The Divine Symphony


By Charlie Johnston

Even the most venial sin, when habitually engaged in over a long period of time, creates such a hole that we end up in a pit. The aim of Christian solidarity and ministry is to help each other out of the pits that we dig for ourselves in order that we may walk in the plain path of the joy that is in the Lord.

I have always been short of patience with those who use their knowledge (more often what they merely think is their knowledge) of Scripture, the Magisterium and the Catechism as a blunt object with which to assault those who have ended in a pit. We are to help each other out of such pits, not merely berate each other for being in one. But I am equally impatient with those who, with false mercy, suggest to the sufferer that he is just fine in the pit he is dug into and has no need to do the hard work of crawling out. If we merely enable what got us stuck in the pit in the first place, we remain mired in the mud, unable to walk freely in the light of Christ’s love. Our duty is ever to extend the hand of fellowship to each other, remembering always that nothing is so easy to condemn as a sin we are not tempted by – and nothing so easy to justify as one that we are tempted by. Both approaches end up in a pit.

Authentic mercy and justice are the parallel guard rails on either side of the narrow road of authentic righteousness. Veer too far to either the right or the left and we end in a pit.

I thought Pope Francis’ comments at the close of the first session of the Synod on the Family in October, 2014, perfectly captured the challenge before the Church. He warned against five temptations and outlined the way forward with concise elegance and orthodoxy:

“ – One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and

Pope and Our Lady of Tepeyac - from Beckita

Pope Francis

not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.


 – The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

 – The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

 – The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

 – The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).”

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”

These marvelous comments laid out the way forward perfectly, succumbing neither to an excess of legalism or indulgence. The point, clearly, was to draw us out of the pits we had all dug for ourselves – and to do it as loving brothers always focused on the majesty of truth without imputing unworthy motives to any whose emphasis or style was different from the Pope’s.

I was dismayed a few weeks ago when Pope Francis, contemplating young people who love the Latin Mass, suggested it could only be because of a certain “rigidity” and “hostile inflexibility” on their part, because they have no memory of when the Latin Mass was the ordinary form. My preferred form of the Mass is in the vernacular, said ad orientum, using communion rails. My brother, Steve, who was alienated from all religion for several decades and was never Catholic, converted in 2009. He fell in love with the Latin Mass shortly thereafter for its transcendent beauty and reverence. I have many friends, including some in their 20s, who love and prefer the Latin Mass for the same reasons. I well know that some people use the old as a cudgel against the new – and I have never shrunk from chiding those people. But I would no more think of condemning people for preferring the beauty of it than I would of condemning them for preferring Toscanini while I prefer Beethoven. Which particular type of beauty speaks most intensely to a person is just a matter of style and preference, not substance – and anyone who appreciates beauty with reverence is my friend. It startled me that the Pope would open up this reflection merely to insult those who had a different preference than him rather than to understand and appreciate them.

The 17 Bishops the Pope recently elevated to Cardinal were notable for their monochromatic political and ideological views. They could have popped out of a Xerox machine. It disturbed me that the Pope who, two years ago, spoke of a magnificent symphony of voices working toward the same end, now wanted to make clear there was only one type of voice he wanted to hear. I am an old trumpet player – but I am not under the illusion that an orchestra would be improved by suppressing all instruments save the trumpets.

When four senior Cardinals, led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, released their formal request for clarification of parts of Amoris Laetitia, I was heartened that we were moving toward serious refinement of doctrine here. Contrary to what many think, doctrine has not been deeply refined over the millennia by easy unanimity, but by the dynamic tension of


Cardinal Raymond Burke

disagreement and strife – even among saints who were contemporaries of each other. When such situations arise (as they often have) it is a signal that something particularly weighty is in development. I was surprised that they had had no response from the Pope during the two months that the request was entirely private. These were not just some guys, but senior Princes of the Church. I was dismayed when the Pope then responded to what he imputed their motives to be, rather than the subject of their questions. He suggested that their questions were cover for a certain “rigidity: on their parts, masking an ulterior motive. It strikes me that in routinely dismissing and insulting those responsible voices who have a different approach or emphasis than he does, the Pope has been progressively getting more…well, rigid.

In January of 2015 I voiced the sense I had that somewhere along the line, Pope Francis was going to make a significant blunder. I added that, as the blunder became clear, it would refine him, leading him into a true greatness as he ultimately redoubled his efforts to lead as a universal Father. Later in the year, I noted that I suspected the blunder was to see things for a time through a primarily political and ideological prism, rather than a spiritual and faithful one. Of late, the Pope has often sounded more like an American politician, reflexively insulting those who do not share his approach in a contest of wills, rather than the Pope of two years ago who so elegantly synthesized the virtues of many divergent points of view in approaching the pastoral challenges which confront the Church and the world. Pope Francis has a swashbuckling style, one that I expected from the Pope who would carry us through the final journey of the Storm. When properly ordered, this style has a holy boldness that cuts through the clutter of contention to forge unexpected paths to sanctity. When disordered, it degenerates into mere partisanship.

