The Smoke of Satan Chokes the Faithful

smoke of satan

By Charlie Johnston

What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?-Mark 8:36

In my anger over the revelations of what a serial predator former Cardinal (now merely Archbishop) Theodore McCarrick has been for his whole career – and how many in authority knew and did nothing, I chose first to repeat my investigative piece on former Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn. Bishop Finn, confronted with an abusive Priest under his authority in his Diocese, did everything a Bishop should. He removed the Priest from public ministry to protect the young people; he sent the Priest for psychiatric care to try to be just to the Priest, and he co-operated with public authorities. He did some of this a little clumsily, but he did it all. He was not accused of any sort of abuse. For his clumsiness, Pope Francis and his American factotum, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, forced Finn’s resignation. All I could think of after Pope Francis ordered Cardinal McCarrick, a Bishop under his authority, to resign from the College of Cardinals (henceforth to be a mere Archbishop) was that if Francis held himself to the same standards he held Finn to, he would have to resign. But, of course, Pope Francis won’t do that. He rarely holds those who are heterodox to account unless he is forced to. His wrath is almost entirely reserved for the orthodox and those who, however clumsily, try to live their faith with fidelity – the faith passed on from Christ, the Apostles (through the authentic Magisterium), the Gospels and the Prophets.

I hear from as many – or more – Priests these days (and, quietly, a few Bishops) from across the country as I did when my prior site was at its peak readership. These are very hard times for them. It is frequently agonizing. It heartens me that so very many good men in the hierarchy are working to balance their duty of obedience with their duty to proclaim the faith with fidelity to Christ and the Magisterium. I write this, though, not to rally general support to the hierarchy, but to say, “Enough!” – to acknowledge bluntly how badly much of the hierarchy has betrayed the faithful AND how many of us in the laity have failed those clerics who have kept faith with Christ.

For a very long time my primary criticisms of the hierarchy have been that they have been too busy playing at being politicians while abdicating their responsibility for the faith – and that they have failed to protect the faithful from the wolves. I didn’t know the half of it. It turns out that too many in the hierarchy are, themselves, wolves. It can escape no one’s notice that the overwhelming majority of the offenders come from the ranks of those clerics who bleat the loudest and most insistently about how we must welcome the sexually disordered while making no call for them to reform. I have come to think many of these abysmal clerics are not as interested in their peculiar variety of mercy (a mercy that tells those soul-sick with a deadly disease that they are fine just as they are) as they are in preserving an ample supply of victims at their disposal.

I well know about the pleasures of the flesh – and am no harsh puritan. In more innocent times, I was actually considered soft on homosexuality. I have always been skeptical of the idea that they choose their orientation. Celibacy is a tough cross to bear, but that makes it a particularly worthy offering. I was sexually active most of my life. It was always with women (even in my disorder I am fundamentally orthodox). I got serious about celibacy 14 years ago. It was brutally hard the first six years, but I have lived as a layman what some of these prelates had no intention of living. It somewhat grieves me that, when I made my private vow, it was not for pure love of God. I became convinced 14 years ago that I would probably eventually have to go forth and speak publicly. I could not help what I had been, but I would not bring scandal on the faith as I was speaking. I look at these predatory Priests and Bishops and wonder, where is their fear of God? Do they even believe in God? Anyone can stumble, even the best of people. Then they get up and seriously resolve to reform their lives. But that is not what this is. These men have plotted and schemed, even while mouthing pious platitudes, to use the things of God to serve their own lusts – lust for power, sex, and money. There is the stench of betrayal and brutality to it, but also the sulfurous scent of blasphemy.

Yet we in the laity have badly failed our duty to those Priests and Bishops who HAVE kept faith. Many – maybe most – of the laity insist on never criticizing a Priest. That means we treat the most predatory and corrupt the same as we treat those who live holy fidelity. How does it work out in practice? It means everything goes to the lowest common denominator. The most viciously corrupt clerics know that, barring huge revelations, they can attack any Priest who tries to draw them back into line with impunity, for the lay people will not intervene to help the poor, hapless reformer who is orthodox. So those Priests who live orthodoxy in a heterodox Diocese are attacked from above if they don’t toe the party line and get little help from below once they are targeted. If there are charges and countercharges, the laity loses interest in this dispute “above their paygrade,” but the persecutors never forget – and never cease their persecution. In two issues of his Parish bulletin, a gutsy Priest in Tampa, Florida explains clearly what the problems are for the Priest who tries to keep faith in the midst of these wolves, the lavender mafia. Meantime, all the noble, honorable Priests who live faith with fidelity and truly seek to minister to, rather than prey on, the flock given to them, must suffer along with the predators the contempt that only the predators have earned. They must suffer because we, the laity, refuse to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24), nor even to exercise discernment at all. So the good suffer for the actions of the bad while the bad leverage their power to prey on more victims behind a camouflage of “mercy.” (Yes, I know some will point out Matthew 7:1 to me – “Judge not lest ye be judged.” They need to read the two verses that follow to get context. Jesus does NOT contradict Himself in these two verses, though the malicious and the stupid only quote the latter partially in order to make it seem so.)

The satan loves all this. Why shouldn’t he? He instigated it. There are people leaving the Church because of all the trouble and turmoil of these last few years. That’s what the satan wants – and his gambit this time is one of his most clever, ever. If you are on this great ship at sea and the boiler started smoking, would you attempt to save yourself by tossing yourself into the sea? If you found the officer corps was corrupt, would that persuade you to toss yourself in the sea? Bad plan for survival – but that is exactly what the satan is persuading some to do. We are not passive passengers on this ship; we are the crew. Now is the time to call on and cooperate with Our Lady, our Stella Maris, our sure guide as we right the ship and navigate back to Her Holy Son, Our Lord.

Doctrinal Honesty

At the root of all the disorder was first the failure, which is now become a defiant refusal, to teach authentic Catholic doctrine, as expressed by Scripture and by the Magisterium, the consistent and unbroken teaching of the Apostles. Most often, this defiance of doctrine is justified in the name of mercy. This is because the attackers from within have redefined mercy, itself, to advance their own ugly temporal passions.

Should we welcome sinners? Of course we should! We are all sinners struggling to make our pilgrim way to God. But when we welcome a thief, we do not show our welcome by celebrating and honoring thievery. When we welcome liars, we do not do so by celebrating the joy of lying. We insist that all make firm resolution to reform. We understand that disorder can rarely be turned on and off like a light switch, so we help those who stumble get up and start anew. In some cases, such as with rape and murder, offenders must go to jail. Even there, we do not abandon them – but embrace the necessity for temporal punishment and restraint to protect others even as we continue to help them in their effort to reform. It is almost exclusively with sexual disorder that malicious intriguers inside the Church have decided that Christ’s teachings, Scripture, and the Magisterium are no longer operative – that sexual disorder is not only no big deal, it is a positive good to be celebrated and encouraged. That toxic climate has encouraged the explosive growth of all manner of disorder in every corner of the Church and the culture.

A doctor who diagnosed a patient with a severe, but curable disease, then chose to let the patient die in order to mercifully spare him from the worry and pain of a lengthy cure would rightly be sued for malpractice and, at the very least, kicked out of the profession in disgrace. A lot of our clerics are guilty of intentional spiritual malpractice. The Lord has made it clear how He will deal with such unrepentant spiritual quacks: “It would be better…if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea.” (Luke 17:2)

We are in the midst of the age of sexual heresy. Refuse to submit. Pray that, as bad as it is now, Priests and Bishops do not succumb as heartily as they did to the Arian heresy ages ago (most estimate over 80 percent of the Catholic clergy and hierarchy signed on.) That, of course, was a more subtle heresy, one that did not involve as obviously a defiant and direct repudiation of Christ and the teachings of Scripture as this new heresy does. The new sexual heresy is a direct attack on the faith, on the family, and on Christ, himself. Already, it is clear that the Synod on Youth (scheduled for October in Rome) and the World Meeting of Families to be held later this month in Ireland will be presided over and marred by the presence of men who deny faithful teaching on sexuality – and will have a large LGBT advocacy presence. It is not enough that we are swamped with sexual disorder, now we have large swaths of faithless clerics advocating for sexual disorder.

There is a genuine process for development of doctrine, but there are serious limits. Defined doctrine may be refined, but not in a way that contradicts itself. When it is refined, it requires a serious, weighty and worthy explanation and exposition. The Pope is not master of the Magisterium, merely its servant. The Magisterium is not some transient political agenda. A “social democrat” Pope who succeeds a “tory” Pope may NOT upend everything and start over. The Pope is called to be guardian of the Deposit of Faith. It amazes me that the least intellectually gifted Pope of my lifetime is the most cavalier about seeking to change doctrine by arbitrary personal fiat, with no serious effort to explain or justify. Last week, Pope Francis abruptly changed the catechism to forbid the death penalty in every case. He said it denies the dignity of the human person. In January of 1999, I saw St. John Paul in St. Louis. Part of his talk that day included an appeal against the death penalty. He largely convinced me in all but the most compelling circumstances. He did so because he recognized the legitimate concerns of all societies and their leaders, he acknowledged that he did not have authority over all contingencies – then respectfully and humbly made his case and his appeal. Now, I am faced with accepting this sudden convulsion as an authentic development of doctrine. To do so, I must repudiate all the saints, Popes and theologians before Francis as having an insufficient respect for the dignity of the human person. Further, I must do it with no carefully crafted argument seeking to lay any intellectual groundwork for this change. I must accept it simply because this Pope asserts it is his imperial will. Nah…I will stay true to the commitment St. John Paul sparked in me, but I will not repudiate 2000 years of saints, Popes and theologians just because Pope Francis decided I should.

Henceforth, when a Priest starts to consistently explain why Christ doesn’t actually mean what He actually said…or that the Bible doesn’t mean what it plainly says, I will abandon any contact with that Priest. I won’t do it lightly for the occasional error or, even, offense – and with the understanding that I am not a theological expert. But I will leave if he shows himself to be a committed opponent of the faith. When a Priest decides that “Thou shalt not fornicate” actually means fornicate to your heart’s content, you don’t need a degree in theology to know that is a repudiation of Christ. I will not deprive myself of the Sacrament, but I will be at pains to avoid him. Over the last few years, I have been all over the country. Even in a Diocese presided over by the most antagonistic Bishop, you can find Parishes where the faith is proclaimed in fidelity to Scripture and the Magisterium. I know, I have found them everywhere. Now, withdrawal of financial support from me means nothing: I have lived poverty for almost all of the last eight or nine years. Any church dependent on me for financial sustenance would have went under years ago. But what few pearls I have I will NOT cast before the swine who have invaded the hierarchy – and neither should you. If your Pastor consistently defames the faith, find a new Parish – and close your wallet while you are looking. If it is your Bishop who consistently defames the faith, find a good Parish within the Diocese, support it, but give nary a dime to any Diocesan appeals. Do not be hyper-sensitive; do not assume you know more than you do; but when the offenses are clear and consistent, do not let your time or money support the war on the faith by its internal enemies.

