The Foundation of Authority

HMS Surprise Sailing Ship Mast & Rigging

(While I am going to clear Desmond Birch’s scholarly response on St. Ambrose when he has finished it, this discussion on the validity or lack thereof of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s resignation and Pope Francis’ Papacy is now finished. I know it is earlier than I originally said, but it is clear to me that most readers are eagerly awaiting the end of it – and it has become almost entirely tendentious and repetitive. I originally published this piece in January of last year. I think it is perfectly suited for closing the book on this bizarre chapter at this site.-CJ)

By Charlie Johnston

“If Francis had been Pope when you came into the Church, would you have still come in?”

It was a clever question posed to me a few months ago by a shrewd friend.

I had been a great admirer of St. John Paul the Great for over a decade before I was received into the Church. While the breathtaking impressiveness of his witness facilitated my way, his greatness was not what finally brought me home to the Church.

My family’s religion was an obscure branch of southern fundamentalism (the kind where snake-handling was sometimes practiced). It was profoundly anti-Catholic. Oh, the calmunies I heard spoken of the Catholic Church when I was a child! Even so, there just was not any such ugliness in my parents at all. Ironically, when we moved up north to Chicago, the great majority of their circle of closest friends was Catholic. While this never created any tension at all, there was a residual dread of the strange rituals and beliefs of what we thought Catholicism was.

My first brush with the faith came when I was a boy, maybe eight or nine. Times were tight then. We ate vegetables throughout the week…butterbeans, pinto beans, northern beans, fried squash, always accompanied by pan-fried cornbread. On Fridays each week, my paternal grandparents would make a big bunch of hamburgers and always have us up for dinner. We all looked forward to hamburgers on Friday. My parents’ literal best friends at the time, Skip and Tom, were Catholics. Dad usually rode to work with Tom and we spent many holidays together – including every New Year. My parents had invited Skip and Tom over for dinner on a Friday night. Things were getting better, so we were happy to fry up a great platter of hamburgers. It created a bit of awkwardness when our friends got over and, abashedly, explained that Catholics could not eat meat on Fridays (this was in the early 60’s).

I was horrified – and told them I thought it was terrible that they couldn’t ever eat meat. They explained that they ate meat on most days, just not Fridays. At the time, Fridays were about the only days we DID eat meat. I had to ponder on this a while. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it to Mom and Dad, but for a long time I thought about what a good deal the Catholics had.

By the time I was in high school, I had become a fairly gifted amateur trumpet player. I was the lead trumpet in pit orchestras for musical productions across the North Shore of Chicago. Somewhere along the line an official from the Archdiocese of Chicago took note of me. I had the rare gift then (not now) of being able to play the far upper register with pleasing tone and tight control. Since high Church music uses a lot of Baroque, which requires that gift, I did a lot of paid work for the Church – mainly up at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, where I would stay overnight before an important performance, like for ordinations and such. The Archdiocese also farmed my name out to local Pastors who needed something for a special performance. I attended my first Mass at St. Anne’s Church in Barrington, Illinois in the early 70’s. It was for Midnight Mass at Christmas, all by candle light. We did much of the Hallelujah Chorus – and a beautiful rendition of “O Holy Night.” I was stunned. It was the most gorgeous, worshipful and moving Church service of any type I had ever witnessed. In my ignorance I had expected some weird series of pagan rituals, perhaps culminating in the sacrifice of a goat – or at least a chicken or two.

In late 1972, my paternal grandfather died. He was the noblest, most decent man I have ever known. Phenomenally strong, he was incredibly gentle, soothing and paternal to all (in the best sense of the latter word). My parents’ religion was one of those with the conceit that only its adherents could go to heaven. Well, Poppo Johnston was a nominal Methodist. I overheard Mom, in her grief, telling Dad at one point that she was sure Poppo had converted in his last breath – a common dodge when someone beloved outside of the faith died. Yet it incensed me. Truth was, I did not much like most of our family’s co-religionists; in fact, there were only a few I considered to be decent, honest people. Poppo Johnston was, as I said, the noblest, most decent man I knew. In my rage at what I considered a calumny, I told myself that if he had to say just the right words to get into heaven, after having lived so nobly, it’s all an arbitrary game and God is a cheat. I did not, for a minute, believe God is a cheat…but I decided if I was going to go to hell, I was at least going to do it for what I did believe, not for pretending at what I didn’t. I also resolved to hit the library intensely in the New Year, to research the origins of the various denominations.

Naturally, I checked the family religion first. To my surprise, our branch of fundamentalism sprung up in the American southeast in the early 1800’s. So if it was true that only adherents of this faith could go to heaven, that excluded everybody before that time, including Sts. Peter and Paul. Nope. In the course of my research, I discovered who the founder was of just about every major (and a few minor) Christian denominations. I also discovered an unsettling fact about Catholicism: it and the Orthodox Churches are the only Christian Churches which have a legitimate historical claim to having been founded by Christ, Himself – and the Orthodox eschewed unity a thousand years ago, so the Catholic Church was the only Christian Church that had remained substantially unchanged since that founding. It was not enough to overcome my ingrained cultural dread of Catholic worship, but it sure tickled at the back of my head.

Having discovered that reality diverged rather spectacularly in many particulars from what I had been taught, I mounted a two-front campaign. First, I relentlessly read and re-read the Bible. I called it trying to see the Bible with “fresh eyes,” getting beyond what we are taught it means and looking at what it is, in itself. Second, I knew that meanings of words and phrases change over time – and 2,000 years is a very long time, indeed. So I started studying history. I wanted to know what the sayings of Jesus meant to those who actually heard Him in His time on earth. Again, I was startled to see that many things are not at all as we think they are – and in some cases are exactly opposite of what we think they are.

During this period, I went nearly completely silent on all things religious. Most of the authorities in my parents’ religion loved nothing better than to find someone to condemn and rip apart. Even when they were technically right, they often did it in a way that tore the heart out of people. I prayed constantly that I not speak at all about religion until I could consistently speak in a way that built people up and inspired them with new hope, rather than tore them down. I only spoke about it if someone close to me was having a crisis of faith and sought my counsel. Up until I was 25, even my Dad thought I was a good fellow, but pretty much a heathen, because I would not talk about religion. In 1981, the covert break I had made with my family’s religion became respectfully overt. I wrote Mom and Dad a very long letter explaining what I believed – and what I could not accept. (Years later, when the New Catechism was released, I was gratified to see the description of what the Word is matching almost verbatim what I had written in that letter.) After the initial shock wore off, it became a blessing for us all. Dad, in particular, began studying the faith deeply. We had many edifying discussions where we both came out with profound insights we had not had previous. It became a favored, and joyful, subject of conversation. And of course, Mom and Dad were both overjoyed to know that, even if I was wrong, I was certainly no Godless heathen! Poor Dad. He later became a Fundamentalist Minister. While loved by his congregation, he was considered suspect, at best, by fellow ministers of the same religion. Gifted with great intellectual integrity, my Dad dismissed as contra-Biblical poppycock such things as the Rapture and ‘once-saved, always saved.’ Even worse, he and a Methodist Minister who were friends often preached at each other’s churches. Worst of all, he had a vigorously healthy respect for Catholicism – and occasionally explicitly referred to it as the ‘mother of all Christians.’ (Ha! Dad was always a bit of a contrarian. If you think I can get occasionally provocative, you should have seen my Dad in his prime!)

I had long since understood that my family’s religion really knew very little of the Bible at all. Oh, they could quote chapter and verse on a few things that confirmed what they already believed or wanted to believe, but they just paid no attention at all to everything else, particularly those things that seemed to contradict their favored beliefs. It seemed to me that, for a faith tradition to be true, it must take all Scripture into account, not just those excerpts it liked. It must be internally coherent. Just because it is internally coherent doesn’t mean it is true, but it can’t be if it is not. So I started attending different denominations, in search of a home. I would stay long enough to find what their primary beliefs are – and then would ask the preacher, after a few weeks, about bits of Scripture which contradicted those beliefs. If the preacher scolded me for my impertinence (which is what usually happened) and refused to answer, I knew this was not home for me and moved onto the next. There was a Presbyterian Minister who could not answer most of my questions, but enjoyed discussing them with me. We remained friends long after I had become Catholic. By the late 80’s, I had largely given up the effort. Oh, I knew, I believed passionately in Christ but, like a poor orphan, I concluded there was no honorable home for me.

In the spring and summer of 1990 I was reading a great deal of religious work from around the time of the Reformation. I admired Martin Luther’s courage, but didn’t particularly like him. He seemed too eager to condemn all sin save that which he personally was tempted by. I particularly enjoyed the writings of Erasmus. Then, for some reason, I read St. Augustine’s “Confessions.” It took my breath away. It spoke to me on every level; its description of what Scripture is, its description of what time actually is (foreshadowing Einstein’s discoveries some 1500 years later), the struggle with the sins of the flesh, the brilliance and the great magnanimity of the man. I pondered why I had never seriously given consideration to the Catholic Church as a home – and thought that any Church which could produce so breathtaking a saint was worthy of very serious consideration. On Sunday, September 2, 1990, I attended my first Mass purely as a worshipper. I was enthralled. I called the Parish Office to see what someone considering becoming a Catholic should do. They told me RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes were beginning the next week and would continue through Easter. I went to check it out. I was impressed that you weren’t allowed to just ‘join up,’ but had to spend serious time learning about what you were joining and whether you really meant it. It seemed a suitably grave approach for what was such a solemn decision.

Believe it or not, for almost two months I was the ‘Silent Sam’ of the class of just under 20 people. Having had so many disappointments in my earlier searches, I had little confidence that this would not turn into yet another. Meantime, I started reading furiously, starting with the documents of Vatican II, moving on to some Church Fathers, then to some serious Church history – both from religious and secular authors, with emphasis on times of greatest internal conflict in the Church. You might think I just wanted to learn as much as I could about the Church. Actually, I was looking for the catch. Certainly, I had heard some contradictions in class, but when I would check it in formal Church teaching, I would find the teacher was mistaken or misunderstood formal doctrine. I remember the moment when, in exhaustion, but dawning joy, I thought to myself, “I don’t think there is a catch here.”

After two months of silence, we were given an ethical problem with a binary set of solutions in one of my classes. We were asked to choose one and then defend our choice. As I studied the choices, I got irritated, for I thought they were both seriously deficient – and that if that was the best we could come up with, we were seriously derelict. So when it came my turn to answer, I rejected both choices and explained, with no little passion, what a true Christian choice should be. When I get impassioned, I can sometimes be quite compelling and intense. When I finished, everyone was staring at me wide-eyed, as if I were some tiger at the zoo whose cage had come inexplicably open. The silence held for a bit, then the Priest turned to the woman next to me and asked for her response. Her eyes went wide as she looked frantically back and forth, finally pointing her arm at me and blurting, “What that guy said!” Everyone burst out laughing and my silence was ended.

Going through RCIA, you go through several rites as your study goes deeper. About midway through, there is what is called the Rite of Acceptance. It formally recognizes the candidates’ decision to live the process of entering the Church and welcomes them. Perfectly innocuous. But a few weeks before the Rite, I started having nightmares that when I stood before the Priest, he cast me out and did not accept me. I mentioned this to the woman I was dating a few days before the Rite – and she burst out laughing. Offended, I asked why she did that. “You’re intimidated, aren’t you?” she asked. I said I was, but it was not something to be mocked. She laughed again and said, “I have never seen you intimidated by anyone or anything. Most of us are intimidated by a lot of things. It’s good you should know how the rest of us feel most of the time.” I considered that, then chuckled myself and told her I guessed I was like a poor orphan boy who had been an orphan for so long he persuaded himself he did not need – or even want – a home. Now I had found a home I wanted so passionately with every fiber of my being that I was terrified they might not have me.

At the Easter Vigil in 1991 I was received into the Church. My son, then four years old, dressed in his little grey suit, caught my eye as we were being presented and gave me a wink and a hearty thumbs-up with a great grin on his face. It is a snapshot that remains indelibly fixed in my memory from that glorious night. It was not until a year later, after getting familiar with saints’ feast days, that I realized the first Mass I attended at what would be my home came the Sunday after St. Augustine’s Feast Day in 1990. I have ever since considered him the patron of my conversion.

I taught RCIA for the next four or five years. It was a great joy and I was treated as a valued asset. Part of it was because I spoke Protestant fluently and could mount solid Biblical arguments against Bible-based objections off the cuff. Every year, someone would ask me to be their confirmation sponsor – and usually it was the one who I had argued with most vigorously at the start. I was every bit as excitable and combustible as I am now – and could sometimes erupt. One of the women who asked me to be her sponsor after we became good friends (she was actually secretary to a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese – and was keeping her conversion secret even from her boss until it was accomplished) came late to our second session of the year, where somebody had set me off on an intense rant. She giggled and said she had turned to her friend then and whispered, “Okay, this is the John 3:16 guy,” little imagining at the time that I would so carefully and seriously engage with everyone where they were at, always encouraging without rebuking them – and that we would become great friends.

In my studies, I had examined periods when there were anti-popes roiling the Church with effective schisms. (An anti-pope is an invalid claimant to the office. There have been several such great controversies in the course of history. In fact, there were two anti-popes at the time of St. Joan of Arc. When she appealed her case to the Pope, her tormentors slyly asked her who she recognized as the true Pope. Her charming answer was, “Why, the Pope at Rome. Is there any other?” It delighted me.) Pope Liberius condemned St. Athanasius for a time, and flirted with aspects of the Arian heresy. In the great doctrinal controversies, often you had genuine saints on opposite sides of the issue…though the genuine saints always accepted final, binding decisions. Some Popes were terrible men, some wrote private heresy – though none ever formally taught such. Still, some were painfully ambiguous. Some sought to enable genuinely errant movements; others used their spiritual office to enrich themselves temporally or enhance worldly power.

Even the greatest of prelates was not guaranteed to be even a marginally competent diplomat, administrator, or have any political sense at all. Yet the notoriously corrupt Medici Popes oversaw bringing great artistic treasures to the Vatican and the world, patronizing many of history’s greatest artists, including Michaelangelo. God often acts by indirection, bringing unexpected treasures from corrupt hearts and leaving certain odd deficiencies in many pure ones.

Forget how many misconceptions most Protestants have of Catholicism: most Catholics have almost as many. The relatively simple concept of infallibility is the most obvious case. Infallibility does not make a Pope free from sin – or even free from error on anything except formal, binding Magisterial statements. Even then, infallibility does not guarantee he will get it right, just that he won’t get it wrong. He may not be able to formally speak at all on the matter, or may speak with great ambiguity. Then there is the difference between Magisterial and administrative authority. In certain circumstances, a Pope’s Magisterial authority is infallible. His administrative authority is never infallible, even though binding on Catholics and the hierarchy. Thus, an excommunication is never infallible, because it falls under the Pope’s disciplinary, or administrative, authority. Then there is the matter of prudential responsibility. Matters of faith and morals belong to the Pope’s prudential authority. Temporal matters such as politics, economics, and science (save where a proposed course is truly illicit in itself) are primarily the prudential authority of the laity and not part of a Pope’s formal authority. I weigh what a Pope says on such matters as a matter of respect, but knowing that his authority on it is no greater than mine or any other citizen’s. The key thing is that, in 2000 years, the Church has never contradicted itself on matters of defined doctrine. It is rare for any institution to even go 50 years without fundamentally contradicting itself. To go 2000 years was sign enough for me. But it has often been a brawling, messy process.

