Into the Ring of Fire

Heart of Fire

By Charlie Johnston

When I was a young man, I was an environmentalist. Actually, I still am – but hold “movement” environmentalists in utter contempt. I was in my early 20’s when I realized that movement environmentalists had no clue what they were talking about. It was all about showing how clever and noble they were – and how ignorant and venial everyone else was. I was still in my early 20’s when I realized that the environmentalist’s cant was not just relatively harmless idiocy, but actually very damaging to the environment.

It was a quarter of a century ago, while doing radio in Chicago, that I publicly stated (repeatedly) that California’s insane new rules prohibiting controlled burns and the clearing of brush were eventually going to lead to genuinely catastrophic wildfires. Here we are. And while the state tries to pass blame onto Pacific Gas and Electric (PG & E) or climate change or (of course) Donald Trump, did you know that state law made it a crime for PG & E to remove brush that was actually touching transmission lines or transformers?

Come to find out the same sort of policies are largely responsible for the catastrophic wildfires in Australia, as well. As Edward Ring notes in the linked article, over 150 occasions of arson have contributed to the wildfires in Australia. BUT…the fuel-loading of brush and deadwood that makes these fires catastrophic is entirely on governments in thrall to “movement environmentalists.” They know little to nothing about actual sound environmental policy. Rather, they use environmentalism as a nice sounding means to bully others into acquiescing in their will to power. It is obviously bad for freedom but is also bad for the environment – all living things, as the pseudo-environmentalists like to say.

We now have a generation (maybe two) of senior leadership that is made up of experts too lazy to develop any actual expertise, prognosticators who get EVERYTHING wrong and then never refer back to their errors. This is the year it comes to an end. The folksies have figured out that the experts do not know better than them but are just more willful and determined to dominate.

The left thinks to reduce violent crime by disarming victims – and are very aggressive in their efforts to impose gun control on the innocent. The right proposes to reduce violent crime by disarming criminals and putting them in jail – but are very timid about it while the left is adamant that criminals must be tolerated.

The right supports capitalism, sort of. It is a long time since we have actually had free-market capitalism. The fundamental principle behind it is that a person is entitled to the bread he has earned by the sweat of his own brow. Now the left is hepped up on socialism – the principle of which is that we must have a parasite class which will decide to whom the bread gained by the sweat of others will go. Not only that, but socialists murdered over 100 million of their own citizens during the 20th Century for disagreeing with them.

The right believes in free speech for all, kind of. The left believes people should only be free to say what the left thinks – otherwise they must be cancelled, banned, fired, persecuted or sent to gulags.

Don’t get me wrong. Every society needs a genuine elite class to function at top potential. Genuine elites must make the sacrifice and live the discipline to develop actual expertise and take actual responsibility for producing good results. In America, no matter who they think they are, they must be accountable to the people – or it ceases to be America. An elite class must involve more than a good haircut and a belligerent attitude. Much of the rumbling you now hear is the sound of a phony elite class fighting for survival as ordinary Americans take back control of their own lives. Any new applicants for elitism will have to earn people’s trust rather than bully them into submission. A light is dawning in darkness.


Quite the kerfuffle has broken out over Pope-emeritus Benedict’s request to have his name removed as co-author of a book defending the tradition of Priestly celibacy that he collaborated with Cardinal Robert Sarah on. Significantly, Benedict did NOT repudiate any of the substance of the book or the essay he contributed directly. Ignatius Press, American publisher of the book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, announced yesterday that, though specific authorship of various sections will be updated, the content of the book remains unchanged.

I spoke with a friend who is familiar with both men and whose judgment I respect in analyzing such matters. He thinks that Benedict was genuinely caught off guard at the force of those parts of the book he did not directly contribute to – and so this is a legitimate misunderstanding between Benedict and Sarah. My friend did, however, recognize the profound significance that Benedict did not repudiate any part of the book.

I could not help but think back to an old political play I would use on rare occasions. If my candidate and I foresaw a major and potentially destructive conflict coming, we would sometimes seek to head it off in this manner: I would make a provocative and very tough public statement on the matter. My candidate would then publicly – and gently – rebuke me for going too far or stating it in such provocative terms. Primly chastened, I would express my regrets and note that we would see what happens.

The value in this was that it showed the opponent what was arrayed against him before a particularly destructive and unnecessary conflict developed, allowing him to recalibrate his plans without great cost. It cast me as unpredictably aggressive and my candidate as the soul of restraint. Again, it was used very rarely – and only to head off a very serious situation. It worked in every case but one.

Pope Francis has not yet issued a formal document in the aftermath of the Amazon Synod. Yet there is rife speculation that he intends to abandon Priestly celibacy for the whole Church. This whole kerfuffle lets him know that if he does, he will almost certainly get significant blowback from many, including the Pope-emeritus. Cardinal Sarah is seen as the active force behind the objection and Benedict the soul of restraint. Sometimes, the best way to avoid having to use a gun is to display it. Mission accomplished.

Two Popes are involved in the kerfuffle over this book. In the end, I suspect it may well be three Popes.


Over the last weekend, the cold I have struggled with came roaring back for what I hope is its last gasp. It was actually fairly good timing, for I was able to just kick back and sleep a lot, only interrupted by feeding the animals. I feel much better today and think I will be

Sr. Bear
Sr. Marie Ursula (Bear)

able to head out tomorrow in a normal routine with nearly full robustness.

Ironic that, after having taken so much pride in going through my western tour last fall without getting sick at all, I should spend a good half of my first month and a half back home battling with a vicious cold.

Actually, while out west, I was recipient of a small miracle. It was while I was visiting Sr. Bear in Camp Sherman, Oregon. Actually, her name is Sr. Marie Ursula and she leads the Sisters of the Metolius in this remote town in central Oregon. It is incredibly scenic – and Sr. Bear was eager to show me some of the more notable sites. We were with a group who all agreed she should take me to see the “Cinder

Cinder Pit
Sr. Bear running ahead at the Cinder Pit. Mt. Jefferson is in the background.

Pit,” because it had one of the greatest views of all. Kind of like Smuckers, I figured with a name like that, it had to be good. Still, while letting Sr. Bear know I trusted her judgment, I avowed that I would draw the line if she later pressed to take me to the “dungeon of a thousand tortures.” Turned out everyone was right. The view from the cinder pit is gorgeous and panoramic. The cinders are volcanic rocks and ashes from long-ago eruptions.

The small miracle came when Sr. Bear was taking me on a comprehensive tour of the area. At one point, she wanted me to take a pathway to see the headwaters of the Metolius River. It is not a long path – maybe half a

Sculpted Pillars
Chainsaw sculpted pillars at St. Edward the Martyr Parish in Sisters, Oregon, near Camp Sherman.

mile and, probably, only a third. Over the last year, though, I have developed arthritis in my right hip and my left shoulder. It is extraordinarily painful for me to walk more than about two blocks. I had not told anyone, lest they get nervous about my ability to walk if it became necessary. I have always been perfectly confident that God will give me whatever capacity I need whenever I need it. I looked at the pathway and groaned inwardly, determined to keep my arthritis a secret. To my astonishment, while I tired easily (because I haven’t walked much more than two blocks at a time in the last year) there was no pain. Later on in the trip, I walked all over central San Francisco by myself and with David Daleiden. Again, my stamina was nothing to write home about, but the pain was not there. The pain has also vanished from my left shoulder.