Pope Francis

I have long criticized those clerics who busy themselves explaining why Christ doesn’t mean what He actually says, yet I have spent way too much time over the last few years explaining why Pope Francis doesn’t mean what he often says. I am done with that. I have decided to take him at his word on the matter – and by what he does. No, I am not joining forces with those who claim he is an anti-pope or that his election was invalid. He is legitimately the Pope, with all the authority and responsibility inherent to that office (though no more than that). In the long history of the Church, it has pleased God to suffer more than a few unworthy occupants of the Throne of Peter. Sometimes, those unworthy Popes have accomplished things ancillary to their office that were useful long-term. Sometimes, the unworthiness of a particular occupant of the papacy served to reveal and bring great scandal to a head, to show how bad things truly are, forcing reform. Certainly, the tenure of Francis has served to reveal the depths of the rot in the hierarchy – and seduced the opponents of Christ to identify themselves in the mistaken conviction that there is no God and there will be no reckoning.

Pope Francis likes to be seen as the Pope of Mercy. No doubt he is indulgent and solicitous of enemies of the faith. The Vatican has honored abortionists, population control advocates, authoritarians, totalitarians, and advocates of normalizing sexual dysfunction under his watch. Where, though, is the mercy for orthodox clerics and laypeople? All he has for them is scorn, insults and, occasionally calumny. He has mocked large families which are generously open to life. He consistently ridicules and insults traditionalists. I am not a traditionalist, myself – and certainly I am tart with those rad/trads who use their faith as a club with which to bludgeon others. But that is not what we’re talking about here. I know and have become friends with many who are traditionalists, who find soaring beauty and transcendence in the traditional Latin Mass. Why would a beautiful and authentic expression of faith offend anyone? Yet Pope Francis regularly denounces them as rigid, inflexible, and some sort of weirdos. This disdain for orthodox worshippers offends me. Where is the mercy? Just a few months before the hideous McCarrick scandal unfolded, Pope Francis responded to reports of great scandals in Chile by insulting and smearing the victims. Where is the mercy? The Vatican has sought to curry favor with the Chinese Communists by breaking faith with the Catholics in China those communists have been persecuting, even to torture and murder. It is one of the most rank betrayals in the history of the Church. Where is the mercy? Apparently, reserved only for enemies of the faith.

Pope Francis likes to speak of encouraging dialogue. I encourage you to read the Dubia. It was respectfully, even reverently worded. The Cardinals who posed it kept it secret for two months while Francis ignored them, only going public when it became clear he was not going to answer them. When he finally made an informal response to a reporter, it did not address the questions, themselves. Rather it was, once again, to insult the Cardinals and impute ill intent to their motives – and, of course, to accuse them of rigidity. That is not even a simulacrum of dialogue.

In politics, we used to say that “personnel is policy,” that is to say, pay attention to who an executive appoints to carry out his agenda and you will know who he is. Look at Pope Francis’ appointments of Cardinals. Look and see how many heterodox men he appoints to high office. Even in the wake of these predatory sexual scandals, he insists on appointing and elevating who preach sexual permissiveness, men who deny and even mock the teaching of Christ and the Scriptures on the matter. I used to be offended that Pope Francis seemingly snubbed men such as Archbishop Jose Gomez and Archbishop Charles Chaput in passing out the hat of Cardinals (though it is rare for a Bishop to be named a Cardinal if there is already a living Cardinal in the same Diocese). Now I am grateful. Not so long from now, I suspect, having received your appointment from Francis will not immediately discredit you, but it will be a hard mark against you. There will be a reckoning.

I won’t belabor the matter. I do not discount that Pope Francis’ story is not entirely written. He may yet have a Damascus moment. Until now, though, there has been more of Saul of Tarsus than there has been of St. Paul to him. I am just going to take him at his word. Should he start showing respect, compassion, or any regard at all for people who are orthodox and trying to live fidelity to the faith, I will pay attention to that, too. But I will not respond to his constant open contempt for the faithful by making apologies for him like some pathetic battered spouse.

Judge Righteous Judgment

It would be easy to rise, in self-righteous anger, and form a lynch mob. But we must first look to our own failure. We are all complicit. I say that not in any mewling “Who am I to judge” way to excuse hideous offenses; rather, I say we must all acknowledge our part, amend our faults, judge righteous judgment, and hold the offenders to account, particularly the smarmily unrepentant.

Sadly, once disorder is welcomed in small ways as a positive good, it grows with aggressive virulence, touching all areas of the faith. That means that we will have many false accusations from people who think there is a buck to be had or a name to be made. Already, we have seen heterodox abusers weaponize such accusations to defame the orthodox even as they seek to conceal their own predatory nature. We must not return like for like. We must not react in a knee-jerk way to specious accusations that may be leveled by someone with an axe to grind. We must be guided by evidence. Then we must act, with charity certainly, but with resolution and vigor. Every one of us must work to set this house in order.

Stick with the evidence. Remember, one of the most hideous hotbeds of homosexual abuse came from a seeming pillar of orthodoxy, the Legionnaires of Christ. Right now, Rod Dreher is running an intense series of pieces in The American Conservative on how the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the most orthodox in the country, covered for some disordered behavior in order to try to protect the reputation of the Church. We do not protect our reputation by sweeping our dirty laundry under the rug and covering for the offenders – we protect our Church by exposing and eradicating it.

Back in 2002 when the Dallas Conference was announced to address revelations of abusers in the Church in America, I was delighted. I thought the Bishops would get serious about addressing ills in the Church – and, frankly, that I would yet manage to get out of ever having to speak publicly about my visitations. Alas, the week before the conference began, Our Lady appeared to me (it was early afternoon, while I was grabbing something off the floor of my son’s bedroom while he was at school.) She was as sorrowful as I had ever seen her. She told me, “Dallas will show you how bad things truly are: they will scarcely acknowledge my Holy Son.” I immediately called one of my director Priests. I thought I surely had my out card. Throughout history, though there had been plenty of conferences populated by dissolute Bishops, all had at least given lip service to Christ. This could not be true. Late in the conference, my Priest called me, shaken. He said he had only heard Christ mentioned twice that week. That was twice as many times as I had heard Him mentioned. The conference seemed like a bloodless meeting of the Board of Directors of Catholicism, Inc. I was furious. I wrote one of the angriest letters I ever have. It was to a Bishop I knew who had been involved. I arranged to make sure that he got it personally. In a key part, worth repeating here, I wrote that a Bishop is not primarily an administrator, a fundraiser, a lobbyist, or even a theologian. He is an Apostle of the living Christ. All the protocols and zero-tolerance policies in the world will not make things any better. It will not get better until the Bishops recollect themselves of who they are – and insist that the fundamentals of the faith be preached boldly and in fidelity to Him Crucified…that what would solve this would be the consistent preaching of the True Presence, the dignity of life, the centrality of the family. Then, and only then, would this crisis lift. (To his credit, a few years later in a very small meeting where the Bishop recognized me, he stated that the way he handled his part in the matter was one of his greatest regrets. He then started repeating swaths of my letter, frequently looking at me while stating what he should have done. It was noticeable enough that the fellow who had accompanied me asked afterward what the weird sub-theme was between the Bishop and me. It was a sweet and grace-filled moment. I have held that Bishop in affection ever since then.

It is not a time for the grinding of axes or the venting of spleens. It is a time for careful, considered and deliberate action. We would do well to emulate the last paragraph of Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s (Church’s) wounds…to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.” (Bolded copy is my addition). After that, he pressed on with fortitude to simultaneously end the scourge of slavery throughout the nation and bind the nation back together. May both the relentlessness and the charity of Lincoln in crisis be an inspiration to us.

None of us are passive passengers in the Barque of Peter. Only the officer corps (the hierarchy) can direct the ship. But we, the crew, have both the right and the obligation to demand that the officers neither abuse us nor drive us into the shoals. We have the obligation to stand up on behalf of all those officers who have tenderly and lovingly ministered to us and worked to navigate by the teaching of Our Lord, guided by the light of Our Lady. We must not leave them standing alone before the wolves any more than we expect them to leave us alone and vulnerable. There is a temptation among many to leave the hard things to some nebulous “other.” We have all failed; we must all stand and be true, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, lifting each other up, heartening each other, and confirming each other in fidelity to the faith. Looking at our fractured corps of shepherds, we must do as they say (in the authentic Magisterium), not as they do, (Matthew 23:3) as Jesus once told his listeners about another hierarchy rocked by corruption and clericalism. When we all make our stand and act true, we participate in (and even help facilitate) the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

Be not afraid. Since the breaking of the satan’s power, it has not stopped his acolytes from working his malice on mankind. But it HAS stripped them of their camouflage. The satan cannot cover for them any more. Things are not any worse than they were last year at this time. In fact, they are better – but Our Lady has shown us how bad things truly are. Now let us stand and be true.

O Lady, aid my prayer and let my cry come unto thee! Sweet Immaculate Conception, make speed to defend me; from the hand of the enemy mightily defend me!

474 thoughts on “The Smoke of Satan Chokes the Faithful

  1. In places such as Argentina, Africa, & the lower Americas liberalism has always been seen as being on the side of God, the poor, & the oppressed whereas conservatism has always been seen as being on the side of the unjust rulers, the rich, the corporations & the non-indigenous people. In the upper Americas & the former western nations liberalism is seen as being on the side of the common man, the downtrodden, the innovators of civilisation, & enlightened reformers who seek to do away with chains of the past whereas conservatism is seen as being on the side of tyrants, oppressors, evil corporations, the wealthy elite, moral extremism, innovative repression, & the pre-Vatican II Church. In places such as Argentina, Africa, & the lower Americas Europe & the the United States in particular are considered to be a great evil that oppresses the world. When the Kingdom of Spain lost the empire it was due to many reasons two of which were internal corruption & the favouritism of Spaniards in positions of power, wealth, & authority. This would lead to jealousy, resentment, & rage thus paving the way for open rebellion against the crown. Those who seized power were often opportunistic & far worse than the former rulers. They placed an extreme divide within the people while promising to be the great liberators of the oppressed masses. In the late 19th & early 20th century these liberators embraced all of the ideals of the age of enlightenment. This would later allow the Soviet Union to plant the seeds of hatred among these nations toward Europe, the United States, & in particular the Church by branding them as conservative tyrants. Being however the people were devoutly Catholic this indoctrination was imperfect, so the Soviets invaded the seminaries & religious houses throughout the Americas to poison from within. When they saw how well it worked they did the same across the world thus helping to achieve the present disarray & chaos that we now see. The Holy Father grew up in Argentina, his biases are based on experience as well as what he has been taught culturally. Francis will not have a “Damascus moment” nor a sudden awakening to views of others nevertheless one day he as well as Raymond Burke will be canonised great saints who lived their faith during the close of the present age. As this present age comes to a close all that which we now see will end with it; the enlightened ideas of systems, republics, liberalism, conservatism as well as all of the rest will end. Let it fall by the wayside, allow God to renew the creation. One day in the not so distant future a holy Pope the like of which not seen before or to be ever seen again on the earth will step forth upon the ruins of the fallen Church of Rome & with the strength of our risen Lord in a thunderous angelic voice pronounce the words “evening came & morning followed, through our Lord Jesus Christ we beseech thee oh come Holy Spirit, come by means of the most powerful intersession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the chaste heart of St. Joseph, & all the saints to renew the face of the Earth”. From that moment forward till the end of time will be known as the Age of the Holy Spirit, then in the very far distant future evening will come once again to us but for the last time. Morning will quickly follow, a new heavens & a new earth. Until such time comes always work & pray for the holy father & the whole church to faithfully live out their calling.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. JoeCro: this is like me saying: Hmm – Pope Saint John Paul II or the latest Bergoglismo?

