The New Barbarism is the Old Normal


By Charlie Johnston


“How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” – Luke 13:34


To be a serious student of history does not engender optimism. The arc of history no more bends towards justice than the arc of botany bends toward elegantly intricate formal gardens. Both history and gardens are what men shape them to be. If the men of an age are brutish and crude, so will it be with the history and gardens they leave behind them.

All of recorded history is a monotonous repetition of various factions of men seeking to rule through the use of force and violence, taking command, ruling ruthlessly, then ultimately collapsing or being overthrown by other factions using the same tactics against them. It is the default setting for humanity. The founding of Christianity carved out what should have been an enclave for personal conscience and dissent. Certainly its founder, Jesus Christ, insisted that people were to come to Him by evangelization rather than coercion. People are supposed to know we are Christians by our love for each other and for all. It sometimes worked that way. The way for Christianity to be favored in ancient Rome was paved even in the midst of the persecutions as more than a few Roman tribunals turned a blind eye to Christians in their midst and encouraged the same in their superiors. The reason? Christians were noted for giving care and succor to all, regardless of religion – and the Romans were hard put to provide adequate relief, themselves, to the suffering. Alas, when prosperous and dominant, Christians, themselves, have often used the human tools of oppression, force and violence to enforce their will, quite in defiance of our Founder.

The Anglo-Saxons were notable in, over time, limiting the power even of kings. The Magna Carta of 1215 was an early formal document limiting that power, but it was not quite the bold statement on the rights of man many imagine it to be. It merely limited the king’s arbitrary power over feudal barons – barons who still retained arbitrary, brute power over the common people in their own lands. Still, this seed sprouted over centuries into a growing conviction that men had some rights that even a victorious king could not trespass against. In the century before the American Revolution, England had advanced quite remarkably in respecting the rights of minorities in the home country, even as raw force and brute power were the means to control the common rabble in most of the rest of Europe. Whatever refinement England had developed on the subject rarely applied to its colonial subjects.

Most (though not all) of the religious wars were only tangentially religious: they were wars for territory or dominance and used religion as a fig leaf over the real intentions or to whip troops into a fighting frenzy. Even so, religious authorities often did themselves no honor. Everyone knows about the Catholic executions of people for heresy. Fewer are aware that after the Reformation, the Protestants executed an order of magnitude more “witches” than the Catholics ever did heretics. England’s King Henry VIII embarked on a murderous, bloody repression of Catholics after he founded the Anglican Church. When, a century later, Catholics re-took power in England they embarked on the same murderous, bloody repression of Protestants. When the Protestants re-took power, more of the same. The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Catholic France was a sickening episode of treachery and slaughter. The Catholic King had lured Protestant Hueguenots to Paris for the marriage of his daughter, Marguerite to the Protestant King Henry III of Navarre, pretending a reconciliation. Then was launched several weeks of targeted assassinations and mob violence against the Protestants who had come under the banner and promise of peace. With St. Joan of Arc, I was particularly struck when I first learned that the evil conspirators took a break in the midst of her trial to celebrate Holy Week. It was striking they did not see the stark parallels between the judicial murder of Jesus, which they were celebrating and the judicial murder of Joan, which they were committing. Even had Joan been a fraud, her accusers would have brought the wrath of God on themselves for their malice, lies and deceptions. They decided from the beginning there was no acceptable outcome but her death – and lied, cheated and deceived to get it. Most despicable, her tormentors constantly claimed that they did what they did out of “charity and love” for her. Nicholas Loyseleur, who spied on Joan in her cell while pretending to be her friend, recommended out of “charity” for her soul and “love” for her person that she be tortured until she confess. There ever has been a species of false piety that deceives itself by calling its malice charity and its vicious assaults love. But God gets His own in striking ironies: Nicholas Midi preached a two-hour homily preceding the burning of St. Joan, comparing her relentlessly to a leprosy on the Body of Christ. He insisted the only way to deal with leprosy was to burn it out entirely. Shortly after her death, Midi was consumed with leprosy and died miserably.

The Enlightenment rose among French intellectuals in the very late 17th Century, explicitly elevating the “rights of man” as a primary philosophical and political imperative. The American Revolution was the first flowering of the Enlightenment – and the only flowering before the divorce of faith and reason. If the Enlightenment did well in enshrining the “rights of man” as a priority, it disastrously redefined the nature of man as a consumer – a complicated animal – rather than a subordinate creator imbued with innate dignity from his Divine Creator. Faith without reason is mere superstition, but reason without faith quickly degenerates into unreasoning brutality and tyranny.

Soon, all revolutions and upheavals were done in the name of “the people” rather than national glory – and the new humanists seemed determined to show that when it came to murderous mayhem visited on innocents, religious folk were shabby second-raters compared to the new leftist utopians. The French Revolution overthrew the established order and God along with it, while terrorizing the people of France (in the name of “the people,” of course) until the terror consumed quite a few leaders of the revolution, as well. Order was finally re-established, if a bit rockily, with the rise of Napoleon. The atheist utopian movements of the 20th Century alone (Bolshevism, Nazism, Chinese Communism) butchered more people than were killed in all the religious wars of history combined. Nothing changed with the Enlightenment except that murder was always done in the name of “the people” and the ambitious hyper-charged their murderous rage, unconstrained by concern that they might ultimately face a just God. If some people did not bend to their utopian schemes, their response was to kill the dissenters – and then surely utopia would reign.

Strikingly, there has not been a genuine intellectual among the monstrous “idealistic” revolutionaries who have shed so much blood, except perhaps for Vladimir Lenin (who had some real abstract heft, but was seriously deficient in logic and in the practical matter of administration). Lenin was also the only one who, reaching the end of his life, was sincere enough and smart enough to see he had erred, perhaps tragically. He had unleashed brutal methods for a half-baked idealistic cause and came to suspect that, in his aftermath, it would be all brutality and no idealism. “I am, I believe, strongly guilty before the workers of Russia…” he wrote in his last year – and denounced Josef Stalin – but too late. The utopian ideologues imagine themselves to be enlightened, even though they wholly abandon intellectual rigor. They embrace an ideology which, they think, explains everything, so it relieves them of the obligation of actual study and learning. They mount childish, unexamined fantasies as the formula for utopia. Any failure has to be the result of sabotage or incorrect thinking. Rather than examine themselves critically, they attack critics, first denouncing them, then jailing them, then (with no Christianity to restrain them) executing them. Even massive executions do not make their crackpot schemes any more effective, so they almost always end by executing allies before the whole project collapses. The contrast between the dull-witted, but thuggish, stupidity of the atheist utopians and their fatuous self-regard as brilliant and enlightened is remarkable.

Somehow the leftist utopian movements almost always incorporate some form of genocide before they collapse. In Revolutionary France, it was against aristocrats – and some Jacobin partisans complained that not enough children of aristocrats were being regularly executed on the guillotine. In Russia, it was the kulaks (peasant landholders). Kulaks were always regarded by the Soviets as enemies of the state, for anyone who owned a cow, two chickens and a quarter acre of land was obviously an incipient capitalist. Some seven million kulaks were intentionally starved or executed (mostly in Ukraine) by Stalin’s forces. This did NOT increase Soviet grain production, as Stalin promised it would, but set it back 20 years. Only a Communist could believe murdering millions of your top farmers could increase crop yields. Nazi Germany’s genocide against Jews particularly, but Catholics, gypsies, the handicapped, and Christians generally is well known. Mao Zedong probably beats all in sheer numbers and comprehensive brutality. During the four years of the “Great Leap Forward” he killed about 45 million of his own people through forced starvation, and working or beating them to death. Prominent among his victims were the peasants who had helped bring him to power. Then in the later decade of the “Cultural Revolution” he murdered many of the very people he had used to enforce the Great Leap Forward. Put simply, socialism is the ideology of the death camp and atheism the theology of genocide.

The American Founders accomplished a myriad of astonishing things, not by adopting some ideology that relieved them of the obligation of studying evidence, facts, logic and history; but by considering all of these with starkly rigorous honesty, then working to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems. They created a self-governing republic that defended liberty while maintaining stability. It was an unprecedented accomplishment. They set up a system that allowed for the most vigorous of disputes to be settled without routine resort to violence and bloodshed. Given the history of the world, it was as striking, rare and fragile as a rose growing in a dung heap. They accomplished this primarily in two ways: First, they adopted universal standards of justice that were to be objectively applied to all, great and small. Standards could be changed by the majority act of the governed, but judges and law enforcement were to be governed by those standards rather than personal opinions or affections. Second was the separation of powers between legislative, executive and judicial authority so that none was supreme over the others, and the division of powers between the federal and state governments, creating a form of subsidiarity to prevent power from centralizing and becoming unaccountable. In the United States, you gained power by the persuasiveness of your case, not the force of your fist. Should you try, instead, to brutalize your opponent or commit violence to take power, the whole society would pursue your arrest and imprisonment. To sustain this, a great deal of emphasis was placed on maintaining the integrity of processes. This was critical for the same reason that process is critical to a baseball game. If umpires are routinely able to say that some batters only get two strikes before they are out and others get four, it won’t be long until confidence in the game itself collapses. To maintain public consensus in a system which all sometimes – and many, often – lose, the standards must be seen to be rigorously fair, objective and equally applied to all.

After a pause of about 50 years, nations throughout the globe slowly began to adopt versions of the American system, desperate to escape the routine violence and brutality that rocked their own systems. To get an idea of the proportion of human history and global geography that has lived in a society where disputes were settled by peaceful means rather than by violence and brute force, imagine a postage stamp on a football field. Many of us have lived on that postage stamp for so long we have forgotten how terrible the normal way of settling disputes was. And, so, a new atheist utopian movement has risen in America and the west. The movement is as ignorant as its forebears, as airily certain of its own brilliance and rectitude, as unwilling to engage in real and rigorous scholarship, and as impatient to impose its own vision on its contemporaries by any means necessary. Incapable – and unwilling to put in the effort – to accomplish its aims through persuasion of contemporaries, it thinks it has stumbled onto something new by subverting legal processes, using brute force, and encouraging violence to achieve its aims rather than something depressingly tiresome and old.

Confronted with the depredations of the atheist left, the leadership of Christians and the right has been utterly ineffective in defending freedom or even basic standards of law and jurisprudence. I am not entirely unsympathetic to the right’s impotence: it suggests, at least, that it knows how horrible things will get if the atheist left does not return to objective and equally applied standards of law, does not stand down from the rebellion against legal norms. So leaders on the right and among Christian communities make shows of good will, which do not lead the left to live by objective standards of justice, but persuade it that its shrieking hysteria is winning. Historically, there are only three ways stability is restored when a culture has reached this level of division and volatility. Either the aggressors stand down their violent rhetoric and riots (very rare), society cracks down on the aggressors with sufficient vigor to put an end to the offenses and sufficient restraint to let them re-integrate into lawful behavior without triggering opposite abuses (rarely well-calibrated), or widespread violent strife or revolution comes, to be contained ultimately by some level of dictatorial power.

The aftermath of the attempted mass murder of Republican Congressmen on June 14 makes it almost certain we will go the way of widespread violent strife. It is not the shooting itself that clinches it, but the aftermath. Even the healthiest societies are subject to occasional atrocities and tragedies. When an atrocity comes, a healthy society quickly and forcefully unites to condemn the terror in unambiguous terms. We had a day of pro forma denunciations and then went back to business as usual. Worse, many on the left – and in the establishment media – suggested that seriously wounded Congressman Steve Scalise brought it on himself by being conservative. Joy Reid of MSNBC suggested it was his fault for being “racist.” She gave no examples of his racism, because there are none – but the left has re-defined racism to mean being conservative, regardless of one’s actual attitudes on race. CBS Anchorman Scott Pelley hideously suggested that Scalise’s wounds were “self-inflicted” because of the injection of violent rhetoric into the political system. The only example of violent rhetoric Pelley showed came from Bernie Sanders, not Scalise. The gunman was a far-left Democrat who had volunteered on Sander’s campaign for president. This was not just a smear, but an incoherent one. Leaders on the right did not steel themselves to demand that the left adopt a commitment to equal justice under law. Lois Lerner, who oversaw targeting of Christians and conservatives at the IRS is still free and collecting her pension. John Koskinen, who headed the IRS during this targeting – and publicly dared Congress to do anything about it – is still IRS Commissioner. I could go through a litany of leftist violence against Christians and conservatives, but suffice it to note that it has reached critical mass and has mainstream left-wing approval.

While the modern left shares all the intellectual deficiencies of its socialist antecedents, it lacks their low animal cunning. Oh sure, it has adopted Orwell’s Newspeak enthusiastically. Just as Lenin maintained that the truest form of democracy is the dictatorship of the proletariat, just as Stalin adopted a constitution that promised free speech, so long as it was “proper” speech – any other kind would get you a one-way ticket to Siberia if it did not get you shot, the modern left comically calls its fascist tactics “anti-fascism;” calls attacks on free speech, liberty; and calls the flouting of the law, justice. It has failed in a critical respect, though, that all its predecessors took great care in. Marat, Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao all took great pains to cultivate substantial support in their countries’ military and police communities. They took great pains to heavily arm themselves while disarming the ordinary population. The modern left treats both the military and the police with open contempt and hostility. They have tried, ineffectively, to disarm the populace while ostentatiously disarming themselves. I am reminded of Casey Stengel’s forlorn lament about the incompetence of the ’63 New York Mets: “Don’t nobody here know how to play this game?”

The left’s agitation is like Peewee Herman trying to pick a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime: the suspense continues only so long as Arnold ignores Peewee. As soon as he engages the fight is over. I can only think the left believes ordinary people will turn out to be as flaccid in defending themselves as conservative and Christian leaders have been in defending them. The people’s restraint thus far does not mean they will submit to be ruled and bullied by progressive whim. The restraint has held in the forlorn hope that the leadership class would defend both them and American traditions. And so, a great battle will come. Though the left has been agitating for it, the right will prevail (though it will be bloodier than it ever had to be had leaders simply done the job of insisting that equal standards of justice apply to all). Under normal circumstances, a right-wing dictatorship would prevail, at least for a time. What I would fear under those circumstances is that bitterness and anger would so reign for a time that the right might mount similar or worse depredations to what the left has mounted. Yet for all the historical reality and imperatives, I remain an optimist. It is because I know and trust in God, the God who, for the sake of ten righteous people, would have saved Sodom.

At Fatima 100 years ago, Our Lady promised that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, despite the terrible offenses that man keeps inflicting on himself in defiance of God. I have said all along that a primary purpose of this Storm has been to reveal hearts, to show where people actually stand in contrast to what they say. How terrible it is to see so many hearts being revealed to hold such malice and venom! Since the inauguration I have re-visited some of my interpretations of what I have been shown (and have had much instruction, which I will not discuss). My optimism sometimes veered into naievete. I assumed that, if Our Lord revealed the Kingdom to all by sending Our Lady to appear to us all, people would stand down from their errant defiance. The furious, irrational and unrelenting rage of the atheist left since the inauguration has disabused me of that notion. I should have known. I wrote of the great atheist naturalist, Emile Zola, and how when he was presented with compelling evidence of God’s goodness and willingness to intervene through a miracle, just doubled down on his rage and hate. He would not accept something greater than himself under any circumstances, even if it were to destroy him. I knew that, with the raising of the siege of Orleans in 1429, St. Joan of Arc reversed in a few days the conviction of 85 years, both by the English and the French, that France could not survive as in independent nation. After that victory, neither the French nor the English thought France could ever be defeated – a complete reversal of the conventional wisdom of the past century. Even so, the fighting lingered on for another 24 years after all involved had concluded that subjugating France was a lost cause. Watching the furious malice of the atheist left the first half of this year, I no longer expect them to accept the embrace of Christ even after they know that defeat is certain and continued defiance will destroy them. It is the pointless nihilism of the satan’s original rebellion – and he rejoices in taking so many to share in his needless destruction.

In all of these events, God is not just reclaiming us, but instructing us in what we are called to do and to be. Most of those who read this site have not been involved in the assaults on the faith or on the faithful. Yet we were called to be guardians of the faith and defenders of the faithful. We have failed badly in that call. What are some of the lessons God would have us internalize?

First, we need to banish the myth of the milquetoast Christ. Jesus was not always gentle and sweet – and He most emphatically did NOT approve of everyone as they are. He was quite frequently harsh and condemning to those who, out of lust for power or self-congratulatory self-righteousness oppressed the faithful and the little ones. Read the Gospels. Many have abused the universality of Christianity – that no ethnic, racial, national or other external characteristics would be a bar to full Christianity to mean that even avowed enemies of the faith must be enabled in their assaults on the faith and the faithful. The blood of Christ has not gone anemic. He defended His own against such assaults – and we are to do the same.

Even so, victory is not in our hands. Victory is in the hands of God and not dependent on our calculations. We are all called to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. When we take that next right step, we become like one of Gideon’s 300 chosen men (Judges 7), invulnerable against even a multitude. But God’s primary intention is the rescue of the souls of as many of His children as can be rescued. We will all be held to account for every depredation against the faithful that we could have stopped, but did not out of timidity. We will also be held to account for every soul we could have effectively evangelized, but did not out of anger. It is an impossible task that we will often fail in – but God’s grace will justify us so long as we keep our eyes on and our hearts in Him. We are called to be just, to judge righteous judgment with both charity and resolve.

There are three great examples I like to contemplate when considering how to behave in extreme, tumultuous circumstances. First is St. Joan of Arc. Usually, for an hour or more before she commenced battle, she would plead with the English to retreat, to save themselves and to be just. On the occasion when they fled, she was content to let them go. But if they had not retreated after her pleas, it was all hammer and tongs until the victory was won. After it was won, she took great care to see that the wounded enemies were well cared for. She fought with vigorous resolve, but entirely without malice. Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address is one of the most beautiful and noble speeches ever given. Lincoln pressed on with unshakeable resolve to win the war, but did it with malice towards none and charity towards all. His main aspiration was to re-unite the country as brothers, not to destroy the rebels as enemies. Finally, there is the Rev. Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. I cannot read it without misting up. It is the best instruction on how to resist evil without becoming the evil you resist I have ever read.

Do not fret about those good things you can’t do, lest you neglect the good you can. Don’t let either passion or apathy cause you to neglect the little good you can do, for such are the building blocks of God’s kingdom on earth. In short, play your position well, man your post, be it humanly little or grand. Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you.

A couple of years ago, I casually wrote a phrase I have come to cherish deeply. I wrote, As you look at your life, you cannot measure it by the books published, the soup kitchens worked, the refuges built-though if you do those things they are good. Rather, you must judge it from the perspective of the hope you inspired, the peace you spread, the joy you engendered, the love you kindled- for these are the sure marks of the Kingdom of God. All else is detail.” If we live this fully, God will seize the victory, for we will be a Godly people – and we will fully participate now as the heralds of the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.


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Jesus: the WAY out of Every Storm, the TRUTH and the LIFE

(Thanks to our reader, Marisa, for nudging us on to part two of Msgr. Pope’s wisdom, so rich in this piece with reflection on storms. The very first lesson in this segment is rooted in the etymology of the word, “obedience,” something I discovered in recent years which reinforces Charlie’s constant exhortation to contemplate. How tempting it is, in our busyness and haste, to read and react when the reading and savoring, with contemplative silence, allows space to listen and, then, hear God.

While I have nodded at each lesson explicated by Monsignor, I especially find renewed hope in these gems from his writing:

“…while God has not allowed him [St. Paul] to be without trials and difficulties, He has always permitted those difficulties only so that a greater good be achieved. St. Paul has learned that God’s power reaches perfection in human weakness; it is able to stand in the gap. God can make a way out of no way and write straight with crooked lines.”


“But as it always does so beautifully, Scripture shows how they must go through a process of sorts in order to achieve saving trust.”


“Our faith is often tested in waiting. If we persevere, it grows stronger. Faith becomes the basis of truer and deeper healing than would just having a particular situation worked out.”


“It is as if the Lord is saying, “Do you see what a little trust can do? Keep growing in trust and you will see greater things. Try me in this; prove me in this!”

These are exactly the kinds of thoughts which will serve us well, and those around us, in the most challenging days yet to come in the Storm, as we live the ordinary way of TNRS. Together, with Our Lord, Our Lady, our local support group and this community here, we can do this.

Msgr. Pope includes a rendition of Willie Nelson’s “Stand by Me” at his blog – and please remember, you can access his blog by clicking on the title of his article. I’d like to give a shout out to our readers from all over the world with the version of “Stand by Me” here.

Two additional links:

*Another superb analysis by Victor Davis Hanson, here.

*If you scroll down here, at the Susan B Anthony List’s FB page, you can see Tucker Carlson interviewing David Daleiden.

Continuing in prayer with you, for our deeply troubled country and world, as we move forward, navigating these increasingly stormy waters of transition. Jesus remains with us at sea. He does. And He’s given us the Surrender Novena for those times when we are tempted to fearfulness, anxiety and despair. Each of us is actually the gatekeeper of our own thoughts. One brain researcher estimates that the average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Why should any of us give worry and anxiety a repetitive hearing which only activates the mental quicksand of sucking us into deeper darkness? We are a people of choice. We could choose to ruminate with a simple prayer, such as: “O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!” or a favored scriptural verse such as those highlighted by Msgr. Pope. Such aspirations are worthy of memorization to restore complete reliance on God, replacing ruminating ruts of fear with life-giving hope and courage in depressing, downtrodden or dicey times. Recall, too, the efficacy of the PMT in moments of great difficulty. Finally, consider bringing your most pressing needs to our TNRS community for intercessory prayer. We are here for one another: paddling, praying, pouring on encouragement, probing for insight, pulling each other up, and persevering in solidarity. We are blessed!  ~Beckita)

Overcoming Life’s Storms: A Teaching from St. Paul to Storm-weary Souls

 Msgr. Charles Pope • June 5, 2017

This is the conclusion of a post that I began yesterday. In the midst of a great storm (described in Acts 27), St. Paul finds himself among desperate and defeated people. Though the storm comes from nature, their problems are of their own doing and are rooted in a foolish refusal to listen to either natural warnings or God. All of this foolishness was described in yesterday’s post. Is there a way out of their situation? With God there is, but only by turning to Him in obedient faith. As long as we live, conversion is possible; things can change. Let’s consider how St. Paul, good pastor that he is, shepherds his doomed shipmates through the storm and to God, who can make a way out of no way. You can read the full text of Acts 27 here.

I. The Problem Described – Paul then came forward among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.

So much of our trouble comes from our failure to listen to God, to obey Him. Of course God seldom speaks directly. He speaks through His revealed words, in the book of Creation, and most clearly through His Church in her defined teachings and dogmatic proclamations. Managing the weather is not usually among the Church’s dogmatic missions, but allow this storm to represent the moral and ethical storms that face an individual, a society, or a culture, that forsakes God and refuses to listen to His revealed truth.

The word obedience is related to hearing. The etymology of the word is said to be from ob (with or related to) + audire (to hear). Thus to obey is to listen with docility and compliance. Many if not most storms in our lives and in this world can be avoided if we just listen (obey). God laments, Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord, your God, teaching you how to prevail, leading you on the way you should go. If only you would attend to my commandments, your peace would be like a river, your vindication like the waves of the sea, Your descendants like the sand, the offspring of your loins like its grains, Their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence. … But there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord (Isaiah 48:17-19,22).

II. The Prognosis Declared – I now bid you take heart; for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and lo, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we shall have to run on some island.”

St. Paul bases his prognosis that everything will be all right not on mere wishful thinking, but on the firm experience of God in his life. Paul’s experience has been that while God has not allowed him to be without trials and difficulties, He has always permitted those difficulties only so that a greater good be achieved. St. Paul has learned that God’s power reaches perfection in human weakness; it is able to stand in the gap. God can make a way out of no way and write straight with crooked lines. Paul has been in worse jams than this before! As he says, Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Cor 11:24-28).

Yet here he stands before them, not speaking as one who has never had trouble, but as one who has experienced being delivered from troubles. In effect, St. Paul is saying, “When you’re finished trying your gods, come and try mine. Stop telling your god how big this storm is and start telling this storm how big my God is.”

St. Paul also speaks based on the firm conviction (which God put in his heart) that he must and will appear before Caesar; therefore, he and his shipmates will make it to Rome.

Having tried everything else, and now chastened by their own foolishness, Paul’s shipmates finally seem to be willing to listen to him. But as it always does so beautifully, Scripture shows how they must go through a process of sorts in order to achieve saving trust. We can’t go from 0 to 100 immediately; we have to go through stages to get there.

III. The Process of Deliverance – Having secured their attention through suffering and their sense of helplessness, God, through the shepherd St. Paul, strengthens their meager faith.

Testing – When the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down the sea of Adria, …

At first nothing seems to happen. The storm keeps blowing, the ship is adrift, the crew and passengers are seasick and unable to eat. What good is this faith to which St. Paul has summoned them? Yet Scripture says, I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14). For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Is 30:15).

Our faith is often tested in waiting. If we persevere, it grows stronger. Faith becomes the basis of truer and deeper healing than would just having a particular situation worked out.

Trying – … about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they sounded and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let out four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

At midnight, when the night was perhaps darkest, there comes the sense that land is near. Having tried God, they now sense a change. The water is getting shallower; surely land is nearby. It is still too dark to see, but the evidence of a coming deliverance is beginning to mount.

We, too, start to get what we call “signal graces” in our journey of faith. Perhaps we see God rescuing someone else. Perhaps we hear the testimony of someone’s deliverance. It is like Jairus, who was on his way to ask Jesus to raise his daughter from deathly illness when he saw a woman healed merely by touching the hem of His garment. Perhaps some smaller blessings come our way. It is as if the Lord is saying, “Do you see what a little trust can do? Keep growing in trust and you will see greater things. Try me in this; prove me in this!”

Trusting – And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it go.

Ah, but some of the sailors—the ones most responsible for this mess—are stealthily trying to escape in a lifeboat that is just big enough for them. What cowards! St. Paul confronts them for their lack of faith and warns them that they and others with them will be lost. Faith is not just personal; it is also communal. Even if individuals in a dying culture have faith, it will not usually be enough. Faith has to grow in us all. If our very leaders exempt themselves from the sufferings that some of their own decisions have caused, they will surely be lost, and many of us along with them. Paul gives them a stern rebuke and warns of the consequences. Thanks be to God that his rebuke had the desired effect and they instead stayed at their posts.

So must we, especially the leaders among us such as priests and parents. Escape is appealing, but it shows cowardice. Although escape may win the moment, it seldom wins the day.

Toughening – As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore, I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

They had found it difficult to eat and many were seasick, but they were going to need strength to get to shore.

So do we. We need food for the journey. The Lord gives it to us in the Holy Eucharist and in His Word. If we do not eat we will not be strong. Jesus reminded the Jewish people that God fed their ancestors in the desert and that if they had not eaten that food they would not have made it to the Promised Land. He said to them (and to us), This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me (John 6:50-55).

These people in the storm needed strength to make it to the shore and so do we. The Eucharist is our viaticum (a Latin conflation meaning “I am with you on the way” = via+te+cum), our food for the journey.

Tenacity – Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to bring the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and committed themselves to the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders; then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. And striking a shoal they ran the vessel aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was broken up by the surf. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their purpose. He ordered those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship.

So here it comes. It’s all or nothing, but they’ve been getting ready for this! The text says that by casting off the anchors and anything that might hinder them (even though they were depending on it), they commit themselves to the sea and the wind. It’s all in God’s hands now, and the God of wind and sea drives the ship ashore. Some final courage is still necessary, however, as they must swim or float the final distance. We, too, must finally cast aside all that we are depending upon in this world and commit ourselves wholly to God; surely for our final journey, but even now in increasing degrees. Only God can save us from our foolish storms and from this hellish world with which we have compromised. Increasingly, we learn to cast everything aside and to lean on and trust Him entirely. This dying to self and the world can be frightening as we close the final distance and swim ashore.

Triumph – And so it was that all escaped to land.

Yes, here is the end of the story for all who respond to the call of faith: all escape the storm to land. Consider the foolishness that brought them into this storm, and then consider the wisdom and faith that brought them out.

A little lesson for us as individuals, for the Church, and for our soul-sick culture.

“… spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over all humanity…”

Posted in Encouragement, Prayer, Solidarity, The Storm, Trust | 156 Comments

Lessons in Weathering a Storm

(Once again, I reprint a piece, filled with insight and instruction, by Msgr Charles Pope. I do so having sought his permission to post his work. He does not endorse the prophetic elements here. This is an apropos piece, both as a spiritual examination when pondering the storms of life and as an assessment of the times in which we are now living. ~Beckita)

“And no small tempest lay on us …” – The Story of a Storm That St. Paul Endured and What It Has to Teach Us About Sin

Msgr Charles Pope – June 4, 2017

With yesterday’s feast of Pentecost, our reading of Acts suddenly ends and hence we miss some important stories of Paul’s journey to Rome. This is perhaps another reason to restore the Pentecost Octave, which was dropped in 1970. Doing so would give us eight more days in which to savor the Acts of the Apostles. Among the stories we miss is that of the storm and subsequent shipwreck of St. Paul, who was under armed guard while on the way to Rome. To make up for the loss to the lectionary, let’s consider the story here and learn its lessons. It is beefy enough to take two days to savor. Because this reflection is long, I’ve created a PDF of it (here) for you to print out and read later. I know that reading long posts on the screen can weary the eyes!

It is interesting that St. Luke devotes an entire chapter (27) of Acts to describing the storm at sea that St. Paul endured. The level of detail is high, signaling to us that such details are important. The Holy Spirit has something to teach us here about how we get into trouble and how we can get out of it.

Storms in life are often beyond our control. Perhaps they come from nature and the sudden vicissitudes of this world. Sometimes God permits storms in order to test and strengthen us. Sometimes, too, others drag us into storms and we suffer on account of their poor decisions. Some storms come from our own foolishness and poor choices.

In the story we are about to examine, St. Paul is dragged into a storm by the stupidity and poor choices of a military official and a ship’s crew. Paul was under arrest and being sent to Rome for trial before Caesar. Therefore, he was in the custody of a military officer. Of all the people in this storm, St. Paul is the only one who is innocent of the foolishness that made them endure it. In the end, only he can show the proper way out. The storm we are about to study shows in great detail what can happen to us as individuals and as an overall culture when we defiantly and proudly resist God’s will and common sense. This is a storm that has a lot to teach us about ourselves. Let’s look at a storm that Scripture calls a Euroclydon (a Nor’easter). You can read the full text of Acts 27 here.

I. The Coming Danger – God sends many warnings: from the natural order, from the Church, and in our own consciences. Note how often these are systematically ignored.

Whys and Wherefores – And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.

St. Paul was under arrest and had appealed his case to Rome. He was put in the custody of a Roman centurion named Julius, who seemed a decent enough man but was a poor judge of both weather and the professional qualities of a ship’s captain. This appeal to Rome was Paul’s right as a Roman citizen. God had told him that he would testify in Rome and to have courage. Such words would be necessary for Paul to cling to, for he was about to be dragged into a very foolish journey by those who simply would not see the danger despite repeated warnings. This probably sounds familiar because it is of course part of our human condition to act foolishly and recklessly and refuse to recognize danger. It is also an unfortunate characteristic of our Western culture, which has steered us into a great oncoming storm.

Warnings And putting to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and put us on board.

So here are the initial signals of danger: the wind against them and a poor time of year to sail, chancy conditions at best. It was common in the winter months to stay off the Mediterranean and remain at port and to make longer journeys by land. The sea was very dangerous at this time of year and whatever sailing did take place was done very near the coast. Despite the danger signals, the centurion does not appear to be alarmed; he is determined to get the task done.

Worsening We sailed slowly for a number of days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go on, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

More danger signals! Now the centurion’s determination becomes defiance. This is typical of many a sinner. He sees the warnings but decides that he will not be just another statistic; he will be able to escape the dangers. Cultures think this way too. Defiance is the sad result of hearts that are growing hard and wills that are growing stubborn. With necks of iron and foreheads of brass, sinners sally forth and cultures set out on campaigns of self-destruction.

II. The Continued Defiance – In the verses that follow, there is quite the list of the elements of a poor and rash decision. Let’s see what Scripture teaches us about the diagnosis of a bad decision. Together, these elements contribute to a foolish defiance and a failure to heed warnings. There are five elements:

Precipitousness – As much time had been lost, and the voyage was already dangerous because the fast had already gone by.

In other words, they are at a critical time. The window for safe sailing, if it even still exists, is closing fast. It’s now or never! But hasty decisions—made more out of concern for time than what is wise or right—are usually poor ones. This is rampant in our culture today. Urgency seems to permeate most things. News crews love to create a sense of crisis and urgency. Suddenly everyone has opinions on what must be done … and quickly! Sob stories and other emblematic but highly selective crisis situations are put before us by the media and politically savvy organizations. Swift and draconian decisions are often demanded. Sometimes unhappy mobs protest and legislators respond by making hasty fixes to what are complex problems. Careful deliberation is underappreciated. There is a failure to recognize that rushing often leads to the development of poor “solutions.” But in our culture, most people follow the priority of the urgent more so than that of the important.

Preferring worldly wisdom Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

Yes, what does this religious zealot know about sailing or weather? Never mind that Paul had sailed before and had known rough seas and shipwreck. What does this preacher have to offer? The captain and the owner of the ship are the experts. Today, many say that the Church has nothing to offer, that priests cannot speak to marriage, family life, or sexuality; only scientists, doctors, and other professionals can really have anything valuable to offer. To be sure, all these experts do have much to offer, but it is dangerous to rely on them alone to set a course for this world. Worldly wisdom can still, at best, procure for us a worldly grave. True wisdom pierces the heavens and seeks the voice of God, who alone can save us. Disregarding the voice of faith is perilous indeed.

Passions PreferredAnd because the harbor was not suitable to winter in …

Now here is a serious issue as well. Too often we allow our passions to trump our better judgment. They want to risk the storm to get to a “nicer” port. They want to spend the winter in comfort and so they take foolish risks. Here, too, in an age dominated by an excessive need for comfort, many are willing to take terrible risks, make foolish decisions, go into debt, risk disease, and even act illegally. Some are willing to steal, use drugs, enter dangerous relationships, and the like. All for the hope of the comfort that such things might—just might—provide. Yes, our passions, individually and collectively, inspire a lot of bad decisions and lock us in defiant attitudes that refuse to recognize the obvious.

Populism … the majority advised to put to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, looking northeast and southeast, and winter there.

Yet another common problem is thinking that the results of a poll will always lead to the right decision; it will not. It will tell you what is popular but not necessarily what is right. Very often the crowds are wrong; they are not pooling their wisdom but their ignorance. Jesus warns, “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for thus their fathers treated the false prophets.” Today there is almost a religious demand that polls should direct all things. Many are practically indignant that the Catholic Church’s teachings do not reflect the views of the “most” Roman Catholics. But the Church does not exist to reflect the views of her members. She exists to reflect the views of her head and founder, Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular. Polls and votes are usually poor ways to discover what is right. And as we shall see, it is certainly not a good way to predict the weather!

Presumption And when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close inshore.

Very often, because there are not immediate negative consequences to a bad choice, people leap to the conclusion that they have decided well. In this instance, despite repeated warnings (from St. Paul) and the difficulties of sailing at a bad time of year (e.g., contrary winds and little progress possible), one breeze from the south causes them to presume that there will be no consequences. Presumption is a sin against hope. Hope is the confident expectation of God’s help in attaining eternal life. Presumption is taking something up ahead of time (pre (before) + sumere (to take up)). But who hopes for what he already has? Hence presumption tosses hope away on the pretext that one can get what one wants now, on one’s own terms. Those guilty of presumption think that no harm will ever befall them. The speeding teenager thinks he will never crash but then wakes up paralyzed. The drunk driver thinks he will never be caught but then sees the red flashing lights in his rearview mirror. The sexually promiscuous person boasts of having “safe-sex” but then contracts an STD. Just because consequences do not always happen immediately doesn’t mean that presumption is a good idea.

III. The Cost of Disobedience – Sin and disobedience are very costly. Satan promises ease, comfort, and pleasure today, but the bill comes due tomorrow! Let’s see what this storm teaches about the cost of sin. Five descriptions of the cost are given:

Control Lost But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land; and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven.

St. Augustine famously taught regarding sin, For out of the perverse will came lust, and the service of lust ended in habit, and habit, not resisted, became necessity (Conf 8.5). Habitual sin leads to bondage, to a loss of control, to being driven. The first cost of sin and disobedience is the increasing loss of control, the increasing loss of freedom.

Crushing Labors And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the boat; they took measures to pass ropes under the ship to hold it together; then, fearing that they should run on the Syrtis (sands of North Africa), they lowered the anchor, but were still driven.

We see that their defiant pride has now humbled them with heavy work, not just the work of sailing, but of even holding the boat together. Sin leads to heavy burdens. Consider the man who has been promiscuous and now sees his income drained by child support paid out to several different women. Consider the glutton who has gained 100 pounds and must now work for months, even years, to lose the weight. Consider the spendthrift who has run up the balance on his credit card and must now work for years to pay it off. Sin makes for crushing, burdensome work.

Compounding LossesAs we were violently storm-tossed, they began next day to throw the cargo overboard; and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackle of the ship.

As already stated, sin and disobedience inevitably lead to dissipation. So now they are throwing their precious cargo overboard. Suddenly the riches of the world are not enough; they are now even part of the problem! Perhaps with us it is our money that is dissipated, or maybe our strength, or our health, or our family. But when you stay in sin and disobedience, you can expect the losses to compound.

Ceding Lights And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many a day, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. … And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let out four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

The ancients steered by the stars and the sun. This self-inflicted storm has darkened the lights. All the navigation points are lost, and the way back (out of sin) is difficult to find. Sin clouds our intellect and makes it difficult to see our errors, let alone the way back. Many people are in such darkness that they actually celebrate what God calls sin. How do some of us become so blind and confused? Yet another cost of sin and disobedience is a darkened intellect. St. Paul says, they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish minds were darkened (Romans 1:21).

Cowardly Leaping And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”

So much for all the expert sailors, the captain, and the centurion, all of whom ignored Paul and the obvious warnings of a coming storm! Now they are seeking to jump ship, to escape in lifeboats and leave the passengers behind. So it is with many sinners today who seek to escape the consequences of their acts. Some escape to drugs and alcohol; some just hide or blame others. Rarer are the sinners who admit their fault and take responsibility for what they have chosen and done. In a therapeutic culture it is easier to blame others: “It’s not my fault; my mother dropped me on my head when I was two … I’m not depraved. I’m deprived.” A lot of this amounts to escaping in a lifeboat and leaving the others to experience the disaster. Where are the “experts” who gave us such awful advice during the sexual and cultural revolution? Most of them headed for the lifeboats and left the rest of us (who were foolish enough to listen to them) to go down with the ship.

Yes, the cost of sin and disobedience is high.

This storm really has a lot to teach us. It shows how easily we ignore the coming dangers and continue, in defiance, to make poor decisions. Then, it shows the costs of foolishness. Life really is a lot easier when we obey God!

But the storm is not done teaching us yet; God uses it to instruct us and to call us to discipleship. More on what St. Paul teaches tomorrow.


Posted in Prayer, Solidarity, The Storm, Trust, Uncategorized | 90 Comments

Liberty on Trial With Daleiden


François_Chifflart_Jeanne_d'ArcBy Charlie Johnston

If you want to infuriate a Christian conservative, tell a scurrilous lie about him. If you want to infuriate an anti-God leftist, tell the truth about him – then prove it.

The anti-God leftists who make up the abortion industry and their media and government enablers are furious with David Daleiden, who captured on videotape evidence that they are illegally trafficking in dismembered baby parts for profit. Unfortunately for Daleiden, he lives in California, which has become the epicenter for corrupted justice, corrupted judges, and corrupted public officials. California has become an ongoing criminal enterprise, run by the elite for the elite. He and his investigative partner, Sandra Merritt, were charged by California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra with 15 felony counts for taping abortion officials speaking in particularly loathesome fashion at a National Abortion Federation (NAF) Conference two years ago.

Over the course of the last two years, both Daleiden and Merritt have become friends of mine. The Kafkaesque persecution of Daleiden and his allies in this same time frame is a primer for how the anti-God left has perverted and undermined the legal system. They


Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden (

have weaponized the law, using it to systematically deny conservatives and Christians of basic civil liberties and punish any who challenge leftist nostrums or reveal leftist offenses. They have used the very language and forms of law to gut it of its substance, which is to provide equal justice under dispassionate standards applied objectively to all. Most often, leftist officials have abused the platform of their position to ignore or deny the plain language of objective law. They have relied on the establishment media to act as their unwavering propaganda arm in this effort.


The video evidence that Daleiden captured is so damaging to Planned Parenthood (PP), the big dog of the abortion industry, that it has mounted several subordinate lies to try to discredit the evidence, depending on their supporters to believe whatever they say rather than review actual evidence. Let’s dispense with a couple of these lies at the outset.

  • PP constantly refers to the videotapes as heavily edited. If they mean that subtitles have been added to facilitate understanding what is said, they are correct. But what they want people to assume is that the videos have been doctored in a misleading way. Incorrect. Daleiden typically released full unedited copies of the videos along with the edited versions, which include subtitles and edit out long periods where there is no substantive discussion, to show that he had not doctored anything. A forensic review by the respected cybersecurity firm, Coalfire Systems, revealed that the videos are authentic. Planned Parenthood’s own examiner, Fusion GPS, a Democratic opposition research firm, concluded that there was “no evidence that the anti-abortion group behind the attack made up dialogue,” and that there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.” Disappointed but undaunted, PP just said there was anyway. Compliantly, the establishment media reported PP’s spin while ignoring the objective evidence.
  • PP loves to tell people that a Texas grand jury investigated and exonerated it of any wrong-doing. To the contrary, a grand jury WAS empaneled in Harris County (Houston), Texas to investigate PP. But almost immediately, the Asst. District Atty. (ADA) who presided over it refocused it to investigate Daleiden – and collaborated as a partner with PP attorneys to pervert the purpose of the grand jury. The local PP attorney confirmed the collusion – and after the revelation, the DA’s office dropped the charges. The sitting DA was later turned out of office and the offending ADA was then fired. The ADA who presided over this grand jury, Sunni Mitchell, was also the ADA who no-billed an indictment against Douglas Karpen, sometimes called the “Kermit Gosnell of Texas,” despite eyewitness testimony and video evidence that Karpen had routinely executed live-born infants who had survived an abortion attempt. Actual independent investigations by the US House of Representatives and the US Senate have resulted in 22 criminal referrals against PP and its alleged partners in the illegal trafficking of baby body parts for profit. These investigations included, but were not limited to, supporters of PP.

At issue now are videos from the NAF Conference in California two years ago. Almost immediately after realizing that Daleiden had video footage from that conference, NAF went to court seeking an injunction to prevent the footage from being released. Federal


Judge William Orrick (

Judge William Orrick granted that injunction in his San Francisco court almost two years ago. He did so without disclosing that he was a former attorney for PP. Judicial ethics indicate that he should have recused himself or disclosed the fact and obtained waivers from attorneys from both sides to allow him to continue. And so the videos remained consigned to the censors – until California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra used this video footage as the basis for charging Daleiden with 15 felony counts. All citizens have the right to defend themselves and publicly confront their accusers – and this superceded the civil injunction. Daleiden’s attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brent Ferreira, put the videos up on their website after they had already been released in filings by the San Francisco Superior Court. Judge Orrick and NAF were outraged. They demanded that the videos be taken down and threatened Daleiden, Merritt, and the attorneys with contempt of court proceedings. Threats were even made to independent media outlets that did not immediately take the videos down. This was treated more seriously and with greater resolve than the release of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsburg in the ’70s or the release of classified material by Edward Snowden a few years back. Not threatened with contempt proceedings were Becerra, who used the verboten videos as the basis of his prosecution or the San Francisco Superior Court through which the videos were released. They are apparently exempt because they constitute some of PP’s governmental muscle.


During the brief period when the videos were publicly available, it became clear why it was so important to NAF and its governmental allies that these not be seen by the general public. They show that Kermit Gosnell is not the exception, but the rule among abortionists. The footage seemed to come from a serial killers’ convention rather than an association trade show, as speakers and attendees laughed and joked about cutting themselves on skull fragments, eyeballs rolling into their laps, and offering tips on how best to dismember the child before it is fully born, notably by ripping off a leg or two. They even revealed that they don’t believe their own propaganda that a fetus is not human, recognizing that they were violently killing human beings. National Review’s Alexandra deSanctis, perhaps anticipating that NAF and its governmental enablers would leave no stone unturned to get these videos taken down everywhere, wrote down some of the notable moments from the videos in this piece – and as of this writing, is one of the few places which still has an intact copy of the preview video still available. It is gruesome, made more so by the jolly good cheer and candor with which the participants speak of such unspeakable things. Many have wondered how ordinary German citizens could possibly have remained silent, knowing of the death camps around them. Looking at these videos and our collective inaction, now we know – and we don’t even have the excuse of a Gestapo threatening to shoot us if we speak up.

The videos were originally put under a gag order because release of them might endanger the safety of the participants who were revealed in the footage. When you are captured on tape speaking and acting in ways that are loathesome and vile, I suppose that could endanger you. But the cause of it is not the person who caught you; it is that you behaved in a loathesome and vile manner in the first place. Unfortunately, leftist officials are getting in the habit of punishing whistleblowers rather than the perpetrators of the ugliness that whistleblowers reveal. At Evergreen College in Washington State, an unruly student mob was captured on tape threatening violence to a professor who had displeased them. Instead of using the videotape to find and punish members of the mob, Evergreen President George Bridges promised to find who made the videotape so he could bring criminal charges against them, the whistleblowers.

A quick synopsis, then, of where things stand. Two years ago, pro-abortion activist William Orrick used his judicial position to issue a gag order on the videos because the abortionists language was so toxic it might endanger their safety if people saw what they really think. Earlier this year, Cal. Atty. Gen. Becerra used the banned videos to file


Xavier Becerra (

criminal charges against Daleiden. He uses a statutory interpretation that has never been used against any other undercover journalist in California, though a multitude have used the same methods as Daleiden. Becerra is free to use the evidence to prosecute, but Daleiden is not allowed to use the same evidence to defend himself. The old Soviet show trials had nothing on Orrick and Becerra.


Orrick is no stranger to issuing rulings that have no grounding in the Constitution, statutory law or Supreme Court precedent. He is part of the vanguard of leftist judges who make it up as they go along, not acting as judges, but using judicial power to act as unaccountable muscle for left-wing priorities. Although offenses against the system of objective law come almost exclusively from left-wing officials, the center and right have responsibility, too. They have the authority to check such abuses, but shrink from the confrontation. During the civil rights movement a half-century ago, some southern states systematically deprived a certain class of citizens of basic civil rights because of their ethnic background. The federal government stepped in to enforce the law. Now a class of citizens are being systematically deprived of basic civil rights because of their political and religious beliefs. They are even being punished for daring to complain of the mistreatment. Before his confirmation, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch criticized Donald Trump for publicly criticizing a judge. I am not offended by a certain amount of institutional tribalism, but the corollary is that leading authorities must weed out those who abuse their authority and make it up as they go along. Until officials are held to account for depredations against citizens who merely disagree with them, we have ceased to be a democratic republic. In short, if judges are going to act contemptibly, their courts will be regarded with contempt. That undermines the very consensus that stabilizes our society. The first job of public officials is to defend our liberty, all of us, not to augment their position and power.

I began contemplating in the late ’80s whether the American founders had not actually solved the problem of volatility in democratic republics, but merely postponed the onset of decay. (Democracies have historically been one of the most unstable forms of government possible, usually degenerating into chaos and terror within a decade or two). I was surprised to find that the founders were generally more pessimistic about the staying power of our system than I am. Thomas Jefferson thought a revolution would be needed every few generations – and believed that the biggest flaw in the American Constitution was that it did not provide adequate safeguards against creeping judicial supremacy. On September 17, 1787, the day the Constitutional Convention closed in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin spoke his approval saying that he expected the proposed government would be “well administered for a course of years and can only end in despotism, as other forms have before it, when the people shall become…corrupt.”

Because of lethargy, we do not demand accountability from rogue officials. As W.B. Yeats said in his old poem, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Make no mistake, though. While it is Daleiden who will appear in the docket, it is all of us and our liberty who will be his phantom co-defendants.





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Sherpa School Savvy

(Edit 6/3/17: Obviously, I’m still brushing up my managing editor skills, Friends. I have realized by one comment, it is not totally clear that the “Lessons of a Pilgrim” comprise Charlie’s reflection of his pilgrimage he began in 2011. You can read more of his writing from the days of his journey here.)

We have been in a process of being prepared for the Storm, in particular ways, since the inception of this site and each time I review the archives, something new captures my attention. For the last 6 weeks, I’ve been rereading again and with purpose: to gather the timeless golden oldies and bring them to our community to reconsider and ponder, for Charlie has prepared us well with great care and love.

In a period of uneasy peace, such as we have had, there’s possibility for temptation to, perhaps, become sleepy or to wish for a magical resolution to this current misery while God’s Plan continues to unfold in His Providence and He ever invites us to work with Him. I often remember Dennis Prager’s piece, published four days after the inauguration, in which he soundly named an ultimate challenge in this country:

There will be unity only when the left vanquishes the right or the right vanquishes the left. Using the First Civil War analogy, American unity was achieved only after the South was vanquished and slavery was abolished.

And in looking out on the greater world from inside our own national problems, we see waves slapping and crashing, everywhere, with increasing furor. So let us begin our review, Friends, with God and His Plan as our focus and the Head Sherpa as our guide, once again, that we may hone our mental readiness as we continue to acknowledge God, take our next right steps and allow Him to shine in us as His Hope in a dark and weary world.

Lessons of a Pilgrim

By Charlie Johnston

A few lessons I learned from my pilgrimage that may be helpful to you in the trials ahead…

The Unknown is Scary. Despite my jaunty confidence before leaving, I was scared. I have serious neurological damage that was supposed to leave me partially paralyzed on my right side, but just left me in constant pain. Privately, I thought friends who thought I was going to be badly hurt or killed out there had an excellent point. Early on I was afraid of the animals that would come sniffing around me at night; I was afraid every morning of not being able to find suitable cover that night; I feared inclement weather; I worried about being attacked by other people.

We are More Adaptable Than You Think. Eventually, I learned to tell the animal by the noise it makes coming through the brush (the louder they are, the less dangerous they are). I learned that when you get soaked, you get dry again – and I got to be really good at knowing how the weather was going to turn by various signs and smells in the air. Thank God my first few months were through the south, where greenery and good cover are lush and abundant. I learned over time how to camp undetected within the midst of urban areas and within feet of where people were walking. A couple of times when cougars woke me up coming into my camp at night, after they recognized me and ran off, I just went back to sleep.

Misery is not as Miserable as We Imagine It. When people asked me what I would do when it rained, I loved to smile and casually say, “Usually, I get wet.” Not so bad, but if you didn’t have good cover and it was cold, spending a night shivering and wet is really no fun. But you get warm and dry again. Waking up with frost in your hair and eyebrows, with your water bottles frozen solid is, well, a bracing experience. You can’t lay around. Get up and get moving. Get that circulation going to thaw out your feet so you can feel them again. Later on, when I hit over a hundred days of temperatures over 100 degrees, I HATED having to drink hot water out of my bottles…and I hated the salty sweat that, no matter what I did, got into my eyes and made them burn as I walked. But oh! how good it was to get a fountain soda after a hard day’s walking in the heat – and how sad it was not to come upon any little store after the same type of hard day. Creek and river water are fine – it often kept me going – but a fountain soda after a hard day’s walk is nirvana. The multitude of hardships were not as difficult as you think, but made the little pleasures much more delightful.

We Cling to What We Know. In the year and a half before I left, as I divested myself of just about everything of the few things I had, the hardest was my library of books I had read. Though I gave away a lot individually, I still had about 1,300 books, going back to when I was in high school. Oh, was I attached to them. After I left with nothing, (literally $50 in my pocket), I thought I was really living detachment. But it is hard and scary not knowing where you are going to sleep each night, not knowing if you’ll get anything but trail mix to eat that day. When I would find a place that was really comfortable, well-protected with great cover, I would not want to leave. Seriously, a nice clearing in dense woods close to civilization would get me thinking I had found a home. I laughed to realize that when you have nothing, a clearing in the deep woods can become the subject of your ardent desires and covetousness. But when each day you choose to venture into the further unknown, you find yourself wanting to cling to the littlest comforts. Sometimes I would stay a day or two, but that’s all. I learned something about detachment along my way.

Keep Moving. Even when you have nothing, what you know is so much easier and soothing than what you don’t. Don’t let it beguile you. Keep moving. In Mississippi, I sprained my ankle. It is tough slogging carrying 75 lbs. on your back with a sprained ankle. But if you want to eat, if you want to make progress, you gotta keep moving. For a week and a half I limped along…couldn’t bear to go more than five miles in a day. But I kept moving. Your goal is ahead of you, not behind you. If you go back, it is too easy to lose sight of your goal or to get comfortable and lose heart. Keep moving.

Learn to Receive With Gratitude and Grace. Early on a young couple with their toddler picked me up and gave me a ten-mile ride. We shared our stories. They were saving up to pay the electric deposit so they could move into a trailer and out of his Mom’s house. When they dropped me off, he tried to slip me a five-dollar-bill. I refused and told him to put it towards the deposit on his electricity. I will never forget the crestfallen look on his face when I refused. I never did that again. People hate being played, but there is almost a desperate need for the glow of helping another when you know you are not being played. After that, I never refused the spontaneous kindness of strangers. If someone went overboard, I would scale them back, but otherwise, I received with grace. I wrote little articles for an online studio on my laptop at libraries. The pay was tiny and often I could not find a library…so I was sometimes raggedly self-supporting and deeply in need at others. The little kindnesses came in handy – and on a few occasions a friend bailed me out when I had gone too many days without food. Sometimes, the only gift you can give is to receive with grace – and how good it feels to give to a joyful receiver. I realized what good it did others when a young man gave me ride in far western Alabama over the border into Mississippi. He had seen me in the library the previous day and was, himself, going into Meridian to try to get work. He had been in jail for three months and was broke, except for the gas he had in his car – but hey, another passenger didn’t cost anything. I was profoundly grateful I had enough money on my cash card to get both him and me breakfast at McDonald’s. At first, he didn’t want to accept my charity, but he grinned when I reminded him how grateful I was for his charity to me. And he was hungry. Middle class people usually know how to give with grace, but their pride often prevents them from accepting with the same grace, In Christianity, we are to care for each other as loving brothers and sisters. Sometimes we are in need; sometimes we can fill a need. If you don’t know how to receive with grace, discipline yourself to learn – for in the times ahead, you will sometimes be a giver and sometimes a receiver. And sometimes, the greatest gift you can give is to receive with graceful gratitude.

Expect the Unexpected. I had a general route I was following, but several times events changed it in minor ways. A few times, it was disrupted and changed in major ways. You have to live fortitude with flexible muscles. I knew where I began and what my ultimate destination was. That’s pretty much it – along with my basic direction. Do not quibble with God just because it turns out that your plan is not precisely what His plan is. Give thanks and keep moving.

If You Really Need Help, Ask a Poor Man. I had a few middle class people who were kind to me or invited me to stay with them a day or two. I had one man who turned out to be quite wealthy who gave me shelter for a few days. But for the most part, it was the people in rattle-trap old cars and trucks who would stop to check on me and help me along my way. A sad commentary, but a true one.

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle. Thanks to my sister, Kim, for putting this into words for me. The great evil of our time, the one that has gotten us here, is that we believe we are sufficient to ourselves. We are not. So sometimes, in His love, God puts us in situations we can’t handle in order to force us to trust Him. What a blessing it is! It teaches us how little our efforts ultimately amount to while vastly growing our confidence in God’s providence – which, again, often does not look like what we thought or planned.

Grace is Where You Find It. Be Open. Two of the most touching kindnesses were shown me by homeless people – a young woman in San Antonio and an older man in Oak View, California. People’s hearts want to reach out to each other. Live so you encourage the reaching.

Trust God. I encountered many perils along the way; twice threatened with knives, once with a gun. In the beautiful wilderness, I was usually gnawingly hungry and terrified each day I would not find another stream in which to keep my water fresh. Once, near the end, I had gone four days without food and was eating plants. A friend put some money on my card. When I finally came near a small restaurant, my mouth was watering for a half mile out. The next three restaurants I went to refused to take any money from me. I thought, ironically, that had I known that was going to happen I would not have gotten so hungry to begin with. And then I thought, it’s God’s gracious little way of telling me, “My grace is sufficient for you.” And so it is for us all. We will all soon be on pilgrimage. It is the beginning of our reclamation, not our destruction.

“… spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over all of humanity…”

Posted in Encouragement, Pilgrimage Journal, Preparation, The Storm, Trust | 55 Comments

The Next Right Counterstep to Being Offended

In the last month, I’ve been rereading the archives of this site for there is a trove of wisdom tucked into Charlie’s posts, replies and the NRSteppers’ comments which follow. These gems deserve to be remembered, providing encouragement as well as gentle prodding to stay awake and be ready, for the events and circumstances in which we find ourselves bespeak that, sooner rather than later, this Storm will hit its heights.

As we paddle and pray in the ubiquitous division of this phase, a recent piece by Fr. Dwight Longenecker caught my attention. Disunity seems present in every layer of life and Father writes about one division driver:

Maybe I’ve spent too much time on Facebook, but why is everybody so darned offended all the time? Traditionalist Catholics are constantly getting on their high horse. Then it’s the feminist and homosexualists who are stomping off in high dudgeon. Next it is the Liberals or the Eastern Orthodox or the Lutherans or the college students or the environmentalists.

You name it. Everybody everywhere seems to be the hurt, offended victim. Why is this? It’s because of the dictatorship of relativism. You see, if there is no such thing as truth, then the only “truth” you have is “your truth” and, of course, if the only truth you have is “your truth” then you’re going to feel threatened by other people’s “truth.”

Father, then, addresses the root and solution:

This presents the next problem with the dictatorship of relativism. If there is no such thing as truth and there is only “your truth” then what is that “truth” based on? It can only be based on two things: sentimentality and ideology.

Sentimentality means your truth is based on your feelings. I feel like this is bad and I feel like that is good. I feel like this is nice. I feel like this is not nice. There is no logic, no reasoning, no discussion. There is nothing to base the truth on but raw emotion.

Of course people can’t live like that for long. Its too exhausting. One needs some sort of structure or belief system in order to survive. We must live in a world we believe to be rational.

The only answer to this is the One who said he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

True allegiance to Christ the King puts everything else into perspective. Most of all it puts each one of us in perspective. With a touch of grace we see ourselves as we really are and we see our place in the wider plan and we realize that we do not need to be offended all the time.

We have confidence in Christ the Lord, and in him we can start to live with a bit of dignity, a sense of humor–a softer heart and a tougher skin.

This brought to mind another precipitator of division which our dear Mother Ellen Neufeld wrote about in Betrayal or Trust. If you find yourself, or those with whom you share life, beset with feeling betrayed, misunderstood, or rebuffed, Mother Ellen’s article is well worth a read and share. She reminds us:

Only forgiveness can stop the whirlwind of betrayal and vengeance; only forgiveness can extinguish the flaming tree of rage. Peter was able to trust the forgiveness of God after he denied Jesus at His trial, while Judas rejected the possibility of forgiveness and restoration due to his lack of trust. Only if we truly trust in God’s love and healing can we begin to forgive and let go of our hurt and anger.

Charlie introduced Mother Ellen’s piece by recounting this event, bearing gospel wisdom:

Late in the 90’s, in one of my little visions – a stylized type that always ends with a pithy angelic comment – I was told, “Betrayal comes from one you love and trust. Begin to offer reparation for him now.” It was striking to me I was not told to defend myself against it, but to pray for the one from whom it would come.

SO much and SO many for whom to pray in these days of loving while we serve as sherpas, living the ordinary way, acknowledging God and taking those next right steps while allowing God to make of us a sign of His Hope as we wait in great and blessed expectation for Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart to fully triumph.

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Invoking the Holy Face of Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Perhaps some have already begun. Whether starting three days ago or just now jumping into a new prayer initiative, inspired by Fr. Richard Heilman, surely matters not to God. God knows our hearts. He does.

You may remember, Fr. Heilman was the initiator of the Nineveh90 call to solidarity in prayer. On Wednesday, the 54 Day Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus began and Father writes about it here. His assessment of our times, of which he writes here, inspired him to summons all who are interested to join forces once again.

Fr. Heilman’s directive: Those who enlist in this 54 Day Holy Face Novena, will be asked to offer three things each day:

  1. Pray the Chaplet of the Holy Face (the “how to” can be found HERE)
  2. Pray St. Patrick’s Lorica Prayer for the President (found HERE)
  3. Add a daily penance (described HERE)

Prayer Intention: For the protection of the President and his administration.

For those just now entering this time of prayer, simply go to Day 1 of the Novena and pray your way through Day 2 and today, Day 3 to bring yourself current, uniting with those who are already praying.




This very day is the start date for a Novena to Holy Spirit. As the forward to one version of the novena, found here, states:

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

In a piece written by Msgr. Charles Pope for the Feast of Pentecost last year, and found here, Monsignor illumines five images of the Holy Spirit found in Scripture. As I contemplate his exegesis, I am as convinced as ever that we need a well nurtured relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit to navigate the Storm. Let us pray for one another to be refreshed and renewed in greater breadth and depth with Holy Spirit’s gifts and fruits.  We must ask for this. As Jesus said:

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)


 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

Finally, let us pray for a particular fruit of the Holy Spirit for ourselves and for one another. The saints have wisdom to share about choosing this fruit even as we ask for the grace to increase in JOY – even amidst trials.

St. Therese of Lisieux:  “For one pain endured with joy, we shall love the good God more forever.”

St. Faustina: “Act in a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God.”

St. Teresa of Calcutta: “We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, ‘I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.’ And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord.”

St. Augustine: “There is a joy that is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this is it, and there is no other.”

Pope St. John Paul II: “God loves those who find joy in giving.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

David Daleiden – Breaking News



LOS ANGELES, May 25—Steve Cooley and Associates (SCA), former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brentford J. Ferreira, are proud to announce their defense of citizen journalist David Daleiden against the grossly politically-motivated prosecution from the California Attorney General’s office. Daleiden is responsible for the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood senior-level leaders callously negotiating the harvesting and sale of body parts from late-term aborted fetuses.

Today, SCA launches a new Media resource page on its website where news media can track the progress of this landmark case:

The Media page features links to all filings in the case thus far, including the Attorney General’s criminal complaint, Defense Counsel’s motionsexhibits, and the all the video footage referenced by the Attorney General’s office in the case.

Daleiden came to SCA immediately after agents of the California Attorney General’s Office served a search warrant at his home and confiscated all his computers, hard drives, and electronic documents—his young life’s entire work-product—in April 2016.

“Then-Attorney General, now U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, wielded unprecedented police power against a true American journalist while civil suits were already pending in Federal District Court concerning the same video-recordings,” says Steve Cooley. “Public Records Act requests filed by SCA reveal the Attorney General’s real interest in this case is entirely political, meant to manipulate the law to do the bidding of their benefactors at Planned Parenthood.”

Daleiden’s work exposed the most infamous and disturbing story of unethical and illegal medical practices since the Tuskegee Institute scandal-the harvesting and sale for profit of fetal organs, tissues and limbs from late term aborted fetuses. When his videos hit the internet, the public outrage prompted congressional hearings and calls for the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood.

After obtaining a preliminary injunction in a civil suit (currently on appeal) against the release of Daleiden’s videos from abortion trade shows, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and its partner Planned Parenthood importuned the Attorney General to initiate a criminal investigation in order to further suppress Daleiden’s undercover journalism.

On March 28, 2017, the new California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, announced a criminal complaint charging David and co-defendant Sandra Merritt with 14 felony counts of illegally recording “confidential communications” under California’s anti-eavesdropping law, Penal Code section 632, and a 15th count of conspiracy to violate section 632.

“Every video recording for which the Attorney General is charging David was obviously and unquestionably made in a public place where it could not possibly be considered ‘confidential,’” says Brent Ferreira. “The only difference between David’s conduct and that of undercover video journalists every day in the state of California is the fact that he recorded the political backers of the state’s top prosecutor.”

Although Daleiden and Merritt were very publicly accused of committing 15 felonies, their accusers were listed in the complaint anonymously as Does 1 through 14. An SCA request for the names of the Does was ignored and SCA filed a demurrer to the Complaint on May 3, 2017, at the time set for arraignment.

On May 9, 2017, after the demurrer was filed, the Attorney General sent SCA a password-protected list of Does 1 through 14, stating that the names were somehow confidential, rather than amending the publicly filed complaint to publicly list David’s accusers. There is no protective order in place in state court that would protect the names of the Does, and David is entitled to a public defense.

“The First Amendment must apply equally whether you are pro-choice or pro-life,” says Brent Ferreira, who wrote and filed the demurrer, “and a publicly-accused defendant is entitled to face his accusers in a public trial. Anything less is a corrupt attempt by the Attorney General to orchestrate a star-chamber proceeding reminiscent of the witch hunts and show trials of more unenlightened eras.”

The Does are:

DOE 1 – Dr. Carrie Ann Terrell, Medical Director of “Whole Woman’s Health”

DOE 2 – Dr. Stephen Hindes, owner of “Healthy Futures for Women” and former abortion provider for Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains

DOE 3 – Dr. Susan Robinson, third-trimester abortion doctor at Southwestern Women’s Options and abortion provider for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

DOE 4 – Ms. Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of “Whole Woman’s Health”

DOE 5 – Dr. Lisa Harris, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Michigan

DOE 6 – Dr. Mathew Reeves, Medical Director of the National Abortion Federation and abortion provider for Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

DOE 7 – Ms. Debbie Bamberger, non-physician surgical abortion provider for Planned Parenthood Northern California

DOE 8 – Dr. Norma Jo Waxman, abortion professor at taxpayer-funded UC San Francisco

DOE 9 – Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

DOE 10 – Dr. Mary Gatter, Medical Directors’ Council President for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

DOE 11 – Ms. Laurel Felczer, Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley

DOE 12 – Ms. Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress, LLC, longtime Planned Parenthood business partner in harvesting aborted fetal organs

DOE 13 – Mr. Kevin Cooksey, former VP of Corporate Development at StemExpress

DOE 14 – Ms. Megan Barr, Procurement Manager for StemExpress


The video-recordings related to interviews with these people are contained in the following url:

5-26-17 Update on the content of the videos: U.S. District Judge William Orrick ordered the videos to be taken down. Further, he ordered David Daleiden and his attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford J. Ferreira, to appear at a June 14 hearing to consider contempt sanctions. You can read more about it here. Let’s continue to pray for David and his attorneys.

Posted in Uncategorized | 49 Comments

Lord Save Us; We Perish

storm fury

By Charlie Johnston

It has now been four months since last I wrote anything here. At the time I left, I said I might, from time to time, publish non-prophetic pieces if there was an occasion.

People frequently ask me if there is still going to be a Rescue. Shoot, you don’t have to take my word for it: at Fatima Our Lady said that in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. She also said, on May 13, 1917, that she would appear six times on the same day, but that she would later appear yet a seventh time. Some think that was fulfilled in a later private appearance to Sr. Lucia. I don’t. She made six public appearances on the same date. Since she was talking in the context of general appearances, I think the seventh appearance will also be a public one – one that has not yet happened. It will.

Whether I was deceived or I badly misinterpreted, I made a terrible blunder in how I interpreted that Obama would not finish his full term. I get many people asking how that affects the rest of what I wrote, hopeful that the rest is true. One of the frustrations I often had was that people constantly had the wrong idea about all of this. It is not simple. I am not a seer, given simple messages to pass on verbatim. I was called to act and to do: to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. God uses each man’s authentic personality in the work He assigns – and expects that man to figure it out. Throughout the Bible, God frequently responds to the questions of the nervous servants He sends by simply saying, “I will be with you,” while not answering their direct question. I think I best expressed a simulacrum of how it is in the piece, “Through a Glass Darkly.” In the end, you must assess for yourself. Look at the full body of my work. After the inauguration, I saw that that was not the only thing I had misinterpreted. Yet on the larger picture, the trajectory and sweep of the cultural breakdown, the worldwide descent into a global civil war fought on cultural lines, I have been consistently dead on. I always maintained that believing was not enough: you had to choose to serve, whatever the cost.

Despite the pain of the very public error, it did not change anything substantial for me. I did not make my promise to God based on always being right and never the object of opprobrium. God forbid I should be found to be a mere sunshine soldier, happy to march along so long as everything went as I expected and then fleeing my post as soon as danger or humiliation reared its ugly head. Love is the only motivation powerful enough to sustain a good purpose in trying times; love of God and love of your fellows. True love can only exist in the context of true humility: the determination that you will lay it all out, accept honorably and take responsibility for your mistakes and then soldier on. In the last four months, I have been deeply involved in some pro-life initiatives, am in the process of writing a short book I hope will help people see that Christianity is not just true, but is the practical secret to happiness. I want, particularly, those who have their faith shaken by larger events (whether it is a Christian or functionally pagan faith) to see Christianity for what it is at its most basic level and give it serious new consideration. It is harder and taking longer than I expected. I am reminded of a letter Thomas Jefferson sent John Adams when the two old rivals were in their dotage and had become affectionate pen pals. Jefferson began by apologizing for sending such a long missive, but explaining that he did not have time to send a short one. I can relate! Meantime, I have attended Mass as always, stood sponsor for a young man at his confirmation and sing a little with the choir. Messing up does not relieve one of one’s obligations, nor deprive one of the joy of living them. Oh – and I have kept my backpack and hiking boots close at hand in case there must be a Jericho March. You don’t go into retirement just because you are on injured reserve. In these times, all of us will see our expectations confounded in little ways or big ways. If we only take the next right step when our expectations are confirmed, we are not worthy to be soldiers of God.

In some ways, noting that any piece I write in the future will not break any new prophetic ground is a bit facile. I have already said all I needed to say in that regard. We are in times of fulfillment or we are not. What is needed now is not new information, but how to live well and in Christian fraternity as the Storm reaches a shrieking howl – how to keep faith amidst extreme chaos and confusion. I will not write often, but when I do, this site I founded and that Beckita now runs will be the primary venue I use. Now let us turn to the events of the day…

Donald Trump has not cured cancer, has not inaugurated world peace, nor eliminated crime. If he had, though, the anti-God left, led by Congressional Democrats, the establishment media, Hollywood, and fascist academia (which in a hilarious example of Orwell’s Newspeak, call themselves Antifa – or antifascist) would still be calling for his head on a pike. Trump is certainly intemperate, volatile and provocative, an unusual (though not unprecedented – see Andrew Jackson) set of character traits in a president. The current howl is not a discussion over what is best for the country, but a bare-knuckles battle for power. The anti-God left promised after Trump’s election that they would try to sabotage everything he did, period. Unlike being able to keep your health plan or your doctor, this is a promise they have kept.

The rule of law is already dead, the cultural consensus that binds the country together has already collapsed. When Trump is merely alleged to have committed in diluted form what Barack Obama committed overtly, the left screams for impeachment. Trump is alleged to have urged former FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn. He may or may not have, but the allegation is cited by the anti-God left as obstruction of justice, seeking to influence an investigation. Obama said publicly while the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server was ongoing that she was innocent of any crime, thus telling the investigators he was boss over what outcome he expected. He did the same in declaring there was not a â “smidgen” of corruption at the IRS while the investigation was ongoing. The left will be constrained by no law when accomplishing its purpose – and makes mere clumsiness an impeachable offense when attacking its opponents. Congressional Republicans are not blameless. A significant minority of the Republicans are always so eager to fit in with the elite that they join with the shrieking mob. These are the ones I have the most contempt for. Congressional Republicans could not see fit to defend ordinary Americans from assaults on their liberty from the IRS and other alphabet agencies, nor from the assault on religious liberty mounted by the last administration, nor from the assault on freedom of speech, nor a host of other assaults, but when Trump offends establishment sensibilities the Vichy Republicans are Johnny on the spot, thinking themselves profiles in courage.

We are immersed now in fake law – the legal system used as a partisan cudgel rather than a system of justice. Many left-wing judges are not judges at all. They are the equivalent of the political officers of the old Soviet Union or the SS in Nazi Germany: there to see that the ideological preferences of the ruling elite are upheld. Their job is to enforce leftist doctrine, then mount a fig leaf of a justification for why the Constitution does not actually mean what it actually says. They routinely assert jurisdiction even in areas where the Constitution explicitly says they have none. They rule by whim and dare anyone to check them. It is the fault of the Congress and of superior judges that they get away with it. Superior court judges have the authority to slap lower court judges down when they make up fake law to protect left wing priorities, but they do not. Congress has the power to set aside the rulings of federal judges and to impeach offenders, but it does not. Such arbitrary decisions mainly affect the little people – and the ruling elite is not terribly concerned with such as that.

The “law” is applied differently to conservatives. In California, David Daleiden is charged with felonies for filming undercover videos of abortionists in public settings, revealing their stark, casual brutality and violations of the law. Filming undercover videos is routine practice in both California and U.S. journalism. Not a single leftist has ever been charged for the same things in California. The only thing Daleiden is guilty of is practicing under-cover journalism while conservative and Christian. The law is no longer about equal justice for all; it is merely a partisan blunt object. As violent riots break out on campuses, most frequently in California, some officials give stand-down orders to police, telling them not to interfere unless there is immediate threat to life when the targets of such riots and mayhem are conservative. Some officials actually go further and argue that it is right that conservatives and Christians not get the vigorous police protection that the left gets – even as those leftists make no effort to hide their contempt for police.

We are in the midst of a soft coup attempt by the anti-God left. It is determined to get by force what it cannot get by persuasion. It has terrible consequences for the country, as the great classicist Victor Davis Hanson concisely explains in this piece. I don’t think many on the left actually believe in their Russia collusion fixation; it is merely a useful tool in their partisan belt. If Trump carries out any normal diplomacy with Russia, it is mounted as evidence of collusion. When Trump gives away huge chunks of our uranium stores to Russia in exchange for huge speaker’s fees and millions in donations – like the Clintons did – I will take the charges seriously. Meantime, North Korea is shooting off ballistic missile tests and refining its nuclear capabilities. We could use Russia’s help in reining N. Korea in. We already know that China has lost effective control of its former client state. But if Trump tries to collaborate with Russia on fighting terror or making common cause against N. Korea (a threat to everyone), the left screeches in rage. Here’s the deal: if not stopped, N. Korea is going to set off a nuke against someone. It could be Japan, Alaska, northern California – or even China. When it happens, the left will scream about our failure to stop it, even though the left has been the primary obstacle to mounting an effective coalition with means to do so.

Since the Enlightenment, left-wing movements have sought to take control of various nations by force rather than by persuasion. Though they have usually constituted a minority, they have succeeded too often in taking power because of their willingness to use brutal and deadly force to impose their will. This was the case in Revolutionary France, Russia, Nazi Germany and China. (There were actually two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first, in March, was a soft socialist revolution that sought to invest sovereignty in a freely elected Constituent Assembly. The October Revolution was when Lenin seized power by brute force, even though many of his own people feared he did not intend any “dictatorship of the proletariat,” but the dictatorship of one man – himself. It has always been striking to me that the soft revolution came before the events at Fatima – and the brutal dictatorship came a few weeks after Our Lady’s final apparition in Fatima that year, which warned of disastrous errors coming from Russia. Also, though ignorant popular culture regards Nazi Germany as a right-wing phenomenon, it was a left-wing socialist phenomenon fused with a ferocious nationalism.) In every case, once precarious power was obtained, the dictators solidified it through brutal and deadly force.

The Enlightenment made a catastrophic error in re-defining the nature of man. The Judeo-Christian culture is the foundation of Western Civilization. It recognized man as fundamentally a creator, made in God’s own image and imbued with His very dignity. The Enlightenment viewed man as fundamentally a consumer, a complicated animal who, when his basic needs of food, shelter and companionship were met would be content. The Christian definition constrained the power even of kings, for an assault on any man without just cause was an assault on God. The Enlightenment definition reduced governing to animal husbandry. If some men were discontent, socialist leaders could simply cull the herd.

Socialism never works on a large scale. It is, in fact, an ideology that promises much while leading directly to the death camp. Many socialist leaders are quite intelligent. But intelligence does not guarantee wisdom. Some men use their intelligence to see things as they are, human nature for what it is, and then mount policies to make things better, acknowledging the dignity and free will of all men. That is a tough job. Other, lazier men, create utopian castles in the air and use their intelligence to convince themselves they are right. The only reason their schemes don’t work, they think, is because of the resistance of lower men. Since men have no inherent dignity in their view, the solution is to jail or kill the dissenters – and then the utopia will be realized. It is a determined, but intellectually lazy man’s vain path to power. As things continue to fail, greater terror is mounted, ultimately cannibalizing many who helped raise the socialist standard. Robespierre ended on the very guillotine he set in motion. Trotsky, Lenin’s closest comrade in brutality, was assassinated by Stalin. In almost any socialist seizure of power, give it five years and at least 20% of those in the vanguard of the takeover will, themselves, be consumed by the inevitable terror that follows.

In all the great utopian death camps, God is the first enemy. France, Russia and China were ruthlessly atheistic. Nazi Germany is the exception: it was a functionally pagan phenomenon. Socialism cannot tolerate the existence of a monotheistic God, for that God is a rival to the supremacy of the state. It recognizes Christians – and Jews – as a more deadly destabilizing influence and threat than even ideological rivals. So it invariably persecutes the faithful, in the mildest forms by ridicule and alienation; more often by jail and execution. It is hostile to the concept of family, or any voluntary association not run by the state. America was founded with an abundance of voluntary associations, with the state envisioned as primarily an umpire. The left can tolerate no mediating institution in society but the state, in which it vests all power.

The anti-God left seeks the fundamental transformation of American society into one of its nightmarish socialist utopias, by any means whatever. It got so much closer with Obama and thought it could nearly finish the job by political means with Hillary Clinton. Now it acts by any and all means, rather than forfeit its gains. As I said, the law is a mere partisan cudgel in its hands. In the years before the revolution, whenever Lenin was in the majority of socialist cadres, he demanded unity from all others. When he was in the minority, he demanded his right to speak freely in dissent. At a Socialist Congress a few years before the revolution, some of his fellow Bolsheviks (and most all of the other groups present) accused him of lying, cheating and betraying to get his way. Astonishingly, he did not deny it, but argued he had the right to lie, cheat and betray to accomplish his aims. I thought of that when former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid justified his knowing lies about Mitt Romney’s income taxes by simply saying, “We won, didn’t we?”

The anti-God left does not understand what the election of Donald Trump really was. It was the last peaceful chance offered by ordinary, traditional Americans for the left to stand down from its bully-boy tactics and seek to win the argument by persuasion rather than rule by force. As of now, the left would make war rather than acknowledge the right of their fellow citizens to exercise their conscience, exercise their freedom, or live their faith in the public square. They have misinterpreted the restraint of normal Americans. In the end, ordinary Americans will accept war rather than give up their liberty or their faith. And so, war will come unless the left stands down and begins the hard work of persuasion, rather than coercion.

While previous left-wing putsches have succeeded because of the determined use of brute force, there are a few things the Jacobins, Bolsheviks, Nazis and Red Guards did that the modern left has neglected: disarmed the opposition while heavily arming themselves AND taking pains to curry favor with the police and the military. Without these things, all coups are doomed to failure, no matter how much their adherents shriek and howl. Nonetheless, when hysterical ideologues unleash the winds of chaos and revolution, it destabilizes the existing order. A variety of contestants seek to seize power in the chaos. I have no faith that the left will stand down nor much faith that the Congressional Republicans or judges will defend the liberty of ordinary people.

And yet, there is another factor this time around. I have maintained from the time I founded this website that God is in this, allowing us to suffer the consequences of our vanity and fecklessness, letting crises continue to spiral downward. It is not for our destruction, but for our renewal. Christ is Master of the Storm. Confusion and chaos reign for a time. Whatever the question, whatever the challenge before us, the answer that will serve us as either Christian warriors or Christian peacemakers is the same: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Man your post in the sure, serene knowledge that, in the end, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. She told us so 100 years ago. You must choose.


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Spiritual Power

And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28-29)

Several commenters recently shared a link to an initiative put forth by Dan Lynch Apostolates. While it’s too late to pray the Novena to Our Lady of America, before Tuesday’s event, it’s not too late to pray and make reparation as a counteracting force against the mass-spellcasting activity that witches across the nation have conducted, since February, on every night of a waning crescent moon with the intent to continue until President Trump is driven out of office.

Susan Brinkmann writes here about exorcists who warn that spells have power which does not come from God. The exorcist, Fr. Vincent Lampert, adds that when we are anchored on God we have nothing to fear. So, let’s simply acknowledge that prayer and sacrifice are needed for this cause as we keep our focus on the Lord.

Thanks to Dan for highlighting this need and for the reprint of his article:

Satanists Are Casting Spells on Our President

Dan Lynch







“By Thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil.”

Satanists are promoting a movement to “Bind Trump” with “Magic Resistance”. They are regularly casting spells “to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him every waning crescent moon at midnight ending when he is driven from office.” The spells began on February 24.

The witches’ spells involve lengthy incantations, calling on spirits and “demons of the infernal realms” to bind our President so that “he may fail utterly, that he may do no harm.”

Satanists are called to cast spells next Tuesday, May 23, at 11:59 PM. We are called to pray and fast against them, as Jesus said these are the weapons to defeat Satan. (See Matthew 17:21). “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10).

This is very serious. Satan has power to wreak havoc and those who invoke him empower him. Perhaps these spells are having their effect and we are seeing their results played out in the daily media attacks upon our President and his own apparent disorientation and confusing statements and actions.

However, we have the greater power with Jesus Christ who conquered Satan by his passion, suffering, death and resurrection.

St. Paul said to pray “for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

So let us pray for America and our President by invoking our Patroness and our Queen, Our Lady of America, through the Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America.

You may see the Satanists’ websites here:

https://www.facebook.c to “bind Trump” with “magic resistance” begin the spells on February 24. Om/groups/OfficialBindTrump/?fref=mentions

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