Obviously, I was pleased that the pain was gone and I can walk normally again. Knowing that God can be a very tricky Fellow sometimes, I couldn’t help but wonder if this meant I am going to have to take a long walk again sometime soon. If so, I will go, but I can’t help but think maybe the arthritis wasn’t all that bad.

Meantime, telling this story, Sr. Bear may find pilgrims wanting to come to the headwaters of the Metolius in hopes of sharing in its healing properties. Alas, you will have to be a pilgrim, though, for I did not drink any of the water. It was on the walk where I was astonished to discover the arthritis gone.

May we all find joy and healing this year while setting our jaws and forging ahead in what we see as the next right step.



132 thoughts on “Into the Ring of Fire

  1. Thanks, Charlie. I was waiting for your take on the book explosion, thinking you most likely had some contacts with those who might have a more inside perspective.

    Oh Sr. Bear! Love seeing you and hearing about Charlie’s visit with you.

    Thanks be to Jesus for your healing, Charlie!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Glad you’re recovering from that nasty cold, a lot of folks around here had their Christmas dampened by it. I thought I read somewhere today that Pope Francis was not in favor of optional celibacy. If he was going to change things then I can’t imagine he would make marriage mandatory (if he doesn’t want celibacy optional). Confusing times indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Too bad we can’t require that in order to run for office, one has to take courses in Environment 101,
    Economics 101, Philosophy 101, Constitution 101;
    too be married, Marriage is a Commitment, Feelings are not to be acted upon;
    to have children- love and discipline; to have a job- you have to show up every day;
    to own a pet, never to hit or physically punish-watch Cesar the dog-whisperer;
    to be human: salvation history and all of the above.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Was I too hasty and harsh with my speculation that Nervous Nancy has dementia?

    This political tactic you described, Charlie, is fascinating: the levels and layers of theater and misdirection to achieve a specific end, it’s so subtle and insidious. I feel like you just revealed a magic trick to us. To me, it’s deception, but obviously a necessary part of political gamesmanship. Probably been that way since before the Greeks. Fascinating to watch, but not my cup of tea being a blunt straight-shooter from New York who often has little regard for tact and indirect communication.

    Though Nancy is having trouble finding words (her language center is impaired, and dementia is a possible suspect), she held her own recently on the cable circuit. She ever remains a crafty and calculating tactician (and nothing more) even when she’s got little to work with or when she seems boxed into a corner. For these Washington swamp types, its a second-nature skill to navigate what appears like murky and unpredictable political waters.

    Or is politics more predictable than it seems, like the limited array of opening moves in a chess game?

    Well, bottom line is the voters may not be so impressed with crafty gamesmanship and can choose to boot politicians who are too focused on the game and not on the people.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The process is not for everyone, Patrick. Yet when you bear responsibility for a lot of people, you have to be responsible. It would have been more straightforward to just let the debacle come. But would it be better for all those involved? I have always held a little contempt for people who actually have responsibility who would let many people suffer rather than soil their hands. I figure the good and the shrewd have a duty to prevent the bad and the shrewd from prevailing – specifically so ordinary people don’t have to worry about such things. Even so, rare as use of this tactic was, I did not consider it particularly deceptive. I only stated my genuine feelings – albeit openly provocatively. My candidate expressed his genuine need for restraint and prudence – and it was done in a form of theatre that prevented some much deeper ugliness.

      I won’t kid you. I had a lot of subtle tricks – enough so that when I made a genuine error, later opponents were afraid to jump on it lest it was one of my traps. In my defense, I carefully designed my traps so that only an opponent’s malice or greed could lure them in. They were always harmless against the innocent. Also, I was respected among both Republicans and Democrats as a man completely of his word – so much so that on more than a few occasions I was called into private meetings between opponents to negotiate private agreements.

      Again, it’s not for everyone. But it can be done with honor – just as any other difficult job that often gives a selection of bad and worse choices.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I see. No doubt this move was prudent and effective, and fortunately this tactic was at your disposal. So sometimes a bit of sacrifice is required to achieve overall a positive end. Not unlike chess.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Your basic point is sound, though. I have never given all of my techniques to anyone. I have given a lot to my son – and he agrees that if used by someone who does not have a very solid moral compass, they could easily be abused. Obviously, I have great respect for his moral compass.

          Liked by 7 people

          1. Joining the title of your piece “Into the Ring of Fire” and your suggestion here that your “political powers” could be used for evil if one is so inclined, here’s one of my favorite LOTR clips about humility:

            Liked by 6 people

            1. Any sort of gifts can be used for good or evil. A very strong man can either be a defender of the innocent – or a bully. All things given us by God are good in themselves. It is our duty to make sure they are properly ordered rather than disordered. The more intense the gifts the greater the capacity for either good – or evil. It’s hard to know you have always calibrated right…but it helps to know that you are always in the presence of God.

              Liked by 6 people

  5. Where do you get your information, Charlie? Specifically regarding the recent book by Cardinal Sarah and Benedict XVI and debacle affiliated with that? There is actually another side to this story.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kind of a strange question. I put up two links to the factual elements of the story – and then gave my personal analysis. Pretty straightforward. Whatever “side” you think is not being represented, you are welcome to enunciate it.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I saw something on 1/13/20 at which makes me question whether or not Benedict XVI actually “asked” for his name to be removed from the book he and Cardinal Sarah co-authored. Something is a little fishy to me. It’s more like he or even Cardinal Sarah were coerced into backing down from co-authoring this truth-filled book because it upset the recent hierarchal agenda of non-celibacy in the priesthood.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Oh, there is little doubt that the Vatican and Pope Francis’ allies pushed hard on the matter. But both Benedict and Sarah are responsible adult men of great integrity and gravitas. I find it more believable that they sent the message they wanted to than to believe they backed down in cowering fear. If the latter were the case, we would be in terrible trouble. So of course they were pressured. If anyone intends to do something of merit in a contentious atmosphere, if they can’t stand up to serious coercion, they should never have stepped up in the first place.

          I understand that many on our side consider any pressure brought to bear on us as unconscionably evil. I consider such blowback in a serious moral crusade to be expected. During my pilgrimage, one official who was a friend interrupted it to bring me in for a month to pop a potential conspiracy against him. In the first week, I suffered a brutal setback. My friend’s chief, worried that it might have shaken me, called to check on me. “Oh shoot, J—-,” I said, ” I don’t even consider it real politics until someone has kicked me hard enough to draw tears. That’s when the real fun begins.” You can see why I much prefer to think that Pope-emeritus Benedict and Cardinal Sarah worked an elegant shot across the Vatican’s bow than to believe they are timorous reeds shaken by the wind.

