Defend the Faithful

satandefeated-1

Sorry folks. I have two articles coming that I referenced on monetary systems and the shape of the world during the Storm…and then I had an unexpectedly rough day yesterday. Believe it or not, when I was in media – both newspapers and radio – I never missed a deadline. Somehow, this is different. Maybe it is because I’m older and have the neurological problem that demands attention every now and again…or maybe it is just that God insists on a different rhythm now. Whatever, the articles are still coming…just didn’t get here when I planned them.

At Easter of 2007 I was right on time for Mass – which means, actually, a little late to hope to get a seat in the crush of an Easter crowd. I rather dreaded it because after my neurological damage, I can walk pretty good and I can sit pretty good, but standing still is absolutely killer for me. I figured I would have to stand at the back. I reconciled myself that the agony I would endure would be a good little extra penance.

To my surprise, since I was alone, the usher took me to one remaining spot in the front. It was literally one of the best seats in the house – like sitting on the bench on the 50-yard-line at a football game. It was to be the first in a series of brief visitations I have had nearly every Easter since – and in each, it has been Christ, Himself, who appears. I had thought about editing His brief comment lest people misunderstand. It was the sternest rebuke I have ever gotten from Him, but it might look, without comment, to be an affirmation. Instead, I have decided to quote Him exactly (He used language) and then to explain what it signified, as that might be helpful for others in discerning these things.

The Mass started off okay, but irritated me that the priest seemed intent on doing some little, showy things that were not part of the Mass. When he went into his homily, my blood began to boil…for he made it clear there was no real resurrection, but that Jesus was merely resurrected “in our hearts.” (Chicago priests seem particularly prone to this ‘no real resurrection’ heresy, thinking Christ merely a soothing fairy tale. Something they and atheists have in common, only disagreeing about whether or not it is soothing). Bad enough he should teach this any time, but it seemed a downright sucker punch to do it on Easter. I thought of getting up and walking out, but I was right up front and it was Easter, and I was unsure of what message it would send to those who rarely show up.

When communion began, I went into white heat. I was right in front of one of the extraordinary ministers and saw all manner of desecration, some deeply offensive. To give you a flavor of it, I will just give a mildly amusing one. A fellow in his 30s with a long brown pony tail came up with a great grin. When the minister said, “The Body of Christ,” he responded with a thumbs up and a “Cool, dude,” then grabbed the wafer, popped it into his mouth and started crunching it like a potato chip. Some of the encounters got so offensive I could not take it any more. I had determined to get up and leave. I would participate no more in this desecration.

Then the Lord appeared to me and said, “Behold my people, given into your care. Guard them well.” That’s all. However you may interpret it, it was a stern rebuke. You cannot properly interpret anything unless you put it in the context of all the Master has to say.

From the earliest days, the central prophetic message I bear is, “Be not afraid: God calls all men to salvation.” My three prime duties are to defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful. For the period of the Storm I am sent as a sort of bodyguard and ambassador to God’s people. I am not the captain of the ship, not even part of the crew. I am subordinate to the captain. But I am responsible to Christ, Himself, for living those three duties to all, including the crew even as I am subordinate to them. It is a particular and unique job fitted to this unique time in salvation history. I had begun to judge God’s people, to decide who was fit for that healing ministry. Christ was telling me quite pointedly that ALL are His people – and reminding me of my calling, demanding that I be faithful and relentless in trying to effectively reclaim them to the safety which is in Him. And there was an edge on it, gently threatening to dismiss me if I insisted on abandoning instead of living the witness I was commanded both to His sheep who were safe and those who were lost. I can get a little testy at times (as those who comment here know) but I have since taken great pains not to cast anyone into outer darkness. If they  go there, it is only because they insist.

I think of this again as the preliminary session of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family goes forward. I see wild dissension among the ranks of the Bishops there and among the ranks of the faithful who are watching. I will offer a few useful columns on the matter, but first a few thoughts:

1) This preliminary session is not legislative in any sense. It is the equivalent of a brainstorming session to explore areas that should be addressed in next year’s formal session – when real recommendations will be adopted. Brainstorming sessions are largely efforts to break out of mental ruts in order to address ongoing problems with fresh eyes. By their very nature, successful brainstorming sessions float some truly cockamamie notions. If it doesn’t, it usually was not a successful session for it did not examine matters from enough angles. But ALL that is to be accomplished here is to brainstorm and set an agenda for the real session next year. Let’s calm down a bit.

