Calling for Coordinators

My coordinator out of Denver, Mary, informs me we have a bunch of people willing to volunteer out of Portland, Oregon and out of San Francisco, but we need coordinators for each of those cities. I will be going out to the west coast the middle of next month, so please contact Mary at so I don’t have to cancel those portions of the trip if you can act as a coordinator.


I thought you should see perhaps the finest homily I have read to this point on recent events in America and the world. It is by Fr. Peter Mitchell, pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Greenville, Wisconsin. He gave it on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, just two weeks ago. Here it is:

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men.” – Abraham Lincoln

My dear parishioners, I had hoped I would not have to give this homily. But as your pastor and shepherd, I must speak today, lest I sin by silence and act in cowardice. This past Friday, June 26, by a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has told us that our entire nation must accept the redefinition of marriage. The decision is being hailed by many as a victory for love. Our President’s twitter account acclaimed the decision as victory for freedom with the signature #LoveWins. It is no secret that the Catholic Church opposes this decision, and so it would seem to many in this confused cultural moment that we are now part of a church that is opposed to love, and is in fact a church that proclaims hatred by its teaching. For a long time now our society has been being prepared to celebrate and affirm this decision as a victory for love – the press, the entertainment media, our schools, the medical profession, business associations, the military – every aspect of our society has veryaggressively been told that to oppose this decision is to be against the free expression of love. Why would wewithhold the right to happiness and love from fellow citizens? Why would we tell others they cannot fulfillthemselves in the way they choose to? Everyone is now forced to accept this redefinition by means of judicialrewriting of the law. And – here is the crux of the issue for us as the church – if we will not accept thisredefinition, we are expected to be silent. And it is in this light that I wish to take President Lincoln’schallenging words – “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men” – and ask how wemay respond courageously and joyfully to the present challenging cultural moment.

Let’s be clear about what happened on Friday in terms of the big picture of the history of Western Civilization.I’ve brought a few books along for dramatic effect. Let’s see… Socrates…out the window. Plato…out thewindow. Aristotle…out the window. Roman law…out the window. Notice we haven’t gotten to Christian sources of law and culture yet. The Old Testament – Genesis 19, out the window. The New Testament – Romans 1 – read it, it is so clear! “While claiming to be wise they became fools…God handed them over to theirundiscerning mind to do what is improper” – out the window. St. Augustine, out the window. Thomas Aquinas,out the window. The entire legal precedent of the United States up to 2003, out the window. The implication ofcourse is that all of these sources of our law had a blind spot of prejudice when it came to the definition ofmarriage. All of these wise men were unenlightened, and it is only as of June 26, 2015, that we can say that we truly live in a free and loving society. Hence the hashtag, #LoveWins.

What was the reason for all of these foundational sources of our culture condemning the behavior associatedwith the redefinition of marriage, for calling such behavior a sin and a crime? Let’s say this very simply – withgreat wisdom, they understood that such behavior is destructive. It is destructive of the human body because it goes against human nature – it causes disease and death, and no less importantly it is destructive of the human soul. It leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and even suicide. It is destructive of families and of children’s happiness. This was the established consensus of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), until 1973, when it removed such behavior from its lists of mental disorders in a change that had absolutely no scientific or medical basis but was pushed through by pressure from a small group of activists.

Now, however, we are told that the entire society must legally accept the redefinition of marriage and thusaffirm the rationalization that what is bad and destructive is actually good and fulfilling. My dear people, let’ssay this simply and clearly – to call what is bad good is a lie. And the redefinition of marriage into somethingother than a permanent covenant between a man a woman for the purpose of raising a family is a lie. Whywould we be opposed to Friday’s decision? The simple answer is- because it is based on a lie.