Pope Francis has a great heart. He truly and passionately wants to bring everyone back into the safety of the Barque of Peter. Right now, his passion has led him to act as if everyone who talks like he does shares his great heart. It is ever true that not everyone who agrees with you is your friend, nor everyone who disagrees with you, your enemy. This will pass. In fact, today’s caustic partisanship is merely Pope Francis’ prelude to greatness. His swashbuckling boldness will eventually carry us all through the heart of the Storm to safety. I don’t mind that the Pope is a saxophone, but am disturbed that, for now, he seems intent on banishing the trumpets, french horns, clarinets, violins – and all instruments that are not saxophones – from the divine symphony. But it will not prevail. He has too great a heart for such an approach to define him for very long. The divine symphony will be heard in all its richness and depth, calling people out of the pits, rather than merely comforting them where they are.

The time will come when Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke become affectionate allies. This will be a sign to you. When it happens, you will know we are fully underway to Rescue.






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 Church Governance, Conversion, Discernment, Solidarity, The Rescue, The Storm and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

382 Responses to The Divine Symphony

  1. evergreen10 says:

    Hoping for a Thanksgiving 2018 like this…

    Liked by 13 people

  2. Carmel says:

    Wishing all those celebrating the US thanksgiving holiday a very happy celebration. I give thanks to God for Charlie and all the wonderful commenters from around the world – especially for their patience and most exemplary kindness. The US Thanksgiving celebration comes almost exactly a month before the universal thanksgiving feast of Christmas. Hopefully this time next year there will be a third event for which to give thanks, ie, the Rescue.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. vkmir3 says:

    I am thankful for you, Charlie and for all here in this beautiful community. God Bless and wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving….a little late!

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Anne says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am sorry for being a bit of a turkey and being so late…..
    Been busy…. Little grandchild born on Sunday.

    Liked by 11 people

  5. sodakrancher says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all here. I have not had very much time to read everything on here lately. I did read some of the comments on this piece ,and I will admit to limited knowledge about all that went on between the cardinals and Pope Francis.
    Just a couple of thoughts though that came to mind as I was skimming through.

    I think again that our job is not to try to judge who’s right or wrong in all of this . this church has experienced this sort of discord among its leaders since the beginning. Saints Peter and Paul did not agree on everything. Jesus himself and Peter – ” Get behind me you satan”. Jesus didn’t say things he didn’t mean so obviously he saw a fault in our first Pope.

    Our most important job is to pray for our church and its leaders and our priests.

    Charlie has said our job is to take the next right step . Do the little things God has placed right in front of us in the right way . God himself will take care of the big things like Popes,Cardinals and church doctrine. I think the universal church united in prayer towards that end will be the most help we can offer him to accomplish that . Not that he needs our help ,but I think that is a task he assigns us

    Liked by 6 people

  6. moomba1 says:

    Dear Charlie & all the TNRS family ~ Late, yet sincere, wishes that a Happy Thanksgiving was had by all. We have so much to be thankful for, we truly do.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. bthanntrm says:

    Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to every body. Love you all.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Charlene says:

    Hi Charlie, thank you for your words of encouragement. We know these are the times we live in. Yet it is so very painful to see what is happening in our hierarchy of Sheperds. Also thanku for the the great ending. I needed to read this today. God bless your week and your calling

    Liked by 6 people

  9. mbrandon8026 says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus

    Charlie has presented us with much food for thought, spiritual food for Thanksgiving, as it were.

    Our Savior has chosen as a leader for His Church here on earth a man with significant flaws, one who speaks profound wisdom, and yet can speak extemporaneously in ways that leave many scratching their heads in confusion. Though he has a big heart, he can come off as a bully to those who question him. At a time when the Church must endure persecution, he seems to run away from the fight, and hide from reality.

    In fact, he denies he knew Jesus three times before Jesus is crucified.

    Yes, I am speaking of Peter, not Francis. Yet, there are many parallels, and Our God loves to replay scenes for us, in the hope that we will eventually get it.

    Imagine you were the head of a nascent Church, or today of a Church under increasing persecution. How would you respond?

    If I were Peter, and could not get my head around the necessary death of His Lord, I would sneak around trying to find a way to rescue Him from unjust persecution. I would deny knowing Him for the “greater good” of helping Him to get free and to establish His reign on earth. Then when the cock crowed, and His words to me proved to have been fulfilled, I would run and hide in shame.