2) Some people are out to undermine the faith. That has ever been true. But, some of the problems are simply a matter of emphasis. Some who are deeply sincere in their compassion for others would throw out the doctrinal foundation in order to give that compassion. They think it the height of compassion to tell people they are “okay just as they are” in order to soothe them. Of course, if a doctor told a patient suffering from two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a gunshot wound that he was “okay just as he is” with a comforting smile and then released him, the doctor would be fired and probably sued when the man died shortly thereafter needing care. Progressive nostrums have been a form of spiritual ebola – and assurances to people suffering from it that they are “fine as they are” will result in spiritual death. There will be an accounting. Our care must lead back to life, not merely make people comfortable on the path to death.

3) Others seek to shut the doors of mercy against those who suffer, content to let the Church be an ever-diminishing public scold. But again, sometimes it is just a matter of emphasis. Some who are deeply sincere in preserving the purity of doctrine would shut the gates against the lepers rather than risk going out among them. With every age comes new problems…and a Church that only fights the problems of the former age is one that is dying. Many worry that the Church is going to dilute Christ’s commands concerning the covenant of marriage. It is a reasonable concern. But we have several huge new problems which have grown up in the past few generations. There are those who cohabit in order to avoid the problems with the Church that divorced and remarried people have. The way we have administered things has led some to avoid the sacrament altogether rather than risk failing it. A whole generation has lost the sense of marriage as a covenant, treating it instead as any other contract. The point is to acknowledge that we need to approach the problems with fresh eyes, then adopt administrative procedures that help bring people back to the safety and joy of the faith – to regularize lives and relationships which have become more tangled than last year’s Christmas lights. Our efforts must be calibrated to gently reconcile them back into the fulness of the faith; NOT to reconcile the faith to the vicissitudes of the world which raised up most of these problems.

4) A full and frank grappling with the problems will inevitably give rise to some real clunkers of ideas – and some panicked defenses of what is fundamental. This is not – and should not be – surprising to anyone. It is also useful. Some Bishops have risen in my estimation because of their steady and candid approach to the matter. Some have dropped because of their panic or jubilant over-reach. It is useful to know who is who as we go deeper into the Storm. But do not let yourself panic. These things must come. Above all, do not fall prey to the new reformers who want you to follow them away from the faith rather than weather the Storm in Christ’s Church.

Now, a few useful observations on the Synod. First is George Weigel, perhaps the most prominent and incisive of public Catholic intellectuals at the dawn of the 21st Century. Weigel wrote the definitive biography of Pope St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope. He writes a weekly column that is syndicated from the Denver Catholic Register, the Catholic newsletter of my own Archdiocese.

Next up is Elizabeth Scalia, the Anchoress, who writes with her usual calm, insightful clarity on the matter.

Finally, I can’t help but feel we are straining mightily at gnats while swallowing a few camels. Todd Starnes has made a career in the last few years of writing about government assaults on the ability to practice faith at all. The latest outrage in Houston, where the Mayor and Council are demanding in a lawsuit that pastors hand over their sermons and notes to determine whether they are ‘hostile’ to gay rights should have people from around the country storming the barricades of city hall and the idiot court that accepted such a noxious suit in the first place. The greatest threat to the faith comes not from any synod or conference, but from Caesar’s latest iteration.

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.
This entry was posted in Church Governance, Conversion, Culture, Family, Obedience, Spiritual Preparation, The Storm and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Defend the Faithful

  1. Gary says:

    I had a similar experience at a Christmas Mass, where the “priest” told the laity that we do not have to convert people to the Catholic Church, that was the old Church, because they are already saved by virtual of the Catholic Church.

    I immediately thought to myself, so all those missionaries throughout the world should just pack up and go home.
    BTW testy works for me…

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  2. Tom says:

    I have been in your exact shoes, Charlie. Casting my eyes of disapproval at this one and that one for how they sat, talked, gave toys to their kids, etc. during Mass. But I finally get it and I understand where Pope Francis is coming from now. And I understand Cardinal Dolan and where he was coming from when he invited Obama to the Al Smith dinner and why he’ll walk in the Paddy’s Day parade with “those people”. We are all God’s people. We all sin. There is no relativism in how God views us. I’m broken, God does not care that I may be less broken than “that one over there”.

    I love Dolan’s quote today:

    Cardinal Dolan: I think we take our Qs from the Holy Father, from Pope Francis, who says, ‘Look, what you are saying is that you are a sinner. Well, if you are a sinner, nice to meet you, because so am I. And why don’t you come and join another group, a big group of sinners who are trying their best.’