          Liked by 8 people

          1. @CharlieJ: Perhaps what Abp Vigano reveals today is that the one who was pressured was neither Cdl Sarah nor Pope Benedict. Whether they employed your own political strategy or not, it looks like the one who has been pressured is Abp Ganswein and that his role over the years has been more to filter information and informants like Abp Vigano away from Pope Benedict.

            Perhaps the revelation of the collaboration that Benedict and Cdl Sarah stepped up to perform was a surprise to the Vatican as a whole because Ganswein was left out of their plans. I think it is good and very good that Fr. Fessio at Ignatius Press is not bowing to pressure and, so far at least, is allowing the first edition to go to press without the onerously required change to the title and cover pages.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. On this you have a very good point, III. A lot of high officials become captive to their staff: there is so much information bombarding them that the gatekeepers around them can get very manipulative. The gatekeepers think it to be their secret weapon. I always thought it to be the cultivation of an Achilles heel – for a relatively uninformed principal is far more prone to make a catastrophic error. I tried to guard against it by having a few dissenting voices in the central team and to encourage officials to make an independent briefing of competing sources on a regular basis. It worked mostly – but on a few occasions did not. Unfortunately, after an official is older than, say, 75, it becomes much easier to make even the best of them captive of the little bubble surrounding them.

              I have not yet cleared you other comment because I want to see Abp. Vigano’s comment in English and not behind a paywall. It is important info – and as soon as it is confirmed under these criteria, I will release it.

              Liked by 6 people

              1. Thanks for your prudence, Charlie, in waiting for evidence of the validity of Archbishop Vigano’s statement. I just trashed a comment I had cleared as you were responding to III and will wait to see if his statement is confirmed. If so, I’ll bring it back.

                Liked by 2 people

        2. @M. Tschumper: Perhaps this recent personal information from Abp Vigano fills in some of the gaps for “another side to this story” that you are aware of and that others are only now becoming aware of:

          Father Georg Isolated the emeritus Pontiff

          by Archbishop Carolo Maria Viganò

          FULL TEXT

          (Authorized translation of the Italian original by Giuseppe Pellegrino)

          It is time to reveal the control that has been abusively and systematically exercised by Msgr. Gänswein towards the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, ever since the beginning of his pontificate.

          Gänswein has habitually filtered information, assuming the right to judge for himself how much or how little to tell the Holy Father.

          I can testify that, when Pope Benedict received me in audience on April 4, 2011, a few days after I had sent him my first letter (later abusively published in the course of Vatileaks) I said to the Pontiff: “I will not speak to you about the situation of corruption in the administration of the Pontifical Villas, because I presume that you have already reviewed the Memorandum in this regard that I gave to your secretary for you, in view of this Audience.”

          The Holy Father, in all simplicity and innocence, and without showing any surprise, said “No, I have seen nothing.”

          I further testify another fact that reveals how much Msgr. Gänswein controlled information given to the Holy Father and conditioned the liberty of action of the Same. On the occasion of the canonization of Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha, having requested in writing to the then-Prefect of the Papal Household, Msgr. James Harvey, to be received in an audience with the Pope, and not having received any response, I asked the Prefect, on October 23, 2012, why I had not received any response to my request for an audience.

          I recall the circumstance perfectly, because Msgr. Harvey suggested to me that I would participate in the General Audience the following day, so as to at least be able to personally greet the Holy Father with the other bishops present. Msgr. Harvey responded with the following words: “Gänswein said to me: ‘Monsignor Viganò is the last person who can approach Pope Benedict!’”

          Harvey then added that at the beginning of the Pontificate, Benedict XVI, pointing at him [Gänswein] with his finger, exclaimed, “Gestapo! Gestapo!”

          This unscrupulous attitude was shown from the very beginning of the pontificate in the determination with which Gänswein succeeded in distancing the Pope from his dear assistant and secretary Ingrid Stampa, whom then-Cardinal Ratzinger wanted at his side for well over a decade after the death of his sister, Maria Ratzinger.

          And then I note that in order to escape from this total control exercised over his person by Gänswein, Pope Benedict often went to his previous personal secretary, Msgr Josef Clemens, also inviting to said family meeting Ingrid Stampa.

          I make this declaration following what has been asserted by Msgr. Gänswein to the Ansa agency, in contradiction of what Pope Benedict himself wrote in the exchange of letters made with Cardinal Sarah. It is a sensational as well as slanderous insinuation towards the most eminent Cardinal Robert Sarah, promptly denied by the same.


          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well darn it, Charlie. Obviously, I cleared the full comment probably moments before you cleared the edited version. Sorry I wasn’t slower on clearing. The lesson is not lost on me about taking greater pause with comments such as this. B


            Liked by 1 person

              1. Thanks, III. I went looking and found this LifeSiteNews piece as well. So, here’s how I initially responded:

                Thank you for this, III. I deeply respect Archbishop Viganò’s input on the inner workings at the Vatican and throughout the Church. In my observations, I believe he has nothing to gain by these revelations… other than the clear conscience he seeks by telling truth so that corruption within the Church is exposed for what it is… exposure followed by excising the pus n junk so we may move into real renewal and rebuilding.

                Rather than going into uproar mode, for even as I’m appalled at one level, I know: there but for the grace of God go I and I think this revelation is another invitation – as Desmond mentioned yesterday when naming a corrupt person in government – to bring the Church into our Lenten discipline of prayer, sacrifice and alms giving. I know there are many, here and all over the world, who have answered the call and continually pray and sacrifice for Mother Church. May this number swell anew as we anoint Christ’s Bride with our Love poured out, including the prayer of doing. May every next right step redound to new graces coming into the Church. While it seems we’re falling apart, this stuff has actually abounded in secret for too long and right in the midst of the revealing of the messiness, God IS doing something new. Maranatha! May we ever stay awake and be ready for each NRS.

                Liked by 4 people

                  1. The best way I can explain it is when a person replies to a comment that has been removed there is no place for that reply to attach to. Let me go fetch it and paste it here. Ta-dah!

                    @Bekita: I have no doubt that God has a plan. He lays it out for us in the Our Father: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven“.

                    Absolutely, a clear conscience for dear, brave Abp Vigano is a motivator while at the same time, perhaps, also fulfilling his own episcopal duties to the sheep–with a clear conscience–to save souls by revealing and teaching the truth buried under years of ‘messiness’.

                    Recently my conversation with my husband aligns with your ending sentiments. Namely, as parents, we have the honor and privilege through prayer and sacrifice of powerfully calling down grace from heaven on behalf of our spiritually blind offspring whose choices of late painfully go from bad to worse.

                    What better way for them to hit bottom, look up to God (if they will), and be surrounded by a cushion of grace supplied abundantly by God and drawn down by our cooperation with Him in our own ‘next right steps’–if we will. As Desmond suggests, the Lenten Season will be a potent opportunity to supplicate for grace on behalf of the whole world.

                    Liked by 6 people

            1. Thank you III-
              This is exactly what I was referring to on there being “another side of the story”.
              Archbishop Viganò has been a VERY reliable source in dealing with ALL of the chaos since 2013.

              Liked by 6 people

          2. An, “Ah, ha” moment in regards to one of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s prophecies from August 10, 1820 about a pope of dark times in the Church having a trustworthy aged priest-friend to whom she was required to speak to about other non-trustworthy servants. If Benedict is the pope of dark times, who is this priest-friend?

