Tag Archives: Vocations

Jesus is delusional paranoid possessed. Damned if you do or don’t. Hah!


Jesus: “Why are you trying to kill me?”

Crowd: “You are possessed! Who is trying to kill you?”

Jesus: “I performed one work and all of you are amazed because of it.”

Stare at that for just a bit. See John 7:19ff. And this deadly death-mongering over-amazement in the all waaaaay toooo interesting Jesus was common. Can you think of other instances where Jesus is said to be possessed or delusional or paranoid, where He’s called names? It was common in His day. And it’s common today.

Here’s the deal: Jesus just said it like it was, and people said, effectively, “To hell with you, you damn preacher-man. We’re going to kill you. No one is trying to kill you! But we’re going to kill you.”

Interesting. Jesus is the most interesting Priest in the world. Kill Him!

Anyone who is at all trying to be at least a little bit faithful to the Most High should recognize this lockstep dynamic in his life and, because of that, in our lives.

I remember a scene at the Pontifical Josephinum Seminary up in Ohio some years ago when, sitting with a half dozen of the seminarians for lunch, someone asked a question which, to answer, I recounted an anecdote that went right to whatever point it was that was being made. Half-way through that historical account, one of the seminarians, to the embarrassment of the others, stood up and, with arms flailing, eyes wide, complained really quite loudly that this was all just too much, too impossible:

“No one can have that many experiences in his life. It’s just not possible. You’re making all that up.”

And here I thought that that particular account was really pretty boring, whatever it was. Anyway, off he went, effectively killing me off, so to speak. I then told the remaining seminarians something which I have repeated a thousand times to others:

“You’ll all have a wildly interesting life, from one moment to the next, if you are always faithful to goodness and kindness and justice and truth and mercy. If you don’t compromise Jesus, if you don’t spit on Him so as to think you are protecting yourselves in all of the damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations you will certainly come across almost on a daily basis, He will take care of you. There is always a third option besides compromising non-negotiables in one direction or the other. That third option is being faithful to Jesus.”

I mean, examples are rife, and can be had in daily rounds to Catholic hospitals for instance, all damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations, not because of doing anything special, but because others among one’s fellow priests have given in, compromised in non-negotiables of life and death, of goodness and kindness and justice and truth and mercy. “How dare you not compromise! How dare you simply do the right thing!”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations are the usual fare that our fallen human nature puts before all and sundry who might simply be faithful to the Most High, such as Jesus and all the rest of us who are drawn to Him in friendship, knowing His forgiveness. That friendship puts an edge on all interactions, providing us with grace that we might be instantaneously indignant that we would be asked to compromise doctrine or morality for the reason that such compromise would be offensive to Mary’s Son, Jesus.

This is so true and it happens so frequently – quite a constant really – that one could easily blurt out with Jesus – “Why are you trying to kill me?” – to which exclamation, of course, the bewildered response would be: “You are delusional, paranoid, possessed! Who is trying to kill you?” And then they go on in their blurred existence to marginalize and damn whoever it is that is simply trying in some way to be faithful on the non-negotiables, such as goodness and kindness and justice and truth and mercy. One’s situational awareness comes to expect the worst while believing the best, an oft betrayed naivete in which one rejoices, the cause of laughter, you know, with Jesus, who loves the humor. Situational awareness concerning the damned if you do or don’t crowd is consonant with love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 nab).

Situational awareness concerning the damned if you do or don’t crowd is consonant with light:

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be” (Matthew 6:22-23 nab).

But to the compromised, love and light seems to be delusional, paranoid, possessed, dark, suffering, distressed. Um…. no.

“But what do you do in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? This isn’t right! We’re entitled! We have rights! We’re… we’re… we’re… you know… us!”

There is always a third option. Be faithful to Jesus. And then rejoice that you are said to be delusional, paranoid, possessed.

For myself, I never would have had any care about damned if you do or don’t situations, ever, in life, had I just compromised, had I just ignored situations. But that is soooo boring. I would rather have a wildly interesting life following the most interesting High Priest ever, Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, delusional, paranoid and possessed that He is. Amen. Hah!

There are many times that commiserators or Job’s friends would think are occasions of distress and sorrow and darkness and confusion, but don’t realize the enthusiasm and joy by which one stands next to Jesus, gaping with Him at whatever damned if you do or don’t situation has come up on whatever given day, and then elbow Jesus in the ribs (watch out for the wound though), and ask Him how He’s going to deal with this most absolutely impossible situation, only to watch Him ably turn the tables, every time. Every time.

I remember one particularly absolutely impossible situation and, with a smirk, was doing just this, asking Jesus how He was going to deal with this situation, thinking this was wonderful entertainment which He was happy to provide. He’s always the one and only Priest, happy to be the Priest for us in whatever situation should we want Him to be there. But this was an absolutely impossible situation. Hah! I was really enjoying it. What happened is that the person forcing the impossible situation implicated himself (a bishop of a far-away place, actually), smacking himself down, and then cleared the way to a solution in which the angels could rejoice. And you don’t want to offend angels! I am amazed to this day, but not tooooo amazed. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. It’s all about Him, He who is delusional, paranoid, possessed. Thank you, Jesus.


Filed under Jesus, Priesthood, Vocations

Fr Byers is escaping his priesthood


Seen a gazillion feet up along the top of the mountain chain roads on Communion Calls. It’s all so very beautiful that it must be an escape from reality!

