An Opposing View on St. Patrick Parade

A friend was kind enough to send me a marvelous article that takes a different view than I do on the matter of Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York. I want to link to it here because I think it such a marvelous example of how such dissent should be expressed.

Written by a lawyer named James M. Thunder, it covers all the bases. There is no hint in the piece that Dolan has suddenly become a an apostate sellout. It fully recognizes that he has both an evangelical and a pastoral duty – and that it is a difficult balance to find. It presumes that the Cardinal wants to do the right thing. Yet, it takes a very different direction than Cardinal Dolan has taken on the matter.

The piece offers a clear, coherent view, expressed in confident terms. It explains why the author would choose this course – and covers his take on how, precisely, that balance of responsibilities should be calibrated. One need not agree with its conclusions to be enriched by its clarity – and to further clarify one’s own thinking on the matter.

Above all, it treats the Cardinal as a real person trying to do well in a difficult task. It assumes his humanity and good will. That, I think, is an assumption one should make until there is strong and abundant evidence to the contrary. This is the sort of dissenting piece I often made sure my clients saw so we could discuss the points it made – and further clarify our own thoughts.

That is the key, I think. We need to live solidarity and try to lift each other up. For all of us, we struggle with tough things in our daily life. Sometimes we do well – often we wish we had a do-over. People in the public eye are not different, just in the public eye.

I have written before that we will be held to account for every person we could have given effective witness to but did not because of anger – and that we will be held to account for everyone of malice that we could have defended the faithful from but did not because of fear or a false sense of ‘tolerance.’ It is an impossible task – and one we will fail at regularly. But we need to keep it in mind. It is best to try to put ourselves in others shoes as much as possible, in our minds at least, if we are going to give valuable counsel. For you folks old enough to remember the early days of the TV show, “Saturday Night Live,” sadly, the ‘Jane, you ignorant slut’ style of public discourse has become the norm rather than satire today. We, who are Christian, must do better.

Here then, Thunder’s marvelous dissent.

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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43 Responses to An Opposing View on St. Patrick Parade

  1. Very good article. It is very hard these days to send the right message to these groups. The bottom line is they don’t care at all about the truth of the gospel and what it says about homosexual behavior. It is very clear in the book of Romans about this.
    God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
    These groups have no interest in turning from thier inclinations.
    I always remember that little saying that became so popular a few years ago. …..WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Jesus most assuredly would not have participated in the parade. Yes he made great efforts to speak and preach to those who were the gravest of sinners. He led them to repentance without sending mixed messages. Jesus was clear. HE was clear to his disciples too when HE sent them out 2. By 2 …..if they don’t recieve the message …shake the dust from your feet and don’t return. We and especially our shepherds need to be crystal clear to all. There is only one truth. It’s message is clear. Turn away and repent. We must be willing to love all….but without compromising the truth.

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  2. MM Bev says:

    That is such a perfect example of expressing a viewpoint without debasing the subject in any way. It exudes love, gentleness and kindness, which is pretty difficult to find when writing critically about a subject today. It was well reasoned, and used Scripture correctly, balancing what is written Scripturally totally, not selectively quoting only one piece or verse that supports the viewpoint desired. I can’t thank you enough, Charlie, for presenting this opposite viewpoint because it’s like what my parents insisted. You need an even weight in each hand, and you have to use the brain God gave you, and really think about both positions. It can’t be a flash in a pan decision either. Maybe the “one more book” before coming to a conclusion. Right now, for me, it’s a “both/and”. The weight seems so even I need some kind of scale. I think that the scale would be “compassion and love”. What was the intent of the heart in making the decision to march in the parade? And that is something only God knows. So that is where I would leave it. Pretty much everyone watching or marching knows the teaching of the Church, even non-members, thanks to the violent behaviour, outrageous attacks, and the publicity regarding “Gay Marriage”, and business having to accommodate gays in ways that squash their conscience rights. Not many people in North America are unaware of what the Catholic Church teaches, and Cardinal Dolan has been no softy on articulating the teachings of the Church. Will some be scandalized? Absolutely. If I were to have a gentleman border living in my house, would there be Catholic’s who were scandalized? Absolutely .
    Heck, I have double vision and the balance of a severe drunk, but each eye sees perfectly, just not together, so I can drive. I re-taught myself to walk despite being told that I wouldn’t be able to….and I do weave a bit sometimes because I can’t walk without both eyes open, but I drive SEATED with one eye.. (And you betcha that I fall often when outside. Actually, it’s cool, because the kids from the young adult group vie with each other, to take my arm and walk me to my car. (Did I say that smugly?) A woman at the Church whom I have known for over 20 years, knows that I attend daily Mass, and makes a Holy Hour of Adoration at the same time I do, began avoiding me. I asked her very gently after one Holy Hour if I had offended her in any way? From what happened next, and the specific questions and the rapidity with which they were fired off, I realized that she thought that I was faking for sympathy. I guess maybe she was scandalized, as she and her friend had discussed what they thought. But I quietly, and calmly answered all her questions so that she could understand. It was close to Christmas. Two weeks later, when I came in, I silently set a chocolate bar behind each person who was adoring our Master and Love. Both women are relaxed and friendly whenever I see them. So I guess that people can be “un-scandalized about stuff, if we can find a way, too.