    By the way, hope you feel up to finishing the piece on the monetary system while there’s still one left 🙂 and also looking forward to your post on the general shape of the world and what to watch for as the Storm unfolds

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    • charliej373 says:

      Oh, I expect to have the bit on the monetary system up tonight. But I have kind of come to think of my peculiar, almost invisible, disability as “God’s leash.” It didn’t stop me from walking across the country – but it can put me in bed for the better part of a day sometime. I once complained in prayer that, if the good Lord wanted me to do so much, couldn’t He at least give me the vigor of youth – or even of the day before Good Friday of 2003 (Good Friday of that year was the day my neurological problem burst – at 9:03 a.m…I was on the phone with my buddy, Judge Steve McGlynn. Funny how you know when something fundamental has snapped in your ‘operating system’). Shortly after that prayer, I read a meditation on Moses…about how when he was young and vigorous, even the Jews wouldn’t accept him as leader. It was only when he was older and frail – when assistants had to hold up his arms in prayer, that he became fit to lead in the Lord’s service. I thought a lot about that and realized the wisdom in it. The most our greatest skills amount to in God’s work is less than a thimble full. When we are enfeebled, they amount to less than half a thimble full. the difference is that, when we are young, we think we are the stuff. When we get older and have some aches and pains, we understand our true prowess – and our service is less likely to be distracted by the vanity of how tough we are.

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      • Audie says:

        “God’s leash.” His timing, not ours, right? I do hope you are feeling better. I get a little worried when we don’t hear from you for a while. As for the youthful vigor and all, I’d rather have someone older that’s lived some years and has wisdom be a guide and leader.

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        • charliej373 says:

          Understand, Audie. But why not give me both? Just until after the Storm…then I am perfectly willing to go back to being feeble. And the Lord just rolls His eyes and laughs at me…

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          • SteveBC says:

            Charlie, I once got suddenly quite ill with a high fever. Made it home and curled up on the floor by my wood stove. I asked, “Why am I sick? What do I need to learn?” The ‘words’ came back right away, in essence saying, “You need rest. You’re working too hard and not resting.” So I made a commitment right then that I would not do anything but rest and read the next day. Within a minute, my fever began to recede and within 10 minutes I was almost completely well. I was astounded, but of course when one gets the lesson, one doesn’t need the fever, right? Needless to say, the next day I made sure I rested. Other times when I have gotten sick or was slowed down in other ways, the delay has allowed me to rethink something. It gave me time to mature an idea or realize I was a little off track.

            You are obviously working *very* hard, and all of us here deeply appreciate it. It’s OK to take a break every now and then! :-0 You’ll come back with a finer approach to whatever you were working on when you went down for the count.

            You once posted that when you got to Colorado, you were a whirlwind of getting things done, doing preparations, and so on. Then you got a little guidance that, hey, it wasn’t necessary to knock yourself out day after day. An issue of trust.

            Perhaps you’re trying to find a good pace for your work but perhaps have not really found that rhythm yet. Looks like God is doing a little fine-tuning on your rhythm. Ouch! 🙂

            Thank you for everything you are doing. Speaking for myself, you have certainly helped settle me down.

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      • Tom says:

        Please take your time, my nudge was not at your delay which is completely understandable, but rather a tongue in cheek joke about the Dow being down 400 pts today (and over 1000 in the past week) 🙂

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        • charliej373 says:

          Ha, your joke is more incisive than you might think. I was thinking Sunday that I needed to get that one done before it all came unglued and I probably did not have much time left on it.

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          • Tom says:

            Oh I well know. Both knowing in the rational business economic sense that it’s all a deck of cards and we are so over leveraged that it’s going to come tumbling down, but also knowing in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I had a vivid dream (and I don’t dream vividly) back in July that the US dollar became worthless and I had to exchange them for Swiss francs at an airport to save my family and woke up to read that a friend on facebook had just posted he had the exact same dream that same night about US dollars becoming worthless as he was trying to save his son from trouble. I called my broker two days later and told him to sell everything and it sits in cash. Been spending a little bit prudently on supplies but waiting on what to do with the bulk of it, have pretty good idea I feel divinely led to but have turned it over to God and waiting on Him to show me if it’s what He wants me to do.