As long time readers know, I remain always fascinated with Mountain Life, perhaps because I feel at home, perhaps because I grew up this way. I love everything about nature, and I love that Jesus goes after all of us everywhere who have a fallen human nature, whether in city or country, on whatever continent in whatever culture or language or politics. What’s there that is not priestly about wanting to be part of that in whatever way in whatever place? But that bit about escaping the real drama of the priesthood is the judgment I hear frequently enough from some priests and some laity, that I am somehow misplaced in this paradise, that I have unused and even buried talents, blah, blah, blah. It is to laugh.

I wonder if the attitude behind such statements betrays a certain prejudice against those who live in these backsides of the beyonds. The locals are absolutely amazing, each a treasure in God’s eyes, entirely having histories with which I am already familiar with coming from a place very much like here. All the good things. All the bad. And those who are not local, oh my, so many of them I wouldn’t say are somehow more special, but so many of them do have rather, shall we say, unique backgrounds, having some of the most unique talents one would ever find anywhere, including all that which regards science, communications, military, intelligence services, finance and, yes, crime at very refined and very non-refined levels.

So, if it’s the not the area, not the locals, not the transplants, then what would it be that would have people say frequently enough that I am somehow escaping my priesthood or, diversely, that I am misplaced? Perhaps it is the opposite of what people might themselves expect.

Here’s the deal: I love it here, as I love being a priest everywhere and in every way. Not all priests are like that and perhaps it is refreshing to see that, so refreshing that it is somehow held to be something special about yours truly as a priest, so much so that I must not really belong here because that attitude is so unusual and so useful. But, I protest, loving the priesthood is just the normal Father Joe Schmoe priest thing, isn’t it? Aren’t all priests to be that way? And isn’t that something that has to do not with any particular priest, particularly me, but with Jesus the High Priest Himself? He’s the One. He’s the only One.


Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Jesus confesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus goes to Confession

confessional jesus

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

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

confession jesus

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

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

confession sacrament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

gethsemane sleeping apostles

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

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

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

And, previously:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

It is this…

which is based off of this…

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

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


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


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

It’s SO difficult going on a diet. Hah!


And this isn’t the only one, nor the only party. This is now four parties. I’m promising to diet, but, I have to admit it, I love this kind of thing. To be popular? That isn’t it. It is legitimate, I think, to rejoice in being a Father of the local Family of faith. Why not? Does not a father of any family rejoice when the family has family celebrations? Thanks go to the cake maker / decorator at the local supermarket. He’s been busy making multiple cakes for me. Totally cool! :-)


Filed under Diet, Priesthood, Vocations

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

cardinal burke lourdes

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

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

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Filed under Eucharist, Missionaries of Mercy

Seen at a friend’s house

Ordination anniversary card.

And it’s still Christmas…


Filed under Christmas, Priesthood, Uncategorized, Vocations

Fr Gordon MacRae my spiritual director Blogging continues; it’s his fault.


Yesterday was the anniversary of my priestly ordination. Always a happy occasion for me. But also a chance to reevaluate. I figured I should take a wee break from blogging so as to reorganize, so as to push the reset button, something like shaking one’s legs out at a starting line just before a sprint, just before entrenching yet again on the starting blocks and then bursting forth.

Within a few hours of my putting up a post that I was taking a break from blogging Father Gordon MacRae (About) gave me a call as he does very frequently. He started a discussion about blogging as he’s writing a post for These Stone Walls which I’ll be editing for him next week. I told him what I was up to, but then he convinced me not to take any break at all. He even encouraged me about my rather sharp sense of irony and sometimes “scorched earth” writing as he calls it. Some time ago I asked Father Gordon to be my spiritual director and so, O.K., I’ll keep on writing. I am reminded of a certain race in which a father burst out on to the race track to help his son. Goodness. This video is disallowed by the International Olympic Committee from WordPress as they want to get advertising. Just click the “watch on youtube” link. If an add pops up before the video, just click “skip” in the lower right of the video box. It’s truly worth it. Draw the analogy.

Priests with a common bond in the High Priest, Christ Jesus, encourage each other. Thanks Father Gordon.

Arise! Let us be going!


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

That prayer that’s been going around

At the funeral yesterday for the Most Rev William George Curlin, Bishop Emeritus of Charlotte NC, we learned a few things about him. For instance, there’s an old prayer that’s been making the rounds which is partly made up of the Lord’s Prayer and the prayer Jesus made in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to our Heavenly Father. It’s a short prayer which instantaneously evokes an examination of conscience with a contrite heart and an enthusiasm to do God’s will. The bishop had this prayer framed and placed on the wall beside his bed:

“Thy will, O Lord, be done.

  • Nothing more.
  • Nothing less.
  • Nothing else.
  • Amen.”

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Filed under Prayer, Priesthood, Vocations

“Fr Byers, who are you, anyway?” Apologia pro vita mea

With the videos above I poke fun at myself. Sorry for some of the language in them. I apologize to those who actually want an answer to the question about my identity, to those who don’t accept the answer that I am a simple back-mountain priest on the outside of the peripheries. That’s all I am. And I’m happy with that. Truly.

The problem is that there are those who are ferociously asking about my real identity even now as if that question has never been asked before, not knowing that I have been one of the most researched people on the planet by whatever wing of Catholicism, or Protestantism, or atheism, or of whatever religion, Judaism, Islam, or whatever political entity overseas, but most especially by our own intelligence services, the latter being interested because of my “Shadow”, and because and all the hyper-sensitive places I’ve been, all the terrorists with whom I have been “friends,” all the terrorist incidents in which I have in one way or another been involved, all the friends I have on the very highest levels in the military, in intelligence services, in the Church. But, hey! You newcomers! Go for it!

