The Love of My Life

Man Walking Towards Cross

By Charlie Johnston

It was St. Augustine’s Confessions that sparked my conversion to Catholicism nearly three decades ago. In the summer of 1990 I had spent a lot of time reading Reformation-era thinkers; Erasmus, John Donne, St. John of the Cross and Martin Luther, even excerpts from King Henry VIII’s defense of Catholicism written just a decade before he split off, himself, to facilitate his divorce. Somewhat to my surprise, I found much of Luther’s theology to be repulsive. It was not the popular image a Protestant would get from the pews. He was a very unpleasant man. It was not just books in the Old Testament Luther wanted removed from the Bible; he also wanted to get rid of the Epistles of James and Jude, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation. That was a bridge too far for his co-religionists, so he had to leave the New Testament alone – but he ignored those books and how they contradicted the new theological interpretations he sought. He started, I thought, as a genuine reformer, then degenerated into a megalomaniac driven by some serious neuroses – and ended as a very unpleasant, intolerant man. His history was not what I had expected.

I’m not sure what drove me that summer. I suppose it was a search for truth. Though rejecting the peculiar, obscure variety of fundamentalism that came from home, I had seriously sampled about a half dozen Protestant flavors. I would stick around until I reached the irredeemable error – the doctrine that could not be reconciled with the fullness of the Bible (I was a constant and relentless reader of the whole Bible…also a search for truth, of sorts). While I came to deeply respect the spirituality and deep Christian faith of so many Protestants, no denomination matched up with the Christ I knew or what the Bible plainly said. The problems were covered over, just as Luther had, by ignoring problematic passages and emphasizing those passages that seemed to support the doctrinal priorities of the various denominations. That was not good enough for me. I wanted something I could submit to with all my heart, mind and soul. Though the lack of internal contradictions does not prove that an institution is true, the presence of fundamental internal contradictions proves it is not.

The Confessions were all wrong for me, it seemed. He was from the wrong era, he was Catholic…I don’t really know what moved me to read him at all. Perhaps it was some residue of interest from having read Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, which I found deeply repulsive. Rousseau’s ideas were so shallow and narcissistic I can still hardly believe he sparked such a large, intellectual, movement. I think I was expecting the Catholic equivalent to the noxious Rousseau. But read Augustine I did. It is probably the single most important book at the right time I have ever read. I identified with him – he was the equivalent of a public relations consultant in his time. His flaws and temptations also matched up well with my own. But glory, what a great soul he was! His little book entirely cleared up some lingering logical problems I had with Scripture. I was utterly captivated by the depth and breadth of both his intellect – and his heart. While Rousseau was focused in on himself, sparking a barren crop of shallow men impotently seeking self-actualization, Augustine was focused outward, seeking to purify himself that he might more fully engage with his fellows and serve his God. I wish I could describe for you how breath-taking it was for me, how I savored each page.

I got to wondering why I had never seriously examined Catholicism. Though I made no differentiation between my Catholic, Protestant or Jewish friends, I wondered if perhaps the vestigial anti-Catholicism of many of the adults of my childhood played a role. Certainly, I had theological objections of my own to what I thought Catholicism was, most notably to the unrealistically exalted role they afforded their Pope. Don’t misunderstand. I had become an ardent admirer of Pope John Paul II fully a decade before I began to consider conversion myself. But to pretend that Popes were always right in everything they said, could never sin, and that Catholics must do whatever the Pope says, no matter what the subject, was errant poppycock on its face. It denied the history of more than a few deeply corrupt Popes. This did not transcend reason: it defied and made a mockery of reason. Yet this is what many of my Catholic friends told me they were required to pretend was true. I could not submit my whole heart to what clearly was not true.

There was a minority take among some Catholics that I was familiar with. They argued if a Pope acted unworthily, he was not actually Pope at all. This was way too precious. I was as contemptuous of it as the idea that the Pope could never do anything wrong on anything. Besides the circular logic, it would easily degenerate into an escape hatch for any doctrinal dispute – and would create as much division in Christianity as the Reformation had. It did not require its adherents to take any responsibility for mistakes that they might have enabled. Plus, the Lord said “I am with you always, to the end of time.” If the Lord capriciously allowed men who were really not Pope at all to effectively leave the Papacy vacant for vast periods of time, that would be an absurd statement. The Lord is NOT absurd. (As it turns out, this is the position of the ultra-traditionalist, sede-vacantists – not to be confused with most truly pious traditionalists). It just seemed a tawdry way to evade responsibility for living our duty to protect and defend the faith. This piece by Shane Schaetzel, while not precise in either its theology or its definitions, gets the overall sweep of the matter with deep insight and accuracy.

I thought, though, that if the Catholic Church could produce someone like St. Augustine, who struggled so mightily with his own flaws, but through grace grew to be such a great-hearted saint, I ought to examine it seriously. I went to my first Mass to worship the week I finished the book. (Only a year later would I find that this happened the week in which St. Augustine’s Feast Day was celebrated. He is the Patron of my conversion.) New hope sprung up in a heart that had despaired of finding a spiritual home it could call its own. I called the office and asked how I could go about “joining up.” The secretary directed me to weekly RCIA classes which had just begun.

As I began, I was in a “won’t get fooled again” mode. I had gone up so many blind alleys that, despite the nascent hope that there might be a home for me after all, I set to work trying to find and verify the catch, the internal contradiction. Certainly, I heard a few in class. I read freakishly fast, though. In those first two months I read voraciously – all the Documents of Vatican II (thank God that was my introduction to the subject rather than the perverted and false “spirit of Vatican II” taught by dissident churchmen!), various Church Fathers, the Catechism, a smattering of Canon Law and others. To my growing astonishment, it all held. I would not have to carefully ignore vast swaths of Scripture to be a Catholic.

The definitive teaching on the Pope was not at all what I had heard from Catholic friends. Infallibility was not at all the same as impeccability. His authority was decisive, but narrowly limited. On matters of faith and morals, when he formally speaks for the whole Church in communion with the Bishops, he speaks infallibly. Infallibility is actually a negative gift rather than a positive one. The Pope is prevented from formally teaching error. Thus, if the Pope were infallible in matters of mathematics and then presented with a test of 100 formal questions, he would not be guaranteed to get any of them right; only that he would not get any of them wrong. He might not be able to formally speak at all. When he speaks in this manner, it does not become true because he says so. Again, he is only prevented from error. Sticking with the math metaphor, if it had long been assumed that 2+2=4 and a heretic came along dividing the Church that actually 2+2=22, the Pope would not speak until it was needful for the good of the faithful. When he said it equals four, it would not be because he says so, but because it is true. Properly understood, within its narrow limitations, infallibility is a great gift for the Church – and a bit of a burden for the Pope. This means that the Pope can write or casually speak terribly errant theology without it having any effect on the question of infallibility, so long as it is not formally proclaimed as defined doctrine. It is certainly confusing when it happens, but does not affect the formal claim.

On temporal matters that do not involve intrinsically evil practices, the Pope has no authority at all save that which flows from his person or a temporal office he might hold (such as head of the Vatican State). Those things are the primary prudential responsibility and authority of the laity. As a King should not pretend to the spiritual authority of a Pope, neither should a Pope pretend to the temporal authority of a King.

Some Magisterial teaching is fully defined – and those matters are binding on the conscience of all Catholics. Those Magisterial teachings that are not fully defined are worthy of deep respect while leaving room for debate on definition. It is kind of like a speed limit: while you may honorably argue that the limit on a road should be 80 mph instead of 65 mph, if you actually drive at 80, you fully earn the ticket you ultimately get.

