By Charlie Johnston
I have been hanging around the Napa Institute Conference up north of San Francisco this week – officially as an advisor to David Daleiden – since I don’t have the sort of cash needed to cover this sort of prestigious gathering. (Not to worry, I haven’t eaten any of the meals or taken anything that had a cost associated with it. Oops…there was an irresistible little pastry a few nights ago. I confess, I ate it…and would do it again. It was right tasty).
It has been a fruitful time, but very busy. The first two days I rode with one of my Priests – the one who keeps the archives. I will just call him Fr. Babyface. I finally turned over the boots I wore on my pilgrimage to him. He got a hoot out of those battered and bruised shoes – and even more of a hoot that when I gave them to him I was wearing a new pair that are nearly identical. It has been so nice to spend some extended time with him. Yesterday, we went up to visit my original Priest director, (Fr. Towering Intellect). It was the day after both his and my son’s birthday (his 85th, my son’s 30th). He is staying at the San Francisco residence for a month…so I will get to see him again in Los Angeles soon. It tickled me that they had a flyer up in the residence for my upcoming talk in Marin County next week – and he made sure, with great delight, that I saw it.
Fr. Towering Intellect has always been uncomfortable with my situation, but wants to stay well-informed. He seemed surprisingly comfortable now, introducing me to friends as “the prophet Charlie from Denver, my old friend”). When we chatted privately, I gave him one piece of inside info that I knew would make him wince. I thought about it first, knowing that it would make him wince: I love him and hate to trouble him. I realized, though, that if I didn’t tell him and it happened within, say, a month, he would angrily accuse me of keeping him out of the loop. So I made him wince. I’ve done it plenty of times before and he always got through it. What a delight to visit with him! He was looking strong and hale, with a ready laugh. He told me he was surprised they hadn’t comped me at Napa as a prophet. I grinned and told him that, surprisingly, the “prophetic” discount is not near as big as many people think. He chuckled appreciatively.
I have spent a good amount of time with David Daleiden – and then yesterday with Lila Rose for a while, too. They are both 27 years old. When you have such genuinely heroic young people doing God’s work with such fortitude and courage, boy, does it make you proud and hopeful. Talking with Lila, I encouraged her not to get down when people of my generation tell her and David how they ought to do things. I noted that they have struck the most formidable blow against the Culture of Death in my lifetime…and the simple truth is that my generation failed. She immediately said that we had succeeded in other things. It was gracious and kind of her, but irrelevant. Both David and Lila have great instincts. David is a burgeoning strategic and public relations marvel, seasoned with incredible courage and fortitude. Lila has a real knack for bringing down emotional walls and getting people to listen and consider her arguments. Next week is the first anniversary of the release of the Planned Parenthood videos by Daleieden’s Center for Medical Progress, which are linked on the left side of this website. Rose runs the Live Action website – which offers many educational and informative videos and materials that are actually changing minds and hearts. Watch, particularly, her animated videos of abortion procedures, They are not graphic, but use animation to honestly show what the procedures are and how they work. They are powerful – and changing minds. Please, help both of these fine young people. For me, it is so heartening to be treated with such honor and regard by two people I consider heroes. Let us all be heroes to and for each other, living up to our noble call from God.
On another note, a few people have complained to me that Padraig Caughey, my friend from Ireland who runs the Mother of God Forum, which I link to at the right, has gone into some anti-Pope attacks, calling Pope Francis a heretic and even linking to things that call the Pope the False Prophet. My correspondents have quite reasonably suggested that I ought to pull the link, since I have enforced a ban on all such talk here on the website. I have given it some thought…and have decided to leave the link up.
I like Padraig. I think he is a decent man who seriously contemplates his faith. I also think he is a passionate man, with rivers of emotion sometimes running through him with torrential force. I have nothing but contempt for those pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-pious scolds who think that they will somehow become heroes if they could just harpoon the Pope – and so seek to find anything or distort anything he says to make him out to be an heretic. That is vanity, pure and simple, and they will be held to account. I don’t think it is any sort of vanity that animates Padraig, but genuine wounded anguish.
Some former associates of Padraig’s have disassociated themselves from his site because of this. It is just and proper that they have done so. If this is Padraig’s final answer rather than a primal cry of candid anguish, I will join them soon enough. But I think it is, indeed, a misconceived cry of deep anguish, kind of like when Job constantly complained about God. Unless my estimation of Padraig’s character and the depth of his faith is badly mistaken, I believe that he will soon come to see that attacking the Pope as heretic and such is not just to attack the Pope, but to attack Christ as having lied when He promised that Peter’s faith would not fail. So I am just going to wait a bit. I think the angels of Padraig’s better nature will win out soon – and he is my friend.
On more than a few occasions, I have been shown or told something I don’t like at all – and have told the Lord that that is not how I would do it. On every occasion, He has grinned at me and simply said, “I know.” Soon enough, I think and pray that Padraig will candidly tell the Lord he does not understand and is shaken by some things, but will soldier on anyway.