Lourdes tv is back up again.
Five days only, from Daniel Frattarelli, HSH reader.
Download it, then you have it!
You can download a free kindle “app” for your P.C., Mac, or whatever HERE.
Father Gordon MacRae (about) has beautifully expressed what’s now happening to his fellow prisoner behind those stone walls, Pornchai Moontri. It’s enough to make one cry for the joy of it. Knock and the Door Will Open: Divine Mercy in Bangkok Thailand.
From time to time I meet skeptics of Divine Mercy, including priests, including one, in Rome, from Poland, who terribly mocked God when I mentioned at the lunch table over in Rome that I belonged to a religious congregation founded in France, now called The Fathers of Mercy. He asked, so I told him. But he then exclaimed:
“Mercy?! What’s that?! There’s no such thing as mercy. What a lie! There is no one who ever experiences any mercy. Get a life!”
And on he went to mock God. I tried to mention that mercy was founded on justice, and that Jesus had the right in justice to have mercy on us because of having taken on what we deserve for sin — the worst we can give out, death — and so able to demand, in fact, from our Heavenly Father:
“Father! Forgive them! They know not what they do.”
But he was not interested in forgiveness of sin. Imagine my dismay. But I am so naive. If I were Archbishop Fulton Sheen, I would have asked him immediately: “What’s her name?” But I’m not, so I didn’t.
I think it was the very next day that I saw his girlfriend on the back of a scooter that he was driving, having, they thought, the time of their lives. As I was to find out, he was out of the priesthood within weeks. Yikes!
There is mercy, for the asking. Indeed, our Lord provides even while we are not asking. And the mercy is great, overwhelming, awesome. Reading what Father MacRae has written about Pornchai is a shot in the arm, an affirmation in the faith, a setting of a clear perspective, an occasion to rejoice, a day-brightener that will endure until the day dawns for us in our heavenly homeland. Just. Read. It.
P.S. Leave a comment of encouragement for Pornchai over on that post. Also, use the sharing buttons here and there. Everyone needs this encouragement in the faith.
See also the more recent video from 18 June in the evening, which shows much higher flooding than the video above:
I’m told that the flooding in the underground basilica of Saint Pius X is getting rather severe, with the water now over the main altar…
This is the perfect time in Lourdes to do the High Stations of the Cross for those who are able. Also, for those who are able, to make the walk to Bartres and back.
For those accompanying those who are sick, perhaps a visit to the parish church would be possible.
The parish priest is a friend. Perhaps he is having extra devotions in the church today. Perhaps adoration. Perhaps confessions. Ask!
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Update: The great Mulier-Fortis, pilgrim to Lourdes, also when I was a chaplain there, has heaps more videos HERE.
The highly chiseled limestone pictured above is the corner of a large limestone cross that sat over the front of the façade of monastery chapel of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the wadi Siach of Mount Carmel. This piece is now next to the tabernacle (on the gradines of the altar) of Holy Souls Hermitage.
That chapel, dedicated to Saint Brocard, was built after the arrival of the crusaders turned hermits in the 1100s, perhaps finished in 1198. The crusaders had gone to Jerusalem to liberate the Holy Land from the horrific, violent oppression brought by Islamic terrorists. Forty years later, in 1238, guess what… the hermits were slaughtered, hacked to pieces, and chased away by Islamic terrorists (nothing’s changed).
Some four hundred years later, in 1631 — sixty years after the great victory of Lepanto against the aggressive Islamic terrorists of that political religion of aggression — the now Discalced Carmelite friars made their way by ship across the Mediterranean to Mount Carmel. The Islamic terrorist who had taken over the chapel and monastery and grounds saw the ship coming and despaired of not being able to put up a fight, and so, with the attitude that if he couldn’t live there, nobody else could either, he placed barrels of TNT throughout the monastery and chapel and blew the whole thing sky-high (nothing’s changed).
The friars, however, with such stones being lobbed at them with such spectacular explosions, not only did not throw stones back (they didn’t have to as the Sheik guy ran away), but rather took advantage of the situation to build a new monastery some distance away, directly over the famed cave of the great prophet, our Holy Father Elijah (as is the custom to call him among the Carmelites).
I picked up this rock next to the remains of the cross that had been over façade of the chapel when, in the Spring of 2009, I spent a month with the friars, being allotted a cell next to the balcony entrance of the chapel facing the cave.
* * *
In thinking about this rock, from the cross, I recall another time when rock throwing was not returned. It was my first day in Jerusalem, where I was to live for the next seven months, going to school at Hebrew University, which was situated in the West Back, on Mount Scopus. I left my things in my room at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, overlooking the pool of the King David Hotel, and took off walking to Bethlehem.
At about half-way there, I took a sharp left on what is now Richard ve-Rhoda Goldman Promenade, and then headed back North toward Jerusalem, going steeply down into the West Bank. I arrived at Silwan without incident, but then started to notice that things were getting a bit tense, with the local Palestinians gaping at me as if to say, “Really?”
I didn’t know that a number of boys who had been throwing rocks had been gunned down in Silwan the previous day. Silwan is just below the Temple Mount, and is the final stronghold of the Palestinians.
Soon, rocks started to be thrown my way. I kept going. I had to pay attention, as some rocks were a good size, and were thrown with an arm that would make a major league baseball pitcher jealous. They were whizzing by my head now on this side, now on that, with some likely to be a direct hit had I not sidestepped them.
I was able to take refuge in front of a house in the middle of Silwan, where the houses mount the hill almost straight up. The rocks stopped. I spoke with the family there for quite a long time. They were very friendly, not wanting any trouble, of course, but also for the reason that they figured out that I was Catholic and not a threat, but was, instead, friendly to them. And then it happened. All had been quiet, but then….
His little girl, perhaps three years old, maybe two, scampered out into the street. From the houses way above, this was only seen as a target, perhaps myself. A shower of rocks came down, along with a concrete block which broke into rubble as it hit the pavement right next to the little girl. She was not hit, and was oblivious to the violence round about her.
At this, the father, faster than anyone could even see, had already collected her from the street, brought her back under the porch, and was back out in the street letting fly a stream of Arabic vocabulary that would shut down the feistiest of fighting camels. And then, dead silence. He then said that from then on, I could make my way in peace anywhere in the West Bank.
As I made my way up to the Temple Mount, there was a boy who stood about sixty feet away from me, high up on a bank of the road that cut deep into the side of the hill, leaving anyone on that road trapped with nowhere to hide. He picked up stones and raised his arm to throw them, but hesitated when he saw no fear in my eyes, no attempt to run. I waved and smiled, stopping to be polite, but then continuing on. I think he thought I was too stupid to kill.
But then, after that, for the seven following months, anywhere I went, boys would greet me by name from any distance.
I had learned many lessons. One of those lessons was that even a little bit of good will, however very much wrapped up in stupidity, can change hearts, and cut back on violence as the only language allowed to be spoken. As for my stupidity, well, I have the consolation that I am in good company, for the great Saint Ignatius of Loyola did very much what I had done, and within just a stone’s throw, so to speak.
* * *
In the end, a little good will. That’s all it takes, with the grace of God. Sometimes, good will seems to be antagonizing. Take Jesus, for example…
Surely you remember the story of the Mulier adultera, the woman caught in the act of adultery in the Gospel of John (7,53 to 8,11). The idea of the Pharisees was to get Jesus killed at whatever cost. If He said that she was not to be stoned, he would be condemned as a false prophet, contradicting Moses in this way. If He said that she was in fact to be stoned, He would be executed by Pontius Pilate for having taken on the office of deciding capital cases, which were reserved to Roman authority. “Whosoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone,” said Jesus, turning the tables on them, having them throw down their stones, having them admit they were sinners. Otherwise they would be executed under Roman authority. Heh heh heh. She walked, but with the reprimand never to sin again. It would have been clear to her that Jesus was laying down His life for her, for no one could do such a thing and escape death. She also is the image of the Church, forgiven and sanctified, the Immaculate Bride of Christ. No stones were thrown, except that of the threefold denial of him whom Jesus Himself called the rock. It does happen.
