A Leading Shepherd


By Charlie Johnston

I have to apologize to many people. I am very hit and miss on getting through emails. I don’t mean to ignore anyone…but those come pretty much at the tail end of things. I often get behinder each day – and so emails end up at the tail end of things. Sorry about that.

My scheduled event in Memphis has been cancelled. Some things did not come off and I have scheduled some private meetings in another city. I’m sorry if any of you in that area were planning to come out to Memphis.

I will speak in Washington, D.C. this Friday. I am curious whether some of my old friends from the political days might show up out of curiosity. I have been tempted to put in a supply of “Groucho glasses” for any officials who show up to use. Then next Monday I will speak in Charlottesville, Virginia. Details are below:

Washington D.C. (Free Event)

Friday, October 28, 2016

6:45 pm:  Divine Mercy Chaplet,  7:00 pm:  Public Talk

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center,  3501 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD 20783

Contact Jessica at trnsdcvisit@gmail.com


Charlottesville, Virginia (Free Event)

Monday, October 31, 2016

7:00 pm:  Holiday Inn, 1901 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Contact Roman at  tnrs.virginia@gmail.com


In the last month or so, Philadelphia’s magnificent Archbishop Charles Chaput has taken a leading role in speaking for the faith and the Culture of Life in America. He has always been tremendously insightful and candid, but at this critical point in our history, I have been taken by how powerful and important almost every statement he makes these days is. Here are a few you should be aware of.

First, he speaks on the matters of family, religious freedom and sex from an address at Notre Dame University, reprinted by the National Catholic Register.


Charles J. Chaput

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

At the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s Celebrate Life Banquet earlier this month, Archbishop Chaput gave a rousing speech noting that “evil cannot bear the counter-witness of truth.”


Perhaps amusingly, earlier these month, Chaput urged Catholics to be like Mary and punch the devil in the nose.

When the ugly anti-Catholic attitude of the Clinton campaign and their effort to actively subvert and destroy Catholicism from within was revealed by the WikiLeaks, it was Archbishop Chaput who minced no words in condemning the contemptuous bigotry of the Democratic nominee and her team against Catholics.

In these unprecedented times, Archbishop Charles Chaput is making himself a profound sign of hope for all faithful Catholics – and all Christians as our out-of-control government seeks to marginalize and outlaw any traditional, authentic expression of faith.

Posted in Christian Persecution, Culture, Speaking Tour, Spiritual Heroes | Tagged , , | 47 Comments

Comfort Through the Storm


By Charlie Johnston

I first became aware of Dr. Peter Howard earlier this year when I read a piece on “Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization” which he had published at spiritualdirection.com. It was the finest short piece on the subject I had ever read – and so howard-heroic-familiesI reprinted it here – and today reprint a piece he wrote on “Mary and the New Times of Noah” at the bottom of this piece. This spring I spoke at a retreat in Danville, Illinois with him and we got to know each other face to face.

Howard is a scholar both on Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Our Lady of Tepeyac, and on the late Bishop Fulton Sheen. In the last year he, with the support and help of his family, have launched the project, Heroic Families, dedicated to consecrating families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He travels around the country offering presentations on these subjects and helping families to participate in Consecration to Mary at the Heart of the Triumph. I will put up a permanent link to Howard’s ministry here – and encourage you to hear him. While he charges for expenses – airfare and housing – his only fee for the presentation is a free-will offering. He is well-worth hearing. You can book him for your Parish or group here.


Our own Beckita of Montana and Joe Crozier of New Zealand have suggested we participate in Fr. Michael Gaitley’s  33-day Consecration to Jesus through Mary as we come to the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8 this year. It would begin on Nov. 5. Materials to help you through podcasts can be found here. Fr. Gaitley is doing some of the finest work of evangelization and consecration in America today.


Finally, one of my key coordinators in Sacramento, California has come up with a great idea and put it into practice. I will quote from her email on the subject:

“I want to share exciting news with you and our NRS family.
A year ago the Holy Spirit gave me a nudge and it was the next right step for me to take.
It is called the Summer Vocation Club.
It consists of inviting the religious orders in ones diocese to come and speak for 45 minutes to a gathering of young people.
Brian and I organized it with our Pastor’s permission and held the first gatherings this past August.
We learned a lot…..and were encouraged enough to make a website called
www.summervocationclub.com   so as to share the model of what we did and how easy it is for others to copy it.
We even  have our Pastor’s blessing to continue in 2017!
May others in dioceses abroad be encouraged to do this as well.

God Bless YOU, dearest Charlie!

Elisabeth says “HI!”

Jeanne in California”

Her daughter, Elisabeth, is the girl I have occasionally mentioned who was handling the grill during a volunteer dinner last year and was particularly enthused with the message I carried. She is contemplating a vocation as a Nun. Last time I was in Sacramento I told her I expect to dance at her wedding, whether she becomes a Bride of Christ or not.


I have been praying that this Christmas seasons will be a time of much family reconciliation throughout the world. You have borne the brunt of chaos and confusion in these last few years since demonic forces have been especially aggressive. Having borne it with patience, I pray that all of you may have the consolation of seeing the merciful hand of God at work in your family as we enter into the full fury of the Storm.

Now for Dr. Peter Howard’s piece on “Mary and the New Times of Noah:”

By Dr. Peter Howard

Every October 13, the world is reminded of the great Marian revolution that has been taking place in the world since 1917. Now we are approaching the 100 year anniversary of Our Blessed Mother’s visitations to the three Fatima children. Actually, we are already celebrating the centenary in that the Angel of Peace, the guardian Angel of Portugal, appeared to the three children in 1916 to prepare them for the coming of Mary and the seriousness of her messages.

In all of her messages to the children she revealed the importance of saying the holy Rosary daily. She even revealed herself as Our Lady of the Rosary so that the world would not mistake how important the Rosary is to partialrestorationbernardvanorleyvirginandchild2wga16691rosaryher and the fate of the world:

Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war (June 13, 1917).

I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, [August] to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you (July 13, 1917).

I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end (October 13, 1917).

Our Blessed Mother makes it perfectly clear and simple that the Rosary is the remedy to every war that threatens us and, in my last blog post on the Feast of the Rosary, I provided some important reasons why that is the case. However, in her July 13 message (which has been referred to as the “secret of Fatima”) Mary spoke of the Holy Rosary in connection to something even greater, which she revealed as the very heart of her message at Fatima right after she showed the children a vision of hell and countless souls falling into it:

immaculateheartdetailbadleonfeldenmariabrundlfenster2herzmariensYou have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. . . .