The Pope has broad disciplinary powers in the governing of the Church. Those disciplinary powers, while binding on the faithful at particular times in Church history, are not irreversible. No infallibility applies to matters such as excommunication, diplomatic agreements, discipline of Church members, consecrated or laity, and other things not connected to defined doctrine or the canonization of saints.

The actual, fundamental claim is that no Pope has formally contradicted defined doctrine. I looked hard, but found no occasion when it had ever happened. This was astonishing to me. Oh, I found Popes who endeavored to do so through surrogates or even their own bad informal theological musings, but never an actual occasion of such a formal reversal of defined doctrine. This claim made sense, proved out, and astonished me at the same time. Most institutions can’t go a few decades without fundamentally contradicting themselves; to go 2,000 years is downright miraculous.

Now we are in the opening act of a great crisis in the Church. I have had several people email me to tell me I must do whatever the Pope says and never criticize or disagree with him. Sorry, had I believed that to be true, I would never have converted in the first place. I have had a couple of people from Latin America write to tell me how avidly they support the Pope – and that the current charges are just a “conservative conspiracy.” On matters of faith, I do not base my judgment on regional affinities like rooting for a baseball team or on political issues as in an American election. In the last century, Pope Francis is the only Pope who has routinely pretended to be supreme on political matters. Other Popes, when speaking of such, have carefully noted that this is outside their area of definitive authority.

I am grateful for the rigors that were involved in my finding and embracing the Church, the great love of my life. It kept me from being burdened down with beliefs that are as common in the pews and secular society as they are errant. I am not happy about the scandals that have created crisis in the Church, but it has NO effect on my faith in the Church Christ founded. I submit to the authentic discipline of the Church because I am convinced that Christ intends me to do so. When I was under investigation by my Archdiocese, I was asked if I would refrain from writing directly about the faith if the Archbishop so directed me. I had to think a day or two, for all baptized Catholic laymen have the absolute right to speak and write publicly about their faith. It was speaking about my visitations that were subject to the Archbishop’s authority. But I decided, after a few days, that I would be obedient even in this – exceeding my duty of obedience as an offering for all the disobedience in the Church these days. But I would never cede my temporal responsibility, duties and rights; for that I believe I am directly responsible to God. As crisis rises, though, my responsibility as a layman is to help build up the Church. None of us can do that by turning a blind eye to corruption and abuse. Nor can we do it by trying to take over the ship. Rather, we are in a sort of “Braveheart” moment. For all his passion and fight, William Wallace never sought to overthrow the Scottish King in that movie. Rather, he fought to purify the nobility and unite behind the lawful King. That is partly why I submitted my list of Bishops in America who I trust and admire a few days back. We already have noble Shepherds in our midst. The question is whether we will empower and rally round them.

This crisis, I fear, is going to get much worse. Secular entities which have tried to oppress the faithful are now investigating the Church. Given the circumstances, it was inevitable – but don’t think they have our best interests at heart. For many, they are just salivating over the opportunity to deliver a death blow to Catholicism. Predators, even now, are scheming how they can accuse orthodox prelates of the very things the predators actually do in order to discredit the orthodox and enhance their own toxic hold. Never forget that, at a time when he was allegedly assaulting seminarians behind the scenes, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was pretending to the role of passionate reformer at the Dallas Conference in 2002. Now, more than ever, we are called to judge righteous judgment with prudent deliberation before jumping into a mob.

The Pope, the Vatican and some top clerics are not helping matters. Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich’s approach has been so ham-handedly awful I have wondered whether he is not being advised by an enemy who wants him to completely discredit himself. The Pope has insisted he will be silent rather than respond to credible accusations. Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote marvelously about why the supposed “silence” is a disastrous strategy. Before October is over, unless a significant course change is adopted by the Pope and the Vatican, Mass attendance is going to plummet catastrophically. Fortunately, I think that as intense as the next few months will be, it will ultimately be mercifully brief.

It is primarily we, the laity, who now stand in the docket before God. Will we defend homosexual assault, child rape, and institutional cover-up? Will we act as uninvolved consumers of Sacraments, with no responsibility for the sturdiness and holiness of our home? Or will we act as creators, men and women with an active role as the crew in the House God has given us, pulling out the rotted wood and doing our part to make it holy again? Will we do so in a way that cooperates with faithful shepherds in excising the corruption without destroying the structure? This is what we have before us – and where our duty lies as faithful sons and daughters of the Church. We are not in a time of destruction, but in the early destructive phase of a great renewal. Before you can install fresh, well-seasoned wood, you have to pull out the rotted timbers. Don’t even think of abandoning Our Mother, The Church, in her hour of need – and don’t even think of enabling the predators who have battered her. This spring, I began a four-part series on “The Ballad of the Ordinary Man.” Though I have not published anything on it since late May, I have not abandoned it. The subtitles for each piece were written at the time I first conceived it in March. The first was, “A Strange Land.” The second was, “The Fellowship of True Believers.” Now events have caught up to my third installment, subtitled, “The Apostolate of the Laity,” which I will soon publish. I pray that the final installment, subtitled, “The Return of the Native,” can be published sometime near Christmas.

The day before Abp. Vigano released his testimony about the situation in the Church, I published a piece entitled, “Let There Be Light!” What the light has revealed is ugly, indeed. It occurred to me this week that the first reading at Midnight Mass before Christmas is usually taken from Isaiah 9:2: “The people in darkness have seen a great light.” I think that piece of Scripture is going to have newly profound meaning for millions this year. I pray – and I believe – it is going to be joyfully profound meaning.

126 thoughts on “The Love of My Life

  1. Beautiful, Charlie, with superb illustrations clarifying some of the multi-dimensional roles and limitations of any pope. Especially appreciative that you’ve shared Fr. Longenecker’s piece about the dreadful silence which Pope Francis has chosen to take at this time.

    Joining you in solidarity via prayer that this dream can come true: “I pray that the final installment, subtitled, “The Return of the Native,” can be published sometime near Christmas.” Oh! How I wish to be a welcoming force at the return of the natives!

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  2. Charlie,
    This is a true story that happened today! I was cleaning this house this big big house (which is what I do for friends) and I had JUST called Sen of Ohio (Portman?) and left a message for your fellow who is being borked, and I was upstairs in this HUGE master bath cleaning with ceilings so high you couldn’t even reach it with a ladder and all of a sudden this squirrel jumped from the tree and tried to jump in the huge floor to ceiling window!!!! There’s no way he could get in…he just bounced right back off!!! I said to myself, “Charlie!!!” hahahaha…then in the mirror I saw it again trying to get in the other window… He sure was a happy little squirrel! xoxo TNRS

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    1. Squirrels are industrious, resourceful and persistent. I found on my pilgrimage that they can get pretty cranky when you spend too much time in their territory. One morning I woke up with what sounded like hail pelting my tent sporadically. When I looked outside, a squirrel in a branch above me was pelting it with nuts and stuff. Several times I got chewed out by agitated squirrels when I stayed too long in a place they considered “theirs.” Hmmm…industrious, resourceful, persistent…and sometimes cranky. How could I not love ’em?

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  3. Interesting. No doubt many can relate to voracious reading of key works in their search for the truth. Hopefully The Bible has been the mainstay for all. I have a well dogeared copy of “Confessions” as I’m sure most others here as well. One that got me jump-started in a particularly rough patch was “Seven Story Mountain.”