The question is, of course, why the interest in me? By all accounts, I am just another boring priest among the million or so priests on the face of the earth. I am just one more boring person among the billions of people who are presently alive. So, why me?

Inside the Church, the ultra-liberal swamp rats think that I am their hero because of some of the rather extraordinary people I know and the type of degrees I have behind my name, thinking that anyone with those qualifications (those people and those institutions) has to be one of the more dangerous-to-the-status-quo people on the face of the earth, and so I am welcomed, until they get to know me, but even then, their suspicions that I am way to the right in their estimation remains merely suspicion, for I simply can’t be of Tradition if I know their darlings and have the degrees I do. They think I am just being very, very clever, more political than they could imagine could be possible. Their question remains: “Who are you, anyway?”

Inside the Church again, the ultra-traditional-ism-ists treat me the same way, suspicious that I am a filthy liberal because of the people I know and the degrees that I have, and yet are confused by the things I have done in my life, doing more for the reinstatement of the Traditional liturgy (more than the Mass, also the sacraments and exorcism, etc), than most all of them put together. They think all that is subterfuge, a cover. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream, condemning me as one of those “priests” who loves “mercy,” but then wondering what is going on because they never see me embrace any heresy, any leftist position, so that they simply hate that I won’t hate who they hate as much as they hate, or even hate at all. They think I am a careerist, but then watch in amazement how I throw away “career” after “career.” I could certainly have had a multitude of careers in the Church, could have long been a bishop, actually archbishop at this stage, the problem being that I just won’t compromise, not to protect my record of not compromising, but because I believe in serving Jesus. But that is what they will not accept. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream again.

I suppose I should give a few examples. Early on I was invited to go to the Academia Ecclesiastica, but I turned that down with the excuse that I just would not make a career of compromising my priesthood. That was very offensive to some career diplomats, believe me. I’m sure many are devout believers. Some are anything but that. I knew quite a bit about those who were beholden more to the State than to Jesus. I have a lot of friends. But I felt I was too weak to last as a believer in such settings. Either I would cave in or be removed as useless to the ways of compromise. So, why bother? That’s just the way it was. That’s a confession about how bad and evil I was. Then there was a now long-deceased ecclesiastical superior who wanted to pull some strings and have me appointed as one of the Inquisitors at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but I dissuaded him as well. At the time, among some in the CDF, it was all about how to please bishops. I just couldn’t do it, fearful that I wouldn’t be able to remain faithful to Jesus, fearful that I would simply be removed as someone useless to the world of compromise. Mind you, the CDF did do some great things at the time under then Cardinal Ratzinger, especially the ghost-writing of the official interpretation of Canon 915 (upon which I had some incisive influence from afar). Anyway, there was also a push to get me into the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Congregation for Saints, heck, after my time at Vatican Radio, even Communications at their new offices was put before me. The biggest career I turned down, however, was to go to teach at a certain University in Buenos Aires, where I’m quite sure I would have in no time (if not from the very beginning) been put in administrative positions as a jumping board to other things. I turned that down because the whole thing seemed geared to smashing down my faithfulness to Jesus. I was afraid of my weakness, afraid of being removed as someone useless to political correctness of compromise. I have to wonder what would have happened between Father and then Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio and myself, what with our common friends. I have to wonder what would have been the future of the ghost writing of Amoris laetitia, if, instead, I would have written that in a manner manifestly reflecting the teaching of the Church. I am a failure, I suppose, for not having taken up those careers in the Church. I am certainly a failure for having been fearful of anything at the time. I have only since then learned by the grace of God not to fear anything, ever. Why? Because Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

Anyway, outside the Church, because of my life-time relationship of sorts with my “Shadow” (which has nothing to do with me, by the way), the State Department, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and various and sundry operators of any and all military or intelligence backgrounds have long wondered and frequently asked, always after long investigations and always with frustration, “Who are you, anyway?” This has become, over many decades and with countless examples, both humorous and predictable. Some, if they are good guys, just do what they are told in my regard (because of the “Shadow” thing) or they are afraid to bring it further to Pompeo or Tillerson because their own treasonous behaviors would be brought to light, especially now, but that’s another story, that is, as to how I’ve been trying to bring those treasonous behaviors to light. At this point, it seems that my “Shadow” has successfully turned the tables so that it must be me who is the Gray Man, in which case the question, “Who are you, anyway?” becomes both a protection and liability. It has, in fact, always been this way. It is what it is. There are benefits. There are drawbacks.

As it is, throughout my life my identity has been a standing “inside joke” for me and Jesus, for He has given me the grace which He willingly gives to all, the grace not to be novel, that is, no novelties, with the point being that only One who is important, the only One who has anything to say, is Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One. We are to our utmost to be instruments of His, letting His love and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth and mercy and truth be manifested through us. We are to have nothing of our own, no identity apart from Him. It’s all about Him. He is ever ancient, ever new. I am far from it, but it would be my hope to say that if there is anything that is ecclesial and of God in my life, that people will say: “Look at that. That’s not Fr George. That’s Jesus. Thank God for his great mercy.”