    If I were Francis, and could not get my head around the death of the Church and society as we currently know it, and had just spent a year preaching Mercy, as I believed it had been revealed to me, and knew that the Time of Justice must follow, I would be wary of all who “appeared” to set themselves against what I had been trying to follow the Master’s instructions about.

    Peter knew what was coming, and tried to use human wisdom to fix it, like most men do, because he could not yet grasp the bigger picture. Francis, pretty much the same.

    We have no idea what went through Peter’s mind that night, nor do we know the mind of Francis today.

    As for me, I can relate to Peter and to Francis, because I too am impetuous, and often when meaning well, can screw things up beyond all belief. I have never said at the beginning of some odyssey that I intend to see how badly I can mess up. Yet oftentimes I misunderstand what God intends for me and from me.

    Francis is the most human of our recent popes in our view of Him, which makes him more relatable. It would be wrong of us to think that he is always infallible. He puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us.

    We must put our faith in Jesus Christ, and pray for our leaders, popes, bishops, priest, prophets and deacons, and all laity that as the trials increase in intensity, that all will remain faithful. And when they/we fall, that they/we will confess our sins, and get back into the race.

    May God have Mercy on us as the Storm intensifies.

    We have all much to be thankful for, not just our American brethren.

    God Bless All who come here.

    Michael Brandon

    Liked by 8 people

    • I’m sorry, Michael, but Peter didn’t deny knowing the Lord Jesus three times because he thought that he might be able to rescue Him. According to the Gospel of Matthew:

      Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

      Later that night, Jesus was arrested. The first denial to a servant girl in Luke 22:54-57 is as follows:

      Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

      The second denial to the same girl in Mark 14:69-70 is:

      When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.

      The third denial to a number of people, is emphatic as he curses according to Matthew 26:73-75:

      After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (the above copied from a Wikipedia article on the same subject).

      If, indeed, Peter had thought to deny Him in a forlorn effort to effect His later escape, then he wouldn’t have “wept bitterly” after the third denial and rooster crow. He wept because of his failure to stand up to his earlier boastful claims that he would never deny Him, even if everyone else did. I’m sure that all of us have thought much better of ourselves before God showed us of our personal weaknesses.

      Furthermore, when Jesus later asks him three times, “Do you love me, Simon?”, it can be supposed that there is a direct relationship to his earlier triple denial. In this regard, it’s worth noting that each time Jesus calls him Simon, not Peter. Peter means rock (upon which I will build my church), and I think that the Lord is pointing out to Simon that he wasn’t very Peter-like when he denied Him.

      sincerely … Dave

      Liked by 2 people

      • mbrandon8026 says:


        I am well aware of the scripture passage. It says nothing about Peter’s intentions. We have no idea why Peter was there.

        As in Charlie’s article in which he tells us about Joseph as it had come to him in prayer, I wrote about what came to me in prayer. Neither Charlie, in his case with Joseph, nor I in this case with Peter claim this to be divine revelation, worthy of interpretation as infallible.

        It is possible that Peter was out for a moonlight stroll and was just a Lookie Lou. But with Peter’s impetuousness, it is quite possible that he was looking to bust Jesus loose. The interpretation I described might only have been for my journey of faith.

        In my case, I had a particular circumstance in my life where I knew the Lord with some degree of juvenile intimacy (not due to my physical age, but to my spiritual state), and in trying to do some good, made a terrible sinful error. I think I denied Christ more than 3 times, but while intent on serving Him. At a point in time I realized my sins and repented of them.

        Peter is one of my favourite men from the Bible. I can relate to Him. Who, in his right mind, would have taken a few steps out of the boat to walk on water to Jesus? And who, having had some measure of success at this new water walking gig would then look around, and conclude that what he was doing was impossible, and then sink like a stone, to be rescued by Our Savior.

        A guy who would do that is equally capable of attempting to do the impossible and bust Jesus out of jail. Is that what actually happened? Who knows? God and Peter, but I am curious and hope to get a chance to ask them one day in heaven, if by the grace of God that is where I spend eternity.

        God Bless you and all who come here.

        Michael Brandon

        Liked by 2 people

  10. zeniazenia says:

    Hope all TNRS felt God’s love on Thanksgiving. I noticed some folks softening with extra contrition this year. Even the political questions and answers were heartfelt and kind. hmm Happy Advent!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. canada1nw says:

    Galatians 2:11-21 speaks of the conflict between Paul and Peter . Their conflict was resolved as Charlie tells us will happen with Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke. “The time will come when Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke become affectionate allies. This will be a sign to you. When it happens, you will know we are fully underway to Rescue.” That will be a time to rejoice ! Thank Goodness for Charlie’s guidance ! I rarely get disheartened by the off the cuff remarks which our pope sometimes make, I was starting to sink a bit with this recent news. Charlie you are a beacon of Hope, thank you for your guidance !