      Actually, it’s not like that at all. But it IS an easy one.


  2. Hello All, I ask for some prayers…I and some fellow parishioners have been going through “Unbound” training.
    This weekend there will be a conference in Northern California, and we will be part of the prayer teams.
    Thank you also for all the prayers regarding the fires in California, it’s much appreciated.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. You’ll love your conference, I do believe, sheralyn. I’ve heard great reviews from others who have attended. Praying for you and your fellow conference attendees.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. How exciting Sheralyn! In my neck of the woods Unbound and another similar program is bringing forth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, some tremendous healing. I will pray for an outpouring of the Spirit upon you and all conference attendees.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Sheralyn yes I will pray for you and your friends. I have been through Unbound training and it is outstanding. A very good ministry to partake in.

      Liked by 3 people

    4. That book is right next to me as I read your post! I lifted a prayer for you and your deliverance prayer teams and all the attendees.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. steam coming out of your ears on this one Charlie…
    I think we have to accept that nothing is by chance
    and as Trump is President, Francis is Pope for a reason
    which God has ordained and we cannot question… though mystified!… Garabandal told us way back in the early 60s
    that souls were being led astray by Priests,Bishops and Cardinals… the local church,( and devout parishoners)
    in Franco’s Spain was aghast and immediately rejected the veracity of the events and stifled their dissemination, but the girls simply reported what Our Lady told them at great personal cost… and not look! Even today Garabandal is largely ignored though not banned by the church…. How could 4 illiterate peasant girls living in a lost mountain village have known back then what we now know to be fact?.. how come we are all shocked by what Our Lady of Garabandal already told us over 50 years ago?… the end of times ( not time) indeed are upon us as was also predicted and as you too Charlie were reporting in recent years….. the time delays
    also led to the girls prophecies being scoffed at and ridiculed…. but there is absolutely nothing to laugh at given how the world is going…. Keep up the good work CJ

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Here are some simple, checkable facts from Wikipedia:

    ~ Theodore Edgar McCarrick was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman on May 31, 1958.
    ~ In May 1977, McCarrick was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York . . . by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 29 . . . .
    ~ (Pope Saint John Paul II’s papacy began October 16, 1978.)
    ~ McCarrick was named the founding Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, on November 19, 1981.
    ~ On May 30, 1986, McCarrick was promoted to the fourth Archbishop of Newark.
    ~ Pope Saint John Paul II appointed McCarrick Archbishop of Washington in November 2000.
    ~ On February 21, 2001, John Paul made him a cardinal . . . .
    ~ On May 16, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted McCarrick’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington, D.C., upon the latter’s reaching the customary age limit of 75 . . . .
    ~ (Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy began April 19, 2005.)
    ~ In 2005 and 2007, the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark paid financial settlement to two priests who had accused McCarrick of abuse.
    ~ (Pope Francis’s papacy began March 13, 2013.)
    ~ On June 20, 2018, McCarrick was removed from public ministry by the Holy See after a review board of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York found an allegation “credible and substantiated” that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy while a priest in New York.
    ~ Etc.
    ~ On July 27, 2018, Pope Francis ordered McCarrick to observe “a life of prayer and penance in seclusion” and accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals.

    A lot of the troubles with McCarrick, as well as his promotions, occurred during the papacies of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. I’m not blaming them, because I can’t possibly know what they knew and when they knew it. My simplistic observation is that Pope Francis is the one who actually demoted McCarrick, age 88, after all these years.

    I’m inclined not to be so hard on Pope Francis.

    I do agree that the United States bishops need to do a lot of soul searching and that the temple must be cleansed.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you for this observation Sister. I love your kindness toward Pope Francis and it helps me to be a lot more forgiving about this.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. The issue is not just McCarrick who, by the way, is still a bishop (an archbishop). It is the bishops who trace their lineage to the Apostles. Cardinals partake in the apostolic succession because they are first bishops. Being “demoted” from being a cardinal is a symbolic slap on the wrist, especially since McCarrick couldn’t vote in papal conclaves. The Church still recognizes McCarrick as a successor to the Apostles.

      I have prayed for Pope Francis since he was elected. I asked the Lord to protect him from the assassin’s bullet, to give him good health, and to bless him with a long and fruitful pontificate. I have never criticized him in writing or in speech.

      But in my heart, I have not been encouraged by his papacy. What is happening now is that Francis’ biases or his naiveté are being confirmed by events. Blasé Cupich, Joseph Tobin and Kevin Farrell were all elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis. All three wrote blurbs for James Martin’s book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity”. Meanwhile, an intelligent and holy man like Charles Chaput has been passed over for a red hat several times by Francis . Cardinal Burke has been demoted twice. As Charlie has pointed out, “orthodox” Catholics are routinely scolded for their “rigidity.”

      Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who Pope Francis named President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, commissioned a painting of himself wherein he is raised into heaven with a lot of naked bodies. The mural hangs in the cathedral of the Italian diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia. The artist is gay and said that Paglia was involved in every detail of the painting. Last Christmas, a nativity display featured a naked man who looked like he worked out at Gold’s Gym everyday and had a body crafted by excellent nutrition. I believe he was there to represent the hungry whom we are called to feed in the Corporal Works of mercy. A sea change is happening.

      What the McCarrick story has made perfectly clear is what has been well known for decades. There is a powerful gay lobby that exists in the priesthood and among bishops. Gay culture dominates some seminaries. Faithful priests have been punished for blowing the whistle. The question is what is the Church going to do about it now? Is Francis going to allow this state of affairs to stand?

      The final straw for me came when Cardinal Madriaga accused the seminarians from the major seminary in Tegucigalpa of being “gossipers” when they charged that a strong homosexual culture existed in that seminary. This is exactly the reaction of the hierarchy has demonstrated for decades when someone comes forth with an accusation of scandal or abuse. And Madriaga did this soon after Pope Francis himself repented of accusing Chilean abuse victims of “slander”. And after the revelations of how McCarrick abused seminarians became known. So those 48 Honduran seminarians are lying? Madriaga is one of the “Gang of Nine” who are close advisors of the Pope. I’m sorry, but this makes me feel very uneasy.

      Bad things happened under previous papacies (Father Maciel). JPII and Benedict XVI made some poor picks for the office of bishop. But Pope Francis has created an environment where those who would like to see the Church’s teaching on sexuality change to feel more comfortable and confident in their beliefs.

      I continue to pray that the Lord blesses Pope Francis and gives him His vision for the Church and the World.


      Liked by 8 people

    3. That’s baloney, MarieUrsula. I doubt very much that JPII or Benedict, if they had known about McCarrick would have promoted him. The cover up was here in the USA. You condemn by date, inference and supposition but the whole church had its head in the sand for decades and Vatican II exacerbated it.


      1. Neither JP II nor Benedict XVI would have knowingly promoted a homosexual – let alone an acting homosexual. Remember right after JP II died, the most striking remark by Benedict was his scathing description of such things as vile filth. Someone needs to think these things through before making such remarks. You know, we all answer to sins of ‘rash judgment’ if and when we commit them [and most of us have]. So … I’m not condemning anyone … just calling them to remember what the Catechism says about a person having, ‘a right to their good name’. We should ask ourselves when tempted to commit either a sin of rash judgment or calumny … ‘would I want someone tearing down my good name with a false charge [especially one as serious as this.]

        Liked by 4 people

      2. JOANNE1950, Please re-read my paragraph after the ~lists of dates. I did not say that Pope JPII or Benedict XVI knew about McCarrick’s activities, only that most of his promotions occurred during their papacies and that his demotion occurred during Pope Francis’s. Yet many are quick to condemn Pope Francis for some long-standing conditions within the Church.

        My guess is, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, at present, than we know.

        On a different subject, here is a column by the bishop of my diocese which shows that 1) Pope Francis listened to Archbishop Chaput on a sensitive matter, and 2) he reaffirmed the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church.

        Click to access 071518.pdf

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks for this clarification of your point being made, Sr. Bear. I’ve always said Pope Francis inherited a mess… a HUGE mess. That said, I cannot deny the evidence which Charlie has provided about what have been the Holy Father’s missteps. Here’s another situation, in my view, where there is BOTH Pope Francis’ inheritance of a serious, complex mess AND there are mistakes of commission and omission. Agree with you about how much must be going on beyond our ability to see. Always keeping His Holiness and us all in prayer.

          On another note, Sr. Bear, how is your healing going? I hope and pray you are well.

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          1. Thanks, Beckita.

            My healing continues right along, not dramatically but steadily. I’m not quite ready to split firewood with an axe, but in time . . . .

            God bless and keep you,
            Sister Bear

            Liked by 3 people

        2. I apologize, MarieUrsula. Tone, inference and intent is often lost in the replies. I often think that JP II and Benedict would be shocked at the extent of the corruption. Men of that generation, I prepose, thought of these issues as an aberration not a norm. Joe Paterno of Penn State football case in point. Just don’t think those kinds of acts were anywhere in his head. And, Boy, did they ever vilify him right into the grave. Pope Francis does have a mess to straighten out and we all should be praying for a Christ centered resolution.

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        3. MARIEURSULA,

          I don’t see any evidence in the article you provided that Pope Francis “listened to Archbishop Chaput on a sensitive matter”. Bishop Ochoa says that the Pope reached a similar conclusion as Archbishop Chaput on the subject of intercommunion. However, I don’t think Bishop Ochoa takes into account The Pope’s latest position on the subject of intercommunion as it is summed up in these remarks from America Magazine:

          “The question of allowing Protestants married to Catholics to receive Communion at Mass in special cases has to be decided by each individual bishop and cannot be decided by a bishops’ conference, Pope Francis told reporters after a one-day ecumenical journey to Geneva.”

          Chaput’s remarks were made on 5/23/18. The Pope’s remarks quoted in America were made on 6/21/18.

          Archbishop Chaput is a holy priest. He has published several books that have been favorably received by orthodox reviewers. As a Native American, he fits the lauded criteria of diversity in the Church. He serves the 6th largest diocese in the US. And for five years, he has been passed over for a red hat. Archbishop Chaput is the only archbishop of Philadelphia who has not received a red hat in 100 years:

          Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty (1918–1951)
          Cardinal John Francis O’Hara, C.S.C. (1951–1960)
          Cardinal John Joseph Krol (1961–1988)
          Cardinal Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1988–2003)
          Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali (2003–2011)
          Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (2011–)

          I have always prayed for Pope Francis’ health, safety and for the success of his pontificate. To point out certain shortcomings associated with his papacy is not to attack or demean him. I think his decision to refuse Archbishop Chaput to be elevated to Cardinal is meant to send a signal of what kind of Church we should be, just as the elevation of Cupich, Farrell and J. Tobin send the same signal.

          May the Lord bless and protect Pope Francis.