            “Last night I was taken to Rome where the Holy Father immersed in his sorrow, is still hiding to elude dangerous demands (made upon him). He is still very weak, and exhausted by sorrows, cares and prayers. He can now trust but few people. That is mainly why he is hiding. But he still has with him an aged priest who has much simplicity and godliness. He is his friend and because of his simplicity they did not think it would be worth removing him. But this man receives many graces from God. He sees and notices a great many things which he faithfully reports to the Holy Father. It was required of me to inform him while he was praying, of the traitors and evil doers who were to be found among the high ranking servants living close to him, so that he might be made aware of it.”

            Liked by 3 people

            1. You are welcome. I’m relieved that Charlie and Bekita were able to clear this information in a measured and prudent fashion.


    2. There is no “story”, in the way you seem to indicate. The Pope Emeritus collaborated in an entirely orthodox book with a Cardinal of outstanding orthodoxy (and why does one even have to use such adjectives these days?) and the clown-kabuki began.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Clown-kabuki”: ain’t THAT the truth, Jaykay.

        I hope and pray that Cardinal Sarah be elected the next pope. How awesome would that be? And if it happens, we can all point at Charlie and say, “We heard it here first!” 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

  6. Wonderful about the arthritis healing, Charlie! I often think of the story you told about making some kind of noise when you got out of the car, I believe it was. That’s what I do often when getting up because of the hip pain, especially getting out of a low car! I can absolutely empathize with you!

    Regarding the book kerfuffle, Father Z has a quote/tweet from Edward Pentin about it also. Sounds like the “nasty one” got this whole thing going.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. From. Fr. Z.
    “Antonio Socci (not a fan of Francis) says in Facebook (I’m not a fan of Facebook) that Francis summoned Archbp. Gänswein, read him a riot act, and demanded that Benedict’s name be removed from the book. Hence, Benedict asked for his name to be diminished in the book project so as to shield Gänswein from retribution.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Finally, the zeroing in on AB Ganswein. Pope Benedict’s handler/the gatekeeper. He also is seen around Pope Francis. Who “handles” Ganswein?

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Beautiful miracle! Thank you God for relieving Charlie’s pain.

    Thank you, too, for only minor injuries when I slipped on the ice today and smacked my head on the brick sidewalk. It was so scary. I feel blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the last part of your sentence will be whispered by many as a prayer for the next conclave. May the three amigos be protected under Mother Mary’s mantle.

        Liked by 8 people

  9. “…I couldn’t help but wonder if this meant I am going to have to take a long walk again sometime soon…”

    Hymm… I have been praying to God to lose weight, get back in shape and cut down on drinking…

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Charlie,

    The book is finally on it’s way. Plus something extra.

    That picture of Sister Bear walking ahead of you is beautiful, a living painting, a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem come to life. Thank you for it.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Regarding the book controversy, I think Edward Pentin’s “Unpacking the Benedict XVI-Cardinal Sarah Book Fiasco” is a must-read. In his recounting of events, Benedict was consulted several times along the way. Cardinal Sarah has a paper trail of their exchanges concerning the book.

    The Catholic left went absolutely ballistic on Twitter when news of the book was released. They were raging against Benedict and said he was sabotaging Pope Francis and the Amazon Synod. It’s against this background that Archbishop Gaswein walked back Benedict’s involvement. Benedict could not be accused as challenging Francis (even though he wasn’t).

    Cardinal Sarah bends over backward to speak highly of Pope Francis in his books. In fact, Dr. Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture criticizes him for doing so:

    “For Cardinal Sarah always goes out of his way to indicate not only that he is not opposed to Pope Francis in any way but that in everything he writes he is echoing the Holy Father’s themes. Believe me, I get this; I understand why he chooses this path; but in the end, he pushes it too far and it just will not do.”

    We may never know the details of went on behind the scenes. I only know that Cardinal Sarah is a holy priest, a courageous bishop, and a man of deep prayer. He has suffered much for Christ’s Church. Cardinal Sarah served as archbishop under the Marxist dictatorship of Ahmed Sékou Touré, who put Sarah on a death-list in 1984. Fortunately, Toure died before the order to terminate could be carried out.

    If you’ve read Cardinal Sarah’s three books (“God or Nothing”, “The Power of Silence” and “The Day Is Now Far Spent”) you’ll understand why Sarah is now on the hit list of certain progressives in the Church and that there is no one else the evil one would like to discredit than Cardinal Sarah. His latest book is a brilliant analysis of the crisis in the Church, in Western Culture, and on the attack on the Nature of Man. It boils down to this — contemporary man wants absolute freedom without any restraints whatsoever. And God, to them, is a restraint. We’ve always had people like this throughout history. But at this time, they’ve become legion and very powerful. The antidote to this situation (literally the “Anti-Gospel” JPII predicted) is only found in our complete abandonment to the Lord in Adoration, in deep prayer, and in humility. And we need to be Silent before the Lord to hear Him. But Sarah also insists that we are still called to boldly proclaim to the world the Gospel as Christ and His Apostle’s proclaimed it.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for your Son’s Church.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Amen, Frank; and may God bless and protect Cardinal Sarah. Incidentally, I just pre-ordered a copy of his new book. I pray that this brouhaha may result in the sale of exponentially more copies than otherwise would have been sold.

      Liked by 9 people

    2. Absolutely, Frank. I had meant to add about Edward Pentin in my comment above (but my mobile cut-out and I was on a late train anyway). Quite the best summary I’ve seen in the whole “affair”.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. I had already read the lifesite article but not the two other articles until now. However, after reading Frank G’s comment about the church left and how that more than likely produced Father Georg action, I had one big – Ohhhhhhh!
      Now it all makes so much sense. Pretty much reflects exactly what is unfolding in the USA. I accept that the Father has a plan and is uncovering the anti Constitution in this country and the anti Bible and Magesterium in our church. But the left in the church is decidedly trying to take down the pillars of the church and in this I mean the 7 sacraments.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Well this is a surprise, Charlie! (: You’re a sly one with your camera. 😉

    As I read the first few paragraphs, I was thinking about posting a short comment about the value of prescribed burns ~ and will shortly.

    Then I scrolled further . . . . It was a privilege for us to spend a bit of time with you. I’m delighted to hear that the small healing miracle you mentioned to me on the trail back from the headwaters has perdured. God is good! I’d like to think that Stella Maris (the namesake star of whom hovers over the Motherhouse as a stationary sign in the clear night sky) assists.

    Yes, the spring-fed Metolius is known for its pure, clear water. Our tapwater is fabulous. The whole Metolius River Basin, though, is a place that many of us recognize as a “thin place” ~ where the veil between Heaven and Earth is very thin. It’s more than the water.

    While physical healings aren’t necessarily dramatic (as at Lourdes), and most of the people who live or have vacation cabins here are not practicing Christians, most who are drawn here experience Something (I say Someone, Who sometimes works in disguise). Over the years, I’ve observed many healings that aren’t necessarily physical. They can be emotional, psychological, relational, and spiritual (all connected, in my view).