The adulterous woman story was stoned to death right out of the Gospels in the opinion of some. I’ve countered that with a rather huge study of the papyri for which a Cardinal was the “second reader” of the would-be defense commission. It seems that everything I said was confirmed in the secret archives. It seems that I wasn’t ecumenical enough, that is, in the worst sense of the term. One day this Mulier Adultera will see the light of day again.
* * *
While Saint Stephen was being stoned, he forgave those who were putting him to death. Great, but, what happens, I ask you, if there are others to be defended with that self-defense which is a contribution to the virtue of justice, protecting the innocent, so as to change entire structures of abuses of power? That’s something to think about at Holy Souls Hermitage…
* * *
There is another stone throwing (slinging) event where the one with the rock is the hero: David and Goliath. Sometimes it’s hard to discern who David is, and who is Goliath, isn’t it? It gets awfully complicated.
I mention all this stone throwing as there is a rather lengthy essay I’m writing (second time I’ve mentioned that…), which involves the throwing of stones of accusation. Keep all this in mind. Discernment is needed. Stay tuned.
Recently I put up a post about speaking to a great priest-anthropologist. I’ve known very many from right around the world. As I say, I’ve always been wary of hyphenated priests, of course. And Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., confirmed my hesitations. I prayed for him at his grave at the old Jesuit novitiate in Hyde Park, N.Y., next to an old parish of mine. That novitiate is now the C.I.A., the Culinary Institute of America.
One priest-anthropologist I know was terribly interested in putting down Islam as a political aggressive force. Another was interested in comparative religions. Yet another in spirituality.
Yet another was interested in “coming of age” practices in indigenous cultures right around the world. When among the Native Americans in South Dakota, he was brought out to the carcass of a dead buffalo (bison!), and given a knife. He was told to rip the carcass open, remove the liver (the size of push-mower), slice a bit of that off, and eat it. He did. And then the laughter at him broke out among the Native Americans. Heh heh heh.
Then again, among others, was another, to the point, who was terribly interested in psychology as a way to help people (not replacing the faith, mind you). And that one has some common sense. Should one like to get to know someone who can compare elephants and men with a most profound spirituality kept in mind, meet Father Gordon MacRae (about) with this post: In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men.
You can see a clip from Lourdes-France television.
UPDATE: June 19: The official Lourdes site is offline due to the flooding.
My close priest friend just committed suicide… Je suis en deuil… Vraiment… Why would any priest be judged with mercy?
[First published 21 June, 2012]
It’s said that suicide, if plotted out in one’s right mind (if that were possible) would be an act of revenge, of hatred for God and man, done with an “I’ll show you!” attitude: “You can’t push me around anymore!”
But of course, this is almost never the case. Those who commit suicide are almost never in an adequately reasonable frame of mind to know what they are doing. They are almost always in a swirl of clinical depression so severe that they can’t for a moment put two thoughts together. That, by any account, was the state of my priest friend when he took his own life, but not for any of the above mentioned usual reasons. His goodheartedness was way too deeply rooted within him for that. Instead, he developed a severe degenerative brain condition, with handfuls of meds being the order of the day. Such a humble offering to the Lord…
His Skype account, which remains after his death, has a greeting which was, is, one of hope, one to which he clung with all his faith until his body gave way. It’s from Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, 4,4:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: Rejoice!”
He was a young priest, quite a few years younger than I. He had grown up in rather difficult circumstances and was never ever in good health. His priesthood was one disappointment after another, a kind of continuous agony in the garden, for he, being French, and being truly Catholic — steeped in tradition and Tradition — was constantly seeing the faith betrayed by so very many of his fellow priests and bishops. And he would also pay the price for this faithfulness to the Church with his always being marginalized more and more. As the Master, so the disciple, and he knew that well, and rejoiced in hope, however much it all weighed upon him.
He was a friend, a confessor for me, a confidant, one who would lay down his life even for the likes of me. I’ve written more about his loyalty at whatever cost, even for the likes of me, which caused him to suffer the most severe of marginalizations, truly ruthless. Suffice it to say that he was stalwart through it all, pointing to heaven.
You have to know, dear readers, that this priest friend of mine was eager to hear confessions, to offer the Holy Sacrifice with great dignity and reverence, always following the rubrics to the great consternation of many. He always sided with those who, because they were Catholic, were being kicked in the face by those who should know better. ***The Holy See, it seems to me, will miss him terribly. They knew him quite well, following his indications on many, many matters.
This priest friend of mine was eager to help the lowliest castaways, particularly the drug addicts he was regularly and frequently invited to help in their faith formation. As an encouragement, he often told me of their comments about any kind word I myself had been able to offer them. This priest friend of mine was an all around example of goodness and kindnes, of solidarity, of mercy. Let me repeat that: He lived to show the Lord’s mercy to others.
I ask you this: Would not our dear Heavenly Father judge him with mercy who had spent his life in showing mercy to others with all honesty and integrity? You have to know that our Heavenly Father IS love, and shows mercy to all who have desired this mercy by bringing this mercy to others. And surely our Lady, to whom he was so very, very devoted, would be interceding for him…
Having said all that, I should like to say more: We priests all bear all the consequences of original sin like anyone else. We are weak in mind, weak in will; emotions can be running all over the place; we get sick; we die.
PRAY FOR PRIESTS
PRAY FOR HOLY VOCATIONS
DO IT NOW: HAIL MARY…
***And, of course:
[click on picture to enlarge]
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Obamacare abortifacient mandate: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would chuck if woodchuck would chuck wood.
I wonder if religious employers will be required to pay into the Obamacare abortifacient mandate after 1 August 2013, not that they would even if it was required. They had better chuck Obamacare, not paying any premiums, part of which go directly into the Obamacare abortifacient super-fund.
My distraction today was Jenny the Jeep. She doesn’t chuck any wood. I think she’s proud, though, to carry that center log out front there, easily well over 300 pounds or wet red oak, lighter than solid rock, but still…
Jenny the Jeep is doing well after the neighbor reinforced the metal shelf out front. This counterbalancing is essential to help get Jenny keep traction up the steep mountain path to the hermitage. I am very thankful to some new residents in this Holy Souls Mountain range for letting me glean some of the felled trees on their property.
What does this have to do with Obamacare? Well, after my third trip (pictured), I realized that — whatever about Jenny the Jeep — I myself was being a bit too rambunctious, risking busting a gut. I already have a patched up hernia on the side of the abdomen. The doctor said that I tend to rip this fix apart a bit when I exaggerate too much with chucking such logs around, pretending to be a woodchuck that actually does chuck wood. He recommended logs under 200 pounds!
I wonder about having any insurance after July 2013. What happens after that if one gets hurt, I mean, like, bad hurt?
This morning, within a few hours, it should be pouring rain, so I thought that, before this, I might go up the way and get some wood. A kind neighbor further up the mountain is letting me clean up some of the trees felled for construction on their property. Very good and kind of them. Some of these chunks are well over 100 pounds, and will not be too easy to split. But, that’s a good distraction. I have to weight the front of Jenny the Jeep to make it up the ridge of Holy Souls Mountain, which has a 38 degree slope in a few places, meaning the front wheels come well off the ground and the back tires spin. Not good. No roll bars in the back. So, Jenny gets weighted down in front as well.
Note to L.T.: Somehow… somehow… the crate in which the baldacchino arrived has also made its way up to the hermitage and is now inside. This was lightly tossed, as I like to say, on top of Jenny, who, like any good donkey, is most happy to carry exceptional burdens.
Meanwhile: There’s a rather lengthy post (sorry for the length) in preparation. It may involve a symbolic stone picked up in Jerusalem after a rock fight which itself escalated into an all out series of battles. I’ll have to check on some things. [That's a cryptic message to someone...] No one wants an unnecessary war, but self-defense against unjust aggression is a contribution to the virtue of justice, and is especially called for when that self-defense protects other innocent by-standers and promotes the common good of, in fact, the entire world into the foreseeable future. Please God, I’ll speak to this soon. I wish others would speak up first.
