By Charlie Johnston
When my maternal grandmother, who doted on me, died back in 1964, she bequeathed her Bible to me. Actually, she bequeathed several things to me from her meager estate – and made it known to all that these were to go to me. Alas, much of the family looted her small store of things – and the only thing I have of hers is her Bible. I was only eight years old. I wasn’t mad at the relatives; I was embarrassed for them. It was not the first time I pitied the unseemliness of the behavior of an adult, but it was the first time I can remember pitying a whole group of them. I did not understand the petty, grasping nature of it all. I can’t see how someone can feel triumphant about taking something they are not entitled to. Truth be told, I still don’t understand it except as sort of an anthropological study.
My mother, God bless her soul, was adamant that the Bible was mine – and took custody of it until I reached maturity. After I took possession of it, I filled out as much as I knew in the section in the back devoted to Mom’s family tree. In the 90’s Mom was looking through it while I was visiting and discovered what I had written. She recognized it was not her mother’s handwriting – and mistakenly thought her Father had written it (I wrote in the names in a formal style that did not obviously jump out as my own handwriting). Mom had had a troubled relationship with her father until the last five years of his life, when it became blessedly sweet between them. She was in tears of joy and humbly asked if she could hold the Bible until she passed on as it was such a precious memento now of both her mother and her father. I thought of telling her the truth, but her mistake brought her such solace and joy I could not bear to correct the misunderstanding – so it went back into her custody. When Mom passed nine years ago, it came back into mine. Praying that she is in heaven and knows what happened now, I hope that she is as warmly affectionate about my restraint as I was about her joy at her “discovery.”
Last week I took the Bible to be rebound at a well-regarded book bindery and repair shop in Denver. I had a wonderful chat with the lady who owns the fifth-generation business, who determined that this Bible was printed in 1923. It will not be ready for 10 weeks.
I hit the road again in a week and a half. With the rapid destabilizing of the country, for the first time since I have gone on these missionary journeys, I am deeply uncertain about whether I will be stranded outside of Colorado for a time if an authoritarian convulsion divides the country into free states and captive states. I left the Bible in her care anyway, knowing that nothing is lost in God’s economy – and as an intentional act of faith that, even if I am delayed by events, I’ll be back in God’s good time.
Amidst all the uncertainty hovering over the world, the Church, and our country, now is the time for intentional acts of faith. I think of the time on my pilgrimage when an unstable young man followed me into the woods near Lake Charles, Louisiana and threatened me with a pistol. As I started to break camp to move somewhere else after he fled in panic at something I did not see, something rose in me to make me think, ferociously, that no, I was going to stay right where I was that night and sleep well. And so I did. I can’t say whether it was an act of faith or an act of defiance – but sometimes an act of defiance is an act of faith, a steadfast resolve that no matter how things appear, it is God who reigns.
When you decide to have another child in these troubled times, it is an act of faith. When you strike up cheery conversations with strangers along your daily way, it is an act of faith. I do that all the time. I can’t help myself. Despite my occasional crabbiness, I am fundamentally a cheery guy and have been my whole life. Of late, though, I have noticed that people don’t just enjoy our little impromptu conversations; there is often a look of real relief and gratitude at the cheery normalcy of it all.
Embrace joy, as a child of God, even in these troubling times. Then, go forth and share that joy with all you encounter. It is time to become intentional evangelists in a troubled world. Simply share your cheery good nature with those you meet; with quietly confident (and not pushy) fortitude act as if God is in charge rather than just saying it – and you will find that an unknown multitude will find their way to Christ and His peace because of your example.
A relatively new commenter here took umbrage at my saying that, with the exception of the use of fetal stem cells in it, sin does not attach to the decision to take or refuse the Covid gene therapy shot. While long-time readers know I was sounding the alarm about the unnecessary use of fetal stem cells in almost all vaccines in America from the time I began writing here, it was an inelegant construction on my part. What I should have written is that no more sin attaches to the use of this mRNA shot than to any vaccine. For many people, awareness that fetal stem cells are being used in the development of many shots only began with the debate over this one. I have known – and decried it – for several decades.