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

Our Blessed Mother revealed that the real secret and underlying power that will change the world is devotion to her Immaculate Heart – a devotion most perfectly lived out by one’s consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The word “consecration” is significant because it speaks of a total setting apart of one’s entire life, possessions, death and eternity to Mary. This is exactly what the Father did when He entrusted His only begotten Son to Mary, from whose Immaculate Heart the Son of God received and formed His Sacred and Pierced Heart, through which we now have access to the Father. Do we see what this means? When we imitate the wisdom of the Father and the Son and entrust ourselves completely to Mary, placing ourselves, our families and futures within her loving, merciful and sinless heart, we are doing the greatest possible act as a Christian. St. Louis de Montfort summarized total consecration to Mary as the most perfect way to live one’s baptismal promises of rejecting Satan and all his works, and living for God alone. It reflects the perfect wisdom of God Who gave us everything in the order of Mercy, including His own Son, through Mary. It is, therefore, no mere coincidence that this Jubilee Year of Mercy leads into the centenary of Fatima as we are being prepared to enter the final confrontation with Mary by being renewed, strengthened and reoriented by this extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

StMaximilianKolbeSmilingNo other saint, in my humble opinion, better illustrates this connection and mission than St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, who was inspired to form the Militia Immaculatae (Knights of the Immaculate — “MI” for short) on October 16, 1917 — just days after the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima, of which he was unaware. The MI had as its purpose the conquering of the whole world for Mary by bringing consecration to her Immaculate Heart into the home and heart of every family. His beautiful prayer of consecration expresses this in a beautifully concise and theologically rich manner. I quote here the second part of his prayer:

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter, you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

That’s the power and purpose of consecration to Mary, both concerning one’s family and the mission that comes with it. And we need to work hard to increase Mary’s spiritual army on earth as the world continues its tailspin into the abyss.


For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, we are living in the times of Noah.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. (Genesis 6:12-13)

The world has abandoned God and become morally bankrupt and Our Lady has made it clear at Fatima and Akita, Japan (1973), that God will not let this continue forever. As Scripture reminds us:

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:5-6)

KazimirowskiEugeniusz,DivineMercy,1934God offers mercy first in order that we repent and convert — the time we are in now. But, if mankind does not avail itself of this extraordinary time of mercy, it will have to face God’s justice — as Jesus told St. Faustina:

Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).

I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)

Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).

If we are in times of Noah, what is the ark into which families must enter to be saved? Mary gave us the answer at Fatima:

To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion [i.e. consecration] to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. . . .

And she was more explicit when she appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary at the approved apparition place of San Nicolás, Argentina (click to see the National Catholic Register article here) when she said:

San Nicolas, Argentina

My daughter, in this time, I am the Ark for all our brethren! I am the Ark of peace, the Ark of Salvation, the Ark where my children must enter, if they wish to live in the Kingdom of God. (February 6, 1987)

And to drive home this truth even more, Our Blessed Lord said at San Nicolás on December 20, 1989:

I want a renovation of the spirit, a loosening from death and an attachment to life. The Heart of My Mother is the chosen one so that what I request becomes reality. The souls will find Me through Her Immaculate Heart.

Previously the world was saved with Noah’s Ark. Today the Ark is My Mother. By means of Her, the souls will be saved because it will bring them towards Me. Whoever rejects My Mother, rejects Me.

All the above being said, I ask you: Are you worried for your marriage? Your children? Your family? Does all seem lost in any or all of these relationships? Are you concerned about the economic, political and social collapse taking place in America? Are you concerned about the effects of the growing evil in the world which is attacking the family like never before? If so, do you really want to know the remedy? Are you willing to conform your whole life and that of your family to this remedy? Husbands and fathers, are you going to be the Noahs of our times and disregard the ridicule of the world and build that ark for your family — the ark of a true devotion to Mary lived by total consecration to Mary and reciting daily her prayer of choice, the Rosary? Are you ready to lead your family to embrace this way of life no matter the cost? Christians, do you want real power to change the world?

The secret is out. The secret is simple. Are we small enough and humble enough to receive it? The secret to the restoration of the family and civilization is this: a dynamically lived consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There is no message more important that we should be giving the world right now than returning to Jesus through consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the Marian revolution. On October 13, 2013, Pope Francis reminded the Church of this revolution, and how we will triumph, when he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart. He stated the truth plainly: “Mother, together we will fight . . . together we will win!” Will you fight with her for her triumph like St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. John Paul II and Pope Francis?

EdwardHicksDetailOfNoahsArkGoogleArtProject for post on Mary and the New Times of NoahTime is short, get on board the new ark of salvation and do everything in your power to lead as many families as possible to do the same. This is when Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. Thank you, dearest Mother, for calling us! Thank you!


This message of consecration of families to Mary’s Immaculate Heart is so important that I am offering parishes a special opportunity to bring this message to their communities. All they need to do is pay for my traveling costs (flight + lodging + transportation) and facilitate a free will offering to support my family apostolate Heroic Families. Parishes would need to agree to provide strong promotion for the event to increase attendance. The event would consist of one 60 minute presentation with Questions and Answers (Q&A). Contact me today at HeroicFamilies.com and let’s get this critical message to your parish!

***For those wanting a more intensive immersion on the special centenary of Fatima beginning in 2017, Dr. Howard is now offering a special speaking series titled: “Fatima: 100 Years Later — Family Consecration at the Heart of the Triumph”. Dr. Howard is an expert in this topic and is very passionate in sharing how important it is for families today. He is currently booking speaking events for 2017. Visit HeroicFamilies.com today to learn more on how to bring this soul-awakening event to your parish or conference.


Posted in Conversion, Family of God, Mary Immaculate, Spiritual Preparation | Tagged , , , , | 197 Comments

A Few Things


The venue for Charlie’s Philadelphia talk has changed:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Monday, October 24, 2016

6:30 pm:  Rosary   7:00 pm: Public Talk

Holiday Inn, 2175 Marlton Pk West, Cherry Hill, NJ



Charlie will also be speaking in Washington D.C. in the coming week:

Washington D.C. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

7:00 pm:  College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center,  3501 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD 20783

Contact Jessica at trnsdcvisit@gmail.com



The coordinator in Raleigh, NC needs assistance finding a venue for Charlie’s public talk there on Sunday November 6.  If you are able to help her please email me at  lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com


Posted in Uncategorized | 119 Comments

I Killed Christ…And so did You


By Charlie Johnston


I confess to Almighty God,

And to you, my brothers and sisters,

That I have greatly sinned,

In my thoughts and in my words,

In what I have done,

And in what I have failed to do…

(Public Penitential Act)

I am often publicly impatient with Catholics who promote the idea that angels will lead all the faithful to refuges, safe havens to weather the full fury of the Storm. While that may be figuratively true, it is not literally true. It is just a Catholic version of the Protestant doctrine of the Rapture that has sprung up over the last 200 years. (The idea of Rapture was first proposed by John Darby of the Brethren Movement in 1830). Both ideas posit that God is going to mystically take the good folks to a place of complete safety while all the rest on earth suffer through a terrible chastisement. Everybody who posits such things assumes that they are included in the cohort of good little boys and girls who are going to be taken to safety – and sometimes are at pains to hide an unseemly glee at the idea of all the rest of those poor slobs out there getting smacked down.

I am also unsettled when people speak of being part of “The Remnant,” once again all the good little boys and girls who have kept faith – and again with the unwarranted triumphal assumption that the speaker IS part of that anointed tribe, not like those dirty, unwashed heathens who so abound out there.

This troubles me for two major reasons. First, many otherwise decent people are liable to go into despair that they are not among the chosen when no angel comes to lead them to safety or that they are left behind with the rest of us when the final crash comes. Second, few who hold to such things are likely to consider that they have misread God’s call to action in troubled times for a promise of immunity – when it does not happen as they expect. We are each called to be refuge to our neighbors and to leave the old worldliness behind, so that we can act as God’s hands and feet during crisis.

