Musings: Could St. Maria Goretti Help out St. Patrick – and the Best Explanation of Original Sin EVER

St. Maria Goretti.

St. Maria Goretti.

It’s been a bit of a wild week. Readers have swamped me with emails helpfully informing me that Harry Potter is the devil (time will tell), that Cardinal Dolan is the devil (don’t think so), that Pope Francis is the devil (really?!), and, in the case of one intrepid reader, that Pope Emeritus Benedict is, in fact, actually the devil. If the point of Christianity were to uncover devils, I am now persuaded that no devil would go undetected – though the abundance of false alarms would serve as marvelous cover. But uncovering the devil is not the point of Christianity.

I will stick to less obviously controversial topics this week. Not because I am cowed by controversy, but because I really need to catch up on responding to the abundance of emails in my box before I go setting off a new round.

I waded boldly into controversial waters for a few reasons. First, to underscore the value of being candid. I take that cue from Job, who was rigorously denounced by his friends for speaking boldly things that were contrary to the conventional wisdom about God at the time – and who was later confirmed by God while His friends who denounced him were, themselves, denounced by God. This is not to say that every cockamamie idea that comes into our head is godly, but that God can’t work with us if we are only engaged with a preconception of Him rather than speaking honestly about what is in our hearts. Second, I wanted to demonstrate the difference between fraternal dispute and fratricidal dispute – especially seeing that the latter is about all our culture knows these days. Properly ordered, dispute is not so much about proving who is right as it is about burning away what is dross and finding truth – approaching the Throne – together. So I try to set up some topics we can discuss with vigor and candor but without malice.


The articles on New York’s Cardinal Tim Dolan set off more fireworks than anything else this last week. Impressive, particularly when Harry Potter was a subject of conversation as well.

People in the pews are legitimately frustrated. There are too many Sundays when I have listened to downright heretical homilies – some intentionally so. When outright heresy, such as that there was no real resurrection – only a resurrection “event” – is not preached, the homilies more often resemble an encounter with Oprah than an encounter with the living God. People who are giving of their time for the cause of life, working in the trenches, grow weary and disheartened when they never hear a pro-life homily, when they never hear the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist preached, and when they rarely hear the fundamentals of the faith proclaimed. It is understandable that when the leaders do not speak with clarity and conviction, the faithful are disheartened – and much more likely to look at leaders with suspicion and resentment, particularly when those leaders try to navigate with diplomacy in a hostile culture. The problem is aggravated if the leaders deal with difficult situations in a clumsy manner.

Simultaneously, Bishops and Priests who do try to defend the faith vigorously in that hostile climate – while also trying to balance that with their duty to reach out evangelically to those not of the faith, grow frustrated that they are constantly besieged by opponents of the faith – but also that they are rarely credited for the good work they do, but immediately set upon and attacked by the most intensely faithful for any hint of clumsiness or softness when dealing with outsiders. They don’t want to adopt a Pharisaical approach of constant condemnation and heresy patrol because…well…that didn’t work out so well for the Pharisees – and nothing seemed to get Our Founder more openly angry than that approach. So often a lukewarm approach seems the most safe to them, even as it incubates more suspicion and distrust.

So the first issue we have to heal as difficult times surround us is the breach – the lack of trust that has grown up between shepherds and the flocks. We need an army now. Like all armies, the faithful will not march to the sound of an uncertain trumpet. We need to have confidence that the faith is being earnestly and boldly proclaimed. The shepherds have the duty of both heartening the faithful and effectively evangelizing those who are indifferent or hostile to the faith. That’s a tough job. If you are a shepherd, you really need faithful folks who are out proclaiming the same rather than just acting as if they are judges at a gymnasts meet – waiting to see what you do and then holding up a rating card.

This will be a regular subject of these columns, but for today I will be content to simply define the problem in a way that may generate thought – and suggest an approach to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York that I have come up with after donning my political consultant’s hat for a few days:

First, you have to think clearly about who the antagonists are and what their primary and ancillary goals are. On the “progressive” (actually, regressive, but that for another day) side are the advocates of state supremacy. Whether they come under the guise of aggressive homosexual advocates, aggressive advocates of forcing people to violate their consciences by paying for others birth control or abortions, or trying to punish free speech or conscience, they are all components of a single demand for supremacy. They are fundamentally intolerant: their goal is to marginalize and ultimately criminalize any dissent from the cult of state supremacy. Christianity is their greatest enemy and obstacle – the lesson of the fall of Soviet-style communism is not lost on them. Their primary goal is to drive Christianity from the public square entirely. While relentlessly pressing for that, they count as victory anything that marginalizes or causes significant dissension within Christianity.

The goals of the Christian leaders and faithful are more complex and difficult. First is to evangelize, to proclaim the Gospel message with clarity and conviction. Second is to proclaim it in a charitable way so that any of good will may be inclined to examine the Church’s claims more deeply and, perchance, be reconciled or converted. Third is to insist upon our claim of freedom in the public square.

In any hostile dispute, one wants to deny the aggressor victory on any of its primary goals – for failure to do so invites more attacks. Historically, I have not been satisfied with merely successfully defending turf. When that is all you accomplish, then the attacks cost little for the attackers, who can retreat whenever it gets rough – but progressively grind down the defenders. I like to turn things so that the act of attacking is costly, that it stings the attackers and creates damage in their ranks.

That being the case, my first guidepost would be that under no circumstances do we withdraw from the parade. That is to cede ground voluntarily while giving the aggressors victory on their primary objective. So I would insist on being in, and in fact, continuing to lead the parade. But my press release would have a couple of twists in it. It would read something like this:

“We recognize that New York is home to a multitude of people, people of many different faiths, many different ethnic heritages, and many different outlooks on the world. We recognize that, even inside our faith, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord. So we welcome all of good will to this parade, including the poor sinners both in and out of our faith, for it has truly become a citywide celebration.

“It is an entirely different thing, though, to be a poor sinner marching in a parade and to publicly advocate for and celebrate what both we, and St. Patrick, whose name the parade bears, consider intrinsically disordered sin. We believe that a sinner who falls, even often, can and is often forgiven by the merciful Christ. But he who teaches that sin is no sin at all and is, in fact, a positive good, endangers their own soul in a mortal way and seduces others into spiritual danger. The presence of such a group in this parade is an offense both to all Christians and to the memory of St. Patrick.

