By Charlie Johnston
At a recent Mass, the Priest (a man in minor authority, no less) gave a very thinly veiled endorsement for open borders, while informing all of us it was our duty to protest for the same. He started by explaining that in heaven we will all be the same, no difference in any of us. Then he explained our duty to protest for immigration policies that match our Christian conscience. He noted near the end that the only reason he would not say overtly the words was because he didn’t want to get besieged by angry letters.
It made me wonder what in heavens name they are teaching these guys in seminary these days.
First, as to the business that we are all exactly equal and the same in heaven…St. Paul speaks of various levels of heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2). Catholic teaching speaks of nine choirs (or hierarchies) of angels. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus speaks of the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Later, in 18:1 of the same book, He enters into a discussion about the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Responding to such banal nonsense, St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote tartly that “not all stars in the heavens shine with the same brightness.”
This does not mean that anything will be lacking from anyone in heaven. Our full capacity for joy will be filled. But we largely determine what our capacity in heaven will be by how well we live fidelity to the Lord here. Thus, some will be four-ounce tumblers, others 10-ounce tumblers, and some veritable pitchers. But each will be filled to their full capacity.
Now perhaps this Priest had some startlingly new insight, but if that is the case, he is obliged to explain why Scripture, Saints, Doctors of the Church, and Jesus Christ, Himself did not actually mean what they said. More likely, he was just offering up some feel-good, errant, theological cotton candy to go along with his advocacy of political activism.
Do you know where the most rigorous immigration standards are to be found?
Oh yes, all who embrace the virtues and principles Our Founder taught will be given entry, regardless of race, sex, or even creed. (The good is implanted by Our Father within us. Even one who does not know the way, but persists in seeking the good, will be brought into communion with the Trinity. Never underestimate God’s mercy to those who seek the good.) But those who reject those principles will be cast into outer darkness. Frankly, I would be very happy if we adopted similar standards in our own immigration policies – those who embrace American principles are welcomed while those who reject them are not allowed entry. So, in a sense, if you subtract the inanities and errors from the Priest’s homily, I agree with him on the central point. We ought to model our immigration policies more along the lines of heavenly policies.
The Congressional Mueller hearings last Wednesday were, indeed, a revelation. Trey Gowdy had the best take on the day. “The person who learned the most about the Mueller report today,” he said, “was Robert Mueller.”
I have thought all along that Mueller was a dirty cop. His mishandling of the anthrax attacks, even after the true culprit was finally found and his choice to keep four men he knew to be innocent imprisoned in the Whitey Bulger case disgusted me. Nothing so angers me as a prosecutor who knowingly railroads the innocent. If I had my way, every one of them would be sentenced to the prison they knowingly sentence innocents to.
Now, I no longer think that was the primary reason Mueller was chosen. Rather, I suspect it was because (as some politely say) he has lost a few steps – a euphemism for senility. Mueller was a convenient figurehead to lend gravitas to this partisan witch hunt while not imposing any restraints on the witches who were actually running the show.
I cannot prove that Mueller intentionally presided over a witch hunt, but I can’t exonerate him, either.
Over the last three months I have traveled to 26 states. Everywhere I encountered a Knight of Columbus, I asked if he liked the new regalia imposed from the top down. The Eastern survey is complete. I found ZERO Knights in the rank and file who actually like it. Some said they would go along, most said they will no longer formally participate in any event that requires regalia, some said they would secretly wear the old at funerals for comrades, and many launched into profane tirades against their top leadership over it.
The regalia (which looks like a globalist U.N. uniform) is a hot topic of conversation because the Knights in the field were never asked their opinion of it. It was simply imposed from the top. Knights in the field tell me the rules say any Knight who now wears the beautiful, old, traditional regalia in public will be given a warning on the first offense, a suspension on the second, and a permanent ban on the third offense.
I deeply admire the Knights in the rank and file chapters across the country. They do great work. It is the Knights who have provided ultrasound machines to cash-strapped crisis pregnancy centers across the country (a subject near and dear to my heart). When intense persecution of Christians broke out in the Middle East a few years ago, it was the Knights who, more than any other private organization, got to work defending and providing relief to the victims. In localities across the country, when a crying need is identified, it is usually the Knights who play a big role in meeting that need. It is one of the greatest, most effective, volunteer organizations in American society today.
Alas, at the top, it is a hidebound bureaucracy that enriches a few while ignoring and bullying the good men who are actual volunteers out in the field. Grand Knight Carl Anderson receives annual compensation in excess of a million dollars (and on several occasions his annual compensation exceeded two million dollars).
