A Family of Faith

Family Praying Before Dinner ca. 2001

Family Praying Before Dinner ca. 2001

By Charlie Johnston

For several reasons, I stayed in my family’s home until I was almost 23. Actually, it went two years longer than that, for my Dad was transferred and I stayed in the house, paid the mortgage and sold it for them. That was no easy task during the terrible economy of the Carter years.

Since Dad and I have the same name, there was always some confusion with the mail. But we made it easy for the election clerks to identify us properly. He was Charlie Johnston the Democrat while I was Charlie Johnston the Republican. A friend of his once angrily commented that he wouldn’t have a son who voted different than him. My father hotly retorted, “I wouldn’t have a son who would let anyone, including me, tell him how to vote.” That was an oddly pleasing moment for both of us.

I always thought Dad had some shaky political ideas – and I reckon he thought the same of me. But I knew he wanted the best for all of us. He was a great Dad growing up…absolutely fearless, always had your back, completely devoted to his family. When I was in high school it was becoming clear that I was both interested in politics and was a strikingly talented young fellow. Dad sat down with me one afternoon and told me he didn’t care what I did with my life, whether I was a president or a garbage man. He did care that I always be honest and honorable with everyone, living with the knowledge that God always had His eye upon us. If I held a menial job that I handled honorably, Pops maintained he would always be pleased with me, but if I were president and used it to bully or cheat people, he would be ashamed of me.

I was the oldest of six kids, significantly older than most of the rest. My parents gave me some unique responsibilities and authority in the family. I even went to some of the teacher’s conferences for my brothers and sister. Dad always included me in his and Mom’s counsel on anything concerning the other kids…how to discipline them, various decisions, and most larger family decisions, as well. It was a signal grace on my parents’ part, though I think I lived up to their confidence. Sometimes, we did not end up in agreement and they did other than what I thought we should. But I always stood foursquare with them when a decision was made concerning the family, both because I knew Dad’s devotion to his wife and children and because of his generosity in always taking my concerns into serious consideration. But on matters outside of his family responsibilities, Dad and I would argue frequently, eagerly and vigorously with each other, much to the amusement of my siblings and to the occasional dismay of my Mother. Sometimes, Dad would say some wild things when he was arguing about something he did not have actual responsibility for.

Upon my first look at Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment, I was dismayed. Sure enough, it had all the usual leftist nostrums and buzzwords on climate change, sustainability, global action, evolutionary biology and such. It offered all the very approaches that historically (and particularly in the last hundred years) have centralized power in a small elite who enrich their cronies, impoverish little folks, and use that power to wage war on people of faith. It touted these tired nostrums as if they were fresh, new ideas that will solve the problem instead of the tried and true formula for misery, impoverishment and environmental degradation.

On second look, I noted that – unlike the loud functionaries at the Vatican these last few weeks – the Pope noted with humility that he lacked final authority on matters of science and public policy – that debate must be open and robust. It certainly nagged at me that those Vatican functionaries who have been behaving as thuggish enforcers in a protection racket answer to him – and that if the Pope truly means that debate on those issues should be open and robust, he probably ought to tell his functionaries to give a more nuanced contribution to that debate than contemptuously sneering at those who disagree with them to shut up. It might have been nice to invite a scientist who had a different view to participate instead of shutting them all out if you wanted an actual discussion rather than a pre-ordained conclusion. The behavior of Vatican officials in this matter has been scandalous.

On the third look, I noted that on the matters on which he has actual authority, the Pope was dead on. He spoke powerfully on the sanctity of life and the necessity to preserve the human ecology. I was consoled that on matters clearly within the purview of his authority, he was in unbroken solidarity with the teaching of all his predecessors – and even expressed that teaching in some intriguing new ways.

On fourth look, I realized that events of the next few years will resolve the scientific and policy matters. Whether the Pope is right or people like me are right on those matters he touched on that are not directly within the scope of his authority, we shall see soon enough and, in either case, the urgency of it will dissipate.

The needful province of the clergy is to speak on First Things and Last Things; the meaning of life and what our proper ends should be. It is the responsibility of the laity to fashion proper means to seek those ends. Since Church officials are actually men, they have opinions on these transitional means; opinions which, like the rest of us, are political and ideological in nature – and are either well-formed or poorly formed. But those opinions are not necessary to their duty. If well-formed, they may enhance the credibility of the faith to non-believers and those on the margin. If ill-informed, they can bring the shadow of disrepute upon the faith among non-believers and the ill-informed, and even dishearten many of the faithful. But they are ancillary to the hierarchy’s mission.

Francis is not the first Pope to mix mere political opinions into Encyclicals that speak authoritatively on First and Last things. He is not even the fifth or the tenth. The most famous modern example was Pope Leo XIII’s discussion of the proper interplay of labor and capital in modern economies, Rerum Novarum, issued in 1891. It was the first major attempt to deal with the change in circumstances from feudal agrarianism to industrial capitalism. Some of the political ideas necessary for a proper exploration of the subject turned out, over time, to be a bit clunky and poorly focused. One hundred years later, Pope John Paul II refined the political thought when he issued Centesimus Annus. St. John Paul made clear he was building on the spiritual thought and authority of his predecessor, while modifying the merely political elements that had not stood up. I’m not sure it ever even occurred to St. John Paul to note that the political elements were transient, while those that spoke to First and Last Things are ever eternal. In fact, that is largely what Encyclicals and Magisterial teaching are for – to sharpen the clarity of our view of those things and fit them properly to the times. It is often necessary to reference political currents of the time to do so effectively, but the political currents, whether well or poorly cited, do not enhance or detract from the eternal truths incorporated in the documents. Like waves on a windy day, political opinions rise or fall in a frothy, curling churn and then are gone…usually forgotten in the mists of time. The articles of faith defined in Encyclicals, however, are the lifeblood of the Church, pulsing with the ever-present rhythm and unchanging power of the tides.

God is going to set all things right in His Church, but first it pleases Him to bring all things to light. In these confused times, we often confuse what an official – any official – actually is and is not responsible for. There was a moment during Hurricane Sandy when a part of lower New York was deeply threatened because officials had so neglected basic infrastructure repairs in the section. At the time, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg was busy deciding how large our soft drink cups could be and outlawing salt in restaurants. I thought it was the perfect archetype of the disease of modern times: keep so busy working on things that are not your concern that you completely neglect what actually is. Fortunately, the danger passed over the vulnerable section. The penchant to muddle actual responsibility has confused much of the public about what is and is not an official’s duty – including within the Church. Shallow newspaper editors and popular culture think that we Catholics have to obey and agree with everything a Pope or Bishop says about anything. Oddly, they studiously ignore what the Pope and Bishops collectively actually are dispositively authoritative on, while celebrating any political statement one makes that is not dispositive, but that they agree with.