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  3. Charlene says:

    The article was very balanced. After reading this reminded me of 2nd Maccabees 6 the story of Eleazer.

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  4. Crystal says:

    Last year, I attended a workshop for marriage ministers. In one course, they advocated using the ‘assumption of good will’ toward our spouses. I found this advise not only helpful in marriage but in life in general. Too often we are tempted to assume the worst, despite the fact that the other person has no history of malice or ill will.
    I think this ‘assumption of good will’ can be applied to Cardinal Dolan. I agree with you, Charlie. Until there is abundant and strong evidence to the contrary, we should pray for Cardinal Dolan if we disagree with his actions rather than accuse him of being an apostate.
    The difficulty, of course, arises when we start to have consistent information that a person is no longer upholding the faith or acting in good will. Discernment is difficult and we have to be very, very careful not to accuse falsely. I would rather err on the side of mercy than false judgement (as I hope the Lord will do with me on return home to Him.)
    My husband used to say that everyone thinks the boss is an idiot…. until they get to be the boss. Sometimes we just do not have all the facts that a person of responsibility has to make the decisions they do.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Marvelous approach, Crystal. It would allow us to discuss serious matters seriously without casting those who disagree with us into outer darkness – and oh, what grief we would all be spared.

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  5. BJ says:

    Indeed some balance by Thunder and a correct assessment of the profound gravity
    of the situation… which does not deny whatever wonderful work Cardinal Dolan has undoubtedly done in defence of the Church…. this is not a ‘get Cardinal Dolan or defend him’ moment.Rather
    an opportunity for the hierarchy and inspired commentators to gently remind all clergy and faithful of the importance of being unequivocal about Church doctrine in the public square …. St Patrick,in this sinner’s opinion, would be aghast at the idea of a Prince of the Church leading a parade supposedly to honor his sainthood which by force of years of media and political pressure now includes a group of people who point blank refuse to accept that their sexual behavior and ‘teachings’ are contrary to the Word of God….. this imposed message is going to be presented to and impressed on the youth of the nation and seconded by the presence of a Catholic Cardinal apparently happy to be at the head of the parade ! …. the17thMarch parade should now not expect the patronage from heaven of St Patrick or the Catholic church on earth, …. stand down from this parade Cardinal otherwise in the coming years there’ll be even more humiliation for the faithful ….

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  6. Cecilia says:

    You are a good man, Charlie. Thank you for sharing the alternate view with which I heartily agree. The Cardinal’s participation makes an ambiguous statement about homosexuality. It does not say clearly enough that we love the sinner but hate the sin. One can simply not imagine Jesus or the apostles involved in any manner whatsoever, in any event where participants are glorifying sin, and in my opinion that is what is about to happen. I pray the Cardinal changes his mind.

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  7. Rosemary says:

    I think that our Lord knows what Cardinal Dolan is about, and his heart. It is best that people keep their hearts centered on our Lord’s desires, and not be too off chasing the devil and being distracted. Many come in sheep clothing, presenting possible and creditable points meant to cause confusion, but remember, that is the plan. No matter who. Our Blessed Father in Heaven is the focus, and trying to justify or create mind games, is not His intent. Your friend in Christ, Rosemary

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  8. aj says:

    Yes….tbe goodly lawyer shares my opinion…or vice versa. My biggest challenge in the Cardinal’s decision is the witness it brings. Which brings me to another point. A major problem with our beloved Chjrch admin is our sloth to respond or explain actions to the flock via even our own media outreach. As there is usually only the mass media to get info, which usually is botched up to lead in a normally opposite direction to the Church, many of the faithful are led away down a despondent road.

    We have ewtn and so many Catholic radio stations…Cardinal Dolan should avail himself knowing fully well that this controversy can have a negative effect on good genuine faithful sheep. Well that’s provided he knows how to untangle this one. So let us pray that the HOLY SPIRIT brings His Wisdom and works for good.

    On a very little side note of correction on the James Thunder’s article: He said that JESUS told the people not to obey the pharisees, but that is actually incorrect. JESUS actually told the people to do as they say but not as they do because they sit on the Chair (“ex cathedra”, same word we use for the Pope’s authority) of Moses. So the Pharisees had the authority from GOD to teach but they themselves were hypocrites.

