Grace is Free, But Not Cheap


By Charlie Johnston

Mine is an ordinary way: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to those around you. It is not a way developed casually through some focus group. It is the result of a process of boiling down what is critical and yet accessible to all over the course of a lifetime of serious work, including no little amount of trial and error. On occasion, someone will delight me by observing that this little credo is a nicely concise summary of the Gospels. That is by intent.

I have written frequently that vanity is one of the most potent tools the satan uses against us. We are constantly tempted to think we are masters rather than servants. It is one of the oldest tricks in the satan’s game plan. “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). The triumphal temptation, to imagine oneself as master of all one surveys, ever lurks, seeking to lead us to spiritual destruction. “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)

We each have gifts given by God. Those gifts are given by Him to be used in His service, to love Him and to call our fellows to Him. We are not author of those gifts. He gives them as He will to whom He will – for His purposes, not for those who are the recipients, so it is a foolish vanity to take lordly pride in a gift you were given as if you were author of the gift. We are responsible for working to discern what God intends with the gifts He gives us, then honing and maintaining them to use for His purposes. It is an offense to use one of those gifts to try to dominate those around us – or to pretend to a gift we are not given for the same purpose – and an offense that, most of all, imperils our own soul.

I have encouraged people to adopt much more humility in approaching prophecy. There is much to be gleaned from authentic prophecy, but there are two serious problems borne by our limitations. The first is the matter of discernment between authentic and false prophecy. Then there is the matter of proper interpretation of authentic prophecy – a matter which even authentic prophets stumble over. When Abraham was sent to a far country and promised his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of the sky, he did not expect to reach his late 90’s still bereft of a legitimate heir. When Moses led the people out of captivity from Egypt, neither he nor the Jews expected the deliverance to lead them to be trapped on the shore of a great sea with the Egyptian army bearing down on them. Nor did they expect that, once they had been delivered from that crisis, to wander for 40 years in the desert.

All the theologians expected that the Messiah would be a great king and warrior, rich and powerful. After all, that is what prophecy led them to expect. None expected a poor boy to be born in an animal crib. None expected the kingdom to be established through the execution of the Messiah – and then His rising from the dead.
St. Joan of Arc confided to one of her visitors in prison that her saints had revealed to her the very date she would be set free. She had been told true, but she had not expected to be set free by means of her execution.

I have spoken of the nearly decade-long period when I was younger when I was mistaken on the interpretation of every prophetic utterance I was given. When it came, it would be obvious, but not at all what I expected. It was so frustrating I wanted it to end, wondering what purpose it could possibly serve to be shown these things if I would not understand them until they had happened. Finally, I was shown that this is not given so that even a true prophet would know the mind of God, but as landmarks along the way to alert him to pay attention to the supernatural reality behind a temporal event – and to act on it in that light. Even so, I am constantly informed by people with little to no experience in such things that they have figured it out completely and understand exactly how things will play out. It is like a physicist listening to a kindergartner explain how simple and obvious quantum physics is. It is not the banal interpretations they come up with that astound me, but the hubris that they think they have mastered, with scarcely any effort, what the greatest saints and theologians throughout history have struggled mightily with.

Then there are those who treat the events of a decaying world as an exhilarating adventure quest-game. Their focus is to choose their role. Are they going to be Gandalf, Frodo, or maybe Samwise? They are focused on imagined glory and the statues that will be built in their honor after they have shown themselves a superior order of being, rather than on simple service to God and His people. They focus on the glory while ignoring the price to be paid and the hazard which, unaccepted, cannot but lead to destruction. At a meeting once with one of my lesser-known but particularly virulent critics, I asked earnestly why he was so viscerally nasty to me. After some sputtering, he finally exclaimed with furious anger, “They should be following me.” Then I understood. He was trying to mount a religious movement with no success. I did not tell him it was because he dealt in boring, unoriginal platitudes; nor that it was patently obvious to almost everyone that his priority was to show how smart and superior he was rather than to help others live a more actively God-centered and richly fulfilling life. His vanity undoes his efforts. He will neither pay the price nor live the service necessary to be a useful servant.

Most people who are serious have occasional deep insights. There is wisdom in this – and the wise man will be alert for it from all. But it is not to be mistaken for scholarly knowledge. Scholarship is a matter of discipline. Since I entered grade school, I have spent a good three or four hours a day studying. Thankfully, it is a joy to me. If it were a burden, I would still have to do it, given the work I understand myself to be called to. God cut me some slack here by giving me the inclination for it. Scholarship is not to be confused with talent. One may be scholarly with a deficit of talent, or may have talent with a deficit of scholarship, but scholarship is, itself, a virtuous tool. Let me give an example:

If, for the last 10 years, I had been playing, practicing and refining my tennis game for four hours each day, given the level of talent I actually have (which is very little) and was matched against tennis great Roger Federer one would expect me to be skunked – unless he had never previously picked up a tennis racket before. Even given his level of raw talent, if he had never practiced and refined his skills, I would skunk him. If he then began to practice and hone his skills, he would very quickly leave me in his dust…but not until he began to train. The point is, rigorously trained mediocrity beats untrained talent almost every time, and usually quite badly.

In any field, the rigorously trained person rarely brings more than a fraction of his knowledge and experience to any particular encounter. It would simply be unnecessary and vain overkill. But it is also foolish vanity for those who may have had an insight to fancy themselves a scholar on the same level. A beer-league slugger who thinks he should be a major leaguer deceives himself. We are beset, in modern times, with what I call “Google Intellectuals,” people who have read a few books or looked something up online and fancy themselves an expert. It is as silly as picking up a foreign language dictionary and, without further years of study, thinking oneself fluent in the language. You can deceive yourself, but once you open your mouth you will not deceive many others – and never anyone who actually does speak the language in question fluently.

My focus has been on history and geo-politics, generally speaking. If you have read a book on a particular major historical figure, I like to encourage you. Most who have done serious study will go to some pains to keep from discouraging you. But while you have gotten the joy of discovery from that book, I have probably read seven to 10 on the same figure, from different perspectives. I have also read a multitude of books on his contemporaries – and the context of the local and global milieus in which he operated. That is not vanity, but simply the discipline that scholarly work entails.

If you have a point that you want to advocate and have done some studying up on it, if you do not know (with some depth and intimacy) the opposing interpretations, you are not an analyst, but merely a partisan. If you do not know the larger context in which it is placed and cannot account for similar historical events that do not fit neatly into your worldview, you may have some tactical sense but you are strategically at sea.
I don’t want to discourage anyone – and I do not want to miss the often profound insights that even dabblers have. But if you are going to present yourself as a genuine expert, your expertise is going to be tested more aggressively here than it has been.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the vanity involved in inflating such claims is dangerous – to you and to others. A man who makes a 200-yard rifle shot has done something impressive…but if he deludes himself that this qualifies him for military special forces, it can only get him and others killed. You ALWAYS have to pay the price for genuine expertise, regardless of raw talent. Second, these are deadly serious times – and there is no time for indulging self-actualizing aspirations.

Recently, there has been a dispute here on whether Pope Francis was validly elected and whether Pope Emeritus Benedict’s resignation was valid. I take the position that both are valid. Yet I have been terse with the commenter who has intently advocated for the opposing position while I am very respectful of the arguments of Bishop Rene Gracida, who takes much the same position as our commenter. The reason for that is simple. Bishop Gracida has paid the price in coming to his conclusion. We have talked privately about the matter. I recognize the potential validity of his case, while he recognizes the potential validity of mine. Neither of us has ever felt constrained to force the other to accepting our position as the only possible legitimate position.

Bishop Gracida thinks there are significant flaws in the way this has played out. I actually agree with him that there may have been some significant deficiencies. He puts his emphasis on his interpretation of some canons – and I respect that. It is, of course, driven in part by his dismay at the state of the Church. I am equally dismayed. Yet my perspective is that the big controversies in history are almost never settled by legalisms. They are settled by superior persuasion and force – and legalisms are later used as a fig leaf to justify the ultimate cultural and philosophical resolution achieved by force or numbers.

I’ll tell you a little secret: I am in sympathy with what many call “birthers” regarding Barack Obama. I think it very likely he was actually born in Kenya. The promotional jacket of his first book said he was, no one has ever come up with a genuine contemporary long-form birth certificate from Hawaii (it is all computer-generated stuff), and I suspect the invincible refusal to release his college records has less to do with his grades than it does with the likelihood that he received aid that is designated for foreign students. Even so, I think if I am entirely right, it is far less dispositive than the typical “birther” thinks. When I was active in political races during his tenure, I sought earnestly to tamp down conservative activism on that count rather than inflame it. His mother was an American citizen. Unless she renounced her American citizenship prior to his birth, he was a natural-born citizen wherever he was physically born. Some have claimed she did, but I have never seen any serious evidence to that effect. A claim is not the same thing as a fact. The natural-born child of an American citizen is a natural-born citizen regardless of the geography involved. Otherwise, children born overseas of American military parents – or vacationing American parents, would not be natural-born citizens. Had it been otherwise, neither Obama nor his 2008 opponent, John McCain, would have been eligible for the presidency (McCain was born in Panama to military parents). Then there is the practical matter: any contest over Obama’s citizenship should have been made during the election cycle. That it was not led to implicit consent to his eligibility, barring actual fraud. The “birther” theories drove me nuts during that time, for I thought they distracted attention and effort from the actual crisis facing us – what was our country to be, a Constitutional Republic or an absolutist authoritarian bureaucratic state – and re-directed it towards what was extraneous.

I give this lengthy example to illuminate the context in which such questions must be addressed in the midst of grave controversy. If we do not resurrect a culture of life and of committed faith, it does not matter what legalisms we unearth. Their only value is to give fodder for the effort now and justification for a victory later – but they will not, themselves, provide victory. Every successful revolution in history has been illegal in terms of the country’s laws in which it began (with perhaps the Nazi takeover of Germany, which started legally but quickly evolved into illegal territory). Every revolution successfully put down has involved some illegal means. We must, indeed, win hearts and minds back to Christ, or we will lose the culture, whatever the law says. I will, of course, give thanks for whatever legal analysis helps win some hearts and minds, but I will not rely on it for victory. Ask Czar Nicholas II of Russia, King Louis XVI of France, or King Charles I of Great Britain among many others how that worked for them (they were all illegally executed by revolutionaries who had seized power illegally).

For this site, however, the key is that I do not want to miss the insights of any. I will continue a relatively hands-off policy towards honorable disagreement and intellectual debate, however lacking or abundant in erudition the debate might be. If you insist on an expertise that you think should end all argument, though, expect your expertise to be tested. We have no time to squander on self-actualization crusades or contests over who is the smartest of them all. Our focus is to Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope – doing those practical things that help build up each other, the Kingdom and usher in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

In an email to me, Beckita suggested that an article I wrote in early August of 2015, “Trust to a Plain Path,” lays out nicely our approach here. You will notice that in the article, which I reprint below, I had misinterpreted the Rescue as an event rather than the process I have come to see it as. I will be wrong about some other specifics before this is all done – and so will you. In fact, God intends that our errors be revealed to test whether we can suffer embarrassment – a mocking and painful crown of thorns – and still endure humbly in His service with fortitude. Our call is to build each other up, to live the prayer of doing, and to evangelize the whole world in preparation for the Lord to act. Here then, the piece I speak of:

With new waves of readers coming on board, I am being inundated by a host of requests in emails. A few things that folks should know, particularly if they are new here:

1. I am getting a lot of letters from people who think they have a prophetic message they are called to share with the world and wanting my advice or blessing. Well, first, whatever I am, I am definitely not the Church or a priest – and I am not the person to guide you on this. The Church is. Most times, a person is mistaken on the matter. The way to discern is to get a solid priest spiritual director and obey him as he discerns. If you are Protestant, you had best get a sound minister to guide you. If you will not take direction and be obedient, you are deceiving yourself; you do not have such a call – for the virtue God loves most is obedience to legitimate authority. Then, if you clear that hurdle, just do. Either it will have merit and catch on or it will not. If you really want to follow the path I have, you would spend years trying to desperately find a way out…choose a priest for your first disclosure who is noted for integrity, but most likely to tell you to forget it and give you a way out, then spend more years having that priest and any he brings on discern, all while looking for a way out, then finally speak publicly after many things you have said have come to pass. But when you first speak publicly, do so a bit sullenly, refusing to do anything to promote what you say unless it drops in your lap, hoping it will all go away so you can be left alone. Oh, and be prepared for much sacrifice. I have never had a career. I had what looked kind of like a career, but it was just episodic things laid one after another. Why? Because from childhood, part of what I agreed to was that I would get attached to no work so much that I could not leave it forthwith if I were called to the Master’s service – so I had to forego a host of otherwise perfectly legitimate opportunities because they would violate the terms of service I had promised to live by. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You will need to put yourself in a very radical way in the hands of the Lord – and in ways you will never speak of. It is a fearsome thing that is not for everyone. In the military, many would like what they think is the glamor of being in special forces, but few can pay the price. I do not boast when I tell you you really need to consider whether you can pay the price, for if not, it would just crush you. And the first installment is direction and obedience. In any case, I am not the judge of such things. You may occasionally have what some call a “word of knowledge” for yourself or others, but if you think you have a public calling, submit yourself first to a priest or pastor and obey him.

