By Charlie Johnston
When I first took over as managing editor of a group of suburban newspapers, I had utter contempt for the way most newspapers make their mistakes loud and long – but banish their corrections to small print on page 32. I vowed that, when we made mistakes, our corrections would be at least as prominent as the original mistake. My publisher did not like that at first, but our credibility went way up – and he became a fan. When I was recruited into radio I continued the practice.
The fact is that when you do this stuff every day, you are going to make some mistakes. It may surprise you that it stings me to admit a mistake – and, particularly, to admit it prominently. But it is a great and effective discipline and one of which I am very proud. When you adopt this discipline, you get very picky and drill down deep to avoid mistakes – and you make fewer of them, for you know when you do err, you are going to have to “fess up” loud. It stings every time, but enhances your discernment, humility and credibility. It is one of my most valued assets. It has allowed me to make very bold statements that would often be ridiculed if I had not the reputation for scrupulous research and an absolute refusal to say any crackpot thing just because it supported my preferred narrative.
I said near the turn of the year that I believed the Covid jab would become one of the biggest medical disasters in history. That take was ridiculed in polite society and even banned by the press and social media. Now more and more doctors are warning that this “vaccine” is deadly dangerous, even while the pimple-faced “fact-checkers” at social media sites ban the scientists…in the name of #science. Besides having more recorded adverse reactions, including some 5,100 deaths in the U.S. alone than almost all other vaccines in history combined, it creates a host of problems including chronic heart malfunctions in young people and potential sterilization. I could speak boldly because I had done my homework. Regular readers know I often make such unpopular statements that contradict the prevailing narrative after I have vetted things to my satisfaction – and am usually right. If, on the other hand, I said nine wild things that were false for every wild thing that was true, the true things I propound would make little impact – simply filed in the “blind hog stumbles on an acorn” folder.
Some of our readers do, indeed, repeat nine or twenty wild-eyed theories that are completely wrong for every one they get right. Then they crow like a rooster at dawn when they stumble on something right. Stop it. If your only tool of discernment is whether you like what a wild theory says, you have no discernment. You do NOT warn people of real danger; you cement a reputation as an irresponsible crackpot who can be safely ignored, even when you are right. We can do better – and we need to do better if we are going to be a true sign of hope as things grow darker. Fortunately, there is a tried and true (if rather painful) method of dramatically improving your discernment and your credibility. Make the same vow I did when I took over a managing editor’s chair – and then live it.
Those who jump on every passing rumor and repeat them as fact think that people don’t remember the multitude of things they have repeated as fact that prove to be false – if they just never mention them anymore. People do remember – and quietly make their determinations about credibility. If you vow to loudly correct every errant ‘fact’ you have promoted, either in a comment or a post, it will sting like crazy. Almost seamlessly, though, you will start living real discernment and discipline and saying far fewer things that are clearly errant. You will receive the joy of having people no longer roll their eyes or have something else to do when you start emoting, but actually listening and questioning you. I do not tell you this just because it irritates me, but because if you are going to be a sign of hope in tumultuous times, you must guard your credibility more carefully than gold. Simultaneously, you must not just shut up for fear of having to take the sting when you are wrong. Rather, vet things well and take responsibility for them, knowing that sometimes the sting of error will come – but that your commitment to loudly acknowledge it when it does will enhance your credibility and make you a real sign of hope. .
Back in January, I had more than a few noble friends who were connected to the federal government warning me that I was going too far in refusing to accept the election results without a full investigation and for repudiating the narrative that the demonstration that got out of hand was an “insurrection.” Almost all of these people have told me of late that I was right again and ahead of the curve once more. Take and live my vow. Don’t do it for me – but for yourself and the many souls you are encountering who need you to be sober, steady and credible.
I have to laugh at Kamala Harris refusing to go to the border, insisting that she is looking for the “root causes” of out-of-control illegal immigration. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei told her bluntly what the root causes are – the policies of the Biden-Harris White House. Perhaps Kamala could team up with O.J. Simpson. He could look for the “real killer” while she searches for the “root causes.”
I have come to have great regard for the young theologian, Daniel O’Connor. With every year, the pieces he publishes get more insightful and powerful. He is not locked into previous positions. He does not work to prove that whatever he ever said is true – but seeks out truth relentlessly and with real vigor – and publicly leaves any error behind as soon as he discovers it. He is an intellectually deep man and has real intellectual integrity. I don’t agree with him on everything. He still supports the idea of a “prophetic consensus,” a concept I do not accept at all. Prophecy is either inspired or it is not. You can’t just take all purported contemporary prophecies, average them out, and come up with a consensus. That makes for an unhappy medium. Always remember that, at the time, the prophetic consensus was that Jesus was a fraud. We only know better in hindsight. Sometimes what is true seems false for a time and sometimes what is false seems true for a time.
That said, O’Connor published a brilliant piece a couple of weeks ago that was deeply insightful. It is very long – but it has convinced me that he is going to be a consequential man, both because of the substance of what he writes and because of his intellectual honesty. You don’t have to read it all at once, but you should download it and enjoy his deep insights and defense of Magisterial truth.