    GOD guide us all!

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    • charliej373 says:

      AJ, I heartily agree that our Bishops have been a bit deficient in effectively using the media outlets available to them to communicate the message clearly. I have seen some improvements in that in the last half a decade, I think – and I appreciate the difficulty of doing it through the haze of a hostile establishment media. But, yes, it is a priority.

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  9. Robin Cooke says:

    This lawyer apparently not only has worldly knowledge, but Wisdom. Thank you for posting this, there is no time now to be blind to what we are to be doing, and our behavior could very well affect another’s salvation! As a Cardinal, or Prince of the Church, wisdom should be overflowing….unless there is something getting in the way of that channel of wisdom. We need to pray for our catholic leaders!

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  10. Sue says:

    Another definitive sign that we are living out the dystopia that is “1984”. Here we are, having to defend against a clearly ridiculous premise, over and over again, until we either capitulate or go mad. Or, as the strategy goes, get painted into a corner (“Hater!”) if we stand our ground and assert the obvious truth the opposition dares us to state. I know we are supposed to pray for those who persecute us, but I sure wish Jesus would have left us the option to get ahold of them and shake them a little bit too. I have to admit, I was pretty mad about this whole situation, but after reading this post and links, and everyone’s comments, I agree that Christ always turned the traps of the Pharisees back on them, just when they thought they finally had him where they wanted him. Time for me to get back to my own business. 🙂

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    • charliej373 says:

      Heh heh Sue…get hold and shake them a little bit…that tickles me. I am usually pretty patient in public forums. Once, determined not to lose my cool, I ended a series of questions from a hostile fellow by gently saying, “Bless you.” A fellow who was up on the podium could scarcely contain his laughter, because, as he explained later, he heard what I muttered under my breath as I walked from the podium – which was “…and the horse you rode in on.”

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  11. Irish7 says:

    As I contemplate the line between charity and false compassion which is so blurred and distorted in my generation, I realize I am lacking a clear understanding of how exactly to approach (in thought, word and deed) those for whom there is “strong and abundant evidence to the contrary of good will”. I know it is a nuanced question based largely on circumstance and particulars, but do you have thoughts on a general approach?

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    • charliej373 says:

      I think, Irish, an initial approach is to assume good will until someone has proven otherwise. Stick to the issue, assuming good will, and you can accomplish much. I am rather good at playing dumb – even when someone has obviously insulted me – in order to give them a chance to respond with a reasonable and gentle answer. Often I do it for quite some time. There will always be time to strike, if necessary, but once you have, you can’t take it back, only accept apology. That is not the same as giving a sometimes tough answer. I know I have done that here occasionally – but only when I already assume one’s good will and want to snap someone I believe to be basically goodhearted back to earth. I will write more on this this week – but assume good will until proven otherwise is a good initial approach, I think. Stick to the issue, not the personality – and don’t start by questioning character.

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  12. Marie Bullock says:

    I am deeply dismayed that Cardinal Dolan has agreed to serve as Grand Marshall for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This, clearly, is a victory for homosexual activists and I believe will be viewed as such by all who object to the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. It gives the appearance of being a capitulation to the culture thereby further weakening the already terribly damaged credibility of the Church. How must this be viewed by our devout Evangelical brethren who also hold to our beliefs in the disordered nature of the homosexual lifestyle to see its adherents marching in triumph behind a Prince of the Church? It is very disheartening for those of us who must make decisions on a daily basis – albeit in small ways – to be charitable but also not to compromise our Faith. We need our Bishops – who have been given far more grace for the battle that we, the flock, – to be churchmen we will willingly follow even to the Cross. This is made clear in today’s great Feast of the Exultation of the Cross. We are in the battle of our lives.

    Recall the following: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.” Karol Cardinal Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), November 9, 1976

    If the St. Patrick’s Day parade is slowly devolving into New York’s equivalent of New Orleans Mardi Gras or Rio’s Carnival, then perhaps it is time to remove all Catholic elements associated with it. Cardinal Dolan is truly in the arena and needs our prayers and sacrifices to courageously confront the “anti-Church.”

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    • charliej373 says:

      Marie, when the anti-Christian forces are busy trying to force us from the public square, should we abandon it without a fight when they act up? When St. John Paul was Bishop of Krakow, he sometimes with followers “crashed” a public celebration led by communists. Was this a capitulation? How do we maintain our place in the public square and keep from being consigned to only speaking of our faith at church if we quit the field at the first serious sign of contradiction? How do we evangelize if we just give up? I don’t necessarily disagree with your concerns – but it seems to me your solution thus far would confine evangelization to churches, making them a sort of ghetto while Christianity is otherwise successfully banished from the public square. If we completely abandon the St. Patrick Day Parade, how long before it is renamed the sterile Irish-American Parade? I ask you these things seriously. If you contemplate them, you will deal with some of the questions one who actually leads must deal with that critics don’t. You may have good answers, but I seriously hope you will contemplate them.