2. I am also getting a host of people asking me what they should do about very specific personal problems and decisions. That is not what I do, even though I can sometimes offer counsel over how to approach important decisions. My fundamental message is not that God is close to me (though I believe He is) but that He is close to each of you. Simply call on Him (acknowledge God), make the best decision you can, and act, trusting in Him to gently correct your errors and draw fruit from them in the process. I am not a guru, but the larger point is that there are no gurus who can tell you definitively what God wants from you. God endowed you with moral agency. He expects you to exercise it in choosing what you should do, what the next right step is for you. By exercising it, you build your relationship with God and learn more about what His mission for you is. When you search for a guru to tell you precisely what to do, you are trying to evade the responsibility of the moral agency with which God endowed you. It is like being replaced by a pinch hitter in a baseball game: even if the pinch hitter gets a hit, it is not accrued to you. You may – and should – seek counsel from trusted friends, family members and pastors, but you must make and take responsibility for every decision and action you take. That is how you learn and how you become a true servant of God. Do not worry much about your many mistakes. How many times must a toddler fall before he finally starts walking? Would you want him to stop trying so he would not fall? Of course not – if he did, he would never walk. Even when he falls, you are endeared to the effort he put into trying to walk – and more deeply endeared to his fortitude in keeping at it despite a long succession of failures. You know that if he keeps at it, he will eventually learn to walk with confidence and ease. Your Heavenly Father views you with the same affection. So get up and walk. When you stumble, get up and try again. Sometime after the hundredth or so try, you will begin to get it – and your Father in heaven will rejoice along with you.

3. Finally, something that worries me a lot. Many of you are asking me such things as when you should pull your kids out of school and hunker down. I know many people – and credible voices – are focusing on September as a time of crash. I have not publicly said that. I do not know when the final crash comes: only when the Rescue comes and all the things that must come between now and then. That does not mean that crash will not come in September. I do know it will come soon. We have been redlining all the cultural, social, political, economic and security systems throughout the globe for nearly a decade now. Like a building with multiple boilers, all of which are in the redline danger zone, one of them will eventually blow. When one does, the rest will follow in short succession. But the rules for this crisis are different than any other crisis in world history. Your instincts will easily fail you if you don’t truly trust God. Part of my training included a searing set of experiences that you have not had – and it was one of the toughest two or three parts of the training. It is about truly trusting God. Before I was a teen, I started being shown some hard things that would happen with certain people I cared about – but ordered not to say anything or actively prevent it. I flatly disobeyed in many cases – and brought down a far worse situation than what I originally saw. At first, I did it because I thought I knew better than God – and the fix seemed so simple. The Good Lord patiently showed me that I knew nothing, and that if I did not learn to trust Him, I never would. When I obeyed, the things I saw still came, but the consequences of them were not near as bad as I expected – and often were a source of blessing to the ones involved. Even so, sometimes I would get so frantic, I could not help myself. God was consistent. If I interfered where I had been ordered not to, small disasters ensued. The last time I disobeyed was 19 years ago. To give you an idea how deeply engrained this has become in me, several years before the terrible tsunami and earthquake hit Japan I knew that it was set for some type of terrible, widespread strike – but ordered to tell no one. This was an agony, because my brother and his family – and my son – were stationed there at the time I was shown. Every instinct in me cried out to warn them, to get them out of there. But experience had shown me to try to do so through disobedience might get them killed. So I kept silence. Oh, I agonized privately and in frequent prayer on their behalf, often in tears. But I obeyed, even as I suffered from the obedience. I was so relieved when they were both out of there – and even more relieved that, when the destruction came, it cost very few lives. Japan, having suffered that tragedy will, in fact, be better prepared to be a field hospital for the suffering during the worst of the Storm. My point is that you cannot outwit God. If you try you may well call down disaster. So act with prudence. If there is a good reason for your child to take a sabbatical year that will help him and the family, then consider it. But if the primary reason is to keep him from harm, know that instead you are likely leading him into harm. You cannot outwit God. The whole point of the Storm is to learn to trust God and know that your confidence is well-placed in Him. I sympathize with you as this was one of the two or three hardest disciplines I had to master – and I had a lot longer to learn it than you do. But I must tell you true. I devote myself in prayer that when you fail at this, the consequences will be light: just enough to teach you you must trust to God rather than devise plans to evade Him, but not so much that you face devastating loss.

4. I often say that nothing is lost in God’s economy. What that means is that it pleases God that you continue in the good things you would normally do. If you are the head of a company that employs many and know that the Storm is coming, keep taking care of your business and helping your employees grow. There will be a need for such after the Rescue, and those who have acted with fidelity and resolve will be entrusted with more. If your kids are doing well in school, encourage them to persist, for we will need people with good educations after the Rescue. What they gain now will be useful then. I had the head of one institute ask me whether they should proceed with a planned major renovation or defer it and keep their money in the bank. I told him to proceed. First, if I am wrong, there is no reason to defer the renovation. If I am right, however, money in the bank will be gone along with all the rest. But if they proceed with the renovation, even if it is interrupted, they will still have many of the materials and will be that much further along when the Storm is over. The point is, nothing will ultimately be lost from the good and noble things you are trying to do, even if an interruption in all society comes for a time. Keep at it, trusting to God to sort out all the results.

230 thoughts on “Grace is Free, But Not Cheap

  1. So much wisdom here, Charlie. We *need* to be reminded to keep our focus on the plain path of acknowledging God, taking our next right steps and allowing Him to make of us a sign of hope.

    I’m a parrot for this line from the Divine Office: “We all have secret fears to face and minds and motives to amend.” Thing is, I repeat it for me as much as for anyone else because, perhaps, the most difficult challenge in overcoming temptations to vanity are spiritual blind spots. We all have them. And since you’ve often noted, Charlie, the Lord will burn every bit of vanity out of us in this Storm, it makes sense to get a head start on the process by turning to Him and seeking Holy Spirit’s inspiration to bring to light what we need to work on.

    Fr. Mike Schmitz has a video about spiritual blind spots (at You Tube) and I, especially, like his counsel to be aware we all have them without freezing in horror. In other words, when the vanity in us comes to light, notice what we do without beating ourselves up… then there’s energy left for making needed change.

    Liked by 11 people

  2. One of my very first spiritual directors gave me this advise: Don’t get so worked up when you become aware of your vanity. Vanity is not the same as satanic pride. Vanity is the little monkey thinking his dancing is forcing the organ grinder to play.

    It always helps not to take yourself so seriously. Even when I am being a cheeky, wee monkey.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. Charlie,

    It was not James I of England and James Vi of Scotland who suffered the wrath of the revolutionaries, but the blessed Charles I of England and Scotland. But, I am very pleased you put that event, the English Civil War and Cromwell in the same context of the French and Russian Revolutions – I have been arguing that point for thirty years, and I think Hilaire Belloc first argued this position.

    And, we should keep in mind that all three of these men, Nicholas II, Louis XVI and Charles I are considered saints by some.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. LOL! There goes my head!

        The James Boys of Scotland, as we call the Stewart Kings in my family – many met interesting deaths:
        James I was stabbed to death in a sewer
        James II was blown up by an exploding cannon
        James III was stabbed to death by a mad priest
        James IV was hacked to death at the battle of Flodden
        James V died of “melancholy”
        James VI and I died of maleria and dysentary
        James VII and II died in exile.

        Sometimes it is just best to be a little guy and take the next right step!

        Liked by 5 people

        1. I feel for all the James, James, yet, I have special sympathy for James VI in his demise. While taking a prophylactic medicine to prevent malaria, I still had a few breakthrough cases of this awful disease. My Goodness! If I had had a shovel, I’d have dug me my grave. Dysentary wasn’t a picnic either.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Well, Becks, I am glad by the grace of God you survived the blizzard in your gizzard! And, did you know James II is a Servant of God, his cause for canonization having been opened by the Archbishop of Paris in 1734?

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Hey, the history of the Charles has been no great shakes, either. It constantly irritates me the man who benefitted most directly from St. Joan of Arc’s work so casually and brutally abandoned her. He was a Charles. The irritation angers me so much that it helps spur me on in my resolve that this little Charles will make up in fidelity what that great Charles lacked so conspicuously.

          Liked by 11 people

          1. Fortunately, there are some great Charles out there, such as bl. Charles of Austria, St. Charles Borromeo. May you join their club!

            I agree with you on the birther issue, Charlie. Some day it will be exposed, but it is not expressing as the need to pray, do penance, give alms and evangelize.

            Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve been observing people’s dependence on government services & programs. If we trust & have faith in God’s goodness, then we have no need of those government services & programs that Liberals have created to rob God of his glory.

    There has been lots of complaining lately up here in Canada over cutbacks of wasteful spending of Liberal policies & programs.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Helpful thoughts.

    For sharing a secret, here’s a little secret in return. Anyone else enjoy Ecclesiastes 1? Loved that Book in my youth, but found it a bit cynical much later in adulthood (after much wandering). There’s nothing cynical about it, of course, but it really had me missing that less encumbered little head from earlier.

    Here’s to each giving all the love they have to each other, but I’ll be honest… I don’t mind a hint of swagger in you, CJ. Let the marshmallows lead the marshmallows.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Hmmm…in Jesus’ day fishermen were roughnecks, kind of the equivalent of our cowboys or even bikers. I think we have a little of the aura of fishermen in the comments section at this site. And, as we all know, Jesus loved fishermen!