Second, it presumes some facts that are very much not in evidence to quietly support a smug complacency. We are taught, Magisterially, that we cannot know with certainty that we are in a state of grace. How then can we be so certain that we are the elect, the remnant? Is it just because we have not violated the laws? If so, we are unprofitable servants, indeed. As Christians, we are called to go forth, not just to sit tight. I doubt that many people here have actively participated in the ongoing assault on faith and culture that is rapidly reaching its climax. But as the Penitential Act I quoted above so pointedly says, we are not just responsible for sin in what we have done, but in what we have failed to do. Could we really have reached this pass had there not been a massive failure in what we, as Christians, are called to?

A few examples of what we have failed to do…

Several decades ago, a black mayor of a majority black city in my area had a breakfast meeting with me. To my astonishment, he told me he was considering switching to the Republican Party. I told him we would be glad to have him – except that he would never get elected in his city again – so what had brought this on? He told me he was sick of Democrats treating him and his city as if they were all thugs and bums. He said the only legislation they would help with is things decriminalizing drugs, easing off on the punishment of crime, and expanding welfare: that that was all they thought “black legislation” consisted of. He added that when he wanted something to help the law-abiding majority in his town to strengthen their families, to help them with work or with real infrastructure improvements, he always had to go to the Republicans anyway. We talked for a while. He was deeply offended – and more than a bit bitter at the casual unconscious slur he consistently got from Democratic legislators. I told him we would continue to be his allies, but he and I both knew if he made the switch it would end his career. I suggested he stay where he was, we would continue to lead on the serious legislation his city needed – and ask that if we had a close one where he could quietly help, he do so. That worked for us all. But I never forgot that conversation – and I never forgot the vehemence with which he spat the line, “We are not all thugs and bums and I am sick of the Democrats treating us as if we are.”

The anti-God progressive left has succeeded where the Ku Klux Klan failed. It has atomized the black family, particularly in inner cities. In many of our cities there are hellholes of dysfunction and despair – and almost every city where this exists, the government has been led by anti-God progressives for at least two generations. While the dysfunction plays out on largely racial lines in America, that is not the root cause. In England, you have the same type of hellholes, mainly populated with impoverished whites. The result is the same. When you treat people like helpless animals, completely dependent on your largesse, many start to behave in animalistic faction. Both our government – and too many elements in our Churches – treat the poor with paternalistic disdain and preening self-regard. It is a form of animal husbandry, not brotherhood. The anti-God progressives have created a permanently dependent underclass in order to harvest their votes and use them as enforcers in mob actions to enhance the power of the progressives. This is racist to its core. The Black Lives Matter movement has led to increasing murder rates – and most of the newly murdered are black, killed by other blacks. Most of the businesses and homes destroyed in rioting are owned by blacks. So why does the progressive left not care about that? For the same reason they don’t care about the huge rate of black-on-black crime: because it is just black folks being killed and does not advance the narrative they prefer to seize more power. It is hideously racist. Yet we Christians and conservatives are busy defending ourselves against the charge of racism from the most successfully racist enterprise in American history: the progressive left – instead of holding them to account for their bigotry.

So where were we when the progressives were making pockets of inner cities into hellholes? Most of us considered it not our affair. The progressives, in true Animal Farm fashion, replaced the old white exploiters with new, black exploiters. Then they screamed, “Racist,” if anyone seriously tried to stop exploitation. What did most of us do? Figured it was none of our business and retreated to the safety of ignoring it rather than submit ourselves to the calumny and vitriol we would be hit with if we tried to defend our brothers. Where were we when the progressives made many city school districts into support systems for progressive activists, students be damned? Just in the last week, the NAACP, which once advocated for black people, issued a call for restricting Charter Schools, which have been one of the few ways out of the ghetto for many minorities. In Chicago, the City averted a teachers strike by cutting back on Charter Schools. Both hideously racist propositions, designed to enhance the stranglehold of progressive activists at the expense of children’s needs and best interests. We sat by and let neighborhoods and schools be destroyed in the name of empowering progressive activists – and did it so people wouldn’t talk ugly about us. And we think we are the faithful remnant? We are moral cowards and sinners, glad to opine against the dead carcass of institutional racism that largely expired by the 80’s, but unwilling to challenge the new, more virulent racism visited by the progressive left.

Let’s go back to first things. Man is made in God’s own image – all of us. As such, we hold a share in His divine dignity. If this is true (and the Bible says it is) we participate in a subordinate way in His fundamental nature. His fundamental nature is, through the procession of love between the Three Person of the Trinity, to create. He is the Creator. And since we are made in His image, we share most fully in His dignity when we love and act as subordinate creators. But that is what modern “philanthropists” will not hear of. They reserve to themselves the dignity of dispensing largesse and acting as creators, treating those they “help” as children of lesser gods, who must never be given the dignity or joy of creating anything by the work of their own hands. Though it plays out on largely racial lines because of the ghettoes of despair we allowed to be created, it is the classic master-subject relationship that has always been at the heart of tyrannical aspirations.

I love St. John Paul’s frequent discussion of the concept of solidarity. It is the foundation of my belief in the concept of the Family of God. We are not to treat each other as greater and lesser, but as fellow workers in the Lord’s vineyard, as brothers and sisters. We are not called to simply dispense largesse to the poor and congratulate ourselves on our nobility. We are to accompany our brothers so that all may find the joy and dignity of acting as creators. We are not merely called to be philanthropists, but to help all to become philanthropists. What kind of brother would you be if you let your brother’s neighborhood be destroyed by dysfunction without fighting for him? What kind of brother would you be if you allowed activists to take over your family’s schools for their benefit instead of the children’s? Yet that is what we have done. We deride affirmative action – and usually rightly so – but what did we do to see that our brothers were not robbed of their right to an education? Not robbed of their right to real opportunity based on building their character through family and faith? We did not want any trouble. Now we have reaped a bitter harvest because of what we failed to do. And we dare to think God should take us to a place of safety while everyone else gets it? We should be crying mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa instead of patting ourselves on the back for our fidelity.

Then there is the matter of abortion. Over 60 million killed in America since 1973. Thanks be to God, many have worked to stop it – and people of several faiths have come to respect each other’s faith for their mutual efforts. But we have certainly been ineffective against this ongoing holocaust. Thankfully, many clerics have found a newfound boldness in speaking and acting out against the Culture of Death St. John Paul spoke of. But how many times, particularly in the 70’s and 80’s, but even today, have you heard clerics say that poverty or unemployment is equally as bad as abortion? None of those clerics have solved poverty or unemployment with their pious pronouncements – and have often enabled those who made it worse – but they have given effective cover to the aggressors in this Culture of Death. And because of their assistance, we are now dealing with active euthanasia and the destruction of the health care system. How often have we, Catholics and Evangelicals, justified our vote for someone who was fundamentally an aggressor in the Culture of Death on the basis that some ancillary issue was equally important?

When I was a teenager, there was an old man, Mr. Valentin, who lived in a house in back of us. He was a wonderful old man, full of lively stories and always with some cookies or cake to offer. I liked to visit with him. He was a German expatriate who had come to America after the war. Once we were talking about the war and what it was like to live in Germany then. He said, in passing, that he did not agree with how Hitler treated the Jews, but that he had been very good for the German economy – and that he thought Hitler was largely given a bad rap. I was stunned and horrified. I was polite, but I never visited him again, though I was pleasant when I saw him in passing. It has always been a part of my pondering how otherwise decent people can tolerate great evil when it is the norm in their cultural milieu. It troubles me a lot that, since then, I have seen us become a nation full of Mr. Valentins.