I am not a fan of Pope Francis’ ambiguity in Amoris Laetitia. I don’t like his frequent hectoring and insulting of people who merely disagree with him. I don’t like that he has cozied up to and honored genuine enemies of the faith, such as abortion and population-control advocates. I don’t like that he spends so much time talking about political matters that he has no authority over, and like it even less that he insinuates that his mere political opinions are binding. While speaking ambiguously on grave matters of faith and morals, I deeply dislike that he enables and empowers prelates who openly oppose the unchangeable doctrine of the Magisterium, while punishing and banishing many who seek to uphold those things. Yet, when I look at it from a larger perspective, all that is happening is that we live in some of those tumultuous times that I had previously only read about. This is not the end of the Church. In all of those tumultuous times I previously read about, ordinary Catholics were able to live their faith. Great saints often encouraged them to do so simply, even as doctrinal and administrative storms raged around them. And in the end, God always accomplishes something in even the direst times. As God says in Isaiah 55:11, His word does not go forth without effect: “…it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Certainly, many Cardinals and Bishops are defending the unchanging nature of defined doctrine. That is how the messy process of refining doctrine has happened throughout the history of the Church. God has His purposes for which He is using Pope Francis. It may well be that part of Francis legacy will be to expose all those actual enemies of the faith who lurk within. It may be to correct the misconceptions that have grown up around infallibility – and recollect pious men to the prudential responsibility they bear – and will have to give account for – on political and temporal matters that are not part of the Pope’s prudential responsibility. It may well be that Pope Francis has some significant contributions to make to the Church’s Deposit of Faith – and woe to us who miss it because we focused only on legitimate disagreements with him.

I am a true believer. The foundation and protector of authority in this Church is God, Himself. It would be a failure of faith to fail to stand up for the fundamentals of the faith. But it is equally a failure of faith to think that any man, or combination of men, could capsize this Church. If God protects it even from final assault by the devil, how can men hope to ultimately confound it? If I were an enthusiast of Pope Francis, I would be careful to watch for things that could legitimately confuse and dishearten the faithful, lest his work be weakened. As I am not such an enthusiast, I watch carefully for the noble things he says and does that I might miss by focusing only on my concerns. But I have no doubt that God has His purposes – and that His Holy Word will not return to Him without effect. So the messiness of Bishop against Bishop and Cardinal against Cardinal, while unpleasant, will accomplish God’s Holy Will in the fullness of time.

The answer, then, to my shrewd friend’s question is that I did not sign on for a particular captain, but because of the sturdy seaworthiness of the ship. A hundred years from now, the captain and all the crew who currently man this great ship will have passed on to their reward, for good or ill…and the ship will still make her serene pilgrim way to find final harbor with the Lord of Hosts. How glad I am, in good times and in bad, to be aboard this majestic vessel!

ship, end


275 thoughts on “The Foundation of Authority

    1. I did the cold dip in the river, after the sweat lodge. Followed it up with a good cigar, but now I can’t get Blippo out of my head.

      Tomorrow, Adoration.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Interesting observation, Desmond. There are sweat lodges – both on and off the reservations – in Montana… mainly on the Flathead reservation in the west and the Crow reservation in the east.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. “Sweat lodge”, common term in Montana. I have many Native American students and the Crow Reeservation is minutes away.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. We had them in Ireland as well, although this reputable blog assigns them to 17th/18th century.


            Unfortunately, there’s a lot of modern “celtic/
            shmeltic”, as I term it, new age-y stuff associated with them, when one does a Google search, but they do appear to have been an actual fact. While I did study Archaeology, it was a long time ago, and I haven’t, unfortunately, kept it up as much as I would like to, but I seem to recall that such features were were far earlier than the article posits i.e early Medieval, and probably earlier.

            Liked by 2 people

    2. Perfect video to celebrate wiith, Sean! Just off the road after attending and praying the Chrism Mass at the cathedral in Helena 100 miles away. Cannot stop laughing. You have the ability to nab the best clips, Sean, at the apropos time.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Charlie, I don’t won’t argue with anyone. I am too darn busy for that. I just spend the last 48 hours helping serious young men with their theses. I try to spend my time teaching and discussing serious issueswith serious people.

      Ergo, since the last thread is closed, I will as we discussed reply to a previous discussion with the very last thing I will say on it – no manner who says or claims what.

      Saul was a rather common name at the time of Jesus and the Apostles being here on earth. In Acts 7:58, it says a young man named Saul experienced the garments of the stoners of Stephen place them at his feet. That’s all Scripture directly says about him.

      All alleged evidence claiming to equate him with Saul of Tarsus is circumstantial. Anyone can stack up any number of pieces of circumstantial evident that they are the same man — AND NONE OF THAT WILL MAKE IT ABSOLUTE/BINDING UPON CATHOLICS TO BELIEVE IT.

      I happened long ago to choose to believe they are the same man – despite the fact that there is only circumstantial evidence to support it. But I cannot try to choke it down someone’s throat who doesn’t accept it – and in the bargain hint that all Catholics must do so. That was what I said from the beginning was my position. That hasn’t changed, and won’t, until or if the Magisterium ever declares it to by a matter of faith to so believe.

      Vis-a-vis another similar recent experience here, I will not waste my time arguing with someone looking for an argument – over something which has no absolutely dispositive proof one way or another. And to quote Ret Butler from ‘God with the Wind’, “Frankly Charlot, I don’t give a damn”. I don’t have any problem with people who believe either way on this issue. And I sure as heck wouldn’t die for it – one way or the other. [There may be some knit-picker arguers who would.

      Dealing tendentious events or individuals is one of the ultimate wastes of time, At my age I can’t afford to waste any of it when there are so many major issues of note going on in the world.

      I will spend no more time on this – no matter what is said – I’ve got too many serious students and colleague in my work waste time majoring in minor issues. I’ve now experienced here two similar peas in a pod. I indeed hope I don’t find another one. I’m used to dealing with serious people like you, Charlie.

      All my love in Christ


      Liked by 3 people

      1. I must confess that, before you wrote the initial piece, it had never occurred to me that the “young man named Saul” might not be the same as Saul of Tarsus. I think some were confused that you meant that Saul of Tarsus was not later St. Paul, which is not what you were saying at all. When I read the Scriptures on it, I was startled. Frank Gibbons did a marvelous job of laying out a powerful positive circumstantial case for why the “young man named Saul” was almost certainly Saul of Tarsus, the key being his point five – that Paul noted that he had watched over the garments of those who killed Stephen, just as the young man named Saul did. Yet a negative case can be made, as well. Saul was not an uncommon name in Jerusalem at the time. It is kind of jarring that the inspired author of Acts injects the descriptor “young man named Saul” at a point in the narrative where Saul of Tarsus is already well-established. If it is the same man, that is an ironic riff that is not characteristic of the author. If it is straight-forward, that is the sort of distinction used to cover several other distinctive personages with the same names – James the Apostle and James the Brother (Cousin) of the Lord – and the many Mary’s that populate New Testament accounts. While I, too, think the evidence is strongly evocative of it being the same Saul, neither the positive nor negative circumstantial cases definitively settles it, I don’t think.

        It was a nice insight worthy of contemplation. I always enjoy being shown new facets which show I have taken too much for granted in some of my assumptions. This does not affect the matter of faith, at all, but sometimes such insights have. So I thank you for making the original point – and Frank for so clearly and powerfully laying out the positive circumstantial case for it being the same man.

        Liked by 4 people

  1. It brought tears to my eyes picturing your 4 yr old Son smiling with a thumbs up…an eternal picture! I’ve always felt Pope Francis was the Pope for this time. God is in charge!! God continue to be with & bless you & yours❣️❣️❣️ Thank you, Charlie!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Hey Charlie…great story.

    I’m a member of a 12 step group, and one of my favorite things are the stories. Stories of redemption. They are usually very good. If for no other reason than that the teller actually lived it, so they know the story well. When I came back to the church I discovered the stories of conversion, or reversion, are fantastic too. One of my favorite programs is Marcus Grodis’ “Journey Home” on EWTN. Always a good story.

    Couple things I identified with in your story. When you started studying the church for real, and you couldn’t find the “catch” in it. I had a similar experience, and always tell people that upon re-entering, and re-learning the faith after my “40 years in the desert” “ I “couldn’t find anything wrong with it”! I still can’t.

    The other thing that struck me was your encounter with St. Augustine about the time you came into the church, after the deep experience you had reading his “Confessions”.

    Early in my return, I ran into and hung with a bunch of guys from St. Aloysius Parish. It was always St. Aloysius this, and St. Aloysius that. To the point that I wished they’d just shut up about St. Aloyisius!
    Anyway, about this time I also got onto True Devotion to Mary, by St. Louis de Montfort.

    I started reading the book, with the intention of doing the consecration at the end. I had the book on my nightstand. Took FOREVER! Must have taken me 9 months to get thru the darn thing. The book ain’t that long,

    FINALLY, I finish, and proceed to do the devotion the following Saturday at the church where I’d met all these guys. The whole time I’m thinking what a loser I am for taking so long to get thru it.

    A week later, I’m in a conversation with someone who references something of significance happening to them on a certain saints’ feast day. I start wondering who’s feast day It was that I did my consecration?

    Turns out I did the consecration on June 21…the feast day of St. Aloysius!

    Best Charlie!


    Liked by 13 people

    1. Brother Paul, My name is Desmond, and I am an alcoholic. Last January, by the grace of God, I arrived at 49 years of sobriety. Always like to meet mutual ‘Steppers’.

      Liked by 9 people

          1. Amen, Bro. Doug. I think, during this Holy Week, especially on Holy Thursday night and into Good Friday, before the Altar of Repose, our prayers for the Holy Souls will have great Grace. Just my opinion, mind you, but I think so😉 We should never forget them, anyway. They really are out best friends.

            Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this piece, Charlie. I have shared it numerously since its original publication. One in particular was a discouraged Catholic woman in which I connected briefly with online. After reading it she was heartened and had her faith restored. She took the time to thank me for posting the article and told me how frustrated she was with the Church, and all the more with its very vocal critics, mainly Catholic. She expressed that she lacked the ability to defend her faith properly and ‘threw in the towel’ so to speak. I invited her to join our ASOH family and pray that she is here with us still.

    Thank you, Charlie for your guidance, wisdom and authority. ❤

    Liked by 10 people

    1. “…She expressed that she lacked the ability to defend her faith properly and ‘threw in the towel’ so to speak. ”

      I am not much into proclaiming my faith with words, though I do try to make up for it in my actions. I purchased five of Dr. Pitre’s books (link below) and have handed out to those who have fallen away from faith in God both Catholic and Jewish.

      EWTN’s The Journey Home has a website containing many videos on conversion. I positevely promote the following two videos: Charles Hoffman and Rick Rosen. Both are ‘converts’ from Judaism.

      Charles Hoffman 41:57 speaks on Dr. Brant Pitre’s book. I highly recommend watching Hoffman’s video then read the book.

      Another great Journey Home video is Rick Rosen’s coming into the Catholic Church. I get tears in my eyes contemplating God’s grace among us.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Sean, Dr. Pitre’s development of Liturgy especially in regards to the Celibate male only priesthood I find sound and beautiful. If you are not familiar with his story of conversion, the former Rabbi of Rome, Eugenio Zoli is another excellent resource to pass on to our Jewish friends and acquaintances. May God bless your Holy Week in unexpected ways.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I enjoyed reading this so much. I admire your having ‘hung on’ and see that your studying so many religions and becoming ‘at home’ with history is something awesome

    Liked by 7 people

  5. When I had my conversion, I could not get enough of reading the Bible. Given that I was not raised with any religion, I had no preconceived notions of any particular protestant doctrine and was able to see much of what the Bible really said. Being protestant prior to becoming Catholic, I church hopped too. So I also speak protestant. And…. I was received into the church at the Easter vigil in 1991. It is really cool to translate Catholic speak to protestant speak. My journey to the Catholic church had me comparing the Bible to official Catholic teaching and I did not see a contradiction and this from the point of Sola Scriptora. When properly understood, the Bible supports the Catholic faith. How could it not? After all, it was codified by the Catholic church.

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  6. Charlie, as I was pondering your several recent posts, I found myself thinking about the value of knowing something to be true or to be truly understood versus moments or situations where the discussion is put into relative terms. It came to me that in many respects, relativism is a negative, a corruption of understanding, sometimes blatantly overt but sometimes incredibly subtle.

    That, in turn, got me to thinking about science and the scientific method (properly and rigorously followed, it is anything but relative) and how the Theory of Relativity fed back into the zeitgeist of the middle of the 20th century and created some serious and subtle corruptions in people’s understandings about what is true and truly understood. And that makes me wonder if the union of faith and reason would say that we will ultimately find the Theory of Relativity in the field of the Sciences to be like the theories of communism by Karl Marx and the Noble Savage by Rousseau, a way for the satan to inject a corrupting influence into people’s understanding of the world, especially in ways that devalue having fixed and anchored understandings on which to build our society’s foundation.

    Now I want everyone to know that I’m not saying the Theory of Relativity is wrong. In many ways scientists have tested it and verified its projections. (I have one test that appears to fail, but I’m more likely to be wrong than right on that.) However, and interestingly, it seems very difficult if not impossible to meld Relativity with Quantum Mechanics in certain respects, and this has caused a bit of a scientific logjam. The former is relative, the latter is as far as I can tell *not* relative (more like indeterminate, which is not the same as relative).

    Jack Hiller might want to chime in here. I’m really pretty far out on this particular limb with Wile E. Coyote, sawing furiously.

    My point isn’t to disprove Relativity but more to bring up the idea that we might all be wary of *any* work, scientific, social, religious or otherwise, that proposes to make things appear relative, because it seems so often that the big theories or hypotheses or philosophies that propose relativism at their core seem so often to result in some form of corruption.

    My path back toward the Church has been an intellectual one. I guess I would say that this comment of mine is my way of realizing the strength and wide range of the phrase “the union of faith and reason.”

    Life isn’t only about finding anchoring truths in many different or separate areas. It’s about finding in every area anchoring truths that don’t offend or that even support moral clarity as well, and in return, if a new idea is morally ambiguous or corrupting, maybe it isn’t actually true.

    Why would God build a Universe that in itself would provide truths in its structure that lead to corruption of morals? He wouldn’t. His Universe should provide truths that uplift us. A virtuous circle that allows scientists to know physical fundamentals that enhance moral order and religious people to know a moral order that is consistent with what the scientists find. And that in turn means that scientists aren’t a lesser order of people to religious people but rather that we are all in this together. Equal before God even as we pursue different paths to know Him.

    And if it is later found out that the Theory of Relativity is wrong because the Universe is not, indeed could not, ever be relative, well, then, you folks heard it here first!

    However, if Charlie or Jack or Desmond or Beckita or anyone else here proves to me that my speculations about the union of faith and morals are the equivalent of talking out of my hat, then I will delete this comment and its sub-comments, which like Schrodinger’s Cat will mean the entire debate never actually happened. 😀 Heh, heh 😀

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    1. Such a beautiful comment Steve. It hit me while reading your post. I understand if there was one body in the universe, then velocity would not exist because it is always relative to a different object. If there was no other object, then how would velocity be measured? Early on, it sunk in that physics in general is almost always described with one object relative to another. So if the theory of relativity were to some how change, the term would not go away. So the thought I had was let’s change the terminology to something like the theory of relationship. I think this can hold as physics can accurately be described in terms one object in relationship to another. This terminology can be more aligned to God and theology in that these studies are oriented towards relationships; God and man, man and man, husband and wife, etc. We humans could not survive without God and relationship and physics would not hold without relationship between two bodies. What do you think?

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      1. That’s pretty interesting, Doug, but I’m not sure whether it is a fix for the problem or merely word-play. I agree that relationships are massively important. Maybe they are everything. Does that mean that the Theory of Relativity could profitably be recast as the Theory of Relationship? I’m tempted to say that that is above my pay grade. 🙂

        Again, my emphasis is on the benefits of “the union of faith and reason” rather than picking apart the Theory of Relativity, but it occurs to me that if you could actually recast that theory in terms of relationships and have that enable the merging of the Theory of Relationship or relational movement with Quantum Mechanics, that would be quite cool.

        I say you should go for it! 🙂

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        1. Yup. That’s where I am going chap. If the opportunity, after the storm, presents itself, I may lobby for that. Maybe…. Just maybe, I will just start using that terminology now and see if I can get it to naturally spread. Hmmmm.