Complicating it all is that the Church has declared that this vaccine is acceptable because of the “remote material cooperation” with the evil of abortion of those who receive the shot. “Remote material cooperation” is a specific and venerable theological concept that dates back to St. Thomas Aquinas. The head of the theology department at EWTN, Colin Donovan, explains the Church’s current position quite succinctly. Infallibility does not apply to the Church’s pronouncement on this matter – and officials have badly muddled the matter of faith and morals, which they DO have authority over with scientific judgment, which they do not. If you detect a note of skepticism in Donovan’s review of the situation, so do I – and I agree with his seeming tacit point that the venerable theological concept has been either misapplied in this case or so clumsily muddled that it is worthless without substantial modification. (Forgive me, Colin, if I have misread you).
Practically speaking, I always endeavor to keep specific controversies narrowly focused – to limit the number of rabbit holes people can go down to avoid the central issue. For me, the central issue here is what is different about this shot from other shots used for other purposes. If my primary stated objection is something that is common to almost all shots used in similar circumstances, when people who otherwise might consider the evidence in good faith discover that, they are likely to conclude that I am just an “anti-vaxxer” and dismiss everything I have to say on the subject – so that is a formula not of bringing a serious, ongoing issue to light, but dismissing serious consideration of what is different about this shot.
This is not a vaccine, but a form of experimental gene therapy – called a vaccine merely because it uses the same method of delivery as a vaccine. By the standard officials are using to define this as a vaccine, a solution of arsenic and strychnine, delivered via syringe, is a vaccine. The method of lethal injection used in some capital cases is a vaccine under the new standard of definition. A vaccine is a solution of attenuated or dead cells of the disease you want to protect against injected to trigger organic immune resistance. If officials want to soothe people by comparing this gene therapy to a vaccine, they do not get to stop without comparing results. By the CDC’s own numbers, this shot has already produced over 100 times as many serious adverse reactions and deaths as all other vaccines combined in the last 30 years (and I am understating it by an order of magnitude here). I, personally, believe (along with more than a few well-credentialed scientists and doctors – all of whom are silenced by politicians and the media) that more people have already died from the shot than have from actual Covid. The cascade is growing visibly week to week now for all who study the actual data.
Those Bishops who seek to mandate this gene therapy are attacking actual Church doctrine, period. (Philip Lawler, author of the highlighted link, did a solid book entitled “Contagious Faith” on the subject.) Individual conscience is not the be-all and end-all for Catholics. Dr. Jeff Mirus, founder of Trinity Communications, writes clearly and concisely on both the limits of individual conscience and the extent to which it applies and may not be coerced. I am not the Church. Even if my opinion is correct and well-reasoned, it does not carry the weight of the institutional advice of even non-defined advisories from the Church. On the other hand, it looks, in this case, as if Church authorities did NOT study the actual data, apply defined moral theology to it, and then make a coherent pronouncement. Rather, it looks like they decided to approve it and shopped around for plausible reason to justify the decision they had already made. If the latter is the case, then as the many flaws become publicly manifest, it will lead more people to treat the Church’s actual authority, even when carefully applied, in contempt. That is a loss for everyone.
Meantime, careful journalist Alex Berenson was banned from Twitter for repeating solid information confirmed by the CDC that does NOT conform to the preferred narrative of the anti-science, anti-liberty ruling caste. When all are held to account – and all will be sooner than they think – it will be in mitigation of religious authority’s guilt that they were misled by public officials and voices they once could trust, but it will not erase their culpability for failing to do true due diligence once significant and credible controversy arose. Meantime, we would all do well to avoid triumphalism – for anyone to assert that their own conscience (examined or unexamined) trumps everyone else’s is to invite divine rebuke. So, I examine this whole subject on narrow grounds that I am confident of because of my study and the rules of logic and am neither quick to condemn another who has come to a different assessment nor to expand the ground of my examination to areas that should be defended in their own right.