          May the Lord abundantly bless you!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Bishop Liam Cary, not Bishop Ochoa, wrote the article to which I linked. Here are his words:

            ““Who can receive the Eucharist, and when, and why, are not merely German questions,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia pointed out. “If, as Vatican II said, the Eucharist is the . . . seal of our Catholic unity, then the answers to these questions . . . concern all of us.” Pope Francis agreed and declined to approve the proposal.”

            Liked by 2 people

            1. MARIEURSULA,

              The article you linked to was unsigned and there was no mention of the diocese from which it was written. The article itself was a PDF and so I couldn’t link to its home page. Since the link you provided has “dioceseofbaker” in it, I incorrectly assumed that it was from the diocese of Bakersfield.

              I read Bishop Cary’s words several times and I still maintain that they provide no evidence that Pope Francis “listened to” Archbishop Chaput. In cannot be inferred that Pope Francis took Chaput’s words to heart and thus formed his opinion on intercommunion. Can Bishop Cary provide a source where Pope Francis said he agreed with Archbishop Chaput? The Archbishop maintains that there are 24 hours in a day. Pope Francis agrees. But he does not necessarily agree because of Chaput thinks.

              You didn’t address any of the points I made in the above post. It’s like they meant nothing to you, that you considered them irrelevant. Pope Francis still maintains that the local bishop can determine when a non-catholic can receive communion. I think Archbishop Chaput disagrees with him.

              In particular you did not address the point that Archbishop Chaput is the first Archbishop of Philadelphia in exactly 100 years who has not been elevated to Cardinal. Why is Francis denying him a red hat?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Actually, Frank, it cannot be inferred that Pope Francis did NOT take Archbishop Chaput’s words to heart and agree with him. As to Bishop Cary providing a source, perhaps you could ask him?

                I have always liked and appreciated Archbishop Chaput, for at least a quarter of a century. I cannot possibly answer the question of why he has not been named a Cardinal, as I am not privy to such considerations.

                As to your points above, which I “didn’t address,” my post was offered as a more charitable perspective toward our Holy Father. Anyone who feels motivated to delve more deeply may do so.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. We obviously have very different perspectives on gathering, synthesizing and presenting evidence and drawing conclusions from that “evidence”. I have prayed for Pope Francis for years. I haven’t prayed that he change — I’ve prayed that the Lord bless him.


                  Liked by 1 person

  5. I will leave one more comment here. Something I haven’t said before. When I fought the Catholic High School sex education at my son’s school, I was told my case was a slam dunk. (I did find a close match to the section of the curriculum I was opposed to also was used in a Planned Parenthood partner curriculum out of the United Nations). I had 8 church documents in my favor. My Bishop had 0. He cited exactly 0 documents when telling me they could force this on my son. A curriculum that had a test on female reproduction with no womb on the test, only “external female reproduction.” (remember, womb in Hebrew also means MERCY, they actually removed the mercy from the test in the back of the booklet) My Bishop’s letter telling me he hoped my son didn’t get bullied because I was protesting cited Cardinal Kevin Farrell as backing the position of forced sex education. Within months my Canon Lawyer stated that we would lose because “the political winds at the Vatican have changed and parental rights are no longer taking precedence.” These prelates have been pushing this “grooming material” on our CHILDREN for a long time. Part of why this scandal does not surprise me in the least. The ONLY Prelate who wrote to me and said he was sorry for what happened to my family and my son and was praying for my family was Cardinal Raymond Burke. He was the only one who seemed to care about the soul of my son. I pray for the souls of all of these men. Both the good and those who have handed themselves over to evil. I truly want all of their souls to be saved. But I WILL NOT TOLERATE corrupting the children. I will stand in the way. Lord have mercy on them all.

    Liked by 27 people

    1. Good move VoV.
      Pope JPll specifically stated that there is NO authority greater than parents when it came to sex education. This makes perfect sence as God gave parents authority over their children in every aspect, not just education.
      I did the same thing you did back during PJPll pontificate at a Catholic school in my county. The principal agreed with us and promptly quit the school as the “powers that be” in the St Petersburg diocese HAD to follow the sex education mandate in order to be in conformity with state education laws. So we helped her but as far as the kids, nada.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. My state mandates that parents be allowed to opt their children out of sex ed. Any teacher who teaches it can be fined $500 for teaching without parents permission. The CATHOLIC school was the one mandating it. When the Catholic school kicked my son out because of my protest the Public school told me I was 100% correct and if there was anything in the curriculum I didn’t like in the public school (not just sex ed but ANYTHING) they would find a different thing to teach because I am the parent. I was astonished. It was the Catholic school pushing this “grooming” curriculum and my public school honored my parental rights. The Catholic school told me they didn’t have to follow state law. The sex ed was taught in a coed classroom and the boys and girls were expected to discuss everything with each other with a hyper focus on pleasure points. As I said they had a test on the “external female reproductive system”. I don’t know any woman who gave birth from the outside of her body, so I wasn’t surprised when I found the planned parenthood partner curriculum had the same images as my Catholic school. It was a nightmare. Turns out my kids remain more Catholic in the public school. I had all JPII documents- no one in power locally or at the Vatican cared,except for Cardinal Burke.

        Liked by 7 people

    2. Indeed. I do pray for those teachers, and Bishops who tolerate and / or encourage them. But most of all, I pray for the children who are the victims of this demonic propaganda.
      See, for example this report from Fr. Z:

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Albert: Ugh. I almost said that I can’t believe the lows to which the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has sunk. But then I had to stop myself because my family lived in that archdiocese from late 1997 until mid 2001. Sadly, one could see this rot coming even then; it’s one of the reasons we got out.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. No kidding, Mick! Looking at “genderbread” person takes my appetite away. Would make it easier to fast though.😝

            Liked by 2 people

  6. I think Pope Francis indeed has a charism of Mercy, that he could sabotage.
    I spent a decade helping folks discern their spiritual gifts. Curiously, many of those with a boba fide gift of Mercy treated some unmercifully. I can only think that their imperfections caused them to over-protect the immediate beneficiaries of their mercy.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. Hello Charlie and Beckita.

    I am a Catholic revert from 20 years ago. I am 59 years old and went thru the “spirit of Vatican 2”. I came back to Catholicism because of 3 things: the Eucharist, Blessed Mother, and the pope. I am wired to be to the right. I have enjoyed and believed in Charlie’s message almost from the start. This pope has shaken me to my core. I have never been insulted for my, what I thought were orthodox, Catholic beliefs as he has done since his very even-handed speech at the synod. But boy oh boy has he tossed tradition in the garbage since then. I am now staying Catholic for 2 reasons, the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. Waiting for a Good Sheperd Thank you for this piece.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Welcome, Paul. How tragic that the true spirit of Vatican II got lost in the onslaught of disobedience. For anyone who has never read the council documents, they are wonderful and inspiring. In light of not only your comments, Paul, but all the comments which have been coming through, I’d like to say a few things. I try to read and reread and, sometimes, triple or quad read Charlie’s pieces. Not because I am a firm believer in his mission and message – which I, obviously, am – but because of the multi-dimensional themes and concepts which run through his writing… such as in this piece which speaks to the issues inherent in the McCarrick problem, highlights doctrinal honesty, names problems with Pope Francis, and, in the end, is an example of what judging righteous judgement looks like and, then, Charlie closes with heartening us by looking through the lens of how hope-filled is the unmasking of so much evil. And also, it’s set in the context of Church history, the theology of how doctrine is developed, and more… Honestly, I hope everyone here rereads this piece at least once more because, I think, it deserves some deeper pondering.

      I continue to chew these ideas internally, in discussions with friends on the team which serve with Charlie, and with the priest for whom I provide care. And I received a call from a priest friend last evening who read the piece and wanted to talk about it. Unfortunately, I think a lot of comments have shown we sorta’ reduced this piece to a good Pope-bad Pope discussion. Surely, Charlie named problems with the way Pope Francis has and is handling certain aspects of his Papacy… and they are serious problems. At the same time, he didn’t blacken the whole story and character of our Pope. Here’s where I wish we could open up the old site, TNRS, again. To have access to those pieces would give us a full picture of Charlie’s treatment of Pope Francis throughout the Holy Father’s tenure. As I said, yesterday, in the face of all out attacks against Pope Francis from the get go of his Papacy, Charlie defended him, giving him full support, as Charlie, along with us all, observed, prayed, and spoke to the developing problems and issues. As we read in this piece, Charlie reached the point where he, in his well-formed conscience and erudite knowledge of how the Church works, named the problems with concrete evidence of what we see before us.

      Now, I think, it’s up to us to proceed with the great care, pondering what Charlie, also, has conveyed: “I write this, though, not to rally general support to the hierarchy, but to say, “Enough!” – to acknowledge bluntly how badly much of the hierarchy has betrayed the faithful AND how many of us in the laity have failed those clerics who have kept faith with Christ.” And: “Yet we in the laity have badly failed our duty to those Priests and Bishops who HAVE kept faith. Many – maybe most – of the laity insist on never criticizing a Priest. That means we treat the most predatory and corrupt the same as we treat those who live holy fidelity.” With the text I emboldened, I see an important point of self-check for us all: Do I tend to those good and faithful priests around me in ways that offer both verbal moral support and concrete deeds?

      Some have already written that friends and relatives are so troubled with what is happening in the Church that they are leaving. Charlie’s assessment of this can spur us on to be witnesses, while encouraging others, to remain in the Barque of Peter: “The satan loves all this. Why shouldn’t he? He instigated it. There are people leaving the Church because of all the trouble and turmoil of these last few years. That’s what the satan wants – and his gambit this time is one of his most clever, ever. If you are on this great ship at sea and the boiler started smoking, would you attempt to save yourself by tossing yourself into the sea? If you found the officer corps was corrupt, would that persuade you to toss yourself in the sea? Bad plan for survival – but that is exactly what the satan is persuading some to do.”

      And this segment is a call out to each of us: “It would be easy to rise, in self-righteous anger, and form a lynch mob. But we must first look to our own failure. We are all complicit. I say that not in any mewling “Who am I to judge” way to excuse hideous offenses; rather, I say we must all acknowledge our part, amend our faults, judge righteous judgment, and hold the offenders to account, particularly the smarmily unrepentant.” Maybe I’m misreading, but I have read shades of wanting to form a verbal, if not actual, lynch mob of hatred for Pope Francis. Then there’s the opposing attitude of excusing our Holy Father for the problems which he has, indeed, fostered. It seems to me that both extremes evoke self-righteous anger. And, to me, that’s the most disturbing course of all because we then fail in judging with righteous judgement. It’s not easy. Imperfect people we are making our way in astonishingly difficult times. I realize, too, this piece brought forth intense emotions. My hope is that we can settle down – me too – and realize how we are called to love like Our Lady who loved her Son with love beyond all telling. No matter someone’s feelings about this Pope – love him and his ways which have fostered some profound expressions of theological concepts and encouraged the mighty deeds of Mercy OR fed up with him and the problems for which he is responsible – he deserves our unending prayers and the attitude which Charlie expressed in hoping – as we pray and fast – that Pope Francis can step into greatness by fixing what he needs to repair. Ave Maria Stella Maris! Wrap your Mantle of Mercy and Truth around Pope Francis!