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    2. Steve BC, your reasoning seems sound to me, elegantly and straightforwardly confirms what I understand about faith and reason, but who am i to judge? Lol The following point that you make–“And that makes me wonder if the union of faith and reason would say that we will ultimately find the Theory of Relativity in the field of the Sciences to be like the theories of communism by Karl Marx and the Noble Savage by Rousseau, a way for the satan to inject a corrupting influence into people’s understanding of the world, especially in ways that devalue having fixed and anchored understandings on which to build our society’s foundation”–reminds me of a remark made by my Uncle who worked with Martin Marietta developing navigation systems for Hubble and other projects. He said that when calculating trajectory of rockets, if one is even a small part of a millimeter off in the calculations on Earth this means that the rocket will miss landing on the moon by miles. Are you familiar with Dr. Robert Sungenis’ book The Principle which is about modern science’s potential major flaw regarding heliocentrism vs geocentrism? Does his work regard that “one test that appears to fail” to which you refer?

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      1. Just so you are aware, we are not going to get into a discussion of geocentricism here, either (geocentricism being the theory that the sun and planets revolve around the earth).

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        1. Thank God. I used to be familiar with a scholar who held to that. I thought, well if he wants to believe in it – so be it. I don’t. And I’m comfortable with my belief [which I will not describe] and am equally comfortable with anyone taking the opposite view.

          What I’m discussing is not the theory which we are not going to discuss. What peaked my interest was my memory of this man trying to browbeat me with claims that he was right, that I had to change my view to agree with him. He made it pretty clear that he would not rest till I knuckled under and voiced agreement with a position I strongly disagreed with.

          This happened about 18 years ago. And it wasn’t the first time I had run into someone who would become very irritated, even disturbed, when and if someone disagreed with them.

          My major observation is that over the ensuing years, I’ve been running into more and more people who are strident in their demands that everyone agree with them. Not to get political, but, this is a hallmark of the Radical Left these days – and has been for a number of years now.

          When you work closely with colleagues [especially in academe] there is a certain amount of healthy give and take necessary to keep an institution from going completely off the rails. A cursory look at Washington, D.C., give us a clear picture of an obvious case of the alternative outcome. That kind of outcome is always so unpleasant that newcomers are chary about entering in.

          Prime Examples today in Wshington, D.C.1) I is becoming more and more difficult to get highly qualified people to run for public office. 2) The current administration is having to look harder and harder to find men and women who are willing to go through the aggressiveness of the confirmation process.

          Civility is going by the boards so fast that I pretty much try to stay with people of good will, who can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s getting harder and harder to find. Where I work it is not a great problem – that’s one of the main reasons I stay there.

          All my love in Christ

          p.s., I’ve developed some serious eyesight limitations over the last couple of decades. One of them is the ability to see things clearly on screens and monitors. None of the gadgets they sell to deal with that problem have been of any help.

          So I ask your patience when you run into typos – many which upon visual review I miss. The good news is that they tell me that my eyesight at my age should have already gone through most of its rapid change.

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          1. Let me put your mind at ease, Des. We delight in glorious and abundant typos here for the sake of souls.

            My mind is at ease that there are folks like you and Charlie doing the heavy lifting in certain areas, grooming more to follow and continue that portion of the work.

            Your reply made me recall something from a couple days ago, tied to the earlier reference Charlie made to “roughnecks.” Briefly, the Westworld facility located in this part of town just played host to “Bike Week” which attracts 1000’s of bikers from far and wide. The leather and growling tailpipe sort. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a neighborhood and event seemingly more at odds, and yet every year, the lions and the lambs do a pretty good job of not only coexisting, but dare I say, edifying one another.

            Maybe it’s because the bikers feel painfully conspicuous, or that they realize they’re simply guests here. Maybe it’s because the folks in this neighborhood are fearless, or more likely that they rely heavily on a real sense of community, which is ironic, because this is such a transient part of the country made up of a mishmash of snowbirds and transplants from all walks. Heck, maybe it’s just the sun and warmth. Who knows. I tend to think that people go off the rails when they feel isolated and alone, which is why Charlie’s repeated examples particularly resonate with me. To be nimble, for the most part, among any collection of folks, made up of unique personas, even ones that throw out challenges that aren’t really challenges.

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            1. MP, I understand and appreciate everything you said here.

              There is one point [which I privately previously made to Charlie] that most folks won’t understand till they are quite elderly: At a certain point in your life where you realize that your time could be short, you don’t wish to waste a second of it. Why? Because like never before, you then really begin to understand what it means when Scripture and the Saints tell you you will have to answer for every idle word, and every wasted moment.

              What does that mean to the person who is in full realization of that??? It means you seek now almost exclusively the company of people who either, 1) You can help on their pilgrimage, or 2) are qualified to so help you.

              Arguing with arguers who think they are trying to prove to everyone how smart they are [people who really are smart don’t have to fret about convincing other people ;-)] — that is one of the most useless wastes of your time. Why again? Because they are never going to admit you can teach them anything they don’t know, and they don’t remotely know much of anything to teach to anyone else.

              The best thing you can do with that kind of person is just to pray for them. Discussion with such is almost always a waste of time — because they aren’t seeking truth — they are just wasting their own time trying to convince others how smart they are. They also almost always have an immense inferiority complex which is driving this kind of behavior.

              Now someone might say, ‘Well then tell them they are smart and be done with it, that will make them feel better.” That, in my 78 years of experience, is like throwing a handful of hamburger to a tiger while hoping he will eat you last.

              When and if such a person realizes and concentrates on the fact that, compared even with the least intelligent angels – they are dumber than the proverbial ‘box of rocks’, then there is hope they will begin to grow in this area. I don’t have time left to affect that with such kinds.

              So I try to spend the time God still has for me by associating with eager minded seminarians, and/or laymen – who are seekers of truly – either whom I can help, or those who can help me. Neither one are ever the kind discussed above.

              But I do pray for that kind.

              All my love in Christ


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              1. Thank you for this, Desmond. I’ve been wondering about a change I’ve been going through over the past year. In relatively sudden terms, I’ve stopped being interested at all in discussing certain supposedly major public issues which I have often dealt with before at great length (and happily or determinedly). These include Global Warming and Socialism, along with some personal-level issues. In my recent eyes, by now you either get why these are power plays with no value inherent in themselves or are almost invincibly attached to your own ignorance or an unwillingness to do your own homework.

                It’s such a new attitude for me that I’ve noted it even as I couldn’t really explain it. However, I’m sure I’m still invincibly ignorant of other topics, since this is a recent phenomenon for me! 😀

                This comment is really helpful, Desmond.

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                1. I too, have been experiencing some of these same changes. Is it age? Or, God lovingly changing my focus. The changes are surprising in some areas, as in-“Wow, is this really me? I would never have thought this wouldn’t matter to me anymore.”
                  I am really being drawn to communities which are cloistered and with the vow of silence.
                  Oh, if only, more people pondered being silent.

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                    1. Love it, HTTP. This reminds me of the folks at EWTN exhorting folks to turn off their TVs to unplug from distraction. 😂 But I totally get your advocation for silence. Cardinal Sarah’s book on its power says it well.

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                  1. I am also experiencing this change. It is a ‘letting go’ of the unnecessary and delving into the precious. It makes sense why I strive, each day, to obtain a Plenary Indulgence. Truly, this gem of gold slips past many fingers.

                    In today’s second reading, liturgy of the hours; St Andrew of Crete speaks of this change. How fitting we here are acknowleging on Passion (Palm) Sunday.


                    “Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation.

                    … Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.”


                    The above iconreader web link is a treasure. Very worth while contemplation on ‘being like children’.

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              2. I understand. I’ve watched wise ones up trail many a time, such as my Grandfather. He was breeding and training horses well into his 80’s. Then as he slowed, became more frail, and lost most of his vision, he found even keener focus. Another consolation was the return of his singing voice. Made him seem even more robust. Yeah, I would say God blessed him to accomplish the most in that last stretch to 100. To everything there is a season.

                Reading SteveBC’s comment below is an interesting thing as I find myself undergoing something of the same. For me, one moment the self-assurance of where you’re going, the next an ill-timed confrontation with a new proposal. Change. Not just your garden variety change. A bone-rattling change at first. And then… not so much a shift in winds and direction, as the softest and subtlest of… what?… a call?… a word? No words. Some days it might even seem best ignored. Other days, a solemn thing. Somewhat disorienting, but not the disorientation of the times. Maybe that detachment Steve’s getting at with less and less of an impulse to cling –– or flee.

                Don’t know. In Faith matters, I recognize that I’m well-formed, and well-read enough to know that I don’t know much of anything. But I do know enough at this point to trust in God’s timing and plan. Says the wee soul as it drags the rest along.

                I appreciate your perspective.

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                1. I should clarify that in the final line that I meant “drags the rest of me (my humanity) along.” I was also tempted to say that maybe I’m just having a bout with indigestion, yet more evidence of the waggish part of me I may never shake.

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                  1. I haven’t reached that moment in life where I feel that my time is run short….yet! But I’ve given thought to it when I think of somethings I’d like to do but realise I may not live long enough to do them.
                    As a turtle farmer this is a constant challenge. Some species take several decades to mature, especially tortoises of the genus Geochelone which take upwards of 30 years to mature. I know I cannot add them to my list of breeders as I’m certain I’ll not be around by the time they start to produce and surely don’t want to fund a 30 year project before any financial return on them. Most of the species I breed need 3-5 years to mature, but this still equates to a 10-15 year wait for the F3 generations to mature! I look forward to any of my children or grandchildren who become interested in turtle farming to inherit this labor of love. It’s actually rather easy but painfully slow to get started. But, after all, turtles are famouse for how slow they are and breeding them is no different.
                    I get excited by the thought of eternity though. It doesn’t drag me down to conscern myself with death since so many saints claim (and do) continue to effect this life from the other side. There I expect to have no concerns with the “future” or time constraints.
                    With the exception of my immediate family and those on this site, I have few people who I can edify or be edified by. The others I do know are fringe believers at best and atheists at worst. But I love them anyway. I have come to believe that God wants them to come home too- so, He made them my friends. Maybe I won’t see them ever convert or agree to or accept salvation, but I do not doubt that God is working His mysteries through our lives together and in the end, He will save them because of this. He gave us each other, some in need of faith and a living witness to it. Others, a chance to be loved and who by all accounts, do not deserve this love… but gets it anyway. Someone who only thinks of themselves and accounts everything according to thier terms of gain but by the stubborness of a friend gets a glimpse of the other side of love, the faithful, self-less side. And through this accompaniment thier hardened hearts crack open and find a beat or two for another.
                    So, as the poem goes:
                    “Do not lead, I may not follow. Do not follow, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend”.
                    So I accompany them, pray for them and love them and hope that God will do the rest.

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                    1. Good pondering Phillip. So you are a turtle farmer?
                      How does one ever decide to do that? Watching turtles grow sounds like a good Ignatius spiritual exercise. Thats why you must come up withese profound insights.

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                    2. I’m glad that you framed it as turtle farming instead of turtle ranching. I briefly had an image of the hired hands –– a bunch of bemused turtlepokes working the ‘herd.’ Gary Larson (“The Far Side”) would have a field day with that.

                      Two of the rare critters I cross paths with in the desert are tortoises and road runners. Hares (jackrabbits) are a dime a dozen.

                      I can’t add anything useful to your perspective on such things, other than to note that I share it.

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                    3. How about introducing turtle roping at the rodeo? We would have to give the turtle a 10 minut head start out of the shoot though. That would be a great thing to watch from row H with ketchup on my hot dog. Yee haw!

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                    4. I’ve wrangled many a turtle Doug. Large snapping turtles are the dinosaurs of the Chelonian world both in size and actions. A large softshell turtle (Apalone) can be quite the beast too. They have extremely long necks, strong jaws and razor sharp claws and the know-how to use them effectively. One species is named ferox which is Latin for ferocious! Guess you can imagine what they are like to catch! But catch them I did- then packed them out of the river on a kayak, loaded them into a truck, brought them home to be medicated, acclimated and finally introduced into a pond to be bred and the eggs collected, incubated and the babies sold both to retail and wholesale customers.
                      As for “working the the herd” MP, we once used a natural rock formation above a waterfall to corral adult River Cooters (Pseudemys concinna) in a river in GA. They gathered on this spot once a year to breed and bask in fairly large numbers.
                      Wading through the murky water we hand collected them tucked up against the rock shelfs, trading them out for size and sex until a good ration of males and females were selected. I guess if I was a more professional outfit I could have “branded” them with my “Ranches” brand (by the use of pit tags).

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                    5. That is amazing Phillip. I am now proud to say I know a turtle farmer. Last summer I was staying up at my shack on a shaker built pond and went down to the shore to read and pray my morning devotions. When I got to the shore, there was a sizable snapping turtle in my spot just sitting on the sand which was part of a large rock outcrop. He had to climb about 6 feet up a steep slope to get there. I thought for a moment, ugh! I don’t want to see snapping turtles. I go swimming in that pond. I pondered whether to kill it or let it go. My experience as a young lad seeing my younger brother with heavy finger bleeding due to a snapping turtle bite flashed through my mind. However, compassion for God’s critters got the best of me. So I grabbed a near by stick and chased it back into the water. A few sneers at me and then he disappeared under the water. I also figured if there is one snapper there, there has to be more. I don’t think exterminating one is going to clear the pond of snappers. I went back to my devotions admiring God’s beauty in nature.

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                2. Steve’s post rattled me along with Desmonds. I’m honestly not detached enough from my life here. I love my wife, my home, my friends, my work and folks here. Mostly, I want to live to see all my kids return to the faith and watch my grand kids grow.
                  Intellectually, I get it. I cannot comment, but just taking some notes and pocketing them for later when it starts to hit home. These folks are a great gift.

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                  1. Doug, you wrote,

                    “I’m honestly not detached enough from my life here. I love my wife, my home, my friends, my work and folks here. Mostly, I want to live to see all my kids return to the faith and watch my grand kids grow.”

                    You well may know everything I write here – better than I do. But just in case, will say a few words.

                    There is nothing wrong with simply loving your wife, friends, work, and ‘folks here’, kids, grandkids. Nothing! Nothing, that is, unless there is a DISORDERED attachment to any of them.

                    In fact, we men are commanded to love our spouse as we love [and care for] our own bodies. All of us are commanded to love our neighbors, AND, are also commanded [not merely requested] to love even our enemies. All of those – with the possible exceptions of enemies – normatively constitute ‘attachments’.

                    Only DISORDERED attachments constitute a problem. What are the disordered ones?

                    We are called to love our families and friends. It’s only wrong to have a DISORDERED attachment to them, which is the case when;

                    1. We love them more than God, or
                    2. We allow them to inordinately distract us from our spiritual life, growth in our interior life.

                    Concerning our parents and spouses, the love that exists in these relationships, God wills it and wants it to grow. But it must be subordinated to our love for Him.

                    The key test is, are any of these attachments disordered in the sense that they decrease our love for God, or, are they getting in the way of our spiritual welfare.

                    Example: You said you love your home. Nothing wrong with that when viewed as a ‘good’ supplied by God. But if it were to consume you to make it look beautiful to the point of getting in the way of your prayer life or spiritual reading – that could well be disordered.

                    There is a saying in Spiritual Theology, “You can’t take your own spiritual temperature.” If this is bothering you in any way, talk to your parish priest about it – or even better, your spiritual director.

                    If you already know all this stuff, please assume that God used me as a very simple tool to bring the details up afresh.

                    All my love in Christ


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                    1. And the beauty of a forum is the benefit for one and all to take in the knowledge and wisdom as either something new or something afresh. Thanks so much for hanging around with us, Desmond.

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                    2. Des, thanks for the words of encouragement. They are a good reminder to me and I imagine many here. I just started reading a condensed theology of the body book and some things are leaping out at me for the first time. I am always amazed at the inexhaustible treasures that keep popping out of our church. I just heard a Sister Hellena Burns give a talk on “we are a body” versus “we have a body”. The answer is we are a body. This clicked with me on many fronts. One in particular that connected the dots is Christ is fully human and fully divine. As such, we share in this to the degree that we are made in the image of God. This means our bodies are not detached from who we are. So it is a beautiful thing to embrace the fullness of our humanity as Christ did. It is a great gift. The other thing that hit me is that when we die and go to heaven, we will still not be complete. It will not be until the resurrection when are reunited with our body that we become complete. This is just the beginning of many, many implications. Ok. Just took a walk around the yard with Lambzie and got an irritation in my eye. Go figure. What was I saying about embracing humanity? Aches and pains too? I guess it comes with the territory; for now anyway. Thanks for being here!