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  3. vparisi says:

    Thanks Charlie, I am finally starting to calm down after two days of my hair on fire! A good confession helped and time in Adoration helped:) I am a convert from the Methodist church. The church I grew up in was faithful and true, however the church I raised my children in became increasingly liberal and wishy washy. Their position on life is just a horror. I did not become Catholic however, due to this issue, that is a whole other long story, however a comfort to me was that the Church would never change Her teachings. This was the Church Jesus founded and He would never leave her. And part of the backdrop of my life was a bit of anti-Catholicism when I was growing up which affected my opinions about the Church until the scales fell off my eyes. I was a full on Bible believing Christian. So it is in that context that I was greeted with Monday’s relatio and I felt such disturbance in my spirit- it really felt like a punch in the gut. All the little doubt demons came out about my decision to be Catholic. I felt very insecure for the past couple days. I laid all of this down at Adoration and the Lord reminded me that He was in charge and that none of this was taking Him by surprise, in other words He was not freaking out:) I also felt the nudge to pursue all Sacramental remedies the Divine Physician has to offer which I did today! I am so thankful I attended a Spiritual Warfare conference this weekend because I am trying my best to be prayed up with all my spiritual armor on. I am still upset that they released this relatio disaster on Monday which they had to back away from on Tuesday thankfully- all if could think of is St. Paul admonishing us not to cause other believers to stumble. I believe all of this sausage making should not be for our eyes as the damage has been done And I say this as a woman who knows what graduality means in my own life- however, I still knew what was right and what was wrong even if I wasn’t living it. I am afraid that the practical application of all of this will be a public misperception of what the Church actually teaches. There is no true mercy without truth. We have to love people with the truth. Sorry to be so long winded!

    Blessings,

    Val

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    • charliej373 says:

      Well I’m glad you got your hair put out. I feel a little sorry for the Church on this. If they did the preliminary session in secret, then the media would be doing a host of DaVinci Code type nonsense. If they do it openly, the same media gets it all wrong and exaggerates everything. I think the media thinks their prime job these days is to try to set people’s hair on fire.

      I, too, am a Bible-believing Christian. In fact, reading it deeply and constantly played a rather important role in my conversion. Not to shock my Protestant friends, but one of the major things that eased my path was that, after having sampled over a dozen denominations, the Catholic church was the only I had ever found that followed the whole Bible, rather than pick and choose. I got a chuckle the other day when Mark Mallett wrote of St. Jerome that “he was what Evangelicals would call a Bible-believing Christian.”

      Alas, there will be public misinterpretations and misconceptions…but there would be regardless. Jesus has a plan.

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    • Kati says:

      Hey Val,
      The Lord certainly DOES speak strongly to us from the Scriptures…and also through the voice of the Fathers. There is a piece up on Vultus Christi today that I think you might greatly enjoy. Tossed by waves yet not submerged: http://vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2014/10/tossed-by-waves-yet-not-submerged

      It is a very calming piece and, of course, highlighted by the very beautiful sacred art that the Father Prior always uses.

      PS I’m a revert to the Church. 🙂

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      • charliej373 says:

        Wow, Kati! Thank you for this. What a profound and timely sermon from one of the Church Fathers! I had never before read this. You go, St. John Chrysostom!

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      • vparisi says:

        Thanks Kati, I was not familiar with that site- looks like I will dig in. The homily was very appropriate for today, that is sure. Sometimes I feel like the disciples on the boat in the Storm- I am freaking out but Jesus is as calm as can be:)

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  4. Audie says:

    Charlie, I am so glad you said something about what’s happening in Houston. It is unbelievable, but it is, indeed, happening. If we still lived in that area, I would certainly join any group to storm the city hall. Then, I wonder if we Christians and others will take any action, as I look at what’s taken/taking place with our Constitution being trampled over and over again. I, too, look forward to your articles coming soon! God bless you, Charlie.

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    • Mary A. says:

      I live in a Texas city which already did what Houston is doing with their ordinance. Christians did turn out in droves, well-organized and well-informed, but it did no good. Many Catholics involved. But the priests were told to stand down. There was a lot of deceit (and still is) about the ordinance, which is truly horrific.

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      • charliej373 says:

        At Easter 2008, in the midst of darkness before Mass at the Easter Vigil, the Lord came to me and said, “Now the hour of darkness comes upon the world. But be not afraid: the darkness shall not prevail.” Plenty of darkness. Now let us each be a candle, let our light go up in continuous prayer to Our Lord and shine so as to help our fellows find their way back to the light.