Then there are the Churches. I hate the sterile, bloodless bureaucratic model that our whole culture has adopted in just about everything. I particularly loathe it in our Churches. Once, in private conversation with a Bishop, he surprised me when he mournfully said that when a Priest dies, he is quickly forgotten. I asked why he thought that. He said they have no families – and a Priest’s  flock just moves on to the next to fill their needs. It struck a deep chord in me.

I met a former Anglican Priest in Billings, Montana. A common theme I have is how poorly we treat Priests, and how terribly isolating it must be for them. We treat Priests like any other service person, consulting them when a problem arises, lining up to receive the Sacraments from them, but almost never acknowledging their humanity or treating them with the easy affection we would a friend or family member. This Priest has five children at home – and agreed it was a terrible problem. He said his family regularly has picnics and family events to which he invites Priests in the area, so they can participate in an active family life, to share in affection and joy as well as benediction – and it helps a lot.

We should always treat our Priests and Pastors with the respect due to them as spiritual fathers. But we should also treat them with the affection and intimacy we would a beloved Uncle. Yet most of us treat them like an appliance repairman: fix my problem and move on. And we think we are the faithful remnant?

Yet many Priests and Pastors have bought into the bureaucratic model, as well. Too often they see parishioners as cogs in the Sacramental assembly line. I see Dioceses where they talk of being open to life, but the tuition for a high school student at a Catholic School is $12,000. How is a normal family that is open to life supposed to cope with that? Are our deeds matching our words? When they don’t, our actions give the lie to our pious words.

We are called to be the Family of God. We have failed miserably. We are not the faithful remnant. If God was going to take the good little boys and girls to safety during this Storm, I don’t know anyone who would qualify. Oh, I don’t mix with many people who have actively assaulted our culture…but I don’t know many who have effectively defended it or acted as if they really mean to treat all their brothers and sisters as the Family of God.

The good news is that, while there is no blameless faithful remnant, God is giving us the chance to audition for the role in this Storm. You be the refuge. You do it by being a participant in the Rescue that has already begun, unseen by the world. You do it by recognizing all the things you have failed to do – then set your jaw like flint and resolve to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. There will be no passive spectators taken to safety because of how good they have been, only active participants who choose to become a place of safety to all they encounter.

If you do this, if you acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you, you will become a participant in the Rescue and truly earn a place among the faithful remnant. If we all do this, the Son of Man will find faith on earth when He comes again. But we should be thankful it is not now, for the best of us are not nearly as good as we think we are.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.



Posted in Church Governance, Conversion, Culture, Family of God, Solidarity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 543 Comments

Electoral College Follies


By Charlie Johnston

(Eight and a half years ago I wrote this little piece on the Electoral College. It was originally published in the Chicago Daily Observer and then, a day later, in the Illinois Review – I was a columnist for both journals at the time. It was picked up later by several national outlets, most notably the American Conservative Union. It has some dated references, such as to then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, one of four Illinois governors in my lifetime to go to prison. But I left it whole.

It is heavier on the snark than I usually am here. I was significantly snarkier when I was writing on culture and politics. It does reflect the contempt I have for the modern practice of loudly shouting opinions without taking even a moment to learn a little about what you are talking about. I illustrated this point once when I was in radio by announcing that the next day, we would have a free discussion on the electoral college. You were free to express whatever opinion you wanted – but only if you could first give me an substantially accurate thumbnail of why the founders set it up in the first place. I expected only a couple of people to get through the screening. To my disappointment, none did.

One of the great evils of modern times, an evil that has helped bring us to the pass we have reached is that everybody want to spout off, but few want to actually study. Uninformed opinions are just useless rants. Here then, in honor of our dying electoral processes, my little piece from eight years ago on the Electoral College.)

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has the chance to do something right. Last month Illinois became the third state to pass the National Popular Vote Bill, which would direct a state’s presidential electors to cast their votes for whoever wins the national popular vote. But in Illinois, unlike Maryland and New Jersey, the bill has not yet become law. In this state the governor has not yet signed the legislation – and has told reporters he is not sure if he will.

On most matters we show a certain reverence for the founders. Well we should. They created the first democratic republic in history that did not rapidly degenerate into chaos and end in dictatorship. Their achievement is profound: while the United States is one of the youngest nations on the planet we have the oldest continuous form of government. That achievement is doubly impressive if one is aware that, historically, democracy has been one of the most volatile, unstable forms of government known to man. The founders somehow managed to separate the nitro and the glycerin of freedom and create something that would last rather than blow up every time it is jarred.

When in high school I, too, thought the Electoral College a strange, antiquated institution. While in college I came to recognize some of the magnitude of the founders’ achievement. Rather than assuming they had tossed it into the Constitution as some sort of bizarre joke I thought it more useful to do some investigation on what, exactly, was on their minds. (Incidentally, when he was a senator, the late Pres. John Kennedy wrote a very lucid explanation of the Electoral College and why it has served the nation well). The group behind this push, National Popular Vote, Inc. (NPVI), helpfully explains that among the main reasons the Electoral College was originally needed was because of the lack of cell phones, computers, calculators, the internet and other modern inventions. Can they possibly be that stupid?

A presidential election, though held on a single day, is not a single election. It encompasses 50 discrete elections, one in each state. To give an example, suppose the Cubs and the White Sox were in the World Series (you Southern Illinois Cardinal fans can substitute the Cards and the Royals – or better yet, an NLCS between the Cards and the Mets). The White Sox win three games by a score of 10-0. The Cubs win four games by a score of 1-0. The White Sox, in essence, win the popular vote 30-4. But the Cubs win the series because it was not one seven-day long contest to see who could score the most runs. It was seven individual games. Perhaps you think a presidential election should not be the collective decision of the states, but a single expression of the national popular will. Consider some of the real reasons the founders adopted the Electoral College and how these reasons relate to modern circumstances.

First, the states are different sizes. In order to prevent small states from losing all influence and just being swept along by big-state interests in national affairs, the small states’ weight in the electoral college is slightly larger than the big states in comparison to their population, because of the uniform rule of two senators per state, regardless of size (the total number of electors each state gets is equal to the sum of its members of the U.S. House and Senate). Abolish the Electoral System and every presidential election hence would be contested – and decided – in five to eight major urban areas. Small, and even medium size states, might never again even see a presidential candidate. Rural influence on presidential elections would evaporate entirely. After a few elections voters in small states and rural areas would figure out their vote was utterly meaningless. Participation in elections would likely drop because of the futility of it. Tensions between rural and urban interests would become dreadful, perhaps intractable. Even the invention of cell phones hasn’t changed that.