I told you last December that the satan was spewing demons across the globe to spread confusion in this decisive year. On New Year’s Day, I wrote a piece going into as much detail as I care to, even now, on what would happen this year. I suspect that God may well have orchestrated a brilliant long-term gambit out of the satan’s efforts to confuse the faithful – and to further separate the sheep from the goats. If your faith is dependent on political agreement, you may find yourself fleeing into the arms of those from either the left or the right that call for you to abandon ship. When you dive into the boiling waters of this rising storm, you will not be going to safety – but if your faith depended on having your political and intellectual vanity stroked, it was not enough to last anyway. Best to either leave now or up your game. For those who are jumping in with both feet to support an Encyclical whose political sentiments are transiently amenable to your disposition, you might want to look closer at what you are embracing. Yes, Pope Francis makes what I think are clunky and ill-considered political, economic and scientific assertions, but on First and Last Things, he is completely in lockstep with two millennia of consistent Christian witness. He speaks of a “human ecology;” that the words family, marriage, and gender have specific, fixed meanings. They are not waxen concepts to be molded into whatever one wishes them to mean. While progressives are busy saying “black lives matter” (or whatever group is most useful to them for the moment), the Pope says, “Life Matters,” and that the taking of innocent life is always grave. It is something the progressives dare not say, lest it threaten their “right” to casually execute unborn infants.

We are a family of faith. My Papa sometimes says some crazy stuff that makes me shake my head and roll my eyes. But my Papa takes good care of his family. He loves us all with his tender Father’s heart.

I love my Papa.

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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88 Responses to A Family of Faith

  1. Michael Goodreau says:

    I totally agree with the last part! That’s how I feel! Thank you, Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

    Well said, Charlie, especially the close. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul says:

    Nicely done Charlie…excellent analogy.

    I watched the video of your talk in Ft Lauderdale. You said many good things, but the part that really got me was when you explained what being set aside to be “Holy” meant, I.e., not that we were going to be perfect, but that if we were willing to cooperate, that He would use us to further his purposes(Kingdom).
    That really helped clarify things, because though I’ve come back to the church, I’ve been far from perfect, though I am sincerely trying. But I have been given the graces necessary to be consistent in my faith, and in “practicing” my faith (which often meant getting to confession after falling into old sinful habits).

    In other words, it’s a misunderstanding to think that, since we we’ve been called, we’re expected to live perfect lives. He realizes it takes time, sometimes years, to shed some sinful tendencies, but if we’re sincere in our desire to do so, and stay within the church, seeking absolution for the times when we do fall, He will honor that and continue to use us. At least that’s how it seems to me.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. LittleLight says:

    This is awesome and clearly and concisely cuts right through any confusion. It gives us a very firm ground to stand on while everything else is wobbly. It will give hope to many. This is so very needed right now. I wish this piece could get worldwide exposure. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patrick says:

    Part of what I ve been telling my coworkers, friends and family is that I am not Republican, Democrat, or whatever political persuasion one can participate in. I am Catholic, that’s it. That is part of our dear Pope says. Fr. Baron says so far that the Pope is cosmological much like previous Saints etc…. “All creation groans ……”
    Honestly, with all due respect … Would much rather be drawn to the Love of God than the latest spin on all things political…. Peace

    Liked by 2 people

  6. the phoenix says:

    Yesterday I attended a meeting … I’m on the committee to help bring Charlie to Cleveland! … and somebody asked me if there was anybody that I considered a living saint. I thought for a little bit and answered that I really didn’t like to call someone a saint while they were still alive, but that I would sometimes catch myself calling “Pope Francis” … “Saint Francis.” Now that is just a gut reaction on my part, and like I also said, people can have a different personality and still be a saint. So to me, it seems that we should pray for Pope Francis to be a saint … and meanwhile, not forget that we should pray to become saints ourselves!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kim Johnston Hocutt says:

    I love my papa too Larry, (Charlie).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Picket Fence says:

    I find myself thinking often of the domestic church, and the teaching associated with it.

    God has been calling us back to Himself constantly since the Fall, always with a covenant, a promise to take care of us if we will but cleave to Him.

    The first covenant was with Adam and Eve – a couple.
    Then He made a covenant with Noah – a family.

    The next covenant He made was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – a people. In those times, when a lesser king would pledge allegiance to a greater king, the lesser king would take animals and birds, split them in two, and then walk between them to make his pledge to the greater king. The assumption was that “this should happen to me (the splitting in two) if I do not keep my pledge.” In this case, Abraham saw the light of God appearing between the slaughtered animals. God took the position of the lesser king to illustrate the seriousness of His promise to Abraham and his people to keep His covenant.

    Then came the covenant with Moses – a nation.

    Next came the covenant with David – a kingdom.

    And, of course, Jesus is the new covenant, the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins. Jesus was born into a family, and when He began His public ministry, He gathered the 12 to Him. He did not accomplish His work in isolation, but with a “family” around Him.

    Humankind is a family, and those who are separated from God need to feel brought back and included in the family. Even those who now hate us. It is what God wants and what Jesus came to establish; the Kingdom of God, the family of God.
    I keep seeing that it’s all about family. Now is the time of our proving. We will be called evil and hateful for remaining in God’s truth that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. May God protect our families, and give us the strength to forgive and welcome those who are apart from us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mack says:

    What a grert article this is ,Charlie. It expresses exactly what I’ve been thinking. At first I was very troubled by the encyclical. Then it occurred to me that if the Pope is wrong on the scientific and economic aspects, that will be apparent soon enough. But the overall message of being good stewards of creation will always be true, long after today’s kooky environmentalists have passed from the scene. Even if they are making hay with it now, perhaps some of them may be more inclined to listen to the pope as the Storm deepens. And that is all to the good.
    I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the same sex SCOTUS decision. I’m very troubled but also hopeful the Storm will put an end to this terrible sinful movement. Tertullian said that the Satan plagiarized the sacraments and that is exactly what is happening with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks, Mack. I intended to put something up on the Supreme Court decision right away…but the most important pieces often have to marinate in my head for a while. Three times I went to write and was prevented – twice by a place that advertised having Internet being out of service. I figured finally that God was telling me to ponder on this a spell…get it right.