    I once thought of writing a small work entitled, “Everything I Need to Know About The Faith, I Learned From Women.” That might be overstating it a bit, but the fact remains that some solid groundwork was put in place, simply and beautifully, by a handful of gals. My Ma, my second grade CCD teacher, three nuns, and an old widow (oh, man… could she tell a story). Provisions!

    Sure, I knew some good men of deep faith, but one had to spend decades watching and discerning. It was often like hunting for gold in the vast Sierra Madres. Adventure!

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    1. For me, sweet, it was my relentless re-reading and contemplation of the Bible and study of the history and customs of the eras described (I wanted to know what Scripture meant to those who first heard it: we usually interpret through our own cultural assumptions, which are dramatically different from the ancients). When I finally got around to seriously studying Catholic teaching, it was not so much that I was persuaded, but that I said, “Eureka!” This matched up so well with what, in my contemplations and study, I had concluded the faith must actually be. I love the King James interpretation of the Bible, as it is both accurate and preserves the poetry of Scripture. I often thought, wryly, that I came to Rome via the the King James Highway.

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      1. We have that in common (“…the re-reading and contemplation of the Bible and study of history and customs of the eras described”), though you might say that Rome was my homeland by birth.
        Like many, I wandered abroad restlessly for a spell. Eventually, I returned home via a road that was oft times little more than a single track game trail. Along the way, I’ve glued, patched and duct-taped countless Bibles (including the King James Version). Yes, the poetry! Ah, here’s the current version with a map section that has gotten quite the workout:

        Come Holy Spirit!

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        1. Gee guys, it’s cool to read about how deep research lead one into conversion.
          Not sure how faith as a gift from above comes into that quandary but I guess analytical thinkers need analytical answers so the Lord leads those who need it in this way too.
          My mom was my grace line for me. She was a practical faithful catholic, schooled by nuns, and she had a down to earth faith in every practical way. If you had a doubt or concern, she had a simple but powerful way of answering your questions with such strong conviction and unearthly power that it instantly took your doubts away. As a cradle catholic I got baptised into the church’s fold early, then first confession and Holy Communion all the while attending catholic elementary school. But my first recollection of a “conversion” moment was when I was 6 years old riding my bike to early morning mass at St Cecilias to serve as an alter server.
          I remember I felt something inside me change and I was awakened to the fact that I was serving the Lord and was part of something grand and holy. I felt a closeness to Him and He taught me about Himself in an instant.
          Now granted, I didn’t have some apostolic conversion, I was a hyperactive hand full-full of p… and vinigar!
          But I started down a road that day to a very special place I call true Love.
          And through this relationship, I have been able to be a true lover of those I love because I know what true Love looks like despite mine and others faults and failings.
          This gift has been a great help with my spiritual reading as well as it has given me a discerning heart and this helps the messages of love come through when our Lord speaks to me.
          So for me, my thoughts end up comming from my heart and they are soothed and gladdened there so my head is somewhat spared the riggor.
          While at work, during those long penitential hours on my knees setting tile, I contemplate the little I have time to read. There, our Lord speaks to me and I find He multiplies His truth during those quiet hours. Later, when reading new sources, I find He has already spoken to me about these things in my heart and there I find new confirmation that what He had spoken to me in my heart was true.

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          1. Hi Phillip, so beautiful and heart warming. May I add that you articulate your writing in a very attractive and eloquent way. We all have our own love stories and isn’t wonderful that there is enough of the father that everyone can share. I am encouraged by your faith.

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      2. I encourage all of my Catholic friends to read the Scriptures regularly. I send them plans on how to read the Bible in a year. I lament that many priests won’t or can’t preach from the Scriptures. I link this to the mess we find ourselves in now. The Scriptures can be transformative and I think that threatens some priests so they avoid them or deemphasize them. Moreover, if the seminaries have been morally corrupt for decades, it’s a sure bet that several generations of future priests did not receive a faithful exegesis of the Scriptures during their formation.

        I’ve heard two priests say that “Jesus never said to worship Him, but to follow Him.” I could only engage one of them and I backed him down. I read a story in NCR where a nun said the same thing. Richard Rohr uses this phrase in one of his books. Sadly, I’ve witnessed that this mindset has filtered out to the laity. It is not only unscriptural but, ironically, it is a form of inverted fundamentalism.

        I’ve spoken with a Catholic who actually refuses to read the Scriptures — “I get my spiritual reading from Commonweal”.

        I take every opportunity to debunk the myth that St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel always. When necessary use words.” So many people repeat this glib soundbite that does not contain an once of truth. As Peter Herbeck has written, St. Francis was a fiery preacher who would preach in up to five villages a day. Francis would certainly strive to emulate our Lord who says in Luke 4:43 — I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Lk 4:43)

        I’m sure the ASOH community shares my passion that all Catholics come to realize that they are called to have a personal relationship with Christ. I believe that people can help to foster this relationship by faithfully reading the Scriptures. After all, St. Jerome proclaimed that “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Vatican II echoes Jerome’s statement in the document “Dei Verbum”.

        Thanks to converts Scott Hahn, John Bergsma and you, Charlie, for underscoring what a marvelous gift the Holy Scriptures are.

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      3. I remember reading many years ago in my mid 20’s as I delved deeply into the Catholic teachings, that the King James translations were superb and scholarly (You can see much of the same wording in the original Douay Rheims Catholic English translation) but the problems were in the heretical interpretations contained in the footnotes.

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      4. I was never brought up in the church and had a conversion as a protestant in my early 20s. I held to the belief of Sola Scriptora. I think because I was not brought up in any church, I had no preconceived notions or bias. So I compared Catholic teaching from this perspective and concluded its teachings are true and accurate. The clincher for me was my experience with Medjugorje where two things occurred. 1. The message from the blessed Mother is about her son. It is about Jesus. Gee. That’s what most protestants and evangelicals say. I guess the Catholics can be more evangelical than the evangelicals 😎. Actually, I love my brother protestants. 2. I experienced a miracle healing with my wife relative to Medjugorje that made her and I stronger and more whole. We have now been married over 33 (wonderful) years and stronger together in our faith now more than ever.

        I love being here and thank you for this community Charlie st al.

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  4. This was wonderful to read and very encouraging.Thank you.

    “Fortunately, I think that as intense as the next few months will be, it will ultimately be mercifully brief.”

    I do hope so and pray for it.

    I’m also here to ask for prayers for my family. We are suffering greatly right now and it will get worse before the end of the year unless God intervenes. I am praying to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.


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      1. I am also praying for you and your family as my family seems the same…we must all pray for each other. I am looking forward to the joy Charlie hopes we have at Christmas. I pray for Holy Joy for all of us.

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  5. Thank you, Charlie, for the refresher on the importance of understanding the limited scope of infallibility and also our duties and responsibilities to the Catholic church. When I read what Pope Francis said in his homily, (Satan tries to uncover the sins of McCarrick, etc. so they are visible to scandalize the people) I was stunned. satan never uncovers sins, but rather covers. The covering is what leads to division and despair. The covering of crimes is the scandal.

    Although my trust in the church’s human hierarchy is stunted at the moment, my faith in the divine and supernatural church grows. I pray and work for this to all end, but in this search for the end, I have discovered a whole new level of understanding and love of my faith that my family and I would have never had.