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                    3. Desmond, perhaps this incident in my life pertains to what you speak. My maternal grandmother had a stroke that pretty much debilitated her in her late 50’s and my grandfather, who was the chief pressman for the Denver Catholic Register and worked closely with Msgr John Cavanagh, became her sole caretaker for close to twenty years. (Grandpa taught us all how to fold “pressmens hats” out of newsprint.)

                      When Grandma died, Grandpa was heartbroken and died himself within the year. That lesson which has stuck with me all these years was my mother’s comment upon hanging up the phone after learning of Grandpa’s death. She said, “Perhaps he love Grandma too much.” When I asked her how you could love anyone too much, she said just about what you said, Desmond. She said, “We’re supposed to love God most of all and I think maybe Grandpa wouldn’t have been so sad since Grandma died if that was the case.” She wasn’t judging him; she made a simple observation of someone we all loved very much and I wasn’t scandalized by her words. Even at ten years old, my Mom’s observation just struck me at the truth.

                      Now I would say that back then she identified for me the subordination upon which you expound, Desmond. They are both messages that resonate with truth. Thank you.

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                    4. Beckita, Am using the ole ‘reply to my own post’ trick to say: It is always a pleasure to be in the company of those who are and act like ladies and gentleman. A greater pleasure yet when they are my faithful co-religionists, Catholic ladies and gentlemen who are faithful to the Church in all things.

                      And how does Cardinal John Henry Newman say we can identify such ladies and gentlemen? Speaking of the male said he said, “A gentleman is someone who can disagree without being disagreeable. Had he spoken of he ladies in that vein, He would have likewise said, “A lady is someone who can disagree without being disagreeable.

                      All my love in Christ


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                    5. Wonderfully said, Dez. The people who comprise this community are beautifully diverse (in the best definition of that term), so faith-filled, and real troopers who have, are and know they will continue to weather whatever trials God – from Pure Love – deems to allow each one of us. When someone asks for prayer, that one can count on people here interceding for their intention(s) as well as offering words of empathy and encouragement. And we have a wide readership of folks who choose not to comment, our silent readers. (I still bump into people from around our diocese and in my city who tell me they read this site. I heard once from a priest that one of his parishioners had said: Really? Beckita is actually Beckie from Missoula?) I’ve mentioned before that some of my favorite memories in my active teaching days were of students who very much learned by observing, perhaps shy and certainly the quiet and deep-thinking types who eventually busted wide open, in confidence, with all manner of wonderful observations and insights. I know we connect with people well beyond our active commenters.

                      SO grateful for all who gather here. In the crowd attending the concert in the following video, the tears evoked via the music and lyrics, reflect – to me – the pain of life’s trials and the yearning, the hunger for God, in the faces of the ordinary people gathered there. When the going gets really tough in this Storm – no matter where in the world we may be – rather than dressed in glitz with makeup and tuxedos, we’ll be concerned about greater things: tending to our neighbors’ needs while evangelizing the lost, broken and frightened as Christ’s Light in each one of us beams His Hope, Love and Truth through each of us to satisfy every hungry heart willing to turn to Him again – or maybe for the first time, given these post-Christian times.

                      In gratitude to all the folks who hang out here, sharing knowledge and wisdom, joys and sorrows: Thanks for walking through this Storm in solidarity.

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                3. Now, that is a laugh out loud, with even a snort in there. Man, I am right there with you on the…don’t know much of anything.

                  I will sit and look at people as they walk by and pretty much, everyone’s head looks the same but man, that brain inside-wow, brings tears to my eyes at how magnificent God is to put perhaps a gifted musician in one, a talented surgeon in another, or a simple delightful child brain in another.
                  Ok, now full out weeping at the majesty of God.

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          2. The other good news about the typos, Desmond, is a tradition we have here (Thank you, Doug.) that with every typo, a soul is released from purgatory. In truth, it’s a joy to remember them with an aspiration of love as they make their way Home.

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      2. Actually, no, III. I’ve heard that Relativity says that if you are in a box (like an elevator cab), and the acceleration is 1g, you would not be able to tell whether you were in a box sitting on the surface of the earth or in an elevator accelerating upward at 1g.

        This is obviously false. Given a sensitive enough device for measuring gravity, or a tall enough box, you will find that acceleration is everywhere the same in an elevator box accelerating at 1g but weaker at the top of the box than the bottom if the box is sitting still on the earth.

        What I don’t know is whether this test is actually considered part of the implications of Relativity or not. It may stem from a misunderstanding on my part from way back when I was younger.

        I’m not inclined to discuss this further. My main point is focused on the “union of faith and reason” being a much more powerful way of looking at human efforts to know God than I previously have thought, and that the ability and opportunity to have anchored knowledge or truths is far more important in living a good life than I had previously considered. 🙂

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        1. Thank you for your thoughts. Steve. I don’t do well with Physics and actually lost sleep when I was young pondering over, Which weighs more, a pound of feathers of a pound of gold? It might sound funny now but I was greatly relieved to work that puzzle out. (Hint: It’s the gold of course. Lol)

          Even though I am female I tend to not trust my feelings and am more comfortable in my head, for this reason, the union of faith and reason seems to have stood me well in the “rocky relationship” times of m life. I knew, for instance, that even if it didn’t feel like it, I could rely on the grace available in the sacrament of matrimony to see me through to the end. I hope that my tenacity and understanding will prove true in the end.

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        2. Be careful Steve I don’t want to see you sucked into a critical race condition or an endless for/next loop. Your brain could be in jeopardy if that occurs 😎

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            1. You will have to dunk your head in a cold barrel of water. I can picture it now. Head goes down, sizzling sound and a puff of steam coming up from the water. It’s just like when the Intel processors heat up when they are cranking lots of calculations. 😎

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    3. I’ve got no answers for you, SteveBC, but your ponderings have proven to be no small part of a series of fortunate events this morning and I am grateful that we are held in the palm of His hand. Because the potential was certainly there for a series of unfortunate events.

      Imagine a fatigue and disorientation from head to bones in the early am this morning, and apparently temptation is an early riser too. Probably more accurate to say that evil never sleeps. Good thing my wee watch dog is a light sleeper, because at the slightest stirring, there she was. There she was indeed, tail wagging with complete delight in her every expression of loyal dogginess. How it shames me sometimes that I am not that way 24/7 in my response/relationship to God.

      Sleepiness doesn’t always dissipate instantly, nor the miasma of evil, thus shaky legs slowly grinding with one foot in front of the other… hanging in the balance as to whether they will drag towards something not in the best interest of the soul, or launch into the complete safety of His heart. In this case it was a slog towards the morning caffeine with pup in hand, fiddling through some morning reading on the electronic device.

      So there was your pondering. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t prepared to proceed so early (and still in the midst of battle) with talk about science, but the subtle creative and poetic tone in them was eye opening. Add to that a light morning breeze, further wicking away the lingering stench with the fresh aromas of Spring. The wee pup was off doing her thing at that point, chasing some lizard under the scrub. It was then that I was aware of my Guardian Angel.

      Why don’t we first launch ourselves into God’s arms at the first sign of trouble? Why don’t we stay in His arms at all times? For that matter, what does it mean to be “in the palm of His hand,” or “in His arms?” God The Father is pure spirit. To speak of hands and arms must be to make something more understandable, more accessible, when speaking of Him who is beyond our comprehension.

      I could say that I looked up at some point (better late than never). I actually did physically look up, because I was not going to win that battle myself, nor return to spiritual equilibrium on my own. When we seek God is it necessary to look up for Him who is everywhere? I’m content to think in terms of Him being so far ‘above’ me, so no need for me to inquire further. It’s enough to contemplate Love Who humbly helps us.

      I can’t really speak in terms of love from a wee pup, but I can see something symbolic there. I can certainly run to God for the source of all Love, Love Himself. It pleases Him for us to recognize love in our neighbor… find Him there. Thus a series of fortunate events, as we continue our day, aided by some blessings of science that make our ability to connect more immediate. A symbol, you could say, and a prompt for us to connect in spirit as Our Lord expresses and says it.

      Liked by 5 people

    4. Steve, whether or not Einstein’s theory of relativity will ever dispositively be proven wrong is something I would rather not comment upon at this time – [maybe never]. But I do know that I first ran into the idea that the speed of light changes – is not a constant. A number of scientists have are investigating this now – and have been for the last 7 years or so.

      The point is that Einstein’s thought and theory of Relativity say that, the speed of light is constant. I’m not going to go into the proffered evidence – which can be read in a number of source documents. There are other papers out there by physicists saying there is an increasing body of evidence that the speed of light in general is slowing. So here is my intro to the article – and then present that its content:

      General Introduction:

      The central point is that Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’ is based upon the speed of light being a constant. Changes in that speed – I have no way of knowing how much the amount of measured change in light’s speed would have on relativity theory’s outcomes.

      I’ll put the text from one article about this up now – and article which presents the pros and cons on the idea that the speed of light changes. I chose this one because it stays with basics. No knowledge of Quantum Physics or Theoretical Math necessary to follow it. [Again, I’m interested only in serious discussion, not argument. This is nothing I’d be willing to die for one way or the other ;-). Here is the text from the article from 2013 – it’s five years old:

      Speed of Light May Not Be Constant, Physicists Say
      The speed of light is constant, or so textbooks say. But some scientists are exploring the possibility that this cosmic speed limit changes, a consequence of the nature of the vacuum of space.
      The definition of the speed of light has some broader implications for fields such as cosmology and astronomy, which assume a stable velocity for light over time. For instance, the speed of light comes up when measuring the fine structure constant (alpha), which defines the strength of the electromagnetic force. And a varying light speed would change the strengths of molecular bonds and the density of nuclear matter itself.

      A non-constant speed of light could mean that estimates of the size of the universe might be off. (Unfortunately, it won’t necessarily mean we can travel faster than light, because the effects of physics theories such as relativity are a consequence of light’s velocity). [10 Implications of Faster-Than-Light Travel]

      Cosmic vacuum and light speed

      The first, by lead author Marcel Urban of the Université du Paris-Sud, looks at the cosmic vacuum, which is often assumed to be empty space. The laws of quantum physics, which govern subatomic particles and all things very small, say that the vacuum of space is actually full of fundamental particles like quarks, called “virtual” particles. These matter particles, which are always paired up with their appropriate antiparticle counterpart, pop into existence and almost immediately collide. When matter and antimatter particles touch, they annihilate each other.

      Photons of light, as they fly through space, are captured and re-emitted by these virtual particles. Urban and his colleagues propose that the energies of these particles — specifically the amount of charge they carry — affect the speed of light. Since the amount of energy a particle will have at the time a photon hits it will be essentially random, the effect on how fast photons move should vary too.
      As such, the amount of time the light takes to cross a given distance should vary as the square root of that distance, though the effect would be very tiny — on the order of 0.05 femtoseconds for every square meter of vacuum. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second. (The speed of light has been measured over the last century to high precision, on the order of parts per billion, so it is pretty clear that the effect has to be small.)

      To find this tiny fluctuation, the researchers say, one could measure how light disperses at long distances. Some astronomical phenomena, such as gamma-ray bursts, produce pulses of radiation from far enough away that the fluctuations could be detected. The authors also propose using lasers bounced between mirrors placed about 100 yards apart, with a light beam bouncing between them multiple times, to seek those small changes.

      Particle species and light speed
      The second paper proposes a different mechanism but comes to the same conclusion that light speed changes. In that case, Gerd Leuchs and Luis Sánchez-Soto, from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light in Erlangen, Germany, say that the number of species of elementary particle that exist in the universe may be what makes the speed of light what it is.
      Leuchs and Sanchez-Soto say that there should be, by their calculations, on the order of 100 “species” of particle that have charges. The current law governing particle physics, the Standard Model, identifies nine: the electron, muon, tauon, the six kinds of quark, photons and the W-boson. [Wacky Physics: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature]

      The charges of all these particles are important to their model, because all of them have charges. A quantity called impedance depends on the sum of those charges. The impedance in turn depends on the permittivity of the vacuum, or how much it resists electric fields, as well as its permeability, or how well it supports magnetic fields. Light waves are made up of both an electric and magnetic wave, so changing those quantities (permittivity and permeability) will change the measured speed of light.
      “We have calculated the permittivity and permeability of the vacuum as caused by those ephemeral virtual unstable elementary particles,” Soto-Sanchez wrote in an email to LiveScience. “It turns out, however, from such a simple model one can discern that those constants contain essentially equal contributions of the different types of electrically charged particle-antiparticle pairs: both, the ones known and those so far unknown to us.”

      Both papers say that light interacts with virtual particle-antiparticle pairs. In Leuchs’ and Sanchez-Soto’s model, the impedance of the vacuum (which would speed up or slow down the speed of light) depends on the density of the particles. The impedance relates to the ratio of electric fields to magnetic fields in light; every light wave is made up of both kinds of field, and its measured value, along with the permittivity of space to magnetic fields, governs the speed of light.

      Some scientists are a bit skeptical, though. Jay Wacker, a particle physicist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, said he wasn’t confident about the mathematical techniques used, and that it seemed in both cases the scientists weren’t applying the mathematical tools in the way that most would. “The proper way to do this is with the Feynman diagrams,” Wacker said. “It’s a very interesting question [the speed of light],” he added, but the methods used in these papers are probably not sufficient to investigate it.

      The other issue is that if there really are a lot of other particles beyond what’s in the Standard Model, then this theory needs some serious revision. But so far its predictions have been borne out, notably with the discovery of the Higgs boson. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any more particles to be found — but if they are out there they’re above the energies currently achievable with particle accelerators, and therefore pretty heavy, and it’s possible that their effects would have shown up elsewhere.”

      That’s the end. Anyone sufficiently interested can find many more recent articles by doing a search on the series of words ” speed light not constant”.

      Al my love in Christ


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      1. Fascinating stuff. I wonder if the expansion of the universe affects all this. With cosmic back ground radiation at 3 degrees Kelvin, this tells me there is always energy in space that is affecting matter. Since the universe is still expanding, is the cosmic back ground radiation also spreading out? In other words, is it decreasing as the universe expands? If so, how does that affect physics over all? I refer to permativity often in my engineering work as related to velocity changes of electromagnetic signals traveling through different printed circuit board materials. In free space, they travel at the speed of light where as in other material, they slow down. It makes me marvel at God’s creation.

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        1. Doug, my guess is that sometime in the next century, they are going to make amazing discoveries in the area relationship variables at the particle level, i.e., they will uncover those effects which variations in the speed of light have on everything from particle physics to actual ‘readable’ causes and changes in gravitational strength/pull between objects in space which account for their respective inter-body speeds. I think these things will come to pass in the next century.

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          1. Well Desmond, when I get to heaven, I plan to host a large red wagon trip around the Universe. Many here have already signed up. We plan to marvel and admire the deep secrets of God’s creation around the universe. Will we understand it then? I like to think so, but I don’t know. I find one of the great beauties of our faith and creation is there is always something to learn and discover. It is hard to imagine this will not continue on the other side, but I do not know. “No eye has seen what God has prepared for those who love him”. You are welcome to join us on our wagon trip, but I may not be a good host as I think I will be transfixed on the wonders with my jaw dropped. 😊

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            1. Well, possibly it is time to repair to the teachings of Aquinas and other great scholastics on this. After the beatific vision, distance or matter will pose no obstacle to our bodies. If we marvel at a planet, galaxy or star cloud, all we will have to do is think about it with the wish to see it closely – and we will be there. How will this be possible? Because our glorified bodies will possess subtlety. Christ’s glorified body passed through walls without resistance. After the resurrection of the dead, all the bodies of the elect will possess this ‘subtlety’.

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              1. It’s true, Doug. We’ll BE the red wagons… movin’ and grovin’ through the universe via our own volition. And I’ll be able to eat hot fudge sundaes unceasingly without gaining a single ounce. Mmmmm.

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                    1. I’m a good ole fashioned hot fudge sundae guy. Vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whip cream, walnuts and 3 cherries on top. I always ask for more cherries because Lambzie likes them. Most times, I give them all to her. She has this secret weapon I call the manipu-lip. She takes her lower lip and curls it above her upper lip in pouting fashion and then there is no escape for me from the cuteness. There goes my cherries. That’s why I ask for extras in hopes that I manage to get at least one.