      Liked by 6 people

  6. My favorite paragraph right here… wow…”In fact, God intends that our errors be revealed to test whether we can suffer embarrassment – a mocking and painful crown of thorns – and still endure humbly in His service with fortitude. Our call is to build each other up, to live the prayer of doing, and to evangelize the whole world in preparation for the Lord to act. Here then, the piece I speak of:”

    Now I need to read second part…just stellar per usual, Charlie

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This one ties as favorite. .lol…”have written frequently that vanity is one of the most potent tools the satan uses against us. We are constantly tempted to think we are masters rather than servants. It is one of the oldest tricks in the satan’s game plan. “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). The triumphal temptation, to imagine oneself as master of all one surveys, ever lurks, seeking to lead us to spiritual destruction. “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)” CJ

    Liked by 5 people

  8. When you lead change you may find yourself in a position of great derisory contempt by those who you must lead, particularly by those whom you must depend upon to complete the immediate objective at hand that was given for you to complete. In many instances you may find that those who through their skills & talents should rightly lead are often not the ones that have been chosen for reasons seemingly unknown. How often throughout all of history are those who the world has rejected placed into positions of great responsibility or esteemed importance in the most uncanny & improbable of circumstances. Envy, rage, jealousy, etc can (much to our great dismay at times) also be forces of great change though usually rather malignant. It is at such times that all must be reset to restore true order & true balance to civilisation. All that is seen presently shall be wiped away clean and replaced because it is not true order nor does it bring about true balance. This may even include our nationstates as we presently understand them to be. The fields of humanity must be cleared of all that is contained within them, the soils replaced, seeded anew, then lastly fertilized & irrigated. The false Age of Enlightenment must now end lest the Age of Peace spoken of by our Lady not be made manifest. Whether we like it or not this will be done. The chaos & great confusion which is rapidly spreading throughout the Church & the world is merely the beginning of this but it is not the end of the world itself. A time will come for the arrival of a lessor antichrist as opposed to the greater antichrist Magog he Lord of the World master of nothing who will appear to our descendants many centuries from now whence they will have long forgotten the warning we will have left behind for them. His Most Christian Majesty Louis XVI seemed to have understood this which is why he remarked at the place of his own martyrdom that he dies innocent. He did not cause the Paris revolt, his cousin along with his own cohorts & their allies did this. As all revolutions tend to go the inniators eventually become considered the villians as well in the eyes of the blood thirsty populace. The Paris revolt of 1789 spawned great seeds of evil to spread throughout all of Europe that culminated into the Bolshevik Revoluton. However a time will come when even a Pope will be martyred as well and like the revolt of 1789 it too will be universally bloodfilled. If any believe that the opponents of God are going to simply convert they are surely mistaken. They like their fallen angelic masters before them out of extreme obstinate pride are going to dig their claws in & put up a fight. When this does happen the former western nations will fall to the ground quite hard. Almost no one has listened & the greater part of those who have taken the time to listen do not acknowledge this as a reality being as it may. Many consider what I say to be apocryphal nonsense or sensational banal utterances, but that does not make these words to be any less true. I have seen firsthand things which would terrify even the most sturdy of faithful souls. May none here ever have to see even a foretaste of what I have seen, such is the reality of the world & even the chaotic state of the Church. In time we or I should say those who come after us will see that events such as La Salette, Fatima, Akhita, Zeitun, Medjugorie, & what is becoming more evidently more clear even Garabandal were intricately related to one another as a continuing act of Divine Intervention through the intercession of the Blessed Mother so as to assist the Children of Adam on their journey toward salvation. I don’t envy Charlie or any of the others throughout the world God has tasked with responsibility over others as of late in these last hours of Satan’s current reign on Earth. That which they will need to lead their respective flocks through will not be an easy path nor recognisible by any human standard. All that has come before is a mere foreshadow of what is about to occur, but it all must occur in this manner. It my own view it is better for an army to understand the nature of the enemy & the places of battle or they will not know what to do or where to aim once the fight begins. Kings & generals govern wars however the battles themselves fall to the field commanders, the soldiers, & the lines of support. I do not say this to cause fear or discouragement among you but rather to share with you that which others you have never met have already gone through. It is so nothing was in vain & so the war is not lost. We must remember that in 600 A.D. no one throughout the eastern half of the Roman Empire could ever have envisioned their own bloody demise at the hands of an inconsequential tribe of nomads from lower Arabia. All that I have personally encountered has proven time & time again that nothing & no one is inconsequential by any means.

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  9. This writing makes me think of a father trying to let his kids make their own mistakes but not to the point where it causes them irreparable harm. Thanks Charlie.

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    1. So beautifully expressed, Kris. I think you’ve captured what’s at the heart of Charlie’s efforts to prepare us. We are blessed with him and a blessing to each other.

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  10. Charlie, thank you very much for your reassurances and encouragement in these times of growing intensity of the storm and imminent collapse of an increasingly unstable world. God is in charge. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide and protect us, lead us to all holiness and truth. Watch and pray, pray and watch. TRUST in the Lord.

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  11. Loved this: “We are beset, in modern times, with what I call ‘Google Intellectuals,’…”
    (except in my case, I like the more private search engine DuckDuckGo, therefore I fall into the
    “DuckDuckGo Intellectual” category.
    God Bless You Charlie.

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    1. There’s a ball field complex nearby that plays host to, among the broad gamut of skill sets from youth to MLB, the regular “beer league.” While it may be true that some of those guys are out there trying to relive the glory days, and the contrast between what they’re doing and what’s going on in the bigs is obvious, it’s still baseball. Maybe a frayed little edge of that fabric, but threads nonetheless.

      My middle kid played the game, with little aspirations for playing beyond the H.S. level, but he had the good fortune of getting coached on three clubs by former major leaguers. One a former pitcher for the Brewers. Another was the ’65 Rookie of the Year, started 2nd base as an All-Star, and eventually managed the Cubs, among other things. My favorite story from that guy concerned one of his first starts. Seems he let one slip through his legs and blew the game. Later in his hotel room, he got an unexpected call from none other than Willie Mays. Seems Willie wanted to let him know that he was impressed by the way he had been playing, not to let that one moment define him, and then he proceeded to share some of his most spectacular flubs. Kinda hard to imagine a Willie flub, but there it is.

      That same long retired guy also used to bring players out to help at the kid practices. Players who were rehabbing their games, for one reason or another, with hopes of returning to the bigs. It was the most interesting thing, to watch those guys. I have to say that the vast majority really had the makings of great coaches in them.

      Same goes for the “beer league” gang. When the majority of those guys aren’t out there fooling around, they also serve as coaches on some kid squad. Not just your typical dads and volunteers. I’m talking really good coaches.

      On a side note, I feel deeply for that guy, Chris Davis, who just set a dubious record for at-bats in the bigs. Sheesh! What a cold streak. Thing is, though, I’ll bet that fella really excels at other stuff that few will ever know about. Hey, at least he made it to the bigs, and the odds against the typical kid of getting that far are astronomical.

      So, to the list of fishermen, bikers, cowboys and other “roughnecks,” I’m adding beer league sluggers.

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        1. Hmm. I thought that finer point you made in parentheses was obvious in my sharing, but I confess that I don’t have the skill set to write thoroughly researched, cogent, front page stuff. Thus, I accept the Editor’s distinction that I was merely making a “nomination.” Doug and I will be in section E, page 16, cracking peanut shells, whooping it up, and cheering whoever takes the field.

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          1. I just went to my first ever rodeo recently in CA with my daughter and grand kids. Funny, I just started tearing up at the beginning. National anthem, prayers and good ole fashion wholesome Americana fun. Guys compete in the rough stuff like bull riding and wild horse riding while gals compete in a little more tame events like calf roping and goat tying, but none the less exciting. The rodeo was a regional high school competition. These guys and gals were good at what they do. It is at a fair ground in Plymouth and is within walking distance of my daughter’s house. We had barbeque pulled pork sandwiches for lunch. My daughter is also friends of a couple who own a ranch with horses. He works as an equine dentist and she is a stay at home mom with 4 kids. The sponsor of the rodeo is her Dad. On a different trip, I participated in a bible study with my daughter, son in law and this other couple. I think I tasted Mayberry that day at the rodeo. It felt like a taste of what life will be at the triumph of the immaculate heart. I think I was in section E, seat 16 at the rodeo. I could easily see MP there cracking nuts and whooping it up.

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            1. And I can easily see you, Doug, right beside MP along with a lotta ASOH nuts cracking nuts. We don’t have to wait for Mayberry to appear. We’re makin’ Mayberry days right here and now.

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            2. You bet, DP, although I typically shift gears from peanut crackin’ to beef jerkey when attending the rodeo. Prescott, one of the country’s most western towns hosts the world’s oldest rodeo, first held July 4, 1888. I can think of few places that have a better assemblage of down-to-earth, God loving patriots than that. The apple pie is also worthy of a cowboy poet’s best chords and verse. My daughter likes to hang by the calf chute because she feels sorry for them… always trying to soothe the ones that look frightened, and offer a little pep talk to the bolder ones. Once she dropped her hat down in one of the runways and wanted me to fetch it. However “cute” they looked to her, the average roping calf weighs around 250 lbs. and the runway was loaded with them. “Hm,” says I, “how about I just get you a new hat.” I love critters too, but prudence dictates there’s just some places a fella shouldn’t go.

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              1. Can’t wait out there next year and see it again. Grand kids are a gettin older by the minute and don’t want to miss out.


        2. Please consider accepting the scotch league sluggers too. After all, scotch imbibers are people too. Thank you in advance for your consideration in this most important matter.

          BD’s alcohol consumption caveat:
          *** In general, research shows that excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the body and does not have any benefit. BD’s request for the admittance of the scotch league sluggers should in no way be construed as his endorsement of any activities that would include the excessive consumption of any type of alcoholic beverage or consumption of alcoholic products in any amount by minors. *** 🙂

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          1. Ha, BD, I am not much of a drinker at all (give me a six-pack and it will last me two and a half years). My son, however, does love high end single malt scotches. So I have to accept your nomination – lest I offend my noble son.

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      1. What you say here rings true MP…and brings back some memories. My brother Don played MLB for 16 years as a catcher. I believe he chose that position because he was such a student of the game – he needed to be engaged and involved with every pitch. He had ups and downs and what didn’t stop him made him stronger. I watched via satellite as he took a Dennis Oil Can Boyd 95 mile an hour fastball to the face. That was rough. He relied on God. He started Bible studies on every team he played for. Coaching was always in his sights. He was the hitting coach for the Tigers when they went from last place to first. Now he coaches whenever he can and loves it. I brought my kids teams to him and he sounds like a Baptist preacher when teaching on the mechanics of the swing! I’m grateful to God that my brother found his work and inspires so many to have that love of the game like your son. Many life lessons can come from baseball. That first time Don took the plate after the fast ball he was wearing a special face guard. He was scared, a little embarrassed but mostly scared. He told God he trusted Him. Right here is where I wish I could say he got on base with an RBI but I have no actual recollection what happened…I just know my prayers were answered and that image brought healing to all who love him and in our family it is an example of trusting God.

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        1. If your brother is who I think he is, Sluggo was playing for the Texas Rangers at the time of that incident. He was with a good chunk of different teams, but the longest with the Pirates. Hit for good average and some pop. I thought his moustache was cool…truth is, not many men can really pull off a good stand-alone moustache other than Tom Selleck. If that is your brother, tell him he is remembered fondly and I hope he is doing well.

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            1. Ahh, the good old days of the baseball mustache. I remember that fella. Right up there with “Kong” Kingman, but Rollie Fingers was in a class by himself. My son cut his teeth behind the plate, eventually moving on to third and the mound. I love all parts of the game, but there’s maybe nothing better than seeing a catcher pop up for a perfect throw down at second.

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            2. I seem to remember that late in his career he shaved it off…and didn’t look near as cool any more. Ah well, cool is for young guys anyway. Glad to hear he is doing well – and I love the odd connections that pop up here. One of my dearest friends is the grandson of “Showboat Fisher” of the old St. Louis Gashouse Gang.

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                1. A little Dougout humor, eh?! Nothing wrong with softball. Good trainers rehabbing a pitcher’s arm will often use softballs, even volleyballs, footballs, rags… all sorts of stuff. I’ve seen some women’s softball leagues and senior men’s league championships in the past and those folks were playing such an intense game I didn’t even miss baseball at the time. Pass the peanuts, please.

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                    1. My Dear Beckita… Biscuits… B, just keepin’ it simple at the ballpark. Peanuts as an appetizer (or projectile if necessary). For sure a Chicago style jumbo dog with the works (mustard, but NO catsup) for the main course, followed by a second… and a third… maybe even some nachos for local flavor if the Cubs are in town. Ice cream and pie on Sunday evenings, but only after a long, long walk. A generous dollop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream in an icy root beer, as a change up in the summer months.

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                    2. I am so glad you are NOT one of those heathenish types who puts ketchup on a hot dog. Tip for any who are visiting the Chicago area: if you ask for ketchup on your hot dog, they know you are either a foreigner or an heretic. Also barbarian…pineapple on a pizza (though we don’t mind when you put pineapple on a pizza made outside of Chicago, New York or New Jersey – as those cheesy breads aren’t pizza anyway).

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                    3. Uh oh! I put ketchup on my dog in Chicago. Guess I am a foreigner and heathen. Man. I worked so hard to be a good Catholic. Back to confession…. even worse, I may have to move from row E to row F now….

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                    4. Yup. There was this great hot dog place on Half Day rd. It was not far from Mundelein. I loved the dogs. I would put sour krout, hot banana peppers and yup, ketchup on my dogs. Great place for a good quick lunch. I am disappointed now because the place is gone. Sigh…. It will never be the same.

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                    5. I’m pretty sure I knew the place you were talking about, Doug. When I was young, I was the manager of the Holiday Inn of Mundelein, now the Crowne Plaza. Half Day Rd. was so named because, before cars, it was a half day’s journey to downtown Chicago from that road.