Meanwhile: I’m afraid to go to the supermarket, as the checking account is rather low. But I know that the Lord will provide. He always does. I’m not asking for donations, because I can’t! I remember lots of last second encounters with Divine Providence. For instance:
I was living in the T.B. ward of the Missionaries of Charity in the poorest district of Byculla, Mumbai, India, for a few months, volunteering as a deacon during the Summer months as a break from the academics in bella Roma (decades ago). We ran out of medicine or all kinds all at once, one afternoon, with no possibility of getting more medicine. Just then… just as N.D. was complaining that we had nothing left, all in exasperation, a truck pulled into the compound with a few boxes from Germany. A bunch of German doctors had a practice of throwing samples of medicines and extra medical paraphernalia into very large boxes. Whenever these were full, they would ship them off to the M.C.s. One cannot outdo the Lord’s timing of things. The M.C.s were, of course, all smiles and delighted in how the Lord always provided, setting them off telling other stories when just as they were desperation, that’s when un-arranged help would arrive, out of the blue, well, really as inspired by Jesus, Divine Son of Mary Immaculate.
For those who are scandalized at the “imprudence” of this trust in the Lord, I ask you, do you leave people to die in the gutter, or take a risk in the Lord to help them? The Lord is good. The Lord is kind. As for me, I’m still just trying to be a student of Mother T. I remember a great conversation I had with her at the Mother House in Calcutta about whether I should go to Nairobi or be a hermit. That’s a story for another day!
O.K. So, off to get some wood.
I’ve never seen this kind of lizard before. Just a baby. Any idea? Meanwhile, Laudie-dog, in the background, is content as ever, knowing that everything is under control.
Laudie-dog wasn’t so placid, however, the other night. Mrs Box Turtle above, digging a nest in which to lay her eggs, suffered an attack on the nest that very night, perhaps by a possum or raccoon, throwing Laudie-dog into a tizzy for about twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, there are zillions of Praying Mantis babies:
Not to mention forest slugs and snails of every sort…
The yellow jackets are out in abundance again this year. Here’s a nest, which has quite a few larvae getting ready to mature:
However benign yellow jackets happen to be, the nest didn’t last very long. Moreover, I killed a queen. It’s just that the neighbor is deadly allergic to yellow jacket stings. I know this post is supposed to be about the benign beasts of Holy Souls Hermitage, but relative to the nefarious beasts of Holy Souls Hermitage, even yellow jackets are benign, even if they are deadly.
Some good news on the beasts front: The first two years I was here, I was bitten dozens of times each Spring by brown recluse spiders. Just one bite, say, in the side of the neck or between the ribs, could be deadly, while if in the leg or arm, an amputation might be required. The neighbor taught me how to keep the wounds small and eventually get all the poison out, even if over a period of weeks, that is, by using the famous Sawyer’s Extractor to suck out the rotted flesh and some accompanying poison numerous times a day:
The good news is that, up to this point in this, my third Spring on Holy Souls Mountain, I’ve not been bitten. I’m happy with that. Taking care of the wounds could take hours a day. The hermitage is relatively more sealed up than it was previously, but there are still plenty of spiders round about. Just to say, even brown recluse spiders (or violin spiders, as they are also called), are benevolent and benign compared to the nefarious beasts in Part II of this two part series.
Update on the unknown beast last year: The other winter, on a dark and stormy night (literally), some beast that I had thought was human, had circled the hermitage twice, which is not easy to do on the ridge. Both Laudie-dog and the neighbor’s dog were going absolutely berserk, both of them crying, and throwing such a fit that I thought they were literally being eaten alive, except for the fact that they would come back to the door of the hermitage to see if I was alive every few minutes, and then continue to protect yours truly from certain death. I was telling this story to a friend on the mountain, and he said that this is the behavior of a panther. Now, I’ve seen a panther twice, clearly. I objected, however, saying that any animal would just saunter away, what with all the barking. He said, not if the dogs themselves are the prey… But even panthers are good and benign compared to the nefarious beasts that I will present in Part II of this series.
Fathers Day Florae for the Immaculate Conception: Last day of the novena (join today!) [Plus, disgruntlement in the email]
It’s the joy of any father (hint hint) to give their mothers flowers on Fathers Day.
Why? Well, just think of what a great joy it is for those mothers to be grandmothers, and to be thanked for that by their sons who are now fathers. Those fathers see that great joy and they themselves rejoice, putting their own fatherhood in a greater perspective of the generations of their family.
Taking a step back, they can use that to take in all the generations from Adam until the last man is conceived.
And then it is easier to see the importance of the motherhood of the Immaculate Conception for all of us by way of her perfect intercession for us under the Cross, where her birth pangs, so to speak, were described as a sword of sorrow piercing her heart.
A priestly father, in offering the Sacrifice of the Mass on Fathers Day, will naturally want to thank our Blessed Mother for her motherhood regarding himself — she being the mother of all priests in a particular way — and for all those in his pastoral care, and indeed, for all souls from the beginning to the end.
By the way, today is the last day of the…
What a great day for it to end! Join today, even on the last day. Your prayer is appreciated to no end before the throne of the Most High.
And while you are at it, with our Heavenly Father a Happy Heavenly Father’s Day. He’s sure to let you know He loves you saying this. So, go ahead and say it, even out loud: Happy Heavenly Fathers Day, Heavenly Father!
P.S. As I write this, I received a rather severe reprimand for posting essays of advocacy for priests, saying that those posts are so very boring, and that I should breathlessly host a blog of ever so exciting theological debate about Genesis.
“Boring”… Yes, well, this advocacy for our priests is about real lives who are at a most dramatic turning point. This is about the entire abuse crisis being brought full circle, so that there will be the mercy of justice for all, respect for all, concern and goodness and kindness for all. Jesus does not find it boring. What happened to Jesus, our Priest, because of Judas, because of our sins, is not boring.
If “The Judas Crisis” is boring, if the horrific crime of abuse makes one doze off instead being an occasion to be filled with zeal for the salvation of souls, I suggest that the betrayal of Jesus in Gethsemane is also boring, and that the Last Supper and Calvary and the Resurrection and Ascension are all boring, and that the judgment of the living and the dead by the King of kings and the Lord of lords and the Prince of the Most Profound Peace is also boring.
I suggest that if all this is boring, everything in Genesis is also boring, for what is in Genesis speaks to all of this, all of it about all of it.
Reality is not boring. It is our shutting ourselves out of reality that is boring.
Suggestion: Instead of attacking priests on this Fathers Day, instead of attacking priests who help priests, instead of making a dichotomy between Sacred Scripture and the life of the Church, between Jesus, the Son of the Woman of Genesis 3,15, and the priests of Jesus, why not…. why not… wish them a Happy Fathers Day and then trundle off to your local parish and put some flowers in front of an image of the Mother of all Priests, our Blessed Mother?
Perhaps you already did. If so, do it again, in honor of her priest sons, those ever so boring Fathers among us! /// End of rant!
Happy Father’s Day Heavenly Father, and Adam, and all fathers, including our priests, bishops, and the Holy Father!
Don’t forget to wish the priests in your life
Happy Fathers Day
Most extraordinary: I had a great conversation with, I think, the greatest priest-anthropologist alive today. I loathe ever hyphenating a priest with anything, but in this case, the Catholic anthropology of this priest manifests his priesthood, his dedication to the Priest of priests, perfectly, exquisitely, magnificently. He lives what he believes and thinks in consonance with what he believes.
Among the many topics, we spoke at length of Genesis and my thesis on chapters two and three.
I am reminded of this summary I presented earlier this year up near Washington, D.C.:
That summarizes and adds some points regarding the thesis, for which I had to promise to write a popular edition:
The audio of the summary can be hear with this player:
… or downloaded as an *.mp3: GENESIS (right click; save target as for IE)
I was very much encouraged to get to the popular version of the thesis, though I know this will take some time to prepare. I think with collecting firewood for the coming winter, installing insulation, and writing advocacy posts for priests, I will not get to the popular version until Winter. But then, for the first time, I think I will be able, please God, to spread out the research in the hermitage and have at it. I had to promise to prepare a popular version in the defense of the thesis. Part of the deal in my being a hermit is write this popular version.