At the rare time that circumstances are such that it is important not to be novel, not to compromise, not to betray Jesus as regards Church or State, I have not compromised, ever. This is in itself so very novel, you know, not to embrace the novelty of being a “man of consensus”, not to embrace being a coward, that I have also been condemned as someone who promotes “admiratio” for this very reason. Ironic how that works. The very attempt to respect faith and morals, the attempt not to be Promethean, not to be neo-Pelagian, not to be self-absorbed, or self-referential, not to be corrupt, is the very thing which makes people condemn me as being all those things, for, they say, only someone full of himself, arrogant and Pharisaical, would want to be different from them, and instead want to be in solidarity with some sort of Sign of Contradiction. “Who are you, anyway?” they scream, wanting to know how it is that I could possibly not cave into their bullying ways. I could give a thousand examples regarding faith or morals or national security. But why bother? I have learned that people are not interested in arguments. They are only interested in pushing and pushing and pushing to see if, for real, there is faithfulness. In all their cynicism, they want to know if faithfulness is possible in this world. In the end, it’s all about being smashed down and, even while being smashed down, saying with Jesus’ love and truth and goodness and kindness and mercy: “I forgive you. I want to see you in heaven.” And in that way, there is no compromise, no novelty, nothing of me, only Jesus. I’m sure I’m not there yet. I am totally weak. But He gives me the grace to want to be nothing, that is, for Jesus, that is, to have no identity apart from Him, so that He can use me for what He wants, that is, His love, His truth, His goodness, His kindness, His mercy.

The “inside joke” is all about what happens. Here’s the deal: when you don’t compromise, you will get smashed down, hard. There are damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations, but you don’t compromise. There are horrific circumstances, but you don’t compromise. All is hopeless, completely hopeless, but you don’t compromise. And then you are smacked down, hard. O.K. But then, in remaining faithful in all things, Jesus picks you up. He makes life so very, very interesting in this way. How boring non-faithfulness must be. In contrast, the vistas of faith upon panoramas of hard reality are exhilarating. No amount of darkness can quench the bond of love with God that God Himself puts into our hearts. And this is one thing that is novel. This is something new. It is God’s love among us, Emmanuel. But Jesus brings that newness, not us. We can only receive that newness when we have nothing new of our own, nothing novel, no identity of our own.

Who am I, anyway? I hope for a love which casts out all fear. I hope one day to say that I am nobody, nothing, that Jesus is my All. I hope to say that Jesus is the One, that He’s the only One, that I find my identity in Him, that He finds me and brings me into the reality of love and truth.

P.S. At the moment, someone is condemning me as someone who is enjoying the all too easy life of a pastor on the peripheries. If only they knew! Well, I must say that I love being a priest, a pastor, and on the peripheries. I love being a priest. I love watching Jesus, the Priest, at work. I love everything about any possible way and manner of being a priest. It is true that an intellectual / academic “career” would be tough, as the Common Doctor says when commenting on the brightness of a halo in the Summa, as there is a 1000 times more anguish for the flock in such circumstances. In this regard I would absolutely love being the or one of the Papal Theologians (though I’m not a Dominican). My goodness, the things I could write on Genesis, on ecumenical cooperation with biblical manuscripts (going to the heart of ecumenism), on the women of the Gospels, on papal infallibility, on reaching out to the Orthodox, on being a missionary, on mercy, on the formation of seminarians… But, I am here, and I am also happy where I am, in the tiniest parish in North America, in the most remote place possible. I love it. That’s who I am, one who is in love with everything about The Priest, Jesus.


Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

When I was in prison you visited me. Christmas Card from Fr G and P-Max

I think this is the best message I’ve ever received on a printed Christmas card. This is written by a real believer:


And then there is the hand written message. This is surely the best message that I’ve ever received on a hand-written Christmas card. And yet, it is very distressing. I share this with you not to toot my own horn, but to remind you of the state of affairs that we presently have in the Church, whereby those who are thrown on the trash heap of expediency of no due process are left to rot by their “friends” and comrades in arms, as it were:


Perhaps it’s just that I absolutely don’t care what other people think about my being in solidarity with those in prison. And as it is, prison is wherever you happen to be, whether in or out of any stone walls, because it is also a matter of the spirit.

We were all in the prison of original sin and whatever other rubbish sin in our own lives, and Christ Jesus put Himself in our place, allowing Himself to be imprisoned overnight after His condemnation by the Sanhedrin and before His condemnation by Pontius Pilate. We were all useless sinners, dark, egotistic, having no merit of which to boast, in the prison of self-limited spirits.

Jesus didn’t put any limit on visiting prisoners. He didn’t say to visit only those who are innocent or who didn’t receive proper due-process of law (such as Father Gordon and Pornchai Maximilllian of Christmas card fame above). He didn’t say to visit only those who believe in Him. Jesus is our Savior, that is, yours and mine as well. Jesus simply wants us to share the greatest love of our lives – Jesus – with others, particularly with those who especially need His love. This is the way to evangelize. It’s like teaching a class: involve the troublemakers on the fringes and the rest of the class will excel all the more. But not for that purpose, but because that troublemaker is himself redeemed and loved by the Creator and Savior of the world. After all, I’m that troublemaker and people helped me.

People are afraid to do any of this also for the reason that they will be “tainted” because, you know, you have that kind of prisoner as your friend?! Therefore you must be a criminal in the same way as that kind of prisoner. But, secretly, such a bully with such an opinion is envious of the freedom of the children of God to share the greatest love in their lives. And then they throw tantrums all the more.

As far as priests go, it’s extremely rare for me to find a priest who is indignant that his fellow priests are subjected to a system of no-due-process. So many are eager to side with no-due-process so that they can look tough, like heroes. Really? It will all catch up with them. What’s my answer to all that?

I recommend letting love cast out all fear and self-congratulation and simply sharing the greatest love of our lives with all those whom Christ Jesus has already redeemed on the Cross. All are redeemed. We are to desire that all be saved even if not all will be saved. It’s just that we don’t know who’s who, and so we must be in anguish to evangelize until we draw our last breath in this world.