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                    6. I know the Holiday Inn you are talking about. I stayed there a number of times. The company I joined was head quartered on Armour Blvd. almost right off route 60. As it grew, it moved to Butterfield and then to Just off Half Day rd. in Buffalo Grove as it grew some more. I had many trips out there over the last 20 years. The thing that always astounded me was how dark and rich the soil is out there. I always thought of starting a business to truck granite out there from NH and bring back truck loads of soil to MY. It’s kinda been a second home for me out there.

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                    7. I was detailed to the FLETC in Southern Georgia and a local Brunswick hero (USAF) introduced me to the Slaw Dog. Cruncy, sweet coleslaw on a hot dog (no-ny peppar). Delicious! It is still a wonder it has not caught on in the northeast.

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                    8. I like an occasional Slaw Dog. I have relatives in Georgia. While we of the Chicago diaspora do not consider it native cuisine, it IS a welcome exotic and savory variation. By the way, I am quite fond of Brunswick Stew – another South Georgia staple that I have never found in any other region.

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                    9. I tried to make a Brunswick Stew…
                      I’ll stick to Shrmp n Grits.
                      {Coastal Georgia Shrimp that is… no Iodine taste like East-Asia shrimp.}

                      I have fond memories of my families visit during Thanksgiving Week. We took a ‘Shrimp boat’ cruise and had a great, educational experience. I learned the proper way to skin a shrimp… rip the head off, peel back the upper skin and push ‘shuck’ the meat out. Repeat…until about three dozen are on the plate then dig in. The Captain said that way you don’t get your fingers messy with the cocktail sauce.

                      Fortunately since we were on a Shrimp Boat. The catch was FRESH, PLENTIFUL with second n third plate refills allowed. An awesome experience and memory. A few days later we had a ‘smoked’ Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner. Exceptional.

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                    10. I’m sorry but a hot dog with no ketchup (or avocado for that matter) is no longer a dog by any name. I think we may need a synod on this.

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                    11. I believe you are confusing a special dispensation given to the Chicago disporia during the Council of Trent when the “Solum condimentum rubrum” heresey was ended.

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                  1. Will pass them, but will have a hard time reaching since I think I will be banished to a few more rows back for putting Ketchup on my hot dog. Row G now.

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                    1. If we don’t nip this in the bud right now it’s going to balloon into a full blown crisis.

                      Doug, let me try to cover that catsup stain on your shirt with a little splotch of mustard. Now, put this Cubs hat on and let’s keep right on a walkin’ like nobody’s the wiser.

                      And, Andy… what in Heaven’s name do you think you’re doing with hot dog, ketchup and avocado –– all in the same sentence!? It’s pure madness.

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                    2. Andy is clearly a Jesuit and probably can’t be helped at this stage except through prayer and fasting. With a little splotch of mustard and a Cubs hat to cover Doug’s sin, I will pretend (like so many Bishops) not to notice the red stain in him.

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                    3. Ok guys….. in the vein of recent discussions here, as far as I am concerned, it settled science and doctrin. Ketchup is ok on hot dogs and I am not going to dwell on this anymore. It is time to move on from this discussion. You guys may have the last word 😎

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                    4. What does Isaiah say? Hmmm. “Come let us reason together. Though your sins are red as ketchup, they will become whit is snow”.

                      Speaking of snow, I’m sitting on my front porch watching the last bit of snow in the front yard melt. The birds and squirrels are out eating the drops of bird seed I left on the front walk way. The squirrels are a bit apprehensive, but maybe with some patience from Phillips turtle raising, I can make closer friends with the little critters. When God waits for his lost kids to come around, it must be like raising turtles. Good thing he is patient with us.

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      2. Chris Davis’ cold streak has ended! Thank you God! Could it be an answered prayer by our own MP?!? I love the image of him on first base smiling and requesting to keep that baseball!

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        1. MMom3, I’m attributing it to the intercession of St. Rita, and no doubt prayers were offered from many folks. As with all things baseball, there is a lesson here as well that calls for wisdom. Not only did he snap the cold streak with a 2 RBI single in the top of the first, he followed that up with a double on a line drive to right with an RBI in the third, and a mishandled fly ball double to left in the eighth with an exit velocity over 100 miles an hour. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a flash of lightening somewhere and distant peals of thunder to punctuate it.

          Maybe best of all, his dugout was going nuts, and even the crowd at the Green Monster erupted in applause with that first hit, though it put them down by 2.

          I’m a diehard Cubs fan, of the Chicago diaspora (gosh that made me laugh, CJ), but there’s always the larger love of baseball. That said, I think the words of the great Leo Durocher sadly still ring true. “Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”

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  12. The part of this post which spoke the loudest to me, Charlie – was the following:

    “If you have a point that you want to advocate and have done some studying up on it, if you do not know (with some depth and intimacy) the opposing interpretations, you are not an analyst, but merely a partisan. If you do not know the larger context in which it is placed and cannot account for similar historical events that do not fit neatly into your worldview, you may have some tactical sense but you are strategically at sea.
    I don’t want to discourage anyone – and I do not want to miss the often profound insights that even dabblers have. But if you are going to present yourself as a genuine expert, your expertise is going to be tested more aggressively here than it has been.”

    This brought to mind the situation encountered so often today, the stand-up experts who try to attack either John Paul I/Karol WojtylaI, or Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratinger, or both with wild charges against their theology – particularly their dogmatic theology.

    For a fact, virtually all of the people I’ve read who attempt this, are pure wanna-be’s, pretenders to being great theological minds. In further fact, they paint themselves as simplistic theological simpletons with their amateurish attempts at real balanced theology.

    But you cannot reason with them, because they view themselves as real experts, yet are for the most part rank amateurs or even beginners. In a couple of cases I’m aware of they had some degrees – but “no talent”. [For anyone unaware of this – that kind of occurrence is not unusual.

    Those kinds of pretensions are very trying to my Christian Charity – and only deep prayer can get me to love such pretenders – as Our Lord demands/commands that I do.

    Thanks for the post,


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    1. That’s why we have you and Charlie here Desmond. We can get these false presumptions we make beat out of us so that we can hold a minor candle in a discussion outside this forum. We are being trained by you guys. Formerly being a high level manager and working for a CEO and VP, I am used to getting beat up if I did not present accurate data or information of which is in a highly technical field. I have often walked away with my tale between my legs, but have come to appreciate the hardness of this because it has formed me to operate at a very high level within the industry I work in.

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        1. Even in my field, I welcome a good challenge from both less and more experienced colleagues. It keeps me fine tuned and fresh as well as it may trigger different insights or different ways to solve a problem. Being a beer league theologian, I enjoy watching the masters at work.

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    2. Hello, Desmond. I was wondering if you would comment on St. Ambrose’s statement, “Where Peter is, there is the Church”. To be clear, I am no expert on anything. I’ve read that St. Ambrose was admired by St. Augustine and was important in upholding Catholicism when Arianism took hold of the hierarchy in the 300’s.

      Perhaps his observation should only be applied to his own time and the goings on then. However, I intuit that he intended it to be applied across time and perhaps even on both the visible and invisible levels. Again, I am no expert so please correct me if my intuition is wrong. I understand that it is important to ask the right questions and mayhaps my questions will be wrong, but I was wondering just how significant is the Papal Office (the man who occupies it aside) in regards to what and who the Church is? Perhaps the first question to ask is what do you understand St. Ambrose to mean when he said in his Commentaries on Twelve of David’s Psalms, “Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal”? (I am no expert and I don’t pretend to be. I was looking for the full context of the quotation and saw from where it came. I noted the reference in hopes that it might be helpful in your answer.)

      Thank you. I remain resting in Their Hearts.

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      1. My wife and I just got back from a trip to the exact opposite end of metro Denver. We must be at an Archdiocesan function by 7:00. That will be a 50 minute drive that time of day. What is left of the this afternoon and after we get home tonight I must finish corrections of two theses for two seminarians. So. as you may have guessed by now, won’t happen tonight.

        But the good news is, it is 80 degrees F outside. The bad news is that we have a winter storm warning out for tomorrow – predicting 5″ of fresh snow – with [depending upon which weather forecast you favor’ 40 to 60 mph winds.

        [I haven’t told them yet, but I’m not driving into work tomorrow – cuz’- if I do I’ll be stuck there till at least 4 p.m. By then the freeways and side streets well could be impassable. I drive a 4runner, so that wouldn’t bother me if I was all alone on the road. A 4runner can get through almost any snow. But the other green horn ‘snow drivers’ (California’s ongoing gift to us]) will most probably be crashing and jamming all the streets – and then I might not be able to get home either through or around them.]

        So I will put together and complete my reply to you some time tomorrow. Your questions deserve and do not allow opportunity for anything but a somewhat sophisticated answer.

        All my love in Christ


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        1. Be safe out there, Desmond. You too, Charlie. Sounds like you’re on the edge of this weather forecast:

          While beautiful spring temperatures have settled into the Plains and Midwest, don’t get used to it. There’s a storm on the way that’s going to remind Midwesterners that winter isn’t over until it’s over.

          The potential is there for a “bomb cyclone” to impact the Plains this week. That’s an area of low pressure that drops 24 millibars in 24 hours — aka a potent, rapidly intensifying storm system.

          This would be the second time in less than a month a storm of this magnitude has developed in the Plains. It’s rare enough to have one form inland, much less, two.

          Typically we see “bomb cyclones” form off the US East Coast in the form of nor’easters.

          Right now the forecast models have the storm teetering on the edge of bomb cyclone criteria. Either way, this storm is forecast to unleash a variety of wild weather this week.

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          1. Yep Beckita. ….the latest snow storm is due to hit us here in far Northern Wisconsin late Wed. night and all day Thursday. Our snow piles have now shrunk to only half as high as the buildings…so I’m sure we have room for a little more! Unless of course it wants to blow itself out before it gets to us! I hope I hope I hope. 😦

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              1. Yes, we set new records for snowfall here this winter. When people come up from the Southern part of our state…they can’t believe all the snow still around. That’s why we’re going to the South part for Easter! 🙂

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      2. ‘Islam’ & Everyone, I am not driving the 21 miles to the semonary today, as the blizzard is hitting at noon. So, while I still have one more Paper to critique for a seminarian, and some lesson plans to do, I will have time today to deal with Islam’s question.

        PLEASE – let us begin here reading today’s Crisis Magazine Article at the link I provide below. [Trust me it is quite apropos to my upcoming response some time later today.

        It is primarily about 3 Episcopal heroes of our time, Bishops Chaput, Sarah, and Schneider. It is also about heroes throughout Church History who had to deal directly with times of grave crisis in the Church. I will be referring to multiple places in this article in my response to ‘Islam’.

        One of the heroes I will discussing is St. Ambrose and his role in describing and defending both the honor and place in the Church of the See of Rome, and the occupant Bishop of that See.

        Here is the link:

        All my love in Christ


        Liked by 4 people

        1. Thank you, Desmond. I am relieved that you will be safe at home. We already have the snow in Cheyenne that will be heading your way.

          I’ve begun to read the Crisis Magazine article that you suggested. At the same time I just came upon an article by Br. Bugnolo from December 2018 of which I was unaware. In it he gives an explication of Canons 332.2 and 17 and how Cdl Sodano may have made a mistake in calling the conclave. Perhaps more importantly he links to articles by Juan Suarez Falco and Fr. Stefan Violi. From its title, The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Between History, Law and Conscience, it appears that Fr. Violi’s article might discuss some of what you will touch on, history-wise that is. I will read that article, too. It can be found here if you think it would be pertinent:


          1. ‘Islam’ – Canon Law is NOT part of the questions you asked me. PROBLEM: If someone intellectually bounces, or IS bounced around from pillar to post, no fruitful discussion is possible therein. No permanently fruitful discoveries or results develop.

            I shall quote an old mentor of mine from ‘yesteryear’ (from a long long time ago). When asked once how he had been able to accomplish so much in one lifetime, he responded,,

            “I grew up on a farm. Once I suggested to my father that we take a break from one work project in order to work on another – with the suggestion that going back and forth could make the work more fun. The response was, ‘That may be so, but you’ll never get bacon that way.’ When asked why? what do you mean?, he said, ‘To get bacon, you run one pig down one chute, kill him, butcher him, and that’s how you get bacon.”