If someone would ask us, “Why is it a lie?” we need to be able to connect the dots as to how we got here. There is a very simple thread of logic running through the Supreme Court’s decisions since 1966 concerning, first contraception, then abortion, and finally the redefinition of marriage. All three issues are intertwined, andultimately to embrace one as a right is to embrace the others. We need to be able to understand that logic so as to refute it. First, in 1961 Planned Parenthood sued the State of Connecticut for the right to distributecontraceptives, which was at that time against the law. In 1966 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the US SupremeCourt defined the right to contracept as part of the “right to privacy” it claimed to find in the Constitution. Thisdecision was then invoked in the decision with which we are all familiar, Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalizedthe right to abortion as part of the “right to privacy.’ It made logical sense. If children intrude upon our right toprivacy, we need to have a way to eliminate them. To fully embrace the use of contraceptives, many of whichact as abortifacients by killing the developing embryo in the mother’s womb, is to affirm abortion, which is theultimate act of contraception. The Church’s beautiful teaching has always seen this connection and proclaimed it, even as our culture has scoffed. This brings us to 2015. Friday’s decision was entirely consistent with the precedent of Griswold and Roe. If we as a culture have sterilized married love by legalizing contraception and abortion, it is logically consistent that we would redefine marriage so that it no longer has any necessary connection with procreation, based on the “right to privacy.” A culture where everyone is contracepting and in which anyone can get an abortion, must, to be consistent, redefine marriage. Our Supreme Court acted consistently on Friday. It invoked its own language defending the right to abortion: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” (Planned Parenthood v Casey, 1992). Justice Kennedy’s opening sentence in Friday’s decision reaffirms this definition of liberty: “Liberty includes the right to define and express one’s own identity.” This is the heart of the lie. But there can be no freedom divorced from the truth of God’s law, which is also the law of human nature. In ignoring the natural law, our Supreme Court has proclaimed that we must all accept a lie.

What is to be our response as disciples of Jesus Christ to the lie? It is the same joyful witness that we alwaysgive: living lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience and mercifully inviting others, with us, to heed the firstwords of Jesus in the Gospel, “Reform your lives, and believe in the Gospel!” (Mark 1:15). Our witness needsto be joyful and compassionate, convicted and committed. No less than we are convicted that we would neverlet our little ones play with matches, because they are potentially destructive, so we must be convinced that the redefinition of marriage is destructive to individual people and to our entire society. If we are so convinced, we will joyfully invite others as fellow sinners to turn to the Merciful Jesus and know his healing grace as thewoman with the hemorrhage did in today’s Gospel.

We can turn more than ever to the intercession of some of the great martyrs of our faith who were called on towitness to the truth of God’s law in the face of legal redefinition of the truth. I am thinking of the joyful witnessof St. Thomas More and the Martyrs of England in the 1500’s. When King Henry VIII wished to deny the truthof his marriage, he ordered Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy, which proclaimed Henry head of theChurch and thus able to redefine marriage. The vast majority of bishops in England acquiesced to Henry’sdemand. The law was changed and persecution followed for those who did not remain silent. The courageousmartyrs of that storied moment in English history are interceding for us. They stood firm as they were accusedof hating their King and hating their country. St. Edmund Campion’s powerful words ring clear – at hissentencing to execution, he said simply, “In condemning us, you condemn all of your own ancestors, all thatwas once the glory of England.” The present redefinition of marriage has indeed condemned all the great figures in American history as having been fundamentally opposed to freedom and rights in their understanding of marriage as a God-given gift between a man and a woman.

I am thinking of the joyful witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Reich. All of the reforms of the 1930’s were accomplished legally as the German nation was told to embrace a lie about the human person – that the Jews were not truly persons. As long as people were silent, the lie had room to grow. Anyone who loved Germany was expected to support the Fuhrer. The law was changed and persecutionfollowed for those who did not remain silent. Those who spoke out paid the ultimate price. Bonhoeffer, aLutheran pastor who dared to speak out in protest and to resist, wrote before his execution, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I am thinking, lastly, and perhaps most powerfully, of the courageous witness of John the Baptist, whose birththe Church just celebrated this past week. Face to face with King Herod, who had redefined marriage by taking his brother’s wife to be his own wife, John spoke the truth about marriage: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). John chose not to remain silent, and persecution followed. Because he spoke the truth about marriage, John was beheaded.

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men.” My dear people, all we have to dotoday is to remain silent in the face of the lie and we will be able to remain comfortable. May this comfortablesilence never be our response. In the words of the great Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” The Church in America in 2015 needs to callupon the intercession of all of these holy martyrs, asking them to obtain for our bishops and priests and for all of us the courage to bear witness to the truth about marriage.

