By Charlie Johnston
Some of you have been disappointed that a radio show that promised to take a look at me last Friday ended up having all the depth and insight of a beauty queen discussing world peace, while getting both my name and my message wrong on multiple counts. I understand: once you get used to the public arena, it is more irritating to hear someone you care about sloppily disparaged than it is to suffer it yourself. But I do feel some sympathy for some of my critics.
I have been surprised at how often otherwise legitimate sites badly mangle or misunderstand my message – and then vigorously condemn the mangled result they hoist. I swear, if I said we were all going to get around by riding chestnut horses, some of them would solemnly condemn me for saying we were all going to survive by eating horse chestnuts – and a few would put up all manner of charts and graphs to prove there just weren’t enough horse chestnuts to go around – and how stupid I was to think anyone could ride a chestnut in the first place.
One critic wrote to tell me I should be very careful about criticizing critics because my website has a very large and wide audience. He is right about that, perhaps more than he knows. Among my regular audience are some serious Church authorities, and some lay theologians and eschatologists of national stature. When someone makes an analysis based on garbled facts or an obviously malicious piece, it does more damage to their reputation than to mine: and it does the damage amongst the very people the critic is most trying to impress.
When I first started writing publicly long ago, I resolved that, whenever I made a factual error or was unfair to someone, I would make the correction louder and more prominent than the original error. Sometimes, you have to get to press before you have all the facts you would like, so there are always going to be some errors. When it happens, confessing them loudly stings – but it also fills you with a deep motivation to get it as right as you can on the first try. I can’t say that ethos was something profoundly noble on my part. Rather, I have always been disgusted with the penchant of publications to make ugly smears on Page One – and then the correction in small type on page 37. It reveals a shabby smallness of spirit and has always seemed to me to be …unmanly. I could never imagine John Wayne scurrying about odiously trying to escape or shift blame for his error – and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I did not act with such basic honor.
Every time you make a public judgment, you are not just judging; you are delivering yourself up to judgment as well. To cover what is honorable with mud as a tactic has always puzzled me. Yes, it can give short-term advantage, but time always erodes and washes away the mud of calumny, leaving only the rock of honor standing. Ultimately, we all stand revealed for what we are. I can stand to be wrong, but it would tear me up to just be dishonorable.
It is good to be skeptical of things like this. For every one that is real, there are 200 that are either frauds or delusions. But to be honestly skeptical, you must deal with the facts as they are, neither garbling nor making them up to justify your skepticism. The latter is not skepticism at all, merely clumsiness or defamation.
I have largely decided not to assume I know the motives of critics who garble the facts or mutilate my message. Sometimes fear, insecurity or hurt can manifest itself as hostility. While these look like malice, they aren’t actually malice. Some people, caught up in their own reputation, are just sloppy – or even fear that if anyone else rises it somehow diminishes them. The simple fact is, whatever their motives, I am sent to assure them of Rescue, too. So I must try to figure out how to act in a manner that makes that easy as events continue to unfold. If any act in actual malice, it ultimately will hurt them while merely discomfiting me for a time. Better I should find ways to tamp down the malice if possible.
Even the worst of critics end up promoting this site despite themselves. In the birthday wishes you saw several people talk about how they had feared or wanted to debunk me – until they read what I actually say instead of what hostile critics say I say. During my travels last year, on at least 70% of my stops, I had one or more people come up after the presentation to tell me they had come to challenge and debunk me – but that I was not at all what they had expected. If you have been led to expect some raving lunatic or slick hustler and you come here and just find me, it does damage to the ones who led you to expect a raving lunatic or a slick hustler.
Another unconscious – and somewhat comical – help is the incredible shrinking island of specific objections critics can use. A week or so ago a member of the Mother of God forum who goes by the screen name, FatimaPilgrim, touched on this. He is an occasional commenter here, too, but he may well want to preserve some privacy. He wrote:
“The thing is that people want Charlie to give a play by play and that’s not helpful to each of us to carry out God’s will. It would only serve to turn us into viewers as it unfolds. What he’s called to do is turn us into active participants in the Rescue.
“Besides, Charlie already gave us the general lay of the land that will unfold. Economic collapse, which we are seeing unfold daily. War against radical Islam, which we are seeing unfold daily. The New World being evangelized from the Old World and even Russia saving us which functionally reunifies the eastern and western Churches, which we saw begin yesterday with a first in 1000 year meeting. The US government falling, which we see unfolding daily as the citizens have lost all faith in the giver and are turning to likes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (come Lord Jesus, come!). Worldwide civil war breaking out which we see has begun with Muslim vs Europeans in European cities and liberal vs conservative and socialist vs religious here in the US, can you imagine what this devolves into when the ATMs and banks then stores close?
“Obama not finishing his term. China attacking and Russia coming to our aid to keep us afloat until The Rescue by Our Lady. Said Rescue then converts all who choose God to unite into the one True Church, Muslims, Jews, and Protestants included.”
Three years ago when I began to publicly speak of these things, or even two years ago when I moved things to this website, critics could (and did) argue that the economy was in recovery, both in the U.S. and globally. China was going gangbusters or so it seemed. The “Arab Spring” was opening up a new era of peace in the Middle East. The 2014 U.S. elections were a corrective which would put America on a steadied course and there would be no religious persecution here. No one touches those arguments any more and are reduced primarily to the Obama not finishing his term as their objection. Some who were robust critics two years ago have taken to hedging their bets for the very reasons FatimaPilgrim cites. When that objection falls, they will be reduced to arguing that no Rescue is coming. Will they even want to make that argument – or will they find hope in my having been so right in the larger sweep of things that they find some credibility that I am right in this also? The time will come when all the objections except to the possibility of Rescue will have been stripped away, when no one will be able to wish away the reality of the Storm that is upon us. At that time, to argue that I am fundamentally wrong will be to argue that we are doomed. Right now, most objections are a futile hope that we do not have to go through the fullness of the Storm. It is kind of like the fellow whose favorite football team is down by two touchdowns and a field goal with two minutes to go in the game. He comes up with the most absurdly improbable scenarios by which his team will win, anyway. He doesn’t do it out of malice. Right now, much of the objections are just a veiled expression of hope that the Storm will go away or is not really upon us at all. All but the most vain and malicious, when their last illusions are stripped away, will hope profoundly that I am right about the Rescue – and will give themselves over to working with their Priests and Bishops to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope, trusting that the merciful Lord of All who has rescued us so many times before will, indeed, do so once again.
When that time comes, I will welcome them joyfully as brothers-in-arms. So will you. For the whole point of my getting the big sweep right is NOT so you know precisely what will happen, but so you have confidence that I tell you true when I say the way to endure is a simple one: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope. There is only one specific “prophecy” I make that it is important you have confidence in: that is that Our Lord will send Our Lady to Rescue us one more time – and that you are called to participate in that Rescue right now. Everything else is mainly to build your confidence during terrible times that that is solid. Even now, in the midst of a deepening darkness, the dawn of Rescue has begun.