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  5. Peter says:

    Response to Tom:
    I am sure the Pharisee’s were all broken people too, even selling goods in the Temple. Jesus didn’t just sit back and say its okay!!!! He challenged all and still does so to this very day! Please don’t condone scandal and justify it as ‘we are all broken’ people. Think of our saints who spread the TRUTH and many of them died for it. If you are right about engaging with the sinners at their level and saying little, than St.Thomas More was one of the greatest fools in our Church.

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    • Elizabeth K. says:

      While I see what you’re saying, Peter, I don’t think that’s a fair account of what Tom was saying, or what Cardinal Dolan was saying While of course we want to emulate Christ as much as we can, I think Cardinal Dolan is reminding us that we aren’t, actually, Christ, and we are in danger if we imagine our sins are no worse in God’s eyes than the sins of others. St. Thomas More is actually a good example of this–he lived in the world, but was not of it, and poked fun at the people he knew and himself (as he does in his Utopia). His great friend Erasmus targets More in “In Praise of Folly,” punning on More’s name in Latin–moria=folly. More knew himself to be a fool and a sinner; but he also stood up to the King when he had to (but not before it became truly necessary, which isn’t a criticism, but what I believe to be a sign of wisdom about how we proceed in the world).

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      • charliej373 says:

        Striking, Elizabeth. I have never publicly mentioned it, but just before I seriously considered Catholic Church, I started reading all the Erasmus I could get my hands on. It was not from him that the seed was planted, but his works – in a peculiar way – somehow cleared the ground for me.

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      • Tom says:

        Thanks, Elizabeth.

        Peter, you did misread what I was saying. Believe you me, I have led the charge on “those people!”, and have been over the top and have lost many “friends” by defending Truth about marriage, abortion, the choices of what side to be on. But what Pope Francis and some bishops have been preaching has finally sunk into me.

        I was at first offended and thought Pope Francis was coming after me when he made comments early in his papacy and with his comments on capitalism. I own my own business and thought, how dare he! But through prayerful reflection I figured out, Pope Francis is right. There are those of us that sit around and all we do is talk about abortion and gay marriage (I know both to be truly wrong and have prayed in front of the clinics and am outspoken on gay marriage). But the point is, “those people” are not going to come back to the church (which is the ONLY hope for their eternal souls) and no sinner is going to repent and turn back to God if I’m in their face wagging my finger and telling them “you’re going to burn for eternityl!” and there is NO way they are going to come back to the church (inside the ship that will safely guide us through this storm) if the church (Pope Francis, Bishops, priests) are all saying “you’re damned eternally if you don’t stop fornicating”.

        Look at it this way. God has a plan, right? Is it more likely that he wants to save just your soul and mine because we’re not as bad (as sins aren’t as “bad”) as “those people” or does He want to save all souls, my broken soul, your broken soul, AND the broken souls of those living man with man, woman with woman, fornicating, and doing all those things? Of course He wants to save all. But how’s He going to save them unless He gets them back inside the safety of our Church and he can do that through toning down the “you’re damned!” and instead taking the pastoral approach of “come here, brother, we’re all sinners just doing our best to get better”. You get more bees with honey, as they say . . . and if this approach gets them back in the church where God can then do the rest of the work to truly change their hearts and show them the Truth that the sins they are living must change, then that’s truly helping them!

        Jesus came not for the righteous, but for the sinners. He corrected the ones who told him not to eat with the tax collector and not to talk to the prostitute. He came for “them”, not “us”. There is no “them” and “us”, just all of us sinners who all screw up in one way or another, until God changes our hearts and we start moving forward. The sooner we all start understanding we are much better off working on digging that stick out of our eye first, the better we can help “those people” truly repent by being beacons of light they are attracted to and they more they’ll be open to learning that gay marriage is wrong, that abortion is evil, that sex outside of marriage is unacceptable, that marriage is a man and a woman and a special covenant that is meant to be a permanent bond to help us learn how to bond with one another first so we can find and perfect our eternal bond with Him.

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        • Irish7 says:

          I am a later in life convert to Christianity and even later to Catholicism, and I totally agree with you Tom. Christ first wooed me with joy (very much like Lewis describes in Surprised by Joy), and those Christians that were a conduit of His joy and love were His instruments. The conviction, repentance and formation came later, but would not have come at all had they led with them. I think we forget what a foreign language all of that is to many who now have no exposure to Christian concepts and culture. It is utterly foreign and might I say shocking. Why do we expect people to submit to a foreign authority or even take the time to explore and learn about one of the hundreds of foreign entities promising meaning and shouting for their time and attention. It is the other wordly joy that motivates and fuels the search for meaning within Christianity. Agree Tom! And I too like the Dolan quote, and feel a little hesitant about Burke’s latest actions.