      I think I’m beginning to understand why my angel and others in the heavenly host say “soon” and “now” rather than specific times: I intend one thing at a particular time and God intends another – so He is kind enough to slow me down until my watery thoughts actually become soup.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Mack says:

        Yes, that’s better than to rush it. One thought is that earlier in the year you said the events would reveal who people really are. I was startled to see Facebook offering a way for people to put a rainbow color on their names to show support for “pride.” Your prediction on that is literally coming true!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Karen says:

          At Mass today they read a letter written by our Bishop re: the Supreme Court SCOTUS decision. He mentioned a possible coming persecution, and that the Supreme Court has enacted unjust laws in the past, such as upholding slavery in 1857 (but did not mention Roe v Wade as an example).

          Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. This present decision is a direct result of our sinfulness. We distorted the image of what a true marriage should look like to such a degree that homosexual marriage isn’t a stretch. It began with the cultural revolution of the 60’s– free love and contraception separated marriage from the idea of life long fidelity and sex for procreation and the forming of a family which is the bedrock of society. The focus became self-gratification, not self-sacrificial love. The natural consequences: abortion and divorce.

          Fast-forward 50 years– try explaining to the youth the idea of chastity before marriage, a union open to life, etc. They can’t understand it. They’ve never seen it on a big scale. They truly believe we all must satisfy our biological needs, and that’s what love is.

          Liked by 4 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Yes Karen, you have it exactly – self-gratification instead of self-sacrifice.

            Like

          • Matthew says:

            Karen:
            In 1997 in Our Sunday Visitor (of all places) a young woman, Julie Loesch Wiley, wrote a column entitled “The Queering of Marriage”. I wish it were online because it was profoundly prophetic. She pointed out that natural marriage, as intended by God, was exclusive, life-long and fruitful. She pointed out that the sexual revolution had led to heterosexuals renouncing all three components of marriage – she had a wonderful paragraph in which she compared a modern man and woman entering marriage to people who wanted a chair that had no legs or back or seat. By the 1990’s heterosexual marriage had become a relationship that was non-exclusive, temporary and sterile. But this is what homosexual relationships already are. Heterosexuals have been pioneering gay marriage for fifty years now, why wouldn’t two men or two women want in on this??
            It has been said that the true punishment for sin is that God let’s you have what you want. Well, we got it.
            PAX,
            Matthew

            Liked by 3 people

        • Julee says:

          My FB news feed is one rainbow after another, everyone happy and proud they have so many enlightened friends and family who stand for love and equality. This is more disconcerting than the SCOTUS decision itself because it drives home the fact that my beliefs really are misunderstood as hate by most of my friends. Only two brave friends “liked” articles that upheld the Catholic teaching of marriage. I admit, I haven’t posted or “liked” any articles as of yet because I know they will appear in my friends newsfeeds. Everyone knows I’m Catholic, but even some of my former Catholic high school friends have seemed to drop what they consider to be “outdated” beliefs and would probably be shocked that I haven’t. My son’s speech therapist is gay and “married” and raising a son. I’m FB friends with many of my son’s therapists. He comes into my home twice a week and I admire his skill and compassion with my son and consider him a friend. He’s a former Catholic and it’s awkward to speak out against his lifestyle, so I don’t. I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do…if it’s wrong to suppress my views in a public forum like FB or if it is prudent at this time.

          Liked by 4 people

          • Lily says:

            I am stuck here too. I would naturally be inclined to speak out, but with 4 small kids, I feel it is best to keep quiet. The thought in my head is simply ‘duck and cover.’ Let the buildings fall, and let the tornado pass – sorry to mix metaphors. On one of my other comments, Charlie said to be ready to man the ambulance. That is what I’m aiming for – getting as much in order as I can, getting involved with other people in community/church groups – in hopes of being useful when possible. I am realizing that I am a very small person, with little knowledge, skills, or influence. I feel like my place at this time is not the public sphere, but I am not saying that is the same for everyone. I’m sure speaking up is needed too. I am interested to hear others opinions on this.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            I really emphasized we all do what we are called to. I speak up because it is in my wheelhouse…I am not phased much by threats and criticism, so I can encourage people in these troubling times. I am grateful I am not called to build shelters and engage in heavy labor and such. If I were, you all would be in trouble. But I can draw a little attention to and show some gratitude for the wonderful souls who are called to that. Let us each man the post we have and do it well…and all will be well.

            Liked by 7 people

          • johnmcfarm says:

            I could not remain silent over this travesty and spoke my mind and heart. I have lost several Facebook friends including a niece, two kids of my cousins, my newlywed daughter and her husband. It is difficult and leaves me tired and sad, but my love for Christ and for those who are lost in this diabolical web of satan will keep me going.

            I went to mass this morning, our regular priest is away right now so we had a visiting priest. I am not yet fully Catholic so cannot take communion, but I needed blessing so badly so went up in line with crossed arms and asked the father to bless me. We looked intently into each others eyes, his old and wizened. I think he saw the pain and suffering in mine. He blessed me and left his hand upon my head…we both continuing to stare into each others eyes…he seeing my soul I believe. Suddenly, I literally felt the Holy Spirit enter me and lift my spirits, I was washed clean of the pain I had been feeling a moment before.

            When I got back to my pew and knelt I could not help crying softly without sound at the relief I felt. It reminded me that no matter what, our Lord God is with us and will give us solace.

            Liked by 9 people

          • CrewDog says:

            Julle,
            I’m thinking in “These Days” it’s best to, as my Old Navy Dad used to say, “Keep Your Own Counsel” … also … pick your “Battles” carefully, don’t squander “resources” and do your best to ID Friend-n-Foe … realizing that you can easily ID Wrong!! One of my Dad’s other favorite quotes: “Don’t throw away your sword until Ya know your pistol works” 😉
            JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!!
            PS: I played with FB for about six months and decided that it was too intrusive and “open” to abuse/hacking!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

            Crew Dog,
            You on Facebook? I think I would pay to see that 🙂
            Johnmcfarm,
            What a poignant story. May God keep, comfort and strengthen all of us as we try to honor Him.

            Like

          • Mick says:

            Julee, I’m with Lily. You, Lily, and I all have minor children who are depending on us. You and I also have a child with health or chromosomal issues that could make us the target of bogus neglect or abuse charges if we crossed the wrong people. I personally believe that on this issue (and on some others) the prudent thing for my family and me is to “keep our heads down”: we believe and support the truth without putting ourselves in a position which might draw unnecessary attention from government authorities or health professionals–people who could potentially take custody of our children (or file reports which could lead to that result) because of our “hateful,” “illegal,” “unconstitutional” beliefs. Just my 2 cents.