Second, there was the fear of regionalism, that some areas of the country with common interests might band together to hijack national presidential elections by the intensity of their votes. Were it not for the Electoral College this would have actually happened in 1860. There were several southern states in which Abraham Lincoln did not get a single popular vote. Despite having a minority population, the south, by the intensity of its commitment to the slave culture, could have hijacked that election from the rest of the country. The Electoral College prevented that. The Civil War was a great battle both over slavery and national union. The crisis would not have been averted without an Electoral College, only postponed and intensified. The likely end result would have been the Balkanization of what is now America. One of those little filigrees the founders added, to give stability to this great democracy, worked to save the nation and put an end to the sort of regionalism that had, in earlier times, been catalyst for destruction of democracies. Abolishing the Electoral College would likely resurrect the spectre of regionalism. Take a look at the map. West of the Mississippi River every state except California and Texas would become powerless in national elections unless some of them banded together and, as the old south did in 1860, voted monolithically. In the southeast, which states other than Florida and, perhaps, Georgia, would have any influence? Look carefully at the map before glibly injecting this old element of instability back into the prospect of national union that the founders most painstakingly and brilliantly worked to eliminate. The invention of calculators doesn’t change this a whit.

Third, there is the matter of vote fraud. It truly puzzles me that proponents of this plan seem to honestly believe it would make fraud more, rather than less, difficult. The founders created the Electoral College, in part, to make it more difficult for unseemly combinations to conspire to hijack an election. Read that as vote fraud and special interests. It is rare that a conspiracy of fraud in only one state could hijack an election (Evidence of massive fraud in Illinois and Texas, either of which could have changed the election, exists from the 1960 election, but it is the exception, rather than the rule. Even had Nixon chosen to contest the result, he would almost certainly have confined himself to one or both of these states, rather than the even more nightmarish scenario of a national recount). Imagine that polls show an election to be a dead heat in the late going. Conspirators do not have to come up with multiple conspiracies in several states to cheat the electorate: they need only confine themselves to electoral corruption mainstays such as Chicago, Texas, Louisiana, Los Angeles and such. Massive vote fraud in any one would be sufficient to gain a tainted victory where only the national popular vote counts in a dead heat. One need only look at the experience of western democracies where a single, national vote does determine the outcome of the chief executive to see that fraud changing the outcome is easier, not harder than under our “archaic, antiquated system.” The invention of the computer makes such “unseemly combinations” much easier.

Fourth, the legislation is unenforceable. Under the Constitution once electors are chosen, they have the absolute right to vote for whomever they choose. Long-term practice has led to a gentleman’s agreement in which each elector votes for the candidate who won their state’s popular vote. Once a state has chosen its electors, it cannot bind them to vote for anyone in particular. It would require a Constitutional Amendment to change this. In 2000, the Gore campaign actively tried to persuade electors from states that voted for Bush to be ‘faithless’ and vote for Al Gore anyway. In each of the elctions of 2000, 1988, 1976 and 1972 a ‘faithless elector’ did vote against who they were pledged to. Any serious enforcement clause injected into NPV legislation might well make it unconstitutional.

Imagine, now, a scenario in which Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani were their respective party’s nominees (I choose them for this example because of the big states they come from). The election is close as can be. Without Illinois, Giuliani is the victor. Former Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski has been doing interviews of late explaining the “Chicago Way;” how they would accomplish vote fraud not just by forgery and voting the dead, but actually cutting and pasting the chad on absentee ballots if they were cast for the ‘wrong’ candidate. You’re from New York and you have read about all of this. Do you ask your delegation to vote for Obama? And what about the rest of the country? If the legitimacy of a presidential election came down to believing in the electoral integrity of the Chicago precinct captain, what kind of chaos would ensue? Once this boundary was breached it would be far more likely to destroy the gentleman’s agreement among electors than to enhance national unity. The internet could communicate the news, but not stop the chaos.

Over the last century we have abolished many of the elements of stability the founders injected into our unique system of government. A serious student of the history of democracies would be alarmed at the number of symptoms our culture has developed that have previously been precursors to a democracy’s descent into chaos. The elimination of yet another is not a good idea. Contrary to popular (and uninformed) opinion, the Electoral College was not invented by a mad founder as a practical joke.

The head of NPVI, John Koza, is a computer scientist who teaches at Stanford University. I will defer to his judgment on computer, cell phone, and internet technology, regardless of any commentary by founders I might run across. I would ask that, in return, he show a little more respect for the founders’ achievement and expertise.

As for Gov. Blagojevich, he can do both this state and the nation a signal service by following advice from Nancy Reagan: Just say no.

Posted in Culture | Tagged | 118 Comments

In the Eye of the Storm


By Charlie Johnston

As this election season goes careening wildly towards its inevitable fiery conclusion three weeks from now, a little advice…

Large political campaigns get into a higher gear six weeks out. The last three weeks are an unbearable pressure cooker for those involved that I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been there can  imagine. I have seen more than a few candidates (on both sides) lose in those last few weeks because they said or did something out of frustration and the overwhelming stress of the process, itself. A rule I had was that we were to open no new avenues of attack or proposal in the last three weeks, but stick to the themes we had already established. As passions mount, people fail to vet what they desperately want to believe. Even when it is solid, judgment is diminished and it is likely not to be presented in a way that helps. Anything new is as likely to blow up fatally in your face as it is to help. There were some exceptions, but they were extremely rare. And every cycle I had partisans on my side desperately wanting to open up such an undisciplined course.

As passions rise, people tend to swing ever more wildly and frantically. At best, that is a formula for a catastrophic error. At worst, it leads one to behave dishonorably. Everyone is getting a little taste, this cycle, of what people inside a campaing feel in the final three weeks’ pressure. The solution is to be more deliberate than ever. Slow things down. Know that your judgment is impaired by your passion, so take extra time to argue against what you think is a good idea in the heat of that passion.

In the last three weeks, I also quietly would go each day to a Church, light a candle and pray. I would not pray to win, but that God’s will be accomplished. In a daily examination of conscience, I would check to see that I had done everything that could reasonably be done. Not that I had done everything perfectly (if I had, I considered that a negative for it most likely meant I had not done enough). I checked to make sure I had never lost sight of the humanity of the opposition – and that I had not failed to act out of timidity. It was a process of handing it over to God, even as I continued to keep what was in motion working at full tilt. (In one campaign, the scheduler – who scheduled both the candidate and had to keep tabs on me at all times, too – wryly told me she hoped I went to a different Church every day, for she did not know how it would play if the press found out the top aide was spending a half hour in Church beyond Mass each day). It would be good from now on in to pray the Surrender Novena and the Prayer of Miraculous Trust regularly to keep you grounded.

I have always encouraged you to do the things you normally would, while not counting on them. I don’t worry much about the outcome if election comes off. God has a different plan this time. But the election will say much about who we are as a people. The Wikileaks material on the Clinton camp confirms that she seeks to outlaw traditional expressions of faith entirely. Her campaign manager, John Podesta, has already started up false front “Catholic” organizations to try to subvert the Church from within. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput commented on those revelations with his characteristic blunt honesty. I say that the results of the election won’t ultimately matter, but living our duty well will matter enormously.

So advocate vigorously for your candidate, whether it be Trump or one of the third-party candidates. (I dismiss Hillary Clinton as an acceptable candidate for a faithful Catholic on any grounds). But let your advocacy not lead you to sin. The Republic is not dependent on this election. If it were, we would already be lost. It is dependent on all of us becoming, once again, a Godly people – and for that we are simply called to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us.