“Despite the name of the parade, we do not control who marches in it. That is left to a secular parade authority. So our only decision is whether to walk in a parade dedicated to St. Patrick in which those who want to aggressively mock the memory of St. Patrick are included or whether to withdraw from the parade, lest we be seen as participating in a desecration.

“Those who are the authors of this offense claim to do it in the name of tolerance. This is worth serious consideration. Christianity literally innovated the idea of treating all with tolerance – with respect for the individual conscience. We teach that we do not need to share the same faith to occupy the public square together or, in fact, to be friends with people of other faiths and beliefs. In recent years, aggressive advocates have used the coercive power of the state to punish and fine those whose Christian faith does not allow them to celebrate or endorse what they consider sin. Small businesses, such as bakers, photographers and wedding planners have been fined or forced out of business because they would not participate in such a celebration.

“If we sought to get the state to punish and fine all who did not attend Sunday Mass in violation of their conscience, we would be guilty of coercing others and violating their freedom of conscience. We believe in tolerance, to spread our faith through persuasion while defending others right to express their conscience in the public square as freely as we insist on expressing ours in that same public square. Now, an aggressive group of advocates are trying to end that mutual tolerance. Unsatisfied with trying to win converts through persuasion, they seek to enforce approval through the coercive power of the state. We do not believe that most homosexuals support that coercive agenda – that in fact, their more limited cause has been hijacked by people who want to push people of faith from the public square while enforcing a uniformity of conscience on all – punishing with fines and threats of financial loss any who deviate from what advocates proscribe as the only governmentally approved opinion.

” We have decided that we will not abandon St. Patrick’s memory because people who should have been defending him have invited those who would desecrate his memory to use the parade as a platform to drive Christians from the public square and enforce a uniformity of conscience on all. But we do recognize a need for a new commitment to tolerance – and to defend the rights and provide for the needs of those whose right of conscience is under attack.

“Therefore, leading up to the parade, we will apply ourselves to the formation of the St. Maria Goretti Foundation to support all whose conscience is under assault through the coercion of the state or attack from private, but aggressive, advocates. As we develop a board for the Goretti Foundation, we will seek to raise money to help those families whose small businesses are under assault because they will not participate in celebrations of what violates their conscience, nor participate or pay for others in the execution and disposal of the unborn. Further, we will recruit prominent lawyers, both to defend against such assaults and to file suit for damages against those public officials, personally and in their public roles, who ignore the Constitutional and inalienable rights of all men to freedom of conscience and religious liberty. We hope to honor St. Patrick by standing with him in this parade and igniting a new birth of liberty in which we are all free to try to persuade each other, but none are free to force each other or to hijack the coercive power of the state to crush people’s right of conscience.”

Understand, this is raw. It is the sort of thing I would take to a first meeting of those involved in such a controversy and would go through numerous revisions. The things I would press for throughout are that:

1) We clearly state our position on the issue.

2) We equally clearly state our commitment to the pluralistic freedom that is a hallmark of American liberty – and insist that it apply to all.

3) We do not retreat one inch from the public square.

4) We recruit solid people to establish the Goretti Foundation as both good in itself and to establish the point that every time aggressors mount a public assault, it will come at serious cost.

I might lose some points in the formation of such an approach – but this is only one battle. I have often conceded a few points in such meetings only to have them fully adopted in later battles. The key is to not get caught up in recriminations over who is right, but to advocate for a clarity of position, recognizing that we all are trying to do justice to this cause.


I am constantly surprised at some of the countries that have people checking in on this website. Of late, a small contingent in Saudi Arabia has started checking in. At this point, the only major country that is not represented among readers is China. Of course they control access to the internet in China – and I guess this would definitely NOT be an approved site there. I am somewhat bemused now to see that people in some countries are using a translating service to get to the site. Alas, I can’t see which languages it is being translated into.


St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. My favorite church building.

St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. My favorite church building.

When I lived in the Chicago area, I loved going down to St. Mary of the Angels Parish in the Bucktown neighborhood each year for the Novena series of reflections leading up to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception each Advent. At one such evening, Rockford Bishop Thomas Doran (now Bishop Emeritus) gave the best explanation of what original sin is that I have ever heard.

Rockford Bishop Emeritus Thomas Doran

Rockford Bishop Emeritus Thomas Doran

He noted that people often ask Christians how innocent babies could be guilty of any kind of sin. Doran said that is to misunderstand what original sin is. God originally made us part of a royal lineage, he noted. Through the rebellion of Adam and Eve, seduced by satan, a sort of coup happened which overthrew us from that royal heritage. The descendants of Adam and Eve, though not at fault for that rebellion, are profoundly affected by the loss the coup entailed. Baptism restores us to the royal lineage God made us for and reclaims what was lost. Original sin is that original coup – and even the most innocent are affected by what was lost through no act of theirs. Baptism restores to us what we were deprived of by Original Sin.

Striking, simple and elegant. I thought some of you might enjoy this explanation as much as I did.



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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53 Responses to Musings: Could St. Maria Goretti Help out St. Patrick – and the Best Explanation of Original Sin EVER

  1. Nancy says:

    Reminds me of a suggestion made to counter the fines incurred by those wedding cake bakers and wedding photographers who are being forced to violate their consciences…put a sign in the window saying that the entire charge for services rendered would be donated to a pro-life/pro-family apostolate in the name of those purchasing said services…or something like that (I liked the idea but I’m not sure if I got it right). Anyway, “wise as serpents” comes to mind.


    • charliej373 says:

      I saw that, Nancy – and I think it a useful but incomplete approach. I love making them pay a price for their serial assaults. But if the shepherds took the lead in this way, I think it would clarify for the faithful where they stand, while offering useful defense and giving themselves a little room for effective diplomacy.


  2. MM Bev says:

    As soon as the abive announcement is made, I would appreciate a round of trumpets, and four to six, fully and properly garbed deacons, or altar boys to immediately start forward in front of Cardinal Dolan. (No time for any reaction.) Each should carry a basket (green or gold) filled with shiny shamrocks you can buy in the Dollar Stores, and can scatter them from side to side for the children as they proceed. (Not over profusely because they have to last the entire parade.) Gold crosses could be added if you can find them .And guess who is going to have to walk over them. Following behind, comes The Grand Marshall, entirely in RED, with a green glittering shamrock in each hand, smiling and saluting his shamrock wave to the crowds. Wouldn’t hurt to have a contingent of Diocesan priests in neat rows, walking behind him, also waving and cheer the crowds, with or without shamrocks. Make NOISE. JOYFUL NOISE. Enough happy rambunctious noise to drown out whatever is behind. Just sayen.