            Like

          • Mick says:

            CrewDog, you are so awesome! And I think I would have been a big fan of your dad, too. 🙂

            Like

          • A Quiet Person says:

            At this point I too am wondering how low I should stay, to avoid being on anyone’s radar. Just this morning I put two bumper stickers on my car, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us and protect us,” and “”Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us and protect us,” but I did wonder about it from the standpoint of safety. Then, what about the statue of Mary we have in our backyard that I have planted a little garden around? We live on a corner, so it is quite visible. There is a huge difference between being prudent and staying hidden versus being fearful and denying one’s Faith. I am interested in other people’s thoughts about this, as far as continuing to live faithfully in the individual way the Lord is calling each of us along with what may (or may not) be common sense things for our safety, at this point in time.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            Quiet Person, for what it’s worth, I took all of the bumper stickers off of our cars, But my very visible outdoor statues of Mary and St. Joseph are definitely staying put.

            Like

          • Lily says:

            Charlie, I’ve been thinking about this some more, and wondering if you think it is wise for some of us to keep quiet, or foolish? Is this an issue that everyone needs to speak up about? Are we unfaithful if we keep quiet at this time?

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            I am thinking of that a lot, Lily. There is a time for restraint and a time for vigor. We should never maintain silence out of fear, I don’t think…but there is a time for prudent silence, too. If you can’t change anything at a particular time and only inflame disordered passions of others in a particular circumstance, I think restraint can be in order. Yet, such silence can only ever be a transitional means to a fuller defense and advocacy of Gospel truth. I have more than a little to ponder on this and will write about it as I can…for I know these are perilous times and we all must build each other up, always with the eye on ultimate reclamation.

            Liked by 4 people

          • barb129 says:

            I’ve been thinking about this too and know that it is easier that all of our children are adults now. If they were still young, I would be making efforts to stay lower than I am. I have linked to a few things on Facebook, but so far no one has given me any trouble, not even my niece who is in a lesbian relationship. I have heard of some young people who have put up posts about the gay marriage issue that were very charitable. Despite their charity, Facebook has actually pulled some of their posts because other “friends” have complained. Unbelievable.
            Friends of ours have a pastor who is very orthodox and not afraid to speak the truth. Last Sunday, he gave an awesome homily on the gay marriage issue and almost half of the church got up and walked out. The rest stayed and applauded him when he was finished. It just shows you how much this issue divides us, even Catholics.

            Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            All, this is indeed a big issue with me as well. I just received my Next Right Step sticker and .002% pin from the Full of Grace store, and it is prompting me to think all this over.

            For me, who have been away from the Church for a long time although seeking God in so many ways throughout my life, I now find myself faced with little choices periodically.

            When with others who profess some wacky idea, I have chosen to stay quiet, largely because most of the heaviest lessons of my life have been telling me to keep quiet and let people make up their own minds. If they ask me for my opinion or advice, I can give as much as they are looking for, and would do so, but no more than that usually.

            However, for my own personal choices to bring God more openly into my own life, every now and then I take a little step.

            The Next Right Step car sticker is subtle enough that most people will walk by it and not understand it. So I’m hoping they won’t do something like key my car. 🙂 So I’ve decided to put it on my car despite the fact that I have always had a policy of not putting any stickers on my car other than required stickers, like for parking. But you know, this is almost like a required sticker, I think. “Choose or perish” might be a Big Decision overall, but I think it shows up in lots of little decisions. For me, the sticker appears to be one of those little choices that declare that I am Choosing.

            Further, the sticker *can* alert someone who knows about this site and its community, and I very much *do* want to open myself to the possibility of meeting a .002%er someday while just driving around. Or perhaps in an emergency, the person(s) who help me will recognize the sticker and connect on that level.

            So the sticker and possibly the pin will go on. If nothing else, it’s a way to say “Hi” to any of you who happen some day to run into me (although, please, not by running into my car!). Mostly, though, it’s me saying in a little way that I am Choosing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Ha, Steve, I purposefully did not put a website address on the sticker – for I did not wish it to be a mere “marketing” tool. Rather, in these times when we are coming under heavier and heavier fire, I thought it could be a little sign – to many who are besieged that they are not alone when they come upon one. One of the greatest things about the visits so far has been how heartened people are to see how many there are just like them right in their own area – that they are not alone.

            Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            Charlie, if you had put any more information on that sticker than you did, especially a URL, it probably would not be going onto my car. A wise move on your part, one that gives us a signaling mechanism that may help in need. And the times to come soon here will likely create a lot of need for that. Thank you for providing this to us.

            Like

          • Lily says:

            I appreciate your thoughts Mick, that firstly we need to look after our kids and do what we can to keep them in our care.

            My next pressing decision is for this Saturday – do we pray for supper at my parents place like usual, or not because my dad expressed that he did not like it? I feel like I ought to not pray out of respect for him, or is it being disrespectful/unfaithful to Jesus? I am trying hard to keep this relationship open with my parents so that we are good terms.

            Like

          • Lily says:

            But, like you said Charlie, things I do and say always seem to come across wrong to them, and inflame them. There is no discussion or reasoning. I have kept quiet on everything except quickly giving thanks before meals, and living my private life according to my values. But our homeschooling and attending church bother them too, and that I can’t and won’t change. And also, keeping quiet and avoiding conversations that lead to discussing/arguing have also made them upset.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            There is wisdom. Don’t trim your sails, but don’t provoke unnecessary disputes.

            Like

          • Lily says:

            Following various links on Mark Mallet’s blog, I came across this one. It seems relevant to this discussion.
            http://www.markmallett.com/blog/why-arent-the-popes-shouting/

            Like

  10. Kris says:

    Dear Charlie, this is exactly why I have been a regular reader of you blog. Your thoughts regarding what is authentic arenas of authority versus getting caught up in the politics of the moment is crucial for all of us. I have found myself watching myself and realizing how easy it is to have opinions about things I really don’t have a lot of background simply because a friend has that opinion. Or I read a cursory article or book on a subject and caught up in being an expert vs a fresh learner. I learned in my most excellent college and graduate degrees from two very exemplar catholic instutions that the search for truth is ongoing. Yes after a time the framework to form ideas is established like reading Thomas Aquinas and his method of examining ideas. Superb! Very disciplining. Then I guess we just get lazy mentally and jump into thought groups. Truly, if I have learned nothing over the past many years it is that I must be humble before the truth always being willing to stay faithful to the framework that is so real and necessary. It is the anchor. One of those basics is what you and Mark Mallett always bring readers back to and that is the promise that Jesus gave us, the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail. Sometimes that is all we can cling to when storm become so fierce. I appreciate your framework of thought and that is what keeps me a regular. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Michelle says:

      I agree with you Kris. Thank you Charlie for reading the Encyclical FOUR times before you brought us your conclusions. That’s why we trust you.