I am furious that Pope Francis and a cabal of heterodox clerics are credibly reported to be working to diminish the Traditional Latin Mass, putting it on the course of ultimate extinction. I am not a Latin Mass Catholic, but I deeply respect the beauty, tradition, history, and reverence of it. I respect that while so many timid Bishops were panicking and denying people the Sacraments – and even calling the police on a pregnant woman who needed to catch her breath without a mask, the Latin Masses largely kept the Sacramental coherence of the Mass and Sacramentals intact. In fact, I have been so impressed with their fidelity, I am going to learn the Latin Mass fully and attend more often. (The major reason I don’t is because there is so much kneeling and rising – and that tremendously aggravates my neurological disability. I’ve only got about five kneels in me a day.)
Don’t get me wrong. I am not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While I prefer to receive on the tongue, Canon Law says people have the right to receive in the hand. I do not consider someone who receives in the hand a lesser Catholic. In fact, I sometimes receive in the hand as a tacit rebuke to those who pharasaically spend Mass thanking God that they are not lowlifes like other men (Luke 18:11). As much as I respect the Latin Mass, I have no time or respect for those who insist that it is the only valid Mass. I regard them as an exotic variety of Protestant – without the honesty. The Novus Ordo Mass is more easily drawn off track, but the Church long ago approved it, I like it, and I say reform the abuses which more easily occur in it. I think Vatican II was a monumental achievement – which was quickly highjacked by heterodox clerics calling for a noxious “spirit of Vatican II” to justify their offenses. Vatican II is a great achievement; the “spirit of Vatican II” is the smoke of satan mounted to discredit the achievement.
Now that the Vatican thinks eliminating one of the few areas of robust orthodox growth is just the ticket; while the Vatican promotes anti-Christian doctrine on family and sexuality; while the Vatican refuses to investigate or allow any candid investigation of major sexual abuses; while heterodox Bishops in the U.S. are relentlessly suspending Priests whose only visible crime is to be openly orthodox; and otherwise orthodox, but timid, Bishops are trimming their sails and demanding their Priests do the same to avoid angering those Bishops who are waging war against the Magisterium, is it any wonder that many in the pews are wondering if the princes of the Church actually believe in Christianity anymore?
After the Vatican betrayed the Catholics in China to kowtow to the Chinese Communist Party, China thumbed their nose at the Vatican anyway by demanding that accepted Priests fully adopt Communist ideology. How can a Priest purport to serve God while simultaneously believing He is a pernicious fairy tale – as communism insists? I guess there are plenty who do it in the United States and Europe, but still… The Chinese-Vatican Accord would be one of the greatest scandals in Church history were it not for the flood of scandals issuing from this Vatican on a near weekly basis.
As I have said before, I do not care a whit about those Bishops who actively wage war on the faith and the Magisterium. They have their reward. I am also heartened by the rising group of Bishops, particularly in the United States, who are boldly, openly and systematically defending the faith and the Magisterium. For those timid Bishops who are trying to straddle a line between the world and the faith, there is no longer any place of neutrality. The time for choosing is here. You must unreservedly and boldly serve Christ and His people or, even though you are just lukewarm, you risk being cast into outer darkness along with the openly inflamed enemies inside the Church.
If you have not read or watched Michael Voris over at Church Militant lately, you should. Some people have been turned off a little, over the years, by his sometimes scattershot and bombastic approach. I have to tell you, his style has gotten much more refined and measured this last year. Oh, he hasn’t gone soft at all, but he spends more time seeking out and recognizing the hopeful signs as well as the deep offenses. Nothing has been lost in his investigations of serious problems inside the Church and the hierarchy – a vital task he carries out brilliantly. A sense of larger perspective and a commitment on how to truly reform has been gained, though, as his operation is expanding. His daily news feeds are outstanding and on point each day. So if you haven’t checked in with Michael Voris lately, you don’t know Michael Voris. His has become a daily go to site for me – especially his half hour news spots.
Over the last week, I have shifted all CORAC operations to Texas. We are incorporated there, so it just made sense to fully get all things established in Texas, one of the great free states remaining in America. No, I have not moved there – and I do not intend to unless things get so ugly in the blue states that I have to go into exile there for a while.
Our address there is:
Corps of Renewal and Charity
18208 Preston Rd.
Dallas, Texas 75252
If you send checks to the Colorado address, they will still get to me, but I will just forward them to the Dallas address for processing. Yeah, we are not wasting your money on a fancy office: it is a UPS Delivery Center. One of our Regional Coordinators checks it weekly and makes deposits.
We are less than two weeks away from the Conference in the Black Hills of South Dakota! Beginning Friday, June 25 through Sunday, June 27, here again is our line-up of speakers:
Eschatologist Desmond Birch will speak Friday evening on where we are in Salvation History. On Saturday morning, Catholic family activist Chris Godfrey will speak on building and nurturing Christian families. Chris was a starting member of the 1987 Superbowl-winning New York Giants, as well. On Saturday afternoon, David Daleiden (who did the undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood) will speak on how to persist under persecution. We will hear from our own Beckita and Fr. Wang on the persecution of Catholics in China and their history together evangelizing that great nation – which is Fr. Wang’s homeland. On Sunday we will hear from Jim Graham, President of Texas Right to Life – where they just successfully shepherded a heartbeat bill through the Texas legislature. Jim will talk on winning under constant assault. We will also have presentations on ham radios and communications; health and wellness through traditional medicine and homeopathy – and those new age remedies to avoid; home skills that will help you survive and even thrive in difficult, tumultuous times; and how to connect with our prayer teams throughout the nation.
It is just a weekend, but some people have made it part of a larger vacation in the beautiful Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore. I hope to see you there.