Meanwhile, as you can imagine, advocacy for priests has been taking quite a bit of time:
- Lots of time on the telephone
- Lots of time reading
- Lots of time researching
- Lots of time writing
But I truly think this is all bearing a great deal of fruit to the greater honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls.
My phone/internet bill is, however, crippling. I think when I pay the next bills, the checking account will be down to less than a hundred dollars. But that’s O.K. The Lord will provide! I am not asking for donations! In fact, I cannot ask for donations with the draconian Obamacare policies afoot, and so I won’t. Indeed, please forgive me, I’ve been avoiding even mentioning any benefactors with so many visits to the blog from the DOJ, HHS, IRS, SSA, etc. They might think that I would be able to afford insurance with the Affordable Care Act! I could only give them a shovel full of chicken poop. At any rate, for those who have sent in this or that, monetary contributions or other items (clarified butter, etc!!!), I thank you from the bottom of my heart, especially for the prayers and — oh my! — the Masses that have been offered for yours truly. Thank you. And that’s my Yikes! for the day.
After Desert Storm, I got to know one of the rather talented black-ops guys who had formed a mercenary group of similarly gifted intelligence specialists in Northern Italy. The members came from many various nations, including the USA. Quite the group, really. Many, I’m sure, meant well. But this fellow… I’ve mentioned him before, extremely obnoxious, always treating me like the absolute scum of the earth that he would like to snuff out if he could just get away with it. We were not friends, to say the least, and I didn’t know, at the time, of his background. The more aggressive he was with questions in our numerous encounters — as if I were a terrorist needing to get waterboarded — the more I just politely looked at him. A bit traumatic, really. I just never talk to any such person, even about the time of day. He was a necessary evil to see someone else.
I noticed one day that this severely obnoxious fellow was suddenly… removed... I later put two and two together, and, indeed, a third party in Italy told me what the real story was. Yikes! So, either my reputation precedes me, or I have no reputation whatsoever! What surprised me is that he could have so easily obtained an important position of absolute trust in the Holy See that could compromise the Church on behalf of any lobby that would pay enough. I wouldn’t think that the compromise would come about because of any blackmail, as so many have insinuated, but by way of manipulating files so as to direct administrative acts. Sometimes, I have to wonder about Vatican security. Some gentlemen high up in the ranks that I’ve known over the decades freely spoke against, for instance, Blessed John Paul II. Not a good sign regarding loyalty.*
Meanwhile, there were rashes of breaking and entering and, most likely, theft or manipulation of files, or even the insertion of bogus documents in those files, that is, files on episcopabile, those on lists of possible nominees to become bishops. There are lobbies who desperately want their own man in place. There are countries who want politically friendly bishops. Files were very possibly being altered at the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Religious, the Congregation for Clergy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…
Tom Monaghan of Detroit Tigers and Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria fame, spent quite a lot back in the day on beefing up the physical security of the Holy Office. Great! But there is other security with which to be concerned. I was able to get some particular windows at Santa Martha snoop-proofed, as is the practice for all executives of any importance right around the world, but that’s not what I’m talking about!
I think Pope Francis in on the right track. Investigations are in order to clean up just how it is that the Holy See goes about things logistically so as to protect the integrity of eventual administrative acts.
A note of caution to falsely accused priests: From what I’ve seen of a number of cases, you cannot trust the integrity of your files. If you have exculpatory evidence in those files, it may have been removed by this or that lobby. There have been too many statements of ignorance of facts that should be known from the files, too many requests for documents that already should have been in those files any number of times. I suggest to you all that you forward the entire case file once again to those involved, that is, to as many offices as are relevant.
Now if all that seems overly dramatic, perhaps you might need to be reminded of a certain Judas, whom our Lord Himself chose to be numbered with the Twelve. He knew we would be dealing with the same thing in our own day. If you deny that possibility, it seems to me that you are telling our Lord that He is a fool. The Church Militant is called the Church Militant for a reason. Look at what happened to our Soldier; Mary did:
* Of course, that’s always a good way to see who’s who as well.
The Judas Crisis and The Whore of Babylon: Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, St Robert Bellermine, Martin Luther, et al.
The great prophet Jeremiah was rightly critical of the decision made in Jerusalem to do battle with the aggressive Babylon on Babylon’s own terms, thus lowering herself to the level of Babylon, prostituting herself to Babylon in this way, making herself, spiritually, the whore of Babylon, riding proudly on the back of Babylon, with the Jerusalem of the time enjoying such suicidal perverted lust of violence.
Jeremiah had wanted all to accept the just punishment for their sins given to them by God Most High, a punishment which was to go off into exile into Babylon, but without putting up a fight according to the ways and means of those who would be their captors one way or the other. He was put to a violent death by his own countrymen for his efforts on behalf of God Most High. How dare you say, O Jeremiah, that we are prostituting ourselves to Babylon!
Martin Luther, in a typically blusterous mood, tried to make a half-baked analogy of Rome and Babylon, and, among non-thinking sycophants, Rome has been known as the whore of Babylon ever since. Instead, in the book of Revelation, the whore rides on the beast which symbolizes the demonically possessed secular Roman Empire of the Caesars. The whore is, instead, all those who would lower themselves to the ways and means of Roman aggression against the Catholics, the followers of Jesus.
The Church, the Immaculate Bride of Christ, redeemed and cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, is also populated by some claiming to be Catholics, but are, instead, such whores, who prostitute themselves to the passing fads of the day, always eager to scandalize others, to be on the side of worldly political correctness and self-congratulations.
There are those who pretend in their self-righteousness to be scandalized that Jesus Himself chose Judas, knowing the dire straits we ourselves would find ourselves in because of The Judas Crisis which began in the Garden of Gethsemane. But these breathless protesters, who say that there could never be any such a one as Judas in the Church are merely giving themselves a license to play the part of Judas themselves. Such arrogance. Such violent self-congratulatory arrogance.
Saint Robert Bellarmine — a saint mind you — twice exclaimed that we know of, that the Church was never so close to dropping into hell as it was at those particular times, that is, because of various hierarchical self-proclaimed members of the Church. Of course, he didn’t know that the Church is always hanging over hell, and that it is an ongoing miracle of grace, of the goodness and kindness of the Most Holy Spirit, that the Church does not fall into hell, but is being drawn to heaven, to rejoice forever in the praise of God Most High. The ever ferocious Pope Paul V, the most famous of the Inquisition Popes, was entirely in agreement with the canonized Jesuit.
Closer to our own times, a certain Father Dolindo Ruotolo, has had a block put on his beatification because he once criticized some of those working in the Holy Office, mentioning, of all things, the whore of Babylon to do so. They were deeply offended. Father Ruotolo had his reasons, of course, agreeing as he did with what Saint Robert Bellarmine and Pope Paul V understood at the very end of their lives about Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church as dogmatically described by the first dogmatic decree, Sacrosancta, of the fourth session of the Council of Trent, 8 April 1546. Sometimes not every official of the Holy Office is aware of all that which is historical and theological. I’m guessing that he will be beatified when some of the more liberal elements in the city of Rome succumb to the biological solution that we will all, in fact, undergo.
There are some in Rome who, should they read such things, would be in a fit of rage, but nothing compared to what they would suffer, perhaps a heart attack, should they also read this:
“The centuries of the Church’s history are so filled with all sorts of human failure that we can quite understand Dante’s ghastly vision of the Babylonian whore sitting in the Church’s chariot; and the dreadful words of William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris in the thirteenth century, seem perfectly comprehensible. Williams said that the barbarism of the Church had to make everyone who saw it go rigid with horror: ‘We are no longer dealing with a bride but with a monster of terrible deformity and ferocity.’”
“The catholicity of the Church seems just as questionable as her holiness. The one garment of the Lord is torn between the disputing parties, the one Church is divided up into many Churches, each one of which claims more or less insistently to be alone in the right. And so for many people today the Church has become the main obstacle to belief. They can no longer see in her anything but the human struggle for power, the petty spectacle of those who, with the claim to administer official Christianity, seem to stand most in the way of the true spirit of Christianity.”
Joseph Ratzinger. Introduction to Christianity. Pages: 339-340. First Published in 1968, republished in 2004 in a second edition just before his election as Benedict XVI.