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                  1. Not a theologian, am a brother in Christ. Actually, the explanation is both philosophical & theological. Without solid philosophy, it is impossible to do good theology. [Now wasn’t that aphorism worth the price of admission?]

                    Here is Thomas’ discussion of this type of phenomenon. But you must read it all in order to comprehend the ‘why’ of it that you prefer Hot Fudge Sundaes over Banana Splits. 🙂

                    “Therefore, as forms exist in those things that have knowledge in a higher manner and above the manner of natural forms; so must there by an inclination surpassing the natural inclination, which is called the natural appetite. And this superior inclination belongs to the appetitive power of the soul, through which the animal is able to desire what it apprehends, and not only that to which it is inclined by its natural form. And so it is necessary to assign an appetitive power to the soul. (ST I, 80, 1.)

                    If the knowledge is intellectual knowledge, the appetite is intellectual, and is called the will. If the knowledge is sense knowledge, the appetite will be sense appetite, a tendency towards the good which is apprehended by the sense. It is called passion.

                    The appetite elicited by cognition is to be distinguished from the natural appetite of any potency. But the appetitive potencies possess both appetites. For example, the will, as a natural appetite, ecessarily seeks the good, any good. The will, as a power which depends on the apprehension of the intellect, may choose this particular good or that one. It is thus an elicited appetite. We strive for happiness necessarily (by nature), but not for this or that happiness.”

                    Now wasn’t that lovely?

                    All my love in Christ


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                    1. Totally lovely, Dez – if we may use the familiar form with one who has become our good friend. Look what you got from asking in jest, Doug, and by virtue of sharing this cyber home, we all share in the bounty… through Christ Our Lord. Amen. Now, please pass the hot fudge. I have a passion for another layer of gooey goodness.

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                    2. Beckita, yes by all means you may call me Dez. I don’t know why, but right now I see no reply button on a number of posts – so I answered you by replying to my own – which did have a reply button showing. Also, the like button doesn’t show on many of the posts anymore. The only thing you can’t call me is ‘later for dinner’.

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                    3. Thank you, Dez. You can try refreshing the page but if the “Like” option hasn’t been showing for a while, we need to holler: Steve BC…. But first, Desmond, let me get you to the page for how to activate the “Like” capability, found here. Hmmm.. that the ability to reply isn’t there is just plain (I hope) a fluke. Haven’t ever heard of that being a problem. Do tell if these problems continue and we’ll see what can be done for suggestions. Doug? MP? Any ideas?


                    4. Ok. My head is spinning on that one. I think I will sit in the corner and passionately enjoy my hot fudge sundae and ponder this. Oh. Just went to a wedding today where a close friend’s daughter got married. We had, guess what? Yup. Hot fudge sundaes. There were no cherries. So I went to the bar and got one from the bar condiments and placed it on Lambzies sundae. Made her smile. 😎

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                    5. Dez, our settings for WordPress only allow ten levels of comments. When someone Replies to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply to a Reply, then the next attempt to Reply will not succeed because there will be no Reply buttons at that 10th-indent level. Also, these are not “posts” but rather are more appropriately termed “comments.” Charlie and Beckita write and publish posts, to which we can comment all the way down to 10 levels.

                      With all this exacting precision, I guess I should have been a Jesuit. Ha!

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                    6. Yes, B, too much lack of precision at times from those who should be speaking with an upright spirit. And, too, it is incumbent on the hearer to hear with an upright spirit. Rightly, there has been a great deal of focus on the former for some time, but I also see a great movement, a great balancing of sorts to towards the latter.

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                    7. True that, MP. Looking forward to the days when the balance is struck so that a holy priesthood inspires and edifies a holy laity which, in turn, inspires and edifies a holy priesthood. We’ll get there. With a faithful fiat and God’s Grace, we will.

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            2. This is a just a guess, Doug, me thinks you’re the kind of driver who turns corners quickly; but since we won’t need seatbelts in the little red celestial wagon, it’ll be like a carnival ride without safety guards. However, you won’t be able to resist saying, Hold on your hats folks, off we go into the wild blue yonder! 🙂

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      2. In summary it seems that the more that is discovered–W-boson–the more there is to discover–Higgs boson and beyond–once the technology catches up with the possibility. I know that I connect things that may not be connected, but one of the polemic assertions of my atheist friends and relatives in regard to miracles like Juan Diego’s tilma and the images in rock of Our Lady of Las Lajas is that the science to explain them has not yet been invented. Desmond or anyone, do you have any good-natured suggestions to help discuss this argument?

        When I look through my “faith-colored glasses” it stands to reason that the existence of an infinitely creative God would be in line with the experiential facts that the more that is discovered the more there is to discover. To an atheist, however, it seems that the science to explain a supernatural artifact “not yet having been discovered” is sufficient reason to remain an atheist. The lines of communication are open and no one is beating anyone up. The discussions are good-natured and civil and I see no reason for the dynamics to change because the relationships are more important than the debate while at the same time the debate is part of the dynamics of the relationships.

        I thank you for your discussion on the speed of light not necessarily being a constant. I was unaware of this newish development.

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      3. Thank you for this, Desmond. I actually had heard a little about this a few years ago. Nice to get a little more info on it. When I read this line: “the vacuum of space is actually full of fundamental particles like quarks, called “virtual” particles.” I had two thoughts.

        One was a reminder that ancient Hindu scriptures (if I remember correctly) talk about knowledge of the vacuum, saying it isn’t empty but actually filled with massive amounts of energy. That is quite similar to current discussions of the energetic nature of the vacuum roiling with the constant creation of enormous numbers of virtual particles bubbling up and then annihilating themselves. Some interesting work has been done on trying to measure or even tap into this energy.

        The other was that like you I sometimes misread text, in my case due to dry-eye issues. When I read about virtual particles like quarks, I read them as “quirks” and now am kind of partial to calling the generic family of virtual particles with the overall name of “quirks”! 😀

        Liked by 3 people

        1. My neighbor across the street has the last name of Quirk. He sells Fluffernutter for a living. It would be neat if he sold particles of some sort. Interesting you pointed that out Steve because I never knew they were really called quarks.

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      4. Dear Desmond and Steve BC, I am surely enjoying all the discussion on these scientific theories. I find it fascinating, especially in the context of the wisdom and power of the Creator. I don’t even mind that I don’t understand it, to the point where I’m high-fiving myself for pronouncing the words correctly. God bless you both and all here.

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        1. That puts you above 75% of the American populace, who pronounce the word ‘nuclear’, as if it were spelled, ‘nucular’. Listen for it, an you’ll hear it pronounced the wrong way much more than the correct way.

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          1. Two of my pet peeves are the way most people pronounce nuclear and realtor. It is “noo’-clee-ehr” and “real’-tehr;” not “Noo’-que-lehr”” or “Real’-uh-tehr.” I cringe every time – and especially cringed when former Pres. Carter claimed to be a Nu-que-lehr physicist. For crying out loud, if you are going to be one, at least learn to pronounce it. And realtor only has two syllables.

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            1. I know incorrect pronunciations can be annoying, but it is true that language goes through phonological change over time. That said, hearing “gree’-vee-us” for gree’-vəs, during the Confetior used to distract the dickens out of me. Kinda’ ironic to get irritated when beating the breast while repenting for sins, for as St. Jerome says: “We wish to purify our hearts.”

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              1. Oh – and one I have given up on, though just a couple of generations ago almost everyone pronounced it correctly: Forte…when it is applied to musical notation, it is properly pronounced “for’-tay,” but when meaning a particular area of expertise, the proper pronunciation is simply “fort.” I suspect because of widescale music instruction, people have completely lost the distinction. I laughed aloud once when watching a Marx Brothers movie…Margaret Dumont asks Groucho at a party what his forte is (pronouncing it properly) and he responds, “I wish it was Knox.” I laughed because NO ONE any more will get the joke.

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              2. “That said, hearing “gree’-vee-us” for gree’-vəs, during the Confetior used to distract the dickens out of me.”

                Chuckles, Beckita. That was so common back in the 60s when the first translations came in, as I recall. Even the Priests were not faultless, leading the people with the aid of mikes, encouraging us to say the prayers out loud. Then, with the “old” Novus Ordo confiteor come 1970, it disappeared for 40 years. Then it reappeared in all its incorrect (in)glory back in 2011. Just like a time warp (relativity?). I’ve even relapsed betimes into mechanically saying “therefore I beseech Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel…” Because that was the way we learned it back as kids in the 60s, and it just flowed back. The power of memory. With scary, full-habited nuns teaching it back then. Thanks, Sister Francis Xavier and Mother Anthony. With whom, as a small boy, you did not mess. 😛

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                  1. Certainly am, Beckita and in fact we have a practice tonight. Yesterday, Palm Sunday, went very well, a mixture of traditional (Lauda Hierosalem, Benedictus qui venit, All Glory, Laud & Honour for the procession/blessing, and plainchant for the Mass) and modern (the organist/director’s own setting of part of Psalm 51 in English, which is quite effective but a little tricky as it’s in 12/8 time – lots of notes!).

                    We don’t do Holy Thursday any more in our church, as there are 2 in the Parish, and it’s now done in the other one. A sad reflection on the times, really, as they feel they couldn’t fill both. So I’ll go to the Carmelite church here in Dublin city centre after work, which is always packed and has a really good choir. Good Friday will be traditional enough, but I miss singing the Victoria “Popule Meus” which has been replaced by the boss-man’s own setting in English. Holy Saturday will be as per usual, usually finishing with the Hallelujah or the Regina Coeli by a 17th century French composer called Aichinger. Easter Sunday will be the same, more or less.

                    Looking forward to it all very much, anyway (slight musical quibbles aside – and what choir director can ever please everyone anyway?). God bless all, and have a blessed Holy Week and Easter. J.

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  7. So with two small children in a mixed and troubled marriage, recognizing that parenting required some kind of authority which I could tell from my kids’ behavior wasn’t me, like Charlie I started looking for that Authority. The Mormon missionaries were nice, clean-cut young men but for some mysterious reason they just stopped visiting the house. Not to worry! Soon after they stopped coming by, a couple of nice women from the Watch Tower Society came by and we began visiting. The one question they put to me that got me looking into God’s word was, “If the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible, why do you think God is Triune?” That same afternoon just as we were making arrangements for the next meeting when we’d talk about the Trinity, my husband came walking home from work–he taught philosophy and literature at the nearby community college. When my new Jehovah’s Witness friends were out of earshot he rather tersely inquired about them. God has a sense of humor, indeed. And a plan because He does will all men to be saved.

    After explaining who my new-found friends were, my husband firmly warned me that if I didn’t make those “crazy cultists” go away, he’d make them go away like he’d done with the Mormons. Then by the grace of God he continued with probably the most life-changing sentence for the both of us. He said, “If you want the truth you should go and look at the religion in which you were raised.”

    At that time, I was pretty sure that I already knew all there was to know about being Catholic; after all I’d attended a parochial grade school and I’d received all the sacraments. But I was looking, and God has a plan: life was feeling lonely and getting to be chaotic because the inmates–almost two years old and almost four–were running the asylum. I enrolled in an RCIA program and returned to the sacraments having finally learned that Jesus Himself is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. Imagine that: a cradle Catholic who made her First Communion in second grade and her First Confession in third grade (our class must have been some kind of experiment for teaching a gentler, kinder view of sin or something) but somehow in 26 years I never recall having heard that fundamental Catholic doctrine–not at home, not from the pulpit, and not in school or later in CCD classes. It turned out that there was lots I didn’t know about being Catholic.

    Skip ahead about two years and my husband, wanting a solid academic education for our children, decides that the best curriculum from which to homeschool would be a classical Catholic one. Sounded good to me. Neither of us was prepared for what happened next: in using that curriculum I found the Pearl of Great Price and that Authority I had been searching for–Holy Mother Church! The more I taught, the more I learned and the more I realized that although married in the Church and having presented a Baptismal certificate, my husband not only was not Catholic (which I knew) he wasn’t Christian and had no desire to recognize Jesus as anyone more than one of many historical good guys who “just happened to have a really terrific PR-man named Paul.” Now with four children and maybe a tad less chaos, the distance in the marriage developed a wall, too.

    I threw myself into apologetics and Scripture to learn as much as I could in hopes of having a God-centered, on-the-same-page parenting foundation as well as answers for my husband that could show Jesus to be the Messiah that He is. Although growing up in a non-religious home, my husband was drawn to orthodoxy and even studied with an Hasidic Rabbi for several years while teaching English at a Yeshiva. As I studied it became clear to me that either Jesus was Who He said He was and the path to God was the Roman Catholic Church, OR He was not God and the path to God was to be a Jew waiting for the Messiah. Seven years into our marriage I put this understanding to my husband asking him which he chose. His reply was devastatingly crushing to me. He said that he chose not to choose.

    Along the way, he did attempt to come into the Church. He’d grown fond of Tolkien, Lewis, John Henry Newman, Augustine, and others but what he found in the local parish did not match what he’d studied and understood the Church to be; so after less than a year, he stopped going.

    Skip ahead three more children and twenty-two more rocky years to about two months before my husband’s death. His diagnosis had been end-stage duodenal cancer. Coming home from work one evening I asked him, “What is the purpose for studying philosophy?” He replied, “To arrive at the truth.” I then asked him, “So you have the Truth standing before you like Pontius Pilate and you don’t recognize Him?” He held up his hand and said that he didn’t want to hear anymore about it. By this time after a couple of close calls, a life flight to Denver, and a lengthy stay in the hospital, he’d agreed to wear the brown scapular.

    Fast forward about month and a half. Again I’d come home from work and this time I asked him, “Ya know, it seems like you are ready to die, but it doesn’t seem like you’re ready to go to heaven. What is it? What is it about Jesus?” Finally, FINALLY after so many years of tears and struggles and prayers he said, “I just don’t get how Jesus could be God and after that how this Catholic Church could be His Church.” Next, the Holy Spirit began completing the work He’d been doing all along. Somehow I knew to say, “Oh, is that all? It sounds like you’re just missing the gift of Faith.”

    Then I asked him if he’d be willing to pray a prayer asking God to clear the way for this grace that I just knew He’d been waiting to give him. I was amazed when he agreed. So he prayed a deliverance prayer after me commanding that the spirit of unforgiveness and the spirit of unbelief go to the foot of the Cross where Jesus had already defeated them. After a pretty restful night and an uneventful day, I came home from work and asked him how he was doing. And he said, “I’ve been talking with my Jesus.” I know, right?! I asked him if he had peace and he said, “No, but I have solace and I want to talk to a priest.” He did. He made his confession, received Extreme Unction, slipped into a coma and about ten or twelve days later he died. And life goes on for him and for me one step at a time.

    The way I see it, without my husband I wouldn’t have looked for and found the Pearl of Great Price–the Mystical Body of Christ. And it is likely that without the blessings of the struggle in our marriage, I wouldn’t have turned to Jesus and His Church for answers which in turn allowed me to show Them to my husband. It was not a good marriage, but it was a perfect means to reach for and be captured by God because He wills all men to be saved IF they will. We have seven children who at this time are pretty much lost to the world. Please pray for their return. Thank you all.

    Liked by 11 people

      1. I’m heading to be before Our Lord soon, Audie. Thank you for your prayers. I am indeed eternally grateful for all here at ASOH.

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    1. Be assured of prayers. Two passages from Holy Scripture also come to mind.

      Mark 10:17-31 and Matt 11:30. The first being an example of burdensome things impeding our relationship with Christ, and the second the assurance of what God truly intends for us.

      A small part of me understands the attitude of your husband, even if poorly expressed, but you know from experience that these things are not resolved with mere human words or actions.

      I think of that movie, “The Mission.” There’s a scene wherein the struggling Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert DeNiro), having committed murder and endeavoring to repent, is dragging a netted collection of military weapons, armor and whatnot up the falls. We could each, from our own lives, give a name to that collection. Most often we could probably call it regrets.