            I’ve found over the decades that principle works equally well – off the farm. 🙂

            All my love in Christ


            Liked by 1 person

            1. There you are, Desmond. Questions are important. I apologize. Not only being intense but I have a tendency to connect and thus confuse things–in this case Canon Law, St. Ambrose, and “where’s Peter”. They may not even be connected. You are correct, I didn’t ask about Canon law. I apologize. Please stick to my previous question.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. No problem – as long as we stay on track. 😉 There is a posting coming – which Charlie is formatting for me to meet WordPress requirements – or something like that. That piece will set the stage for what I have to say particularly about Ambrose.

                All my love in Christ


                Liked by 1 person

                1. Desmond (this is off topic), in your opinion is Fr. Stefano Violi an expert in theology? His article (that is also off topic) says he’s from the Theological Faculty of Romagna–Faculty of Theology (Lugano). Also, besides long hours of study and being widely read on all aspects of a subject as well as issues surrounding the subject matter and perhaps even teaching and/or publishing, what qualifies one as an expert/scholar in your area(s)? You made the observation that a degree or even several degrees does not an expert make, which is probably more true today than ever before; so what, in your experience are the aspects and characteristics that qualify one as an expert? Sean (I guess) and I would like to know–if you have time and desire to give an answer.


                  1. Since it is ‘deliberately’ off topic, I will not be answering it. There are too many people here wishing for someone to show sufficient intellectual discipline to stay on topic. As a matter of fact they have expressed this wish quite vocally of late.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Very well, thank you for your discipline and civility. Also, thank you for explicating on St. Ambrose and his observation of “Where Peter is, there is the Church”. God bless you and yours as we take the next right step. I hope the snow lets up for you. We seem to be done for now in Cheyenne.


        2. Great article Desmond. A few things come to mind. First, in college, I studied the laws of physics. Science has shown that over and over, if one jumps off a 1000 foot cliff, one will splat at the bottom and die 100% of the time. Basically, the laws of physics are well understood and don’t change. Now, I can have a really bad physics teacher who yells and belittles me and the class. He could be a real turkey or jerk. I might hate physics because of him, but the truth of the matter is this does not change the laws of physics. I think similar holds true for the Church and her leaders. We can have a bad actor, but that does not change God’s truths.

          The second and this shows great love, courage and loyalty without compromising truth and that is the relationship of David and Saul in the old Testament. Saul violated God’s command by seeing the fortune teller and participating in necromancy and was obsessed by an evil spirit. Saul even tried to murder David several times. Yet, in spite of all this, David remained a loyal servant of Saul as the King officially chosen by God. I think this old Testament account is a beautiful example to set the stage on how we, the laity, should aspire to remain faithful to the Church in spite of bad actors or any particular crisis. I endeaver to pray for our beloved Church and its leaders that they be guided by the Holy Spirit.
          I pray for my and their cinversions! Blessings to you!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I tried to ‘like’ your comment, but it wouldn’t give me that choice – again. I think that is a wonderful analogy. I once upon whether David drove the stake in the ground BESIDE Saul [in stead of into him]. But that is a waste of time. The outcome was clearly, David knew 2 things about King Saul, 1) Saul was a miserable jealous wretch – as a man and also a king, 2) He was also God’s Anointed One – so he dare not harm him.

            Fini. End of Discussion [for those who truly love God.] You pray for the Church and her leaders. I even pray for Cupich. God wants him to be with Him in heaven forever. If I don’t, or won’t even love and pray for him – who else will? George???

            Great Comment

            All my love in Christ


            Liked by 2 people

      1. A great way of thinking about “cheap grace” Linda is to ponder a quote from the German Lutheran theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

        Then think of Charlie’s opening paragraph wherein he says: Mine is an ordinary way: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to those around you. It is not a way developed casually through some focus group. It is the result of a process of boiling down what is critical and yet accessible to all over the course of a lifetime of serious work, including no little amount of trial and error.

        And I know you love to reread Charlie’s writing, so as you do, think about the cost of becoming the kind of disciple Charlie has become (and which many of us have spent a lifetime of striving to become, given our individual life circumstances and God’s will for each of us). Think of the hard work, the perseverance, the steadfastness that this kind of life demands. To develop in one area of interest, CJ describes this: My focus has been on history and geo-politics, generally speaking. If you have read a book on a particular major historical figure, I like to encourage you. Most who have done serious study will go to some pains to keep from discouraging you. But while you have gotten the joy of discovery from that book, I have probably read seven to 10 on the same figure, from different perspectives. I have also read a multitude of books on his contemporaries – and the context of the local and global milieus in which he operated. That is not vanity, but simply the discipline that scholarly work entails. Nothing cheap in the cost of developing erudition.

        CJ said: “You ALWAYS have to pay the price for genuine expertise, regardless of raw talent. Second, these are deadly serious times – and there is no time for indulging self-actualizing aspirations.”

        Hope that helps, Linda. God bless you.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you so much Beckita. I think I understand it a little bit better now. I think Charlie is maybe saying our faith must be real? That we must live out the faith vicariously through the teachings of the church and not our own made up version of church?

          Charlies’s first paragraph is the gospel, as someone noted. Living out the beatitudes, the seeing God’s child in each person you meet. Humility humility humility

          And then, yes, as you said: “Think of the hard work, the perseverance, the steadfastness that this kind of life demands” This is so true…it demand much of the will to frequent the Sacraments with perseverance, humility & consitancy.

          CJ said: “You ALWAYS have to pay the price for genuine expertise, regardless of raw talent. Second, these are deadly serious times – and there is no time for indulging self-actualizing aspirations.”

          I don’t know if I’m wrong on this quote from Charlie above, but I THINK it means focus on Christ and His people in helping Christ to save souls forget about ourselves…do the Father’s will?
          I think that’s what it all means with your added help Beckita. Some times, Charlie is waaaaay above my head in intellectual matters. Lol… but he’s a scholar…I clean toilets…hahaahaha. Its been said though. ..that i can clean a mean toilette… btw…clean to dirty everyone 😆But Thank you so much, I think I understand now…God bless you are awesome ..TNRS ASOH 🤗😇😘 xoxox

          Liked by 2 people

          1. You’ve made a fine connection, Linda. The beauty of a clean home doesn’t happen by magic. No cheap grace there either… persistent, hard work makes it happen.

            Love your expansion of these ideas to include forgetting about self to focus on God and His people. SO many people became a saint by remaining faithful to the most ordinary of tasks and working hard at it. With the Divine Mercy Feast Day coming up, I think of St. Faustina in this regard.

            Laughing at the mean toilet reference. I tell Fr. Wang, who faithfully, takes out the trash to the garbage can that it’s one of his specialties because he gets rid of garbage at home and in the confessional. 😇

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            1. Beckita you are so wonderful and I always smile at your writings to me with great joy. Thank you for helping me understand spiritual things🤗😇😘 We think today is the day Our Lord will come for my mom in law, Mary…she blew up so we had to stop iv…her kidney is 15% her lungs are full of water to no avail of antibiotics or diuretics..bp & O2 going down…if you could pray for her and us all…it’s been a very very long 3 1/2 weeks😢😢😢 TNRS ASOH xoxoxoxoxoxo

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              1. Awww Linda. Joining my prayers with all who have been praying. May your mom-in-law have a peaceful passing. How blessed she is to be surrounded by the love you all have for her. Praying, too, for you and all your family.

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                  1. Praying for the repose of her beautiful soul, Linda, and praying for all of you with grieving hearts. May your mom-in-law intercede for us.

                    There will be no more darkness
                    There is no more night, no more night
                    There will be no more sadness
                    Only joy and light, joy and light
                    Lift your eyes beyond the hills
                    And see the dawn
                    There is beautiful mercy
                    In the arms of the holy one

                    Go in peace, God be with you
                    Go in peace, be at rest
                    With the saints and the angels
                    Now you are free
                    Go in peace

                    See the Father is waiting
                    With a robe of white, purest white
                    Go and feast at his table
                    With the bread of life, bread of life
                    Lift your heart, rejoice and sing
                    For you are home
                    Home at last and forever
                    In the arms of the holy one

                    Go in peace, God be with you
                    Go in peace, be at rest
                    With the saints and the angels
                    Now you are free
                    Go in peace

                    Go in peace, God be with you
                    Go in peace, be at rest
                    With the saints and the angels
                    Now you are free
                    Now you are free

                    Go in peace
                    Go in peace

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Thank you Charlie373 That means so much to me coming from you. She went straight up, I’m sure but our hearts are sorrowful even unto death…thank you again dear friend of God.😇 xoxo TNRS ASOH

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  13. Thanks again, Charlie.
    You covered several things I have been mulling over. In the past, when there were multiple claimants to the chair of Peter, there were saints supporting opposite sides. When I saw the white smoke from the conclave, a sense of God’s Mercy overwhelmed me – since it seemed a spirit of disorder was hovering over the Church. Of course it still does, but God is true to His Word. Your earlier commentary on ABG (how missives in ArchAtl refer to him) heartened me a great deal and I look forward to seeing God work through him.
    The larger world events are also mostly out of my control – all I can offer is a sincere desire to serve God as He permits, through prayer, through service – in love.
    Ironically, the “birther” thing had plagued me – but came to the exact same conclusion. It was like hoping a divine intervention would spare us – rather than the work of convincing people to choose leaders who affirmed life.
    After my NDE, life here isn’t always fun, but there are three times my heart is utterly at peace: during Mass – especially at the consecration; during adoration; when praying for the dead (the living is still a big hurdle – maybe because the dead are no longer under any illusions). We Catholics have access to so many graces, it is a grief that so few seem to appreciate them. Nothing about the current controversies precludes my reception of the sacraments and my participation in the life of prayer.
    In general, there is a thought that the world is improving as the things like slavery are diminishing and war as a way of life less so, but it seems like the enemy is trying to take his violence behind closed doors – much as the death camps of the Nazis. Abortion is horrific; pornography rampant and addiction a plague. All these are not so visible as actual warfare, but they are devastating.
    I think we are being tempted to hatred constantly – for all the wrong reasons (“Hate sin, love the sinner” isn’t what we see).
    First, the culture of death asserts that my life is better if you… (a) don’t exist, (b) make me feel good about what I do or (c) do what I want. It does not examine its own life.
    Second, it pretends that pleasure is a good that has no victim even when it is abused.
    Third, it denies that I have a role to fulfill for the other souls. When I take myself out of the game, I am depriving them of what God would offer them.
    Even though during my life review, I was shown the opportunities God lost when I refused to be His person, I did not feel they were lost forever – in His infinite wisdom He already provided for the remedies that were needed. His plans cannot be defeated.
    I can choose to be on God’s side, or choose defeat. Sounds like acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us!
    Again, thanks.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Good to hear from you Deacon Victor. For those who don’t know, Deacon Victor had an amazing near death experience some time back…and he was host to me during one of my Atlanta visits. Ha, he took me to one of the best Cajun Restaurants ever – in suburban Atlanta. (The owner and chef was originally from New Orleans).

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Deacon Taylor, if you and Charlie both believe it would be useful/good, I would like to request you consider publishing a guest Post at this web site to tell us the story or at least the highlights and lessons learned of your NDE. I’ve not had one (fortunately unfortunately!), but I have read many. They’ve been quite helpful to me. Perhaps yours might help the rest of us. However, I will leave it up to Charlie and you to decide. Or perhaps you have already published the story online and could give us the link.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 6 people

  14. Charlie, you say

    …If you have a point that you want to advocate and have done some studying up on it, if you do not know (with some depth and intimacy) the opposing interpretations, you are not an analyst, but merely a partisan. If you do not know the larger context in which it is placed and cannot account for similar historical events that do not fit neatly into your worldview, you may have some tactical sense but you are strategically at sea.
    I don’t want to discourage anyone – and I do not want to miss the often profound insights that even dabblers have. But if you are going to present yourself as a genuine expert, your expertise is going to be tested more aggressively here than it has been. That you do not want to discourage anyone is a noble exception when compared with many blog owners and blog sites. As I’ve said before, I greatly appreciate this noteworthy characteristic of you, your blog, and this community.