Of course, the ones directing that division can also be found in the Holy See, just as Judas was himself numbered among the chosen Twelve Apostles. The Cardinal, and then Pope Benedict, came to know this more and more, quite directly.
Pope Francis seems to have indicated in an off-the-cuff private remark — the general substance of which, however, was not at all denied by spokesman, Father Lombardi — that there is a “gay lobby” in the Holy See. “Lobby” would indicate more than a few weak individuals. In the context of the hierarchy of the Church, where one expects obedience to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, the word “lobby” indicates anything but obedience, anything but unity, that is, division, rebellion, subversiveness, ruthlessness. As was the case with Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has zero fear of any sycophantic followers of any whore of Babylon. But whatever the case may be with private remarks that were published in a way that grasped the general thrust of the remarks of the Supreme Pontiff, there is something else which bears some inescapable implications:
Today (14 June 2013) is the day that The Judas Crisis had been set to betray Pope Francis, having him sign on this day, or shortly thereafter, a decree of dismissal from the clerical state in regard to a friend of mine. Two weeks ago, that friend had had an ultimatum put before him by the CDF, an ultimatum which, in its circumstances, was immoral on a number of levels. To accept the ultimatum would mean to admit to doing something which he did not do. That’s what’s immoral. Moreover, the very circumstances of the ultimatum were immoral in such manner that one recalls the remarks of Pope Francis about a “Gay Lobby.” Imagine, being forced to do something immoral in order to keep one’s priesthood. This is The Judas Crisis at its worst, at its most cynical, at its most horrific abuse of power. Pope Francis, of course, knew nothing of the circumstances of the ultimatum. So, what to do? One must defend our Holy Father from being compromised. So…
A rather out of the ordinary procedure was employed in order to ignore the code of silence, the omertà, which is otherwise accorded to such injustice wrought by those who would administer official Christianity (as the great Ratzinger put it). And this seems to have caught the attention of those, indeed, of the very one who would so very much like to lead the Church in the ways of justice and peace, that is, with the mercy of a justice which is not blemished with any omertà, thus evangelizing, and rightly so, the darkest of existential peripheries created by Judas and his followers.
And while I may be wrong about that — for who knows who can keep what information from those who should know — it really does seem that no decree of dismissal from the clerical state will be signed by the Holy Father on this day or in the days following. It really does seem that the entire investigation has been re-opened, and this time — I’m guessing here — with an eye to the one bringing the accusation, with an eye to the one who prepared the case, with an eye to the kind of punishment that these others had in mind. I say this for a number of reasons:
The upstanding priest in question was not provided the means to carry out his sentence, and, indeed, he would have had to have been provided such, indeed, by the very one leveling the accusations. But this did not come about. The priest is not at fault for not accomplishing his sentence. It was logistically made impossible. Either we have to assume that there is a further investigation, or we have to assume that the entire scenario was an entrapment from the beginning: this is your sentence; we will make sure that it is physically impossible for you to carry out; you will be dismissed from the clerical state because of not carrying out the sentence. That would be pretty bad, right? Yep. I think that what happened is that there is presently some preparations being made to evangelize the darkest of existential peripheries by the one who has made this his project in life in recent months. To supply the means by which this priest could have carried out his sentence — should he have agreed to do so — would have been superfluous.
This is a case which is set to help unravel the knot which is The Judas Crisis, thanks to our Lady, undoer of knots.
There are a number of other cases which are also coming to a head.
I am informed by another priest friend that his case, central to The Judas Crisis in these United States, will proceed in a significant way on 17 June 2013, this Monday.
Another priest I know who is under the gun has recently seen victory after victory — stunning, really — and is set to have a significant influence on Christian unity right around the world. Priests are permitted to suffer by our Lord for their sanctification. We have many great saints in the making.
Another priest I know, however, also of essential importance to the breaking of The Judas Crisis, has suffered some terrible setbacks, though not necessarily insurmountable. His is a most agonizing case, truly the stuff of which saints lives are made. It seems that there is some ongoing criminal interference with the witnesses of that case. But… Heh heh heh… our Lord has provided that there are witnesses to aspects of that criminal interference. Heh heh heh… I think that people should know that the Lord sees all things, and that He is the Lord of History. Now’s the time to repent, oh ye members of The Judas Crisis (whether secular or ecclesiastical).
And there are others who bear the glorious burden of the beatitudes. We thank them by praying for them. Here’s that novena for them — please join anytime — which is still continuing for another couple of days:
The calls to do away with any Code of silence, to do away with any omertà, will occasion the undoing of The Judas Crisis. Actual victims of abuse are enraged that anyone belonging to the ecclesiastical hierarchy who promotes at any cost the demise of priests known to be innocent so as to save on any cynically projected costs of any non-settled but rather litigated claims, are thus giving money also to false accusers who thus capitalize on their very real sufferings.
If there is any whore of Babylon type figure among bishops or religious superiors, they are to be knocked off that ever so secular anti-Catholic beast upon which they ride, prostituting themselves by their sycophancy and political correctness. The times are changing. It is time for them to repent. They will not always have the chance. Let’s summarize Pope Francis and Benedict XVI together:
The petty spectacle of those who, with the claim to administer official Christianity, seem to stand most in the way of the true spirit of Christianity, must come to and end, so that the whore, the Gay Lobby, is knocked off the beast of political correctness.
Now, could it be, ironically, that pointing out that some have been given a free ride on the beast of political correctness and self-congratulation is somehow in itself a giving in to the ways and means of Babylon, so that one becomes a whore to all that is evil? Well, no. Instead, this would be to take up the common sense of the great prophet Jeremiah.
It is not with the weapons of injustice and rancor that one is to proceed, but, as Jeremiah would have it, with the weapons of a calm thirst for mercy that comes with actual justice. Jeremiah was cut down by his own who said that he did not have the right to speak to them of the just punishments of the Most High. His crime was to criticize legitimate ecclesiastical authority, which was however, being used for criminally cynical ends. Jeremiah is a saint, as is Saint John, who wrote the Apocalypse.
With the common sense of Jeremiah, one might rightly suggest that those members of The Judas Crisis ought best confess their crimes and take the punishment that awaits them, so that, in that case, they may become great saints. That would be the joy of all. Truly. I, we, surely all of us, wish everyone the best friendship with our Lord, for He is, in fact, very good; He is, in fact, very kind.
The Holy Spirit Baldacchino family is soon to be on their way for more adventures in these United States of America before making their way back home. The relative order that prevailed in the hermitage while they were here is now reversed into chaos for the sake of continuing with the project of the installation of insulation.
The time limit on the one priest I especially asked you to pray for (among a number of other priests) is almost over. Here’s the post on the suggested prayers: Emergency Immaculate Conception Chaplet Novena for Priests in Dire Straits. I must say that your prayers have been doing wonders. It seems that the case is being blown wide open once again. But we shall see. Things could go awry in the next few hours.
I may well have a number of quiet days at the hermitage, during which time I may well try to get through some emails (sorry!).
I thank all readers for the encouragement you’ve provided to me. I pray for ye all daily.
The Holy Spirit baldacchino family hauled the great work of art up to Holy Souls Hermitage yesterday evening. After unwrapping it further, we were able to lift it above the altar and install it. We then had Holy Mass served by their son. The neighbors were present as well. As you can see from the picture, it was a joyous occasion for all. Our faithful server was also happy to say that he helped to paint the canvas, though “just half of a square” of one of the radiations coming from the Holy Spirit.
The image was painted so that it would look “just right” from about nine feet away. And it does, also from closer up. The ferocity of the goodness and kindness of the Holy Spirit, deadly serious to kill us off so that we might live through, with and in Christ Jesus, to the glory of God our Heavenly Father, comes shining through, especially, I might add, at the moment of the consecrations at Holy Mass, when Jesus demonstrates for us just how deadly serious He also is in getting us to be crucified to the world so as to manifest even our mortal bodies that love of His which was so glorious on the Cross, and which is still that way, always wanting us to be alive in the sanctifying grace brought to us through His risen life, by the Holy Spirit.