      Seeing how cumbersome it appears, and considering how it may endanger the group, the apparently impetuous Brother Fielding (Liam Neeson) pulls out a machette and cuts the burden loose. There’s a pause, then Mendoza goes back to fetch the load, refastening it with heavy ropes to continue his penitential slog. Oh… let me just share the scene:

      I can even understand Father Gabriel’s response… in addition to something of each of these characters. More importantly we can all call to mind another Who Is present, and it’s to Him that we should really direct our eyes, ears, attention… indeed our whole heart.

      That’s a difficult scene to watch and leave it on, so here’s another:

      On a side note, I don’t recall the new name Father Gabriel gave to Rodrigo when he was accepted into the order. Still, I like the whole idea of a new name after we’ve passed through the trial to put on His yoke.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. MP, I’ve never watched that movie. I think that I might look for it now and when that scene comes up, I’ll think of you and how you’ve unpacked it. Cool. I’ve never much liked poetry, but I do cotton to Gerard Manly Hopkins’ inscape stylings. Our eldest is a poet and for the life of me, I can not unpack his poems, but I’m proud of them anyway–I think. Ha ha ha

        As for my husband’s choice not to choose, i tried my best to honor it but it was a grievous wound for a long time because it seemed to give him justification for not wrestling with reality or stepping up to be who he truly wanted to be. He chose both St Augustine and Blessed John Cardinal Newman as his confirmation saints. He was drawn to the movers and shakers of both the Old and New Oxford Movements so there were many, many in both the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant who interceded for him. The Mystical Body of Christ is family and relationship.

        Thank you for your prayers for my family. I will continue to intercede for you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Kim. One of the things I’ve learned regarding their soul-damaging choices throughout the years is that when I hunker down in prayer, it actually gets me out of God’s way so He can whack ’em with the spiritual 2X4. It seems to be the only way to get their and my attention most of the times.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. III, thank you for sharing a bit our your vulnerable self with us. Inspired by how the Holy Trinity has guided you and your family. I have offered a prayer for your intentions.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, JLynn. I’m actually a pretty private person. It was not an easy decision to make, but I’ve been ruminating on Charlie’s observations; so exposing myself a little to all here at ASOH seemed to be appropriate at this juncture.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. God bless you III. Special prayers for your late husband and your children. This has been my journey too: “The way I see it, without my husband I wouldn’t have looked for and found the Pearl of Great Price–the Mystical Body of Christ. And it is likely that without the blessings of the struggle in our marriage, I wouldn’t have turned to Jesus and His Church for answers which in turn allowed me to show Them to my husband. It was not a good marriage, but it was a perfect means to reach for and be captured by God because He wills all men to be saved IF they will.”

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you, San San. The insight, compassion, and self-awareness this journey has given me seem to be part of the bundle of blessed fruits from working to practice forbearance, calm, fortitude, charity, hoping beyond perceptions. God bless you.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Amen III. Over the years I have become very aware of the “Saint Makers” among those around me who Our Lord put there to help me attain the Virtues I lack. Thank you Jesus!

          Liked by 4 people

  8. Steve,
    First, one has to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood”.
    This reveals the true predicament that we are in. It depicts a nature fallen and that includes the nature of the natural world. If we, man, by sin effected not only or own nature but creation itself by our disorder than we through our “fallen” nature are looking at a nature that is fallen as well.
    This difficulty has it’s effect and because the disorder of our nature and nature itself is transient but precient, we struggle with the evidence between the veil and the Fall.
    Since “all creation is awaiting it’s salvation” we understand that its “correction” is inevitable. God did not create cataclysm, death, pestilence and the like but through “the envy of the devil” these things have come about (with our help). The great mystery is how truly effective our sin is in causing these defects. Not only do we cause these defections but because we are defective ourselves we are at a loss to accurately recognise them!
    Since the Holy Spirit imbues Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding it stands to reason that these spiritual gifts float a better understanding of the universe as a whole. But they tend to pull us from a more scientific approach into a more spiritual one. But since, as
    Hamlet suggests, human knowledge is limited: “There are more things in heaven and Earth, (Steve), / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy [science].” It makes sense that the Spirit leads one more towards this mystical side of creation than its physical side since we wrestle not against flesh and blood. So the Spirit knows this pull is more advantageous in our struggle to help clarify for ourselves the nature of things…seen and unsceen.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Phillip Frank, your discussion reminds me of one of the issues that God used to help bring my deceased husband to ask for the gift of Faith and that is the take over by sociologists of the Humanities everywhere he looked. Everything came to be studied through the lens of Scientism aka Materialistic Humanism, ie Relativism. There was no room for the Unseen Mover; thus, no reason to consider Him when man is the center of all things.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Charlie, thanks for this one again. It is inspiring and heartening as we enter the “busiest” time of my work calendar, when all the students receive their sacraments. I hope that in the crowd somewhere, someone is touched by the actual and sacramental grace of God in such a life-changing way.

    Tonight is the Mass with Confirmation – 50 of the youth I taught receiving. But only yesterday, I had to tell one father that his daughter was not ready for the sacraments (she’s unbaptized) because he and the child’s mother stopped bringing her to catechesis. It is no fun to have to do these kind of tasks that result from such profound indifference. The children always suffer the most.

    To all here: please pray for the Confirmandi, the candidates and the unbaptized, especially at your own parishes. Very often, a shining soul emerges from the motley crew. Better yet, volunteer to help in your parish. Some of us are getting old and worry that we’ll have to keep running the circuit because there is no one behind us to pass the baton. Peace and blessings for your Holy Week and Eastertide.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Marisa, thank you for holding the line with the indifferent parents. It seems like the necessary discipline of line-holding is actually a work of mercy and charity. I will pray that the seeds you’ve had the opportunity to plant will grow to be like mustard plants. May God bountifully bless your work.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yes, sometimes I know for sure that delaying the sacrament is merciful – sacriligious reception of any sacrament is worse for the soul. But I truly worry when the child is unbaptized and so must be fully initiated but has no grasp of the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. In practice, the First Communion becomes almost like the last Communion. God is in control of His grace but He also does not want me to contribute to leading one of His little ones astray.

        And yes, may the seeds Christ has planted take firm root and grow. I consider myself to be, not the sower but the one who comes around to fertilize. I’m pretty good at spreading manure. LOL

        Liked by 6 people

      1. Thank you for the charity of your prayers and all who pray for the young Church. They are not the “future,” they are members now and I’m a firm believer that now is the acceptable time. Strike while the grace is hot!

        Liked by 6 people

      1. May God grant me all the necessary graces to continue. Three decades now and every five years I’m sure that I have completed the work. I had a dear friend who wrote to Pope St. John Paul 25 years ago and asked him to pray for his intentions, which included me and my work with the youth. The Pope wrote him back!! He promised to pray for his intentions and shortly thereafter I received a wonderful signal grace.(I also have a copy of the letter.) Ever since then, I have always felt that Pope St. JPII continues to pray for me and sustains me by his intercession. That is definitely a pearl of great price in my life. And because God is good and generous, there have been more joys than sorrows. I hope to celebrate with all my students for eternity. They give us all a lot of reasons to pray.

        Liked by 10 people

        1. Wow, Marisa! Thirty years of ministry is a record of dedication. Faithfulness is easy to take for granted. Thank you for your work which surely ripples out to the world and down through the generations of the kids whose lives you’ve touched. St. John Paul II, joining with you in praying for Marisa.

          Liked by 6 people

  10. Charlie, this is how I also came to understand what and why is happening as we speak…At first, I was shocked. Next, confused. Next, angry. And finally, for now, realize no matter what, this is Christ’s Church, and I’m stick’n to it. Many and most things that PF has said and done is just downright sad. Taking many in the wrong direction, thinking that he is correct. And the most crushing blow, he is out there and not pulling back his hand, or changing his mind. (He is on his own mission). While so many Catholics have been drawn into the misguided concept of love and mercy, losing the strong foundation and its actual meaning compounded with the external worldly factors of ‘approval’, we seem to have lost our “Captain” of this ship, and need to remember who is the Real Captain. Christ has all ways righted His ship when it was tipping. I believe Pope Francis is the Pope of this “time”. Some one had to be. And he was picked by God. It is up to us to know Christ’s religion, Christ’s precepts, Christ’s story, Christ’s instructions, and not wander, not loose focus and remain a good soldier of Christ and His Church. I went MIA for 20 years, and Christ threw some serious obstruction in my way. Some I went around, some I failed at miserably, some times I shook my fist and refused to listen, and finally I realized I needed to ‘Head Home!” Gave up some amazing worldly items and headed home. The sacrifice (SACRIFICE) and the Reward! Thank you, Lord Jesus.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Me, too, Robill. Me too! Like Peter, I say, “Where else will I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

      During one of those times of obstruction in my own life that you speak of, Our Lord used it to get me to look at Him, I was contemplating on the verse where Jesus asked, “What father would give his son a scorpion when he asks for a fish? How much better is your Father in Heaven.” In a grace-inspired moment I chose to believe that even though my life seemed full of scorpions (and it was), I would choose to believe that they were actually fish! Lol It was a transformative choice for although nothing but my perception had changed, the whole world has never been the same since.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Charlie, Thank you for your conversion story. It bolsters my Hope and Faith in Christ and His Church. The message that shouts to me is “keep your eyes on Jesus, and God is who He says He is.” “Be still, be quiet and know that God is God” I thought my Lent a complete disaster. I was not doing what I thought I should do. [notice all the “I’s”]

    Since after the Feast of St Joseph, I have been ill in various ways, to the point I felt to weak to get to Mass, attend the Stations and even fail to pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy. Even missed some Sunday Masses. While thinking I might be under a spiritual attack, I came to see I was being pruned of my will, my way, my time of many things in my life. No, while purification toward sanctification is not nearly complete, I hope I have edged a wee bit closer in humility and surrender. [ I have had to stay with a family member during past week to recovery. Oh the surrender!] Prayerfulness is slowly returning as is the awareness I MUST rely on God and others and surrender the suffering to the Lord for the sake of salvation of souls and the help for souls in Purgatory.

    Comments on this site have been a blessing to me. I ask you all for prayers as I come out of myself and pray for you. To God be the Glory! Jesus, I trust in You!
    [I think you are right about the papal roil. Enough is enough]

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I will remember you and yours in my prayers this evening, Judith. I agree that pruning in God’s way and time is tough, but as is apparent from your comment you already know and trust that in the end it is well worth it for everyone. Thank you for choosing to repair.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Judith, thank you for sharing your story and insights. I am keeping you in my prayers. I experienced a similar path this Lent. My confessor, this week, reminded me not to be overwhelmed especially when I am weak. He asked me to listen to and really hear and celebrate Jesus’ words spoken at Mass, “My peace is my gift to you.” I felt as if I had received a present for the first time, that I subconsciously knew I had all along. Hearing it from my confessor really touched my heart, and that could be because he told me, “I want you to take what I am going to say into your heart….” :-p

      Liked by 6 people

        1. Thank you, Beckita! My MRI results from today showed a torn ligament in the elbow along with the fracture. I was referred to another specialist that I could not get an appointment with until the 25th (almost one month after the injury) Face in palm, although I trust that all happens for a reason. 🙂

          I appreciate yours prayers for strength, consolation and healing more than you know. ❤

          Liked by 5 people

                  1. JLynn, have you heard of the healing qualities of comfrey root and leaves especially in regards to bones, ligaments, and tendons? Most instructions for comfrey warn that it is for exterior use only, however, me and mine and my clients have had health benefits without harm using it as both a tea and as a poultice. I find it to be an amazing evidence of God’s goodness and care for us.

                    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pope Benedict’s latest publications is so far a wonderful read. I think it fits into this latest ‘Science is terrific’ mode of thought. For me, these discussions of scholarship, academia and discovering ‘the truth’ make my head hurt. It takes too much time away from my interpretation on building up the faith. Could we make a separate thread for all the smart people to bicker back n forth?

    Though as Dr. David Anders on EWTN’s “Called to Communion” states he would rather wake up and read Augustine while his wife would prefer to pray the Stations of the Cross. I’m with his wife on this…

    “The crisis of the justification and presentation of Catholic morality reached dramatic proportions in the late ’80s and ’90s. On January 5, 1989, the “Cologne Declaration,” signed by 15 Catholic professors of theology, was published. It focused on various crisis points in the relationship between the episcopal magisterium and the task of theology.

    [Reactions to] this text, which at first did not extend beyond the usual level of protests, very rapidly grew into an outcry against the Magisterium of the Church and mustered, audibly and visibly, the global protest potential against the expected doctrinal texts of John Paul II (cf. D. Mieth, Kölner Erklärung, LThK, VI3, p. 196) [LTHK is the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, a German-language “Lexicon of Theology and the Church,” whose editors included Karl Rahner and Cardinal Walter Kasper.]

    Pope John Paul II, who knew very well the situation of moral theology and followed it closely, commissioned work on an encyclical that would set these things right again. It was published under the title “Veritatis splendor” on August 6, 1993, and it triggered vehement backlashes on the part of moral theologians. Before it, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” already had persuasively presented, in a systematic fashion, morality as proclaimed by the Church.

    I shall never forget how then-leading German moral theologian Franz Böckle, who, having returned to his native Switzerland after his retirement, announced in view of the possible decisions of the encyclical “Veritatis splendor” that if the encyclical should determine that there were actions which were always and under all circumstances to be classified as evil, he would challenge it with all the resources at his disposal.

    It was God, the Merciful, that spared him from having to put his resolution into practice; Böckle died on July 8, 1991. The encyclical was published on August 6, 1993 and did indeed include the determination that there were actions that can never become good.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. In this house, we’ve been discussing and pondering aloud about Pope Emeritus Benedict’s latest release too, Sean. Piece by piece and layer by layer, we are given reaffirmation for whom and what to offer our prayers and sacrifices.

      As for scholarly ways, I’m just so grateful that we have all kinds of people and all kinds of approaches for speaking and seeking the truths that are shared and discussed here. I think we need to grow, be challenged and enriched via each one’s contributions. That said, it’s also understandable when a topic doesn’t resonate with someone and that one passes on contributing. Grateful, too, for Charlie’s reminders that we remain mindful of why we’re here.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Pope Emeritus Benedict’s essay is a wonderful, loving synopsis of our time. So many areas to delve into and quote but the last three paragraphs caught my eye. Notably, small habitats of faith… such as ASoH.

        “Today’s Church is more than ever a “Church of the Martyrs” and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of Faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.

        I live in a house, in a small community of people who discover such witnesses of the living God again and again in everyday life and who joyfully point this out to me as well. To see and find the living Church is a wonderful task which strengthens us and makes us joyful in our Faith time and again.

        At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!”

        Liked by 5 people

    2. When I read P.E. Benedict’s letter and saw this about what that Theologian said, that “he would challenge it with all the resources at his disposal,” I thought: “You poor, silly, little man”. So self-important. And yet, the great Encyclical lives, and who remembers poor Boeckle? Veritatis Splendor indeed. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et Semper…

      Liked by 3 people

  13. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 12 April
    Benedict XVI and the scandal…

    The Day Stephen Hawking Unsettled His Atheist Peers

    Professors Don’t Teach if Students Don’t Learn the Truth

    Leader of US bishops set for Rome trip to talk bishops’ accountability

    Ohio Gov. DeWine signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill

    Pro-Life Propaganda, or Just the Truth?–Alicia Colon

    Trump White House to screen anti-abortion movie Friday

    Leftism: A Warped Reflection of Christianity–Rick Hayes

    Is Transexualism a Disassociative Personality Disorder?–Deborah C. Tyler

    The Former Pope Speaks, Candidly and Acidly, On Abuse


    ‘Catholic’ Notre Dame Ignores Student Pleas to Filter Porn From Campus WiFi


    Sister Mary Jo Sobieck, nun whose perfect first pitch went viral, gets her own baseball card

    Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites

    Democrats Target Black Babies, Try to Silence Black Conservatives

    WATCH: Twitter Exec Spars with Senate Committee Over Unplanned Social Media Blackout

    Eureka! – Devin Nunes: “The Spying Began in 2015″….