So many are confused and hurting in their search for love today – they are searching for Christ without evenknowing it. It falls to us at this moment to show forth Jesus by our witness of poverty, chastity, and obedience.This witness will mean having the courage to face whatever persecution, large and small, will come to us as a result of our refusal to remain silent. It will mean enduring accusations that we are opposed to love and hateful of those who celebrate and promote the redefinition of marriage. Let’s be confident that the Holy Spirit is with us and is raising up a great generation of witnesses – joyful, loving, compassionate, merciful, courageous witnesses. I am confident that I am looking at those witnesses as I preach to you today.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

St. Thomas More, Edmund Campion, and the martyrs of England, pray for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Reich, pray for us. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Father Peter Mitchell

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 Culture, Discernment, General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Calling for Coordinators

  1. A Quiet Person says:

    Powerful! I am going to have my 19 year old son read this when he comes back home from his summer adventures. We had a discussion about some of these things last summer because the parish he would be attending as a freshman college student away from home was going through a serious issue then. A long time parishioner at that parish, very active and much loved had a public commitment ceremony with his long-time same-sex partner. The pastor very sincerely affirmed his love for all parishioners but also reaffirmed the Catholic position regarding same-sex “marriages.” This person had a public ceremony and as such the pastor did not want him taking the prominent positions he had taken before in the church. The priest was not silent and all you-know-what seemed to break out. Even though he had the support of the Bishop, the priest was trashed in the media, the parishioner was practically glorified as a victim and there were protests outside the church. Soon after that , the priest was transferred someplace else. I asked my son to consider what he would do if forced to cross a picket line or miss Mass. And this was last year!

    I was going to post this on the prayer request portion of this site but it seems to fit in here. I am requesting prayers from all of us for all of our kids, especially the ones away from home. My son does not like conflict. He just wants everyone to get along. Several weeks ago a very small contingent of us prayed the rosary at a busy intersection with huge signs affirming that marriage was between one man and one woman. I brought my two kids along. Many, many people drove by giving us the finger with a vengeance. My son felt bad that we had offended so many people and angry at me because I put him in that position. His strategy would have been to just sit down with someone with same-sex attraction and have a nice, calm discussion. We have all raised our kids to not offend people but the rules have changed, especially as of the Supreme Court ruling. So I worry about him and everyone else who may be more or less on their own, forced to make these huge decisions without the immediate support from their families. Who knows what situations any of us will be faced as our parishes deal with the Supreme court ruling. Prayers for our kids!

    Liked by 4 people

    • mmbev says:

      Quiet person, I thank you for posting that prayer request. I know already the response of my youngest son. He receives his essential treatments at St. Paul’s (St. Paul’s!!!) hospital in Vancouver. The nurses are excellent there with regard to patients who require intravenous treatment. It is the predominant hospital where patients with Aides go. Of course, many of them are homosexual and the streets and business surrounding the hospital cater to them. (It seems like every business window has a decal of varying size has a SIX colour rainbow). Many nurses are actively homosexual men as well.

      When the treatment that is prolonging your life is in the hands of extremely competent homosexuals it can cause a biases in a eighteen year old’s perception and understanding especially in the environment we have today.

      I don’t discuss this situation at all. First try I realized only God could change his mind and bring understanding and enlightenment.

      I KNOW I am not the only parent in this situation. Thank you sp much. You got there ahead of me.


    • Mick says:

      Praying along with you, Quiet. And regarding your son, not all of us are cut out to be “confrontational”… yet. God definitely needs the one-on-one, nice-calm-discussion types, too. But the day is coming when we must all “choose or perish,” as Charlie has said; and I have great hope that our children will choose well when the time comes. May the Holy Spirit give all of our children the grace to be as wise as serpents, as innocent as doves, and as doggedly determined (and, if necessary, as ferocious) as pit bulls.


  2. Doug says:

    Lord have mercy!