      Liked by 11 people

      1. I firmly believe that Francis is the Pope for our time. We need to honor the position and to believe Jesus’ word that this is the rock upon which he builds His Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

        Having affirmed that, I think it helps to consider the chapter in Acts of the Apostles describing the dispute over requiring circumcision for non-Jewish converts. Reading between the lines it seems that the controversy was quite heated and engendered a number of vocal arguments. After due consideration Peter came to a decision, the correct decision. (Something makes me think that this may not have been Peter’s immediate first response, but the arrival of Paul and his arguments helped Peter to make his final decision.) Many later councils of the Church dealt with divisive subjects with supporters of each side vehemently defending their positions.

        It is not wrong to consider, to reason, to question, to argue, to plead our position to the Vatican. Having done that we must trust in God’s word for his Church and that the truth will ultimately prevail.

        I don’t want to make lite of the seriousness of these issues and questions but Paul’s three reasons for remaining a Catholic reminded me of the old real estate agents’ joke about what sets determines the value of a property. In my case, my first three reasons for remaining a Catholic are the Eucharist, the Eucharist and the Eucharist. (Mary, and God’s telling me to stay here, for my own well being, are very close seconds.)

        God’s will, will prevail. The Church shall weather this storm.


        Liked by 4 people

      2. Beautifully stated Beckita. I know I’m most likely the least knowledgeable on the Catholic church here. I felt God call me back to the church a couple of years ago. I’m truly grateful for this family. I learn so much from everyone’s knowledge. The one thing I learned this year was to put my life and my families life, in God’s hand, and trust completly in him. I understand people having strong emotions on the Pope. The confusion is frustrating but I trust God completely and feel he was appointed for this time. I have many liberal, non Catholic friends who like him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel Pope Francis is the fuel that will one day ignite the flames in their hearts to the Catholic Church. I agree with Charlie when he says it’s time to say “enough”. My heart is broken for all the seminarians and priest who have in the past, and continue to remain holy to our church, to have had to endure the evil acts of others in the church. I pray everyday for the church. I continue to look for the rainbows through the storm, trusting in God, taking the next right step and giving hope where I can to others.

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        1. Amen, aukst. How wonderful that you chose to come home to the Church! As a relatively new revert, you have a place at this table and it is great to hear your voice.

          There’s no doubt in my mind that Pope Francis has been a mighty instrument of proclaiming and promoting God’s Mercy. I have said, since the inception of his Papacy, that Pope Francis was following Christ’s advice to Peter: cast the nets on the other side… and the Apostles then hauled in mega amounts of fish, enough to burst their nets. Personally, and I know I have no way to read his mind, only in observing his deeds, I do think he’s internally conflicted between holding true to Church doctrine and dogma while finding every way possible, like the Good Shepherd, to pick up every lamb and bring them all back to the fold.

          I have defended our Holy Father to many, in many settings. I was most concerned about those who gave him no time to show us what his Papacy would be about, yet, began denigrating and castigating him in the worst of terms. My dear friend and a spiritual mother to me, one is who consulted by many an exorcist from many places in the world, conveyed to me that such unjust attacking of the Vicar of Christ can result in curses coming back on the person who does such as this. At the same time, we are duty-bound, when urged in good conscience to speak to problems, without smearing the person, in order to bring about needed change. Boy! The American hierarchy – and others around the world – are a prime example of how rotten things can become if we keep silence rather than rock the boat by expressing truth in ways that promote change so that needed correction ensues. Many a consecrated soul and lay person, over the ages, was inspired by the Spirit to challenge those with Christ’s authority in order to bring about correction. Here, I think of a St. Catherine of Sienna type of person. I love her quote: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!” She did what she was called by the Lord to do. During another challenging time in our Church, she was God’s instrument for returning the Papacy from Avignon, France, back to Rome.

          In our discussions to unpack this current piece, it might be easy to overlook words which our reader Phillip highlighted from one of Charlie’s comments: “We are all complicit… I say we must all acknowledge our part, amend our faults, judge righteous judgment, and hold the offenders to account, particularly the smarmily unrepentant.” In other words, striving for personal holiness provides a deep and widespread foundation for cleansing our Church and guiding our ship to a Christ-ordained course. Two pieces from the old site which struck this theme are Charlie’s I Killed Christ and So Did You and Daniel O’Conner’s piece Remnant Faithful: We Need the Chastisements Also. I’m going to sound like a broken record but man! So ready for a reset. God bless you, aukst. God bless us one and all.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Like you Beckita, I feel Pope Francis struggles with remaining true to the church while trying to reach out to non-Catholics and those who have fallen away from the church. On a different note, I’d like to thank you and everyone who has prayed for my 12 (now 13) year old daughter. My mom, Noreen, has asked many times for prayers for her. While today may be the first time I’ve commented, I’ve been following Charlie for several years. I’m so grateful for the prayers and believe they are the main reason my daughter and our family is slowly healing from this past year. May God bless everyone here and continue to fill our hearts with love, peace, forgiveness and hope.

            Liked by 5 people

            1. Welcome to commenting, aukst! Prayers continue for you, your daughter and family. May your daughter’s healing continue to completeness. PS And, please, keep commenting whenever the Spirit leads you to do so.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Ah… so you’re Noreen’s daughter! Glad to “meet” you, Aukst. I’m also glad to hear that your daughter and your family are healing. You are all still in my prayers. 🙂

              Liked by 4 people

              1. Thank you Bekita and Mick for your responses to my daughter Mary.She is a very special young woman and, as I always told her, she was named in honor of Our Blessed Mother and He has repayed this honor by giving her special blessings.

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                    1. You’ve given a great witness to persevering in prayer, Noreen, as you continued to bring your family to our prayers. God bless each one of you and may His Mother tend to all your needs.

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                1. Noreen, I also have a daughter named Mary. She’s a special one, like your Mary. God has blessed us both, hasn’t He? 🙂

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      3. Thank you Beckita! One thing I am thinking about are Jesus’ words when those who were Jewish and had seen their dead rise from their graves after Jesus’ resurrection, and had known that Jesus was now walking amongst them after His death, but still refused to submit and believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah. As a result, a veil was put on their intellect so that successive generations wouldn’t recognize and believe that Jesus was God, until the full number of Gentiles were brought into the Church. On face value, this doesn’t seem kind, but given the context, it was so that the Gentiles would be able to enter in fully, and then the veil that was placed on the Jewish people’s eyes, would then be removed and they would see Jesus as the truth not out of force but because they would see and accept the truth. Then, they the true branches would be grafted on the true tree of Jesus and their faith would be magnificent because they are where they were meant to be from the beginning. I am wondering if a veil is being placed upon Pope Francis’ eyes now, for whatever reason, but always for good for us, and eventually this veil will be removed. Something tells me that he is truly not aware of what is being caused by his choices. It seems a chastisement and a purification of sorts, not for our downfall, but to call us to task and bring the laity to fight for the Church that is the truth that we all know and love. What are your thoughts on this, Beckita and those who read this?

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        1. Interesting, thankful. The idea of a veil being put over the intellect to prevent people and their successive generations from believing Jesus was the promised Messiah is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures or in Magisterial teaching. Just curious, from where did you find this idea?

          Before the Lord ascended, His commission was clear: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’” Our efforts to evangelize are to include all peoples, Jewish and non-Jewish. Just think of all the Jewish people who have converted to Christianity throughout the ages.

          Several theologians, including St. Bernard of Clairvaux, have posited that since a third of the angels fell into hell by rejecting God in their time to CHOOSE, God will continue creating human beings until souls have filled the vacancies in left in Heaven by the fallen angels. That is, however, speculative theology, not Magisterial teaching.

          Back to your pondering, in light of Catholic teaching, there is no veil that has been placed on Pope Francis’ intellect.

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          1. I apologize for my clumsy wording : what is spoken about is not a blindness, but a hardening:
            Romans 11:25: “All Israel Shall Be Saved
            24For if you were cut from a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into one that is cultivated, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! 25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not be conceited: A hardening in part has come to Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove godlessness from Jacob.…

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            1. Thanks for this clarification, thankful. I see where upon what you’re pondering. As I look at the New Testament with Scott Hahn’s commentary, the translation and Hahn’s exegesis makes this passage clear. This translation of Romans 11:25 reads: “Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel shall be saved;”

              Hahn’s commentary, in reference to emboldened words: this mystery: The plan of worldwide salvation hidden in the Scriptures (Romans 16:25-26) but now made known through the Spirit (Eph 3:4-6). part of Israel: Those in Israel who are unresponsive to the gospel (Romans 11:7). Only some in Israel are hardened in this way, since a remnant of ethnic Israelites has come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah (Romans 11:5). Paul himself is among this believing remnant.”

              So, thankful, this hardening did not just happen to those who rejected the Messiah. When Jesus was with them and teaching them, God’s grace was abundant for their CHOOSING. Jesus proclaimed that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament, that He had come to establish the Kingdom on earth. He went on to demonstrate that truth in further words, signs and miracles. Still, some rejected Him. Our elder brothers and sisters in faith, the Israelites, were free to CHOOSe, just as we are now CHOOSING. God’s grace was sufficient for our brother and sisters of yore, just as it is for us now. God does not harden anyone; it is we who bring on the process of our hardening.

              Since the passage is about engaging in or rejecting the invitation to conversion, I can see but one way it applies to the challenges many perceive with some of the ways our Holy Father is leading the Church. As the Vicar of Christ, our Pope, as does every Pope, has special, particular-to-his-office graces available to him alone in order to fulfill the mission entrusted to him.. That said, any Pope, too, must CHOOSE whether to accept or reject the graces.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Also, I am not speaking of spiritual matters and the Petrine office regarding the Pope, but other matters that lead to confusion spiritually amongst those who are watching him.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. King James Bible – here is another source- “hardening” and “blindness” seem to be used interchangeably in various Bibles:
            For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. With either translation, the hardening, or blindness, is comprised of the person’s own response to the Lord, a rejection of His words, signs, wonders and miracles. SO grateful, thankful, that a New Dawn is rising in this darkness and we SHALL be one flock under one shepherd. Maranatha!

              Liked by 2 people

      4. About 11 years ago, the newly appointed bishop “got rid” of a priest who had been caught (by the police) having sex with a homeless man. It was all kept secret. (I was told in confidence by someone who knew about the police report.) He was quietly sent to a different diocese and remains a priest today in a parish that has a school. This bishop has since been appointed to a major diocese and is said to be on the “fast track”. Considering the McCarrick scandal, this needs to come out. How many other things were covered up by this bishop? I keep reading about how we, as laypeople, have an obligation to speak up, yet I feel totally inadequate to do so. I have second hand knowledge, albeit from a very reliable source. I would appreciate any advice.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, ykc. The most important thing to ascertain is the veracity of this charge. I would find a trusted local priest and lay person(s) with whom to discuss and discern with you the next right steps to take concerning this serious situation. Praying for you as you proceed.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Honestly, Paul P., I pointed out the same several months ago on this site: Mass, Eucharist, the Blessed Mother aka the Rosary. I would add vast amount of prayers given to us by the saints i.e. Divine Mercy, Flame of Love, the Surrender Novena among many. I wonder though if today Saint Padre Pio would be hidden from sight as too “orthodox”.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Does anyone doubt that China was not meddling in Election 16 just as they meddled so infamously in Billary & Gore’s Campaigns 25 years ago. So why have we not heard about it. It might be that The Usual Suspects and their Democrat Party (+ assorted RINOs) are owned by China and, in fact, admire China in many things such as the persecution of Christians.