    Leftists Whipping Themselves Into a Jacobin Frenzy

    The Liberal Media ‘Matrix’


    Brent Bozell: The Dictionary Adds ‘White Fragility’

    Rep. Green Tells Bankers: ‘You Appear to Be White Men’

    Jim Jordan Upends Democrats’ ‘Fear Mongering’ Over the Census in Fiery New Report

    Exclusive–Study: Over 10K Illegal Aliens in U.S. from Terrorist-Sponsored Countries

    Schumer Omits Immigration From ‘Priorities the American People Care About’

    Texas Lt.-Gov. Says 1,671 Bodies Recovered at SW Border Since 2011

    Rashida Tlaib On Omar’s Disgusting 9/11 Remarks: She’s Just Speaking Truth

    VA Struggles To Curb ‘Parking Lot’ Suicides at Its Own Facilities

    All but one Democrat in the House co-sponsors a bill to allow males to compete on female athletic teams–Rick Moran

    Catholic farm family fights to stay out of gay-wedding business with help from Colorado baker
    Talk of a rising religious left is unfounded. It already exists–Elizabeth Bruenig


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, again Crew Dog. I noticed this headline especially-Professors Don’t Teach if Students Don’t Learn the Truth. My deceased husband used to say that one of his greatest frustrations teaching in a tax-payer funded school was that while he could lead his students to examine the facts which would lead to the truth, he was bound by the anti-God rules of the institutions to not confirm whether or not the conclusions they had reached were the truth. That would be proselytism and that is opposed to the separation of Church and state according to the anti-God, anti-life, leftist ideologues who infiltrated the teachers’ colleges as well as the realm of academia even in our seminaries.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. “There is no ‘homosexual problem’ in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity. Let us not perpetuate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us.” -Cardinal Sarah

    Liked by 8 people

    1. AT a luncheon with a couple of prominent folks in the Church a few weeks back, I noted that our fundamental problem is not sexual, but of doctrine and fidelity to it. Cdl. Sarah’s comments here resonate with me big time.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. You, too, nailed it, Charlie. How can we say we have faith and grow in faith without embracing doctrine for the gift that it is? Life-giving. And I’ll bet we all have certain horror stories of seeing doctrine being ignored, ridiculed, mocked and spurned.

        When I read aloud to Father some of the most perverse of the perverse details from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report last summer, he winced, but didn’t skip a beat to say about the abusers: “They have no faith.”

        Thank God for the shafts of His light in the darkness as we are on a path of reform and renewal.

        Liked by 6 people

  15. According to one mystic/Saint, there was another time so perverse and wicked that God had reason to annihilate the earth. But look what happened instead-that time was just before the Incarnation:
    “When the ancient serpent had infected the whole earth with its poisonous breath and apparently enjoyed peaceful control over mortals who had become blind to the light of reason (Rom. 1, 20) and to the precepts contained in the ancient written law, when, instead of seeking the true Divinity, men set up for themselves many false laws and each one created a god for himself according to his liking, without considering, that the confusion of so many gods was repugnant to all goodness, order, and peace, when by these errors malice, ignorance and forgetfulness of the true God had become naturalized; when, ignorant of its mortal disease and lethargy, the world had grown mute in its prayer for deliverance; when pride reigned supreme and fools had become innumerable (Eccles. 7, 15); when Lucifer in his arrogance was about to swallow the pure waters of the Jordan (Job 40, 18): when through these injuries God was more and more deeply offended and less and less beholden to man; when his justice had such an excellent cause for annihilating all creation and reducing it to its original nothingness:
    At this Juncture (according to our way of understanding), the Most High directed his attention to the attribute of his mercy, counterbalanced the weight of his incomprehensible justice with the law of clemency, and chose to yield more to his own goodness, to the clamors and faithful services of the just and the prophets of his people, than to his indignation at the wickedness and sins of all the rest of mankind.”
    (Mary of Agreda, City of God).

    Liked by 7 people

  16. Dear Charlie and Beckita,
    Since we have changed subjects allow me to share this with you. I am German but was born and raised and worked in Japan all my life. As many of you probably know, at the end of this month the Emperor of Japan is abdicating his throne in favor of his son. This reminded me of a story that is probably not well known that I read about his birth, in the magazine TRIUMPH OF THE HEART #38 (2018) published by a Catholic religious society called “Family of Mary”.

    The article is about a Romanian priest Blessed Vladimir Ghika who it seems dedicated his life working for the unity of Catholics and the Orthodox Church. Part of the article says:

    “After Pope Pius XI gave Fr. Ghika the title “Protonary Apostolic” in 1931 his apostolate led him to Japan. There he visited a friend Admiral Yamamoto who had converted to Catholicism and arranged an audience for him with Emperor Hirohito of Japan. For this special occasion Fr. Vladimir learned by heart ‘May Almighty God bless you’ in Japanese, even though it had already been explained to him that it would be impossible to bless the Emperor because he himself is a god.

    The sovereign spoke at length in French with Fr. Ghika and shared with him his great need, that although he had daughters he did not have a successor to the throne. Fr. Vladimir trusted in the Lord and responded to the ruler ‘Your Imperial Highness, I will give you God’s blessing, and God will give you a son. They both stood up after their conversation and the Emperor bowed his head.

    As Fr. Ghika raised his hand to make the Sign of the Cross and speak the blessing in Japanese, the horrified diplomats present rushed at him to stop him from what he was about to do, yet their ‘god on earth’ gave a sign to let the stranger continue. One year later the Emperor was holding a son in his arms.”

    As you know, Pope Francis is visiting Japan in November this year. Although at present it seems highly unlikely may I ask all of you to pray that the Pope will visit AKITA. I think it would be a great blessing for Japanese people.

    Thank you and may God and Our Lady bless the whole TNRS family!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Great to hear from you, Hans. What a story of faith! Love it. Surely will pray for you all and the Pope’s visit. Will you be able to attend the events? God bless you and all you’ve done via translating and additional works to proclaim the words of Our Lady of Akita

      Charlie, thanks for the wonderful link. 22 languages! Two years of torture followed by death!

      Blessed Fr. Vladimir Ghika, stay with us and pray for us as we make our way through these times.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hans, thank you for this historical note of encouragement. I will take Fr. Ghika’s example of holy boldness to heart.

      One of my sons is stationed in Okinawa and at the moment is deployed somewhere in the Phillippines. He’s experienced some culture shock with regards to what seems to him to be a level of civility among the natives that can be so over-the-top at times that it comes across as hypocrisy. What’s a Yank to do? Any suggestions that I might pass on to him?

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Gosh, I wasn’t going to comment on this picture because sometimes you’ve just got to let it ride. That blessed baby is a showstopper though, and volumes could be written with mysteries to be pondered in the faces of all the participants. There’s something very Rockwellian about it, but so much better.

    Liked by 9 people

  18. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 13 April
    Cardinal Sarah: ‘Gender Ideology is a Luciferean Refusal’ of the Sexual Nature Given to Us by God

    Unexpected Costs of Total War Between the Sexes

    When Twitter Blocked Mother Teresa


    Tim Tebow: ‘What God Says About Me’ Is What Defines Me

    Life on Mars But Not in the Womb?

    Exclusive – Karen Vaughn: ‘Unplanned’ Reminds Us That Mothers Are the First Line of Defense in the Fight for Life

    Pro-Life People Will Hold Candlelight Vigils at 142 Planned Parenthood Abortion Centers on Saturday


    Who says journalists hate religion? USA Today welcomes liberal Christian faith of Pete Buttigieg


    Roots of the Left’s Acceptance of Pedophilia–Steven Kessler

    When Christian Colleges Teach Students to Fear, Not to Think


    Make No Mistake!
    We are in Civil War II and the People who HATE Trump HATE us too because, odd as it might be, the former Playboy Billionaire supports Pro-Life, Traditional Judeo-Christian ideals and The Constitution/Bill of Rights. The Democrat Party/Media/ One World Left cant abide that!!!

    Nutty Obama-Appointed Judge Compares Trump to KKK, George Wallace in University Speech (VIDEO)

    Awful Far Left Woman Assaults Brandon Straka – #WalkAway Founder Makes Her Famous – Then Donates to Her GoFundMe Page (VIDEO)


    Hillary Clinton: ‘Make America great again’ is a white nationalist slogan

    Principal forces teen to cover MAGA hat and shirt during ‘America Pride Day’ at school

    WALSH: The LGBT Lobby Has Been Trying To Exact Revenge On A Chicken Restaurant For Seven Years. This Is Not Normal.

    Crazed Leftists Have Hysterical Temper Tantrum Over “Men Are Not Women” Speech

    The Attempted Coup Against Trump

    On CNN, Clapper Does a 180 About FBI Spying on Trump Campaign

    The Anti-Bill Barr Smear Campaign–NR Editorial

    Worse than Watergate–John Leonard

    Attorney General Barr Should Focus on 2 Questions When Investigating Spying on Trump Campaign

    AGT International – The Clinton Foundation Scandal Worse Than Uranium One – Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election – Part XII

    Exclusive–Marcus: Democrats Can’t Win Based on Their Ideas, So They Want to Change the Rules of the Game

    NY Dems block bill expanding college tuition for Gold Star families after approving $27M in tuition aid for illegal immigrants: report

    Nancy Pelosi: ‘My God, I Thought It Was Mary and Joseph’

    Democrat Politician Visits Cuba to Learn About ‘Economic Development’ and ‘Quality of Life’

    Ya poor taxpayers got a $$$ Bundle tied up in this Ol’ Bag of Bones 😉

    USAF Pilot Training Cost

    NGO Says Venezuela Deadlier than Syria: ‘Worst Humanitarian Crisis in History of Americas’

    Fired German Intelligence Boss Slams Merkel Migrant Policy on Hungarian Television

    Exclusive: Purging Brazil of Socialism, an Ongoing Battle—Eduardo Bolsonaro


    THE WASHINGTON POST-Pope Benedict shows us how the Catholic Church went so terribly off-course


    Liked by 3 people

    1. CD, did you refer to yourself as an “old bag of bones”? If so, your bones sure do a lot of good talking. Thanks again for your efforts at getting us a daily aggregation of news stories from a variety of sources. That must take some doing on your part.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. CD, thank you for posting all of the news links. I knew nothing of the AGT International scandal. Hopefully Sarah Carter and Brian Schweitzer(I think that is his name) get their teeth into this one. The Uranium One/Benghazi etc. are bad enough, now this too.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. Dear III, was so sorry but touched to read about you and your husband. I think I have gotten so used to the Japanese people being friendly and polite that I think I don’t even appreciate it anymore. But I am quite sure the vast majority of them are sincere. May God bless you and your children.

    And thank you Charlie for the link to the article about Fr. Ghika, I was not aware of it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Hans for both your expression of sorrow as well as your long-standing impression of the Japanese people. I will pass your impression on to my son.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I so love our TNRS ASOH family….so nice to read all your posts…u r all so humble, witty, funny & kind….Surely the stuff of the Kingdom. Xoxoxoxoxoxo 😇

    Liked by 5 people

  21. NEWS & MILINET Articles for Christians – 14 April
    Palm Sunday, Holy Week Begins

    George Weigel, John Paul II, and What We Need Now

    Is Google Right to Call Unplanned “Propaganda”?

    No doubt that CNN and the rest of The Usual Suspects are celebrating the blow as a “victory” in their 60 year assault on the Faith & Mores of Our Founders ;-(

    There are now as many Americans who claim no religion as there are evangelicals and Catholics, a survey finds

    CNN Brings On Its Catholic Priest to Deliver Buttigieg’s LGBTQ Talking Points

    European Churches: Vandalized, Defecated On, and Torched “Every Day”

    Crosses covered with cloth in Italian cemetery to avoid offending Muslims

    Psychology Scuttles Spirituality in Two New Movies–Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel

    “Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America”–David Horowitz

    Lessons from Listening to Spiritual Leaders


    America In Chains – Is America Worth Saving?

    Remember Murietta? Dumping unvetted migrants into the cities of political foes was done by Obama first–Monica Showalter

    Ex-Clinton official leads ‘dark money’ effort to boot Kavanaugh from teaching gig

    CBS TV Show Advocates Using Political Violence

    The Poison Of Main Stream Media Propaganda
    Boston Globe op/ed urges waiters to contaminate food of Trump officials


    Conservative Pundit: Media Refuses To Admit Trump Campaign Was Spied On Because They Were Complicit In Hoax

    Fifty-two local Democrats, including county commissioner, leave the party in three days

    Huawei: A Formidable Threat To US Telecom Infrastructure

    California’s AG: Gun Owners Who Have ‘High Capacity’ Magazines Are Going To…

    Colorado enacts ‘red flag’ law to seize guns from those deemed dangerous, prompting backlash

    Farage: British Are ‘Lions Led by Donkeys’, Vows to ‘Change Politics for Good’ at Brexit Party Rally

    Salvini Is Positioning Italy For Confrontation

    Desperate Israeli Leftist Parties Contemplate Merger After Election Humiliation

    Short of electricity, food and water, Venezuelans return to religion
    Pompeo accuses China and Russia of abetting corrupt regimes in Latin America
    US-Russia chill stirs worry about stumbling into conflict
    New concerns Trump administration may be laying legal groundwork for military action against Iran
    Putting American flags on police cars sparks backlash in Laguna Beach
    Retail’s Slow Death: Store Closures May Top 2018 Total
    The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated
    Amazon admits to listening in on and analyzing private conversations and intimate moments through Alexa


    Liked by 3 people

  22. I don’t know if this is proper. But since I’m supposed to pray for the intentions of the Pope, I usually add in “especially where they conform with Your intentions, Lord.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Jessica. When we pray for the Holy Father’s intentions, this doesn’t refer to his personal intentions. Rather, it’s a reference to the particular intentions which the Holy Father chooses in advance. This link to the USCCB will take you to a list of the major intentions he has set for each month in 2019. This link lists the the intentions for the rest of this year and all those he has chosen for 2020.

      Here’s an interesting paragraph from the site: The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network:
      What is the process in the preparation of the prepared prayer intentions? The faithful from around the world suggest papal prayer intentions in each country to their national office, which selects some of them and sends those to the international office of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network in Vatican City. Through prayerful discernment the international office selects a large number of them and submits them to the Pope to help his discernment. After his prayer and discernment he entrusts to the International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network the official set of monthly prayer intentions, which are then translated into the major world languages and published in print and digital formats.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Jessica, I used to pray for Pope Francis’s intentions. Now, I pray that he be guided by the Holy Spirit as he leads or runs the church. Blessings!

      Liked by 3 people

  23. My pastor has been accused of sexual abuse from 28 years ago. All who know him think it is absurd. The lawyer is the same who brought many of the Boston cases forward in 2002. Fr Peter is a conservative honorable priest who has been a strong advocate for all of Cardinal Sean’s policies for protecting children. What happens to the priest who is falsely accused? My heart is broken for him. Please pray for a just and timely resolution.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Just checking in to let all who are interested and have prayed for me that I continue to heal very well and am strengthening more each day. I thank you all. I keep up with all new posts and check through all comments to make sure I see them all since the comments so much enrich the whole process. As I said in the very beginning of my commenting here that I was not a “me too” type of person and would only comment when inspired to do so If I thought I had something to contribute. You all have been doing such a good job that you have left me speechless with your great wisdom and sharing. May God bless all here in the love of Christ.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. jas, thank you for the update and for your prayers. I begin P.T. for the second time for my left foot, post second surgery today. So cheers to healing, mind, body, soul and spirit, as God wills, and for the graces to be granted for our endurance 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  25. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 15 April
    HeartLight Daily Verse

    Romans 13:6-7
    This is why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    Thoughts on today’s verse:
    Owe! Tax day. Not my favorite, how about yours? But where would we be without government, order and laws? While we may not like how the system functions today, what if we had no system? Let’s be redemptive in our living and obedient in our citizenship.