  3. Dominic says:

    Thank you for publishing this very powerful sermon. But I’m not sure how Fr. Peter’s assessment squares with a Catholic Church in the United States whose Bishops and Cardinals refuse to enforce Canon 915 and deny the Blessed Sacrament to politicians who are pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage. And who even go so far as to allow for Catholic funerals for such politicians. Nor does this sermon seem to square with the current successor of St. Peter who speaks limply and ambiguously when it comes to sodomy, i.e., “Who am I to judge.” Where are the excommunications for the politicians who have encouraged and supported this abomination?


    • Mick says:

      Dominic, I understand your frustration, except regarding what you said about the Holy Father. I’m sure you are sincere, but you are unwittingly repeating and thus perpetuating a falsehood. The Pope. did in fact say “Who am I to judge?” But he was not referring to a priest who was at that time an active homosexual; rather, he was referring to a priest who had renounced and repented of his previous sinfulness. Pope Francis was setting an example for all of us by refusing to judge the sincerity of the man’s repentance. This is an example of which we will all have need in the coming dark days, and I pray that we all learn this lesson well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph77 says:

      For years I demanded bishops and cardinals defend Our Lord Jesus Christ from the sacrilege of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual politicians who should be excommunicated rather than encouraged by their silence. Scandal of scandals to the faithful and denying Jesus Christ before the world, archbishops and cardinals photographed embracing these same politicians and administering Holy Communion to them and their mistresses! I’ve been called “uncharitable, unkind, and disrespectful by some, including my own bishop, because I was too outspoken and brash in my aggressive defense of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the murdered, innocent, unborn babies. I came to the conclusion: the majority of bishops in the U.S. were closet democrats! Wait! Don’t clobber me yet! It was confirmed by a bishop from Rhode Island who publicly said he could no longer be a democrat! And he has been the only one to confess it!! There has to be The Storm! By this comment, I do not hold myself guiltless, by my great sins I have contributed to the tribulation we are experiencing. O God, have mercy on me a poor, poor sinner! Please pray for me….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike Malone says:

        Joseph, I think it was St, John St John Chrysostom who so rightly said, “The road to hell is paved with the heads of bishops”. I think U.S. bishops will have much to answer for to the Lord because of their failure to enforce Canon 915. In addition I think they will be punished for their failure to publically defend the Faith against the heresies being spouted by Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and many many other politicians who insist they are ardent Catholics but promote all of the intrinsic evils of abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research and cloning. I think the Church should add euthanasia to that list.

        I’ve had to leave my NO parish because I have spoken out about the illicit liturgies, the lack of teaching in the homilies etc. In speaking out I have become the proverbial red-headed step child. I am no longer invited to most social activities because of my ‘traditional’ stubbornness making others feel ‘uncomfortable’.

        Didn’t the Lord in Mt: 5:11 say, “Blessed are ye when they may reproach and persecute you, and say every wicked thing against you, lying, for my sake.”

        I think Catholic/Christian persecution is just getting started.

        Thanks for your reply.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Charity says:

    Wow truly powerful and amazing. He put it all together so clearly, so powerfully so truth filled -as if the Holy Spirit wrote through him.
    May we all remember this in the times upon us.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Julia says:

    What an amazing gripping sermon. God bless the Priest who delivered it. Thank you Charlie for sharing it.

    There will always be hope while there are courageous charitable men to proclaim the Truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Diane (mommato9) says:

    I am blessed to say that Fr. Mitchell was assigned to our parish for a time. He has many great gifts, including the gifts of wisdom and teaching. Let us all remember to pray for him and all our priests!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jules says:

    Thank u for this post.Praying for our priests to be always couragious to speak the truth and that we too will have courage in these days.Right will always be right wrong will always be wrong even if the majority think it’s right .

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Mack says:

    What an incredible sermon! Imagine how the Church would be renewed if all priests preached like this! And all bishops!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brenda says:

    Thank you for posting this sermon, Charlie. I am sharing it with friends.
    Our challenge is to abide in love.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Barbara Dore says:

    Please pray for priests. many of them are burnt out mentally and emotionally. I believe they feel overwhelmed with so many struggles due to the modernism. Let us offer our holy rosary for priests, beloved sons of Our Lady, The Queen of the priests so that they may be strengthened to challenge the difficult issues and become more vocal when they feel called by The Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Picket Fence says:

    A beautiful, powerful sermon. Thank you for posting it.