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      • Stephen Maresch says:

        Charlie,
        I agree with Marie, I don’t think we need to keep fighting a loosing battle. Sometimes in a war the enemy gains some ground but if your generals are smart they will go round the enemy and flank them. If the Saint Patti day parade has become more about debauchery and less about Catholicism let it go, remove the Catholicism from it and start a new parade. Maybe a Marian parade this time.

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        • donna269 says:

          Charlie:
          Have you attended the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade? It may bear the name of the great saint, but it is becoming quite raucous. There are bagpipes and Marching Bands….Irish dancing troops and politicians abound….I don’t think it demands the reverence and concerns that this bruhaha has created. It’s already heading toward Mardi Gras….The spectators are often underage, drunk and disorderly. You certainly never want to ride the train on St Patrick’s Day….people are drinking and vomiting….sorry to be so specific but this is the reality of the day.My husband and I went into the opera one St. Pat’s Day and really regretted it. The train conductor stopped caring about the shenanigans. Police from different precincts hopped on and off at each stop. What I am trying to say is it is hardly a procession of the Eucharist.

          I think at this point in time, we need to pick our battles. I have to chuckle because I think people are digging in their heels and grandstanding for a parade that is not really that Catholic….Irish yes, Catholic, not so much….it just happens to bear the name of our great saint of Ireland.

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      • Marie Bullock says:

        Thank you for your comments, Charlie, which I respect and considered seriously. Your point about how easy it is to criticize when you do not lead is well taken. You are right and I agree the fight must continue in the public square. Which is why I support The Catholic League led by Bill Donohue. As you likely know, the Catholic League has withdrawn from this and future parades due to betrayal and double-crossing by the parade organizers. (The sad affair is well documented on their website.) As an organization that has fought long and hard in the public square, they have decided to opt out of this event. (And to be fair, Mr. Donahue has registered no public objection to the Cardinal serving as Grand Marshall.) I realize that as a clergyman, Cardinal Dolan’s approach to the Parade and the souls marching therein is pastoral; whereas Bill Donahue, on the other hand, is a layman with a layman’s perspective. Two notable Churchmen, who are great friends, taking two different paths on what has become a topic of great interest. I hope and pray that despite my own misgivings, the path chosen by Cardinal Dolan will bear good fruit.

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  13. Fran says:

    I have been carefully reading and pondering your post, and all the comments on this topic, but I have to agree with James Thunder’s assessment of this. I would never judge Cardinal Dolan’s intentions, but I do think that our Church leaders need to be very, very careful about what impression they give with their words and actions. I know people who will use Cardinal Dolan’s act of marching in the parade with the gay-activists as being supportive of gay lifestyle and marriage. I am bracing myself for it in fact, and I don’t know, yet, how I will respond. It bothers me and makes me a little sad, because I think it sometimes makes the Catholic faithful feel like their Church leaders don’t “have our backs”, so to speak. I mean it makes it very difficult to evangelize and teach the truth when our Church leaders send out mixed messages, and perhaps the credibility of the Catholic Church, to those who may consider it, is diminished. I hope that I am explaining myself well enough. I am not attacking or accusing anyone. I do not envy the responsibility of our Bishops and Cardinals who must heavily weigh their words and actions in order to love and bring the sinner to repentance, but not confuse and scandalize the faithful. Besides that, as you pointed out Charlie, there is always someone ready to pounce on everything they say and do and put their own spin on it. Jesus’ words to his apostles still ring true, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”,

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  14. MM Bev says:

    Charlie:
    I just LOVE your comments! I bet there isn’t one of us commentators or your readers who haven’t taken the plunge into the fray yet, who hasn’t expressed exactly that in one form or another; I know what I have thought a few times while the spoken words were presentable. Bless me Father, for I have sinned, in thought…..so many times I am unable to even count them since my last confession. And, I am ashamed to say, your muttered words are much kinder than the ones I think.

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  15. MM Bev says:

    Can’t help it. I know that you’ll read and kindly delete. Charlie that is screamingly funny. Told ya-14 and magic! After four hours, in emerg, with me walking around hopping on the stretcher wandering down to xray and CT on my own in socks=meaning that I could have fallen at any time and compounded my injury. they saw the xrays. Bang. There I am on a bed, confined from top of head, sides to mid thigh-do you think maybe just a little late? That’s Mark. He boxes in so thoroughly with Popes, Early Church Father’s and the Catechism who would dare say anything. It’s good, correct, all those things. But I like how you hold the reins loosely, letting us “horses” learn how to go straight by doing and with instruction. That teaches us better. Sorry, but I just Love you.