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  6. Wonderful to hear this, Charlie. By the grace of God I have been relatively unfazed by all of this because I take the long view of history. Bad things like this have happened before, but the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, will get through it, for this too, shall pass.

    I appreciate your commenting on the value of scripture. I always felt that Protestants with their truncated Bible, where getting cheated of scripture, missing all of those fun books. It is even better as an Eastern Catholic because we have more scripture to have fun with, the 151 Psalm, the Prayer of Manasses, 3 and 4 Machabees, and 3 and 4 Ezra. The more of the word of God, the better.

    WE have some more patristic commentary on scripture coming on:

    1.) Origen’s Commentary on Matthew – October
    2.) Chromatius of Aquileia’s Tractates on Matthew in December
    3.) Cyril of Alexandria’s Glyphera on Genesis in December
    4.) Gregory the Great, Volume V on Job in March 2019
    5.0 Hildegard of Bingen Book of Divine Works, which is partially a Commentary on the Gospel of John in October
    From HIldegard’s Prologue, translated by Nathaniel Campbell:

    For it was the Word, which before all created things had no beginning, and after them
    shall have no end, which summoned all created things into being. (…) Therefore man is the work
    of God along with every creature. But man is also said to be the worker of the Divinity and a shadow
    of his mysteries, and should in all things reveal the Holy Trinity, for God made him in his image
    and likeness (Gn 1:26).”

    Future volumes to come:

    Letters of Evagrius Pontiucs
    Cyril of ALexandria Glyphera on Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Numbers and Judges
    Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms
    Julian of Eclanum’s Commentary on Job
    Pelegius’s Commentary on Romans and the Other Pauline Letters

    Now, some of you may have read the wonderful transcription of the speech by Archbishop Ganswein and his comments on Rod Dreher’s Book, The Benedict Option. Some of you may wonder how to pray as Benedict did. Well, you could look at the horariums of St. John’s Abbey, Conception Abbey, St. Meinra’ds, St. Vincents, and others . . . but then you would wonder why they actually prayed so little, because, after all, they are monks! Some do not even have daily mass. Then you would come to Clear Creek Abbey and discover they have mass TWICE a Day and then the Office EIGHT tiems a day!. Now, we are the laity. We are not called to live as monks but we can participate in their ancient horarium by buying from the gift store in Clear Creek the Monastic Diunrnal. It has all the traditonal hours of the pre-1910 roman breviary but for Matins, used by St. Benedict. Yes, at Lauds (Praise, not morning prayer) they follow the ancient traditon still found in the Horologion of the Byzantine Churchs of saying the Laudate Psalms (148, 149, and 150) every morning at Lauds – this custom comes from our Jewish roots!
    You have the old office of Prime that consecrates the day and your work to God. The office hymns are the wonderful John Mason Neale (Ordinariate Anglican patrimony!) transaltion of the traditional ancient Roman hymns for the office – not the Urban VIII both job found in the 1960 Roman Breviary! Oh yes, the psalms are the Douai-Rheims-Challoner. Offices for HIldegard of Bingen and other old monastic feasts are found in it. The book is small, it is a true liturgical book, the font is readable and one that can be easily carried anywhere – it is easier than the book Christian Prayer! SOrry, Bek=ckita and Charlie – got carried away!

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    1. To our delight you got carried away, James. You are our own resource with a wealth of info on things Eastern rite! Thank you. I DID see Archbishop Ganswein’s comments on Dreher’s book, made while they were at the meetings in Rome. it is both a heartbreaking and exhilarating time.

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    2. James, I love Clear Creek Abbey. We’ve been on their mailing list for years, and someday I hope to visit there (we were within about an hour of it 9 years ago, but we didn’t have time to stop). I’m going to look into getting a copy of the book you mention.

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        1. James, it’s in my shopping cart at the Abbey’s online store. I just haven’t managed to get up and walk across the room to get my credit card yet. 🙂

          I also found some other things that I’d like to get. I was very happy to see that they have bulk St. Benedict medals, and that they will bless and exorcise them after they are purchased.

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          1. Interestingly, Mick, an African Priest has taken over as Pastor at a secondary Parish my son goes to. He was telling me how excited the Priest was after his last visit to his native village because they mostly have running water installed. My son mentioned that he has developed great confidence in African Priests, because they are focused on hard realities like this and have not been seduced by prosperity, preening or the reach for ideological power. I found it a profound observation.

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              1. Mick, My black sister in law did not believe that black Catholics existed. Really! So, when my oldest daughter was baptized by Father Ben, a Nigerian, she was floored. My brother, my daughter’s Godfather, told me she kept staring at the picture of my pale pink infant daughter being held by good old Father Ben. My sister-in-law had (note the past tense) some very strong charismatic prejudices against the faith. Slowly, she has become more Catholic as time moves on and now works as a nurse for the Daughters of Charity motherhouse in Pennsylvania. I am praying for her conversion.

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                1. The Parish I regularly go to when I am in Houston, St. Cyril of Alexandria, seems to be about 40% black and Hispanic. That is not why I go there, but because it is marvelously orthodox. I think it is kind of a hidden gem.

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                2. James, I have no trouble believing that your sister-in-law thought that black Catholics were a myth. In the Michigan town where I grew up, there were 5 Catholic parishes; in all, there were 2 1/2 black families (one family was interracial).

                  I will pray for your sister-in-law’s conversion, too. And if she ever wants to talk to a charismatic “sistah” that converted, I’ll be glad to give you my phone number to pass along to her. 🙂

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                  1. Thank you for being willing to talk to her, Mick, I will keep that in mind. Prayers are the main need now. When she is ready, I will let you know.😀😊

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  7. I only comment here once in awhile but I read every piece. I helps me look at all these events carefully. What I have been thinking since Vigano’s staement was released is the following: I have always thought of the cardinals and pope at the vatican as very holy men. To realize that there is a “lavender mafia” is the most disconcerting thing for me. It sounds like there is evil and treachery at the vatican and that holy men like JP and Benedict were unable to eradicate it so it must be really strong! All of this news does explain for me things I have never quite understood in my own faith journey. I am in the Mpls/St. Paul diocese. I have wondered for many years now why I never heard one homily on abortion when I was at mass every Sunday. Why did I not receive teaching on Humanae Vitae ever? To have known and understood that teaching when I was starting my adult life would have changed my life immensely. Why were the Catholic bishops so unhappy with Mother Angelica and her successful TV station? The answer is that we had enough rebelious bishops in this country to effect a rebellion also in the laity. As one priest said in a homily, if you are a priest in mortal sin, how can you be a good confessor and how can you give good homilies? I am 63 and I actually went through a deep conversion back in my 30’s starting with Medjugorge. The only 2 things that would cause me to leave the church would be if I stopped believing in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist or if I no longer wanted to receive Him. But I am concerned going forward on what it may be like for “conservatives” like me if they are under a rebellious bishop. I am also worried that the evil within the vatican will remain after all is set and done. Any thoughts on this?

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    1. The Lord is in charge, Journey, and He never abandons His Church. Orthodox people HAVE been discriminated against by anti-Catholic bigots wearing clerical robes for some time. But the Lord has heard His people’s cry – and now the rot is being exposed preparatory to real renewal of His Bride, the Church. So continue taking the next right step day by day, and may you live to see the fullness of the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

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          1. James, I love those nuns, too! My husband and I met them almost 20 years ago, when they were still in Pennsylvania. Sister Wilhelmina, their foundress, is simply incredible. She made a huge impression on me not only because of her winning personality and her obvious holiness, but also because she was the first black nun I ever met (being a black Catholic in the rural Midwest, I have met precious few black Catholics, let alone black priests and nuns).