    I am fully in favor of the idea you are developing of a Saint Marie Goretti Foundation. I will be following whether or not it becomes a viable entity, and if it does. you might be able to get a first class relic of Saint Maria Goretti. (Small, but it counts.)

    Also re Original Sin: Unfortunately, baptism does erase same and make us fully children of God. It does not, however, remove the consequences which we battle with for the rest of our lives. (Sometimes called the seven fractures, or Seven Deadly Sins-alas.) Not one of us escapes having to deal with each of the seven during our life time. It is true that one or two may be sort of more prominent within us, and requiring a bit more grace and effort to remove, but with us they are. And go they must, and can with the grace, love, struggle, and p resistance of Our Divine Master. And sometimes you think you’ve got one mastered, and “BAM”. Never feel smugly that it is gone or it will rear it’s ugly head up again. Just say humble and know that you need Jesus every second of every day. (Just ask me, I have a tendency to get smug.)


  3. MM Bev says:

    I’m sorry (oh, semi-sorry) but my arm hairs stand on end every time I think of Maria. Now she definitely is the kind of saint we need. She converted her own killer, and he stood in Saint Peter’s square the day she was canonized. Now that’s just mind blowingly awesome.


  4. Fran says:

    Yes, Charlie!! Your points are inspired.This is exactly the kind of thing that I would love our Bishops to do! Be bold! Stand firm to Truth, but with open arms to the lost sheep. This is a time for creativeness, daring, courage! The faithful would then feel more emboldened and courageous too! I hope I am not out of place saying this, and I know there are Bishops who are courageous, but If I could speak to the Bishops, this is what I would want to tell them.The faithful really need this now!
    And the explanation about Original Sin, is similar to one that helped me understand it so well too. Brilliant!


  5. Barbara Dore says:

    i still wonder if homosexuality is a part of damaged DNA or a hidden form of disability? I know all different kind of disability go backwards to the original sin. For example, German measles, Ebola are due to the sins. Sins produce more viruses and diseases…etc. the innocent people young or old caught them. If I have an Uncle who was homosexual, would it pass on to my generation? I always find this situation very confusing.


    • vicardwm says:

      If you read environmental studies, it is pretty clear that homosexuality and other sexual problems and disorders skyrocketed in animals in areas with high industrial pollution. This problem became evident more quickly in animals because their generations cycle much more quickly, but I believe we are facing the same problem as humans. Certainly, cultural reasons are part of the issue too.


  6. Jim says:

    A lukewarm approach may seem safe, but it is a tact that follows the path of the world and not the path of God the Father.

    Jesus was pretty clear in his views on those who adopt a lukewarm demeanor:

    In his message to the Church in Laodicea, Jesus unequivocally expressed His views on the lukewarm:

    “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. 16But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15

    A pretty vivid condemnation, I would say.

    As for the parade issue, we need to recognize there is a fine line between tolerance and acceptance. And that tolerance presents risk into settling into that “lukewarm” zone. In that, St. Paul has some useful instruction:

    Titus 3 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

    “1 Admonish them to be subject to princes and powers, to obey at a word, to be ready to every good work.
    2 To speak evil of no man, not to be litigious, but gentle: shewing all mildness towards all men.
    3 For we ourselves also were some time unwise, incredulous, erring, slaves to divers desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
    4 But when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared:
    5 Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost;
    6 Whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour:
    7 That, being justified by his grace, we may be heirs, according to hope of life everlasting.
    8 It is a faithful saying: and these things I will have thee affirm constantly: that they, who believe in God, may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
    9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and vain.
    10 A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid:
    11 Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment.”

    Heresy is the denial of a core doctrine of our Faith. Marching under a gay rights banner is what has traditionally been a Catholic event I believe fits that definition. The need to evangelize must be balanced by the seemingly forgotten need to protect the flock.

    I Acts 20:28 St. Paul again provides insight:

    “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

    As does Jeremiah 23:1-4:

    “Woe to the pastors, that destroy and tear the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. 2Therefore thus saith the Lord the God of Israel to the pastors that feed my people: You have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold I will visit upon you for the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. 3And I will gather together the remnant of my flock, out of all the lands into which I have cast them out: and I will make them return to their own fields, and they shall increase and be multiplied. 4And I will set up pastors over them, and they shall feed them: they shall fear no more, and they shall not be dismayed: and none shall be wanting of their number, saith the Lord.”

    As does Ezekiel in Ezekiel 34:

    “1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 2Son of man, prophesy concerning the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to the shepherds: Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, that fed themselves: should not the hocks be fed by the shepherds? 3You ate the milk, end you clothed yourselves with the wool, and you killed that which was fat: but my flock you did not feed. 4The weak you have not strengthened, and that which was sick you have not healed, that which was broken you have not bound up, and that which was driven away you have not brought again, neither have you sought that which was lost: but you ruled over them with rigour, and with a high hand. 5And my sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd: and they became the prey of all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. 6My sheep have wandered in every mountain, and in every high hill: and my flocks mere scattered upon the face of the earth, and there was none that sought them, there was none, I say, that sought them.

    7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8As I live, saith the Lord God, forasmuch as my flocks have been made a spoil, and my sheep are become a prey to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd: for my shepherds did not seek after my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flocks: 9Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself come upon the shepherds, I will require my hock at their hand, and I will cause them to cease from feeding the flock any more, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more: and I will deliver my flock from their mouth, and it shall no more be meat for them.”

    On balance, the protection of the flock is more important than making any political statement or evangelizing those who are spiritually deaf.

    I certainly do not expect to impact anyone’s belief’s concerning the right course concerning the St Patrick’s day parade, but there is ample guidance arguing against participating in an event that is now under secular control and revels in malicious attacks and persecutions against our faith.