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  16. johnmcfarm says:

    Satan is very cunning and appears to have the ability to learn and adapt. I dont whitewash the obvious, the Catholic Cardinal was tempted one way another away from God. The damage he can do to sway others in his betrayal is very worrisome. As you have said in the past Charlie, there eill ge those who seem like a rock for God who will fall away.

    the course is clear, Gods message and Will solid. We can forgive, but I don’t believe there is time to in anyway support those who betray God…

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  17. MM Bev says:

    As I have been reading and thinking, reading and thinking, it suddenly struck me what Pope Francis said and how many objected vociferously to his choice of title. “I am the Bishop of Rome.”

    It might be that it is time for us to reflect on whether or not it is helpful in today’s time to keep using the terms that in the past meant so much to us and reasonable to non-Catholics. Maybe we have to let go of “a Prince of the Church”. Pope Francis showed us an example that many found hard to understand and didn’t like. But he showed us humility in action by what he said. I have a feeling that this parade is going to bring me a opportunity to be a bit more humble than I have been. This isn’t a “Prince of the Church” leading the parade. True, he holds a very authoritative office, and is a Cardinal. Could he be trying to express that we are first of all followers of Jesus, who was the most humble of all. He’s sure to get his due from both the secular media, the gay activists…..and the Catholic media as well. Now, I know he knows this, because he is an intelligent man. Is he trying to teach us something>

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    • charliej373 says:

      Well, I will finish up with some musing on several matters in some Musings tomorrow, Bev. But those who got upset about the title, “Bishop of Rome,” were simply ignorant. Pope Francis did not make that choice. For many centuries, the Pope is the Bishop of Rome. It is one of his ancient titles. The Bishop of Rome is the Pope – they are actually formally interchangeable titles.

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  18. Nancy says:

    Charlie, the last two paragraphs of your post “Fractured Expectations,” have been a source of wisdom for me as I view events as well as focus on what I must do. “Do not be lured into contentious arguments over what is not your job in the first place,” is the sentence that made me more aware of how the devil works best to scatter and divide. He must love it when Catholics choose sides against each other. That being said, I do appreciate the opinions expressed thoughtfully and charitably here and have found out that I agree with aspects expressed by both “sides” 🙂 However, I am not such a one to tell what I think is the right thing to do in this situation. I do not want to sound pithy about this, but that St. Patrick’s day parade may never be marched. The storm may be upon us at that time and our focus will be elsewhere. I still have to man my post tomorrow morning. I trust that as Jesus avoided the traps laid by the Pharisees, the Holy Spirit will help us be “wise as serpents” if we but listen. Actively loving those around us and faithfully living the truth of the Word will have more of an impact than we can imagine.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Nancy, yours is the type of comment that makes my day. St. Teresa of Avila said we should “be gentle with others and hard on ourselves.” I rather think we have utterly reversed this sound advice throughout the culture – and Christians, rather than being exempt, have been too prominent in the reversal.

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  19. MM Bev says:

    Nancy:
    Lots of wisdom in what you’ve said. This evening of comments has been a real revelation to me. I am so glad that I have had to opportunity to not only read, but to participate.
    Part of a comment I made must be very odd since readers don’t know “the rest of the story”. I guess, really, the rest of the story is that the Holy Spirit has sort of put me on my own private retreat-and I am most grateful.
    I had to relearn everything, and I do mean everything after my surgery 12 years ago. I have “damage on my “hard drive” and so I built “software” as best I could around it. I do have the balance of a drunk, which is worse outside, without depth perception. But it’s more fun. So last Sunday evening, heading off to bed, I went to put two ironing boards down, and thought, now I could put another cot there–thinking of our future. Well, that meant I let go of thinking intently about standing upright and walking. I fall so quickly I don’t remember it. However, the xrays and CT showed I fractured the cervical 3 and cervical 4 vertebrate. Now cervical 1 is already compromised when the brain surgery to remove my tumor was done. Hummmm. That’s three out of four. Different neurosurgeon, thank You Jesus, and he didn’t want to tinker around unless absolutely necessary. So an awkward neck brace, and lots of time at home. I doubt he’d have done that if he knew my “falling” history…..but there it is, and I have found this week has turned out to be delightful (as long as I keep my head up straight, which I haven’t done for 12 years. If I can’t see the floor, walking is extremely difficult which means stretching my brain a bit more.) But that’s great! All of you have really become my “family” because there is no one here that believes that disaster is, well, one good fall away. And so many to pray for (gonna be using the Miraculous Trust Prayer big time).
    Surgery took away the person I used to be, capable, multi tasker big time, six hours sleep, and left me capable of doing about one quarter of what I used to. Now guess what. I’m down-to less than one quarter. How nice though, to have my own retreat. I get to go over all Charlie’s past entries, and get to know all of you better as I read your replies….to ponder, and pray for so much, all of you included. Charlie and you have given me a place where I actually belong and am not called crazy. Each of you have given so much to me and I have learned so much because of it. The “both sides” occur with so many things that happen in life. Often a person never gets a chance to hear the “other” side and I think it leaves us worse off than I am with double vision. Without proper perspective, we are blind. I don’t want to be spiritually blind because then I can only lead others the wrong way. With all of us together, sharing and accepting each other, we can only grow the way that God wants us to grow. Without this, how can we be signs of Hope and Joy for others. You can’t give what you don’t have. Jesus planned this and planned for all of us to be here together. How wonderful. And how generous of you Charlie, because you have had the hard work all your life….while we gather the benefits…growing and loving and sharing hope. The predominant feeling reading each entry and comments leaves the reader in peace and glowing with hope. I don’t think I am the only one who experiences this. May the Internet last through the whole storm. Well, OK, I can be a bit unrealistic too.