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            1. Mick, One of the best priests I met was Father James Mercer of the Diocese of Arlington. He was under heavy pressure from Bishop Loverde and took sick leave in 2012 and has not been heard of since. He was an excellent priest, and the strongest pro-life one I ever met. Every year at the time of the Pro-Life march In January he called out Margaret Sanger for the old racist busybody that she was. Being a black priest, he was absolutely uncompromising about the connection between racism and abortion. His enemies called him “Father Taliban.” My wife and I thought he was awesome.

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              1. “Father Taliban”? Wow… sounds like my kind of priest. We lived in the Diocese of Arlington for 11 months in 1996. I wish I’d gotten to meet Fr. Mercer when we lived there. May God bless and keep him if he is still among the living, and may he rest in peace if he is not.

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              2. We loved Father Mercer! He was always so devout when the Host fell on the ground. He would meticulously clean the spot where it landed. Many a holiday, we passed him on 66 going to visit his father. To this day I pray for him. Do you know what happened to him? James- are you still in the Arlington Diocese?

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                1. Lynn, I reached out to Mary Ann Kreitzer, on her website, as is still in the Diocese of Arlington and she told me no one knows what happened to Father Mercer. Like me, she is concerned with what happened to Father James Haley, as we were both at St
                  Lawrence in Springfield at the time. I am now within the Diocese of Buffalo, but a member of the Eparchy of Stamford.

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                    1. I was a parishioner of St. Lawrence from October 2000 to May 2005. Father Haley was there to about 2002. He was a holy priest. Then he was moved to Fredericksburg. He was treated horribly by Bishop Paul Loverde. What we have happening now with McCarrick et alia was all presaged by Father Haley and the adventures of Father James Verrechia, Father William J. Erbacher, and Father Daniel Hamilton Here is a link that I think Beckita will approve article re Father Haley:

                      If you want to find out more, google Father Haley and go to the article at Vox Cantoris. Vox is puglisitic/combative/ occasionally uncharitable and at times intemperate writer, but I have never found him to be dishonest.

                      Who presided over the trial of Father Haley? Archbishop Gregory Wilton.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Wow, James. God bless Fr. Haley. There must be many Father Haley-types who have been ignored over the years by their bishops, but to see that he was actually charged and tried for speaking truth is horrific.

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    2. Things are improving, despite the scandals being revealed. Seminaries have been hand picking less conservative men on purpose for a long time, but instead of Orthodoxy growing weaker, it has been growing stronger under ‘persecution’. It seems to me that we’re at a generational turning point. It also seems to me that we should be very careful moving forward. Satan is the true enemy of the Church and he’d like nothing more than to stunt the action of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts by creating a temptation to despise, to hate and to become impatient and preoccupied with worry and fear. What we need to do as lay members of the Church is to recognize how the flood of information about these scandals can become a temptation for us. United with God in humility and trust, we are powerful against the enemy. It is far better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. I’m not going to worry or bother about any of this except to double down on my faith by committing to more prayer and focusing on getting things right in my own soul by allowing God to do what He does best and by taking each moment one step at a time in His Will.

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      1. I began praying the pre-1956 Roman Breviary in the Spring (Septuagesima Sunday), and have found many of the same advantages of which you speak. Yeah, it’s more monastic than the 1960 version, but I also have become convinced that the changes have not had a good effect on the Church Universal. There are many spiritual combat elements that fell into disuse, such as the prayers of Suffrage of the Saints that specifically ask them to pray for and defend the Church!
        And yes, Lauds in the Extraordinary Form is praise of God at the dawn of a new day. Prime is more about sanctifying the day,and begging God to keep us from sin. The prayers of Lauds in the Ordinary Form are closer to Prime (in fact the collect from this past Tuesday was from EFprime – we pray morning prayer publicly before Mass, so I get to do both). I do believe that some prudential decisions with regard to liturgywill not stand the test of time. I know many brother Priests who have begun praying the EFBreviary, and have found it much more spiritually fulfilling.
        I think Charlie’s insights into the currently raging storm are very helpful, because we really are at war for our souls. Like Saint Ignatius’s meditation, we must now choose whose standard we shall follow into battle! The days of being lukewarm are passing quickly. As for me, like Charlie, and Joshua before us, we will serve the Lord. May He Grant this day to keep us from sin!

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        1. God bless you, Fr. Fenton. My three prime duties as I understand them are to 1) defend the faith, 2) hearten the faithful and 3) defend the faithful. It gives me great joy when among those faithful I help hearten are those faithful Priests who God has sent us and who labor under such terrible trials now both from outside and from within.

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        2. Father Fenton,

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever! An interesting aside on the Office of Matins and the Office of Readings for you. The creation of the Office of Readings, in part, owes its existence to the efforts of the Benedictine monasteries to provide the Matins readings in English. The monk at St. Meinrad’s Abbey found that the lay brothers and oblates understood the Matins reading better when they were one reading (as they are on the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Horus) as opposed to breaking the reading down into three sections in the office of Matins. St. Meinrad’s produced a book making the Matins readings as one instead of three in 1943 called Liturgical Readings. There is an article I wrote for Dari Sockey and her website Coffee and Canticles about this book. Here is the link:
          I recently gave the book to my friend, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, who often blogs at Rorate Caeli and the New Liturgical Movement. Peter plans to have the book reprinted and maybe doing this in conjunction with Clear Creek Abbey. Peter just republished another book I gave him, Pius Parch’s The Breviary Explained.

          In any event, Godfrey Diekmann, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey was aware of this book. Father Diekmann’s contribution, in part, to the creation of the Liturgy of the Hours was the concept of the Matins reading being a unified whole, instead of being broken into three parts. My friend, the late Father Peter Scagnelli, told me about this.

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  8. Thank you Charlie. I think I have related the following here before. When I completed my schooling I got a job in the “big smoke” and moved away from family life. Even though I was sharing accommodation (or is it ‘because’?) in a Catholic hostel with about a dozen other girls from the country, my Mass attendance and reception of the sacraments dropped off. After 10 months or so some a local Catholic youth group dropped by and asked would any of us join them at Mass and a coffee after. I was 19 by then and while at that Mass and as I prayed the Creed, I remember saying to myself “well you DO believe these things, so why aren’t you LIVING it?”

    I can’t see myself ever leaving the Church as long as no one tampers with the Creed.

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  9. I expect others have read of Holy Fathers’ sermon recently where he is encouraging the Bishops and says the devil has wanted to make all these recent revelations about the misconduct of consecrated men in order to scandalise the faithful.

    I was a bit shocked at his remark about Bishops stooping down to the laity, or some such words. They must see themselves as elite. I thought Jesus said let the first be the last and the last be the first. I am wondering if Bishops see themselves as rulers of serfdoms, and the laity are the serfs. Just wonder.

    Well well I thought, there is an admission of scandal by the Holy Father himself. I wonder if he knows what Jesus recommended for those who give scandal…


      1. Thank you Beckita, I regretted posting but there is no option to delete once you click submit. I would have been happy if you had deleted the whole post to be honest. Some reading enrages me, and posting afterwards is not a good idea.