    Now, about prescribed burns in the predominantly Ponderosa Pine forest where I live. Since time immemorial, before the late 1800s, the main people who regularly spent time here, during the warmer months, were Indians ~ including my relatives. Lightning-caused fires would sweep through the forest every seven or so years, clearing out the undergrowth that we now call “ladder fuels.” Indians also helped the process along a bit by intentionally starting low-intensity fires. The big trees actually like and benefit from low-intensity fires. Old photos show that the forest floor had a park-like spaciousness with giant trees the main features.

    Then, when people started homesteading here (late 1800s) or building summer cabins (1910s), fire suppression began. It seemed like a good idea at the time . . . . But, over the decades, the undergrowth grew fairly dense. By the 1990s, the US Forest Service (which manages most of the land here) knew from research that prescribed burns were actually healthy for this ecosystem. Such carefully planned and managed burns would also ward off catastrophic fires. The district ranger in the late 1990s and early 2000s knew, however, that the ever-vigilant public in the Metolius River Basin would have to buy in.

    Working with Friends of the Metolius (one of our local all-volunteer groups), in about 2001 the Forest Service initiated various types of educational efforts, including gathering a group of us to meet monthly for two years ~ either for educational presentations in a meeting room or for field trips in the forest. The group ranged from active environmentalists to amateur naturalists (like me) to loggers ~ and others. At the end of the two years, we all had a say in what diameter trees could be cut (we love our giant pines). Since then, this process of tending the forest has been ongoing. Almost everyone buys into it (although the smoke bothers some people during the couple of weeks of burning each year). Our forests are beautiful. Sister Jeep and I pointed out a couple of very recent burns to Charlie. Next spring, green pine needles, grasses, and wildflowers will return.

    All of this goes to show, in my mind, the value of studying, learning from, carefully tending, and giving praise to God for nature as He created it. Nature includes us. Just this morning, I awakened before dawn. It was about 7 degrees outside ~ sign of clear skies in wintertime. As the sun rose over Green Ridge to the east, I gazed out the picture windows at the snow-covered meadow. To the north and west, Mt. Jefferson and Three-Fingered Jack glowed a delicate pink with wispy purple clouds in the atmosphere. Oh, my God. Artists can only attempt to capture this.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. I don’t know if this means anything, Sr. Bear, but I first realized how bad the arthritis had become at the annual Bishops Conference in Baltimore in 2018 (the one where the Vatican ordered them NOT to deal with the sexual abuse issue – supposedly because the Pope and the Vatican were going to deal with it all last February.) My hotel was just a mile and a half from the Church in which I was going to attend a midday daily Mass, so I decided to walk. It was a disaster. I had to stop and rest a good 13 times because the pain was too much. I thought it was some transient matter – but it persisted until I walked under the light of Stella Maris to the headwaters of the Metolius. Something worth pondering.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Now this is worth pondering, Charlie. I immediately thought of Colossians 1:24.

        When I saw, with appreciation, your photo of some of the chainsaw-carved saints serving as pillars of my parish in the town 15 miles away on a long lonely highway through the forest, a host of realities came to mind, which I won’t go into now.

        Our beloved Church ~ which both of us embraced freely and fiercely as adults ~ pitches perilously in a great stormy sea. Some of our leaders (misguidedly?) furiously drill holes to hasten her sinking. Your suffering, and any that I and others of us might experience, is a prayer. Above and alongside us, Stella Maris, please pray for us.

        I note that you experienced this significant healing here on the day before the Eve of All Saints.

        Liked by 7 people

      2. BTW, one of my friends here is a beautiful, sensitive videographer. (She has done some fabulous portrait videos ~ for a fee, since this is how she makes her living.) Some years ago, she filmed and produced an 11-minute introductory video for the Camp Sherman Historical Society, in which she interviewed several elders (and one not-so elder 😉 ). Notice the section where people talk about the healing qualities of the Metolius. Here’s a link to the video:

        Notice also that people used to go right down to the headwaters and drink. 🙂 But God, being a “tricky Fellow sometimes,” didn’t require you to drink the wonderful water!

        Liked by 4 people

  13. (I’m going to post a comment for our friend, Desmond, which I just posted under the last piece, however, it deserves, I think, to be posted here as well because it is about current news AND it contains a primo way to respond to those lost in the darkness.)


    The following may reference more than an opening ‘skirmish’. This afternoon I watched the tragic spectacle of Nancy Pelosi [just prior to carrying the Articles of Impeachment over to the Senate side] declaring that;

    1) She and her colleagues previously knew, and know today, that the Senate will find Trump innocent and
    2) she doesn’t care because
    3) the whole purpose of this charade is to leave that stain of having been impeached on the political escutcheon of President Trump. [Is it possible this is at least partially an attempt at payback for the impeachment trial & mark on Pres. Bill Clinton’s political escutcheon???]

    Her unmistakable sheer venom and virulent hatred of her political adversaries bespoke much of what has become wrong within America during the last few decades; The sheer drive of the Radical Left for power – the raw power to enforce their will upon others – that has quite literally turned a previously polite demeanor between members of the two major political parties into something more like a street fight or bar room brawl. That, in turn, has led Washington, D.C. to become a caricature of a previous home for a resident majority of decent Christian human beings.

    To my eyes, Pelosi and that crowd around her appeared more like a wolf pack seeking prey for its blood lust for power, than it did a group of righteous men and women seeking justice.

    I am not exaggerating here in the slightest. It was chilling to see the cold hatred of Pelosi and the small crowd around her. Should I be surprised? NO. I’ve been watching her since she first hit the House of Representatives in 1987 as the result of a special election to replace the incumbent Congressman who was dying of cancer.

    It gives me no joy to make the following observation: over the ensuing decades, I have watched the appearance of Pelosi’s eyes become more and more … darkened, even dead looking. It is the kind of eyes you see in men and women who no longer have [as Lady Macbeth put it] ‘a drop of the milk of human kindness’ in them.

    Once you see that look, serious Christians are, or should be, moved to pray deeply for such a person – because they realize that person ‘doesn’t have a prayer’ for a peaceful life now or in the future – unless others who still have some serious amount of human kindness in their veins will voluntarily pray and do penance for them.

    God loves Nancy – and he expects me to do so also. So, I have seen that this coming Lent I must pray and do penance for all of the pro-aborts out there and, especially, for their leaders. Please pray for me that I follow through on that resolution. And, please, don’t hesitate to ask me during Lent if I have remembered to do so.

    All my love in Christ


    Liked by 16 people

    1. Well said Desmond…and I’d say the appropriate response we should have towards our adversaries…not the easy or instinctive thing to do, either…but very good direction

      Charlie…referencing the first part of this piece…I’ve always thought that we are built to worship…that we’re created that way…and that if we don’t get it right (vertical), we’ll go horizontal and worship something out of nature or politics (enviro, animal, gaia, islam, secularism, etc.).

      These people seem highly dedicated in their worship of whatever idol they choose, but there’s a nasty spirit about them…no sweetness in it. I suspect many of them would make great Christians if they could be converted.