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    • Nancy says:

      Bev, guess what…I have another prayer for you. 🙂 To me, I’m guessing that God is pruning away your plans and replacing them with His own. I am very sure that I would not handle your situation well at all (probably be a lump of self-pity).
      I didn’t have the best relationship with my father. Looking back, I see now more instances of his love and I am so grateful for these memories. I was finally able to tell him that I loved him before he died, though I can’t remember those words from him. What makes me so sad is that I don’t think he ever heard them from his father. I realize now that his father probably hadn’t heard them either. I think I have always been looking for a father who really loves me, even when I disappoint Him. I wanted to find one I could run back to in sorrow instead of run away from in fear. I finally found the one–my Heavenly Father. (I know it sounds pathetic considering all I had been taught, just hadn’t felt.) I guess I had never seen the love He had for me or the plans He had for me, either. Enough of this…here is one of the things that came to me (through the internet 🙂 ):
      http://vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2011/10/praying-to-the-father/
      PS: you are on Our Lady’s list

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      • MM Bev says:

        Nancy:
        Before I go one line further down I want you to know how very much what you have said means to me. Like you, I misinterpreted my parents all of my childhood, and came to the conclusion before I was a teenager that no one could ever love me if they saw me “for really” and so I always work a well attached mask. I moved from a very controlling and authoritarian mother, int a marriage with a husband who was exactly the same, but was a functioning alcoholic as well. And, I do thank God, because having the childhood I had, I didn’t know that he was abusive emotionally and psychologically. I didn’t know until I was recovering from my surgery 12 years ago.
        Nancy, you would too do just as much as I did. When God puts something on our plates, He doesn’t abandon us even when we feel totally abandoned. A way, a way, a door always open, and we move on and through. Hard? Painful? Absolutely. But isn’t that what He calls us to…..pick up our cross? And being mostly friendless all my life, He had prepared me for my life now…and look, He’s give me all of you and all the information and training that Charlie gives us. He gives us the will and the desire….and the strength. And he gave me such JOY through my life, too. I can’t even begin to tell you. Pressed down, overflowing, and running over. And showed me how good and really loving my husband was, and what hurt him to make him the way he was. I would marry him again in a nano second even knowing what was ahead.
        Everyone’s story is the SAME. I know, I know, it’s different. But it’s the life God designed especially for us, so it’s the same. The only important thing is to find Him, LOVE HIM and follow where ever He leads and TRUST. How can we not trust Him. He brings to us everlasting life. You would do exactly the same in my life as you are doing in yours. He’s taught you in yours, and taught me in mine. All families, especially these last few generations, are suffering from what is said in one of the Psalms…the sins of the fathers passed from generation to generation. Those sins don’t have to be selectively their fault for likely they were passed down to them. But from birth, maybe before He plans, designs, exquisitely the perfect life for us, and rearranges things for us when we mess up. Unbelievable. Unfathomable. Fantastic. Exciting. Wonderful beyond imagining.
        And how kind and wonderful you are to give me the link. I will be used, and when it is, I will think of you and your kindness and caring. See? I said that “it was a special family.” And you’ve just proved it. My thanks and my love and my prayers to you, my sister.