    “Beijing demands Christians infuse faith with ‘Chinese characteristics’ amid crackdown on religion”

    Then Dr. Williams pens this piece that reminds US that they have gained control of our children! Sadly ;-( The below includes many “Catholic” Colleges. Time is short to SAVE the Faith and secular/civic traditions & values that were passed down to us!

    “Colleges: A Force For Evil”


    Liked by 6 people

  9. Another good one from VDH. I actually think that the desperate antics of the “Elites” plus the violence of their Rent-a-Thugs in ANTIFA, BLM and Unions are really a good thing …….. unless the Good Guys in White Hats decide NOT to “Fight-Back” in the near future. Likewise The Church! If the Uncle Ted’s Escapades are allowed to, once again, be “swept under de rug” then a Golden Opportunity will have been missed ….. how many Golden Opportunities do we have left to save Church & Country? ……….. Eh!!!???

    “The Elites’ War on the Deplorables”

    Another article that could easily be re-written to reflect the Church Scandals of the past 30 years. You can Bet the Farm that The Usual Suspects in the Vatican and every “progressive” Dioceses HQ have their Spin-n-Smear Machines up-n-runnin’.

    How we got here–R Emmitt Tyrrell, Jr

    A bunch more that demonstrate the Madness/Anger of The Usual Suspects:

    “Racism against whites”

    “Thanks to Obama, California is Engulfed in Forest Fires”

    “Black Lives Matter protesters crash officer’s wedding: ‘You’re a murderer!’

    “To Limit the Second Amendment, New York Attacks the First”


    Liked by 6 people

  10. I think there are two areas of misunderstanding here when it comes to the Pope. One, understanding what his authority is and is not. Two, a common modern cultural problem of personality cults.

    The Petrine authority is very specific. Infallibility ONLY applies in very narrow and specific areas and situations. People seem to know this in principle but in reality it gets confused constantly. Conservatives get confused about it because they grew up rightfully admiring the brilliance of JPII and Benedict, and they got used to how theologically correct and thoughtful all of their statements were. Even so, very little of what they said was specifically infallible of itself, only if it was consistent with constant church tradition (which it usually was). In Francis we have a Pope who quite honestly doesn’t have the knowledge that the previous two had, and he tends to speak his quick opinion. Those opinions are NOT infallible. Adding to the confusion are bad Bishops who purposely use his statements to bolster their own agendas, calling “infallible” when it is not so.

    Even when not speaking infallibly, we are to give great weight and respect to the Pope’s words, particularly regarding the faith. But we are not obligated to agree with him in matters of politics/policy OR if he says something off the cuff that is heretical. Giving every utterance of the Pope the weight of doctrine is not smart and it only helps the case of the heretical clergy of bad faith.

    Another point: it is not certain that the Holy Spirit chooses Popes. The Spirit influences the Cardinals but they do not have to listen, much like we don’t have to listen in our own lives. (to our obvious detriment, but such is freedom). Regardless whether a Pope is the Spirit’s “first choice”, he is still valid and the Spirit still protects him from error in matters of infallibility. But when people say the Holy Spirit chose the Pope so we have to listen and obey every word they are wrong.

    Second issue is around personality cult. People these days tend to attach themselves to a particular leader and then obsessively defend every word/action they take, while at the same time discounting every word and action of the leader’s opponents. It happens all the time in US politics and also when Americans think about the Pope. This Pope is a polarizing figure so it’s even more prone to happen with him, and it’s always happened with him if you look into his background in Argentina. He had slavish devotees and mortal opponents when he was a Jesuit superior, partly because his style is populist: he seems to value loyalty too much and inordinately trusts his political allies and mistrusts his political opponents. We should remember that the Pope is a fallible human 99.9% of the time. He should be respected and loved but he is not immune to critixi

    Here’s my take on the Pope, right or wrong. I think he says some truly profound things when it comes to mercy, evangelizing, poverty and most of what he says/writes I appreciate and try to take to heart. But i do think that he is a rather poor leader and administrator. It is possible to be an inspiring figure in many ways but also to be a bad leader. He may even have some false personal opinions that he believes to be correct, as we all probably do. Some even heretical. He is influenced by his culture as we all are. The Pope is a man, not God, but in the end it is Jesus who guarantees the church, not a man.

    Liked by 8 people

  11. Friends of Pope Francis are falling back on the Typical Liberal/Socialist Defense Tactic when confronted by the massive failures of their words, actions and Agenda:
    Well! Sniff, sniff ;-(((( It’s been an unmitigated disaster, countless people have been harmed, angered, confused and/or divided but his/our hearts were in the right place, he/we meant well and he/we feel everyone’s pain ……. and besides! It’s all the fault of those Meanies that didn’t support us and/or give us enough $$$$ to fulfill our “Dreams” (Fantasies)!
    Yup!!! There is nothing new under the Sun! Ya don’t have to believe me …. Check-Out Venezuela.


    Liked by 6 people

  12. I suggest the book called “To Change the Church” by Ross Douthat. It is what I consider a very respectful, balanced but somewhat critical book about the Francis papacy and about the larger conservative/liberal clash in the modern church. Douthat has an excellent grasp of Church history and how this papacy compares to some in the past when they attempted to change things that can’t be changed. We are in hard times, but not unprecedented. Very little that happens is unprecedented. He also explains the Jesuit way of doing things historically, and perhaps why there had never been a Jesuit Pope. Great book. Like Douthat says, I think Pope Francis is a prayerful, devout, pastoral Catholic who tends to be a little relaxed about Church sexual teachings in an attempt to evangelize more widely (as Jesuits often have been, sometimes to good effect) and stress the mercy of Christ. The problem is that we are in an era where sexual sins within the clergy (and laity) have become so systematized as to completely discredit the Church in many places and destroy a large fraction of the hierarchy’s legitimacy. Mercy is necessary, but this is probably not the time to be too permissive. In attempting to be merciful and give the benefit of the doubt to what are turning out to be malicious predators, the entire Pope Francis papacy is being threatened and he may find his great messages on love and poverty and living in the Spirit completely overshadowed by the deeds of very flawed and faithless bishops around him who have no such saving graces.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. What Douthat seems to consider the greatest disappointment about this Papacy is also one i agree with, it’s the missing of an opportunity. We need a Catholicism that transcends and bridges the tired Left vs Right ideologies of the modern West, the same old cultural tensions between political Liberalism and political Conservatism. At first by some of the Pope’s statements and writings and pleas for open dialog he seemed to want to be the Pope to lead Catholicism to a “middle ground position” that could evangelize both sides of the “culture war” and offer a distinctly Catholic worldview. Instead as time has gone on we have come to a place where the Pope has more and more identified himself with the political Left instead of transcending the categories. I just don’t think that will have a happy ending for Pope Francis. There is still time to try to regain the high ground, but if it doesn’t happen soon the McCarrick crowd will drag this Pope down and a great opportunity will be lost. There’s only so long the Pope can indulge wolves before they will drag him into the mire with them, there’s just no way to avoid it. We need to all pray that it doesn’t get to that point.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Here’s something that will cheer everybody up.

    Be sure you have the volume turned way up.

    Living with Joy. You won’t be able to get this out of your head until tomorrow.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. BINGO, Ed! You surely made my day. This song, released about 5 years after my late husband and I returned from our Peace Corps Volunteer post “down in Africa” – Liberia, West Africa, to be exact and when it rained down on the tin roofs in Africa, everyone gathered indoors just sat in vocal silence while the rains did all the talking… as exciting as the talking drums which communicated from village to village – made my heart sing then… and now. In fact, I actually previously posted, at TNRS, this choir singing this same tune in a different setting, noting that we are as diverse in this community as are the singers in this Los Angeles Choir. Thank you, Ed. God bless the rains down in Africa and God bless us, one and all.

      Liked by 5 people

  15. I have just said the Luminous Mysteries with EWTN and was reminded once again how often we are taken to the wire. Thomas Merton suggested we are not usually given Divine Strength until we are fully aware of our weakness. The stewards at the wedding feast of Cana were brought to this point as they exclaimed “we have run out of wine”. As ever Mary points to the saving grace with the solution “Do whatever He tells you.” And then, with the cooperation of the stewards, the God of surprises provides the very best of wine for serving at the end. And now we are in the end of times.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Joe, thank you. I enjoyed the article. Having been to Garabandal I to believe in the events that took place. The thing I remember most was either a lost soul or a troubled young man pacing and mumbling in a language I do not know in front of the pines. I suspect our Lord gave me this experience to continue pondering for many years. I’m sure that one day I will know for sure.

      Liked by 5 people

  16. Mick has added a link from Fr John P Joy which gives a good theological lesson on what we as the faithful can do in regard to the authentic teaching of the church AND the pope when they seem contradictory.

    (Vatican I, Dei Filius, cap. 4:) “That meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.” Cf. Dei Filius, cap. 4, can. 3 “If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.”

    “The rescript, therefore, by which the new text of the Catechism on the death penalty was published on August 2, 2018, is an act of the authentic papal magisterium, and as such it calls for a *religious submission* of will and intellect on the part of all the faithful.[7]”
    “For in the case of conflicting obligations, *precedence* must always be given to the stricter obligation; and the obligation to give definitive assent to the irreformable doctrines of the infallible Church is a stricter obligation than the religious submission due to the non-infallible teaching of the authentic magisterium (pope).
    It is hard to avoid the conclusion, therefore, that this text suffers from serious ambiguity (inasmuch as it seems to be open to multiple interpretations) or even incoherence (inasmuch as it seems to assert contradictory propositions). In any case, however, Catholics are obliged to continue believing that the death penalty is in principle legitimate, since this is a dogma of divine and catholic faith; and because of the religious submission of will and intellect due to the authentic magisterium of the Holy Father, Catholics should also refrain from interpreting the new text of the Catechism in a manner that would *contradict* the traditional dogma as long as any other interpretation remains possible.”
    (The Magisterial Weight of the New Text of the Catechism on the Death Penalty
    by John P. Joy, STD).
    I know this is confusing, but what it means is despite how the holy father has written this new teaching it still has to fit in with the originally approved version the church has always taught on the death penalty.
    Therefore, if anyone tries to use this new teaching to change or remove the original interpretation, they are anathema but it does not stop those who use it to further strengthen the idea that CP is not a good idea. The two last popes believed this as well.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Phillip, thanks for the excellent summary in your final paragraph. I wish I could’ve read your summary before I read Dr. Joy’s long article; it would’ve helped immensely. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It would be a dramatic statement to be part of this event, Kim. I would love to be there and meet everyone. While we can’t make it, Father and I will have your backs in prayer.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Frank: I read the article this morning and was immediately convicted of my failure to support the young and newly ordained priests in our midst. I have to confess to being one of the baby boomers who like the changes of Vatican II. While I never voiced my disapproval I did many times roll my eyes in silent disapproval at the conservative views on liturgy and church teaching held by many of the younger priests I have encountered. I have totally failed to understand their situation and to be supportive of their calling.

      I am repenting and asking God to show me ways to do penance and reparation by openly supporting these young men who have given their lives for God and for us.