    • joanp62 says:

      Well said and cited, Jim. We have been suffering with lukewarm shepherds for too long. They have left the 99 faithful in search of the 1 who does not want to be found. Leaving the 99 to themselves who may in turn wander off as well. Then the Shepherd returns without the lost one and finds his other sheep gone as well. Not that we, the faithful would leave knowingly, but we are frail and weak ourselves, and need the Shepherd with us to guide us and keep us with Him, holding us up and supporting us. Left to ourselves, we will go off track.
      Perhaps they, the earthly shepherds should be more like the Father of the Prodigal Son, waiting at home with the faithful son, waiting and watching for the errant son to return and then embracing him with open arms and forgiveness. Instead of searching for those who do not want to be found and leaving them in the care of One Who is Greater than they, our bishops need to stay with the flock and be there for those lost ones who, realizing they were lost, have found their way home only to find that their father/shepherd is not there.


    • Stephen Maresch says:

      As to those Priest who give Luke warm homilies and long winded sermons of nothing but platitudes. As one famous evangelist once said “set your self on fire, the crowds will come to watch you burn”. I think to many priest see their job as a nine to five vocation and they are more afraid of being liked than saving the souls. They need multiple prayers!
      One prayer our lady gave us at Conyers for priest goes after every decade of the Rosary, “God our Father please send us Holy Priest, all for the sacred and Eucharistic heart of Jesus all for sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary in union with Saint Joseph.


  7. ann says:

    thank you for this profound, wise, charitable “statement” on the St. Patrick Parade. If only this could become the pattern card for future situations. Your idea of a Maria Goretti Society is gives me chills. Would that we could implement it. Feeling the Holy Spirit in this post!!


  8. Bonnie C says:

    Charlie, I love this article! It rings with truth and cribs/bolsters my heart as it will many disheartened faithful (that is an oxymoron, right?). You help us remember who we are. Any great general would have words like these to encourage their troops. The opposition would call you a “guardhouse lawyer”. A compliment!


    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks, Bonnie C. I am ever mindful that the Lord does not just call me to make a point. He calls me to be effective in His service – to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I will often fail – but if I fail in one because I thought I could emphasize part of His message at the expense of the rest, I fail at all and am an unprofitable servant. It is one of the things I really try to encourage here – that God does not just call us to pronounce judgment on others, nor does He call us to enable disorder, neither does He call us just to flail about in a manner that satisfies our ego but does not edify anyone. I pray to give heart to the faithful and to the shepherds, as well, to recall each of us to our duty with joy and resolve – for it is our duty that we will be held to account for.


      • Bonnie C says:

        Charlie, I felt like I was in university, as it was meant to be, watching a debate under Aquinas reading your view on the Dolan/St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the opposing – charitably and eloquently stated – argument. Thank you for showing us the best of both sides.

        I have been praying for gifts, as instructed by St. Paul, for myself, but while reading your post today, I asked Jesus to give anything he would give to me, to bolster up what you already have. You have scope and range. I’m just a little weak sinner in obscurity – no false humility here – truth. I greatly appreciate all of your efforts. May our prayers hold up your arms on this journey and in this battle. Godspeed us to the end of 2017!


  9. Kati says:

    I very much like what you have proposed here, Charlie. I particularly like the notion that we do not abandon what has been our space to those who wish to crush us. We remain…even more brightly. Those who are spiritually deaf may not be persuaded right now, but the observers (who are far more in numbers) WILL notice and I think many in our culture will find themselves leaning a bit more in our direction of authentic tolerance (love of Christ for His creatures). People have clear instincts and desires for authentic love because they were placed within all of us by God.

    I also read this earlier: “The more we become like love the more we will become like God, and the more we will enter into His mystery. I do not think the same can be said of truth—that the more truth we know, the more we will become like He who said He was “the truth.” In fact, St. Paul warns:

    If I… comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge… but do not have love, I am nothing.

    Thus, we need to be careful that, while defending Catholicism, we do not fall into a sort of triumphalism whereby we use the gift of the Church like a bludgeon. For love must be her most distinguishing characteristic.” This came from our friend, mark Mallet:

    Thus, we demonstrate the truth…but in the power of LOVE (Jesus Himself). Powerful!


    • charliej373 says:

      Yes Kati, well said. Often it is when we are under attack and bear it with grace and fortitude that we inspire others the most. We do not know that the centurion at the foot of the cross knew how Jesus lived. But we do know that, if he did, it was not what convinced him of Christ’s Divinity. Rather, it was watching how the Lord died that led the centurion to proclaim, “Surely, this was the Son of God.”


  10. Sue says:

    Regarding the issue of state supremacy, we would do well to remind all people that our laws, (and therefore state power) are set upon precedent. So, while they may celebrate each court “victory”, they may not be so jubilant when that same power is wielded as a club over their own heads. And I have no doubt it will. Allowing the government the power to force, by violence if necessary, a man to act against his conscience, in whatever form that “conscience” may arise, (i.e. “You’re next!”) is foolish and short-sighted in the extreme. It brings to mind that old CCR song:”I see a bad moon risin’, I see trouble on the way…”


    • charliej373 says:

      Bad Moon Rising…another of those ‘unconsciously’ prophetic works of art in these times, I think. Also look at the lyrics to “Blackbird singing in the middle of the night…”


      • I noticed this too, Charlie.I find that these “unconsciously” prophetic works of art are popping up all over the place, as if the soul understands what the mind does not. In songs, fictional books, poetry,paintings – on some level people seem to understand that we live in unusual times.
        I know a lot of people question Thomas Merton’s later works but have you ever read “To the Immaculate Virgin on a Winter’s Night”?

        Lady, the night is falling and the dark
        Steals all the blood from the scarred west.
        The stars come out and freeze my heart
        With drops of untouchable music, frail as ice
        And bitter as the new year’s cross.

        Where in the world has any voice
        Prayed to you, Lady, for the peace that’s in your power?
        In a day of blood and many beatings
        I see the governments rise up, behind the steel horizon,
        And take their weapons and begin to kill.

        Where in the world has any city trusted you?
        Out where the soldiers camp the guns begin to thump
        And another winter comes down
        To seal our years in ice.
        The last train cries out
        And runs in terror from this farmer’s valley
        Where all the little birds are dead.

        The roads are white, the fields are mute.
        There are no voices in the wood
        And trees make gallows up against the sharp-eyed stars.
        Oh where will Christ be killed again
        In the land of these dead men?

        Lady, the night has got us by the heart
        And the whole world is tumbling down.
        Words turn to ice in my dry throat
        Praying for a land without prayer,

        Walking to you on water all winter
        In a year that wants more war.