    In light of your constructive observations that I quoted, I have a question for you. But first an introduction to the question: Both times that I have presented the BiP topic, once at TNRS and recently at ASOH, I have admitted that I am a messenger–a partisan even–and not an expert. Thus, in presenting the message I have given links or offered resources from those who are the experts–those who have studied the larger context and can and have accounted for similar historical events that may not fit into my own partisan worldview. In my most recent attempt to present the possible case for BiP, those experts included Bp. Gracida, Prof. Radaelli, and Br. Bugnolo. You might recall that your response to the first Priest expert I tried to acquaint you with in November was to lump him in with conspiracy nuts who frequently email you. At that time I was unaware of any other experts working on BiP. That Bp. Gracida has recently lent his voice to the widening request for examining the juridical validity of Pope Benedict’s resignation seems to have given you pause for thought and for this I am grateful primarily because I am no expert.

    Now my question: What is a more constructive way for a dabbling partisan–a messenger (who admittedly is not an expert)–to present the case for a potentially discordant view/thesis? Besides stating flat out that he is no expert and then presenting sources that come from experts, what other constructive avenues would be more harmonious in such a presentation?

    Since I am an expert in nothing and I have never pretended to be one, I would like to do a better job in the future at presenting messages for which I am merely a partisan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fair question, Islam. It is not just about a particular issue, but about the focus of a particular publication as well. The focus here is what we can do to build each other up and act to renew the culture. We do discuss, sometimes at length, particular problems, along with noting some possible solutions we think have potential. To note this movement – and that it has some credible supporters, would have been perfectly reasonable. Your insistence on it, though, sought to change the very focus and purpose of this site (though I now do not think that is what you intended). Your insistent advocacy would have been perfectly suited to much of what they do at “Church Militant.”“Church Militant.”“Church Militant.” Though I frequently disagree with their approach and am not always confident in all aspects of their research, they do some good work over there – and that sort of thing is their focus.

      When one talks of trying to “hijack” a site, that is what it means – not just to present an argument, but to attempt to change the focus of the publication itself. We have had more than a few commenters here who have expressed complete support for Pope Francis – and more than that, people who have expressed serious concern with him. All that is fine and within the bounds of discourse. WE have had one commenter who was determined to force all of us to hail Pope Francis as entirely true and holy in everything he does. That, too, was an effort to hijack this site. Our purpose here is what we can do to uphold each other through the Storm that is upon us and endure and evangelize others en route to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

      There are a few Bishops in America for whom I have deep contempt because I think they have made themselves enemies of the faith. Even so, I am not going to join a crusade to oust them, because that is not mine – or this site’s – focus. It is to help people live their faith well and with joyful vigor whatever their circumstance may be. So to note and acknowledge these various movements within the Church, either negatively or positively, is part and parcel of the discussion here. But rarely will we change the focus to join them vigorously even when entirely in agreement. The few that we do emphasize are those that help build up our own strength to live holiness by the act of doing. Thus, I have been very supportive of the late Anthony Mullen’s advocacy for the Flame of Love movement and for Dan Lynch’s various ministriesDan Lynch’s various ministriesDan Lynch’s various ministries, most particularly his efforts to get the statue of Our Lady of America enshrined at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

      Obviously, I have deep respect for Bishop Gracida and much regard for Michael Voris who founded and runs Church Militant. But their focus is not mine. So while we note and acknowledge all these things – and discuss them…to go on a crusade to convert people here to their priorities is an effort to make this site something other than it is. The focus, in collaboration with my team, is my decision to make. So it become as offensive for anyone to try to make me adopt their priorities instead of my own and impose them on this site as it would be to try to make a recipe site into an advocacy site for veganism.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Thank you for your considerate explanation, Charlie. I truly thought I was revealing a message of hope in presenting BiP here at ASOH. I had no idea that you and Bishop Gracida have deeply discussed these issues. It gives me relief to know that you have. In no way did I intend to hijack your site. In the future I will tone down my intensity on messages that I find hope-filled.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. Hear Hear, Charlie and Islam.

            I have to say, Islam, the ways you have dialogued with Charlie and Desmond have been amazing. You HAVE hung in there, humbly expressing with candor while remaining open to new perspectives and challenges to your existing knowledge base and thinking. You are a primo example of how to engage in serious discussion on topics for which you hold strong beliefs and those of us who have followed along have benefited from gaining new understandings and/or having reaffirmed what we were once taught or self-taught.

            We all do come to the ASOH Table of Sharing and Discussion with our own schema about so many things. Schema, as addressed and honored by reading instructors who are honing comprehension skills with readers, refers to the life experiences, knowledge and understanding about concepts, whatever the topic may be. Whatever sources we read and whatever company we hang out with to discuss what’s happening around us, in the temporal world and in the Church, highly impact our schema about these things. To develop flexibility in thinking and to be open to a positive, corrective challenge to our current beliefs… a challenge based on new information and deeper understanding will be a boon to rebuilding the culture in our world and in our Church. And it’s happening right here at ASOH.

            Blessed be God in this family of faith!

            Liked by 3 people

        1. BTW: It is ironic that you would suggest Church Militant as a potential advocacy publication for BiP. You see in a private email exchange with the moderators at that noble site, in which I suggested that it would be beneficial to review the evidence for BiP whether they would publish anything or not, I was permanently banned from commenting–even when I promised to never ‘BiP’ in the comments section again. This is why I am truly grateful that you even allowed a go-round about BiP. Thank you again.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Really?! That surprises me. I thought that was something they were considering. Ah well…live and learn. I’m sorry to hear that. I work to keep us focused here, but we don’t ban anyone for just bringing up a touchy subject – even if it is one I vigorously disagree with.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, I’ve always thought of you as a Pip of a fellow, Doug. Maybe I just meant Bip of a fellow. (Heard an Englishman say that in a movie to someone when I was a kid and didn’t know whether it was an insult or compliment until I saw the recipient’s satisfied smile.)

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Hi, Doug. BiP is an acronym for Benedict is Pope. I believe it was coined by Mr. Steve O’Reilly at the Roma Locuta Est blogsite. Those who support the examination of the juridical validity of Benedict’s resignation are sometimes called BiPpers.


              1. Bippers. Hmmm. I am not a bipper. Although, when I was 4, I used to play with blippo. Does anyone remember Blipppo? This was my favorite toy.

                Anyway, I did read a good response from a friend who knows a cannon lawyer who said that even if the enclave was completely corrupt, the post election would correct itself. I guess that means that even though there were bad actors, it is still valid. Same holds true for the former president. If it was found that he was not a natural born citizen, would that make all the laws he signed null and void? As Charlie schooled me on this one, it would not be the case. Anyway, I think this is an opportunity to trust the Holy Spirit to accomplish his will. After all, Moses mad bricks without straw. Blessings!

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Thank you, Doug. I’m suspect the surmising of your canon lawyer friend may hold true about the conclave, but it may not have been necessary. You see BiP isn’t about the conclave. BiP is about the starting point before the conclave with the words of the Feb 11, 2013 resignation announcement. The precise Latin of Pope Benedict’s Non solum propter in light of Canons 332.2, 126, and 17 is what BiPpers would like examined. As Charlie and I have noted, whatever the examination reveals there is no quick fix and to continue to take the steps to become a holy sign of hope is my vocation whatever my state in life.

                  I don’t think I ever played Blippo but I really liked Bash and Operation.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Bash was the plastic stack of yellow and red 1/2 inch flat squares and circles with a man’s shoes on the bottom and poor bumpy head on the top. The goal was to take turns “bashing” the circles and squares out with a plastic hammer without knocking down the whole tower so that only the head and shoes remained. I think the winner was whoever had the most squares and circles.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  1. I am almost entirely in agreement with Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the matter. I only say almost because there may be some area of disagreement I haven’t gleaned in contemplation yet, but I sure can’t see a sliver of daylight between us. Besides thinking that objectively speaking, these arguments are not near as dispositive as their advocates think they are, I also agree with Bishop Schneider that this sort of thinking would unleash unconsidered new controversies and divisions to the Church – perhaps as destructive as the division in the faith unleashed by the Reformation. Bishop Schneider, as you may know, is completely devoted to orthodoxy and one of the most prominent critics of this Papacy – but he looks with horror at these sorts of efforts to resolve the problems of our particular time with something that will damage the ancient structure of the Church. I heartily concur.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Thank you, Charlie. I wasn’t aware that Bp Schneider had thrown his zuchetto into the BiP-ring. Lol I look forward to reading what he has to say regarding BiP as it applies to the resignation announcement. Thank you for the link.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Oh, for sure, I am aware of the interview at the link that you gave and with the incredible heroic defender of the Faith that Bp Schneider is. In fact I follow his blog and am enheartened by his catechism classes/videos. They put a spring in my step and a resolve in my constitution. Also, I am in TOTAL agreement with you and Bp Schneider about trying to declare a Pope heretical and then trying to depose him. As far as I can see, that disposition has no real historical precedent or theological basis. To me, the arguments in support of deposing and replacing a heretical Pope seem torturous and conclude in a dead end. Is that what dispositive means?

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                    3. The larger point, Islam, is that for this to be serious, it would have to be clear, compelling and indisputable that it was disqualifying. If only a matter of competing interpretations, the reality is it would (rightfully) be seen as an over-clever effort to rid the Church of an inconvenient Pope. Even those who advocate for it would know very well that it was NOT mounted out of love for rigorous application of procedure, but as a fig leaf over a political coup against an inconvenient Pope. Once that precedent is established, you have politicized canon law as a tool to be used as a cudgel against theological opponents. Open that Pandora’s box and you have created all sorts of new opportunities for the evil one to make mischief and attack the Church. Whenever an Orthodox Pope (as most of them are) is seated, every bad actor will be looking for technicalities and glitches to attack the legitimacy and, perhaps, bring down their enemies. I think your prescription just opens the door for a whole host of “Mueller Investigations” to distract from the key mission of the Church by dividing it into warring factions.

                      We have had about two dozen utterly unworthy Popes in the history of the Church…an amazingly small number given its 2,000-year history. I am deeply grateful that none of those times introduced corrections that would have welcomed never-ending factional war into the Church, as I am convinced this would. I am content to accept that we have, once again, a rare unfaithful Pope (in my estimation), and then to trust God to bring both the fruit He intends out of it and to ultimately rectify it. Your cure, I am convinced, would be far more dangerous than what transiently – though intensely – ails us.

                      Liked by 5 people

                    4. Elegantly insightful, Charlie. You’ve drawn us, again, to not only look at what we are living now but to widen our scope and consider our history as well as our future, placing the current challenge with this Papacy in the context of the whole. Thank you.

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                    5. Very well, Charlie. I, too, “trust God to bring both the fruit He intends out of it and to ultimately rectify it.” As all here at ASOH, I choose to be a tool in His hands as He sees fit to use me as His plans manifest. Here, I suspect, is the key difference in our perspectives.

                      Because I am not an expert, I cannot say with certainty that BiP is “only a matter of competing interpretations” which it may be. However, as a non-expert observer, I can say about the “deposing-a-heretic-pope” strategy that it does have many competing interpretations and for this reason alone ends in the boondoggle you predict.

                      You have been clear that you do not agree with BiP. Very well. My position is that unless and until experts determine whether or not BiP is “clear, compelling, and indisputable”, as a little cog in the big picture, my position on fulfilling the next right step and being a sign of hope doesn’t change–BiP or no BiP.

                      As to your observation about fracturing and dividing, you better than most know that the divisive fractures along cultural and moral lines already exists and we see this division in the world and in the Church. It is a sign of the Storm. You noted in your travels having met people who recognized these divisions as a feeling that “something’s not right”.

                      Perhaps I speak for no one else, but for myself, the torture of not being able to put my finger on that which is not right–whether I can do anything about changing it or not–is relieved by acknowledging in the first place that there is a problem and that I’m not crazy for thinking that ‘something’s not right’. It is also a blessing to have a community like ASOH that confirms that my unease is valid. This allows me to soldier on more gracefully.

                      Perhaps I misspeak and I accept your’s and other’s correction on this next point: a schism on the level of the Reformation already exists in Holy Mother Church and has overtly existed for decades. It seems to me that there will be a huge sigh of collective relief once the subjective experience of schism becomes an objective reality because experts unequivocally declare it to be so. In other words, that which is not right will be identified for all to see.