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  20. Kris says:

    Hey Charlie, I could not agree more with Thunder on his view of what the leaders of our Church are doing in response to groups who WANT to UNDERMINE what Christ’s message is all about. We must walk with them in mercy, yes, just like Christ. But I know until Christ decided to let his life go on the cross, he did not let those that wanted to kill him have the opportunity. I was reading another really excellent example of standing up for the truth in this report of Ted Cruz at http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/joseph-puder/ted-cruzs-a-badge-of-honor/ I don’t claim any great ability to not make mistakes. I don’t claim to feel superior to our Church leaders. I agree we all make choices and a moment of fear of how we will look if we do this or that can make or break any of us. I have done it many times. I just know that all the back slapping, fund raising , smiling , laughing pictures we see of our leaders with those who INTEND to sabotage Christ always dishearten me. For I must go to Church on Sunday and listen to our priests who tell us that we are wrong for thinking same sex marriage is wrong. My children are told they are not nice if they think same sex relations are wrong. I fight the battle each day with fellow Catholics who have been very badly catechized. This must be done with love and mercy, yet the battle must still be fought and truth must be spoken even when you get booooooed!!!! Thanks

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    • MM Bev says:

      Kris, I can only bow down and thank God, because never in my life have I faced that. No Bishop or priest in my life has ever said such a thing. This makes me understand a whole lot better why some of the responses over this issue are on both sides. That is so unbelievable that I don’t know what I would do–but it would probably be awful, and right there in Mass. Not a good decision, just a reaction which doesn’t lead to good.

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      • Kris says:

        Yeah! And I wish I were exaggerating ! I wish I could apologize for being over the top. But it is so real where I live in a small parish , in a vast (land wise) Archdiocese that even visiting priests have told us that ‘if they were to stay, they would lose their vocation’. I likewise thank God on my hands and knees for great priests that he sends our way who vacation here, who say Masses and have dinner with us, who make great impressions on our children. God provides in the desert!!! Yet, when we must be careful not to let our children be taught by our local priest (and the permanent deacon) or reassure them that when they go to confession and the priest apologizes for saying the words of absolution (because the church “requires me to say these words”) I get a bit excited when I see our national leaders saying the strangest things and they appear to just not be fighting at all. This is another reason why this blog means so much to the likes of me, I can tell myself and my family – the fight is on- we must be brave soldiers in the littlest things and not fear. One great visiting priest who belongs to the Order of St. John from Laredo TX, told me once to raise my kids in nobility. When I asked him for clarification he referred me to Maccabees II Chapt 6 I believe, the widow who watched her sons die one by one for the faith. This was a tough lesson plan, yet, I do believe it was the inspired vision of a great holy priest. So, now that I have said all that, I step down off my box and move on. God bless you all and thanks Charlie for you blog.

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        • MM Bev says:

          Kris I’m shaking. and will likely make mistakes re spelling. Laredo, dear God in Heaven. What a gift you give me. Kris, my brother who is deceases (two months after I got out of the hospital), belonged to the Order of Saint John, which has it’s mother house in France (Rinmont) and they have a monasary in Laredo and one in Peoria. He was my first real friend. That sounds so bizzare. It was l976. None of us five kids became intimate or friends, just always covered each other wherever we could. He was looking for a “new order” at that time, as I think I mentioned in one of the comments long before. It was because of him that Saint Therese changed me into technicolor. They are all wonderful. He came here and another month in Victoria for a number of years, hoping that one of the bishops would want a group from their order to come to Canada. He and the founder were close friends, now both in heaven. (I really mean that, since he caused the grace to flow down from God in two impossible situations, one withing ten minutes of me getting the phone call from Austria saying he was dead. The second one I needed, and I screamed it at him and the next day it happened.) He was my brother, my spiritual director, my confessor and my best friend on earth-at that time my only friend on earth. I could only have him stay for about two days out of the month he spend here “subbing in a parish” but he never asked, bless him.)
          Oh Kris, oh Kris I can hardly see for the tears. This is like a great big golden star from God for me, confirming what I already knew about all of you.
          I am so glad that you and your family are able to receive some help from them. My brother’s name was given to him by the founder, Father Philipe-Marie….Lazarus of the Mother of God.
          God raised him from the dead in a very special way; he was so ill at that time, his German order were sending him back to an insitution for the sick for the rest of his life. He didn’t even know Father Philipe, who phoned him and told him to work it somehow so that he came to Rimont.
          When my brother told him the prognosis, Father Philipe said “I believe in a God who raises people from the dead. Come.” I’m saying what I shouldn’t, but I have no other way to tell you what joy and what a blessing you have given to me. And these are tears of joy, of joy.

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          • Kris says:

            Wow! I can only tell you that each member of the community of St John has been an inspiration to me and my family. the superior of the group in Laredo is a dear friend and I just believe grace flows from him and my children fell in love with his spirit from the first. They come to give summer retreats in Alaska once a year and my two older children have been many times. They are solid religious. So yes, we have been VERY blessed by their charism . Anyway, we continue on the joyful path of fighting the good fight and ask for grace to flow through all of us to transform us. I highly recommend the writing of Fr. Phillip especially his book, Searching for and finding peace. It is a wonderful book. Blessings to you.

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          • Fran says:

            Bev, I think that we are going to see lots of connections and “coincidences” as we go forward. God is so good! And you don’t have to feel alone anymore, you have friends here! May God bless you!