        I get chills every time I read this poem. It’s as if it speaks to our times. I’ve noticed the proliferation of apocryphal/dystopian fiction that has come out over the past 5 or so years as well, especially in books for teenagers. And the songs? Same thing. There’s a huge spiritual battle going on in this world today and art seems to mirror this battle in a way like never before.


  11. joanp62 says:

    Charlie, I love your “press release”, well said.

    However, I apologize but I must take issue with advocating for our bishops taking the lukewarm approach. They have been taking the lukewarm approach for decades, and it has only made the Church, at least in the U.S. and Canada, weaker-losing members and closing parishes at break neck speed, not to mention the abuse scandal.

    Were our Church Fathers being Pharisees when they so diligently stamped out heresies? Heresies are serious business, people lose their souls by going astray and adopting heretical beliefs. The Church Fathers knew this and saving souls was more important, and more loving, than trying not to hurt feelings. Again, a lukewarm approach has been tried for decades now and it has not succeeded in bringing the Truth to people- it has had the opposite effect.

    Love and upholding Church doctrine/teaching are not or should not be mutually exclusive, and to be called a Pharisee for upholding doctrine is simply wrong. To assume that the other side of the coin is to be condemning and not loving is also erroneous. Even Jesus said, and I am paraphrasing here, in speaking to the pharisees that they tithe dill, mint, cumin but neglect love. He tells them that they have to love without neglecting the other things- the Law. Now we are under the New Covenant, and are not under the Old Law, but we still have the non-negotiables- which are the 10 Commandments and other of God’s teachings which are Church doctrine. There should be no choice between upholding doctrine and Love. They should go together.

    It just seems to me that what you wrote in your press release and what you wrote in the 6th para. of your post are contradictory. God Bless. I’m just trying to understand better.


    • charliej373 says:

      Who advocated for a lukewarm approach, Joan?! Certainly not me! I said it seems safest to many clerics because so many of the faithful do NOT have their backs when they do well – but are ever ready to go on the attack as part of a heresy patrol. My point was that clerics who chicken out will be held to account – but that the faithful who never do much but play armchair critic and assign themselves a spot on the heresy patrol will also be held to account for their part in discouraging the very clerics they criticize. And the larger point is that you must not just vent your spleen in a way that satisfies you, but put the work in to both speak true and effectively call people to the joy which was in Christ. The Pharisees could invariably quote the law accurately with great detail- but they drove people away from the faith – and Jesus held them to account for it.

      I specifically used the term lukewarm because Jesus said that such would be spewed out of His mouth – as a warning against it. But I say equally that those who have nothing more than fire to breathe in order to scorch everyone they come in contact with will be equally rejected, as will those who content themselves with merely enabling disorder in the name of tolerance. I tell you, unless you take the time to consider how to be effective, to speak truly and charitably, ignoring neither obligation, you may be doing work, but it is not God’s work. If I was not clear about that, I regret it – for all will be held to account and I really am trying to hearten all – shepherds as well as flock.


      • joanp62 says:

        I’m sorry that I mistook your sentence about the lukewarm approach as something you were advocating. That said, once again I sense a harshness toward those of us here who do question the “wisdom” of some of our bishops’ words and actions. I believe as faithful Catholics, that we need to have our eyes open and not just go along with everything a bishop says or does since they are fallible. There was nothing in my comment(s) that advocated for fire breathing either. As I stated, being honest about upholding Church doctrine (Christ’s teaching) and Love are not and shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.


        • charliej373 says:

          Sorry, Joan, that you sense a harshness here on those who criticize Bishops. Though I am not entirely sorry, for I think Bishops are often criticized for the wrong reason and that people who often are not fastidious in their own duties are quick to condemn. I have put up respectful criticisms – and don’t think I have failed to clear any comment on this subject. I do want some folks who are quick and harsh in their judgments to feel the heat of what criticism feels like. Again, though, dispute should be geared towards burning the dross away and approaching Truth together – not proving who is right. Your comments have been helpful here and I hope you stick with it. But I hope you have the same fortitude when they are criticized as you demand the shepherds have under the same circumstances. I really do. And, if you read through things and comments here going back, you will see that I am grateful – and say so – when someone brings up a point I had previously not thought of that causes me to amend my thought. What I try to do is to neither make this an amen corner where we bury disagreements under a superficial comity nor a hostile environment where the debate generates more heat than light. Kind of like what I imagine a good, lively Irish pub to be.


          • joanp62 says:

            I agree with you for the most part. I do think the criticisms of Cardinal Dolan are well placed. As for taking criticism? Try the comment section on National Catholic Reporter (the progressive one).:)
            I have taken quite a lot from the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd. Those of us pointing out our concerns regarding Card. Dolan have been very charitable. The same cannot be said of those on the other blog and their treatment of any Bishop they do not agree with, ie: those who uphold Church teaching.

            I have shied away from raising concerns regarding Dolan- I do not even see it as being critical-as you can see I have only posted a few times here and rarely post on other blogs anymore as I see others as being more eloquent than me. But when our bishops say “Bravo, good for him” (you can view the video on it, ) regarding a sports figure coming out of the closet, something is very, very wrong. Yes, he did reiterate the Church’s teaching- which really only made the whole thing sound even more confusing. He must know that “coming out of the closet” means that the person is actively gay. When we have done nothing against an active homosexual and treated those we know with kindness and respect, and yet must sit through homilies where the priest accuses those of us in Church for being bigots for being against “gay marriage”, something is very, very wrong. This is not being critical- it is speaking out against the worldly “madness” that has crept into the Church and been allowed to flourish for too, too long. Even though I know God is in control and has permitted this for some reason, I am sure if we are silent about this we will have to answer to God.

            As for my own personal life, I am well aware of my faults, failings and sinfulness. God has made sure to answer my prayers for true self-knowledge and to help me to rid myself of my ego and pride. It has nothing to do with being right. It has everything to do with Truth, Beauty, Love and Goodness-and the lack of it is disturbing. I am trying to live my life following Jesus and his Church, but our Church leaders are throwing faithful Catholics under the bus. That sure is how it feels and I don’t need to read other people’s concerns to convince me that these concerns are justified- it’s what I feel in my heart and soul. Something is very wrong and I guess I need to pray harder for them.