        I came across a very interesting article about the whole crisis which discusses the times we are in and it seems to draw our attention to unfolding prophesy, with great hope. Hope the link is acceptable.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Ah well, Julia. I really do understand the anger. It seems inescapable in all the rot we see being revealed. Thanks for the link which I’ve bookmarked so as to read more carefully later because there’s quite a disagreement right now among some more prominent theologians who are addressing the eschatology of these times. In the end, I continue to believe we’re all in for a lot of God’s surprises. God bless you, Julia!

          Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, Bekia, prayers are needed. When I was in law school and he was the rector of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there was an open joke about “Bransfields boys.” I found that disturbing at the time as the Shrine was a refuge for me. Things seemed to incrementally change there in a negative fashion and I found the shrine less spiritually comfortable, so I then went almost exclusively to mass at the Dominican House of Studies.

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  10. Yes Beckita much prayers. This is the same bishop that 4 1/2 years ago I had a mystical experience at his mass. March 13 2014, St Joseph’s Cathedral the bishop was celebrating mass. At one point i was struggling with some jugemental thoughts. In a flash a strong precense of Mary came to my mind and spirit. the same i had experienced 1 month earlier when praying for my brother in law who had commited suicide. i remember Mary so clearly, like you would imagine her but young and short. i sensed her so strong for the rest of mass. and then the bishop in procession passed me. i had such a strong feeling of lowliness and awe, i was humbled. Throughout that experience Mary never left the Bishops side. It seems that experience is now being put into perspective. i knew not to judge but to pray and love. Mary never left his side. she was so close to him. i think i had commented about this experience once before on the old site.

    i believe all this will soon pass and i believe the Church made holier and stronger. we are not to judge our priest and bishops and pope, just love them and pray for them.

    i never told anyone who the bishop was that i had this experience about with Mary. but now felt appropriate.

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    1. Sounds like a powerful experience, Joe. I would imagine Our Lady is present at the side of every priest at Mass – no matter his place in the hierarchy. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are inseparable. Indeed, we’ve been told via the mystics of our times that the Bride of Christ will rise in splendor after she is cleansed interiorly. And we’re certainly living the cleansing process now.

      Just one point of clarification concerning judgement. We are never to judge the state of anyone’s heart and soul, whether it be a lay or consecrated person. At the same time, we ARE given the Gospel command: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” We must strive to follow the Lord’s bidding.

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  11. Love this piece Charlie. Personal conversion stories are fascinating. My own “reversion” to Holy Mother Church was a delightful surprise to myself as I pondered my responsibility to teach my four children the Truth. I began by taking my five year old daughter to Mass on Sunday. A lady friend dropped by my house one day and gave me a copy of Wayne Weible’s first book on Medjugorje. It happened to be the feast of the nativity of the blessed mother. As I studied the Medjugorje phenomena and read meditations on them by Fr. Slavko Barbaric, I began to feel/hear questions about my own faith practices/beliefs. There seemed to be a gentle, loving, feminine quality to this experience that was like a dialogue occurring over days and weeks. I was flabbergasted when my little girl started asking me questions about the Mass and Holy Eucharist that were exactly the same as those I was pondering in my meditation.

    I headed straight to Confession.

    Like MP many strong women facilitated my return. The Blessed Mother, my own saintly mother, my beautiful little daughter and a tiny but powerful little nun who taught me all subjects in the seventh and eighth grade. Our class numbered 42 and we were challenging but no match for her.

    There were male muses as well: Billy Graham and the marvelous Scott Hahn. They guided me into scripture study. I believe Scott Hahn said he overcame his difficulty with the papal infallibility doctrine by setting out to finding two popes contradicting each other on faith issues. He found he could not do so. And if he can’t, no one will.

    The icing on the cake as I returned home to Rome was that my lovely wife decided to convert to Catholicism.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Great Medjugorje book LM. Now the blessed Mother is a lady with real power, yet the most humble of persons, next to our Lord of course. She is the ultimate model of feminity!

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  12. Great article as always. Unfortunately for me I would rather a left leaning DA investigate the church rather than the bishops. I don’t trust them, God help me. Did anyone see the pics of the meeting with the Holy Father today? Are these the men (DiNardo O’Mally etc) you think will confront the issue of homosexual abuse and affect change? Lotta words, smiles, jokes, laughing, mercy, but little justice. Just like 2002. Now I’m told to accuse myself. I’m the problem. I will reflect AGAIN on that and hope God will forgive me again. Just one man’s opinion, but I am at a loss, brothers and sisters.

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    1. Hang in there, Teddy. There ARE bishops who are and will still continue to fight along with laity who support them. And Jeremiah 23 isn’t a pretty remedy but I believe Our Lord will make things right if any in the hierarchy remain lax or corrupt in any fashion. Of course, this means each of us must strive to get and keep our own houses in order. Unceasing prayers for ALL in the Church. From the greatest to the least, may our sackcloths and ashes accompany our every prayer.

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  13. Charlie have you ever made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land? Have you ever thought about doing so?

    I ask that question because in my own case the pilgrimage of just one week opened a whole new perspective on the life of Jesus and environment in which he did his work.

    In part, the pilgrimage raises a whole new set of questions for a Christian. Just two examples in my own case.

    1.) Standing contemplating the Pools of Bethesda with my back to the facade of the Church of St Ann and the birthplace of Mary which was literally butt up to the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem the question pops into your mind …. How did Mary get from this place in Jerusalem next to the Temple to a little hamlet of no more than 150 people on 4 acres in the middle of nowhere in Nazareth? How did Mary and Joseph get together? Yes, there is a plausible explanation.

    2.) What happened to the first Christians after the Ascension? Where did they go and how did they live? The answer to these questions lead you to James the Just and the old streets of Mt Zion where Mary and the Apostle John and Peter remained living as faithful, practicing Jews also butt up to the walls of the Temple. How did they live? What happened to them in AD 70, about 40 years after the ascension, when the Romans literally left no bricks standing in Jerusalem in brutal response to the Jewish political revolt. They tore down the Temple. Burned every other structure in the City. In addition to the destruction of the Temple the Romans destroyed every single synagogue in town. Total complete destruction. A genocide.

    Hint: The small Jewish Christian community was not there. They were in Pella in the TransJordan. They had evacuated Jerusalem before the Romans arrived to destroy it. Why? Who lead them there? Another amazing fact … the Jewish Christian community constituted the very first wave of Jews to return to Jerusalem after the fall of Masada in AD 73. Except it was no longer called Jerusalem. The Romans established their own colony on the ruins and called it Aelia Capitolina.

    The returning Jewish Christians stumbled over the rubble and returned to their most cherished place. The Upper Room. Their meeting place during the turmoil and aftermath of Passion Week. They rebuilt the Upper Room exactly as it had been on the ground where it originally stood. They used the huge stones from the destroyed Temple just yards away as the foundation stones of their reconstructed Upper room. Those stones are visible under the Upper Room today. The very earliest Jewish Christians met there and established the very first Synagogue after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 as an annex to the reconstructed Upper Room. Today it stands and has been renamed the Tomb of David. Although it is NOT the Tomb of David which is somewhere lost in the City of Jerusalem to this day.

    Can you imagine the only structure standing and rising above the rubble of old Jerusalem on Mt Zion was the Upper Room and the Jewish Christian Synagogue? Where the Jewish Christians met to practice Judaism?

    Mary, Peter, James the Just and John. All living on the same little street in Jerusalem. Mary not returning to Nazareth but living out her days quietly visiting the Temple and encouraging the disciples. Living quietly and righteously. The Council of Jerusalem in AD 50 just 20 years after the Ascension.