Though all modern government documents are murky, the FDA approval letter for a Covid shot set a new standard for murky. At the founding of the American Republic, leaders took pains to write powerful, complex ideas in accessible language for all. As legalism set in, documents started to become difficult for the layman to interpret because of the desire for precision. As bureaucracy exploded, the murk was not for precision, but specifically to hide the real intent from the layman. I have long worked from the “squid” theory of interpreting government documents. I figure that any time there is this much ink clouding the water, there has got to be a squid there somewhere – so I endeavor to find the squid.
I have come to believe this was a shell game designed to give a plausible foundation for various governments and institutions to mandate the experimental mRNA shots while simultaneously protecting those same institutions from any liability when the adverse reactions and deaths continue to skyrocket.
The best short piece I have seen on the con game involved here was on American Thinker, by Steve McCann. Robert Kennedy Jr. co-authored a longer piece getting into the details of how this shields the pharmaceutical companies involved while illegally mandating an unapproved shot. This “approval” is a breathtaking masterpiece of raw cynicism. And that in an already unconscionably cynical age!
Pretending Covid was a dire emergency seemed an opportune way to the anti-God left for seizing power across the globe. They did, but they also started digging themselves and everyone else with them into a deep hole. Israel, the most heavily inoculated country in the world, discovered that natural immunity provides 13 times the protection from re-infection than the Covid shot does. So what does Israel do? It mandates that people get booster shots every five months. You never hear about Sweden anymore. It acted rationally in a way that did not give it an excuse to exercise arbitrary power over its citizens. All the “smart” kids in governments and the media said it was going to become a death camp because of its “irresponsible neglect.” You don’t hear much about Sweden anymore because it did NOT become a death camp, it did NOT destroy its economy, and it did NOT seize basic liberty from its citizens – and now has weathered the storm and stabilized. The rest of the world seems determined to keep digging by doing the same things they did to make a real problem into a man-made crisis. They are desperate not to let go of the power they have seized, no matter how many people have to die.
The worm is turning visibly and quickly on this whole thing now, despite the frantic efforts of control freaks to force everyone to bend to their will. Yes, I know; jobs, livelihoods, health care and freedom are being threatened. Every day I see posts from the control freaks wishing death and worse on anyone who will not submit. They latched onto Covid and the shots as a means to power because they are shallow, vain and petty. Soon, those who held their ground and acted rationally will hold the whip hand. I remind everyone that we are to use that moment as a means of reconciliation, not revenge – and so not to treat those afflicted as they have treated us while they thought they held the whip hand. That does not mean they should be allowed to continue to hold the reins of power. They must not. We must not be led by shrieking, hysterical harpies. But we must treat them with a charity and dignity they never extended to us, for our purpose is to draw them back into the fold of a free people under God.
It is well know that I am not a fan of Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich. That being said, reports that he has banned the saying of a public Hail Mary or St. Michael prayer after Mass do not seem to be correct. The story was triggered by a complaint from a Priest in Libertyville, Illinois.
First, I still have a LOT of orthodox contacts in the Archdiocese of Chicago – and I used to attend the Parish in question for Daily Mass frequently. People who I trust absolutely have told me that what happened was that the Priest in question was extending Mass beyond reason with a whole litany of prayers. (Update: I have been given credible evidence that the Priest in question was NOT so doing, but this was all in response to a single pastoral instance where Parishioners simply spontaneously said the St. Michael prayer during the recessional as the Priest processed out. I am looking further into it and will give a fuller update later this week. 9-4-21) After numerous complaints from parishioners, the particular Priest was restrained. No one has produced any order from Cardinal Cupich banning the prayers said to be banished – and several orthodox clerics have told me they have had no private instruction from the Chancery on the matter, either.
We have to be careful to be just. Many of us are primed to believe the worst about certain figures, specifically because we have gotten the worst from them on so many occasions. But when we leap to a conclusion that is not warranted by the evidence, it is ourselves and our cause we do damage to.
I have examined this and am satisfied that this story, though widely reported, is in error. If anything changes, I will let you know.