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          • charliej373 says:

            How true, Irish. We must love first – and real love, not trying to bend someone to our will and calling it love. It amazes me that the primary means of evangelization most people used is exactly what is calculated to drive people away rather than open them to looking at things in a new light.

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        • Mick says:

          Tom, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have proof of the truth of what you say from my own life. My dad was raised Catholic (he even spent 2 years in a high-school seminary in the mid-1950s). When he married my non-Catholic, divorced mother in the 1960s, they married outside the Church. But they later decided to raise us kids in the Church. We went to Catholic schools, received our sacraments, and attended Mass every Sunday. This went on for several years, until I was 12 (in the very late 70s): One Sunday after Mass, a man walked up to my father and said, “I’ve learned that you’re married to a divorced woman outside the Church. You’re not welcome here.” That was the last time we went to Mass. Fast-forward to the 1990s: My dad and mom are still outside the Church, and all four of us now-grown kids have left the Church. By the grace of God, I returned to the Church in 1994, and my mother came into the Church before she died in 2008. But the wreckage that resulted from one pompous man who looked down on “those people” has been–and still is–devastating.

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  6. Mary A. says:

    Charlie, your Resurrection sermon is still better than the cell-by-cell, organ-by-organ, Frankenstein resuscitation sermon I heard one at Easter vigil, complete with Jesus being confused and disoriented…..truly weird, and the occasion of some re-catechizing of our children, who had already been told by the nun that we would be cannibals if we believed in the Real Presence. Those were the days….

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    • Mary A. says:

      Please don’t be scandalized….these are old war stories, not meant to cause distress.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Oh my, Mary. Although, sadly, I have heard the most errant poppycock spouted by some nuns. There are some wonderful people there, but on two occasions I utterly went off at the anti-Catholic drivel spread by supposed “sisters.” It is such an up and down proposition. some of the most heroic people in the faith are nuns…and some functionally apostate nunneries are the primary conduits, I sometimes think, of the smoke of satan that Paul VI said had entered the Church.

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  7. Matthew says:

    Charlie:
    You are daily in my prayers.
    I do wish the courts “would treat marriage like any other contract.” If they did that at least we would have no divorce since each party would be required by law to live up to the vow that says “til death do us part.” A huge part of the problem started when the law decided to regard marriage as something other than a public contract.
    I must admit I have been waiting for your two posts. I have considered the wait a good penance since, being melancholic by temperament, there is unfortunately a part of me that takes some morose delectation in the coming collapse.
    Oremus pro invicem!
    PAX,
    Matthew

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    • charliej373 says:

      Hilarious, Matthew! And when we are wringing our hands over controversies in the Church, we ought to remember your shrewd insight: to treat marriage as a contract is a decline in the Church, but would be a significant improvement in the state.

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      • Matthew says:

        Great summation sentence.
        Marriage can be more than a contract but it can never be less.
        This, I think is what good canonists like SRE Card. Burke and Ed Peters are trying to defend when they criticize administrative versus juridical processes.
        Matthew

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  8. Diane Mello says:

    “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;

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  9. Becky-TN says:

    Oh Diane,

    Your post says it all. So many times feeling confused, frustrated, etc… About what’s going on in the Church, world, etc…. But in the end, Peter’s response to Our Lord resonates in my heart! Where would I go? I’ve “been” to those other places, I don’t want to go anywhere else! Jesus, I trust in you!

    God Bless, Becky-TN

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  10. Bobby says:

    We Catholics should be using the phrase ‘sacrament of holy matrimony’. Contemporary culture has so undermined the meaning of marriage that it can mean anything to anyone. But the sacrament of holy matrimony reflects the holiness of the Triune God and is a sacrament of incredible beauty and dignity.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm

    We are in a great spiritual war perhaps the greatest in history and we are seeing a great spiritual drama and struggle at the synod. Compare and contrast the interim report of the synod with our Lady’s revelations at Fatima and it is clear to see the Church is a pale shadow of its former self, indeed we are beginning to see the seeds of auto-destruction.

    Our Lady appeared to Jacinta several times between December 1919 and February 1920.