There are those who think that anyone who has sinned, ever, are hopeless, useless, and to be condemned, no forgiveness, no mercy. But they include themselves in this. Those who show no mercy will not receive mercy. But just know that Father G and P-Max are visiting you in your prison by praying for you.

After all, that the irony isn’t it? That by visiting those in prison we ourselves are set free?


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Defending innocents – Loving enemies – Love overrides fear using it as a tool: stopping active shooters in churches


ISIS is threatening terrorist events at Christmas time on specifically Catholic churches. Distinctions are necessary. Priests should be clear-headed about such things. Fear in the face of terrorism isn’t always a bad thing. But there are a number of kinds of fear, some good, some bad. Let’s take just a peek at both, starting with bad fear:

  • Bad fear, arising from our own insecurities, causes misplaced priorities, causing mistakes, causing imprudence bringing about reactions which might well bring about one’s own injury or death, or the same for innocent by-standers, or the same for the perpetrator in an unnecessary and unjustified escalation of force.
  • The insecurities causing bad fear regard any lack of readiness to leave this world considering one’s loved ones or one’s own responsibilities and dreams and plans or regarding any lack of personal spiritual preparedness for entering into eternity: if one isn’t ready to let go, if one hasn’t discussed this with loved ones and advisers, if one isn’t prepared to understand that it is a real possibility that one might not be able to get out of a threat or possibly might not be able to deescalate troubles, well then, bad things are probably going to happen: see above.
  • Bad fear casts out all love. I know a priest who said that he would absolutely for certain abandon his flock to the wolves so that he could come back later and be a priest another day. I attempted to instruct him that with that attitude, he wasn’t even now being a pastor of the flock. Perhaps he despaired of being able to do something about bad fear, and simply gave up.

Love casts out bad fear by having us depend on the Lord’s good love, not our own. Just to say, there is good fear and love can put that good fear to good use. Let’s take a peek:

  • Good fear regards the God-given good instinct for self-preservation. We can’t simply explain quite stupidly — “NO FEAR!” — thinking that that will bear out to be true in a critical incident situation. Good fear is a necessity and can be used to provide oneself with a good education in understanding and noting indicators of danger, to obtain good training, to keep oneself on edge with ever changing drills but also basic mechanics. Good fear puts an immediacy on prudently evaluating whatever situation. Good fear opens oneself up to having before oneself any number of possible avenues of recourse while choosing quite instantaneously the right course of action.
  • Good fear is the beginning of wisdom. Good fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Good fear places one before all eternity with all the prerequisite changes in one’s priorities, with all the security one has in one’s participation in God’s self-sacrificing love, looking forward to entering into all eternity if that becomes a necessity that one risks, as it were, in taking up such a life and life-style.
  • Good fear respects God’s justice, that is, with all piety, rendering honor to whom honor is due in justice.

Now, such analysis doesn’t mean that one doesn’t love one’s enemy, the active shooter, who is injuring or killing innocents. Our dear Lord can well sort out the results of one’s intervention in which one has put oneself at risk to stop the perpetrator. Recall what our Lord said just before being tortured to death, laying down His own life, the Innocent for the guilty: “Father, forgive them! They don’t even know what they are doing.” Defending the innocent doesn’t mean anything about the judgment of the perpetrator. Defending the innocent doesn’t mean that one is cruel or mean. One can retain one’s love of God and neighbor even when pulling the trigger on a perpetrator who is actively injuring and/or killing others or oneself.

Being a priest myself, I was asked whether or not, after myself hypothetically pulling the trigger and neutralizing any immediate and mortal threat, I would then proceed to absolve the sin of the criminal involved, if, for instance, the same fellow, being Catholic, did not refuse the sacrament as he might be actively dying, or was, in the same state, also unconscious. I would, of course, offer such an absolution. For instance, present insanity, in which case he is not guilty of any malice, does not exclude the forgiveness of any past sin at the possible moment of death. There is no sin too great that God’s mercy cannot provide forgiveness. But unrepented presumption of mercy is a sin against the Holy Spirit, for which there is no forgiveness, but that’s on the perp, not me. God’s the Judge.

“Defending innocents and loving enemies” — They’re not subject to the law of non-contradiction. Jesus is just that good and just that kind. Amazing, huh?

P.S. The flip-side of this last scenario would be whether or not a defender, having neutralized a threat against innocent, should be absolved from sin. I would never absolve such a person for doing such a violent thing because it is not sinful but rather virtuous and indeed heroic to defend the innocent from catastrophic injury and death. People wrongfully feel guilt for any number of things, including merely having happened to see a violent incident. Wrongfully forgiving that which was always innocent only seals people in wrong-headed guilt, which action on the part of the wrongful “forgiver” is IMHO a sin. It’s that kind of puritanesque being-above-the-fray judgment on good defenders which throws good people into the hell of PTSD, making them victims of holier-than-thou bullying instead of helping them to be one with everyone, which they were to begin with, and certainly much more so than any self-appraised do-gooders.

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Filed under Confession, Guns, Priesthood, Terrorism, Vocations

priest gunslingers vs active shooters

saint gabriel possenti patron

The Saint Gabriel Possenti Society recalls the time when the now canonized saint saved a young lady from being raped by employing the tools he had at hand.

The need for using tools to ward off untoward violence even in Saint Podunk parish church that seats 25 people isn’t a thing of the past. Active shooter critical incidents and terrorist attacks are happening as frequently in these USA as they are anywhere in the world, whether in the podunk church or the mega-church. It’s time to harden the softest of all soft targets. ISIS is promising hits on Catholics on Christmas.

Choosing to familiarize oneself with the proper tools so as to be of service to one’s neighbor is a life decision, a life-style decision. Getting class-room training and being legal with any permits isn’t enough. One has to do drills and hopefully also scenario training with some frequency.