Right after the consecrations, the Sacred Host and the Chalice are lifted high. One sees — all ad orientem — the expansive wings of the Holy Spirit and the flaming radiation of His love, then just below this the Host, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, as large in perspective (close to the priest’s eyes) as the Holy Spirit above) and just below this, the Crucifix, also larger than in the picture in the priest’s perspective, as he is much closer to this as well. So: Yikes! Not a distraction, but an occasion of prayer, of humble thanksgiving, a kind of moment analogous to that of the no-longer-Doubting-Thomas, who, before the risen Lord with the wounds still upon Him, declared, quite shaken, “My Lord and my God!”
The first words of the neighbor, who arrived just after the baldacchino was installed, was a reprimand for yours truly. He exclaimed to the baldacchino family that he surely expects to see some improvement with me. Indeed. There is much for the Holy Spirit to work on with me!
I am reminded immediately, of course, of my pre-saint Hippolytus-esque deficiencies, which, as long-time blog readers know all too well, I can sometimes fall into (though I am becoming more aware of this). But it is in seeing the great faith of such families as this — the baldacchino family and the neighbors, just as Hippolytus saw the faith of Saint Pope Pontian — that I am called back not to any ferocity of goodness and kindness of my own (which are non-existent anyway), but rather to the ferocity of the goodness and kindness of the Most Holy Trinity.
I am reminded immediately, of course, of the absolution:
God, the Father of Mercies
through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to Himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins
Through the ministry of the Church,
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, ✠ and of the Holy Spirit.
It is because I am such a sinner that I am rather protective of the Sacrament of Penance, as you know from the ferocious series on Confession on the side-bar of
and from recent essays such as these: Yikes! and especially this sevenfold Yikes! Sometimes, such ferocity is, I should think, a zeal which is not my own, though I cannot always repeat with the great Saint Elijah: Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo Exercituum! (With zeal I am zealous for the Lord God of Hosts!).
But whatever my own need for the reason why the Holy Spirit was sent among us, there are seven wonderful Gifts of the Holy Spirit for us all to live out in our daily lives:
Some HSH essays on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Father Gordon MacRae (about) has written another incisive article from behind the stone walls of his prison. His perspective, always with the broader perspective of someone who is marginalized to the peripheries (in the eyes of the world, but not God), takes in the view of how the Catholic Press, from left all the way to the right, has allowed itself to be politically correct with tort lawyers, and this, despite the leadership of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist of The Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz, despite the ongoing horrific examples of mass media’s jaw dropping, unapologetic, double-standard journalism, something which in itself endangers children. But the so-called Catholic Press absolutely couldn’t care less. With many links to other essays on These Stone Walls, Father Gordon provides the reason as to why this is the case.
Having one’s eyes opened in this way, gaining that broader perspective, is a real service to the Church and the world, to you, and to me. Father Gordon never provides reactionary commentary, but only that which is well thought out, and which contributes rather incisively, helping to guide whatever “conversation” to a more just end.
TheseStoneWalls.com is still experiencing some technical difficulties, so that if you go directly to the site by typing the address of the main page of the blog in the address bar of some browsers, the new posts will not display. You can always find all the posts on the archive page. That’s where I found this week’s link, clicking on which should bring you to today’s article:
From the baldacchino family en route:
A funny note – the young man at the front desk at the hotel asked if this was our destination. We said, “No, we’re going to Brevard to deliver a 4ftx8ft painting of the Holy Spirit to a hermit priest who lives on top of a mountain.” He smiled really big and said, “Well, we don’t get too many travelers telling us that. *pause*. You all must be Catholic.” :)
Since I don’t know what these particular florae are — spotted some hundreds of yards down from the hermitage — I’ll call them Papist Florae of the Immaculate Conception. After all, they are yellow and white, the colors of the papal flag (which also proudly flies at Holy Souls Hermitage).
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has a most lively devotion to our Blessed Mother. It’s a matter of being united with the Heart of Jesus, her Son, Christ our God. I look at Pope Francis as our good shepherd of Jesus’ little flock. He knows, as he says, the smell of his sheep, indeed, His sheep. He should be forewarned, however, that hermits inhabiting the darkest of existential peripheries have an altogether unique stench.
Today, I am reminded of the terrible burden of the petrine office in a particular way. As you know, http://holysoulshermitage.com has sported some recent posts on The Judas Crisis (a sub-division of The Abuse Crisis), especially about the code of silence, the omertà, which can nefariously be accorded to some bishops and religious superiors, even though they would not hesitate to compromise the Holy Father himself. See: The Judas Crisis set to mock Pope Francis on 14 June 2013: the new *Omertà* — code of silence.
Let’s pray for our Holy Father! Hail Mary…
There are a number of people in Rome who are following these posts, even dozens of times a day, using ecclesiastical and secular IP providers. I’m happy to know that there is such interest, which is also reflected with frequent visits from the IP of the Holy See – Vatican City State, with its hosts and sub-hosts of michele.vatican.va, belvedere.vatican.va, and so on. Today, however, there was a longer-than-a-coffee-break visit (probably just accessed and forgotten) from the Holy See’s IP, which IP, however, was accorded, this time, anomalously, a host for which no (sub)name was provided at all:
I couldn’t begin to guess who is accorded the right of absolute anonymity in the Holy See. There would be a rather short list I should think. I do know another relevant post to priests in dire straits was also provided to… Someone… by way of hand, and also post and fax within the last few days. I’m guessing that the Holy Father would like to read yet another article with links about his intervention in the Conclave: POPE FRANCIS AND THE JUDAS CRISIS. At any rate, and, of course, this computer systems faux pas may just be a glitch wrought by the Governorate’s Computer Systems Office. I suggest they fix it forthwith. People can get the wrong idea with a non-named host.
In other news: Today, Holy Souls Hermitage (all of Holy Souls Mountain) is triangulated in the NOAA’s warnings for the consequences of severe weather: flooding and landslides. And it looks like another wave of rain will be coming through early this afternoon. Last night it seems we got another two or three inches. The picture to the left is the little waterfall tumbling off the roof of the hermitage. No leaks yet!
I have to make a run into town early today, which will give me a chance to examine if the road below — with its drive-through-creek — will be navigable tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day set for the delivery of the Holy Spirit baldacchino. The artistic family which has created this work of art is arriving from Washington D.C. area later today. I’m praying they take their time if they get caught in any severe downpours.
When I return, I’ll have to set about putting up insulation and a sub-roof where the baldacchino will be situated over the altar in the little chapel of the hermitage. I’m been neglecting this, but it must be done by early tomorrow morning. It may be a late night.
Meanwhile, and on another note altogether, I must say that I am taken in the interest in the PROPOSAL FOR VATICAN COUNCIL III. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. Come Holy Spirit!
Meanwhile, back to the computer thing: might I be so brave as to suggest to the Holy See’s Governorate, that the Computer Systems Office not supply anyone with a non-named host, especially those in the immediate service of the Holy Father, if that, in fact, is what is happening. It’s much better to just get a dozen computers signed up through whatever sub-host of vatican.va. That’s much more anonymous for them, and one still has a record for each computer just as one does for the non-named host, just to keep all things on the up-and-up, right? ;)
Meanwhile, please, all readers, join the novena for priests in dire straits. This is the third day: the novena for priests in dire straits.
Meanwhile, just so it’s not forgotten, here’s a post on another sub-division of The Judas Crisis, namely, The Perdition Crisis, something the Holy Father must stop dead in its tracks, lest we all die: PRECEDENT FROM HELL: CONFESSIONAL SETTLEMENT COULD END THE SACRAMENT OF MERCY IN AMERICA
The Holly trees are in bloom. They are really very common on Holy Souls Mountain. When I first saw this, I thought: “Christmas everywhere!” In Minnesota, we would only see a sprig of this medium sized tree tacked up above a doorway at Christmastime (never before Christmas Eve), calling it mistletoe. It doesn’t grow in the Northern forests of Minnesota that I remember.
The holly and the ivy, now are both well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
Refrain: Oh, the rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.