    Much of what we read in the New Testament comes from the memories of the eyewitnesses in both the Jerusalem Jewish Christian community and from the memories of the earliest Jewish Christian communities in the Galilee and the land East of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus made such an impression.

    I believe that if we want to know how our Church today is going to survive our modern crisis we ought to look back at how the earliest Church survived its own crisis in its own day.

    That’s why I ask you Charlie if you have made the pilgrimage. It leads to greater appreciation and a myriad of new facets of understanding what we have in the Church, what it has endured and overcome, where we have come from, and perhaps where we are going. And it raises a whole lot of questions for an inquiring mind.

    I really do hope you get a chance to make that trip. I can only imagine the fruit flowing from it …. selfishly … for the rest of us.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Beckita,
        Thank you. However, now that I see my name in CAPS, BIG BAD ME! I am thoroughly humiliated at the sight of my shameful display of pride. Please show me the way to the nearest rock so that I could crawl under it!

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Please post as this is a request to generate as much support for this Gosnell movie to be made known. An email i recently received:

    How you can help bring the Gosnell Movie to your town
    Dear Supporters,

    Excitement is building as the Gosnell Movie is getting close to its national launch on October 12th. Finally, the truth will be told, thanks to you and your support.

    As we’ve been adding theaters on our website, many of you have been writing and asking – is it going to be shown in your town or close? Our distributor is in the process of booking theaters – and you can help bring the Gosnell Movie to a theater near you.

    We need to get theaters to commit to showing the film and you can help make this happen. They just need a push to know that there is a demand for this film.

    The very best thing you can do right now is to gather a group of 15+ people – but more is better – and write to Jackie at to let her know you want group tickets in your area.

    Provide your name and location and the number of tickets you want to get and she will assist you.

    Your requests will make a big difference. Jackie is communicating with our distributor and the theaters to show them where the demand is for this movie to be shown.

    Together we will make this film a national success – and the censorship of the Gosnell story will end now.

    As always, please watch and share the trailer and join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the news.

    Also, check out this page for special sneak-peak events with cast & crew before October!

    Thank you

    Ann, Phelim & Magdalena

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I sent an email on behalf of my Knights of Columbus Council. May I suggest all like organizations do the same? Watching the movie trailer ‘fired me up’ as I could not believe the lack of press coverage during the trial, moreso now as they are struggling to get movie theatres to show it.

      As TRNS and ASOH we have a robust community and could send quite a lot of support internationally. Contact Jackie at

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Please keep me in your prayers. I have been under attack for three days in a row now. I had confession yesterday, got annointed of the sick this afternoon and sitting in traffic felt ‘woozy’ again. Saying a couple Hail Mary’s outloud where it went away.

        I attribute it to the same feeling of de-ja-vu I had prior to commencing a 40daysforlife prayer campaign f/o a local PP abortion clinic. I have sent almost two dozen emails including to my Diocese Bishop. Please help me continue to evangalize others to advertise this movie.


        Liked by 3 people

        1. May the Good Lord surround you with a bubble of protection. St. Michael defend Sean, St. Raphael protect Sean from all illness, injuries, assaults, accidents, diseases and deformities. St. Gabriel please announces the Good news of the Lord and place souls in Sean’s path to help him and for him to help others in this walk of faith. Amen.

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  15. Charlie, my heart is singing with joy! Not for the abuses, the sins, the attempted watering down or the flagrant lies, but for the absolute Kingship and mercy of our Blessed Lord.

    I am a child of the post Vatican II maelstrom, poorly catechized in high school and full of women’s liberation and free love. He reached into the cesspool that was my life, and even though I fell again and again, He lifted me out and covered me with his Precious Blood.

    Thank you and bless you for this hope-giving missive. I will be praying for you every day.


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  16. It is 2.30 pm on Friday, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, where I am. We are blessed to have the Relics of St Padre Pio here for several days. Not all Americans are asleep right now because I see that Church Militant are reporting some shattering news. I will leave that to our reliable CrewDog to pass on the links. But before we come to that I would, by way of encouragement, invite readers to see what Susan has to say on for September 11 wherein she understands that Jesus is explaining the scripture 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 to her. Jesus goes on to say, among other things, (in Susan’s understanding, as is how each of us can when giving ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit):

    “The church is the center of the world. I hand her to the pagans and all will fall from there. The corrupted institution and then the world. You will be totally blind. In order not to perish from fright you must totally trust me absolutely. I AM creating a new heaven and a new earth. The gates of hell shall not prevail. This isn’t the end, it is the beginning. All things moving to union with my will. There will be 3 days of darkness. You will search for me with great anxiety. But you will find me in the temple. YOU WILL BE THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD.”

    If indeed the Vatican is going to be so terribly rocked, enough to cause – say ‘three days of darkness’ – we, the laity in particular, are going to have to ‘hold the ground’. We have already been prepared. We thank Charlie, Beckita and the marvellous team for the constant, sustaining articles and enlightening comments and guidance and the camaraderie of all at TNRS and ASOH. As Blessed Mother ‘held the ground’ with St John and St Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross and through those three days of darkness, She will definitely be right with us, here and now – even if the three days is symbolic and actually stretches out for a much longer time.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Blessings of this Feast to you, Karen, and to Everyone here. I’ll be pressing you all, in prayer, to the Relic of the True Cross which I am venerating today. May the Passion of Christ strengthen each and every one of us!

      Here’s the link to Michael Voris’s latest: I continue to remain cautious in the reporting by MV as it seems he, often, inflames. That said, I DO hope the contents of the dossier, well known as existing, are revealed to the Church in their entirety. Let all the evil be exposed so we, in repentance, may give the shame to Christ: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.'” (1 Peter 2:24) May all in the Church offer reparation and surrender ourselves to the Lord as we continue taking next right steps.

      Thanks, too, for the link to Susan’s piece. SO SO much to yet unfold and, surely, everything God allows and intentionally interjects will reflect the Perfection of His Plan. All Glory to Him! I love your encouragement, Karen, that we hold the ground in a sort of mystical bi-location. That is, that we remain at the foot of the Cross even as we take those next right steps comprised of doing whatever He tells each of us to do.

      Liked by 3 people

  17. Charlie, I am a new Catholic (a couple of years). So grateful to be (thank you, my wonderful husband)…and so grateful for you!!! I need to read St. Augustine Confessions. My Next Right Step. God bless!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  18. The LeftStream Media has decided that destroying the Catholic Church is now an option to further their Abortion/Perversion Agendas! …. and will do so with the intent of NOT overly annoying the LGBT “Community”! You will notice that their “News” and Editorial articles will downplay/ignore the Homosexual Predator angel of this scandal and use generalized terms like abuse or stress the pedophile angel without mentioning the words Gay/Homosexual. It MUST come to pass!!

    14 September – MILINET: Articles for Christians

    “Goat Yoga Is a Poor Substitute for Religious Observance”

    “When debate turns to visions of murder” –Wesley Pruden

    “THE NYT – The Catholic Church’s Unholy Stain”

    Christians Who Oppose Conversion Therapy Need a Reality Check–Robert Oscar Lopez

    “Pope Francis orders investigation of W.Va. bishop on sexual harassment charges”

    Pope calls meeting of key bishops on sexual abuse: Vatican

    Sistine Chapel Choir under financial investigation: Vatican

    German Church Child Sex Abuse Victims Top 3,600, Study Finds


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  19. Some 72 years ago in Nuremberg, we tried and hung people with the genocidal mindset of the Abortion “Industry”….. now we are living in the days of Isaiah 5:20! ;-(
    Ya Know!? Chelsea is looking more like her Daddy, Web Hubbell, every day! 😉

    “Chelsea Clinton: It would be ‘un-Christian’ to go back to pre-Roe era”

    Why has the Pope scheduled a big meeting of Bishops to address the Great Church Scandal FIVE MONTHS hence!!? Is he hoping that “things” will settle down with Holidays 18 in the offing and the Pew Peons will forget … or does he the fear that in FIVE MONTHS the current Bishop Guest List will be missing a bunch of names to include the names of high ranking Bishop’s Staff!?