      Like

      • SteveBC says:

        Michelle, I am also grateful to Charlie for doing such good homework. It is a great benefit to all of us, not just in the result but as inspiration to the rest of us to do our own homework carefully. The world is getting pretty strange, and it is increasingly easy to get misled if we don’t do our homework carefully enough.

        Like

  11. Julia says:

    Thank you again Charlie for another lovely article.

    I especially love the way your writing brings to the fore how much most of us can see in our earthly fathers, Our Heavenly Father; only Heavenly Father is the perfect Father.

    Heavenly Father wants the best for us, His representative on earth our Holy Father wants the best for us. Our parental father wants the best for us.

    We just all need to get our priorities right and show gratitude and appreciation to our fathers in faith, hope and charity to get to the best outcome when this life is over.

    Keep up the good work.

    Like

  12. Christina M says:

    Oh, that’s a very good way of putting it. Thank you for that. I’m not crazy about my dad. He was “my way or the highway,” and he has no higher authority than himself, so father figures have always been a struggle for me, but I do know that if I was in trouble, he’d have my back. I do know that. I still can’t call anyone “Papa,” though.

    Like

  13. Diane says:

    Excellent post
    Paul – I am always so grateful the church has confession – that is always what keeps me grounded in my faith . When the storm hits and people are looking for hope & and they see us something they want – FAITH – send them to a priest – the priests will be ready by then. I am certain that to reconcile with God through the sacraments is so valuable to our growth and receiving the Grace that God has for us .
    One of the things Charlie said at the Fort Lauderdale was how important it is for us to be good to each – be kind everyone is fighting a terrible battle, especially those in your family – those closest to you- we are blessed we can go to confession and receive a blessing and be strengthend – we can chase the demons away with prayer – most people you encounter do not have their armor on. So be kind. Love. I do.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Maureen says:

    Charlie,
    I have been so conflicted over the style of Pope Francis and this encyclical. Thank you for putting it into a clear perspective of what it is and is not. I have so many things I want to say to you and the dear people in this forum but I can’t seem to find the words. I think the Lord wants me to ponder these things a bit more. Please be assured of my prayers for all.
    May God give you the strength to continue to encourage us and stay true to your mission.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Deon says:

    Thank you so much, Charlie. What you’ve said about the encyclical was my impression too. The Pope says the right things about the important stuff. Things he should be speaking on. How people are important also. We are no more disposable than the environment we live in. We are blessed to have this Holy Father at this time in history.
    I believe his coming to the United States in September, speaking to a joint session of Congress, at the White House, the United Nations, and the closing of the World Meeting of Families is part of God’s eternal plan. The Pope will be speaking truth to power. He will have one more time to say the things that Jesus would say before the consequences begin to unfold. He then will return to Rome for the second half of the Synod on the family. Again one more time to communicate truth and set things right before there are drastic changes in the world
    We are so blessed to be living at this time. Each of us has been hand-selected by God to be exactly where we are right now. Sometimes I hear of people suddenly dying, including a dear sister I lost 2 months ago, and I think, that’s okay, God’s calling them home, to pray us through what’s coming. I also hear about people suddenly selling houses that hadn’t sold in years, or people moving across the country, and I think that God is putting exactly where they need to be with family before things get really tough. It’s like a chess board being set up before the game begins. All of the pieces falling into place before the decisive battle…and ultimately the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Reign of the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and the Era of Peace! Come Holy Spirit! Please pour down your graces of a new Pentecost. I long for the seventh day of the way God planned and designed things to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kim Johnston Hocutt says:

      Deon, I believe you are right on the money, people are being moved around and placed where they are needed. Our dear mother, Charlie’s and mine, died a very quick and seemingly fairly painless death from cancer in 2012, we believe to help him through the remainder of his pilgrimage and to help as many through the storm as possible!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Mike says:

    Thanks Charlie. Your analogy of you and your dad is the perfect way to describe our relationship with the Pope. I remember similar situations with my dad- his ideas were sometimes from another planet compared to mine, but I know I always loved him and he loved me. In fact, I KNEW he would lay down his life for me and my family if he had to. I feel the same way with Papa Francis. I love him and I know he loves us. At the heart of it for me, he is the Rock, he is Jesus’ vicar and it really that simple for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mick says:

      Mike, that’s it exactly.

      Charlie, thanks for another stellar article. You said precisely what I tried to say to my husband a few days ago, but I mangled it. My husband gets worked up by the Holy Father’s “misstatements” and the misinterpretations/bad translations of his statements, so I think I may show him your article. You re WAY better with words and explanations than I am. 🙂

      I especially love the analogy with your dad and the Holy Father. Having grown up with an amazing father who occasionally drove/drives me a little nuts, your analogy really hit me where I live. So many people (my husband included) say things like, “I love the Holy Father, but sometimes he make me crazy.” I like how you reverse the order of the independent clauses: “Sometimes he makes me crazy, but I love the Holy Father.” To me, it’s the thought expressed by the second independent clause that makes all the difference in revealing our attitudes toward the Holy Father. May we all focus on loving Pope Francis rather than on the fact that some of what he says may rub us the wrong way.

      Like

  17. Ann says:

    Charlie,
    Any concerns I had about what the Holy Father meant in his encyclical have been left in the dust by what will become of our country now that Same Sex marriage is a constitutional right. I too look forward to your perspective.

    Lord, have mercy on all of us!

    Like

  18. Phillip Frank says:

    I have to always remember that MY beliefs are not infallible as all proficy is imperfect because we who hear it, than try to interpret it are imperfect. Plus my credentials are just who I am and like most if us here, I have no credentials.
    But the Pope does and therefore what he says carries a lot of weight so we need to be careful about our opinion which was gleaned from many others since few of us have done our own research but are riding on the coattails of others on what we say is what.
    And if we believe that Pope Francis was intended by God to be doing what he is doing, than you better believe what he says and does is no misstep.
    After all, who among us has his credentials?

    Liked by 1 person

    • CrewDog says:

      Phillip,
      I don’t have the Pope’s “credentials” nor does he have mine … but “These Days” … I will only put my Blind Trust in The Holy Trinity and The Faith of My Fathers that was “written in stone” long before any alive today were born!
      GOD GUIDE POPE FRANCIS AND SAVE ALL HERE!!