The holly bears a blossom as white as lily flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to be our sweet Saviour (Refrain)
The holly bears a berry as red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to do poor sinners good. (Refrain)
The holly bears a prickle as sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ on Christmas Day in the morn. (Refrain)
The holly bears a bark as bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ for to redeem us all. (Refrain)
Don’t forget day 2 of the novena for priests in dire straits.
Update: Well, the predicted 60 miles per hour winds never materialized, nor did the Quarter sized hail (which would have destroyed the neighbor’s garden). I’m very happy there was no damage. Thanks for the prayers! We did get, it seems, over an inch of rain in some minutes. I dumped all the old roof water out (with mosquito larvae ) and the four 20 gallon buckets filled up very quickly indeed. It was a veritable waterfall coming off the roof.
There’s a second wave of rain coming this evening, it seems. We’ll see what happens then. Still a Yikes!
Selective “OMERTÀ” A conjecture on how ex-priest John Geoghan (murdered worst abuser) is directing sex-abuse policies into the future for the universal Church
When I was on the teaching and formation faculty of the Pontifical College Josephinum, my constant refrain to the Rector of the time was that we, as a Pontifical Seminary, should assist the Holy See in developing a way to protect children that would not be a mere brow-beating reaction to mismanagement of the past. I was concerned that what is in mere reaction to something else is being entirely controlled and directed by that something else. Instead, I said, we should take a step back, get the overview of the situation, and take steps that would reflect the natural law, civil law, canon law, and reflect our belief in Christ Jesus.
There has been little progress in this area. Sure, we hear speeches about the evils of omertà, the mafioso-like code of silence, as applied to priests like the now murdered John Geoghan, you know, so that you can no longer do the shift-him-around thing on the Q-T. But this insistence might be merely self-congratulatory, self-serving, that is, if this omertà is not recognized as having been nefariously extended to the episcopacy: “It’s just the priests! We bishops are always heroes!” Not. If such were to be insisted upon, this would merely be the The Judas Crisis getting ramped up. Are not bishops and religious superiors exempted from the lifting of any omertà, such as is seen with the Dallas Charter and various other policies? Yep. That has to change, and that has to change now.
Let’s take The Example of all this, and lift that cover of the code of silence, that cover of omertà for the bishops and for the Roman Curia as well, shall we? I have to wonder if, in writing this, I will be thrown into silence and shut down by the purveyors of the code of silence, of omertà.
The cast of characters (among others):
- (ex) Father John Geoghan
- Dr. Frank Valcour, M.D.
- Father Gordon MacRae
- Father (Bishop) John McCormack
- Msgr (Bishop) Francis Christian
- Father (Msgr) Edward Arsenault
- Father (Msgr) Stephen Rossetti
- The trumpeters not only of “No more omertà for priests!” but also of “Continue to protect all Bishops with omertà!”
In 1993, the Director of Admissions for the Servants of the Paraclete down in New Mexico, a certain Father Gordon MacRae, was speaking over the phone with Dr Frank Valcour, M.D., who was the Clinical Director of Saint Luke Institute up in the beltway of Washington, D.C. Both places were dealing with abusive priests at the time.
Meanwhile, Father John Geoghan (since murdered in prison) was showing himself at his absolute worst, committing as much abuse as he possibly could. So, in 1993, Father John Geoghan was sent to be re-evaluated.
Although Saint Luke Institute was a rival institute of the Servants of the Paraclete, the Servants, unlike Saint Luke Institute, had a long term facility down in New Mexico called (at the time) Albaquerque Villa, and Dr. Frank Valcour, M.D., was convinced that Father Geoghan needed long term care, recommending that Father Geoghan be assigned indefinitely into the care of the Servants. No hindsight was needed. This was an extremely obvious conclusion to all who knew Father Geoghan, including Father Gordon MacRae as Director of Admissions on behalf of the Servants. This kind of cooperation is how things should work.
Meanwhile… meanwhile… a certain Father John McCormack was on his way to his tenth year as Secretary for Ministerial Personnel in the Archdiocese of Boston, as appointed by Cardinal Bernard Law. Uh-oh. Father McCormack was in charge of handling complaints about sexual abuse by priests at this time. Uh-oh. He would later become Bishop of Manchester. Uh-oh.
Father John Geaghan, mind you, was a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, and was under the direct authority of Father John McCormack on any number of levels. Father McCormack’s statement as to the recommendation vehemently shared by both the Servants (Father MacRae) and Saint Luke Institute (Dr. Frank Valcour, M.D.) that Father Geoghan absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt needed to be off the streets and in long-term care was this:
“These facilities are always trying to keep their beds filled. This is overkill!”
Now, that is a possibility in some cases, of course. But not in regard to Father John Geoghan. (Note to such facilities: Don’t ever exaggerate by holding that everyone always needs at least six months of care. The response of Father McCormack would be the result, which would then oft-times be justified.)
Now, at the time, the Servants of the Paraclete were doing a great service to the Church, at least inasmuch as they were offering a place to feed and house and care for Father Geoghan. They were not getting rich with the offer to take him for $12,000 a year. Some private facilities were charging more than that per month, were they not?
But Father McCormack was intransigent about this, going against both Saint Luke Institute and the Servants, that is, against Clinical Director, Dr. Frank Valcour, M.D., of Saint Luke Institute and Admissions Director for the Servants of the Paraclete, Father Gordan MacRae.
Instead of putting Father Geoghan in long-term care with the Servants, Father McCormack reassigned him to Regina Cleri, a retirement center for the Archdiocese of Boston, a dorm, really, right on the campus of Boston College, with zero supervision. How imprudent is that? Guess what happened… He went on to re-offend multiple times along with getting moved around again and again. After more incidents, Father Geoghan was sent for a stint at Saint Luke Institute, which, however, was not a long-term facility. So, instead of $12,000 a year with the Paracletes, the Archdiocese paid out something like $55,000,000 all-told for Father Geoghan’s continuous abuse.
Meanwhile, Father John McCormack had been made an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston and then Bishop of Manchester. He’s a bishop, so, the code of silence can more easily come into play, the old omertà. The year Father Geoghan was dismissed from the clerical state was the same year that Father McCormack became bishop. It seems that the dismissal enables the promotion, absolving previous mismanagement. Instead, it’s a reward for omertà.
But let’s back up a few years, back to 1994, when Father MacRae was wrongly imprisoned, a year after the great refusal of Father John McCormack to listen to the insistent recommendations of Father Gordon MacRae concerning Father John Geoghan. The more Father McCormack was criticized for his ultra-lenient treatment of Father Geoghan by all and sundry, the more the statements of Father MacRae were ringing in his ears, accusing him, incriminating him of wrongdoing. The very existence of Father MacRae becomes a thorn in the side of Father McCormack.
It is just then that Father MacRae was accused by T.G. for money (as the accuser himself brags about), accusations which refer to many years when Father MacRae was no where near Grover’s parish, was not a priest, was not even a seminarian for the Diocese of Manchester. But facts don’t matter.
Now, if Father MacRae were to be convicted, this would certainly mitigate anyone’s interest in listening to his recommendations to take Father Geoghan off the streets. That, in turn, would make Father McCormack’s fumbling of Father Geoghan’s case look less horrific.
Behold! It was just then that up-and-coming Monsignor Francis Christian, soon to become auxiliary bishop for future Bishop McCormack in Manchester Diocese, stacked the jury against Father MacRae, going against Canon 1717 to do this.
Monsignor Francis Christian sent out this statement to the media:
“The Church, too, has been a victim of the actions of Gordon MacRae just as these individuals have been. It is clear that he will never again function as a priest. We support his victims in their courage in bringing these charges forth at this time [...].”
Diocesan attorney Bradford Cook later went to meet with Father Gordon MacRae in prison. Bradford admitted that he himself had written the statement and had then faxed it to Monsignor Francis Christian. He said that he had written the statement with the word “alleged”. He said that he was horrified to read in the newspapers that the word alleged had not been included in the final draft that Monsignor Francis Christian had sent out to the news media.
Father Gordon MacRae’s Canon lawyer, Father David Deibel, called up and protested to Monsignor Francis Christian that such a pre-trial press release was abusive of the rights of the accused to due process.