    Our Lady told her many things including:

    “The sins of the world are very great … If men only knew what eternity is, they would
    do everything in their power to change their lives. ”

    “Fly from riches and luxury; love poverty and silence; have charity, even for bad
    people. ”

    “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.
    “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. ” “Woe to
    women lacking in modesty.

    “The Mother of God wants more virgin souls bound by the vow of chastity. ”
    “Confession is a sacrament of mercy and we must confess with joy and trust. ”
    “Many marriages are not of God and do not please Our Lord ”
    “Our Lady can no longer uphold the arm of Her Divine Son which will strike the
    world. If people amend their lives, Our Lord will even now save the world, but if they
    do not, punishment will come. ” “People must renounce sin and not persist in it, as has
    been done until now. It is essential to repent greatly. ”

    The vision of hell was shown at the beginning of this century to impress upon men and to
    confirm the doctrine of Hell; thereby influencing man to stop offending God by sin. Of the
    three children who saw hell, Jacinta was the most affected by this vision. The following are
    some of her words on hell.

    “Oh, Hell! Oh, Hell!” “Mother of God have pity on those who do not amend their lives.” “If
    men only know what awaits them in eternity, they would do everything in their power to
    change their lives.”

    Often she would say to her brother, “Francisco, are you praying with me? We must pray
    very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!”

    I like this article from Michael Brown of Spirit Daily which gets to the heart of contemporary problems. He sees the reality of the spiritual war in which we are all immersed.

    http://www.spiritdaily.com/synodb.htm

    Like

    • Mary A. says:

      I am always comforted to think that Mary (and many saints) speak of people “going” to hell, not people there. There is a big difference.

      Like

  11. Peter says:

    Tom, I am sorry if I misconstrued anything you said or wrote. However, St. Paul spoke very definitively on many issues enduring great sufferings for his stance. Last week’s Gospel account talks about binding the invited guest who is living in mortal sin. Tom, I understand that we need to be loving, forgiving and merciful, but we need to be charitable in Truth above all. Let’s transform the world with this Love, even if it means they will hate us for following Christ.
    Blessings.
    After I wrote my initial response to you I read Mark Mallett’s daily devotional. Interesting to see how we are so connected. Thanks Charlie for permitting me this opportunity to respond.

    Like

    • Tom says:

      Peter, no reason to apologize and not offended at all but thank you, brother. You and I are on the same page and I definitely do not suffer from being shy about speaking out for Truth when encountering someone either living sinfully or someone promoting evil, but Charlie has really helped me in the process to Trust! and that’s what I’m trying to live now. To stop looking at “those people!” and by the way that’s me I’m quoting there, and instead understand I need to do better and I need to trust God that His plan is going to work out and that my sins, while different and seemingly less vile than abortion, gays fornicating, etc., are no different in God’s eyes. I practiced it today, and instead of berating, as is my wont, the folks that said “yea, Vatican waking up to accepting modern society” I spoke and defended Truth but did it in a charitable manner that, hopefully, will help them see and accept Truth.

      God bless, Peter!

      Like

  12. Thank you for your article Charlie, we are going to need large doses of common sense as the future unfolds.

    Maurice

    Like

  13. Mary A. says:

    As to the Synod Relatio, it follows the Alinsky model: You have a pre-determined (by some) agenda, you have a bunch of pre-conference input, which is not publicized even to the attendees, you have a private conference, you have specially last-minute-stacked group to report on the latter two, and then you use this very special “report” to pressure all the attendees: “YOU are the only one who says this! Don’t you see that EVERYONE ELSE [whose opinion you have not heard, just as most of the bishops have not seen or heard any of the written submissions] disagrees with you?!” Peer pressure of the worse sort. And now the news comes out that no one at the conference said anything like the controversial passages in the relation, and only one bishop even mentioned the topic of homosexuality. I hope their sense of outrage over manipulation trumps their sense of clerical solidarity.

