Tag Archives: Saint Thomas More

Canonical Visitation to my parish: “We’ve done NOTHING!”

I’m not always in my parish, though it covers territory in three counties of Western North Carolina. I’m basically never in my office. Much better to be with the most hurting of Jesus’ Little Flock. See the picture above, which is about 300+ miles round trip when all is said and done. So, the “Canonical Visitation” of the parish had to be scheduled waaaay in advance. What is a canonical visitation, you ask? Let’s let AI provide the answer…

Dear AI, what is a “canonical visitation” to a catholic parish according to the Code of Canon Law?

According to the Code of Canon Law, a “canonical visitation” is an official visit made by a bishop or a representative of the Holy See to a Catholic parish or institution. The purpose of this visit is to assess the pastoral needs of the community, ensure that the celebration of the sacraments is being performed according to Church law, and to offer guidance and support to the parishioners and clergy. During a canonical visitation, the bishop or representative can also inquire about the financial status of the parish and its compliance with Church teachings. The results of a canonical visitation can lead to changes in leadership or administrative practices within the parish or institution. As a part of the overall governance structure of the Church, canonical visitations are considered important tools for ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of Catholic ministries around the world.

In this case, in this far-flung parish on the far side of the peripheries, it’s not the Bishop, but the Vicar Forane who does this visitation. There were some items in which, it was duly pointed out, improvement could be made. For instance, getting less battered editions of some liturgical books at Holy Redeemer and, over at Prince of Peace, possibly swapping out the pews with those in his church (a better fit for both churches). Also at Prince of Peace some improvements were suggested for the in-ceiling baldachin in the mission church both for lighting and change-out-able hanging cloths along the lengths of the baldachin (I didn’t catch the technical name for those). Holy Redeemer now has an altar rail. The same was suggested for Prince of Peace. We just have a kneeler there. I was not expecting such suggestions. Great.

After both campuses and the rectory were closely inspected, after records books were duly signed, there was more encouragement provided to me as far as I go as a Pastor, you know, after many by-the-way conversations about a wide range of topics:

  • “You’re doing good here, Father George. You’re doing a lot of good.”

Of course, you know what happens when you’re doing a lot of good… So, I then brought up in the last minutes before my canonical visitator returned to the far side of the mountains a possible upcoming persecution of the Church. We agreed that many of our Church leaders just don’t get the easy answer provided by Saint Thomas More:

  • “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

And that put’s all the success and praise into perspective.

To quote some priest-friends about us priests who are still alive in this world, without exception…

  • “We’ve done NOTHING! We’ve not yet laid down our lives for Jesus. We’ve done NOTHING! NOTHING!

There are priests and sisters and so very many laity right around the world who laying down their lives in witness to the Lord. How could we even for a second think that we are doing well in anything until the Lord Himself welcomes us on the far side of witness to Him in heaven, joining the countless others who have their lives in witness to the Lord.

Until we join their ranks, their glorious ranks, we’ve done NOTHING! NOTHING!


Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

Legal Positivism vs Natural Law and Divine Law: It’s a license to kill.

Law describes rights and duties with an eye to Truth. Man’s law should be consonant with Natural Law and respect Divine Law.

Any old law enacted by man is not consonant, does not respect truth simply because it is enacted as law by man, as if all men were infallible. Legal positivists shriek:

  • “Because legislation was passed by a legislature or decreed by a tyrant it is to be praised by God Himself! It is law, and therefore it is good!”

That’s called legal positivism. We meet up a lot with that these days, also among priests and bishops who refuse to use their brains, who think that they embrace the faith in rejecting reason, who are so entirely aware that what they do is going against Natural Law and Divine Law that they become nervous: “Don’t make me think! It’s the law! Just follow it!”

One priest scolded me when he said that unless I comply with whatever, there may come a time when I will be forced to go against my conscience, and I should just get over whatever objection and comply, you know, because it’s the law, and they can hurt you.

No, no one can hurt me. It is all of eternity which makes up the background of my decisions for integrity. A few years (presumed!) on this earth with a lack of integrity, haunted at every moment of every day by that darkness of a decision to make lack of integrity the center of my life, is not somehow better than all of eternity in heaven. And this is the point of legal positivism: fear of doing what is right because of consequences in this world. What a bunch of freakin’ cowards.

Law should reflect Truth’s splendor. The splendor of Truth is a good moral life. Law is all about morality: Do not murder! Do not bear false witness! Do not steal! Do not commit adultery! That’s Natural Law and is also revealed to our dark and fallen human nature by God.

But what if human legislation passes law against Natural Law and Divine Law? Then that law is not law at all says Saint Thomas Aquinas. Evil law, not being law, is not to be obeyed or disobeyed, but is to be simply ignored as it is nothing. But when I say this self-evident fact, it is met instantly with the statement that only I think like that in the whole world and everyone else goes along to get along so why don’t I just go along to get along?

How about this: Because I love Jesus, who said, “If you love me, keep MY commandments.” He didn’t say that if we love Him, we are therefore to keep whatever law that was legislated by human beings over against God.

  • “You mean we actually have to think and use our free will and say: “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first” and then face the consequences?

Yes, that’s exactly what what I’m saying. I’m saying that the cowardly legal positivists should love Jesus. Even the kids are fed up with the blah-blah-blah of the legal positivists:

Here’s what you get with legal positivism, which is not so very positive:

“It’s the law!” they shriek, yes, also those “conservative” positive legalist priests shriek this, again and again, no matter what the stupid and evil law happens to be: “It’s the law! It’s the law! It’s the law!”

One of those legal positivists was the archbishop present at the beheading of Thomas More. But it’s not a thing of the past. It never is. It is with us today. All around. Do God’s law out of love of Jesus and you’ll find out right quick where people stand. It’s surprising who stands with legal positivism over against God.


Filed under Free exercise of religion, Politics, Pope Francis

I think there’s a great again meme in there

These billboards are all over Pennsylvania, and will remain up for a couple of months. They were put up by former Republican state senator Scott Wagner. Good on Scott Wagner.

So, continuing meme, how about…

You get the idea.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of all of it. I’m sick of individuals who betray these U.S.A. I’m sick of individuals in the Church who betray Christ Jesus. I’m sick.

But, enough of that. That’s just me being weak and useless.

I should be enthusiastic, joyful to live in these times. What a privilege to live in these times. Thank you Jesus.

So how about something like this…

That portrait of Saint Thomas More as Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII always had pride of place in the law offices of my dad.


Filed under Humor, Pope Francis, Spiritual life, Terrorism

Keto-ing Police Chaplain Pope Francis Saint Thomas More Prayer!



One of the ladies in my parish gave me this prayer card yesterday. She knows that:

  • I’m a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis
  • I’m doing up the Keto diet
  • I’m always talking about simplicity of soul (purity of heart and agility of soul)
  • I’m a police chaplain and have my sights on evil more than I ever did
  • I’m obstructed by “I” if I look to myself for strength
  • I only have a sense of good humor and can take a joke and can discover a bit of joy and share it with others when I know that Jesus is the One, the only One.

Thanks, Thomas.


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Prayer, Saints