      Like

  19. Phillip Frank says:

    I see Crew dog,
    But as you read about the Trinity and the faith of our fathers from long ago, you form an opinion.
    This opinion is singularly yours based on your world view and spiritual level and understanding.
    Now the Pope has done the same things in his life but was chosen by the Church as Christ’s Vicar who carries His authority on earth…one of the Trinity’s three persons you mentioned above that you follow.
    So if you, or I or anyone here stood before the Trinity or the church fathers and had a credentials contest with the Pope on who is more aware, astute, effective, in tune, etc with church teachings and all that pertains to that mission, I think ( my opinion with no credentials behind it) the Pope would win out.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I appreciate what you are saying, Phillip, but I am not sure it is relevant. In Paragraph 188 of this Encyclical, the Pope, himself, says he is not expert or authoritative on matters of science and politics – and that debate on those elements should be robust and open. I have not seen where anyone here has argued with him on the matters of faith and morals in this Encyclical. In fact, I think there is hearty concurrence. The only areas I have heard anyone here dispute with him on have been the political and scientific elements of the Encyclical, areas which he himself says there should be considered debate on.

      But you get to something that is perhaps deeper – a general fear by some of the faithful of disagreeing with the Pope on anything. I think we Catholics have done ourselves some damage by not being clear on what the Pope and Bishops are authoritative on and what they are not. When we try to impute authority that does not exist in areas that it does not exist, I don’t think we uphold the faith, but weaken it, particularly among the uninformed. If the argument is that the Pope is always right, well, that just won’t hold up historically on matters of politics, economics and science…which makes it easier for some to reject the Catholic faith when they find the substantial evidence that it is not true, either in modern times or historically. If, however, the point is that the Pope is protected from error when speaking Magisterially on matters of faith and morals, it is both true and one of the great miracles of history. It is one of the things that most deeply impressed me when I was considering coming into the Church. There have been some very bad and worldly Popes in history; some have even taught some completely cockamamie and errant theology – non-Magisterially. But even the Medici Popes did not ever formally teach error – and bad as some of those were, they endowed some of the greatest works of Christian art and architecture in world history. It is a sign of God moving in His Church and in the world.

      If your larger point is that, even on matters of politics, history and science one should be respectful in disagreement, I concur with that, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Matthew says:

        Phillip:
        The error of ultra-montanism is tempting for loyal Catholics, but it is an error. I also think it worth remembering the words of Benedict XVI. Shortly before his own resignation he reminded us that papal elections are NOT infallible nor divinely inspired. The Holy Spirit does not choose the pope but He does guard and guide the man that the conclave elects.
        PAX,
        Matthew

        Liked by 1 person

        • my girl joan says:

          I can understand that the papal elections are not infallible. But to declare that they are not divinely inspired infers that two third of the cardinals are not listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Hmm.. I am not too sure about that. We must trust that they acknowledged God first, cast their vote and the pope we have today is God will. Someone else can purport whether it was God perfect will or His permissive will.

          Like

        • johnmcfarm says:

          thank you Phillip for clearing that up…as a person considering conversion that had been a sticky point I hadn’t quite figured out yet…in your one paragraph you brought light and it makes a lot more sense to me!!! Thank you!

          Like

      • Patrick says:

        The Pope has clearly said some of these issues are open to debate and not conclusive. True, but the broader force of the Encycical remains. Much more so than what your angel tells you. I hope the readers here understand that you have no authoritative interpretation of the Encycical. Your opinion of the Holy Fathers clunky words seems to be patronizing and dismissive. I find it curious that the so called left and right become deaf on command. The long and short of it, we have take care of creation no if ands or buts. That includes our very selves. Key to what he is saying is that we need to care one for another and unless we give up on OUR selfish behavior we are in for it. We are ONE body. The leaven of relativism is more than just the other guy’s problem… By gosh it is here too.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Patrick, you are a good man and I appreciate your contributions here. But let me be clear…when you choose to be snarky because you do not like my stated opinions, leave my angel out of it. I make pretty darn clear when I am talking and when I am repeating what I have been told…and I do NOT claim any sort of divine authority for my opinions. That was a cheap, snarky shot that was unworthy of you. Now you tell me where I disputed anything authoritative in this – or you owe me an apology. Not for disagreeing with my opinions, but for insinuating I claimed divine authority for what I clearly did not.

          Like

          • Patrick says:

            I don’t comment much here, but do take offense at what I consider blogs that are disunitive. You used words such as” usual leftist nostrums, people being shut out, thuggish behavior, …. Or that he (Francis) ought to tell his fuctionaries “this or that. That kind of language bothers me. The Holy Father’s name is on ” those ” leftist nostrums.
            With respect to your angel. At one point you said all of this doesn’t matter because ”
            the events of the next few years will resolve the scientific and policy matters. Whether the Pope is right or people like me are right on those matters he touched on that are not directly within the scope of his authority, we shall see soon enough and, in either case, the urgency of it will dissipate.”
            Unless I interpreted this wrong the previous quote refers to events your angel told you would come. Thus it is not just you speaking. The aforementioned statement is not dismissive?
            I too love the Pope. I love the Church. I love Jesus. If I didn’t I would not read here. I don’t like family fights either. If you say my shots are cheap, I suppose it could have been said in a more charitable way. I am aggravated by the polarization and the Body (Church)being torn.
            Every single word the Pope issue’s is so scrutinized that the effect of what he teaches essentially is distilled. After everyone is finished with him we get Sterility (relativism).
            My opinion, it is one of the causes of the luke warm infection. Anyhow my time spent in the Seminary was an eye opener, speaking for myself it was a temptation to throw my hands up with respect to the truth.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Well, that’s a fair interpretation, Patrick. But whether or not the specific events I expect come to pass, the scientific, economic and political issues will be revealed by events in the coming years – and the Pope’s authority and credibility are not dependent on any of his opinions on them being right or wrong.

            I get hammered by some that I am just a shill for whatever the Pope says – then hammered by others that I am not sufficiently subservient to the non-authoritative things he says. I have one key purpose…to keep people to the safety of the ship during this Storm. If, though they grumble, I persuade them to stay, I have done them a service. I did not say your shots are cheap – just the last one. Yet I think it bears some additional discussion as the Storm gets, well, Stormier. I will put a piece up going into more detail about it.

            I used to get this sort of thing with candidates, too. When they said something that offended key groups and that I agreed was offensive, I said so…and conceded it with the offended leaders. Early on, my candidates would usually get angry because I should defend them right or wrong. While I am sometimes wrong, I am not made that way…and what I can do is acknowledge when I think my guy is off-base, but make the compelling case why we have to close ranks regardless. It worked…in Illinois, certainly in the last decade I was at it, general election victories were few and far between for conservatives…but the armies I led always kept marching – and candidates, after discovering the ferocity of my loyalty, were always glad of it, for I could move the Army when no one else could.