    Like

  14. D Shea says:

    Hi Charlie & Friends:

    I’m a New Guy here and I realize, like the Church, Right 1st Step is an International Op and I’ll be speaking from a USA perspective … I’ll also be speaking from the perspective of a Plain Speaking Old Curmudgeon, Renegade Catholic and Retired US Air Force Pilot from a Family of US Warriors dating from the American Revolution ……. and I’ll probably PO … annoy …. many of the “Goody Two-Shoes Types” that congregate here and most Christian sites that I visit.
    Why do I call myself a Renegade Catholic? It started when I was a young AF 2LT, during the Vietnam War, where I met open hostility from not only my fellow citizens but Catholics to include Priests/Nuns. This “bad taste” has never left me even though I was blessed with many great Catholic Chaplains/Friends during my career. It was in the early 70s where it began to dawn on me that the Catholic Church USA and, no doubt, Western Europe had been infiltrated by what I will describe now as Lavender Lobby Marxist-Socialists (just like the Democrat Party USA). Much of the Church’s Troubles and “Falling Away”, I believe, can be traced here and Dioceses World Wide are still paying out $$$ Millions and losing countless parishioners thanks to these “agents”. Thanks to my experience as a Higher Head Quarters Staff Weenie coupled with conversations with chaplain friends, I believe the Catholic Church, like the AF, had/has way too many HQ paper shuffling Butt-Kissers that were/are making life miserable for the “Troops in the Trenches” trying their best to “Git-R-Done”. Around 12 years ago I quit going to Mass; I became tired of leaving the church Depressed! I’m now what I call an EWTN Catholic and I also get solace from conservative TV/Internet Christian sources. So ….. now that you know where I’m coming from … I’ll address what’s on my feeble mind: I believe that the Bible Old/New, numerous “End Time” verses, Diary of St Faustina and all the Marian Apparitions are something besides Fairy Tales and the musings of addled minds! I have also come to believe that Mark M., Charlie J., John M., and others on the Net/TV are not “Blowing Smoke” on “What’s Comin’ Down” … and SOON!! I believe that The USA may well be Target #1 … Why? Because The USA has a huge reservoir of conservative/orthodox Christians-n-Jews and a Constitution with Bill of Rights (Especially the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendments). Satan, his disciples and his useful idiots Hate-This!!
    I believe that there are four stages of Persecution: 1) Mocking., 2) Legislating Against., 3) Drive Underground. and 4) Extermination. I truly believe that the USA/Europe is in the Drive Christians Underground Stage and Extermination is on-going in the “Peace Loving” Islamic Areas. In the former regions of Christendom the Socialists, Abortion and Gay Lobbies are Busy-Busy in their Satanic quest to do US in…. and Islam be waitin’ in the wings! In the USA, the “Separation of Church and State” mantra has been distorted beyond belief so also has the “Turn the Other Cheek” mantra. Show me where The Lord says we are to allow EVIL to run roughshod over us, our family, friends and fellow believers? EVIL is cutting off the heads of our Christian Brothers … Wake Up!!
    Way too many of my Christian Protestant/Catholic Friends have a “Don’t Worry- Be Happy” mindset. The “Rapture” will save me when the SHTF Moment comes or if I collect 12# of Religious Medals, a gross of Rosaries, Blessed candles and water I’ll be in “High Cotton”. Did they sleep through History Class!!?? The Bible, Israel, Islam 750AD-Present, 20th Century and The Passion of Jesus is a Bloody Horror Show. Sacramentals are a great reminder for us to pray, Pray and PRAY but I’m not believing that Jesus will tell St Michael to order Scotty to “Beam” me to Heaven … or an earthly Refuge. I have No Doubt that God Will Provide but he has already provided us with brains, guidance and commands for us to make ready ….. with some extra for idiot friends/neighbors. So! Go buy some oil for the lamps ….. and Spam, Beans and Bullets for Christmas Stocking Stuffers … and Stand Ready to support, guide and protect The Flock in “What’s to Come”!

    “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword”. – Matthew 10:34
    “But they [Apostles] said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword”. – Luke 22:36
    Citizens may sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on those that would do them harm. – Variations of quote attributed to Kipling, Churchill or Orwell?

    Praise the Lord ….. and pass the ammunition!!!

    CrewDog Out

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Welcome, D Shea…glad to have you aboard. By gum, I figure you will help keep things lively here.

      Like

    • BC says:

      D Shea – I’m glad you’re here too… As a veteran myself, I appreciate your down-to-earth approach.

      I, for one, would love it if you would start going to Mass again – why separate yourself from the Eucharist, brother? Don’t let a bad homily or tasteless liturgy (or several bad homilies and tasteless liturgies) separate you from our Eucharistic Lord. Remember – “the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian Life.” (Lumen Gentium, para. 11).

      Like

      • D Shea says:

        Thanks BC!
        The Lord works in Mysterious Ways … and usually with Mysterious and/or Strange People .. I believe that God puts His Believers on many different compass headings but all are Homing-In to the Right Destination. Let Us Pray and God Bless!!
        D

        Like

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