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    • Fran says:

      This is how I feel also, Kris. I have personal experience with priests who are teaching falsely, perform liturgical abuses, and even a parish where the pastor gave a Sister priestly duties like giving a homily. She also did a sort of “mass”! My children had just begun school at this parish for a couple of years, before the Lord awakened me, and showed me everything going on there. My daughter who was only 7 at the time, started telling me about the Sister who said “mass” “What?!! No, honey a sister can’t say mass”….I started staying there when I brought them to school for the days they were supposed to have mass. (It was the closest Catholic school to us, and a good 25 miles away.) Couldn’t believe my eyes! I wrote a letter to the Bishop at the time, and got no response, after a few weeks.( My daughter was supposed to make her First Communion there, and I was worried that even the consecration wasn’t valid!) So I called, and asked if my letter was received. A Monsignor did call me back, and told me that the Bishop received my letter, but that I didn’t need to worry. That this priest was doing valid consecration. That was it. No other comment. I took my children out of that school, and started homeschooling over 20 years ago, and never looked back. I am in a wonderful parish with a holy pastor in my hometown, but the priest that was in that parish remained for many years. He was reprimanded a few times because he publicly said things that were against Church teaching, but the sad thing is that I have many friends who go to that Church and have been deceived. I have friends that this priest has married when they weren’t given permission to marry elsewhere because of a divorce situation. I know people who he has told it is ok to use birth control. I can only imagine the damage that has been done. Anyway, this is getting long, I am sorry, but my point is that in my younger years I was told things that were false by priests, and then I had this experience. I had prayed to the Lord to just show me the truth, and I would do whatever He asked. He did, and I believe that I have. So, this is why the TRUTH is so important to me, and it disturbs me if I see our Bishops saying or doing something confusing. I do not want to judge their intentions, but misguiding the faithful, and those who are considering the Catholic Church is so serious. They have a grave responsibility.

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      • charliej373 says:

        The only time I ever walked out was on a morning I was at a daily Mass in the Chicago area. I traveled around a lot for work – and this was not my home parish. When it began, a woman processed in. I thought perhaps it was a worship service because the priest might have been away, but it struck me as odd she was wearing vestments. About 40 people were there. About 15 minutes in, it became clear this was no worship service – this woman was trying to say Mass. Fortunately I was near the front, so when I got up and slowly walked out, seven or eight more of the faithful walked out, too.

        I notified both the chancery and told my director, who was a priest of some authority. The priest was removed from that parish less than a month later. Turns out he had been advocating for such things and had done a few other dicey things – and so was skating on thin ice.

        I do not advocate anyone remain silent in the face of desecration or the teaching of obvious error. I will wrote about that after the Musings article that goes up later today.

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        • Fran says:

          Oh, good Charlie, I am glad that you wrote about that! I asked a question a couple of weeks ago I think, on this topic. When should we be silent, and when is it ok to speak out? You said that you were going to write about it. I know in obvious error or desecration it is ok, but in other cases I am not clear on it. So I am grateful for any insights you have. Thank you.

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          • Kris says:

            I really appreciate the ability to speak the truth without being told to NOT speak about divisive things. It is very important to me and to my family to speak the truth, and use discretion when doing so. Once the truth is spoken, turn it over to the HOLY SPIRIT to right it. Yes, going to the Bishop should work as it did in Chicago with Charlie, yet, it does not work always in other places. I say this especially if those of us who have no political importance to the Bishop are the ones saying it. For this I have learned to become the prayer warrior and ask the Holy Spirit to give the Bishop courage. I liken it to the captain of the platoon who has to stand up in the front lines and make decisions for those who fight along side him. We are always willing to step out and assist in the fight. Unfortunately, being where I am and being in the Archdiocese we are in, we do not have a courageous shepherd and the local church suffers for it. Yet, I can tell you in TRUTH, this is an opportunity for grace to flow!!! When each of us continues the battle knowing we will experience persecution we are carrying the cross with our LORD. We are opening the window for grace to enter and then the great mystery of salvation continues before our eyes, even when we dont understand exactly what is going on. I know I have become more peaceful, focused ,less agitated in my spirit. It is like being battle ready. So as we speak of the problems I can assure you there is a mystery that is happening here. We are not left abandoned even if the Bishop cannot be a great leader. THe Holy spirit always enters in and takes control. We must just be willing to open the door and let the Spirit take over. This is the most wonderful part of the story.

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  21. Personally I am more offended that Dolan went out of his way to express his approval of the “LGBT” banners at the parade (“I think the decision was a wise one”), than that he is going to serve as Grand Marshall. (Although I still do side with Monsignor Pope on that one). Thank you for having the courage to present both sides, though!

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