            Our fundamental disagreement here is not, I think, over whether we should stay with the Church. I am adamant about that at all times. This article is a ringing call for fidelity to the Church. We merely disagree over how best to accomplish that. It is worthy of a discussion on its own…and I will in the next day or two, provide a forum for that.

            Like

          • Kim Johnston Hocutt says:

            I have seen time after time that, evil seems to have claimed victory just before it is snatched from its cold slimy hands

            Liked by 1 person

      • janet333 says:

        Forgive me if I ever seem a bit tetchy when it comes to the Popes, I have been trying to defend them against anti-papal attacks for some years now. First it was the anti-Catholics and the Ultra trads…now its Catholics who prefer to follow a false prophet and regard her writings as holy scripture. My heart has been broken reading the lies told about Pope Francis. This poison has spread everywhere. Of course he is a man with imperfections, like our first Pope, but he is Christ’s Vicar on earth and I love him. By the way Kelly Bowring has a new video and article out now. (No comments allowed on his page..coward that he is! Sorry it makes me so annoyed as the anti-Catholics are lapping all of this up 😦 I am not meaning here, as Charlie points out quite rightly, that we can’t disagree with the Pope. No.. what I am referring to is an evil agenda against the Pope that makes you sick to the stomach to read. I pray for them all trusting that these people will come to their senses and stand up for the real truth.

        I admit to being really scared of the coming events but I know we badly need God’s intervention to sort us all out.

        Maranatha!

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          And remember that I only say we may disagree with a Pope on non-Magisterial teaching or matters not directly on faith and morals. Even then, we should be respectful and make clear our deference to him on those matters always. On mere politics, science, or economics the laity bears primary prudential responsibility, but on matters of faith and morals the Pope’s Magisterial opinion is decisive and binding. Keep to the Barque of Peter.

          Liked by 3 people

          • janet333 says:

            I am in the ‘boat’ Charlie and I’m not stepping out of it! 🙂

            Like

          • CrewDog says:

            We must really keep Pope Francis in our prayers during his upcoming visit to the USA in a few weeks! The anti-Catholics, The Spin-n-Smear Machine of the “Progressive” Left and satan’s useful idiots are already in “motion” to use-n-abuse the Pope/his visit to further their awful agenda whilst spreading confusion/dissension amongst Catholics and pitting Christians against each other!!

            GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

            Liked by 3 people

          • janet333 says:

            Thanks CrewDog…..As many of us as possible should pray for his visit to be fruitful…and yes expect the sensationalist headlines with out of context quotes. 😦

            Like

  20. Observer says:

    I defend, defend, defend Francis and papal authority. That said, now then…..going BEYOND the encyclical itself and into the matters of concrete actions apparently being taken, for instance with choice of just who gets to move this “project” along, perhaps into actual governments’ legislation et al, I have to ask: “what is he thinking?” One opinion:

    Pope’s Global Warming summit to be led by LEFTIST who wants gov’t to TAKE OVER companies and confiscate PROFITS

    Read more: http://therightscoop.com/popes-global-warming-summit-to-be-led-by-leftist-who-wants-govt-to-take-over-companies-and-confiscate-profits/#ixzz3eT0rlyby

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Some of his appointments have left me dazed and confused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CrewDog says:

        “Some of his appointments have left me dazed and confused.”
        I just look upon most of the above discussion just a Big Distraction. I personally don’t care what the Synod or Climate Summit comes out with ’cause I’m expecting more “pressing matters” to come to the fore. It just disturbs me that it’s causing unnecessary division and confusion at a time when we should be united and focused upon The Clear and Present Dangers of Manifest Evil!! … So… I “write it off” as the required unfolding of The Storm and beyond. As for me, I’ll keep my “autopilot” on altitude/heading hold.

        GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Patrick says:

        Are you dazed and confused about Jesus appointing Judas?

        Like

        • CrewDog says:

          “Are you dazed and confused about Jesus appointing Judas?”
          No! ’cause I have come to believe that Judas had his part to “play” as all the characters in The Ministry/Passion of Jesus … including Jesus. I have also come to believe, recently, that Judas along with the “Good Thief” is with The Lord …. and more likely than not the “Bad Thief” too? In my my lower moments of Irish Melancholy, I take great comfort in the message of The Divine Mercy….. you should too!!

          GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

          Like

      • SteveBC says:

        Charlie, every now and then I think about what Pope Francis might do when he finds out he has been ill-served by self-serving apostate subordinates. I think he is astute enough not to be captured by the bureaucracy for very long, but he is also somewhat of an outsider, with all that implies for a period of being captured. This is just a thought of mine, and not a very informed one, but we can watch for signs later that he is catching on. If he does catch on, I suspect the results will not be pretty.

        Like

  21. Dan Lynch says:

    Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus said to Peter, “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This is the source of the teaching authority of Peter and his successors the Popes. Pope Francis is the “supreme teacher of the universal Church.” (Lumen Gentium 25).

    The Popes have authority to teach on faith and morals, what we must believe and what we must do or not do.

    What we do or not do to God’s creation is a moral issue upon which the Pope has authority to teach. We are to use God’s creation and not to abuse it. The Pope has authority to teach us what to do or not to do about it.

    In his teaching, the Pope can rely upon what is an apparent consensus in the scientific community. He has no authority to teach science, but he may refer to it in support of his teaching.

    On our part, we should give careful consideration to his teachings and prudential judgments on ecology. They are not infallible, but we should examine our consciences as to how we can follow them in our own particular circumstances. For example, we could do something as simple as to lessen methane gas dispersion from landfills by composting our food waste.

    We are not free to dismiss and ignore Pope Francis’ teachings and prudential judgments on ecology because we might think that he stepped out of the zone of his authority or got the science wrong, or for whatever other reason.

    “In the shadow of your wings I take refuge
    till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57).

    Dan Lynch Apostolates promoting devotion to
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus King of All Nations,
    Our Lady of America and Saint John Paul II
    Visit our website at http://www.JKMI.com
    E-Mail Us at JKMI@JKMI.com
    May Our Lady of Guadalupe keep you under the mantle of her protection and
    may the Reign of Jesus King of All Nations be recognized in your heart!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Observer says:

      In his teaching, the Pope can rely upon what is an apparent consensus in the scientific community.