      Lastly, regarding the political bag of tricks you describe, I’m afraid our current pontiff is an expert at it…and sets himself off routinely against his more radical accomplices to keep the “progress” at an incremental rate, which goes down more easily, all the while keeping at it steadily.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree, it isn’t the instinctive response of my fallen human nature. I comes as a grace – filling out my awareness of the reality in and around me. It only began to work like that after I had come to the realization of what a great sinner I am myself. I’ve been given much. As it says in Scripture, “He to whom much is given, of him much is expected.” It is the realization of how small my “much” is not nearly in the league of the “much” I’ve been given. My reality is that I owe so “much” more than I have givan back.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Good Heavens, there are so many things to pray for that I now depend on surrendering to God’s plan and His will be done. But I have concluded that Pelosi’s hatred of Donald Trump can be exclusively laid at the feet of her love of abortion. She is steeped in abortion culture. Her love of abortion is so profound that it colors the Catholicism that she professes even to the point of publicly pronouncing some wildly inaccurate statements about the church “supporting abortion, at one time.” Donald Trump is upending leftist culture and non sequiturs on economy, capitalism, foreign policy, religion, first amendment rights, second amendment rights, the environment, human rights especially the rights of the pre born and now even the born. He has turned the ninth circuit from judicial overreach to a law affirming court of appeals. Her stubbornness on abortion is steeped in self pride, enormous self pride. She is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. Do pray for her righteous examination of conscience and her asking for forgiveness and leave the rest up to God. But hate and hypocrisy colors her entire personality. Does she fear her judgement as we all should? Will she try to justify abortion to the maker Himself? Does she not believe any of what she has been taught from childhood about life (…and the word was made flesh), sin and judgement? For me, she has left her Catholicism behind, way behind in favor of a culture/ideology of death. She has chosen, deliberately chosen the antithesis of Christ.

      Liked by 6 people

  14. Just a thought . I’ve been using Wendy Cukierski’s Immune Booster & that has helped me from getting severe colds. Also have gotten into Essential Oils from DoTERRA . Frankincense is my go to oil . I mix it with fractionated coconut oil. You may want to look into that. It helped me with some issues with skin cancer. Check it out . 🙏🏻✝️🙏🏻🇺🇸🌎

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 6 people

  15. Just read:

    Vatican City, Jan 13, 2020 / 07:01 am (CNA).- A Vatican spokesman said Monday that Pope Francis’ position on priestly celibacy is “known,” quoting the pontiff’s remarks in a January 2019 press conference, in which he said he does not agree with making priestly celibacy “optional” in the Latin rite.”
    – then followed a few more similar Francis-quotes. God seal that, as due and possible.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. “the Day is now far spent,” a phrase of such import. The apostles were complaining and did not have the desire nor the umph nor the means of feeding these people, even though Christ had just told them to. So He has them scrounge up with little they had and gives a great Miracle; Oh Lord, let it be now for our times– for all of us starving for truth and meaning in the present day deluge of filth and deceit. Oh Lord, let it be so.

    Liked by 8 people

  17. Great piece per usual,Charlie. ..gosh, just so impressed with Sr Bear and so happy you received a healing, Charlie!!!

    I yelled in glee about your healing to Michael from the other room so he could hear it and he gleefully yelled back, “God can do anything! !!” 🤗😇 It’s a truly big deal though.

    I had that experience once a few years back. Spondylitis. Daily, i had to wear lumbar corset and take a non-narcotic tramadol twice a day just to get out of bed. (So many times Mike would have to rise in the middle of the night so I could hold onto his shoulders to get up and use washroom.)

    Most cleaning jobs, vacuuming was extremely painful and I had to hold onto walls or furniture.

    Then one day after noon Mass Fr Joe offered sacrament of sick.
    There were a bunch of 80 yr Olds and me. (50?)

    He’d been used to my confessions and thought me to be sort of funny, so when he came to me, he gave me this cute little chuckle and as soon as his thumb made the sign of the cross on my forehead with holy oil, this tremendous warm, tingly, explosive jolt traveled through my body all the way down to my tippy toes.

    I thought..”what the heck was that?” Thought is was going to melt to the floor 😂😂😂

    It took many weeks to realize I was healed of the pain, although last xray showed the fracture was still in my lower back..Dr asked of I had pain and scratched his head when I smiled and told him, “no, not anymore! ”

    And so…I love telling that story, and Charlie how happy we ALL are to hear yours!!!!

    Praised be Jesus, Mary and Beautiful Sr Bear…

    I think if I were ever a sister I think I’d like to ask Sr Bear if I could join hers.

    But Im old and married…lol…

    However…I shall tell young girls i see at adoration about her order ….She looks so Saintly and so in love with God.

    Charlie so very happy you are finally well. Mike & I had it too for 3 weeks, then one more round right after Christmas. . (Well..gout for michael for all the overindulgence and fever n cough for me) I

    think God has much need for suffering these days for the Triumph that seems well underway.

    God is good.

    Seems like He’s giving us another chance by the daily occurances of His Divine Plan of Mercy.

    I love you all TNRS ASOH. .I’m so thankful to God for you all🤗😇😘 xoxoxoxoxoxo

    Charlie. you have chickens? I keep telling Michael we should buy some chickens…lol🐣🐤🐥

    Liked by 9 people

  18. @Bekita: I have no doubt that God has a plan. He lays it out for us in the Our Father: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven“.

    Absolutely, a clear conscience for dear, brave Abp Vigano is a motivator while at the same time, perhaps, also fulfilling his own episcopal duties to the sheep–with a clear conscience–to save souls by revealing and teaching the truth buried under years of ‘messiness’.

    Recently my conversation with my husband aligns with your ending sentiments. Namely, as parents, we have the honor and privilege through prayer and sacrifice of powerfully calling down grace from heaven on behalf of our spiritually blind offspring whose choices of late painfully go from bad to worse.

    What better way for them to hit bottom, look up to God (if they will), and be surrounded by a cushion of grace supplied abundantly by God and drawn down by our cooperation with Him in our own ‘next right steps’–if we will. As Desmond suggests, the Lenten Season will be a potent opportunity to supplicate for grace on behalf of the whole world.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. You know, III. I think we’re in a loooooong co-season of Advent and Lent until the complete Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Joyful expectation with prayer and penance… 🙂

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Amen! III-
      Abp Viganò sets a wonderful example for ALL to follow in dying to one’s self and stating the Truth even at the risk of being ridiculed and alienated. By this humble man acknowledging God’s truth it brings clarity to ALL the chaos. Abp Vigano is also taking the next right step in speaking up for ALL to hear the Truth. His saintly actions bring me MUCH HOPE!😊

      Liked by 5 people

  19. It is interesting that Pope-emeritus Benedict & Cardinal Robert Sarah’s dispute over a Book has drawn more interest and attention to the book than if the book would of been published as is with no fuss.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I’ve figured every year since Trump got elected would be a Perfect Storm Year. I still believe that his election was the Ft Sumter Event of Civil War II.
    The “Boiling Pot”, Worldwide/Church-wide, can now be described as a pressure cooker with no relief safety valve ;-(

    It seems as VA Guv Northam, AKA BlackFace de BabyKiller, has knowingly (or not) created a “Perfect Storm” situation for Richmond next Monday. Looks like Antifa, BLM & ALL The Usual Suspects vs. The Good Guys. ….. it could get very ugly ;-( …. Civil War II has to “Go Hot” somewhere!
    Monday is probably a “good” day for all to avoid any Democrat Controlled Urban Paradise!!