As I myself begin to become familiarized with my G19 (it’s only been a year and some since I fired my first shot out of a pistol), I’ve practiced with any number of target sizes and distances, moving and stationary, but have never seen anything like the pre-9-11 Air Marshal qualification put together by Tom Bullins. It was severely dumbed down after 9-11 since almost no one was able to pass even once. Few instructors in the nation were able to make the grade. So it was dumped. But the original course can still be pieced together and put into practice on a private range using the QIT-97 (the QIT-99 if you want to show off). This is the best explanation I’ve seen for the “old” Federal Air Marshall TPC Course.

On the day off the other day I tried to pass all seven stages 100% twice. But that, mind you, was just to get used to the times and what needed to be done. This wasn’t coming in cold before a flight or set of flights as was otherwise the case back in the day when Air Marshals were Air Marshals. Mind you, I bet today’s Air Marshals most likely practice on this old course on their own. For myself, there were many failures of time and accuracy in between getting familiarized with the seven stages. 1/10 second overtime failure on even one of the seven stages would disqualify an Air Marshall from flying. Wow. That’s jaw dropping. Trying out each stage was truly hilarious, what with spinning about and dropping down while changing out mags and shooting, etc. All stages are insanely difficult, but because of that, a challenge and therefore enjoyable.

A Navy vet in the parish recommended that I trade in my Glock for a Sig p320 (with the voluntary military upgrade). I’m considering that. There are many versions of the p320. I hate the idea of safeties. I really like the Glock “safe-action.” But, as I say, there are different versions. That needs investigation.

Meanwhile, there is much discussion about churches having “plans” which also include those who carry. I would like to approach this with some preparation and common sense with input from law enforcement. I understand that some law enforcement has been encouraged to provide programs for churches by the FBI. I’d like to look into that.

What I would like to see among parishioners who carry with permit is that they are well practiced, are level headed, and know what they are doing.

Or should Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows just said a Hail Mary while the girl was getting raped, you know, in case his actions with tools might otherwise escalate the situation? It is instead virtuous to contribute to the virtue of justice with the defense of the innocent when this is appropriate and prudent and possible to accomplish in appropriate and prudent and possible ways. While use of guns is a last resort, it is sometimes the only possibility.

People who deny this want to use Jesus and the Church to deny reality, and smash down anyone who gets in their way. Whatever. Jesus was and is a realist. And Saint Gabriel is still a canonized saint.


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Filed under Guns, Law enforcement, Priesthood, Terrorism, Vocations

The priest is a parable

Look closely…


Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

Homily 2017 09 27 Forgiving Priests!

This is what our Lord thinks about having patience with priests and bishops and Apostles. Yikes!


Filed under Confession, HOMILIES, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

The Feast Day news for Pastor Byers – “God made you special”

God made you special rock

This was to be seen in the flower bed at the entrance of Prince of Peace Catholic Mission this past weekend. One recalls the saying of Jesus about even the likes of me crying out (Luke 19:37-40):

“Now as He was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. They proclaimed: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He said in reply, ‘I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!’

On the one hand, just another stone, but, on the other hand, one that can cry out.

Mind you, this was just after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. On the feast itself I had been thinking, “What does the Lord have in mind for me this year?” I knew there was something, but what I had no idea. The Feast Days of the birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the beheading of John the Baptist (August 29) and then the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14) and of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15) have always been very significant days for me spiritually. Big things. Like receiving my vocation to the priesthood back in June of 1962 (2 and 1/2 years old) or Pontifical teaching appointments, or leaving for and arrival at various assignments.

I don’t think that the Bishop of the Diocese here knew this at all when he just assigned me as Pastor to the parish here on September 14, 2017, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I told everyone that this was a demotion from my status up to this time as Administrator for the Bishop, as I had joked that such a canonical situation surely had supplied me with plenipotentiary powers of the bishop, and now, as a canonical Pastor, was limited to the ecclesial powers envisioned by the mere law itself. Ha ha. But no, I am very happy to have a more ecclesially sanctioned and stable position from which a proper cura animarum might shine forth forthwith.

Behold, the letter. Be impressed. Our Bishop writes the best letters in the world.

george david byers pastor 1

george david byers pastor 2

“Life is changed, not ended!”

Actually, this did much good for my soul. I think some mental blocks about moving in to the rectory fully have been lifted. Getting organized well will be a boon for writing. Meanwhile, all goes on as before. Communion calls and nursing homes and hospices and far flung trips to hospitals. All in the beautiful beautiful beautiful mountains.

Oh, and, by the way, our Lord is also The Rock of our Salvation.


Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Priesthood, Vocations

Jesus: God or Savior or Friend or…

jesus baptism

Jesus: God, Savior, Friend

There was a question on the blog a while back as to whether we can ever approach Jesus as God and Friend but not keeping in mind so much that He is also our Savior, even while not at all denying in any way that Jesus is objectively God and Friend and Savior. The question is more about, it seems to me, whether or not, subjectively, an emphasis can be put on Jesus as a Divine Friend, fearing that that might be off the rails.

Giving a short answer at the time, I think I said that as a tiny little kid of say two or three years old and just learning how to pray, I might not have been paying too much attention to the redemptive action of God’s Divine Son among us, and more that God was looking down upon me from heaven.

To be more specific – I remember this well – I was directly, immediately aware, as it were, that I was God’s tiny little boy, so that the emphasis is on a filial relationship with God, God in all His majesty, mind you, but God who to whom I belonged as a son, not just His creature, that too, but with a bond of love. From time to time we hear people say that their mom or dad or both are best friends as well. With God, a filial relationship is not not exclusive of friendship but necessitates that friendship: God is interested with and wants to be involved with everything we do so that we walk in His presence.