Last Wednesday, the District Attorney (DA) for Orange County, California, Tony Rackauckas, filed suit against DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics for trafficking in baby organs for profit. It is the first salvo in local actions around the country. It won’t be the last.

Last year, David Daleiden, who produced the undercover videos (you can click on links to them at the right side of this website) which exposed Planned Parenthood’s (PP) ghoulish practices, put a premium on working with investigators and district attorneys to build the legal case. A key was getting the U.S. House of Representatives involved. It set up a select committee to investigate the charges. It was able to penetrate the fog of confusion, misinformation and attacks Planned Parenthood and its governmental and media enablers used to try to derail the fundamental point: the allegation that Planned Parenthood and some of its corporate partners were illegally conspiring to harvest the organs of babies to sell for profit. In Harris County, Texas, DA Devon Anderson and Asst. DA Sunni Mitchell went so far as to hijack a grand jury charged with investigating Planned Parenthood – and instead colluded with PP to manufacture charges against Daleiden and his partner in filming the videos, Sandra Merritt. California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (a candidate for U.S. Senate) made a show raid on Daleiden’s apartment for his supposed smearing of PP.

Daleiden’s patient strategy and steady resolve is paying off. The House Select Committee, solidly guided by Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) found compelling evidence of collusion between PP and other corporate partners to traffic illegally in infant organs for profit. A judge ordered one set of charges dropped in Harris County; the DA moved to drop the second set after their collusion with PP to hijack the grand jury was revealed. There have been no charges proffered by the California Attorney General’s office. It is looking more and more like a highly publicized fishing expedition that was designed to signal to PP that Kamala Harris would be their eager factotum. The evidence the Orange County DA’s office gathered locally confirmed the larger body of evidence the House Select Committee developed.

Right now, PP is desperately trying to keep out of the news until after the election, in hopes that Hillary Clinton wins and will make this all go away. They are terrified that the matter will be judged on evidence and merit. Well they should be. The evidence is compelling and mounting.

As regular readers know, both Daleiden and Merritt are friends of mine. It has been a great sign of hope to me that the biggest blow against the culture of death in my lifetime has been struck by careful, sustained and steadfast action rather than wild accusations, driven primarily by a young man not yet in his 30’s. God bless David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt – and all who worked with them for over two years to bring this to light.


There are many people here, more than a few of whom are involved in public controversies and issue advocacy. Here is some advice I give to people who are dealing with public issues. It is good counsel in any situation.

Keep a blue collar mentality about your work. Once you start worrying about how important it is, you start going down a rabbit hole. Just focus on the work before you. When the day is triumphant, focus on the work. When the day has been disastrous, focus on the work. In life, you get many setbacks and some triumphs on whatever you do. Focus on the work without being overly distracted by either setback or triumph and you will do well.

Never worry about being great. Worry about being good. Worry about being true. Focus on the work of the day. If you do those things, you will help advance God’s will. That is all the greatness any of us need.

On speaking tours promoting his great book, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville often said that, “America is not good because she is great: she is great because she is good. When she ceases to be good, she shall cease to be great.”

There are many people today who think they are great with no concern for being good. Their day is almost at its end. Let us focus on being good – and the greatness of God will surely follow.

Posted in Culture, Discernment, Musings, Solidarity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 282 Comments

Vox Populi


(Many people have asked my opinion on the recent Cardinal appointments in the U.S. I choose not to talk about it, for I know that we have entered the sequence that will continue through Restoration to Rescue – and I will not be distracted from that. I say we each must hold to our posts, and I intend to live that. But OneMadMom, an anonymous blogger out of California, put up such an honest, candid and completely faithful post today I reprint it in its entirety here. It is a peculiarly elegant  primal cry of anguish.-CJ)

The Wolves are Cozy on the Couch

This has been an awful week for the Catholic Church, hands down.  Can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but the trifecta of bad cardinal appointments stings like hell (and I mean that literally).  I was hoping the devastation would be offset by a Cardinal Chaput appointment, but my hopes were dashed.  The liberals won this battle, pure and simple.  So what are we to do?  What is happening with the Pope?  Why is this happening?  Etc., etc., etc.  These are just some of the questions my poor readers are asking. Sorry this post is going to stray far from the sarcastic norm.

Those of you who read the blog regularly have probably noticed that I don’t criticize the Holy Father.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have questions and thoughts in my head that I don’t convey.  Why don’t I relay them?  Because what good would it do? It would simply  give comfort to the enemy.  He certainly is the Pope.  Anyone who believes a less than stellar pope is not THE Pope doesn’t know history all that well.  We’ve had some pretty awful ones, and we’ve also had great ones who have made less-than-desirable moves.  I mean, who was it again that elevated Cardinal Mahoney?  If that wasn’t an epic mistake, I’m not sure what was. Yet that pope was the guy whose right hand man was Pope Benedict.  Heck, he’s canonized! Everyone has a bad day.  I hope that’s what’s going on here with Pope Francis.

So, what is the girl who sits on her hands and avoids all attempts to criticize the Pope going to say?  Well, first of all, I feel your pain and I’ll try to be a voice for you.  Yes, these were bad appointments that are going to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the Faith – namely Fr. James Martin, SJ, (I don’t know why the author refers to Fr. Martin as an enemy. I do not know him and have no gripe with him -CJ) and his cohorts in crime.  There’s no way to spin it.  However, it’s one battle.  It ain’t the war, and we already know the outcome of that.  It’s just a matter of how bad things will be until we get to that outcome.

So what about Pope Francis?  I’m hardly Rocco Palmo, but my GUESS is that this is what you get when you have a cardinal from Argentina elevated to the papacy.  He was so far removed from the politics of Rome that he doesn’t know who the enemy really is. He has, frankly, Argentinian notions about the rest of the world, and I think he’s actually seen that some of these notions weren’t quite what he thought.  He was insulated there and he’s insulated now. He has no clue and simply trusts those that appear to be friendly really are.  Heck, I’ve seen that happen to great bishops right here in America.  It’s amazing how well the dissidents can gain confidence when they adjust those halos.  However, the faithful bishops and cardinals had better figure out a way to clue him in that he is being handled, or the Church that my kids have to live in is going to tank for the foreseeable future.

One thing I notice here in the States is that we have this really weird view of collegiality.  Rarely do faithful bishops or cardinals take on a bishop who is undermining doctrine and morality. They’ll all get together on topics where they feel they can win in society, but not on the issues that affect all of us.  Or, at least, this is the view from the pew.  I mean, if the good guys really care about the laity, why don’t they something???  I mean, if my husband saw his brother abusing his family, he certainly wouldn’t sit there and say, “Not my problem!”  His brother’s family would also his family, even if he isn’t the head of their household.  My husband would also lend a brother a hand if they were in crisis and needed back up when they were in the right.  Unfortunately, I don’t really remember the bishops around the United States rallying around Archbishop Cordileone when he rightly wanted to hold his teachers to Catholic standards.  A rally cry instead should have gone up from all the faithful bishops that he was quite right to try to protect the students of the Catholic schools.