    Liked by 11 people

  21. Interesting description of political tactics Charlie.

    It’s funny because just before checking in here I read this piece of political maneuvering with respect to calling witnesses in the Impeachment farce:

    The similarities I see:

    1. Trump is the client

    2. Rand Paul is the Charlie-like front man

    3. Moderate Republican Senators (aka Never Trumpers) are the target

    4. Oh, the Target is being warned of a terrible kerfuffel! Terrible, terrible if they should make a mistake

    5. The Target will contemplate the consequences threatened ( the display of the gun)

    6. Paul is the Charlie-like hothead. Trump will defer to whatever the Senate wants to do (nice guy).

    7. The cost of buying Mitt Romney’s, Susan Collins’s, Lisa Murkowski’s votes just went down. Waaay down.

    8. Likely Outcome: Senate Republicans hold firm. No new witnesses and a quick acquittal.

    What is it they say? Oh yeah, Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Charlie you are a pioneer in a lot of ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, as they say on TV, don’t try this at home.

      Funny thing is, in the first year of his presidency, I got more fond of Trump because a lot of his techniques were things I had only seen done by myself in that business – and I think he’s better at it. I chuckled a few times when he would pull off what I considered a brilliant move and conservative pundits would be in panic in the early stages. You remember when he defended Nancy Pelosi against attacks coming from the Squad? Even Rush Limbaugh was in a complete tizzy at the supposed “blunder.” I was smiling with envy at the elegance of the move from the moment he first did it. It was clear to me that only two active things could result from it: A) Pelosi would be grateful – which would deepen divisions among the Democrats or B) Pelosi would defend the Squad, making them the face of the Democratic Party with her (unintended) blessing. Either reaction was good for Republicans. It also told me Pelosi was never the master strategist the media made her out to be. There was a relatively safe exit for her – to note the president’s comment and then starchily remark that the Democrats were perfectly capable of managing their own internal squabbles without interference from the president. She didn’t take it.

      So much of this stuff has a psychological component – and a successful gambit often requires more than a one-step process. The best usually involve three steps. But political people rarely think of more than a single step in a serious gambit. You have to think about what motivates people – and then use it to your advantage. For example, I always knew that the press is generally hostile and aggressive towards Republicans but they are pretty dense about how normal people see things. I could either whine about it – or give them something easy to attack on that actually cut my way. Then they would be helping me without knowing it, thinking they were hurting us. Any opponent who is reflexively hostile can be easily damaged badly by simply using their aggression against them. Trump is a master at using his opponents’ aggression against them – because he has the patience to bait the hook, set it when it gets a bite, and then and only then, reel it in.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. ” ….. Any opponent who is reflexively hostile can be easily damaged badly by simply using their aggression against them. Trump is a master at using his opponents’ aggression against them – because he has the patience to bait the hook, set it when it gets a bite, and then and only then, reel it in….. ”

        What does it take to be a great champion in any walk of life?

        Like him or hate him one must admit that Donald Trump is a champion at what he does. Very successful. So what makes him tick? How does the mind of Donald Trump work?

        One clue to how Trump thinks is the people he admires and tries to emulate. One of those “models” that Trump appreciates, believe it or not, is Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Mayweather is all of 5′ 8″ weighing in at 146 1/2 pounds. He had a record of 50- 0 as a professional boxer. He held the title in 5 different weight classes. “Money” was the nickname he came up with. He turned his boxing into a multimillion dollar entertainment brand. His flamboyant style and domestic abuse problems has tarred his reputation among some. But, like him or hate him, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is pound for pound perhaps the GOAT.

        So what is it that Trump so admires in this man? If you understand that you are a leg up on understanding how Trump thinks. Here, in his own words, is how Money Mayweather describes his championship mindset

        See any similarities? Pity not Money Mayweather or Donald Trump. Pity the poor guy who has to go up against them.

        Liked by 3 people

  22. Judicial Watch on Jan.13 had a section on Chelsea Clinton getting IAC stock and $50,000 annual retainer from a longtime Clinton friend and Hillary being appointed chancellor of Queen’s University also; Chelsea might be following Hunter Biden.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @Mary Anne Harper: Chelsea might be following Hunter?! I don’t think there is any ‘might’ about it. For the global elitists and their offspring, it’s just business as usual. Peter Schweitzer has some “tell all” books about how cronyism works with the Global Elite whether in politics, business, academia, or media/entertainment. The crossover and collusion between the categories is deep and wide and long-standing. In the end, I think that only God can get to the bottom of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. “God loves Nancy – and he expects me to do so also. So, I have seen that this coming Lent I must pray and do penance for all of the pro-aborts out there and, especially, for their leaders. Please pray for me that I follow through on that resolution. And, please, don’t hesitate to ask me during Lent if I have remembered to do so.”
    Quote above is from Desmond (via Beckita)
    That’s the attitude we must all have as I heard someone say on the radio something to the effect that Christians were the only army that kills its wounded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @FTSOSP: I’m somewhat literal and the quote you heard on the radio sounded “off” to me (depending on who was being quoted, I suppose). “Christians were the only army that kills its wounded.” What does that mean? Sorry to be obtuse, again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @Islam_
        It immediately spoke to me about my attitude towards people like McCarrick etc.


  24. Drats!!! Beckita, There was this young lady yesterday at adoration, she looked the Sr. BEAR type…but could have been mom waiting for her child too…right at 3 pm..but when I got home, I realized, I should be prepared to tell young women about Sr’s order…is this the info I use?

    “Actually, while out west, I was recipient of a small miracle. It was while I was visiting Sr. Bear in Camp Sherman, Oregon. Actually, her name is Sr. Marie Ursula and she leads the Sisters of the Metolius in this remote town in central Oregon”

    Thanks Beckita 🤗😇😘

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you, Linda and Beckita. The website is a good place to start.

          I have a couple of brief thoughts about a vocation (“call”) to religious life:

          1. The vows are appealing and seem to “fit” what one has come to know about oneself over time.

          2. Every religious order has a particular “charism,” or special gift, that God wants to give to the Church and to the world at a time and place in history. Thus, one who feels called to religious life also, with mutual discernment, needs to feel called to an order’s particular charism.

          Does this make sense?

          Anyway, religious life is a beautiful way of life!