          • charliej373 says:

            Now on this comment I heartily agree with you, Joan. Make and orthodox or conservative comment on a left-leaning side and they absolutely spew venom at you. It is as if they think a sneer is an actual argument (spoiler alert – it is NOT).

            There is an old Russian proverb: “Choose your enemy wisely, for that is what you will become.” I think we have largely rejected the substance of the left’s evidence-free logic, while being infected to some extent by its toxic sneers.

            I do find Cardinal Dolan’s remarks on the matter troubling – but in view of his stalwart defense of freedom of conscience for Catholics and all throughout the attempted mandates in the enactment of the mess that is the health care law, I am very slow to assume the worst – even when he says something significantly troubling. Now, if one who was routinely given to trashing the faith and its fundamentals said the exact same words, I would immediately deplore it.

            What I hope to trigger here is a serious place for debate and examination of the issues that cut most deeply in our times. sometimes I give a hard answer: I hope I never content myself with a sneer. – I don’t think I do, but I have you folks to help keep me in line. A fellow I regard here as one of the most insightful commenters is Matthew, with whom I often have a different take (different emphasis is more accurate, I think).

            I appreciate you sticking with it, here, Joan and hope you will keep at it. Though all views are not agreed with here, all honestly stated views that have more evidence than sneer to them are welcomed and appreciated.


          • joanp62 says:

            Thank you, and God Bless. Keep up the good work.


  12. Chanette Smith Oeser says:

    Wonderfully and clearly written Charlie, many lessons for all who read this. Blessings to you! Chanette


  13. Irish7 says:

    Bravo! Does anyone have a connection with the Cardinal’s PR folks? Why not float it?


  14. vicardwm says:

    I totally agree, Charlie. I wish you worked for the Archdiocese of NY. To remain in the parade or not is not even the most important part of the equation. The important part is to put forth a clear Christian message as to the decision, which you have nailed here. It was so disheartening to hear Cdl. Dolan quoted as saying that “it was a good decision” to allow the militant gays to march, without any sort of explanation. In charity, perhaps Cdl. Dolan did say a lot more and it was “censored” but I haven’t heard anything about a fuller explanation.


    • charliej373 says:

      I agree, Vicar. I hope he said more, but don’t know if he did or what it was. I am much more cynical about press reports because I lived that life so intimately for so long. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to have something really elegant and powerful at an event, then have the press report something ancillary and out of context that made it seem you had said exactly the opposite of what you actually said. It happened a lot. I often had activists who had been at such events ask me later if the press had even been at the same event we were. I told them it happened all the time – and that they should keep that in mind before deciding my guy had gone off the reservation just because of a press report. I firmly recommend you all go to a few major controversial public events that will be covered by the press. Listen to what is said, then read the press reports on it. It will destroy your confidence in the intelligence and honesty of the press, but it will give you an idea of what our leaders are dealing with.

      A technique I mastered was to use the press’ hostile aggression against them. Knowing they were ever looking for an error to pounce on, on more than a few occasions I embedded an innocuous error into a point I really needed to get covered. Like undisciplined attack dogs, I could always count on a few to pounce – and once one piled on, they all did. But in the process, they reported the point I wanted covered without even realizing it. Only one was ever shrewd enough – after seeing how dramatically my error was moving our poll numbers ahead – to suspect I had played him and his colleagues. Hee hee, I would usually get extra mileage out of the ‘error’ because I would immediately and humbly correct it, taking personal responsibility for the error – and then explain what the candidate had actually meant. Lordy, I often got three or more news cycles out of what was not really even a one-day story.


      • Nancy says:

        Speaking about “bad press”, see today’s gospel reading for the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine: Jesus said to the crowds:..For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said. ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
        Nothing changes


  15. SteveBC says:

    Charlie, you’re right to make it costly, for if it is not made so, this group may follow another pattern I am familiar with and provide us all with yet another example of the subtleties of corruption and the power of activism.

    The Committee probably should not have given this group an invitation in the first place. To have done so has placed the Committee at serious disadvantage, as I explain below.

    As an ex-resident of California, one who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a few decades, I was annually treated to newspaper stories about the City’s Gay Pride Day parade, which over time became less of a standard parade and more of a Bachanalia. If you want to, I recommend looking up some of these stories to see what the St Patrick’s Day parade *may* have in store for it at some point in the future.

    What I would watch for at the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade is whether this group is genuinely respectful of the overall tradition or subtly or openly makes fun of that tradition and acts in a manner indicating they mean the tradition harm.

    Let’s say their conduct this parade is disrespectful enough to cause the Committee to deny them an invitation in the succeeding year’s parade. The group may very well sue the Committee on various grounds such as denial of free speech rights, gender discrimination, etc., and would likely win judicial backing requiring the Committee to include this group (if the Committee fought at all). If so, do you see any likelihood that they will become more respectful? Not likely. In fact, they would likely push the envelope of activities that are disrespectful. Eventually, this would drive the traditionalists away, ceding the ground to this group. Instead of a St. Patrick’s Day parade, New York will end up with a Gay Pride Day parade. St Patrick and his tradition will become a fading memory.

    That’s how corruption works oftentimes, through subtle, repetitive renormalization of expectations. Now maybe this group does not plan to make this kind of corrupting evolution happen. If so, good. But without having taken any action now to set up a cost or make clear that this group’s participation, like the participation of any other group, in the parade is always contingent on respectful behavior, the Committee has no way to credibly say no to this group if it does decide to be disrespectful. Given the legal atmosphere, this group has potential legal support if denied access to future parades for reasons applied only to their group and not to all participating groups. The Committee should have made such ground rules clear but alas, probably has not. If they did not clarify this for every group before inviting this group, it is now too late for them to do so.

    For Cardinal Dolan to participate under such circumstances is a necessity, but he is already playing from a bad tactical hand. Maybe nothing bad will happen, either this year or any subsequent year. But what is considered disordered behavior insofar as this tradition is concerned has now entered the purview of this traditional parade and should be considered to have potential legal backing if later denied access for disrespecting those traditions.

    This means that the only truly effective way to tamp down anti-traditional or corrupting behavior in this case is to use social pressure in the form that Charlie has recommended or other similar methods outside the actions of the Committee (now effectively neutered already), the legal system (dependably a defender of this group’s rights), or the media (dependably distorting the situation in a manner likely to be biased against the traditionalists).