I expected that there would be few enthusiasts for the new regalia that Anderson and Co. imposed on the Knights in the field. I did not expect to find ZERO across 26 states who supported it. Anderson is scheduled to resign soon. His successor would be well-advised to can the bureaucratic arrogance, treat the men in the field as the heart of the organization (as they are), and develop policy from the ground up rather than imposing it from the top down.
Beckita wrote briefly of a nasty bug I had while on the road. What I call my neurological episodes mimic some of the symptoms of a stroke. My forehead and scalp – and sometimes my torso – are suddenly suffused with sweat, my pain spikes dramatically, I get mildly disoriented, and I am rather wobbly when I try to walk. I get one every few months ever since my spinal surgery in 2003. I don’t think I have ever gone as much as six months without one. If I have a cold during the onset of such an episode, it complicates and intensifies it, sometimes dramatically. But the cure is simple: I just go lay down for a while and stay relatively quiet for a few days – and usually come out re-invigorated. It looks bad, but is not near as bad as it looks, so I usually just lay low until it passes.
On the road, I sometimes do not recognize the initial onset of a cold and push forward. While I was visiting Keene, New Hampshire, I got a bit of a cold. The Healy’s, a wonderful family up there, had me speak at an informal gathering at their place. I loved it…grandma and grandpa, then a family with seven lively and delightful kids. I spent four
days there. On Corpus Christi Sunday, they had a pizza party for me with a lot of neighbors and friends. They made each of the pizzas themselves in an honest-to-goodness outdoor wood-fired pizza oven. Alas, I had an episode just before I was to speak. I went inside to my room to recover a bit without letting anyone know. I got through the presentation, but I was not particularly sharp and was more than a little woozy. No problem. I slept late the next day before getting on the road to Cape Cod.
I noticed during the following week that my voice was kind of scratchy and rough, but didn’t think much about it. I had places to go and people to see. The day I left Charlottesville a week and a half later, while driving, I had three very intense episodes. I figured I better pull over and get a cheap hotel, for fear that maybe this was not an episode, but the onset of a stroke. I didn’t want to hurt anyone on the road if that was the case – and like I said, the most reliable palliative for this is sleep. I went to bed at two p.m. that afternoon. I got up around five and putzed a bit on the computer, during which I had two more intense attacks. I was shaken. I called a brother of mine and let him know that I had pulled off the road because I was feeling lousy and told him where I was. Though I didn’t tell him, I was mainly calling so if I did not wake up, someone would know where I was. The next morning, around five a.m., I woke up with a sore throat and a characteristic pain in my left side I usually get with a certain virus. I was never so happy to have a sore throat in my life.
I intended to post something Friday after getting back home late last week, but I had not completely shaken the virus, which was flaring anew. So instead, I just took the first few days to do what works best; rest in bed and stay quiet. I am like a trusty old jalopy – don’t run pretty, but I do keep chugging along. And with all the prayer requests I receive, it is kind of nice to always have something to offer up.
When he was in high school, my son and his class were given a selection of several esoteric topics on which to write an essay. One of those was, “What would it be like to be able to see the future?” Naturally, my son chose that one, figuring he could get some inside information AND get a little extra insight, himself, into his Dad’s peculiarities.
In his essay, he concluded that it would be more burden than gift. He wrote that it would be difficult to differentiate between those things that must be and those that only might be if current courses remained unaltered. It would be futile to waste time trying to change those things that must be, while missing the chance to positively effect those that could be mitigated. It would be terrible to know challenges those you love would face if you were seriously limited in speaking of them or changing them. In the end, you might have to settle for just being there to help rebuild in the aftermath of a severe trial.
As I recall, he got an “A” on that essay and the teacher commented on his unexpectedly deep and serious insight into the question.
I thought of that while driving. People think that if they only knew, they could mitigate all trials. The truth is, knowing only intensifies and adds a deeper level of pathos to trials that must come. It is doing your best as a servant of the living God, taking the next right step, being a sign of hope, and accepting that when you do this, whatever God allows is to your benefit or that of others. This is, indeed, a vale of tears. Once we accept that and humbly live our duty to the best we can, we find real joy even amidst the sorrows. I think the height of wisdom is knowing that we must surrender to God unto death – and knowing that our trust in Him is well placed.
I was delighted to find, while driving towards home through western Kansas, sporadically placed images of Divine Mercy along the highway. It cheered and heartened me. I don’t know who is responsible for placing them, but whoever it is, Great Job!
In mid-September I will hit the road again, after a little rest and recuperation at home. If you are interested in hosting me for a presentation, contact my assistant, Mary Lapchak, at firstname.lastname@example.org