          Grace and peace,
          Sister Bear

          Liked by 6 people

  25. The environmental movement is a strange duck for sure. Much of it is bad science but a lot of it is bad laws coupled with the 30 year weather cycle that most people do not know exists.
    I live on a high ridge area here in FL called the Brooksville Ridge which is considered an ancient coastline. It is accociated with white sand, scrub oak, wire grass and long-leaf pine trees, fox squirrels, flying squirrels and gopher tortoises. When I moved here back in 1972 the area was classic sand hill scrub with the older “slash pines” still sporting the distinctive wounds of turpentine collectors and the blacked lower trunks of controlled burning. The area was sectioned off into 5 acre lots and sold as mini-farms zoned for agricultural use. Now, 50 years later, the lack of burning because of the fences, houses and outbuildings, the “scrub” forest has been replaced by a dense forest of fast growing label oaks that has allowed grey squirrels to move in and chase off the fox and flying squirrels. The tortoises have been relegated to the side of the road as the few places still open to direct sunlight. One other man-made feature has been the county mosquito control guy spraying a fog of malathion every wednesday night throughout the neighborhood which has helped reduce the remaining wildlife. Funny thing is, there were no mosquitos when we first moved here. Now there are. Not sure if the natural mosquito predators are being killed off instead of the mosquitos?

    Liked by 3 people

  26. This video is an awesome testimony – demonstration of our values and those in the power seat. Not one person answered the Congressmans question, regarding the killing of Iranian General Solimani.

    For me it was heartwarming to reflect on the Soldiers’ sacrifice while observing others texting and conversing in low murmurs…The Silence was too much to bear for some…btw, the Chairman was out of order.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. Charlie, I’m glad our conversation dovetailed to mention about power and responsibility:

    I’m happy to announce to you and everyone here that I just accepted a position as primary care provider for Powder River County in Broadus, Montana.

    Thank you all for your prayers!

    Updates coming soon.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Wonderful, Patrick! You’ll be a blessing to them for sure; and with your compassionate heart, even in the midst of their aches/ailmennts, and during long, seemingly endless days, you will still recognize Jesus in each of them. Godspeed!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. When the CEO was introducing me to staff as: “Patrick. He’s a nurse practitioner thinking about working with us”, I was repeatedly surprised to hear those words. I’m so used to saying (and hearing), ”I’m Patrick. I’m a nurse practitioner STUDENT.”

        And early next week it’ll now be ”PD in Montana.”

        Liked by 6 people

      1. It certainly was coming home, Sister! Anyone one see that blizzard that hit South Dakota and points East yesterday? Other than some wind, I had no idea it was there and drove right into it. Sheer white-out at times, like driving in a foggy white cloud.

        Thank you, Sister. I love a good adventure!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh yah. The fam east of SD canceled travel plans and are all hunkered down for the weekend. Glad you made it home safe. Prayers now aimed at ease in tending to all the details you must address as you make this transition, Patrick.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. Broadus, eh? A quick google flyover reveals a little slice of heaven.

      Local Catholic Church. Check.
      A river (the Powder) runs through it. Check.
      Big skies and wide open, unspoiled terrain. Check.
      Horse country. Check.
      Local watering hole. Check.

      Hard work always has its reward, struggle and stress notwithstanding. And when it’s honest, God always seems to gently land folks in just the right place.

      Who knows, maybe you lay down roots there. In which case only time will allow for checking off the one of those last check boxes.

      Old timer regaling young’ns with tales (peppered with wisdom) from the ’20’s. Check.

      Weathered Stetson and scuffed up Cody James boots optional.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Never did reply to your excellent post, MP. You characterized this small community beautifully. I’m feeling right at home.

        In fact, because I admittedly know next to nothing about ranching, Heidi at the Big Sky Bar graciously invited me to join her family this May for calving and branding. They have over 800 head of cattle. This will be a new experience for me, and Heidi assured me that there would be plenty of beer.

        But seriously, landing this particular job in this particular part of the country is shaping up to be a truly special blessing for me.

        Thanks, Michael!


  28. Charlie, since you brought up environmentalism, I have a true story.

    In April 1990, the National Right to Life Committee organized a huge Rally for Life in Washington, DC, on the Capitol Mall near the Washington Monument. We estimated that several hundred thousand people attended, from all over America. I was there as a volunteer willing to do whatever. I had two main jobs:

    1) Crouch on the back of the stage, along with a very nice young teenager from Florida, to time the speakers and, when their time was almost up, push a button to trigger a flashing light on the podium. The speakers included Cardinal O’Connor, Dr. James Dobson, and other pro-life stalwarts of the time.

    2) Help set up dozens of large cardboard trash boxes all over the mall the night before the rally, and then, after the rally, collect stray trash and put it in the boxes for future pickup. It was a very hot day ~ high 90s ~ and all of these pro-lifers (men, women, children) had brought plenty of beverages and food for the several-hour event. When I was doing my job afterwards, I noticed that all of the large trash boxes were full, but that people ~ without being told to ~ had thoughtfully and carefully piled their excess trash beside the boxes. Nary a gum wrapper could be found anywhere on the grounds. As I was doing this, a jogger stopped and spoke to me. He said, “You guys have left this place SOOO clean. Thank you! Last week was Earth Day here, and people left trash all over the place!


    Liked by 4 people

  29. I’m not aware of a single cause championed by the enemy that isn’t marked by rank hypocrisy. Everyone has seen news pieces covering the aftermath of these contrasting events, with ample footage/evidence of the reality you experienced first hand. And yet folks only seem to dig in deeper. That said, I don’t think every left leaning person is necessarily a hypocrite, any more than every right leaning person is not.

    From my firsthand experience, there’s a towering and sprawling landfill just down the way on the Pima reservation. Ironic. Drive at night through that desolate stretch of desert, replete with belching furnace stacks (shades of Mordor), and one can’t help but wince at all the spiritual maladies that make such a thing possible.

    Greed and waste, just to name a couple. I always thought one our biggest challenges, aside from the excess stuff, is the product packaging. What need for so much excessive packaging that typically gets cast away? How much of that single, 8-story heap of junk and packaging, sprawling for untold acreage, is truly useful and necessary? Seems the packaging is what it is for a number of reasons: marketing advantage, product protection/shipping concerns, regulations, security measures, etc. Heck, how complex is some of the ‘safety’ packaging designed just to thwart theft!? I’ve actually needed a set of bolt cutters to get some of that packaging open.

    The U.S. is way ahead of other countries as far as trying to do something about it and clean up our act, but I still think we’re working at cross purposes on multiple fronts. Never going to get this done if we don’t first acknowledge the spiritual maladies and resolve to truly do something about it.

    That’s happening too, but how scanty the effort… how scanty the ranks of the authentic children of God. One would almost be tempted to lose hope in such a situation, if not for the unfathomable power of God and the apparent fact that He often loves to manifest a sliver of that power through the most scanty gathering of His children arrayed against the immense ranks of the deceived.

    Interesting, but virtually every great story-teller in our history, particularly of these times, liked those odds too. And God will not be outdone.

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  30. I expect that MLK Day will “Kick-Off The, unpleasant, Year of Election 2020 ;-(

    There are Folks that think that tomorrows 2nd Amend. Protest might become a victim of False Flag attacks by The Usual Suspects & Media to create trouble/violence for Media sound bytes & videos. Trump has got The left in Hyper Ping Mode and the run-up to the Election will be, I’d wager, like nothing seen before in our USA?


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