    The parade and its traditions are now subject to the choices and intentions of this group, by the nature of our current society and legal system. The parade no longer controls its own destiny. Its legal guardians, the Committee, may not be able to put what may turn out to be a bad genie back in its bottle. But if those who wish to defend this tradition step up, the inevitable slide to a position under the thumb of what may turn out to be an inimical group *might* be slowed or possibly halted. Probably a slide cannot be avoided at this point, should this group decide to trigger such a slide.

    Yet another example of current events that humans and human institutions are losing control over as the collapse gathers steam and corruption grows more obvious. Yet those who care must nonetheless step up to the plate and fight the good fight here, should such become obviously necessary, and do so regardless of whether their position eventually becomes apparently hopeless.


    • charliej373 says:

      Excellent and insightful analysis, Steve! Thank you.


    • MM Bev says:

      If I understand the “rules” correctly, no one is invited to participate. Each group has to apply for the privilege to march. That means that if the “gay” group did not display proper decorum, they will not be allowed to participate again.
      Next year, there may not be any St. Patrick’s Parade, thus eliminating any concern.
      In all of the accepted apparitions of Our Lady she calls us to pray for our shepherds, to do penance and to sacrifice for them. I guess that would mean from the Pope on down. She has mentioned the Rosary as a most efficacious prayer. If all of us on this blog, knelt down before March the 17th and committed ourselves to saying “X” number of rosaries, and “X” for sacrifice weekly or daily, I bet we might see some changes that would make us happy.
      Now, we can’t invite Cardinal Dolan over for dinner, but our parish priest (even the ones that say the most awfully incorrect things), might be happy to come and enjoy a family setting. My brother, the priest, just loved being invited to eat and visit with a family.
      One thing sure, Cardinal Dolan or a dissenting priest is NOT going to read Charlie’s blog, or our comments either. So maybe Our Lady Mother’s advice is the best and will be the most effective. God can do the impossible, to paraphrase Charlie’s angel. Even just being around nice normal Catholic’s living out their vocation and not complaining or criticizing while they are there, might touch a chord off or a memory from their own childhood, that brings joy, and hope and love to them. Ya never know.


  16. Chris Young says:

    A few thoughts on Original Sin. A family shares in either the triumph or the disgrace of its ancestors. As a Royal Family, we share in a veritable dynastic disgrace, albeit through it we gained to our line the King of kings. As heirs of our forebears, I think we would not complain if the Test had been passed, and a greater merit had been added to us, would we? But we tend to dwell on the negative, and the here and now, as well. In any case, God could have just wiped us all out after the Test was failed. Would this have been preferable? The head that wears the crown may be heavy, but at least it’s a Royal head.


  17. Matthew says:

    Raymond Arroyo reported on EWTN (I hope that is a reliable enough source) that Cardinal Dolan said that the decision of the parade committee was “wise”. Likewise a few months ago Card. Dolan mentioned in a taped interview that it was a great thing the Michael Sam came out as actively homosexual. I understand a tactical political response but these things come close to encouraging the behavior mentioned. I hope you can appreciate the uneasiness that this stirs up in those of us who are daily seeking to defend the Church’s teaching.
    Just today, I had a question from a student about Pope Francis approving gay marriage?!?!?!


    • charliej373 says:

      Matthew, EWTN is an excellent source. However, I would need to find whether Arroyo is basing his report on an actual interview with the Cardinal or news reports about said interview. I certainly have had conservative news outlets blast my candidates at times solely because of news reports from the establishment media.

      More disturbing than anything I have heard the Cardinal say about the parade was the interview on Meet the Press concerning Michael Sam…but there I only have a serious issue with the last word, “Bravo.” In the most innocent construction possible (which I typically use before going off – though I often privately suggest that someone has erred)…Dolan may have internally rolled his eyes and said “Good for him” sardonically (as I have occasionally done when confronted with yet another attack). In his follow-up, he extols the virtues of chastity, fidelity and marriage. The only thing unambiguously bothersome is the final “Bravo.”

      You and I both know there is no chance of Pope Francis approving “gay marriage.” That is beyond the power of the Church to amend, as it is defined doctrine. That does not prevent the media from indulging their ignorant fantasies on the matter. They will ultimately find that to their displeasure, alas, the Pope is still Catholic. So part of the issue is the media cheering what they think is a “liberal” Pope (something, I might note, they also did for about the first year and a half of St. John Paul’s reign until they discovered that he, too, was actually Catholic).

      But you are right in that the failure to clearly proclaim the fundamentals of the faith by our shepherds is also contributing to the confusion of many, particularly the young – and is more directly responsible for that confusion than the obfuscations of the media. That is why I did the sample press release as I did – to begin to offer a way forward that does not ignore any of the duties they have. What I hope is that more of the faithful will do that – and then our Bishops will have a rich resource to draw from rather than mere critics. It will also more quickly separate the sheep from the goats; those shepherds who really are trying under circumstances that are a lot tougher than they look from those who have lost their love for the faith.


      • Nancy says:

        Charlie, I just noticed that the Office of Readings from Sunday of the twenty-fourth week in ordinary time through Friday of the twenty-fifth week of ordinary time contains “From a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop. (today is Wed. of twenty-fourth week)
        From Friday of the 25th week: ” All should speak with one voice in Christ, not with different voices. Brethren, I beg all of you to say the same thing, and to have no dissensions among you. The sheep should hear this voice, a voice purified from all schism, freed from all heresy, and so follow their shepherd, who says: My sheep hear my voice and follow me.”
        And there is so much more and it is inspiring reading. Like “Certainly, if there are good sheep there are also good shepherds; good sheep give rise to good shepherds. But all good shepherds are one in the one good shepherd; they for a unity.”


  18. Jim M. says:

    Cardinal Dolan’s statement on the subject:

    The relevant section:

    “From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals. Homosexual actions are—as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, lifegiving bond of a man and woman in marriage—a moral teaching grounded in the Bible, reflected in nature, and faithfully taught by the Church.

    So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.

    To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

    While I understand and embrace the Cardinals sentiments, I have to disagree that the group does not promote actions contrary to the Church.

    First, I believe the homosexual versus gay distinctions the Cardinal uses are reversed. Homosexual is one who experiences predominately same sex attractions, whether or not acted upon. Gay is a self describing social term of those who affirm snd embrace those same sex attractions.

