical Institute in Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to…
So! Donna heard my praise of donkeys for years. My hermitage where I wrote on the Immaculate Conception of our Lady was on a back ridge on their back-woods property John and Donna had in the heart of Appalachia. Donna was not so impressed with donkeys. Donkeys stink. Donkeys are “stinkers”, a nickname Donna gave to all and sundry good troublemakers, you know, those who are somewhat too clever in getting done what needs to be done. For Donna, I was often the stinker. “YOU, STINKER!” she would exclaim with joy, laughing at how subtly outrageously guard-donkey-esque I had just been for the good of the Church anywhere right around the world and right into the Holy See, from my little mountain hermitage or now in my tiniest of all parishes. It was and is to laugh, me being perhaps too happy with myself in getting done what needs to be done while quite miraculously escaping the wrath that otherwise might be expected from those more politically correct than ourselves. Good times.
In all these years of knowing John and Donna, they got to know very quickly that when anyone needed the Last Rites, I would rush to whatever junk vehicle I had at the time – even Jenny the Jeep – and chase off at breakneck speed to the the home or hospital or rehab bed of the one in dire straits. The Donkey-Priest must go quickly!
They knew my continuous stories of what I would say after providing Last Rites with all the attendant Sacraments and Indulgenced blessings and prayers, that when they finally go before Jesus, they are to tell Him that there is a Donkey-Priest upon this earth who needs His special help. This would always bring laughter or faked-politeness, which is also humor:
But in all of this, my emphasis on the great benefits of the Last Rites went deep into her soul. The day before she suddenly died, she insisted on going to Holy Mass at the Cathedral. From where they are, this involves a nightmare of traffic. John wanted to go to Holy Mass at Saint Dorothy’s. But there was no changing Donna’s mind. Off they went. Afterward, she got the Anointing of the Sick from the Rector of the Cathedral. Within hours, through in relatively good health, she was dead. She did have an untoward diagnosis (which apparently had little to do with her death). It was not long after she died that the “EVENT” happened.
Again, I’m not canonizing Donna here. Pray for the repose of her soul. I’m not saying I’m a visionary. No. It just is what it is. My experience. Take or leave it. Whatever. I find it all to be good humor. Haha.
Not very long at all after Donna dropped dead, it seemed that for one split-nanosecond she appeared to me in such good humored manner that I thought my appeals about requesting help for this Donkey-Priest had come true, not because she had brought this up to Jesus, but because Jesus had to bring it up to her, to the laughter of all who met her to bring her in before Jesus. Jesus has good humor. Just read the Scriptures. You’ll find God’s good humor throughout, everywhere you look. Donna had only two words to say to this Donkey-Priest in that split-nanosecond “visitation” if you will, knowing that I would know what she meant with her good demeanor in such good humor. Donna exclaimed, as only she can:
” ♬ YOU STINKER ! ♬ “
It is to laugh. And I did. And I do. Jesus is good and kind, even to the likes of His own Donkey-Priests. Thanks, Donna.
May Donna’s soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Hail Mary… Hail Mary… Hail Mary…
And thank you, Jesus, for giving special help to Donkey-Priests. :-)
My first literary foray for a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was Luke 15:11-32, which had the effect of making huge strides in the science of critica textus, dealing with the papyri and codices, and then making discoveries about a far-reaching theological history of the Church regarding grace over Pelagianism, involving a number of ecumenical councils and our greatest of theologian saints, from Augustine to Aquinas. But none of that has yet to come to light. Sigh. It was this experience that thrust me deep into the hell of the betrayal of the Church wrought in Cardinal Bea’s “Christian Unity” efforts. This was to be a doctoral thesis until a certain Cardinal discovered what it was that I was bringing to light. That was all smacked down to the end that the darkness might increase. So, none of that has come to light either. Sigh.
My second literary foray for a Doctorate in Theology was Genesis 2:4a–3:24, making discoveries about original sin and the Immaculate Conception that have not yet to come to light. Sigh. This is my daily anguish. This thrust me deeply into the hell of the betrayal of the Church wrought under the mantel of “interreligious dialogue,” which is anything but. But none of that has come to light either. Sigh.
My third literary foray – if my guardian angel is tasked with making this happen – is to be on the tiny Latin word “ut” in a very particular literary, syntactical context. Others have made discoveries and brought them to light. At least that’s what I’m told. Fine. I didn’t pay attention because those I assume were in the know about such things, namely, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, didn’t bring such matters to the attention of the Church at the time, I think because so many decades ago it wasn’t seen as the main engine driving the drastic measures some took over against the authority of Holy Mother Church. But as the years and decades have progressed, the problems posed by “ut” or the lack of “ut” are so very enormous in just these very days and weeks and months that I surmise almost no one in the entire Church will have the graced fortitude to deal with the matter at hand. Almost. No. One. People have tried to bring this to light but no one paid attention. I would like to try again. Perhaps I can add something, much more likely if I do not take into account what others have said, but look at it all freshly.
The problem, and it is a problem that cannot be solved without the grace of repentance, is that people are afraid of the darkness. People run away just as the Apostles fled from Calvary. I have seen so much betrayal of the Church in such high places in the Holy See and amongst the shakers and movers who literally mock God with what they congratulate themselves to be their rendering of irreversible destruction of the Church that… well… God help me… And God did help me.
Those who have not suffered through the discovery of hell where it should not be… well… humanly speaking… I just don’t see how they will be able to face the truth of the matter. But we have to start somewhere. Why not on the most unknown blog in the world coming from the most unknown priest in literally the smallest parish of North America?
Mind you. I’m NOT the person to do this. Latin is not my wheelhouse. I’m a Reggie-ite, to be sure, but Hebrew and Greek are where I thrive. I do know Latin enough to solve the most impossible imbecilities that, say, Nostra Aetate has to offer, even some of the more obscure passages of Dei Verbum over against Trent, but I welcome any smackdowns from those who know better than I do about anything Latinitas. I do this not out of hubris, but because I’ve seen this kind of horror before. I’m familiar with the protagonists of hellish betrayal. I know how it is that Bellarmine came to exclaim twice: the Church has never been so close to falling into hell. Of course, that is never the case, as Christ our God has a good grip on us and no one will rip us away from Him.
“Ut” is a small word, but has enormous consequence. It speaks to consequence. What I will say will not be very longwinded, such as any thesis might be. It is not filled with subtleties. Observations will be obvious to all. Yet, I can guarantee that the resistance to reason will be belligerent, that is, provocative of a veritable war. Yes.
I recall a certain pious and studious soul of bygone centuries who discovered some such thing as this and it was brought to the attention of the Holy Father of the day. The response was that, although this fellow was entirely correct in what he discovered, it was not at all the time for a correction to be made. Sigh. In this case, however, there is a time-limit for all things to be done normally. There is an out, but our Lord likes to work with normal means. But the powers that be, so to speak, must to their part.