Monsignor Christian responded to say that the press release was merely published in New Hampshire newspapers, and so he didn’t think Gordon would see it.
So, it seems that Monsignor Christian thinks that if an accused party is unaware of jury stacking and all around prejudicing of an entire population, that that makes it all O.K.
Monsignor Francis Christian went on to say that “This is a carefully crafted response to the concerns raised by the news media.”
Carefully crafted is right. The statement was not written like this:
“The Church, too, has [allegedly] been a victim of the [alleged] actions of Gordon MacRae just as these individuals [allegedly] have been. It is clear that he will never again function as a priest.[!] We support his [alleged] victims in their [alleged] courage in bringing these [alleged] charges forth at this time [...].”
Makes a difference, doesn’t it? Editing out any mention of mere allegations ensures lack of due process and a conviction. Effectively, this is quite the favor to the future Bishop of Manchester, Father John McCormack.
Journalist Bruce Edwards couldn’t understand the brazenness of the stacking of the jury by Monsignor Christian that he had read about on the AP story, and asked to speak with Father MacRae about it. This is how Father MacRae came to know of the nefarious actions of the Diocese of Manchester. Mr Edwards did run the story, but by re-inserting the word “alleged” in brackets. The news from Manchester, of course, completely demoralized Father MacRae. He had come face to face with The Judas Crisis, and had just been disgustingly kissed in the Garden of Gethsemane by Monsignor Francis Christian (which was so very much to the benefit of Father John McCormack).
Of the prosecuting attorneys against Father MacRae, one was banished from New Hampshire within hours of the close of the trial, and the other was a suicide upon the publishing of the first series of articles on Father MacRae’s case in The Wall Street Journal by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz. Prosecutors in New Hampshire, mind you, have the right to have the last word for the closing statements in trials. In their closing statement, Father Gordon MacRae was equated to Adolf Hitler, the “proof” of which was then read out. The “proof” was the press release sent out before the trial by Monsignor (soon to be bishop) Francis Christian, that is, without the word “alleged”. The jury, of course, had nothing to deliberate when Father MacRae’s own Diocese was publicly condemning him. He was convicted forthwith.
Soon, Father John McCormack, the once super-lenient-with-abusers Director of Ministerial Personnel for Cardinal Law of the Archdiocese of Boston, would become the Bishop of Manchester. He would now be under pressure to show that he’s Mister-Tough-Guy. To assist him in this endeavor, he has now auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian and is signing on Father Edward Arsenault to the Chancery administration.
- One priority is to keep Father Gordon MacRae, who knows all about the Geoghan case, out of the way, in prison, burdened with a lack of credibility. The fraud perpetrated to this end — in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office — is another full story altogether.
- Another priority is to come up with diocesan policies to show how tough the diocese is, though these policies simply were not kept, which is another full story altogether.
Another priority is to coordinate and write national policies of child protection: VIRTUS®. This is spearheaded by Father Edward Arsenault and Monsignor Stephen Rossetti. They were to play switch-hitter directors of Saint Luke Institute, which, by the way, was to have as its only episcopal board member for a time a certain Bishop John McCormack.
- Another priority, the structure within which VIRTUS® could move forward, was to come up with a way in which all accused priests would be held to be guilty regardless of actual innocence, favoring immediate and even blanket settlements, which have the end of saving money and making the bishop and his cronies — with the creation of this new National Catholic Risk Retention Group (chaired by Father Edward Arsenault on behalf of Bishop McCormack) look like tough-guy-heroes, just what they need, what Bishop McCormack needed ever so desperately. A bishop promoting such a thing couldn’t possibly have been guilty of mismanaging the absolute worst case of a priest abuser (Father John Geoghan), right? By the way, does anyone know where Father Edward Arsenault was prior to 1998?
- Another priority would be to save their own skins, that is, by making a deal with the State of New Hampshire. The Diocese admitted that it had criminally failed to protect children, signing a statement of the Attorney General’s office that there was sufficient evidence to otherwise convict the Diocese. In this way, Bishop McCormack avoided the Diocese being indicted. Cute.
Why was the code of silence respected for Bishop McCormack? Why is a rejection of omertà not applied to Bishop McCormack? The cases investigated by the Attorney General did not include his time, but he continued the effect of the decisions, especially with the attitude of the NCRRG: priests are not defendants, but only dioceses. The treatment of Father MacRae is proof of this. How is it that he remained Bishop of Manchester for years and years and years after all this, until just recently? Is it because he insisted on there being no due process for priests? Is it because he successfully made himself into a hero by smacking down all priests who are accused, regardless of their innocence (like Father MacRae), making such as Father MacRae into scapegoats for their own mismanagement? Sure, Father Macrae was convicted before he arrived, but how much obstructionism did he cause for a judicial review by giving his defense notes to the Attorney General by way of fraud? Is such omertà on behalf of bishops the way to go?
Upholding omertà for bishops who smack down priests who are known to be innocent, who are whistleblowers, and this just so as to lend to bishops the aura of being tough-guys, is not being heroic, it is being a collaborator with future abuse. You have to know that people will get fed up with priests getting falsely accused, so much so that they will ignore any true victims of the future. That’s not good.
Excuse my language, but it seems appropriate: Instead of just being in reaction to abuse, and, in particular, John Geoghan’s abuse, and thus, in mere reaction, wussing out, being controlled and directed by Geoghan even long after his death, being kept on the path of injustice and abuse by him and those like him, why not — hey! — why not, instead, just do the right thing?!
Why not push for due process and the mercy of justice for all involved?
Or is selective omertà, the code of silence in regard to bishops, more conducive to one’s own ecclesiastical career, bishops patting other bishops on the back?
Reactionary homosexualized VIRTUS® and the — all priests are always guilty regardless of innocence — NCRRG are fast becoming the norm for the universal Church, all brought to you by those bowing down in fear to John Geoghan. Creepy, that, don’t you think?
Think of it this way: The same abuse of power that uses selective omertà for self-advancement is the same abuse of power that could abuse kids, for it is the same abuse of power which can shift abusers about, which is the same abuse of power that imprisons the innocent to save money and make oneself into a hero, which is the same abuse of power which can once again shift abusers about… and on and on. The cycle of abuse of power must stop. But selective omertà keeps the cycle going.
Note to those working on these cases: Is the legacy you bring to your judgment before the living God going to be that of having made yourselves heroes by upholding abusive bishops at the cost of slitting the throats of innocent priests? It’s easy, isn’t it, to assume that bishops have done their duty, thus absolving yourself, blaming the system? But that’s not the way it works. It would be the worst cynicism, living in fairy tale land, to think that all bishops uniformly prepare cases, or that there is no self-interest ever in the preparation of those cases. Just a thought.
A word about true victims of abuse: There is nothing more hateful to actual victims of abuse than to see ecclesiastical facilitation of false accusations for money, with purposeful lack of due process for those so accused. This is the re-raping of true victims. Should we name those who facilitate false accusations for money, those who re-rape true victims? Perhaps you get the idea already. The trouble is, almost no secular media or even Catholic media speak of this second wave of abuse. Why is that? Why don’t they do that? Why? How long, O Lord?
Some essential reading:
- The Judas Crisis set to mock Pope Francis on 14 June 2013: the new *Omertà* — code of silence
- Msgr Stephen Rossetti, Msgr Edward Arsenault, VIRTUS ®, Saint Luke Institute, militant homosexualism
- The Judas Crisis and The National Catholic Risk Retention Group (TNCRRG)
- Why the Catholic Abuse Narrative Needs a Fraud Task Force
- Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering The Rights of a Prisoner- Priest.
- K. Ayotte in collusion with Arsenault & McCormack against Fr MacRae?
- Laptops in the Msgr Edward Arsenault case
- Rabinowitz: The Trials of Father MacRae
- Journalism Outside the Box: Wall St. Journal Bravely Profiles Stunning Case of Wrongfully Convicted Priest Fr. Gordon MacRae
And there’s always more. Please God, there will more on the blog in future days. You can find more by clicking on the tags as well, such as The Judas Crisis, abuse, Edward Arsenault, John McCormack, etc., etc., etc.