But even as a tiny little kid, I knew there was more, both in learning how to pray always (not that I have prayed always!), and in my own priestly vocation experience at 2 and a 1/2 years old – as clear to me today as it was then: God needs to work with me and others because we are inadequate in our response to His gracious good and kind love in all truth. As I’ve described at length elsewhere, this was part and parcel of my vocation, with an emphasis on the fact that priests in particular need help. And we do.

As time went on I began to get to know what Saint John speaks about in the Apocalypse, His seeing Jesus as a Lamb with the wounds of slaughter upon Him (so that He should be dead) but standing (and so gloriously risen from the dead). In other words, He is divine, He is our friend (as He Himself called us), but He is always wanting to reveal to us the full extent of His love in all truth to us. This is not a punishment, an incrimination, but always and even in heaven an invitation to rejoice in this love in truth all the more. Think on that. Not an incrimination. Not setting us back on our heals. But rather an invitation to rejoice in goodness and kindness. Remember Thomas reaching his hand into the side of Jesus, in which case it is not possible except to touch the still pierced open Heart of Jesus: “My Lord and my God…” This is not a dumbing down of the divinity and friendship put before us, but a lifting of us into that friendship right into the life of the Most Holy Trinity, always through, with and in Jesus, we made by the Holy Spirit to be members of His Mystical Body.

When we touch the pierced Heart of Jesus, how can we not share the greatest love of our lives with others? I think that humble thanksgiving in all rejoicing is always the Way to go. This is reality. I cannot imagine any other way. All praise to the divine Heart which wrought our Salvation. Amen.


Filed under Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

Loneliness in the priesthood. Solutions.

rescue by helicopter

Analogy in this picture: The Priest is the one drowning; the rescuer is…

Father, I had dinner with a new […] Priest last night. I asked him what one thing surprised him the most about being a Priest, and he replied “the loneliness.” [Picking that one thing, meaning that it’s among other things and stands out as the most important among all things, and that he’s come to this point so soon, and that he’s telling you, a layman, is rather revelatory, or not. See below]. I felt very saddened by this as I listened. [Since I’m not privy to that, the meaning is wide open.] It wasn’t until this morning that I realized that I could (should?) have asked him what the faithful might do to help dispel hid loneliness. [If they could and would is extremely unlikely. It can happen, but… See later comments.] I had no presence of mind. [See “if they could or would” above, which is not the layman’s fault. Don’t beat yourself up.]

Anyway, I once asked you about approaching a Priest in regard to Confession (his personal practice) and you gave me very good advice on how NOT to go about it – thank you. So I now ask you (and for the benefit of other members of the laity who may read our exchange): What can the laity do to combat/prevent a Priest’s loneliness? [Hmmm….] What might the signs be? [Real loneliness is frustration because of wrongheadedness about expectations, a frustration, even worse, cut off from any hand up, giving up looking for a hand up because… of ever so predictable unrepeatable circumstances when that certain wrongheadedness prevails.]

I have read, somewhere, that this is a common malady [absolutely true among, say, military chaplains who are constantly changing assignments to places where no one speaks any language you could possibly learn with any speed, with no other priests around even for very extended periods of time. Lots of alcoholism], but it did not register as anything I should trouble myself about until I heard the sad words from a Priest’s mouth for myself. Please advise us.

The short answer is one you already know: the harder you try with banalities the more you will fail. I can’t remember if it’s the story of Blessed Charles Eugène de Foucauld, when he was still a knucklehead party boy and not a yet someone who knows Christ, that the more of a party boy he was, the more knuckleheads around him, the more he wanted to go and commit suicide. The answer isn’t smothering someone with attention and company and keeping someone busy and involved blah blah blah. All of that merely intensifies loneliness, reinforcing the impression that the loneliness cannot be escaped through circumstances we can control, doing this or doing that. And that’s when escapes become self-destructive, like the alcoholism thing.

There is a longer answer. But it asks more questions. First of all, I think that most all priests have no idea what they are saying when they say they are lonely:

  • In saying they are lonely, do priests mean that they have no idea of the positive life of celibacy, of chastity for the sake of the Kingdom of the heavens, not knowing that they are married to the Church by the Sacrifice of the Mass that they offer, repeating the wedding vows daily of total giving of self to the Bride: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice… This is actually likely; I’m guessing that one would be pressed to find any seminary in the world that says that explicitly, and reinforces it with formation conferences and spiritual direction until the seminarian lives this as the driving force of his perfect chastity. I mean, if a priest is constantly living regret he’s a catastrophe waiting to happen, and he already is a catastrophe, unconvinced of what he’s doing. That does no good to anyone. “I wish I were married,” he says to himself. Crap. He already is married and he doesn’t even know it. Instruction and formation and direction is much needed, the sooner the better. This needs priestly conversation. I need to up my series on priestly celibacy once again.
  • In saying he is lonely, does he merely mean that he misses having any specifically priest around with whom he can spend some time in recreation with common interests, such as mountain climbing, sharp shooting, hiking, going on pilgrimages, having a priestly book club with a meal they all prepare, or just a priest with whom he can, on occasion, perhaps over a stiff drink, solve all the problems of the church and the world, but again, with priests that think as he does not just on those things, but about Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception? Not having those opportunities isn’t real loneliness. This is just a bit of a cross to carry until he can get like minded priests to join him, or he them, in whatever. Friendship with the laity is great! Hey! Really wonderful! But friendship with good priests is so very important.
  • In saying he is lonely, is he really talking about real and wonderful progress in the spiritual life? Saint John of the Cross says that it is a terrible mistake, a kind of worst possible sin for a spiritual director to make, to say that all loneliness is evil and bad. As we progress in the spiritual life, Jesus reveals to us what He saved us from, and that includes, at its worst, feeling all the effects of original sin and whatever of our own rubbish, the worst effect of which is being alone, cut off from God and others, feeling that being cut off. Yikes! We are not our feelings. If this loneliness is actually spiritual progress, what we want to do is to recognize that Jesus is still with us in all the chaos (and this is discernible, that good and kind presence of Jesus) and say this to Him: “Jesus, wow, now I see more why we had to be saved. Thank you for coming into this world, knowing what we are like and what we would do to you, letting yourself be ‘abandoned’ on the Cross, right to death, so that you have the right in your justice to have mercy on us. I should hope that the priest would learn over a lifetime to carry, with Jesus, the loneliness of the world as he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, you know, during the consecrations, the greatest moment of unity and love in all truth. “My God, My God, Why?” Note the unending filial union with His Heavenly Father.
  • In saying he is lonely, does the priest really mean that there are no good priests around him, that is, priests who believe, who are pious, who are respectful and reverent and honestly good and kind and welcoming, who “always have the billy (the tea-kettle) on the boil,” with the door open, with open ears, with affability, with time. Really honest to goodness good priests are lonely in a bad way when they expect that there are priests to be found everywhere you look who are also best friends with Jesus. There are those. But in some places they can very very few. A good priest must be good to other priests himself, regardless of what the others are like. A good priest must be first of all good friends with Jesus, meaning that he knows already that not all priests are good friends with Jesus. Loneliness, again, comes from the frustration of too high expectations with no way out. Hopelessness. If one expects faithfulness in this world, one will be disappointed. If one finds a priest by chance who knows Jesus, ahhh! This is to rejoice. Again I will say, Rejoice! Having no great expectation except in Jesus will also shield one from loneliness.
  • One of the hardest things for priests to do is to go to confession, though they should be going very frequently, always frosty, always humbly thankful to our Lord, and if a priest should hear in answer to his question – “Father, could you hear my confession?” – an immediate: “Sure, right away, and then you hear mine, O.K.?”… well, in that case, I would say that there would be no real loneliness to be found (see above for distinctions). If instead, one is confronted with laughter, or scorn, or simply has the door closed on him, or your last confession is repeated to you with sarcasm outside of confession, well, this is devastating. But even this is not necessarily the depressive frustration of hopeless loneliness unless one’s expectations are too high. One can experience the agony of the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus, one can groan over Jerusalem, but this doesn’t speak of loneliness in and of itself. Grief speaks to sorrow, which comes from love. The one who has love is not lonely, perhaps in great agony and darkness, but not lonely. There’s a huge difference. But I’m guessing most priests just label any of the above as being “lonely” when it’s absolutely not necessarily so, and it would be mistaken, even catastrophic, to guess wrongly.

In other words, we’re pretty complex. Just one other good priest, saintly priest, is a boon in any priests life. I’ve been in dioceses around the world where one would wonder if there is even one good priest who is best friends with Jesus, and then I would meet a saintly fantastic priest suffering there. Great! In the diocese where I am, so very many dozens of priests are really good priests, really good, with some real saints, with others really wanting to make progress (and that’s really really good).

I’m trying to wrack my brains to find a time when I was truly lonely. There have been some very tough times in my life, like hell, truly, like hell, wow, real suffering, and from priests, for years. But nothing that would fit the hopelessness of the worst scenario of real loneliness above. And I guess that’s the key, having hope. Hope isn’t just about the future, it’s about a future which is already tied to one right now. Grace turns to glory, as Saint Paul says. We already have one foot in heaven. We walk at risk of going to hell, and yet walk in the presence of the living God, with an angel guardian who sees the face of God in heaven right now. Of this I am and have always been absolutely convinced, that is, about the angels. Their wit and humor and mirth and love and justice and IRONY is unstoppable and does not in the least tolerate any loneliness. Never! How can one be truly lonely with such love and goodness and kindness and friendship at all times and in non-stop solidarity?

So, a bit of discernment, a bit of spiritual direction from a good fellow priest would be good. Priests themselves speaking to each other about the spiritual realities of being an alter Christus, of acting in the person of Christ, speaking of the experience of the Holy Spirit when preaching, speaking of the dynamics of the family of faith from the point of view of being a priest with Jesus… these are all things that only priests can do together. If the laity were to help out their priests when they see him withdraw, becoming distant, whatever —  you’ll know it when you see it — hey! Why not arrange, if it is a big enough parish, for priest get-togethers, which the laity put on for the priests, maybe doing the barbecue or supplying what’s needed and letting them alone? In one diocese there were 40 Hours celebrations, which would be staggered on different weekends, ending Sunday evenings. All priests are invited to the meal after. Really nice. Good priests can get to know each other. This is extremely helpful.

Perhaps this sounds a bit mean, exclusive, you know, “good” priests and all that. What about the liberal ones, who deny doctrines and morals of the Church? Let me be the prophet and say that once those good priests get to know each other and get the plot, as it were, really understand, they will naturally want to invite the liberal crowd so as to bring them over to the side of Christ. This is how it works.

Loneliness, real loneliness, in not acceptable, not for one second, ever. Amen.

Missionary of Mercy Divine Mercy Box donation

For those I see to be in need. To increase amount change times $5.00 is charged.



Filed under Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations