O Shepherds, Where Art Thou?


Back in May, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski wrote an article on immigration policy. He proclaimed that “…for Catholic lawmakers in particular there is no longer any moral ambiguity to this question.” Lest you wonder what he commands Catholic lawmakers to do with no question or debate, try open borders and blanket amnesty. Oddly, the Archbishop did not announce that Catholic hospitals in his diocese would immediately begin offering all services free of charge and that Catholic schools would begin accepting all applicants free of charge. After all, health care and education are moral imperatives. Apparently where the Archbishop actually has accountability, there is some moral ambiguity tempering juvenile idealism.

Simply put, Catholic authorities actually take responsibility for the hospitals and schools they run. They know that offering all services for free would NOT mean everyone would get those services, but that soon no one would. The internal pressures of demanding that all personnel work for free and inability to purchase supplies and equipment would soon collapse the systems entirely. Catholics have done a noble job of raising money through donations to help pay for health care for those who cannot and to offer an abundance of scholarships, but they do not make high-minded moral pronouncements that would implode their care networks on those things they are responsible for.

I am a Catholic who is very proud of the noble things my Church has accomplished in its history. The hospital, the modern university, libraries…these are all Catholic innovations. But the Christian heroes who got them started did not do so by telling Caesars and kings that that is what they should do. No, they did the hard work of getting people who were already poor to pitch in, to act as community and to do these things for each other. In short, they DID, rather than merely scolded others to do. These and other innovations slowly changed the world, made it a little more noble and kind, because some shepherds and workers sacrificed and committed themselves to them. It is the difference between moral stature and vacuous preening.

Catholic theology and practice recognizes the concept of prudential judgment, which is the application of moral principles to specific situations. It further recognizes that different sets of people have primary responsibility for different types of prudential judgment. Thus, on matters of faith and morals the Church, through the Popes and Bishops, have primary responsibility. On other matters, provided it does not involve intrinsic evil, those most directly temporally responsible have primary responsibility. All have the freedom, the right and perhaps even the obligation to offer counsel on matters for which others bear prudential responsibility. But none have the right to make binding judgments on what is not their prudential responsibility. Thus, I do not have the right to command the Church on matters of faith and morals, no matter how passionately I feel about it.

Pope St. John Paul the Great, one of the most consequential statesmen of the last century – and certainly the most consequential churchman – lived this admirably. He opposed the war in Iraq and he said so, but he would not go so far as to declare it an unjust war. He vigorously opposed the death penalty and publicly lobbied against it with passion, but did not go so far as to declare it intrinsically evil in all circumstances. To do so would have been to recklessly impugn the motives of those charged with difficult responsibilities – and to intrude on areas that were not his prudential responsibility. Because of the moral authority he amassed from the fidelity with which he carried out his actual prudential responsibility, St. John Paul’s counsel carried great weight even in areas that were not within its scope. He never settled for cheap glibness. When he spoke or wrote on any subject, he wrestled with the real difficulties inherent to it rather than merely knocking down straw men to draw cheers from the ignorant. Read sometime his magnificent encyclical, Centesimus Annus. It is as fine a guide as I have ever read on how to order a functioning, just society with respect for liberty and on how to build a functioning economy that honors property rights while caring for the poor. Those are just by-products of the sophisticated, deeply insightful theology that inspired it.

In contrast, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been a wastrel organization for several generations now, eager to make pompous pronouncements on mere matters of public policy it has no authority over, no responsibility for and even less knowledge of while studiously avoiding matters that actually are in its orbit of responsibility. Even on the matters on which it proclaims, it does not actually take any responsibility; just tells others what THEY must do to meet the USCCB’s standard of public morality. Like the dissolute heir of a great fortune, it draws down on the moral capital amassed by the saints and martyrs. A dissolute heir can opine on whatever he wants, usually to the eye-rolling amusement of listeners he thinks are dazzled by him. But sometimes even the dissolute heir has a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment. Should he learn to shut up and just get to work, taking up the mantle of responsibility for things that actually are his, he will eventually discover the satisfaction of being taken seriously.

While the USCCB is slow to offer useful instructions on the fundamentals of the faith, it has rarely missed an opportunity to preen impotently over political issues the last few generations. The recent crowing about how to handle illegal immigration offers one example. A healthy, responsible Catholic leadership would have recognized that open borders, blanket amnesty and welfare for all would have the same effect as eliminating all charges at Catholic hospitals and tuition at Catholic schools – simply collapse the system. A healthy, responsible Catholic leadership would have lobbied for streamlining red tape for non-criminal applicants for immigration while taking the financial responsibility of raising the money to sponsor immigrants who had no other sponsor. That would have been a useful addition to the issue while actually doing what the Gospels call for, but it would have required real sacrifice, commitment. and far more than a vacuously pious pose. Instead of offering something useful the USCCB just said, “Caesar, hear our prayer.” It has been the all-too-common petition of the bishops for the last half-century, asking government to take responsibility for and do what God calls the faithful to do.

The bishops were surprised that, after helping nationalize health care, Caesar turned on them, using it as a blunt object with which to bludgeon those who actually try to live their Catholic faith. Alas, the bishops never bothered to seriously examine what effect nationalizing would have on health care. They were too excited at the idea of the moral posture of being for health care for all with someone else being responsible to make it work. In 2006, while working two Congressional campaigns, I did in-depth research on nationalized health plans. In EVERY case, quality plummets, innovation dies, access is worse rather than better and people have to face both the hard death panels of denial of care and the soft death panels of delay. Once again, the USCCB did not bother to deal with the real problems inherent in such a system and just said, “Caesar, hear our prayer.”

I understand the temptation to recruit an agent to take responsibility for doing the good God commands you to do, but it is a vanity and an evasion. When faith recruits Caesar to be its agent it empowers a rapacious beast that regards faith as its rival. Why would anyone be surprised that, when you petition Caesar long enough as if he were God, he begins to act as God, commanding you rather than acting as your moral agent? St. John Paul the Great decisively answered Josef Stalin’s contemptuous question, “How many divisions does the pope have?” and communism fell. The lesson was not lost on the advocates of the primacy of Caesar, even if the universal lesson of history was lost on the USCCB. Churchmen will always be a rival to Caesar, for faith claims an authority greater than the temporal authority of Caesar. No matter how you pander, once the beast breaks its fetters, it will come for men of faith. It knows that the threat faith poses to its pretensions of primacy can only be eliminated by force.

The Catholic Church in America was rocked in the early part of the last decade by revelations of a pattern of sexual abuse of minors in many dioceses across the country. In June of 2002 American Bishops gathered in Dallas to grapple with the horrible scandal. I was heartened by that approaching conference, thinking this would be the moment when the leaders of the Church in America would begin to set all things right. About a week before the conference I had one of the most startling visitations of my life. Our Lady appeared to me, deeply sorrowful and gently weeping. She said, “Dallas will show you how bad things really are. They will scarcely even acknowledge my Holy Son.” At the time, I was still looking for an honorable way out from my promise to God. I thought this was it, for if it was proven in a fundamental way that my visions were delusions, than I would be released from any deluded promises. In all of history there had been many difficult times, times when the bishops gathered at a meeting had become degenerate and their faith grown cold. But even in these gatherings, lip service was paid to Christ. Never had there been a gathering of Bishops where Christ was largely ignored. I called one of my priests and told him of the visitation, sure this was my ticket back to normalcy.

Then the Dallas Conference came. I watched all week. The Bishops talked of all matter of things. I only heard Christ mentioned once – and it was in passing, at that. The Bishops acted as if they were the secular board of directors of some secular corporation, trusting to their own strategic brilliance to manage their way out of this crisis. I didn’t have to call my priest. He called me late in the week and, in stunned wonder, told me he had only heard Christ mentioned twice. I told him that was twice as much as I had heard the Lord mentioned. I was outraged to my core. I wrote a blistering letter to one of the key participants (and I had means to make sure he got it). I told him that ‘zero-tolerance policies’ were not the solution and that all the clever legal maneuvering was an impotent vanity. The problem was that the fundamentals of the faith had not been proclaimed boldly from our pulpits for decades – the sanctity of life, the sanctity of the covenant of marriage, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I told him that had these been consistently and clearly proclaimed instead of vain nattering about such things as ‘nuclear-free zones’ they would not have a crisis to deal with at all. I told him that, contrary to what he might think, Bishops are NOT primarily administrators, fund-raisers, or even theologians. They most certainly are not politicians. No, they are the Apostles of the Living Christ. The problem arose because the bishops allowed Christ to be banished from the parishes to make room for politics. When Christ was invited back in and the fundamentals of the faith proclaimed, there would be no need for mindless ‘zero-tolerance policies’ and other secular regulations, for Christ will be back in charge and holiness will reign. I told him angrily to can the posturing and take up the mantle of Apostolic responsibility. Then – and only then – would all things be set right. Several years later on a different matter, I was in a meeting with that fellow and an official I worked for. God bless him, the fellow spoke of what would resolve the problems in our parishes – and he maintained that it was a return to teaching the fundamentals of the faith, that an opportunity for real renewal had been missed in Dallas.

I do not know if the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is as boldly and unambiguously proclaimed in the Archdiocese of Miami as is the Bishop’s mere political position on immigration. Experience leads me to doubt it. My message to Bishops across America is the same as my message was to the correspondent I describe above. When you play at politics, the best you can aspire to is impotent hack. You are the Apostles of the Living Christ. Take up your cross, mitre, crozier, pallium and live it – and all will be well. You are the crew of the ship that will carry us all through the Storm. There is no other. If you lead, we will follow. If you merely play at politics, we are scattered.

Pray for our Bishops, Priests, Religious and the Pastors and Rabbis of all assemblies in the Judeo-Christian heritage.





About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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36 Responses to O Shepherds, Where Art Thou?

  1. Jim says:

    One does not save passengers on a sinking ship by swamping the lifeboats, causing them also to sink. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops would be more appropriately named the United States Conference of Catholic Pharisees. In the Gospels, Jesus chastised the Pharisees for directing people to tithe to them rather than using the money to take care of their own parents. And so we have the same thing here – espousing a policy that may have the effect of increasing participation and donations to the Church, increasing the popularity of Church leaders in progressive minds, but in the process destroying the very country that has been the beacon of freedom to the world for over 2 centuries. Or have they opened their eyes to consider that someone is using these people as political pawns eyeing the value of their potential vote rather than their lives? If they were to focus their energies on dealing with the real problem they would be working tirelessly to change the situation in Central and South America that is allegedly causing this flight to the US? I sense that Church leaders in those countries may object to the lawless characterization of their respective flocks.

    Does a good shepherd care for his flock by grazing them in a desert? Or allowing wolves in sheep’s clothing to enter into the flock?

    We do have an obligation to our fellow man, but for a hand up, not a lifetime hand out.

    So, what is their plan following the time when progressive minds outlaw Catholic dogma and doctrine as hate speech? Or when a progressive Congress outlaws any restrictions on fetal genocide that feed the altar of the modern day Baal, and brands those that believe in the Word as criminals for their opposition? .

    We are a handful of votes in Congress, and one vote on the Supreme Court, away from slipping totally into the abyss. Unfortunately, that die has already been cast. We are in the time of Sorrows. The dragon has been cast out of heaven and prowls the Earth for the destruction of mankind knowing that his time is short. And what better way to speed the capture of souls than to rid the world of the United States and its status as a Christian nation. Soon, very soon.

    We already live in a society that has forfeited any semblance of privacy rights in exchange for illusory security.The fear of disease will increase the push for a cashless society, where everyone carries their own unique identifying digital mark for “security, and for buying and selling. Those refusing to follow that path will be branded as security or disease risks, scorned by the rest. All in the name of protecting the public, of course.

    Woe unto those that call evil good, and good evil…..


    • charliej373 says:

      Wow, Jim, your comment is solid. I should note here that I have been heartened in recent years to see some serious Bishops starting to come to the fore, focused on the faith. Among those I admire are Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York, who both began serious reforms in Milwaukee during his brief tenure there and gave the bishops fortitude not to be rolled again on the health care business. Archbishop Jose Gomez has done wonderful work reforming Los Angeles. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has written some marvelous books easily accessible to the layman that get to the heart of things.I am very fond of Archbishop John Myers of Newark, who was key to establishing the Pastoral Provision, which allows for the ordination of Former Anglican Priests who have come into the Catholic Church. My own Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver just issued a magnificent pastoral letter on the family. There is much hope – but time is very short and our shepherds need to get very serious very quickly.


  2. joanp62 says:

    This post is perfectly spot on. Thank you Charlie and thanks to Mark Mallet for leading me to you. God Bless.


    • TC says:

      Very disappointed by your response, Charlie. You clearly have an axe to grind against our bishops. If you want to call them to more faithful service, don’t claim to do it via this blog. Keep your anti-episcopal sentiments to yourself and write the bishops directly with your concerns. Don’t castigate them publicly and and unfairly and call it charity. Your mischaracterization of our Catholic, Gospel based approach to immigration policy belies that your politics rather than the Catholic faith is driving your remarks here. Even good prophets can make mistakes, Charlie. Own up to this one so that you truly can stand and not fall by your words – for you will be held accountable for every single one of them, and not by me. In trying to make a careful discernment of your credibility as a mouthpiece for God, your postings on this issue create misgivings. Jesus himself, with regard for the religious leaders of the day, instructed the people to “do as they say and not as they do”. Your message here is “don’t do as they say”. Monumental difference.


      • charliej373 says:

        I appreciate you visiting the site, TC. For over 30 years I have written for a host of newspapers, magazines and journals, almost all secular. I made my living for much of my life doing that sort of work, mostly as an investigative reporter and columnist on political and social issues. On more than a few occasions I wrote in defense of bishops and the faith. In fact, one investigative piece defending a bishop under attack was, at the time, the most viewed and commented-upon article the Chicago Daily Observer ever had. You can see that piece at http://www.cdobs.com/archive/our-columns/resentment-in-search-of-a-grievance/. This is the only article I have ever written critical of them – though heaven knows, I have complained privately – and in several cases, directly, to them. When I was working regularly in politics, it grieved me to know how much of a joke they were considered by insiders of both parties in Washington – and make my cheeks redden that they really were clueless about it and thought themselves to be held in much esteem.

        The problem for bishops is that I am not one who has an axe to grind, but one who is eager to follow them. Now the matter is serious – and whether they are prepared or not, the Storm is here. They are going to have a very bad go of it early on if they do not get serious about proclaiming the fundamentals of the faith.

        I suspect you might work with the conference or, at least, some chancery somewhere. I wish you well, but also urge you to read the other comments here – all by notably faithful Catholics. It ought to give you pause.


        • TC says:

          Charlie, what gives me pause is not the comments by others, but your original post. You can make a point without setting the hearts of others against our bishops. Have you answered the USCCB’s call to prayer? And to fast on Fridays? Why don’t you praise them for getting this right instead of mocking them for attempting to exercisie political responsibility and working with the State to implement the ideals of Centesimus Annus? I agree wholeheartedly that the best public policy is a holy life. And that much of the bishops’ energy could be refocused for the good of us all. Why can’t you just say it that way? Instead of inciting faithful people and clergy against the “USCCB”? I am happy to hear that this is your only such post. It crossed the line, Charlie. Your own detailed response confirms it. From all I have read on your blog, this post is out of place. Perhaps all those years as a political analyst have clouded your vision here. The bishops have stood unanimously opposed to violations of our religious freedom. That is praiseworthy. Would you remove the restrainer so readily? Undermine their authority? Dangerous game. Political power at the service of Satan is the Beast of Revelation. The Beast is raging now more than ever before. Of course the bishops are scorned and mocked by it. The Beast blasphemes God and anything to do with his holy Church. Now is the time for unity. We shall be scattered soon enough. Now the desert is blooming and the branch of the fig is tender. Peace, Charlie. P.S. I read your article. Very good. P.P.S. And yes, on the final matter, you are right on both counts.


  3. Janet says:

    Wow! Thank you for this brilliant elucidation of a complex situation, Charlie! I always pray for the shepherds, but will pray more fervently than ever, and offer fervent thanks to the Lord for all those who are taking seriously their call and mission. God bless.


  4. Melanie says:

    Thank you Charlie. You put into words what we have been feeling for some time, cutting through and making sense of the confusion. My husband asks if we can forward to The National Catholic Resgister-and adding that you are an incredibly gifted writer. Glenn and Melanie Dubid


    • charliej373 says:

      Hi Melanie. Sure, forward it to wherever you want. They won’t use it, but it helps get a sense of the faithful out there – and helps cut through the pretentious clutter.


  5. Maggie says:

    I think the very brave (and ostracized) former bishop of Lincoln was called the US bishops a “hapless bunch” if I recall correctly. It has been such that one could name all the very faithful bishops in the US. I think it is a little better now but the bureaucracy of the USCCB is an embarrassment. The bishops go to great lengths on immigration, amnesty, light bulbs even and so on and much less about other social evils such as the juggernaut of the homosexual tyranny and even less on the murder of the unborn, etc. I have actually heard ONE homily, several years ago, from a parish pulpit on contraception but never one on porn or homosexuality or fornication and the only time I hear the word sin mentioned is when I attend a Traditional Latin Mass.

    I do disagree with you on Cardinal Dolan who did essentially nothing to stem the gay tide in NY and even has participated and approved of the LGBT groups in parishes and is on video doing so. Parishes in NY participate in the immoral gay pride parades and he says nothing but he does enjoy supper with the obamination. My friend who is a nun in Milwaukee said he did nothing to counter the evil of the previous archbishop and that diocese is still a mess. A bishop can be popular as all get out but if he is not holy and if he is not speaking the hard truths of the faith, then he is not much good as a bishop.

    We remain desperate for holiness and presence of true shepherds. We have had enough of the hirelings. They can go live in their mansions in an early retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary says:

      I have to say our priest in Arvada, CO gives great sermons and includes all
      of the moral sins you have mentioned and that frequent confession is a way out.
      Let’s keep praying for our fervent priests.


      • charliej373 says:

        Just curious, Mary. I am away from Colorado right now…soon to return. But when I am home there I typically go to Mass on Thursdays at St. Joan of Arc in Arvada. Is that where you go?


    • Sharon says:

      I agree with you Maggie. Charlie I hope you will look further into what Cardinal Dolan is doing in NY. He stated that Andrew Cuomo is a Catholic in good standing – the same man who has a live-in girlfriend and recently marched with her in the gay pride parade, waving happily at the crowds. There is something terribly wrong going on there!


      • charliej373 says:

        I must correct you on a matter, Sharon. Cardinal Dolan did not endorse Cuomo as a Catholic in good standing. The Cardinal has regularly – and rather elegantly – publicly taken Cuomo to the woodshed. on a host of matters. During a radio interview, the media thought Dolan had suggested that Cuomo was not a Catholic in oood standing and there was a minor frenzy in New York. The Cardinal replied not that Cuomo was in good standing, but that he “…would not, and did not, suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward.” That is roughly equivalent to saying most delicately that you have no immediate plans to excommunicate the governor – hardly a ringing endorsement.

        At the time, the media was desperately trying to find some statement to discredit the Church’s opposition to an expansion of the abortion culture in New York. Had Dolan not disarmed them through his subtle negative, it was the Bishop that could have been dismissed from effective debate, not the governor. I admired Dolan’s deft handling of the situation, neither letting Cuomo off the hook nor allowing the institutional Church to be locked out of the public debate.

        Dolan is one of only two bishops I have ever known of whose public communications and strategic skills I admire. Had he not been head of the USCCB while the Obama administration was trying to trick it into endorsing his contraception and abortaficient mandate, I really do not believe the USCCB would have held. It is the first matter of gravity in which the bishops have gone against the grain of popular culture opinion and held solid in the time I have been in the Church.


  6. Cecilia says:

    Thank you, Charlie. My sentiments exactly, but I could never be as articulate. We are in the mess we are in because our bishop are not shepherding the flock with the heart of Christ. Also, as a side note, I believe the charitable tax exemption for the churches is nothing but a gag-ploy. It has certainly worked out that way in our diocese where it is forbidden for Deacons and other visible employees of parishes to put signs for political candidates in their yards or bumper stickers on their cars or to even mention that they favor one candidate over another.


  7. vicardwm says:

    Charlie, I must say, you should really package up a lot of your writings here and on Facebook, and release a book of short essays. I am going to have to print some of these out, as they are very helpful for the coming times. Although I have received no supernatural revelations, I have been led back to natural ways of doing things…i.e. natural food, natural health, principles of local community, etc. just like the way it used to be done. I feel that St. Benedict is our patron. He withdrew from the city and formed his own communities, gathering important books, making sure knowledge was not lost when the Roman Empire collapsed, etc.


    • charliej373 says:

      That is marvelous, Vicard! St. Benedict is the perfect patron for our entry into a new dark ages. I appreciate your comments on a book, but time is so short that I am just trying to give everyone as much info as possible in as accessible a way as possible to help prepare. Please, print out as much as you want and distribute as much as you want. I am just trying to get the word out to as many as possible – and if you “steal” my stuff🙂 and get it out to people it will help, then we will both be very happy. I am working on a small booklet on building fruitful charismatic ministries, healing services and prayer meetings. That is because God has use for that – but it is terribly disordered and badly in need of reform (overhaul is more like it). It was a profound blessing when I met the woman who owns that religious supply house I link to at the right (Full of Grace). She is part of a group of parents of young children I met who have a magnificent prayer group, totally committed to the faith. She put together a prayer card with me on the Prayer of Miraculous Trust I wrote about – and had them printed up. At first, she was not going to put them up on the site because she wanted no money changing hands – just distribute them freely as we meet people. But I told her that it was impossible for us to meet people everywhere – and you couldn’t just send them to everyone who asked without busting the business, The point is to get distribution as widely available as possible – and her site makes it possible to reach many more people. Anything that I can’t effectively do through here I plan to make available through the mail order section of her site. But if you are ever at a presentation I give, plenty will be available without charge. Spread the Good Word and we will all be glad!


  8. Mary says:

    Charlie, you put events into words so well


  9. marie says:

    Charlie, I am so thankful to Mark Mallett for having led me to your website. On the subject of our shepherds, I live in Europe, so my comment is more of the universal kind. It is actually a question: do you believe Pope Benedict’s abdication lies within our Heavenly Father’s plan to provide Pope Francis with his ‘Simon of Cyrene’ as the Church approaches the final stages of her Passion? Apologies if this has already been stated far more eloquently elsewhere, but I would be grateful for your insight.


    • charliej373 says:

      I think that Popes St. John Paul the Great, Benedict and Francis are three chapters of the same book, the book of the Storm. If you search any of these popes names on this site (search button is at the upper right), you will see all articles relating to them. After the election of Francis I saw some photos of Francis and Benedict standing together. Dressed all in white, it crossed my mind that they looked like twin pillars. Then my mind went to St. John Bosco’s vision of the Church as a ship being tossed through violent storms – then finally coming safely to port between two great pillars. I can’t help but think that God has favored us as we go into these unprecedented times with an unprecedented grace; a most holy living pope and a most holy living pope emeritus.


  10. Lynette says:

    Thank you, Charlie. Likewise, I have been getting to know “you” through your blog since Mark Mallett introduced me.
    We have a very good bishop (he would be the first to tell you, not perfect) here in the Midwest who did write a Pastoral Letter on the Dignity of the Human Person and the Dangers of Pornography in 2007, and then was, and continues to be, summarily persecuted using just that issue by many of our priests and insiders. Our diocese had been painfully, excruciatingly heterodox for decades, being eaten from the inside out. It is my belief our current bishop will be shown to be a true figure of Christ as he has endured much persecution silently, with a heart full of compassion, knowing that the Faith had been eroded so badly the “faithful” that we do not know what we do. He has been a wonderful example of faith, and shows us how to be patient, compassionate, forgiving and persevering in the imminent future. We had gone so far off the path and are returning. His example has given me hope.


    • charliej373 says:

      Oh yes, there are Bishops who are living heroically – most of them attacked for their commitment to the faith as taught in the Magisterium. But the world – through the corrupt media and apostates wearing Cossacks – are sly enough not to attack them for their orthodoxy. They find some other reason. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City is a noble, faithful bishop who acted decisively and patiently to correct the sexual abuses in his diocese. His joyful faith resulted in an explosion of new vocations in the long-moribund diocese. So he was attacked as having protected an abusive priest. Read the transcript and you can see how trumped up it all was. When a faithful, orthodox bishop, Salvatore Cordileone, was sent to the hellhole that is San Francisco, he had not even been installed before he had been charged with a DUI upon leaving a social event. Sorry, did politics too long not to smell out that obvious a set-up. Perhaps the most disgraced Bishop of my lifetime, Milwaukee’s Rembert Weakland, suddenly saw a revival of his reputation in the press (especially the New York Times) as long as he was willing to publicly smear Pope Benedict. I have learned that if the press and dissident priests and nuns screech about a bishop, it’s a pretty good indicator that he is serious about the faith. You are blessed to have one of the solid ones.


  11. Jim M. says:

    Charlie, just getting through the end of a long work day, but thank you for your kind comments! I was led to your site just last week. And led is the correct term. It is a wonderful visit with others of Faith.

    I certainly not worthy of direct Heavenly interaction. I would not impose that on our Lord or Mother or St Michael! I do “feel” things at times, for lack of a better term. In the last few years more and more often, seeing things as in a lifting fog. Like a puzzle assembling in front of me. Answers to questions unasked yet there.

    The events will soon come faster and faster, like the last of water spiraling down a drain. The moral and spiritual decay in the US alone has been breathtaking in just the last 6 years. We have so many good souls among us! And therein lies much hope.

    But we must be prepared, for God not only chastises people, he also chastises nations, states and communuties, often by removing His protective grace. Society not only now revels in sin, it embraces abonominations that for almost 6000 years were outlawed around the world.

    We have had many warnings, many chances to return. And we have not. The US has had the strongest military on Earth since WW II, yet we have not won a war since 1945. Interesting that 1948 was the year the Supreme Court took prayer out of school. And since then has enacted laws that not only defy obedience to the Commandments, but laws that legitimize abonominations against God.

    It was not until the Jews had vexed God 10 times that they were forced to wander 40 years in the desert. How many times have we vexed Him?

    And, to your point, we need shepherds. Not “all cap and no cattle” hirelings that exist far from the flock. I pray for the Good Shepherds of the Church every day. We need them now more than ever. But it is by their fruits that we should no them; by their acts and not words. And I take the warning of Jesus to heart in discernment: Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which we call hypocrisy.

    God Bless you Charlie. Get that spiritual armor polished!



    • Janet says:

      Jim this reminds me of Pope Francis’ words at Holy Thursday Mass: “The priest who seldom goes out of himself … misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. … This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep.’ This is what I am asking you — be shepherds with the smell of sheep.”

      —Pope Francis’ address to the world’s priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday March 28


  12. Susan Orourke says:

    Wow! I just read this one. Have I sent you his link yet to peruse? He is one of the visionaries recommended by Mark Mallett. What a treasure that Mark put his readers onto this guy. Fabulous read! Be sure to also read the comment section as well. A scan of his website, background and other articles is also really enlightening and heartening. I plan to get into as many of his writings as possible in the coming weeks. Susan

    Sent from my iPad



  13. Mary-Louise says:

    Here is a message from the Chaldean Patriarch to Christians of Mosul (The voice of a real shepherd!)

    “I’ll start my speech by the Word of Christ, as His Word is the source of strength and salvation of us, the poor of this lost world: “There is no need to be afraid, little flock” (Luke 12:32).
    “Our present pain is associated with our Christianity and with the mystery of our Passover (i.e., Easter). Our suffering, if joined to the suffering of our Savior Jesus, “Man of Sorrows”, will turn out to be a blessing and salvation to us and to others.
    “And the current challenges are faced with more faith, hope, and prayer and solidarity and wisdom. Be brave in front of what you are facing, do not be afraid: you have deep roots in Iraq, do not give up for frustration and despair, confident that, “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52) and evil does not last! You are the small mustard seed, the Lord will not let you fall. He is with you today, tomorrow, and after tomorrow, and forever.
    “WE ARE YOUR SHEPHERDS AND, WITH OUR FULL RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD YOU, WE WILL STAY WITH YOU TO THE END, [WE] WILL NOT LEAVE YOU, WHATEVER THE SACRIFICES. I repeat: do not be afraid; stay strong as you are with your faith and your hope and love. We thank God for your safety, as, no matter what, your life has no price.
    God’s blessing be upon you.



  14. aj says:

    Hey Charlie and this new family. Let us not look at the US Bishops in isolation. Whether it’s in the Caribbean (my home), US, Europe or Far and Middle East this systematic and constant breakdown of clergy is the work of the devil and it is pervasive. One thing that I know for sure is that the devil needs no passport or visa and therefore roams everywhere seeking the ruin of souls.

    Let us also remember that this is a spiritual battle that needs prayer, fasting and sacrifice/penance to make up for the shortcoming of the flock and the shepherds. This is why our Lady, beautiful Mother that She is beckons us to come inside Her Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart and bring Her chosen priest sons with us in prayer and penance, so that She may obtain the grace to make them Holy.

    But it’s not just our priests and Bishops it’s me and you…we all have to become holy, become Saints…have to! As young pure Saint Dominic Savio said “If I do not become a saint I am doing nothing.”

    Almighty God Love us all!

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love You and Trust in You, save souls.


    • charliej373 says:

      Well said, AJ, and completely true. I write about the USCCB because that is what I am most intimately familiar with (every fish drinks the water in the particular pond he lives in). But as bad as things are in the US, I know they are much worse in much of Europe, because I have been told so by Our Lady – and it is pretty bad here. Thank you for adopting priest sons. Our religious leaders desperately need your prayers and your solidarity, for soon they must be girded for battle whether they are prepared or not.


  15. aj says:

    Also my friends, please pray for all those souls who have died in the recent plane crashes. I do believe in the Spiritual world there is no time and therefore our prayers in a manner of speaking can go before the Lord for them, prior to their deaths and bring redemptive grace.

    God Love you all!

    Jesus I Trust in YOU!!!


  16. Kris says:

    Hi Charlie, I have just been introduced to your blog and am going to read more. Thanks to Mark Mallett for introducing it to us. I am a faithful catholic, always will be no matter what happens. I have been grieved beyond belief by what is happening and continues to happen in the Church. My archdiocese has a very sad bishop who is happiest leaving matters of the shepherd to the hirelings and attending meetings and being on committees. That means the lay people run the show and the priests are allowed to be heretical beyond belief. I don’t understand half of what the bishops do and quite honestly what Pope Francis is doing. So for the last many months I came to the decision I will stop trying to understand and just do the ‘next right thing’ that the Holy Spirit seems to be asking of me, giving hope to all who are questioning. So I feel it very interesting to hear you saying the same thing. I have peace by being a ‘little child’ who ask my mother in heaven to take me in her arms and just follow her lead. I found you last two entries very intriguing and I truly was touched by your comments about seeking knowledge that may only hurt me. So I will move through each day and ask to be lead for that is what the Holy Spirit has told me to do as well . Thanks


    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, Kris. Keep at it and keep those priests and bishops in your prayers. If you can, invite one to join you for dinner or a day at the zoo or park or whatever sometime. These men are the crew of a great ship in fairly calm waters right now. But as the Storm gets more violent they are going to be called to battle stations. For most, it will be a shock – institutionally, they are terribly unprepared. Some will fall away – and some among those will be ones you admired. Others will find, to their own surprise, a real iron faith in that forge and will become real heroes. And among those will be some you thought were hopelessly vain and banal. So pray for all and offer friendship to a few you can. (And if you befriend a few, make sure to spend a good chunk of time doing fun things. The weight is enough as it is. I know I like to spend time watching some detective shows – playing a little video baseball – going to an amusement park. The work is always before us, but if you don’t completely relax your mind and let it go regularly, it will close in and smother you. So it must be with priests. I know in big campaigns – statewide and congressional, candidates often try to go 24/7. I would not allow it. About every ninth day I made my clients take a day entirely to themselves and their families – and carefully watched for the fatigue of over-scheduling. Some objected, but I always told them when you are running at 50%, you are 90% more likely to make a fatal error while the press and opposition is watching.)


      • Kris says:

        Thanks Charlie for your reply. How nice to just be real with someone who cares. I have a wonderful family and we see ourselves as our first and more important anchor is the world shifting all around us. Yes, the fun time, play time, just sit and talk for hours in the living room with coffee is our best time. We know we gain strength in seeing the love we have for each other. then there are the family friends who see the same shifting in the world and wonder how to deal with it as well. We give each other hope, sew quilts and appliques to make the world a more beautiful place. I have a wonderful flower garden that makes me smile each day. In all these things we see the face of our Lord and Mary. As for the priests, several years ago I was ranting about a certain priest here in the diocese who had the audacity to reflect on how to deal with ‘conservative’ catholics . He described the process of stepping in dog feces and then walking over to a rock and scrapping the fecal matter off his shoes. I wondered aloud how any priest could describe members of his flock in such a manner. Within hours of my rant the Holy Spirit instructed me to assume the role of a ‘mother’ and pray for this priest. He was to be my spiritual son. I obeyed and still do this for him. I go through terrible grief moments regarding the church and I have also seen through the eyes of Christ that I feel nothing compared to his grief about his church. His suffering is beyond anything I could experience and I believe, I know, he has asked me to suffer along side him to offer him comfort and to pray for the situation. So when I have my bad moments, I can recall Christ’s face and see his agony looking out over ‘Jerusalem’ and weeping, wanting to draw her to him as a chicken draws in the chicks, but they would have none of it. This suffering I understand and I know to offer him comfort is the most peaceful thing I can do. thanks again for your words.


        • charliej373 says:

          Bless you Chris. We must insist that our leaders give us meat. But we must also never be miserly in sharing the mercy and charity we, ourselves, have received in such abundance from above. You sound as if you are living both well. Thank you.


  17. TC says:

    Charlie, You have so many inspired things to say, but I believe this post misses the mark. Perhaps I have misunderstood some of what you have said. If that is the case, my apologies and please correct me. The U.S. bishops do not advocate for the open borders and blanket amnesty that you suggest. That is a gross mischaracterization of what they have pursued for years. The bishops affirm that every nation has a right to protect its borders – and as regards amnesty, their goal is to keep families together. The comments of one bishop does not the USCCB policy make. You claim the bishops are pandering to Caesar, and perhaps there is some just criticism there, but then you praise Dolan (rightly so) for his political savvy. What gives? I do think your conclusion is on the mark – the best public policy is a holy life, but even the comments here suggest that you are stirring up less than charitable sentiments towards our shepherds. I was happy to see that you called out some good shepherds, but that suggests that the majority are not. Why don’t you simply name the bad shepherds?! Please don’t – I am only making a point. Our bishops will answer to the Good Shepherd. That is enough. As regards Dallas, Pope Francis has taken up the zero tolerance policy of the bishops. Are you to criticize him, too? For desiring to cleanse and heal the Church? As I read it, this post should be modified or taken down. Vanity should not get in the way of fraternal correction – and I will be open to such if you need to turn this on me. A concerned brother in Christ, who supports your good ministry and is always trying to discern what is God’s will.


    • charliej373 says:

      Alas, TC, I stand by what I have written:

      1) This article is not fundamentally about immigration, but about the bishops’ institutional penchant to neglect the fundamentals of the faith so they can play at politics – and the damage it has done both them and the faithful.

      2) My take is NOT a mischaracterization at all. If the USCCB actually wanted to keep families together, they would seriously look at efforts to remove the “anchor child” policies that have been proposed to remove much of the incentive for mass illegal immigration – or other means besides blanket amnesty and open borders. They do not – blanket amnesty and open borders are their policy, while family reunification is their justification for the sole policy option they will consider – and controlling the borders is just empty lip service they give (very wordily, I will concede) in order to put a fig leaf. Their policy is to support a single political option, one that will crash (and IS crashing) the system, let someone else deal with the hard, adult consequences of such a policy, and bask in the heady glow of approval for their piety and compassion. It is a contemptible parody of responsibility.
      3) I am not the judge of bishops. I may cite some I admire, may even cite an occasional one who is notably contemptible – such as former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland. I may cite specific cases where a bishop has vastly overstepped his bounds, such as the infallibility with which Archbishop Wenski insists that only a single policy option is acceptable. But they, like I, must stand before God. I want them to lead; I want them to take up the cloak of Apostolic Responsibility and Authority. So I speak both bluntly – and charitably – here.
      4) About a decade ago I was involved in a private meeting of Democrat and Republican officials trying to get some concessions on abortion legislation. At one point, when one on my side pointed out the backlash from Catholics, a Democrat brazenly said the bishops would cover them – that if a bishop had to criticize them, he would fall all over himself finding five different issues to loudly support them on. It struck home – for amongst the Republicans we had an unwritten rule. On social legislation, get the activist Catholic groups with you but keep the bishops at arms length – for if a bishop helped, he would immediately find a way to rip and scourge you from four or five different angles. What the bishops think is their deft cleverness actually made them irrelevant nuisances. Those who supported legislation attacking the Church did not fear them, in fact, counted on them to give them covering fire. Those that would ally with them on social issues didn’t want them anywhere near, for we knew they would shoot their allies in the back at the first opportunity. That the bishops were an object of scorn and ridicule in the private political counsels of all sides in Washington and the state capitols I dealt with was something that ate at me. I finally got enthused when Cardinal Dolan led an iron effort to oppose the health care laws efforts to crush religious freedom. I expected the usual lip service – and then an eager rolling over at the phony compromise, or a failure to defend the faithful in their private affairs after obtaining an indulgence from the state for parishes. But Dolan did not waver and did not fall for anything – and wonder of wonders – he actually was politically deft and effective in maintaining the high ground in the narrative when they tried to derail it. I know the language of politics, both public and insider, and so recognized that usually, when the faithful thought Dolan was conceding something, he was actually thwarting the efforts of foes to lay an ambush and end the matter. And so, I have vigorously defended Dolan against any who attack him as just another lapdog eager to roll over for Caesar – and I have done it on these boards. Stand EFFECTIVELY for the faith and it gives heart to the faithful.
      5) You would probably be stunned at how many faithful priests have privately contacted me to shout huzzah that I spoke the simple truth here and did it in a way calculated to call them back to their vocation rather than just be done with them.
      6) I wrote this not to treat the USCCB with scorn and derision. Rather, they seem invincibly unaware that that is how they are seen, even in the halls of temporal power they so assiduously court. I write in hopes that they will take up their actual work and lead us so they will cease to be an object of scorn and derision.


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