    Holy God, I thank you that I am free in you and belong to no man or power. Yet because I want your name to be respected, I pledge to obey the laws of this land as long as they do not run directly in contradiction to your will. At the same time, I fervently pray that you heal our land. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
    Visit for more

    Bishops Condemn Massachusetts ‘ROE’ Abortion Bills: ‘Egregious Attack on Human Life’

    Benedict’s Essay: The Voice of a True Father

    A Remedy for the Catechetical Poverty of Our Time

    Christians Can Learn from Errors on the Left

    Knowing God–NR INTERVIEW

    Chinese Authorities Raze Catholic Church Building, According to Video

    White House Goes on Offense Against Abortion by Screening ‘Gosnell’ Movie

    Pictures: Jerusalem Welcomes Christian Pilgrims for Start of Holy Week




    Sanctuary Cities Welcome Illegal Aliens with ‘Open Arms’ While 38K American Veterans Remain Homeless

    Nadler had no complaints when Obama shipped Illegal Aliens all over the USA in order to insure more Democrat voters. If “Migrants” voted Republican, Nadler and the rest of The Usual Suspects would demand that our borders be mined and fortified!! Rush is Right! Democrats need a steady supply of ignorant &/or poorly educated people to man their Voter Base ….. especially since their Radical Anytime/Anywhere Abortion Policy has become a major “Plank” in their Party Platform along with the LGBTQ Plank ….. and why they demand adoption agencies allow “Married” Gays to adopt …. It’s sick, Sick & SICK!! ;-( Devine Intervention &/or Civil War II ;-(


    Omar’s ‘Some People’ and Hillary’s ‘Guys’: Different 9/11, Same Shocking Disregard for American Lives

    Nadler: Trump ‘Has No Right to Spend Money…to Ship Immigrants All Over the County’

    Remember Murietta? Dumping unvetted migrants into the cities of political foes was done by Obama first–Monica Showalter

    No Kidding… Cory Booker Admits Releasing Illegal Migrants into Sanctuary Cities Would “Make Us Less Safe”

    The Idiot Left invented this “Assault Weapon” hysteria. Semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns have been around for 115+ years. King David used an Assault Weapon when he took-out Goliath. Anything you assault another person with is an assault weapon … Old Saying but True. Outlaw guns and only Outlaws will have them … AND Tyrants!!!

    Yike: CNN’s Jake Tapper Pins Down Swalwell on Jailing ‘Assault Weapon’ Owners


    Speaker Pelosi Demands President Trump Take Down ‘Disrespectful and Dangerous’ Ilhan Omar 9/11 Video

    President Trump Hits Pelosi After ’60 Minutes’ Puff Piece: “All They Do Is Investigate, as it turns out, Crimes They Instigated and Committed”

    This is probably a good time for James Comey to leave the country

    Judicial Watch Uncovers ‘Cover-Up’ Discussions in Latest Production of Clinton Email Documents

    March Veteran Jobs Rate Was the Best in Almost 20 Years

    Breaking Down Taxes by the Numbers

    Mnuchin: Keeping IRS From Being Weaponized Against Trump

    Redacted Mueller report to be released on Thursday

    Democratic freak-out over William Barr’s investigation: What do they want hidden?

    10 Years After First Rallies, What’s the Legacy of the Tea Party?

    Ted Malloch: European Peoples Are Rising Up!

    Trump calls for renewed probes into Clinton, DNC: ‘Investigate the investigators!’
    Pete Buttigieg doesn’t get to make up his own Christianity–Everett Piper
    Who is Wilton Gregory, Pope Francis’s pick to be Washington’s next archbishop?


    Liked by 2 people

  26. Yep, the smoke of Liberalism/socialism causes problems in the Church, including those who lead it…

    The fighting between different Christian denominations has weakened Christianity in the world to the point that most people have chosen to deny & reject God & Christ.

    I’m a recycled Catholic myself, returning to the Church after years of absence. The Remembering Church program at the time helped to reintegrate me back into the Church, sadly I learned more at Remembering Church, then all the years spent in Catholic school. Schools & parents have in the past sadly lacked important core knowledge for teaching children about their faith, let’s learn from this and not make the same mistakes with the new generation.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Notre Dame Cathedral. A monument to how the Catholic Church built western civilization. A masterpiece without a signature.
    I am literally mourning and weeping.
    The Storm indeed rages.

    Liked by 8 people

  28. I echo Christopher J. I watched in horror and sadness this afternoon as Notre Dame de Paris burned. An icon in stone, wood and glass. An ancient testament of the love of a people for the Mother of Jesus, A love so profound that generations of craftsmen anonymously spent their lives sculpting this work of art.

    We do not understand the depth of this faith, the power of this great a love. For all we have supposedly gained in our modern world, much has been lost. We so busy ourselves with meaningless things that we do not even see our spiritual poverty.

    I know this is probably not theologically correct but I feel like Mary is speaking to our faithless age. She is saying, if you do not love my Son, if you do not believe in and honor him, you cannot be the custodians of my house.

    Christopher J. is correct, the storm is crossing the horizon to bare down on this age of non-belief. May God have mercy on us all.


    Liked by 6 people

    1. So agree with you, JT and Christopher. Bringing my own mini reflection to this comment area as we are commenting under this piece as well as the newest post which Steve shared with us:

      Just home from tending to sick dear ones (Please pray, especially, for my daughter and, also, my three granddaughters.) and I have discovered the news about Notre Dame. Oh, Notre Dame. Such a magnificent cathedral! I have great memories of time spent praying within her walls and gazing upon this glorious edifice, richly blessed with artistic treasure.

      Notre Dame. Our Lady. It seems she can no longer hold back Abba’s Arm of Justice. And that’s actually not a bad thing because too many are hellbent on d.e.s.t.r.o.y.i.n.g. humanity and all that is of true beauty, grace and truth. Sobering…

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Beckita, I’m so interiorly broken by this it’s like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. I guess I have a lot of work to do in perfecting my detachment from created things.
        I’ll try to unite this suffering to The Agony in the Garden.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I watched the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral today on tv and shook my head. So many Catholic churches ransacked in France lately, bulldozed in China, so much faith weakened and lost throughout the world, I am sick at heart and yet know we must continue on this bleak road until it leads to our salvation and a time of peace and love for the world that remains. Is anybody out there listening to the telltale signs, besides ASOH family? I pray so.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. “I know this is probably not theologically correct but I feel like Mary is speaking to our faithless age. She is saying, if you do not love my Son, if you do not believe in and honor him, you cannot be the custodians of my house.”

      JT… this has been my meditation and contemplation. Yesterday, someone mentioned the fire and how horrible it was. I remarked it was a tragedy people went there for the marvels and not to pray to God.

      Mark Steyn commented on Fox last night. I am paraphrasing his comments.

      France has lost something and he wondered if the French realize what is missing…. or something to that affect. They developed into a secular people without faith in God. Someone commented they will rebuild… he answered “why”? What reason do you have to rebuild if you do not worship and pray to God?

      Liked by 4 people

  29. Watching Notre Dame burn ruptures the facade of stability of the Church. We are in the difficult times and things are not okay. Fire destroys and cleanses – gold is tested in fire. Praise God for the remnant that will rise from the ashes, and grant us the grace to recognize it and be part of it.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. This so beautifully expressed, Marianne. The fire also brought to my mind the messages of Our Lady of Akita.

      On August 3, 1973, Our Lady said;
      My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you.”

      “It is very important…You will convey it to your superior.”

      “Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.”

      “In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father’s anger. I desire this also from your community…that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men.

      Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning; put it into practice; offer in reparation (whatever God may send) for sins. Let each one endeavor, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord.”

      “Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together. Without attaching to much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master.”

      Then on October 13th in the same year, she said:
      “My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.”

      After a short silence:

      “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.”

      “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

      “The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them”

      “With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation.”

      “It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community.”

      And She smiled and then said:

      “You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.”

      “Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.”

      The fire of which Our Lady speaks must surely, also, be an interior fire that people repent – oh that all would repent – and be cleansed.

      In all the land
      two thirds of them will be cut off and perish,
      and one third will be left.
      I will bring the one third through the fire;
      I will refine them as one refines silver,
      and I will test them as one tests gold.

      They will call upon my name, and I will answer them;
      I will say, “They are my people,”
      and they will say, “The Lord is my God.”

      (Zechariah 13:8-9)

      Liked by 1 person

  30. As Fr. Heilman said in his mass email yesterday:
    “We are tempted to despair, that this horrific burning down of one of the world’s great monuments to faith occurred on Day 54 of our 54 Day Rosary Novena. But, I believe God is up to something that will be revealed. Could this bring a multitude of conversions? We shall see.
    The two requests of Our Lady of Lourdes were: 1) Pray the Rosary, and 2) Pray for the conversion of sinners.”

    It’s encouraging to see young adults, (esp. men), kneeling in reverent prayer…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mundelein, oh, Mundelein. (just reread this post; CJ, you mentioned you temp. worked there.) The city evokes a bittersweet memory. Our family visited there when eldest sibling joined the nearby BVM convent, (after college), in mid/late ’60s; Within a few years, due to modernization, they transitioned from the full habit/wimple to street clothes/makeup. She was then assigned to teach at, (think it was Chicago south side), Holy Angels School where the well known Father Clements, (who, with JPII’s encouragement), was the first priest to adopt a child. He also didn’t hesitate to temp suspend students when their parents reneged on promise to attend Sunday mass. (Lou Gossett starred in a movie about him) She said never a dull moment teaching there, but don’t remember details as I was in grade school and it’s not reminisced at family gatherings bc she unfortunately left the order.

      Liked by 2 people

  31. Authority (good or bad) has always been challenged since the beginning of human history regardless whether that authority is the leader of society, a religious figure or head of the household.

    If Pope Francis were the Pope back in the days of John Paul II, what would happen to me & everyone else? We are the sum of our life experiences, change something and the outcome changes. Would we all be worse off? The honest & truthful answer is “I don’t know.” I am the person I am today because of the path I walked up to this point, and from the efforts & interventions of God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Our Lady, & the people who created the foundation of my past which includes John Paul II. Interesting line of thought considering that other people that I grew up with in the Catholic faith now worship liberalism/socialism like it is the “second coming”.

    The only certainty & constant in life is change and we’re at point in history where the change is going to be BIG. Change scares people as it creates uncertainty in the predictability of the future & can make us vulnerable, but in fearing what is to come, we show lack of trust & faith in God & his goodness. Growth doesn’t happen in times of comfort & laziness. Let us try to be bold and face both the good & the bad with confidence that God has everything covered regardless how messed up things can get at times, and be the followers of Christ that we should be…

    Liked by 3 people

  32. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 16 April
    Notre Dame: An Omen

    It’s interesting that just as I found this Catholic League article I’m listening to Rush where he is talking about how the Media and the Rest of The Usual Suspects are trying to “Put a Lid” on ANY talk that this might be a Terrorist Act and labeling anyone who mentions the possibility as a crazed Right-Wing Kook! Even as there is hundreds of cases of Christian facilities being vandalized throughout the EU where the “The Migrants” have been allowed to “Over-Run the Place” ….. and establish No-Go Zones ……. Something is very STRANGE goin’-On!!
    Imagine if there were hundreds of Black Churches being vandalized!? There would be 24/7 Howls of Outrage and talk of White Nationalists/Privilege, Tea Party Terrorists, Gun Control and every conceivable angle to tie Trump/Deplorables in some negative way. …. Global Civil War!! …. on just about any front Ya can imagine ;-(
    …. and I’m still wondering how, in such a short time, Muslims became “Darlings” and a protected/privileged “Victim Group” of the Democrat Party USA and The Global Left in the EU??!!


    Shepard Smith Shuts Down Discussion of Attacks on French Churches: ‘Not on My Watch’

    Not everyone thinks the burning of Notre Dame is a tragedy. Some are reveling.


    875 Catholic Churches in France Were Vandalized in 2018 by Radical Secularists and Muslims

    Structure of Notre-Dame Saved After Major fire

    Notre-Dame fire: Macron pledges to reconstruct cathedral

    WOW: The Cross Is Still Standing in Notre Dame

    Photos: The Great Holy Week Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

    EN DIRECT – Incendie de Notre-Dame de Paris : “L’ensemble du feu est éteint”

    EN IMAGES. Notre-Dame de Paris en feu, la France sous le choc

    How the French Author Victor Hugo Saved Notre Dame

    Revealed: ‘Fearless’ priest saved priceless relics from burning Notre-Dame

    I Worshipped the Goddess of Reason — Until I Met the God of Mercy in Notre Dame

    Libyan PM: Siege of Tripoli Could Drive 800,000 More Migrants into Europe

    Revealed: Islamic State Plan for Series of Paris-Style Massacres Across Europe

    Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State

    Some Flames Did Something? Ilhan Omar Posts Statement on Notre Dame Fire That Avoids Mention of Church Named for Virgin Mary or Even That It Is a Catholic Cathedral

    Official High School Records Support Claim that Democrat Ilhan Omar Married Her Brother

    How Minneapolis’ Somali community became the terrorist recruitment capital of the US


    Chaput: ‘Rebuild a Christian society without divided loyalties’

    Unplanned, Captain Marvel, and the State of the American Church

    James O’Keefe Strikes Again: Project Veritas Exposes Chase Bank’s “Debanking” Policies of Pro-Trump Activists

    The Left’s Overreach on Abortion–Brian Joondeph


    Patrick Buchanan: Mayor Pete and the Crackup of Christianity

    The Nuclear Option: It’s Time for Elite Northern Cities to Share Burden of Illegal Immigration

    The Titanic Explains the World

    Charlie Daniels: The Green New Steal

    Sen. Manchin: ‘I’m Worried’ People Think Dem Party ‘Has Gone Completely Off the Rails’


    Behind the Obama administration’s shady plan to spy on the Trump campaign

    Potential Consequences of Spying on the Trump Campaign

    Media Cry ‘Cover-Up’ Before Mueller Report Even Released

    9 Apocalyptic Lies Fed To Americans About The Republican Tax Bill

    The Second Amendment Stories the National Media Fail to Report…or Get Completely Wrong

    Fact Check: Sen. Gillibrand’s Latest Talking Point About The NRA Is Completely False

    Swalwell: I Will Jail Those Who Defy My Gun Grabbing Agenda

    Florida Firefighters Paint Home of Blind World War II Veteran

    3 Veterans Die Of Suicide Over 5 Days At VA Facilities In 2 States

    Woman Dies in Apparent Suicide at Arlington National Cemetery

    Pompeo on Latin America’s Shift Away From the Left: ‘It’s Glorious’

    Focus shifts to ‘sacred objects’ in Notre Dame sacristy as flames extinguished
    Prayers, hymns, community shared in firelight of Notre Dame
    The world weeps for Notre Dame–WaPo Editorial
    With Roe on the ropes, abortion divide grows between blue, red states


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Any informative news articles about how “carbon tax” will put a price on human life?

      I’ve been hearing/reading hints that Liberals up here in Canada plan to push the “carbon tax” as a prelude to “voluntary genocide” and worse… Liberals seem to be acting/thinking more like Nazis by the day…

      Liked by 2 people

  33. Here is an observation from one of my wife’s friends:

    “And they wanted to renovate the Church, but instead they set fire to it. And what was saved was its foundations, the rocks with which it was built. And neither the images of the Twelve Apostles, nor the True Cross, nor the Crown of Thorns, nor the Holy Sacrifice perished, for they had been taken away before the collapse.”

    Makes you think a bit doesn’t it?

    The top of the Cathedral burned. The spire. The pinnacle. The fancy thing perched on the top of the Church. The roof.

    The top of the Church burned. The roof timbers. The big boys. But the foundation remains. They wanted to change it. “Renovate” it. To make it new. But it burned.

    The thought kind of thunderstrikes one doesn’t it? The top of the Church and its commanding spire perched on top of and ruling over and dominating the Church ……. Up in flames.

    It may seem like an extreme bit of Pareidolia but if symbolism is your thing then its hard not to see a sign in this.

    How is the Cathedral of Notre Dame going to be rebuilt? Well, they won’t start at the top and work their way down. They will start from the remaining salvageable foundation stones and work their way up. The New Cathedral of Notre Dame will be rebuilt from the bottom up. And the new roof? The new roof will have to be made of worthy, strong and true timbers that will stand the test of time and heavy weather.

    It was a great and terrible and horrific sight to behold. It was a light in the night. The top echelon of Our Lady’s Cathedral was burned away but not the foundation stones.

    That ought to be a reason for prayer by the hierarchy and a source of hope for the foundation stones.

    Liked by 5 people

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