    Just today, while visiting my son and daughter-in-law, I got this reaction from her (she is Protestant):
    “I’m tired of all the constant discussion about this, and there are more important things to argue over in this country. What about all the starving and abused children? God will judge us on that, not on homosexual marriage!”

    How I wish she would have given me a chance to show that the way we now treat children, i.e., disposable, stems from denying God’s natural law for us, as demonstrated in the sermon above. And I realized that I had gotten the same argument while praying outside Planned Parenthood during 40 Days for Life last spring. A young woman glared at me, though I smiled at her, and asked why I wasn’t praying for abused children and doing something about that. All I could say to her was, “It’s ALL abuse.”

    Young people seem to realize that children need to be nurtured and protected. Why can’t they realize that we as adults need that, too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • joanp62 says:

      Picket, your response to the woman outside PP was actually perfect. Maybe it got her thinking about how abortion is THE most abusive thing to a child.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Picket Fence says:

        Thank you, Joan. Only the Holy Spirit could have given me that reply. It was my hope that the young woman would see that eventually after I got over my surprise that those words came from me.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Tom says:

    excellent homily but just for the record and so none of us pass on this faulty info, that is not Lincoln who said that quote. There’s many things attributed to Lincoln that he did not say. That quote was from the poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox:


    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks Tom, I feel like an idiot. I usually have an eagle eye for quotes erroneously attributed to Lincoln. I have read over 20 biographies of him and all of his private diaries. He is the man most misquoted of all…and usually you can sniff it out because the errant quote lacks either his rhythms or sentiments. I was not familiar with this one, but it did not jump out at me as false by its feel. Thanks.


  13. Barbara Dore says:

    American website of the Rosa Mystica House of Prayer

    Rosa Mystica House of Prayer – Rosa Mystica About Us Page

    Rosa Mystica of America offers support and comfort for anyone looking to visit a
    special place to be closer to God. Retreats, conferences, and events held at the .


  14. Mike Malone says:

    A wonderful and insightful homily. I personally talk about the sin of silence often with Catholic-lite Catholics. Too many Catholics will sit silently within Church groups, hall fellowship following mass, in family gatherings, when in social groups etc. There are nine way’s a Catholic can be complicit in the sin of another:

    Nine ways of being an accessory to another’s sin.

    1.By Counsel
    2.By Command
    3.By Consent
    4.By Concealment
    5.By Defense of Evil Done
    6.By Partaking
    7.By Provocation
    8.By Praise
    9.By Silence

    Some of my Catholic-lite friends (which get fewer by the day) too often defend capital sin behavior and speech by saying, “As Catholic’s we cannot judge instead we need to love and pray for them”. Then I (or someone else) ask what Christ thought about judgment? Back comes, “Judge not lest thy be judged (Mt. 7:1) Sounds reasonable huh?

    However when they are reminded about what Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 7:16-20, “[16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.” So if people are supporting or acting our an intrinsic evil, are they not really saying that an evil tree can bring forth good fruit. Then I argue that this position is complete supported by Mt. 1-5, [1] Judge not, that you may not be judged, [2] For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. [3] And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’ s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? [4] Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? [5] Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’ s eye. Why because the fruit is good when supported by God’s Word and evil when it does not.

    This homily is spot on and I am proud of this priest for speaking out. Interestingly this priest is pastor of St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception. I attend Immaculate Conception Church.

    God Bless All.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Therese says:

    I tried to contact Mary but my email failed to lovebyhim1026@gmail. I would like to coordinate for Portland Oregon. Could you put me in touch with her. Thank you so much.


    • charliej373 says:

      Absolutely, Therese. I goofed in the draft I put up and immediately corrected it – but those who just looked at their email version rather than the site would not have seen the corrected version. Her email address is I omitted the “d” in the original post. She will be delighted to hear from you.


  16. Annie says:

    Reblogged this on Annie and commented:
    To call what is bad good is a lie…


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