      Liked by 5 people

      1. JT,

        I love Vatican II as it is laid out in it’s magnificent documents — “Lumen Gentium”, “Gaudium et Spes”, “Dei Verbum”, etc. I always felt that JPII and Benedict XVI interpreted Vatican II in an authentic manner. I can’t fathom how the beauty, hope and truth were hijacked by those who espoused “the spirit of Vatican II”. As if this momentous event simply called for felt banners and folk Masses in churches. I encourage, I BEG all ASOH readers to read “Lumen Gentium” and “Guadium et Spes” to glean the magnificent exposition of the Faith that lies in these documents. I hate it when people capitalize words for emphasis, but I’m breaking my own rule when I say I BEG you to read for yourself what VII says.

        It takes courage to repent. You are a true man of God.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Frank: After my revelation and repentance this morning I felt drawn to review the documents of Vatican II. I had read the major ones long ago in my college years but had never gone back.
          I went to Amazon and downloaded a volume with all the documents and started looking through the introductory material.

          My inner sense of things tells me that there is light and truth there to help guide us through the current confusion and turmoil.

          A little over a year ago I re-read Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It took some time but was totally worth the effort. I was constantly surprised at how I as a sixty-something viewed the work and wisdom of Tolstoy so differently from my twenty-one year old self. I bet the Council Documents are going to be even more revealing in that respect.

          As we get ready to begin the prayer for our country and the world on August 15th I think I will also commit to studying a bit of the Council Documents each day.

          I think back to my days studying under the Dominican Fathers. To them, as I believe it was to Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus, study was just another form of prayer. Done to give glory to God by revealing and coming to understand the great laws and mysteries of His universe. They did a great job instilling form and substance, faith and reason, into my post adolescent, mush filled, brain and spirit. May all the Dominican saints of the last nine hundred years intercede for us in this our time of confusion and trial.

          Thanks for the advice. (Although the Holy Spirit did beat you by a few hours.)


          Liked by 4 people

          1. JT,

            I read “War and Peace” as well, but only once. I read Faulkner’s “Absolam, Absolam” a second time after almost 40 years and loved it. I had to read “The Brothers Karamazov” twice because I had to admit that I didn’t begin to plumb its depths (a third reading is in order). I’ve read Joyce’s “Ulysses” twice with a huge gap between readings. Of course multiple readings of “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, Macbeth, etc. As Vladimir Nabokov said:

            “Curiously enough, one cannot read a book; one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, and active and creative reader is a rereader.”

            Although, I assure you, I will not reread Nabokov’s “Lolita” which I read way back in 1969.

            My next goal is to read “Finnegans Wake” a second time. It is by far the hardest book in the world to read. I don’t even know why I read it the first time!

            Did you go to Providence College?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Ha! Ha! I just received an email from JTBRANNIGAN. It turns out that he is a very close friend of mine who is Godfather to my only son! Of course, I know no “JTBrannigan” although he thinks I should have figured out who he was. His real identity of course, will remain confidential.

              Who knew?

              Liked by 4 people

  17. Regarding the death penalty, and cutting through the jargon, in practical terms in the US nothing has changed. JPII taught that capital punishment (CP) is only permitted if there is no other way to protect society from the person. In the US, our incarceration system is such that CP shouldn’t ever be necessary. Some countries have such corruption in the justice system, or unreliable prison systems, that an argument can be made CP is the only way. Most pro-death penalty arguments in the US are Protestant arguments of the State being the “hand of God’s justice” in sentencing death, or secular arguments of an eye for an eye. Neither of these is particularly Catholic.

    The main issue i see with the Pope making this change in the Catechism is that there are plenty of Bishops hovering around who will try to use this as precedent to change the Catechism on sexual issues. I’m sure they are already mobilizing their propaganda/confusion machines to do so.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Want to share what a Beautiful mass said by Father Paul Schenk this morning in honor of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Holy Cross/Edith Stein. Who was a Jewush convert, mystic and martyr. Father Schenck is himself raised a jew and credits St Teresa Benedicta for his conversion.

    He actually sang a psalm in Hebrew that made me feel as if I was in heaven.

    I know I previously commented about Father Schenk and I apologize to all of you. I realize that I am truly ignorant and unable to judge priests by their words. Hereforth I intend to only speak well of good priests who struggle in this dark time.

    They need our prayers, fasting, support and encouragement.

    Praise God we have priests so that we may have Jesus in the Eucharist!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Praising God for priests along with you, Little One. I couldn’t live without the Holy Eucharist. I am so grateful that God called me into the Catholic Church.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I love St. Teresa Benedicta! I love the Jewish faith! Heard a priest say once–if he wasn’t Catholic, he would be Jewish. It’s weird, but I feel closer to the Orthodox Jewish faith than to protestant religions. It tickles me so to hear of someone Jewish who has converted to Catholicism!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Kim, you would love the testimony of Rosalind Moss. I think I’ve remembered her name correctly. She has been on EWTN and we had her as a Magnificat speaker years ago. She’s awesome in connecting her Jewish roots to the Catholic faith. Ever since then I have felt closer to the Jews. She’ll give you goose bumps, rather, Holy Spirit bumps ! 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  19. “And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.”
    ― Julian of Norwich
    That’s all I got. Love. I do. Diane

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I love that! During a personal storm of my own, my separation from my husband, one August I traveled alone by bus to Minneapolis and stayed a few days. The entire trip was an unexpected and spiritually healing journey in more way than could be imagined. A major bridge had collapsed, and then President George W. Bush was there to survey the damage just days before my arrival. The whole community was in mourning.
      I visited the Mall of America to window shop on my birthday. Growing up, my mother, sister and I made yearly visits to Downtown Chicago’s State Street to do just that. We did not have to spend any money. The oohs and aahs, train ride, food, and fun of being together were the highlight of our special days. But, I digress. At the mall, I gifted myself with a small pewter frame about 1 1/2″ by 2″ in size that I found at a Hallmark store. In the frame, one side had a picture of a single yellow tulip. I love spring and its essence of new beginnings/new life. The other side displayed the quote, “All manners of things will be well.” ― Julian of Norwich This little trinket had a silvery gray velvet ribbon looped and tied in a bow in a ring at the top. Over the years, I kept it tied to my luggage, my student book bag, my massage therapy tote, etc. It was one of the many saving graces for me, that tiny, tiny passage and picture. After my bitter divorce and returning to and graduating from school, which happened almost simultaneously, I gave it away to someone I felt needed it more at this time, and hoped it would bring her the same comfort and assurance it had given me.
      This marks the eleventh anniversary of that trip and I pulled down a journal I kept with newspaper clips, church bulletins, healing ceremony programs, and other memorabilia along with my written thoughts at the time. Some other quotes jumping off of the pages are:
      Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things. – Henry Ward Beecher
      If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill
      Unswerving loyalty to duty, constant devotion to truth, and a clear conscience will overcome every discouragement and surely lead the way to usefulness and high achievement. – Grover Cleveland
      We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same. – Carlos Castenada
      Last, but not least, the one that made the front cover of my scrapbook. 😉

      Thank you for taking me on this impromptu trip down memory lane, Diane. ❤

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Thanks JB
        Having been through divorce I understand the angst you touch on. I love your quote about new eyes. I was once told “If you can’t see the change in yourself, look for the change in others”. I realized that I was seeing many others in a much better light and that therefore I was make progress in my spiritual journey. Thank you for reminding me of the new eyes. Great story telling. Big hugs from Joecro.

        Liked by 3 people

  20. I hope I am allowed to post this item by Paul Fahey:

    Back in 2013 when Pope Francis was elected I was working in the bookstore of a Christian Reformed college. I was the token Catholic. One of the first things I did when I moved into my office was hang up my diploma from the local Catholic college I attended along with an icon of the Blessed Mother. I became the “office expert” on everything papal when Pope Benedict retired and was totally live-streaming the Sistine Chapel’s chimney in my office when Francis was elected.

    There were several college students who worked at the bookstore, and the summer after the conclave I was talking with one student who was studying abroad in Europe when Francis was elected. She was as Christian Reformed as they come, but I remember her definitively saying that Pope Francis was her pope too. He was her pope too.

    In a way that sums up Francis’ papacy. He is a father for the world, not just faithful Catholics. If anything, he can be quite harsh to faithful Catholics. Like the Person he represents, Francis seems very preoccupied with doing whatever it takes to bring the one lost sheep, those on the margins, back home—even if that means that the ninety-nine righteous sheep he leaves behind grumble and complain.

    Since his election I’ve admired Pope Francis. His gestures of humility, simplicity, and his special attention to the poor have inspired and challenged me. During the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis published a book titled The Name of God is Mercy. I read that book three times during the course of a year, and it was then that I went from liking the pope to loving him. This book spoke directly to my heart. As a faithful Catholic, the Holy Father challenged my tendency to judge others for their sins rather than see myself as a sinner. As a lay minister at a Catholic parish (I have moved on from the bookstore and put my Theology degree to use), he modeled what a ministry of mercy should look like. I fell in love with Pope Francis, so much so that my wife and I named our fourth child after him.

    So when Amoris Laetitia came out in the spring of 2016, I felt torn. There were so many people who I’m friends with, people who I respect, people who I look up to for their theological expertise, who were emphatically saying how problematic this document was. I wished, like many people, that the pope would just clarify himself and tell those liberal bishops from Argentina that they were misunderstanding Amoris.

    That was my opinion until this past September when a group of Catholics (theologians, writers, some clergy, and a bishop) published the Filial Correction letter accusing Pope Francis of propagating heresy. My gut said that this was way out of line (Nobody accuses my father of spreading heresy!). But when I criticized this letter, a canon lawyer I know told me that I didn’t really know what I was talking about. And maybe I didn’t, but being who I am, I took that comment to heart, saw it as a challenge, and started reading. However, when I read the documents for themselves, and not just the select quotes that the National Catholic Register was commenting on, I found that Amoris is not only obviously orthodox, but that Pope Francis hasn’t been confusing or ambiguous about what he means at all. (More about that in the next few weeks.)

    However, if what the Holy Father is teaching is both orthodox and unambiguous, then what does that say about Catholics like Raymond Arroyo, Edward Pentin, and Fr. Gerald Murray who are regularly criticizing Pope Francis and his defenders? Catholic media has blown this controversy way out of proportion. The “confusion” and “scandal” caused by Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia is largely manufactured. I agree with Cardinal Cupich when he says, “I don’t think people are scandalized by the pope. I think they’re being told to be scandalized. I think there’s a difference.” My concern is that because Francis’ teachings are being misrepresented by traditionally orthodox Catholic sources, average faithful pew-sitting Catholics will look at our Holy Father with suspicion rather than affection.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I find your logic well founded, David.
      I myself seem to have a gift for correctly understanding what is being said by the popes and other religious writers. I of course believe it is the Spirit dwelling within me who gives me this insight. It is why I read things in light of the accepted understanding of that the church teaches and with what I call a “spirit of charity”. So when someone complains of error or ambiguity, I find this somewhat foreign since I allow the Spirit to lead me to the fruit of it and not into confusion. The church itself in Vatican I, Dei Filius tells us to view magisterial documents in this light and not ambiguously or in contradiction to established truth. I agree with your assessment that when you read the source documents with this proposal in mind you see its true telling and because Christ Himself guarantees the accuracy of truth in His church it must always be thought of and taught this way dispite “potential” ambiguities. The church will always have her enemies whether complicit by choice or confusion. But this should not stop her from seaking the fullness of truth even when it is out of season or potentially misused by her enemies out of a sense of kindness, justice or mercy beyond what the fullness of truth is leading us to in a real way and may include a difficult cross for some to follow it properly.