Heck, from my point of view, it seems as if the bishops living 20 minutes from each other don’t even consult together.  SOMEBODY, please call for a national summit of faithful bishops, because the laity is dying here!  I mean DYING!  Where the laity is concerned, giving Cupich a red hat doesn’t just affect the people of his diocese.  It affects us all!  The liberal priests, bishops, and cardinals are what they are.  We need the more-than-a -few good men to help us out here.  Why is it the liberals can band together but you guys cannot? It’s almost like watching the Republican party flail around these days.  Meanwhile, over in National catholic Reporter land, they have no qualms about forming an army to put down one faithful priest, bishop, or cardinal at a time.  Then there’s the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good.  Anyone catch Wikileaks this week?  Yes, our conspiracy theories have been validated.

In all seriousness, I would like to see the guys who love their flocks, the Church, the lost, AND my children all get on a plane and knock on Pope Francis’ door and give him the real score.  There is strength in numbers, and this isn’t just a saying.  You can’t let Cardinal Burke do all the talking and be relegated to Malta for the unforeseeable future. When one of you does something necessary to preserve the Faith in one area, you should all be publicizing it in your own dioceses.  Back each other up! More importantly, unite for the sake of MY children.

Sometimes I feel like we faithful are an afterthought to many of you. That might be unfair but I guarantee that’s how many of us feel. You need to stop worrying about your job, and I’m not saying that in the “That’s all you care about way!”  I know that you want to stay with your flock to affect the most positive of outcomes, but it’s not working. You are essentially being extorted because you’re trying to do it all by yourself.  Cupich and club are undermining you at every turn, and you guys are still plodding on and keeping your noses to the grindstones.  I get the intention, but I think you all need to start being as “sly as the serpent and as gentle as doves” in a little more proactive way.

Your eminences and excellencies, just stop for a moment and pretend you are a father with children (because you are). If another parent or your child’s teacher is telling your child that homosexuality is just another lifestyle choice or that sex outside of marriage was fine, or that it would be just fine for your child to get an abortion because “their circumstance” warranted it, what would you do???????  Would you simply say, “Well, what can I do?” or would you give them a stern talking to about influencing your child to commit spiritual suicide?  I know you don’t have biological children, but darn it, we are supposed to be your spiritual children, yet you are letting the wolves come in and gnaw on us.  You’re reaching out to the lambs already taken from the flock, and I wouldn’t want you to stop, but what about the rest of us? Think long and hard because that’s what’s happening to your flock.  Nobody wants to feel bad about their sin, so they will cling to anyone telling them that they are just peachy.  As a parent, I’m not going to let that happen.  We’re going to fight as a family to keep that from happening.

I get that the bishops are “leaving the ninety-nine to go after the one”, but in our present scenario, when you go after the one, a bunch more are lost.  We’re hemorrhaging the salvation of our young.  There’s no longer just one straying because the shepherds aren’t closing the gate when they go after the one and the wolves are getting in.  It’s a reality that those of us “real world” parents are experiencing.  We’re killing ourselves to make sure all the good you do isn’t undone, but we feel like we can’t get our spiritual fathers to support us because they’re busy with the other children.  You need to find balance like all parents.

Again, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go after those that are straying.  When kids stray in a family, mom and dad have to go after them relentlessly, but at the same time, they need to make sure that no more stray by presenting a mixed message.  The worst thing a parent can do is cave to emotional blackmail.  If I love my child, they are going to know it, but they are also going to know the truth and they will know that I have nothing but their immortal soul in mind.  You can be both firm and loving.  I’m not sure if this is a point lost on those with no biological children, but it needs to be understood.  Saying “No!” can often be the most loving thing you can say, and no, the wandering will not always like it.  So?  We just keep reaching out to them.

I once had a priest curtly ask me, “With all due respect, who are you?!” when I was expressing my concerns about the Pope’s in-flight interviews and the dissenting clergy exploiting them.  My answer?  “Who am I?  I’m a girl who’s concerned about the Pope’s in-flight interviews and the dissenting clergy expounding on them!”  Is that wrong??? Are we simply to keep smiling?  Can I not be concerned? Are we supposed to be in denial about how such things are being used?  I don’t claim to be anything special, but I’m betting I’m echoing the concerns of a good chunk of the laity.  I’m not going into schism and disobedience. I’m just terrified, and I want our fathers to know how terrified we are for our families. I’m not urging the bishops to go rogue.  I’m urging them to be strategic.  We really are in a war.

So, what is the laity to do?  Pray, fast, beg our bishops to fight for their children, and prepare for the next battle.  In other words, carry on.

Posted in Church Governance | Tagged | 808 Comments

A Reprise of the First Light

(I regret that I am still feeling pretty miserable. Sunday was the worst and it is getting better, but it is still rough. Still working the Pepto Bismal.  Normally when I get sick, it is mainly a convulsion of my nerve damage – and if I am very quiet for a few days, I know that my system will reset and it will pass. This flu is unrelated to the neurological challenge – and I haven’t had one this rough in a long while.

I don’t trust myself to write a serious piece when I am real sick. I get crankier and more flambouyant in print even as I get sluggish and dull in actuality. I did have a wonderful chat with my daughter last night. She has had many troubles in her life, and it seems that she is really getting a handle on things and getting her world in joyful order. Those of you who have had adult children who have struggled know what a joy it is to see. I will get to see her and her family my next tour. She tells me my little three-year-old granddaughter Lily likes to use big words – and uses them appropriately. Lily told her Dad the other night, when he was delaying doing something he promised her, to “Quit procrastinating.” Christie laughed as she told me her husband quietly asked her what procrastinate means. Christie chuckled and said it is like having a small version of me around again all the time. They are going to Church again, which I am a big fan of – and young Lily loves it (again, like having me around again). I am very happy – and thank you for your many prayers on behalf of me and my family.

Though I am going back to bed, you really ought to have something to read here. So I reprint this little piece I wrote the day after Christmas last year.-CJ)

The First Light of Dawn

Transfiguration Tepeyac, Marietta

By Charlie Johnston

Public surveys of late have consistently shown that the number of people who believe in God in America is in  precipitous decline over the last decade, though it is still over 50%. In Europe, the Old World that first colonized the New, belief in God has utterly collapsed, hovering at barely over 20%. This is not an expression of confidence in the new world order that secular activists have made. Rather, it is a cry of despair. Seeing the wreckage secular activists have made of our culture, of our communities, of our very relations one with another, many people wonder how a loving God could allow a movement that believes in no light, no love, no warmth and no joy to rise with so little resistance.

I have long said that joy will rise even in the fullness of the Storm, as God reveals Himself to those who will receive Him. I have also said that if you scratch the surface of a cynic, nine times out of ten you will find a disillusioned idealist looking for a reason to believe again.

Regular readers know I am reticent in talking about signs and wonders – and slow to get enthused about images of Our Lord and Our Lady appearing in public places. That is for three main reasons.

1)      We sometimes impose our expectations on things, straining to force an interpretation that the evidence doesn’t justify. When we do, we can come off looking silly, and end up discrediting our faith to those who do not already share it.

2)      I think most genuine personal supernatural manifestations are, in fact, little graces from above – pats of encouragement and intimacy from the Master. Those things should routinely be treated with the same circumspection we would treat a compliment from a parent or colleague. If the person making the compliment wants all to know, He will reveal it. Otherwise, I generally prefer to take heart from it and keep to my work.

3)      An absorption into these things can cause one to focus on the trappings of faith rather than the heart of it, which is to go forth. Even worse, there can become a self-absorbed quality in it that smacks of boasts of being the Divine Teacher’s Pet. When this arises, we squander the grace embedded in such things.

These are not hard and fast rules. I do not hesitate to tell people of little such graces privately when it seems to me it might give them heart or hope. I have even said some of them in public forums for the same reason. But every time I discuss one, there is a rill of fear that runs through me that I may be giving in to vanity and squandering grace. I take deeply to heart the old dictum that what Our Lord sees in secret, He will reward openly. I guess you could say I am a miser: I hate to think I might squander any of my heavenly reward.

I was told long ago not to concern myself with systemizing miraculous bits of evidence…just let it be. Wisdom reveals itself  – and His children recognize their Master’s voice. In the fullness of the Storm, I was told, God would reveal Himself in ways that were undeniable to all but the invincibly ignorant and maliciously defiant.

In the last week, I have seen two things so striking – in both my personal life and in the world – that I cannot help but think they are the first strains of the overture heralding God’s visible entrance center stage. The first one, the personal one, was the note falling out of my Grandmother’s Bible on Christmas Eve – written by my Mother wishing me a Merry Christmas on this Christmas when we are apart. She died three and a half years ago. I was amazed that that note, which I had never seen before, should fall out of that Bible, which she and I both cherished in memory of her dear Mother, on that day. I wrote about it in the piece, “What is Truth?” I put the note back in the Bible for safekeeping, intending it to be a cherished memento. And now it is gone. I looked in the place where I put it, and it is gone. So I went through the whole Bible. It is gone. I think my Mother did, indeed, wish me a Merry Christmas and express her solidarity with me for the coming year. It was on ordinary paper, in ordinary ink, in her ordinary handwriting. It was here for Christmas – and now is gone. Plenty of room for skeptics to have reasonable doubt, but I believe my Mom dropped by to give me her love on Christmas, a day I have loved intensely from my earliest days. Your loved ones who have gone on are lovingly watching you, too. Thanks be to God.

The second thing is from Transfiguration Parish in Marietta, Georgia near Atlanta. The image, a picture of which is at the top of this article, emerged on a Parish window on December 12th of this year – the Feast Day of Our Lady of Tepeyac, or Guadalupe. This is no generic image of Our Lady. It is an image of Our Lady of Tepeyac. You don’t have to squint or turn your head to some peculiar angle to see her. She is there, compelling.

I have often called Our Lady of Tepeyac the Mother of Conversion – for that is what she did in Mexico. She converted the Aztecs of Mexico and crushed their brutal cult of human sacrifice almost overnight. I have said I was told she would convert all who would hear and receive her during the Storm…that she would ultimately convert Islam through its women…and that she would reclaim the hearts


and souls of all those who have left the faith in Europe and the rest of the Old World. She is the Mother of Conversion and will transfigure the heart of the world even in the midst of the Storm, before she comes to Rescue us as the Immaculate Conception, late in 2017. As with the calendar, these two aspects of Our Lady overlap with each other in these times. This image appeared at Transfiguration Church. The world is about to be transfigured – and Our Lady of Tepeyac will both walk with us, keeping us safe under her mantle and revealing her loving heart to all who embrace it.


Now the curtain rise on a year that will be remembered as the Year of Paradox, a year when those who put their hope in secular things, in temporal might, see those hopes put to utter ruin. Yet even in the midst of the rubble of our poor, bleeding world, true joy and hope will burst forth, gushing like a sudden spring of clear, pure water in the barrens. I have said that I was told that Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje are manifestations of a single event. This is the hidden sign of Lourdes to be revealed this year. The fountain at Lourdes gushed forth in the midst of a garbage dump, bringing healing mercy to all who would accept it. Our world has become a garbage dump, but just as at Lourdes, Our Lord’s grace will burst forth with healing mercy for all who will come to His waters. Thanks be to God for Pope Francis’ declaration of this as the Year of Mercy…so that even as the terror, the strife, the passion of the world deepens, His Mercy bursts forth to refresh us and fortify us to endure the Storm.

This year, 2015, a year of trial and sorrow, despair and division, terror and strife is the year of Lourdes – when Mercy burst forth in the midst of the dump. Next year is the year of Fatima, when the scope of the battle is fully revealed. But all who press on through the battle have recourse to God’s mercy. And in the end, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph…and the people of the kingdom, and the people of heaven, shall rise together, shall rise forever, and God shall rule.

We are called to be the Family of God. He lives – and He is revealing Himself. He calls you to proclaim Him by your lives, by your tenderness, by your mercy, by your fortitude, by your love, by your unflagging resolve. Those in despair, blinded by the things of this world, will hunger for the Lord this year. But to find their way back to Him, they need someone to gently lead them, to gently care for them…not to berate them, but to love them and so, wiping the scales from their eyes, prepare them to behold the wonder the living God is working in their midst through His most favored daughter – even as the darkness thought it had prevailed.

You be the light, the joy that illuminates the Face of God for all to behold. I tell you, the Christmas after next when we read that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, we will exclaim with joy that WE are the people who have seen that great light. Blessed are those who light the way home for their brothers and sisters. We are the Family of God.



Posted in Conversion, Discernment, Family of God | 350 Comments


I have been notably quiet when I was planning to get heavily to work. Sorry…shortly after I got back home, I came down with a rather nasty stomach flu that has gotten worse every day. It peaked today and now seems to be starting to recede (though I keep the Pepto Bismal handy). It has just been hard to do anything other than sleep or watch TV.

I am thankful this did not hit while I was on the road. I would have had to cancel appointments. Thanks for your prayers – and if you offer a few that I be at, say, 85% tomorrow, I could get in a reasonable day’s work.

Posted in General, Uncategorized | 272 Comments

Back to Work

By Charlie Johnston

After getting home late Tuesday, I took both Wednesday and Thursday completely off – reading, watching TV, and sleeping. Whew! I love my work, but after a six-week swing, I am completely exhausted.

My son pressed me on whether I am feeling the pressure as events draw ever closer to climax. I chuckled and told him I worry about details; I worry about how well I am prepared to effectively offer hope in each circumstance. When I wrote the piece, “Semper Fideles, Adeste Fideles” I had been up half the night before worrying that I had not sufficiently taken seriously the possibility of a massive disruption of communications – and that it was my duty to give a little glimpse of what I will do when things fall apart. Speaking of the Jericho March now seemed the only prudent thing to do, so that people would not be in the dark even if malevolent forces tried to, um, force the darkness on us.

I am working on a piece entitled, “I Killed Christ…And So Did You.” I hope to have it up tonight (someone insightfully suggested I take a cue from my angel and just say “soon”).

In the meantime, here are a few new videos:

First, Part 2 of the Focus TV Interview is here. When you get to the site, just click play on “Tracking the Storm, Part 2”.

My talk in Mill Valley, California, near San Francisco is here, with the Q & A part here.

Finally, I discovered that one of my favorite talks, from the Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery last fall had never been linked to here. That is now corrected. It is the one where I accidentally left my phone on – and it rang in the middle of my talk. Thinking quickly, I said, “I’m not going to take this unless it is from God,” looked at my phone and cut the call. I wasn’t thinking quickly enough: if I had, I would have opened my eyes wide after looking at the screen and said, “I’ve got to take this.”


Posted in Speaking Tour | Tagged , , , , | 214 Comments