I often denigrate the Democratic Party, as they are the prime aggressors in this great war on American culture and values that we are now oppressed by. But I have no respect left for the institutional Republican Party or most of its leaders, either. In the great crisis of our time, they are absent, toiling solely to get the best seat at the surrender ceremonies should the Constitution fall like a statue of Abraham Lincoln at the hands of Antifa and BLM. The gulf between Republican “leaders” and the conservative base is wider and deeper than the gulf between Ronald Reagan and the late Speaker Tip O’Neill ever was. Already, over half of those who identify as Republican have given up hope that restoration of American freedom can come from the party.
With what are now clearly political prisoners rotting in jail for the crime of trespassing while protesting wide-scale election fraud on Jan. 6, a handful of Republican Congressmen and no Republican Senators are actively working to right this wrong. On Covid restrictions, with the exception of Sen. Rand Paul, the best you can get from most Republicans is a tepid defense of the right for Americans to choose what they put in their bodies – while hastily assuring questioners that, though they will defend liberty, they certainly are not like those unwashed rubes who comprise so much of their base. When Democrats want to spend $4 trillion that we do not have, Republicans eagerly suggest a more moderate $1 trillion we do not have. The leadership of both parties are determined to take us over the cliff; the Democrats at a frantic 175 miles per hour and the Republicans at a more moderate 50 miles per hour. Sorry guys, I am not bought into going off the cliff at all, so you are on your own. There are, maybe, two handfuls of prominent Republicans I have any respect for – and less than a handful I have significant respect for.
All our institutions have failed us – and are vested in continuing the failure. I have long said that this would be the hour of the ordinary man. And so it will be. Leadership will come from ordinary people who just say no, who have had enough of unwarranted and unconstitutional bullying by our public servants. Leaders like former Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller will rise by challenging the establishment – and accepting whatever consequences these bullies can muster for it. Yes, Scheller was cashiered and also smeared by the top brass, but his demand for accountability over the Afghanistan disgrace preceded an open letter by almost 90 retired general officers demanding the resignations of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley in the aftermath of this debacle. There will be a lot of false starts and even some outright frauds before we get it right, but effective leadership now will come from the rank and file. After a century of perverting and corrupting the brilliant system of government erected by the American founders, that system is entirely broken and corrupt.
Being an official in the existing system does not completely disqualify a person from taking leadership in the reform, but it is a big knock against them.
I have decided to gravitate most of my social media stuff to Gab. I will continue to use Facebook, MeWe and Parler, but I have come to like the functionality and privacy features of Gab. It is a lot harder for scammers to randomly target you there – and the people who seek you out are much more likely to be people you know or have something in common with. You can find me there as Charliej373 – and I have already set up a group page for CORAC. Come on down – I’ll leave a light on for you.
Next week we will kick off a fall fundraising campaign for CORAC. If you have not visited the corac.co site lately, you should. We have videos and downloads for health and wellness, sustainability and so much more. We are working hard to get you the tools you need to endure, come what may. If you can get a jump, please go here to donate. We’ll be putting an emphasis on monthly donors. Our nut is about $10,000 per month when I am not on the road and between $12 and $13,000 when I am. If we can get as many as 100 people to form a Centurion’s Club, donating $100 per month, I could do everything else I have to do and rest a little easier.
If you can join us in Houston on Saturday Sept. 18 and Sunday, Sept. 19, the deadline to register is Sept. 11. Send an email request to Laura at Bilot.firstname.lastname@example.org to register. If you can come, you will receive complimentary tickets to Texas Right to Life’s (TRTL)annual Celebration of Life Dinner – a $200 value on its own. TRTL won a great battle yesterday when the Supreme Court refused to grant an injunction banning Texas’ heartbeat law. Getting that law passed was TRTL’s top priority in the last legislative session. You will also have a pass to the VIP brunch the next morning and an invitation to the general CORAC meeting after the brunch. I have been going to these dinners since 2016 – and they are the most uplifting, dazzling gala events I have ever been involved with. This is a group which gets things done and makes things happen.