      Does anyone know what that really is? And, besides that, does anyone really know what things are definitely the cause? While NASA and several major newspapers reported on the incoming planetary system back in the early 1980’s that was already causing “wobbling” and instability within the outer planets and due to have a magnetic pull upon the sun (they seem to report the sun spots or flares but not the cause) and the earth’s core , such causation of so many natural disasters has since been deliberately hidden to the point of blocking out such evidence on Google sky. Now then, when the same government that is inflicting all kinds of damage upon business….coal, etc…..is also keeping major information that may demonstrate that things are beyond simple faulting of humans and their business policies, one can only envision another giant “black hole” being created on mother earth herself for more depositing of extra fees and taxes!

      Beyond those concerns, and reading the various major economic reports that are announcing that Greece’s problems are only a snapshot of what is to arrive quite soon on the world scene of same……with China being the major accumulator of gold to be the only one able to control their own failing economy and thus then everyone’s else’s……I doubt if very many of the future designs for the climate from earth to the cosmos will be able to even begin as the world faces the many angles to the big storm. Anyone check just the momentary effect today re: this Greece situation? And suddenly they’re all talking about the “contagion effect” even coming here with same austerity matters of gov. control over personal accounts.

      Looks like the several predictions from various corners about that coming “recession within a recession” or even “depression within a depression” might arrive, yes, even as soon, as their fall prediction of this year. 😦

      Like

  22. Phillip Frank says:

    Well said Dan and the crux of my limited blogging.
    He has authority and we do not ….credentials verses no credentials.
    Also your point on the Popes use of the general consensus of sciense ( which I personally disagree with on climate change but heartily agree with on many other points he talked about) but again, who am I?

    Like

  23. Diane (mommato9) says:

    I understand all the points Charlie has said in this article and think he is right. But I still find it disheartening that the Holy Father seemed to take a stance on important matters that have serious questionable issues or problems. I personally understand the difference between matters of faith and morals and matters of science and am able to differentiate between the two in this encyclical. But there are so many others, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who cannot. My husband is Protestant but open to Catholic teaching in every regard but I see him struggling with the things Our Holy Father has said here. I have explained to him the difference Charlie points out, but it is confusing to him why the Pope would take these positions when there are many opinions out there that do not support global warming, etc. I think this is what I feel most disheartened about. In some ways, it seems to add to the confusion of these times. I think of Charlie’s vision of the demons spreading across the earth to try to fill us with despair.

    But as I have prayed about it, perhaps God is allowing this confusion to occur. The time of Great Mercy is at the door. We all need Christ’s mercy and sacrifice. No one is so good, so holy, so right that they do not need Christ, even Our Holy Father. Perhaps God is allowing all to see that Catholics aren’t the “right” church because we are the “best people,” but because of Christ’s word that He is the builder of this Church upon Peter and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It isn’t about our greatness but about God’s faithfulness and mercy. I am afraid I am not explaining myself well. Perhaps others have better insights into this than me. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Observer says:

    Since I have been continuing to search for more lights, via the Holy Spirit, from this environmental encyclical I believe this opinion piece linked to on Spirit Daily today to be rather “enlightening” with a more perhaps reasoned approach to the greater depth contained within it:

    http://www.cruxnow.com/life/2015/06/29/the-popes-ecological-vow/

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A Quiet Person says:

    Back to the discussion as to whether we should remain quiet or not, I took off those 2 bumper sticker I had put on my car yesterday about the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They had been given to me the day before by a friend but literally, from the moment I put them on I was agitated. It was not fear that caused me to take them off. It was more a feeling that it was just not the right time for this message to be communicated in that way. I felt more peaceful immediately after removing them. Things feel very different to me now than they did before the Supreme Court decision. I think I need to pay attention to these feelings and heed them, even if I do not understand them. I figure there will be lots of similar decisions to be made in the future and I am trusting that I will receive a distinct impression as to what to do, just as I did with the bumper stickers. In the meantime Charlie, I am looking forward to more guidance on these issues, as that time is almost upon us now.

    Like

    • Lily says:

      Yes, I do think the court decision makes a big difference somehow. The rainbows on the White House, the rainbows on all the Facebook pictures. It is strange reading through Facebook and seeing the division between people. It is like bizarro world.

      Like

  26. Dear Next Right Step family,
    If you have a few spare prayers, please remember this family of four (includes two little girls ages 6 and 8). Their daddy just graduated from nursing school and passed the state boards, but hasn’t found an RN job yet. SW Ohio is an over saturated area for nursing grads, though it is also where grandma age 76 lives by herself since grandpa age 85 is in the nursing home with parkinsons. With a couple of dozen applications out, and two interviews that failed to produce a job, I have resorted to applying to a place where I have lived and worked in the past–Alaska. There I had a very positive phone interview with a panel of nurses and am awaiting the contract to sign perhaps by next week. I too have felt great dismay at what continues to transpire in our country and have taken to heart Rev 18:4-5 and 1 Maccabees 2:27-28. I am wondering whether this is a time to literally apply scripture to our lives even when it seems counter-intuitive (in ordinary times I would continue looking for work in this area so as to be “there” for my parents). Not that my parents NEED me, my mother is proudly independent, able bodied, social, drives, etc. and dad is well cared for in the nursing home around the corner from mom, who visits him daily. At my age, just shy of 50, this will represent a huge move for us. I wonder if we are being called to do this move so as to be part of the remnant that I’ve read about. In any case, it is a big undertaking, calling for tough decisions…so I am most grateful for your prayers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      God bless you, Dan. Prayers going up for you. If you have not, you might want to go to the forum. We have some readers in Alaska, including a very active one. They might help make your transition there a little easier if that is how it ends up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mick says:

      Praying for you and for your intentions, Dan.

      Like

      • Thank you, friends! Your willingness to offer prayers and show care and concern for each other is one of the things that makes this site so appealing, so reminiscent (I imagine) of what the early church was like. The location we’re contemplating is Nome, on the Bering sea coast. The Diocese of Fairbanks operates an award-winning radio station there, KNOM. The local parish is St. Joseph; I found this to be remarkable as earlier in May my wife and I prayed a novena to St. Joseph. I felt particularly drawn to pray for his intercession as he was responsible for the safety and protection of the Holy Family, and knew what it was like to flee from persecution. I will write an update if we arrive there by fall. I hope within time we’ll be able to welcome any from the Next Right Step community who would like to visit.

        Liked by 2 people

  27. CrewDog says:

    Godspeed Dan & Family!
    Sounds like a great adventure and calling. I’ll pray that Ya’ll find your “Big Nugget”!

    “North to Alaska” – Johnny Horton

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 2 people

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