      Liked by 4 people

  21. At risk of losing all respect here for my source of inspiration, having read about the magisterial weight of the new text of the catechism, for some strange reason I was drawn to the old Dolly Parton song Joline and the line “Please don’t take him just because you can”. In the light of mercy, capital punishment may be in principle permissible but in practice inadmissable. Just because we can take a life it does not mean we should, because it is not the best option and God only wants the best for us. In this light then, are both clarity and coherence of dogma preserved?

    This also makes me think of Jesus’ line on divorce “It was because you were so hard hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning.” Jesus is clearly saying that all grounds for divorce are inadmissable under the Holy Spirit, even though they were approved under the Law. Just as God hates divorce so I am sure he hates capital punishment. “For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death, declares The Lord; so turn and live.” Ezekiel 18:32. And in Romans 6 “you are living not under law, but under grace”. (please remember I am not a theologian and these are just thoughts of mine and are open to correction.)

    Liked by 2 people

  22. New post on Where Peter Is

    The death penalty and the mystery of mercy
    by Mike Lewis
    Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904.

    Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, my great-great-grandfather, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Rawlins, was engaged in a feud in South Georgia with a man named William L Carter. Rawlins was a farmer and a former Baptist preacher with five children, while Carter (also a farmer and former minister) had roughly a dozen children. The Valdosta Daily Times recounts that “They dickered about fishing rights, livestock and each other until the contentious relationship festered into a violent feud as they neighbored in Hahira.”

    In 1904, Crazy Joe decided to put an end to the feud once and for all, and he commissioned his three teenage sons and a black hired hand named Alf Moore to kill Carter and burn down his house with everyone inside. Joe went to town to create an alibi for himself, while his sons and laborer were sent to commit the terrible deed.

    It didn’t go as planned, and they did not kill Mr. Carter. Two of his children were mortally wounded, however; a son and a daughter. As he lay dying, the son, Willie Carter, identified my great-grandfather, Jesse, and his older brother as the two shooters.

    After more than a year of trials and appeals, Crazy Joe, Alf Moore, and two of his sons received death sentences. The testimony of Moore was pivotal in connecting Crazy Joe to the crime, and is believed to be the first time in South Georgia history that a white man was convicted of murder based on the testimony of a black man.

    Joseph Rawlins and Alf Moore were hanged on a Tuesday morning in 1906. Jesse and his brother Milton were scheduled to die that Friday. On Thursday evening, however, the two teenagers had their sentences commuted to life in prison, thanks to the tireless efforts of a lawyer who believed strongly that they were driven to kill by their controlling and domineering father.

    Some years later, when they were in their early 20s, Jesse and his brother were granted pardons by the governor of Georgia, Hoke Smith, based on their good behavior and rehabilitation.

    Jesse went on to marry and have nine children (seven of whom survived to adulthood). His children married and had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of their own. His descendants include doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, school principals, engineers, carpenters, and a Catholic priest.

    Not a single one would have been born if his death sentence or his life sentence had been carried out. When Pope Francis speaks against mandatory life sentences and supermax prisons, I think of this.

    I also think of Alf Moore, who was the victim of a harsher sentence because of the color of his skin. I also think of other very young people who have committed grave crimes, such as Lee Boyd Malvo, the young apprentice under the control of the DC sniper, who was given six life sentences for his role in the attacks but is seeking a new sentence.

    It is a tragedy that the murdered Carter children never had families of their own, and of course it would have been better had the crime never happened. But it did happen. Still, God works through tragedy and can bring about great good out of the darkest situations. In this case, he brought about entire generations of new life.

    This incident is a mystery of my identity and existence. But there are countless other mysteries throughout history, most of them hidden, that have touched everyone’s lives. Each of us, in every moment of the day is called to contribute to the welfare of others, whether it’s forgiving a debt or picking up litter by the side of the road. No act of mercy or forgiveness is insignificant or ever truly forgotten. Francis and the Gospels call us to act with an awareness of how we contribute to our own time and to future generations; this is the human ecology he speaks of in Laudato Si’.

    Pope Francis, by declaring the death penalty inadmissible, is speaking about my family. By speaking about life sentences, he is speaking about my family. And he is possibly speaking about yours.

    Note: You can read more about the Rawlins/Carter murder, trial, and aftermath in author Bill Boyd’s 2000 book, Blind Obedience: A True Story of Family Loyalty and Murder in South Georgia. The above image is taken from the cover. My great-grandfather, Jesse, is on the right. His older brothers Milton and Leonard are on the left.

    Mike Lewis | August 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Tags: capital punishment, clemency, death penalty, mercy | Categories: death penalty, Mercy, Pope Francis, Uncategorized | URL:
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    There is nothing like personal experience to help understanding. No doubt some will use this story to change my name. Please don’t.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. I would just like to direct anyone who is trying to get their head around the reasons all this filth has been allowed to grow and prosper in the Church. Find the web page for the Church in Tampa, Florida where Father Palka in the Church bulletins, has written a series of articles on how the whole mess has come about.

    He takes no pleasure in what he has written; but I have learned a great deal about how and why especially Bishops get their promotion, and how the gay friendly ones end up being picked. I can see now how the Holy Father may not realise the candidates he chooses from those recommended by Arch Bishops or Cardinals pass on to him for consideration would be picked.

    The Holy Father could not possibly know every candidate and relies on those making the recommendations to find most suitable candidates and forward the names to Rome.

    It is very revealing from reading the posts here how a Pope can be influenced by the Conservative or Liberal ideologies that affect us all can be making decisions when appointing Bishops or Cardinals. Of course Cardinal Burke would be classified as Conservative; and if Pope Francis believes conservatives are the bad guys, he would have no qualms about slapping poor Cardinal Burke down.

    I personally don’t like the conservatism as it works in UK politics; but this would be a very unwise guide line to use when appointing a prelate who is holding the traditional or conservative beliefs that go back to the Holy Apostles. It would be a huge error to compare political systems with the doctrinal guidelines handed down from the Apostles. This may be how all this mess has been allowed to ferment. Only God knows.

    Our beloved Holy Father is a human being doing his best. May God bless and protect him.

    As far as I can see, nowhere in any articles have I read that any Church figure has called out the utter indifference of those who are involved in this sexual misconduct, and reminding them it is a Mortal Sin to perpetually gratify themselves when they have taken a vow of celibacy.

    Look at the utter madness of an Italian Priest 70 years old who is blaming the devil and an underage girl for his sin of sexually molesting her. How is it he can commit a mortal sin which he has committed, even if the girl was old enough to be sexually molested…The mind boggles. For shame on these predators.

    Scandal after scandal. And Jesus Himself said they should have a stone tied round their necks and be thrown into the sea for crimes where the flock are scandalised.

    Thank God Michael Voris, Charley and other brave souls continue to call out the perversity. Holy Father gets drawn in, not because he is a bad Pope; but because of his position as Chief Shepherd of the flock here in exile.

    We have every right to ask our Holy Father to do something, and of course it is down to the flock to fight the evil. Our Holy Father can’t be in over a billion places at one time, he is not God. He needs us to rally and come to the support our good Priests and Bishops if this is going to be resolved.

    Sorry, I did witter on. God bless all who post on Charlies blog. It helps figure out what the blazes is going on.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. For a sinner like myself who can’t say I have fully gotten over all attachment to sin, especially of the sexual kind, but have, with God’s grace nonetheless made great progress, I find it difficult to understand or to conceive of how men who have professed commitment to God and to His church, at least with their mouths, can remain unrepentant. It reminds me of Judas who remained with Jesus until the end almost. May God soon cleanse His church and save all who can still be saved. And as some have said we are all in need of a hard mercy here the society, ourselves and the church included. And the media will smirk at the sin in the church. Isn’t it a sign of the iceberg of sin which our society has affirmed as good, the smoke of which has also affected the church?

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Charlie,
    Now I understand. I am glad I did not know everything inn advance. I am very grateful for your training and all the spiritual help from all of you.

    I have to overcome my fears and anger to step forward to do God’s will to the best of my ability. Completely die to myself.

    I see God’s hand in my daily life and I pray to be faithful always.

    I need encouragement that this house cleaning will not be a long, drawn-out process. I am deeply wounded by this travesty.

    Thank you for all that you do and ate doing!!

    Praise God!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so grateful for Charlie, too, Little One, and all who have shared in the journey here at TNRS-ASOH. The things is, though, even while God speaks to His prophets that they may help us become aware and get ready, the Timing is all in God’s Hands. However long this purification process takes, you can be sure, God-willing, we’re open for the business of encouraging each other through this Time of times. God bless us all.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Program: EWTN
        Broadcast date: August 16, 2018
        Saint: St Josemaria Escriva
        Date: June 1, 1974
        Place: Anhembi theatre
        City: Sao Paolo
        Country: Brazil

        I just watched a 30 minute presentation of this great Saint. St Escrive, (founder of Opus Dei) provides a blasting tribute to Saints one and All plagued by Modernism via 1974. How far have we come!
        I hope Charlie is pleased 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Beckira,

        It is my hope that we will chat in heaven about all the ways the Lord prepared us for this greatest fear is failing God and the victims.

        I know now that I am to be a voice for the victims in this abuse.

        God help me

        Liked by 1 person

  26. I can’t even imagine what is coming next…if this was just Pennsylvania…ugh…what of all the other states? What of the world???

    It’s so hard, because I know this is all because of this darn 100 years of the satan, and communism and free-masonry entering the church. All the new young men entering the priesthood are so holy and have such innocence, that I feel sorry for them for the persecution they must endure until God cleans this all up. I lament that we have all been so deceived for so long and most of us have lost our innocence. I thank God so much for His mercy in these horrible times.

    It is hard to evangelize currently. When I feel most lost, I come here, to this site, and Acknowledge God, take again the next right step, and begin again to be hopeful and to inspire hope. Dear God save us all! TNRS xoxo

    Thanks so much Charlie for helping us all to navigate this horrible storm!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It is a challenging time to evangelize, but don’t lose heart. Any angler worth their salt will tell you that one of the BEST times to fish is when the storm is moving in and right on through the back end. Most know it intuitively, but some rare birds know some of the science behind it as well. Head out during a rise in barometric pressure and you’ll likely get skunked. Head out during a significant drop in pressure and get ready for a workout. Outfit appropriately and beware the lightning.

      One upside to getting older is that a fella doesn’t even need to pack a barometer. It simply shows up in the joints one day. Of course a love of fishing is essential.

      It’s going to be a BIG haul!

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Linda said:
      “…All the new young men entering the priesthood are so holy and have such innocence, that I feel sorry for them for the persecution they must endure until God cleans this all up. I lament that we have all been so deceived for so long and most of us have lost our innocence…”

      We all say:
      SAINTS ! Ye’ hah!
      Emphasis… straight to Heaven.
      Suk’s for us, though. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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