    Second, the group in question participating in the parade is OUT@NBCUniversal. The group is self described as a “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group” at NBC (who is also the broadcaster for the parade).

    The group also accepts “straight ally employees”.

    To the Cardinals point, these are people whose actions define their identity. Not people who identify by their tendencies. Those who identify themselves as lesbians are not just wrestling with homosexual thoughts; they are living it. As do those in the other categories of the group.

    Third, the inclusion of the group appears to have been the result of the same coercive shaming and calumny that has been brought to bear on the Church:

    “The committee said it made the “gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics.”

    But gay leaders said the organizers were forced into it.

    “They weren’t nudged, they were shoved into making this decision,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “They were increasingly beginning to look like dinosaurs.”

    I would submit that the main goal of identifying with the group is to promote a lifestyle contrary to Church teachings. A group that is focused on taking the LGBT lifestyle main steam and persecuting those who morally oppose it.

    Cardinal Dolan and I will continue to differ on the wisdom of his participation.


  19. James and Berny Berger says:

    Rather than start another new foundation to do this wonderful work, I would encourage us to support the groups that are out there already defending people whose freedom of conscience/freedom of religion have been attacked. There are so many good groups – the St. Thomas More fund out of Michigan, the Becket Fund, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, Cardinal Newman Foundation, just to name a few. I don’t think I can start giving to another group – I have so many fine groups and charities I already give to, as well as my own church and diocese. The donations just get spread too thin, and I don’t have enough money to give to all that I want to help.


  20. Barbara Dore says:

    My heart! the world is gone crazy!


  21. joanp62 says:

    If I may post this link here Charlie: It is an insightful article written by Anthony Esolen who also writes meditations in the Magnificat. This is his take on the St. Pat’s Parade issue:


  22. Fran says:

    Charlie–I just have to share something with you, and everyone that I “just happened” to come across this morning! It is a sermon on Saint John of the Cross and what he has to say about being scandalized and “Holy forgetfulness”. …The priest in this sermon says that Saint John’s message is “Let us not be scandalized by anything that happens in the Church, but let us strive hard not to fail HIm.” This is all I needed in confirmation. I hope it helps others too… Saint John of the Cross: How to avoid being scandalized -

    By the way, another confirmation for me for the Flame of Love devotion. I may have see this before, but forgotten it. I just found this prayer/poem by Saint John of the Cross

    The Living Flame Of Love
    Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.

    1. O living flame of love
    that tenderly wounds my soul
    in its deepest center! Since
    now you are not oppressive,
    now consummate! if it be your will:
    tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

    2. O sweet cautery,
    O delightful wound!
    O gentle hand! O delicate touch
    that tastes of eternal life
    and pays every debt!
    In killing you changed death to life.

    3. O lamps of fire!
    in whose splendors
    the deep caverns of feeling,
    once obscure and blind,
    now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
    both warmth and light to their Beloved.

    4. How gently and lovingly
    you wake in my heart,
    where in secret you dwell alone;
    and in your sweet breathing,
    filled with good and glory,
    how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

    The Works of St. John of the Cross
    Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included


  23. Fran says:

    The link in my last post didn’t actually post as a link. I am trying again. I am techno-challenged..
    :-P.This is a very good homily on what Saint John of the Cross has to say about how we should respond when we hear what we think are “scandalous” things especially about our prelates. The introduction to this video says ” If the Church is following Her Lord by entering into a Passion, there will be no shortage of devils and stumbling blocks attempting to scandalize us” ..I hope this shows up as a link this time. This is excellent…. Its called Saint John of the Cross: How to avoid being scandalized by Videosancto:


  24. Kris says:

    Thanks Charlie. This is exactly the approach I would love to see from our leaders and our priests. I want you to know that even thought I struggle with the temptation to not trust the priest because of their outright heresy and the danger poses to innocent souls, I still very much recognize the need to be united. In the past I have been mouthy, talking bad about the priest. Now I realize when I am told about a crazy statement they might make or a sermon that makes me want to pick up my jaw from the floor, I turn to the blessed sacrament, pray for conversion of the priest. I have stopped going to the priest and having discussions because the priest only dismisses us or worse, we are called divisive and told we need to be watched. Funny!! I like what you said. that we are in a storm that the old is moving away, that what we might be seeing in Pope Francis is actually an insight into what is going to be needed to help the Church be make new. I like the positive hopeful thoughts that all this brings to my heart. I have had too many experiences now that tell me that God is clearly in control and a mystery far beyond my mind is happening. I trust that and I pray that I will always trust that. If I don’t understand, I turn it over to the Holy Spirit. Your suggested announcement from Cardinal Dolan regarding the parade is exactly what I would hope a leader could produce, yet if that never happens I know that I am not the one making the decisions and I must remain faithful and stand behind the Church as the wounded Mother that needs our love now more than ever. Thanks again


  25. Mary says:

    A question: when and how did the parade change from something that Cardinal O’Connor could have control over to something that Cardinal Dolan has no control over? When did a secular group take control of the play, and why?


    • charliej373 says:

      It has never been a Church parade, Mary. It is a parade run by the city – that came in honor of the large Irish population…began before the American Revolution, I believe. But it has never been under the control of the Church. What Cardinal O’Connor said a decade ago might have had more influence – back when every state that had had a referendum had soundly defeated the proposition for gay marriage. The world has changed – and not for the better. Catholics do not have as much influence over public policy as they did a decade ago…why does the Church now have to fight tooth and nail just to keep from having to pay for birth control and abortions for others? It is not because the Church has gotten worse, but because society has used government power as a blunt instrument to bludgeon people of faith. Those Catholics who have participated (including clerics) in the effort to concentrate more power in government bear some responsibility; those of us who have consistently failed to defend the faith effectively (and that means both those who have wimped out and those who are content to just be scolds); all of us bear responsibility for this. That is why the Storm comes. But the Church has never been in charge of this parade.


  26. specklebean9 says:

    So many people are angry these days. I believe it goes to a simple root cause-the huge lack of truth especially with those who are suppose to be guardians of it. I notice quite frequently some of the social media sites where females will put pictures of themselves in very little clothing and simultaneously post a prayer to Jesus. (huh??) I ask where the voices are that will say that is confusing and conflicting and wrong. But Jesus Christ has not been held to His position but relegated to the garbage dump, God forgive us!
    Let us hold to the truth at any cost! Parades especially.


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