                      Does recognizing that reality change my next-right-step actions? Perhaps I am naive, but other than to kick up the intensity of ‘stepping and hoping’ I don’t see how my position does change.

                      As I said in an earlier comment, BiP or no BiP I will remain “in the boat” and encourage others to remain and even to enter Her fully, for with Peter I can only say, “Where else would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Yes, and the Reformation did so much to solve the effective schism that was rocking the Church in the early 16th Century, didn’t it. Perhaps those who insist on chopping away at the branches of the problem instead of getting to the doctrinal roots as I insist on will prove right – but I don’t think so. Do you think that if this were somehow, miraculously, to go through, all the dissidents attacking the Church from within and without would suddenly say, “Oh, I was wrong…this changes everything.”? Or do you think creating open revolt of all the factions…kind of like in the Middle East or the Balkan States would make things better?

                      I think you are having a crisis of faith because you mistakenly believed that infallibility meant the Pope was always right, always holy and always supreme – and instead of dealing with those errors and finding the authentic doctrinal teaching, you would impose open civil war and endless strife on all of us.

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                    7. Bless you for your concern about my faith, dear Charlie. No, by God’s grace it is solid and I do not mistake papal infallibility for that which it is not. Goodness, no! I am deeply moved by and I thank you for your concern.

                      Rather, if my faith was shaken it would have been when I witnessed JPII do some very unsettling things in the name of “ecumenism”, or having been denied the Holy Eucharist because I chose to kneel, or other acts of marginalization because, by grace, I understood Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi, and by the grace of God, He has kept me in the boat.

                      I cannot predict what standing on the Truth will do–if indeed BiP proves true–but I trust that God will have it all in hand because even in the midst of the Crucifixion was the Resurrection. Also, I don’t see as you do that BiP proving true changes any of the work necessary to correct the rot that has been exposed. No, that will only be corrected as Abp Jan Pawel Linga stated in his open letter from Feb 15, 2015: “When we wish to remain faithful to Christ in word and deed, He Himself will find the means to transform the hearts and souls of men and the world as well will be changed at the appropriate time.

                      In times of the crisis of the Church God has often used for her true renewal the sacrifices, the tears and the prayers of those children and servants of the Church who in the eyes of the world and of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy were considered insignificant or were persecuted and marginalized because of their fidelity to Christ. I believe that in our difficult time this law of Christ is being realized and that the Church will renew herself thanks to the faithful inner renewal of each of us.”

                      His unabashedly Catholic letter can be found in its entirety here:


                    8. I sense that you sand-bagged me, Islam. You seemed to indicate you could agree to disagree on this and get back to the focus of this website…and then you just go on to the same subject over and over and over again. You are like a bulldog who just won’t let go of a towel. I hope that you have more than this to offer, for come Friday evening, I will not allow any comments that reference this subject to be cleared. Those commenters who complain that I let this go too far off track are absolutely right. Enough already.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Charlie, I care that you feel sand-bagged and I don’t know what else to say. Today besides BiP, I did talk with Doug about Blippo and Bash games and SteveBC about making text colored and dear Linda about her mother-in-law, Mary. I answered questions truthfully and forthrightly about BiP when asked. Even Bekita (who may have changed her mind by now) earlier today said that I’ve been a “primo example of how to engage in serious discussion on topics for which you hold strong beliefs and those of us who have followed along have benefited from gaining new understandings and/or having reaffirmed what we were once taught or self-taught.” I thought we were all getting along swimmingly.

                      Charlie, I don’t mean to poke a sleeping bear and I do very much want to read what Desmond has prepared regarding St Ambrose and you do have the power to delete, block, and ban, but I wish you might consider that perhaps just perhaps (besides the topic of BiP itself, of course) it is the assumptions and perceptions that you have/had about me by which you were sand bagged and not by me myself. I do not purport to be an expert nor do I engage in Popalatry. In line with the focus of this publication, I have expounded about hope and relief and taking the next right step in the midst of this not-easily-or-quickly-fixed, deeply-ingrained apostasy.

                      In all fairness, Bekita, not one of the sites I’ve linked to regarding BiP were/are related to sedevacantists. You may have confused my first time of BiPping in August with the time when I brought Fr. Luigi Villa’s 2012 Letter to the Cardinals about beatifying Paul VI to your attention. With your diligent research you discovered that many sede sites do indeed link to Fr. Villa. I did not know that until you told me, and if I remember correctly I didn’t bring up Fr. Villa and Paul VI again. As for sedes promoting BiP, that would be strange since as you know they think the See of Peter has been empty for how ever long and they consider Pope Benedict not a pope. I don’t know; maybe sedevacantist-type sites do talk about BiP.


                      To BiP or not to BiP, that is a question that each person can examine for himself or not as God would lead Him. As for me–as tenacious as I tend to be–you won’t hear another BiP out of me. I promise.


                    10. The ONLY serious thing you have discussed other than offering condolences is this. You have until Friday. I had come to believe there might be more to you than this one-trick pony. So far, you have proven me badly mistaken. Have you bothered to read how many commenters are weary of your obsession and eagerly looking forward to Friday when we can move on from this? Do you have any real self-awareness?

                      Liked by 2 people

                    11. This actually kind of funny. Until this second I was unaware that you had posted a new article. Mahaps that is a lack of self awareness. I don’t know. But for convenience’ sake, I will move my commenting and replies to the newest article.


                    12. And so your great example was initially given, III. That said, looking at where we are today on this site with this topic of the valid election of Pope Francis, there has been an abundance of “ink spilled” with thoughts containing all-over-the-map points being raised – with a lot of “it could be or it couldn’t be” – that would take us down rabbit holes of trying to figure out details which we may never fully know. And for what purpose?

                      III, it is true that not all your links go to sedevacantist sites. However, what I did note is that your links take us to “uber arch-conservative sites” and sedevacantists are part of that population. In reading sites such as these, I see constant and vehement accusations hurled at Pope Francis. Rarely, do I read exhortations to pray and fast for healing in the Church. Rather, tirades, ranting and some cooly and intellectually expressed accusations which foster division are served up constantly. You may not agree, but I stand by the point that if we continually hang out at such places, we take on the attitudes, fears and beliefs promoted there.

                      As I said, I do believe God is drawing good from what has been happening on site, but I also believe it’s not right to continue as we are, in a downward-spiral of taking us off message and focus, and I’m very grateful that Charlie is setting boundaries here.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    13. Honestly, I think BiP is not the real issue. I think folks are unhappy with the current pope and looking for excuses. So let’s entertain BiP for a minute. Let’s say Francis is deposed. Would pope Benedict emeritus come out of retirement? I think not. So let’s say we have a new conclave. Would the then next elected pope be valid? Not according to Bippers if they are serious and right. Let’s say Pope Francis was very orthodox and conservative. Would Bippers then take the position they currently have? I question whether they would. I think it boils down to they just do not like pope Francis. So what do we as charitable and faithful Catholics do? I think we pray and sacrafice and entrust our beloved Pope to the Holy Spirit (I have to work on the sacrafice part more myself). We have a good friend who married an alcoholic. The wife was ready to divorce him after 30 years of putting up with him. She was/is a faithful Catholic and heard very distinctly in prayer “remember your vows”. She did not divorce him. Not long after, he came to wits end and asked God to take away his drinking and God did just that. He had a most profound religious conversion and the last 15 years of their lives together were bliss until he passed away from cancer last year. Would this conversion have occurred if she left? I don’t know, but her faith certainly paid off. She is going to Medjugorje with Lambzie and I this fall. Theirs is a beautiful love story. An I enamoured of the current pontiff? Not really. Let’s work on making Pope Francis a love story. God bless you and all here!

                      Liked by 3 people

                    14. Exactly, Doug. The satan loves to get people arguing about extraneous issues that, even if accomplished, would do little to nothing to solve the fundamental problems – precisely to beguile serious people away from grappling with the real problems before them.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    15. I should also note, Doug, that your approach leaves room for grace. St. Paul was once a persecutor of Christians. Pope Francis story is not finished yet. A leopard does not change his spots – unless God intervenes.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    16. Doug, I think that you ask the best question of all. I hope you don’t mind if I rephrase it: If Francis had turned out to be Cdl Sarah, for example, and all the long-festering doctrinal issues were being resolved as evidenced by the “renewal of the face of the Earth”, would I support BiP? Knowing what I know now about the Modernists’ plan to fundamentally transform the papacy as well as Professor Raedelli’s Supplica that was published on Feb 18, 2013, yes, I would BiP. Why? In order that the rule of law be upheld.

                      Here’s the deal. If Pope Benedict merely made a mistake with Cdl Sarah the apparent yet mistaken successor, Pope Benedict would be made to recognize the mistake and either resign according to the law itself or take up the Petrine Ministry again but this time with the face of the Earth 6 years into being renewed. If he resigned according to the law itself, a valid conclave would be called and with all the success that Cdl Sarah was having, he would be elected again but this time validly. This of course is not the situation we have.

                      If BiP is confirmed with the reality we have today, I think what is happening in China will happen in the whole world. Those in power will have the infrastructure while Catholics will have the Faith and be underground and persecuted. Even if BiP isn’t proved true or acted upon, eventually the same world-wide chastisement is likely headed our way. Like Charlie said every last farthing must be paid. In it all their are oases and God will never leave us orphaned and the Gates of Hell will not prevail.

                      To be perfectly honest with you, Doug, had the cognitive dissonance of the world and the Church not grown to such a crescendo for me, BiP would not have been a blip on my radar; thus I, you, and many others would not be aware of the enemies’ plans to change the monarchical, divinely instituted papacy into some ecumenically palatable board of directors or triumvirate or something else equally not Catholic.

                      You would agree that the Parable of the Prodigal Son is a love story. Just as it has a happy ending, I pray for all those who have lost or never had supernatural faith to accept the grace of contrition, repentance, and conversion that I am sure Our Father in Heaven can’t wait to pour over them and into them. Believe it or not I am working on making Pope Francis a love story.

                      May God bless you and yours and all here at ASOH, too.


                    17. “Here’s the deal. If Pope Benedict merely made a mistake with Cdl Sarah the apparent yet mistaken successor, Pope Benedict would be made to recognize the mistake and either resign according to the law itself or take up the Petrine Ministry again but this time with the face of the Earth 6 years into being renewed. If he resigned according to the law itself, a valid conclave would be called and with all the success that Cdl Sarah was having, he would be elected again but this time validly. This of course is not the situation we have.”

                      Now I am confused. The first time pope Benedict emeritus resigned is not valid, but the second time he resigns would be valid?

                      I am no canon expert on this by any stretch, but when I buy a house and go through the closing and transfer of the dead later to find a mistake in the procedure or paper work, I don’t lose the house and go through the closing all over again. What our current laws allow is for revising or correcting the mistake. If there is an error here with BiP, this is the kind of thing I would imagine and expect. In other words, the process would correct itself to align with the intended results; not the other way around. Ok. Back to section E and eating my peanuts.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    18. Yes, Doug, as confusing as it may seem, a second resignation that is in accord with the law would be valid. That is what I understand the evidence that experts in Latin and Canon law are indicating. This is the conclusion I understand they have reached through their study of the black-and-white evidence that is found in the words of the Declaratio and Canons 332.2, 126 (I believe), and 17. The possible invalidity is more apparent when the Latin texts are used. (Go figure, the translations of the Declaratio into the vernacular may have been somewhat ‘tweaked’ by the Vatican.)

                      The canonical apologia can be found here:

                      Correct me if I’m wrong, but your analogy about the sale of a house and the paperwork that goes along with it assumes that everyone doing the closing and transfer are on the up-and-up. Right? And that if there is a mistake, eventually the Rule of Law will apply IF the mistake is allowed to be made manifest. Correct? Everyone involved at the Vatican may not be on the up-and-up.

                      I’m heading to the cartoon section and this squirrel prefers pecans.


                    19. There is a big difference between fraudulent error and technical error. Any event entered into in good faith is almost never overturned for technical error. Even when it is of sufficient gravity to threaten such, the deficiency is simply corrected. Only in the case of fraudulent error are otherwise good-faith agreements overturned.


                    20. Islam, I fail to see how pope Benedict emeritus “voluntary” resignation is not on the up-and-up. Thus, the house closing analogy would hold since it is a technicality if there was an error.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    21. Doug, have you looked at the links to either From Rome or VeriCatholici that I left in some of my comments? It may be that your quandary will be answered by doing so. If you haven’t looked it up yet, I hope that you will.