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      1. My apology for missing the meaning of this comment. I actually had to look it up to understand it. That said, I am responsible for taking the time to do so before clearing a comment.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. Latest message (in English) from Luz de Maria September 12 2018. The phrase which jumped out to me isthe international organizations…

    SEPTEMBER 12, 2018

    My beloved People:


    My beloved People, in the face of so many events occurring in Humanity, man is distracted and does not focus on the awareness of remaining fused to Our Most Holy Trinity.


    Pray on your own without noise…
    Learn to distance from your mind what distresses you …
    Prevent your thinking from taking you far away from Me; focus on not feeling, on not listening …

    Do not pretend to attain great gifts or virtues in order to be more than your brothers and sisters; allow Me to give you what each person needs in order for them to fulfill My Will where I need them.

    Beloved People of Mine, do not be spiritually ostentatious! Moments of intimacy with Our Most Holy Trinity are very important, where the spiritual senses open up and We meet without selfish interests on your part.

    You need to discern; it is important that you discern faced with confusion, faced with doubt: what is sin is sin and you cannot replace its name; what is evil, is evil and cannot be called otherwise.


    My People, evil has positioned itself in most global organizations, in places where you thought it impossible, but at this instant the reality is different: man has ceded power to the evil one and the latter has infiltrated in everything that he finds on his way and distorted the objective of institutions created for man’s benefit.

    At this instant the true purpose of evil has been unveiled before Humanity, having taken possession of everything that can help man, with the purpose of making man prey to what evil offers. This is the dominion of evil, this is the dominion of the devil, this is the instant that the devil has sought in order to grant to the antichrist the possession of everything that man needs and thus tie the hands of the man who does not have a firm faith. That is why I have called you to know Me, to enter into the knowledge of Sacred Scripture and other documents of the Church.


    My Church has been touched by the devil since time ago and has been carrying on while gradually becoming necrotic. This should not be seen as something fleeting or something unimportant, since at this instant these are the attacks of the antichrist who has been working at a distance in order not to be discovered before the time.

    My beloved People, Nature is lashing out in agitation against Humanity; the increase in volcanic activity will be cause for alarm. Volcanoes will erupt in a great chain, causing in man a constant anxiety faced with which man will not be able to act, only react.

    The sun continues increasing the heat within it, causing an unusual event that will then emanate from it, being a danger for the Earth.

    Man’s anger is increasing and My children will see whole peoples rising up, with brothers confronting brothers. Communism is the cause of great scourges and horrors, and some great nations that oppose communism want war in order to gain power. This, My children, is great human madness.

    My beloved People:



    This will be when those who should have obeyed and been faithful to Me, being My People, will be among those who have denied and disobeyed Me; they will be among those who have brought shame to Me and will be among those who: “while those who should have entered the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness: there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt 8,12).

    Pray, My children; you will not find the strength to resist evil in the twinkling of an eye, but in constant surrender to Our Trinity and in the acceptance of My Mother’s guidance.

    Remain attentive to My Calls; I love you with Eternal Love.

    I bless you

    Your Jesus



    Brothers and Sisters:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ again warns us to look with spiritual eyes and to resort rapidly to union with the Most Holy Trinity.

    The action of Nature is not long in coming; our Lord tells me that He does not mention countries because the list would be too long. But we have been told everything that is happening in this instant in the world in all its aspects, and what we will face on the level of Nature.

    Heaven has gone ahead of us, and seeing what is happening, has warned us and given us the necessary recommendations. Heaven never leaves Its People alone.


    Liked by 2 people

  21. An excellent piece from Msgr. Charles Pope: The 6 Habits of Highly Ineffective Church People
    (Note from Msgr: I wrote this before the news of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony broke last night. Thus, I do not speak directly to that issue here. See this column therefore as a kind of deeper analysis of how and why many of our bishops are so quiet in the wake of this crisis or unwilling to speak to specifics of what grows increasingly grave.)


    1. Hi Becks,

      This is one of the best articles I have read on the current church crisis. I find this to be a very mature response.

      One part that struck a chord, “Yet corrections and penalties are seldom meted out today; or, if they are, there is an uneven application. Indeed, one of the most significant problems we have in both the Church and in our culture is the collapse of fraternal correction. In our families, too many children are not reproved.”

      This speaks to the left who constantly reverberates every time they are corrected, “Do not judge”. This is so taken out of context and shuts people down. I think back to Charlie’s article, “judge righteous judgement”.

      I am reminded of John Chapter 8 where the woman was caught in adultery and she was going to be stoned and Jesus challenged those ready to stone her, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” All the people dropped their stones, one by one and walked away.

      What we conveniently forget is Jesus, although he did not condemn the woman, did reprove or correct her to leave her life of sin.

      God bless you Becks (and all here) for your faithfulness!

      Liked by 2 people

  22. A week later or so , I am finally catching up a bit on Charlie’s latest posts!
    Wow! What a read! Inspiring to say the least .as a former church hopping Protestant seeker, I blew into the door of Mother Church after being damned to hell by a Protestant pastor’s wife for divorcing my previous husband. I did not want the divorce but from day one of the 3 month courtship and lack of wise counsel, And no serious discretion caused me to foolishly say “I do”. Gulp.
    12 years later I made my decision and left for serious reasons. The isms in his life , were going to eventually kill me one way or the other. I redefined co dependency in those trying years.

    Back to that u turn moment. I stood in the parking lot , committed to never returning to the Baptist Church and waving good bye to my children as they were being wisked off to Mexico with their Father for a week while I began building my life as a single mom. I cried to God :” now what”?
    I tried Baptist, Non denominational and every other faith denomination and still felt restless within. I heard His still small voice interiorly. Go to the Catholic Church.
    Lord ,” but they will really damn me to hell for divorcing my husband!” The nudge continued. I went the next day… and the next and next and next. 21 years later, still suiting up and showing up despite all the scandals and horrific evil by bad shepherds it still is “The Best” meal in town and the one instrument, aka the Bible only, left me wanting and desiring to experience that instrument in the symphony of the Sacraments with the conductor , our Pope guiding our ship into the safe harbors of heaven. Our current Pope perhaps needs to read the music of tradition , magisterium teaching , and our cachetesim to keep harmony and not dissonance from that gonging sound of utter confusion and mayhem in the Papacy. The good Bishops need to surround our Pope hold his arms as the laity continue to pray and fast and expose the darkness within the walls of our beloved Church. Indeed Let there be LIGHT!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Vanessa,
      Glad to have you aboard. Things are bad, they will get worse, but we have to have the same faith/trust Christ had in the Father. This entails, at times, being willing to fall asleep next to Christ in the boat as the storm rages. Charlie is already snoring next to Jesus, so I am going down into the hold too for a nap.

      Just kidding, Charlie, but I think you get my point about abolute trust in Christ and his promises.

      Liked by 3 people

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