By Charlie Johnston
A couple of things…
I am being inundated of late with people in panic and/or frenzy about crash coming next week or some other specific date. First, I have given no date – though I routinely see myself being quoted elsewhere as having done so. Second, I don’t understand the frenzy, even if it proves to be so. I have long said that knowing what will happen and when is vastly over-rated; that knowing how to behave whatever happens is the important thing. I have also said that nothing is lost in God’s economy…the good that you can do now is not squandered if it is interrupted for a time.
I do not have any particular expectations as to when crash will come, other than that it will come soon. Even more, I don’t care to know the moment. If I knew, it would only tempt me to make some impotent plans to prepare for it other than keeping to my post and trusting to God. Heaven knows, when it does come, I do not want the Lord to find me wringing my hands in woe or wailing about what I am going to do. I pray He will find me standing my post, taking it in, then looking to Him for guidance on what the next right step from there is. That is enough. Be deliberate, stay your post, turn to God and take refuge in the mantle of Our Lady.
Understand, what lies ahead is humanly impossible. Many of the questions I get asked are akin to wondering whether it is better to take a sword or a rifle to a duel with Godzilla…it doesn’t much matter. Others are akin to asking me if Godzilla is going to stomp us with his left or his right foot, as if that made a difference as to what the result of either would be. If there is no God, we would be doomed. If there is God and we persist in worrying about such things, as if we can resolve it, we are doomed. But there is God. He is our sword and our shield – and Godzilla is not even a gnat to Him. Hold fast to Christ, under the refuge of Our Lady’s mantle and Godzilla is doomed. The way you do that is to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. I have been telling you that for a year and a half. Now you must live it.
In fairness to those few commenters who want to spread the anti-pope apostasy, I must tell you something: I do not clear the occasional comment from them to open up a dialogue or an argument. That apostasy is beyond the pale here…just as I would not entertain a serious argument with holocaust deniers. Rather, I clear some such comments in order that readers may see the sort of specious nonsense these guys are peddling and thus be inoculated against it.
If you want to disagree with Bishops or even the Pope on matters that are not settled, you may do it respectfully here. If you want to disagree pointedly on economic, political or scientific matters, you may do it cordially here. But the minute you try to undermine the legitimate authority of the Bishops or start advocating the overthrow of the Pope, you are anathema here. I will not be polite in shooting you down. If you get a shot at all, it will likely only be once. There will be no long strand of debate. And as for the names some of you call me when you realize I don’t allow that sort of thing, you should probably know that to hear an anti-pope apostate call me a false prophet or a dirty guy or a stupid fool is music to my ears. I will ever be counted among the loyal sons of the Church Christ founded. Her allies are my allies: her enemies are my enemies.
This website is for other such loyal sons and daughters. I give a wide range for disagreement among them. But we are the people who have set our jaws like flint and will stay firmly ensconced in the Barque of Peter regardless of how the winds howl and the waves church. So howl on, if you must. We are set. As for this house, we will serve the Lord.
I know there are many new readers here, so I ask those of you who are new to please read the “Comments” link on the bar at the top of the Page. We have some rules and guidelines to help keep the forum lively, but respectful. I have had to reject some comments lately – more than since I began this site – which substitute an insult for an argument, offer an opinion as fact while condemning others on the site, or make factual assertions that do not hold up even on superficial examination. Yes, we can throw some stiff elbows here, but I always seek to have more light than heat generated from the comments, so an insult is not an argument and consistent disdain for others on the comment board is not looked upon kindly.
Also, there seems to have grown a lot of personal side conversations unrelated to the issues or the article they are attached to. A little banter adds a little spice and I appreciate it, but this is not a message board. Our friend, Tom Kuipers, set up the private Next Right Steppers Forum, which is the proper place for extended personal conversations. Just sign up for it and use it – and let’s stick to the issues at hand here.
Our good friend, Bishop Rene Gracida, has had a bit of a flare-up of a chronic condition of late. He continues to put up some marvelous articles at his marvelous Abyssum Website. Let us all offer some prayers for this good Bishop who has done so much for the Church and the faith that he may be back to full strength soon.
I have been inundated by requests from Priests and by various Diocesan officials I have visited around the country to address more directly what they can do to help keep people encouraged and heartened during difficult times. I am working on a piece specifically geared towards that. I have asked some of our correspondents who work on various devotions to give me their thoughts. I met Sr. Marie Hesed, SOLT, in Carroll, Iowa
this last week. She worked with Mother Teresa for 27 years and is now working on a project called Domus Trinitatis, which I think is a great refinement in the idea of building small, healthy communities, where families, religious and priests live in proximity to each other and work to build each other up. These will all contribute to that piece.
And finally, a gentle piece by the Most Rev. Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland. He is one of the American Bishops I admire. I have spoken often of the trials and difficulties our Priests and our Bishops are trying to manage right now – and how we need to be more vocally supportive of their good efforts. They have a lot on their plate and will have much more soon enough. In this piece, Archbishop Sample speaks of the challenges they face daily from so many sides – and does it with a light touch, gentleness, and a little humor.
I have recommended before – and I know there are many new readers here – that people watch what Bishops and Priests do, then once a week send a handwritten note of thanks and encouragement to one, whether in your diocese or not. Yes, you may write to seek guidance, to occasionally complain…but you need to write to say thanks, too, to let our faithful clergy know you have their backs as they try to confront these challenges. It is all part of building each other up.