                      If you have looked it up you will notice that inasmuch as Benedict freely resigned, discover the answer to this question: From what did he freely resign and how does that accord to Canon 332.2? The answer to this question is the core of BiP.

                      BiP or no BiP, God is going to move as He will. I wish for only the best for you and all here as ASOH. God bless you.


                    22. So what you are saying is the college of cardinals have not “officially” accepted his resignation? If that is the case, I completely disagree. By the college of cardinals holding a conclave, that is a defacto acceptance. The stuff you are talking about is what scisms are made of splitting hairs over legalese. As far as I am concerned, Francis is officially pope and that is how God has moved for better or worse. Maybe this is a test to see how faithful us Catholics are to the obedience to he magistarium? Maybe we need this test because things are going to get a lot worse in the world and we will need strength and courage? I don’t know. I think there is a strong contingent that does not want Francis as pope and they are using Mueller tactics to try and depose him. If that is what they are doing, I do not see it as acting out in charity. I do not see any more point in discussion over this. As far as I am concerned, it is settled. I will let you have the last word.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    23. I think you all are nuts.

                      Pope Benedict resigned. He has stated such and to say he is Pope is calling him a liar.

                      Pope Francis is elected Pope. It matters not what conspiracies existed prior or post this vote. Each and every Cardinal has Free Will to choose to cast a vote. Choice.

                      Pope Francis is the Head of the Church.

                      Not everything audiible which issues from Pope Francis’ mouth is infallible. Thank God.

                      “My position is that unless and until experts determine whether or not BiP is “clear, compelling, and indisputable”, as a little cog in the big pic…”

                      – To whom are the ‘experts’ ? Those who have ‘years of scholarship’ in this day of age? or those with the loudest mouth?

                      I have found those with years of personal, practical experience hold the best insight toward a subject and usually they have the simplest manner to acheive a positive result.

                      Today, I found myself contemplating: Obedience.

                      God created all yet, (satan knew all he was supposed to know), and disobeyed God our Creator. How could God ‘address’ this?

                      God sent ‘Someone’ (His Son Jesus) who knew “no obedience’ to submitt fully in surrender (submission) to God’s will through obedience to His earthly human Father and Mother.. In the most ‘low’ manner of life and to die a most, dire death.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    24. Charlie, I think you’re too hard on yourself. From what I perceive, you allowed this in a spirit of good will in order to bring clarity to what III – and really a whole faction of Church folks – was struggling with. The value I see in the dialoguing is found in your expounding on the powers and limits of a Pope’s authority. Excellent review! Too, I see in even clearer ways how wrong is Papolatry – and I was raised with it in Catholic schools from kindergarten through earning my undergraduate degree. With clearer eyes I see how deadly it becomes as a temptation to jump ship when a Pope acts in the kinds of ways we’ve seen and discussed about Pope Francis. Important lessons. And, Charlie, the outstanding insights you shared in your comments today helped me immensely in looking at the greater picture of troubling times in the Church… how to gain wisdom from past events and how what we choose to do now affects the life of the Church in the future.

                      The kind of knowledge, understanding and opinions we develop are very much formed by the resources we read and the folks with whom we discuss these things. (Now, III, what I’m going to say is not a personal attack against you. It’s an observation.) What I have noticed in the references which III has used, since last September and up to today, is that the links take us to uber arch-conservative sites… with people like the sedevacantists such as the SSPX group. From what I have observed about uber conservative factions, among several problems, is that these folks were bashing Pope Francis from the moment he walked onto the loggia. And so it’s gone on ad nauseum for the last six years at those sites. One link I refused to clear took me to a site claiming Pope Paul VI was homosexual. It seems these very “traditional” “pious” folks at such sites know better than the Church how the Church should function. In my view, this is another way to put ourselves at risk because one can spend hours and hours spinning wheels hashing and rehashing what’s wrong with the Church and, thereby, fail to move forward with refreshing and renewing the Church by just what you said, Charlie: living the faith with fidelity.

                      Just listen to MP. This message of dwelling on growing in holiness has been the melodious harp he has played, again and again and again. Thank you, MP. I’m ready to hear another verse of that song of joy – right in the midst of so much misery all around us.


                    25. The whole dialog has given me pause for thought. I have learned by it. It seems like there are some “never Francis” just like there are “never Trumpers”. I have expressed my dissatisfaction on various issues with pope Francis mainly in private and among whom I perceive to be mature people. I have to constantly question myself whether or not I am being calumnious. I came into the church in 1991 under John Paul II and I can say he really had no influence on me as I was not even paying attention to him at the time. It was through a Holy priest setting a very good example, the Holy Spirit working in my life and through Medjugorje that brought me in. It was not until years later that I came to appreciate the gift that JPII was to the church. So I endeaver to pray for our Holy father, bishops, priests and religious. Oh, most importantly, I pray for my own conversion and to be faithful in spite of my foibles.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    26. Amen, Doug. Like many here, perhaps all of us, I pray for the entire hierarchy and the conversion and salvation of all peoples. But, in fact, what each one has most direct influence on is his/her own conversion. When each one sets personal holiness – grown in prayer (including the prayer of doing), sacrifice, fasting and other penance – as a life priority, it does ripple through the entire Mystical Body and beyond to touch every.single.human.soul. with God’s Grace.

                      Liked by 1 person

      2. Amen, Charlie. That would have been my answer for you if you were not available – if had I been asked to give an interim answer till your return.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Linda, BiP is an acronym for Benedict is P/b>ope. Those who promote the examination of the evidence regarding the juridical validity of his resignation are sometimes called BiPpers. I believe the term was made up by Mr. Steve O’Reilly at the blog Roma Locuta Est.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sorry, only the P from Pope was supposed to show up in bold. I still haven’t figured out how to get the letters to be colored like Steve BC did. Now THAT is talent.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. And you did!!! I, alas, was not up to the task even with your step-by-step instructions. Perhaps another time. I refreshed to see both your struggles and your success. I forget now who besides Desmond was following along with you as you hashed out the bugs.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. III, I viewed your mention of me as a challenge and wondered if I could in fact do it. Here is my attempt:

            “Linda, BiP is an acronym for Benedict
            is Pope. Those who promote the examination of the evidence regarding the juridical validity of his resignation are sometimes called BiPpers. I believe the term was made up by Mr. Steve O’Reilly at the blog Roma Locuta Est.”

            Now let’s test it.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 9 April

    It’s Not Enough to Listen to the Young

    Confessions of an American Bead Counter, Part 2


    Bitter Easter in China. In the Game With Rome, a Blowout for Beijing


    Emails show Planned Parenthood behind California rule to make churches pay for abortions

    The Unlawful Campaign against Chick-fil-A–NR Editorial

    Japanese Catholic Church opens investigation into child sex abuse allegations


    Video Venom: 40 March TV Shows Slam ‘Traitor’ Trump and His ‘Faux-Christian’ ‘Hench-Characters’

    Massachusetts bans conversion therapy for minors


    Brave, Brave, “Countercultural” Kirsten Powers and Peter Buttigieg

    Pete Buttigieg: A Pharisee’s Attack on Evangelicals and Trump
    Senior Obama Cyber Official Lobbying for China

    President Trump Removes Secret Service Director….

    Devin Nunes Announces Lawsuit Against McClatchy News Group…

    Nolte: Univision Anchor Tells Border Agents to Dodge Rocks Rather than Ask for Wall

    FAKE HISTORY: CBS Identifies Slave-Holding Confederacy as Red States

    Zero Media Outrage as Dozens of Democrats and Reporters Spread Fake News

    MSNBC Frets That GOP Jews Are Embracing ‘Nazi’-Like Trump Rhetoric


    Barr reveals he is reviewing ‘conduct’ of FBI’s original Russia probe

    With Devin Nunes set to hand DoJ criminal referrals for Trump coup conspirators, THESE people should worry

    State Bill Requiring College Campuses to Provide Abortion Pill Advances in California Legislature
    Stacey Abrams says Georgia ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill ‘bad for business’
    British supermarket pulls chocolate ducklings from store inventory after complaints of racism
    CBS Bemoans ‘Trump Effect’ in Israeli Election, Ignored Obama’s Meddling
    After Savaging Fox News, Amanpour Bemoans ‘Destructive’ Media Criticism
    John Kerry: Ocasio-Cortez offered ‘more leadership in one day’ than Trump on climate
    Chinese woman at Mar-a-Lago will remain jailed. She had more suspicious electronics at her hotel, prosecutors say.
    Trump Purge Set to Force Out More Top Homeland Security Officials
    US Moves to Put New Tariffs on Billions Worth of EU Imports
    Lingering Va. Scandals a Growing Nightmare for 2020 Dems
    UBS: Amazon to Force 75,000 More Rival Stores to Close
    Walmart Adding Thousands of Robots to US Stores


    Liked by 6 people

  16. Charlie, thank you so much for all you do and your suffering and endurance. My husband fell off our roof onto the concrete patio 2 weeks ago and has a fx. r. hand and r. foot which will be operated on next week; he is 77 and my past nursing career will serve me well. Your blog has been so good for me.
    Thanks for the trust when saying you would like me as a nurse if you were ill. I have helped others all my adult life and at 73 God has blesssed me to still be able to help.

    Obama is still at work talking with all the Democrats running for president and community organizing.

    I liked what you said about President Trump and having Vice President Pence there helps so much also.

    Thanks for all the prayers. You are all in my prayers also.
    Mary Anne Harper

    Liked by 6 people

  17. You know Charlie, certain concepts like “God is our master, not our servant” really helps, this should be a humility no-brainer, but many of us have been out of touch with that for years. People who adopt “God is my friend” mindset distort the master-servant relationship, making them think they can negotiate (as equals) changing things, even negating/rejecting God’s words.

    I suspect God’s prophecies are made difficult to interpret, so that humans & angels cannot interfere with those prophetic events in hopes of preventing the outcome.

    I sometimes wonder if I even serve a useful purpose… If these times were not so dire, I would be a more quieter person blending-in society’s background.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Discerning God’s will and all of the doubts, crosses and second-guessing can be daunting. Our Rector recommended the book “He Leadeth Me” by Fr. Walter Ciszek for a lenten reflection. Wow – talk about a book that is equally challenging as it is enlightening! I think most here would benefit from this read. It’s TNRS when the consolations are either far and few between or actually there but not recognized.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Read it. It is a good read. In those days when more Jesuits took missionary call more seriously even to the heart of Soviet Russia! God bless his soul.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. We were blessed many years ago to have Fr. Walter Ciszek give us a retreat. His first book, “With God in Russia” was very popular but he said it was the book “He Leadeth Me” that he really wanted to write.

      Liked by 4 people

  19. NEWS & MILINET – 10 April
    Chaput, Sarah, and Schneider Weigh in on Our Troubled Times

    Lessons from the Sins of Simon Peter & Judas

    Mayor Buttigieg Tells Trump Admin: ‘My Same-Sex Marriage Brings Me Closer to God’

    Brave, Brave, “Countercultural” Kirsten Powers and Peter Buttigieg

    Friday’s ‘Day of Silence’ for ‘Bullied LGBT Students’: Arm Yourself and Your Child With the Facts

    The Borrowed Testimony that Convicted George Pell

    We Hide The Truth About Abortion Because It Condemns Us All

    Billboard Touting Abortion Welcomes Visitors to Illinois


    Senator Mazie Hirono: Quit Worrying About Aborted Babies, Focus on “Children Who are Here Already”

    New York County Passes Resolution Rebuking Andrew Cuomo for Legalizing Abortions Up to Birth

    Texas Senate Passes Bill Stopping Infanticide, Requiring Medical Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortions

    Can Beer Brewing Help Restore Christian Culture?

    Millennials for Socialism

    More Uncovered Documents Show Why Hillary Deserves Indictment

    The Democrats: Blame Israel First. Whatever the Subject

    Exodus of advisers leaves Macron a solitary figure in the Élysée

    ‘Unplanned’ anti-abortion film subject of Senate hearing on censorship of conservative speech
    Sen. Ted Cruz will chair the Wednesday event


    Liked by 4 people

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