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Judy says:

    This pope does not allow plurality of opinion on many matters….and he is not an expert on any of them. Yes, he is much like certain American politicians who refuse to dialog at all. His is much too confident and ardent about his political views. But his job is not to be harshly political at all. His job is spiritual not political. You say that he will make a great blunder. I think that he is already doing this because he is needlessly alienating many of the faithful. As a priest, I think that he should be pleased that people are going to Mass. What possible difference can it make that it may be a Latin Mass or a Mass given in the accepted language of the country in which the faithful live? He has may very rigid ideas and preconceives the politics or personality of a person based on simple actions such as a preference for the Mass. And he judges them. Yet… on certain issues he says, “Who am I to judge?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      In fairness, the famous “Who am I to judge” comment was not about the named Priest’s former homosexual behavior, but over the sincerity of that Priest’s repentance. That IS a case that was entirely manufactured by the media.

      Liked by 10 people

      • wpsahm says:

        True and it was another example of Francis sowing confusion without clarification when the media distorted it, assuming they did.


        • charliej373 says:

          I think that is unfair. I have been on the receiving end of such treatment. To correct the hostile press’s lies and distortions would be a full-time job. All anyone had to do was read the actual transcript. If we degenerate into warring partisan camps, like the late American election, it will be a disgrace and a betrayal of the faith. I have no problem with respectfully disagreeing with the Pope on non-Magisterial material – but it is important that we keep in mind St. Paul’s direction when he rebuked the Corinthians for separating into partisan camps (I Corinthians 3:4-6). I am neither of Francis nor of Burke, but follow Christ and the Church, understanding that such debates are a way we refine doctrine, NOT a way to batter down those who disagree with us.

          Liked by 6 people

          • wpsahm says:

            I definitely do not want to be either unfair to my Holy Father or a partisan at war with fellow believers in my Church, please believe me. I pray for Pope Francis every day, for his health, safety and wisdom to carry out his mission in Christ’s Church. I am unskilled (or maybe just unpracticed) at contemplating subtlety in spiritual matters, as I see so little gray, mainly black and white. I think as a political conservative and a devout Catholic I have felt under attack for SO long I should change my name to Mrs. Knee Jerk.

            I am having a hard time with Pope Francis, for all the reasons you lay out, and because he seems to be having a hard time with me, with the way I understand and live my Catholic Faith. I’m all for going after the lost sheep, but don’t toss out us sheep who are already in the sheepfold. I also follow Christ and His Church, but other Church leaders (Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinal Burke, my own wonderful bishop Thomas Olmsted, and many priests) just make a whole lot more sense to me. Popes come and go, and I will continue to pray for him.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            No, I know you don’t, wpsahm.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            United with you in prayer, wpsahm, for our Pope, our church and our world.

            Liked by 3 people

      • Judy says:

        I am sure that you are correct on that quote. You get your facts straight.

        On Oct. 6, the Pope said to pray and vote one’s conscience in the U.S election.

        However, two days before the election (Oct. 8) I have read that the Pope made comments that clearly favored the open borders candidate, who was also completely pro abortion in the most appalling way, and all the other things listed in Dan Lynch’s most recent article. (If the press misquoted him, then I am sure you will correct me, but this is what I have read) My feeling is that, if this Pope is nonpolitical, then he should have pointed out all the sins that we we had the opportunity to accept or reject by both candidates. The fact is that the United States has a right to accept or reject immigrants on a case by case basis. This is U.S. law which is not being enforced….If the world does not fall apart, the USA may just have the opportunity to turn back to its Judeo-Christian legal foundation with the current election results, and that includes protecting life at all stages via appointment of judges who uphold the original intent of the Constitution and who will overturn Roe vs. Wade. ….which was based on falsehood presented by the person called “Roe”.

        You know, Christ clearly said that the poor would always be with us…and that does not mean anyone should ignore the problem. However, being poor is not a sin; it is surely a cross. The sins of the world, on the other hand, will destroy us if there is no attempt to change the law. Of course, changing hearts is harder, but one has to also change the laws

        I cannot say what drove every person to the polls this year. Economics? Moral concerns?
        I think Christians basically thought that this could be the last opportunity to uphold Judeo-Christian laws. I know this was foremost in my mind and, also, in the minds of all other people I know as they went to the polls.


        • charliej373 says:

          Let us just take care not to become raucous partisans, Judy. All will come out right. God does have a plan – and we all have a part in it.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            And may we each be ready to do just what He asks of each one.

            Liked by 7 people

          • Judy says:

            I am not a raucous partisan though I realize my words are not popular on this board. I think that I pointed out truth, and the truth cannot possibly be a bad thing to point out……DonT is no savior. Jesus Christ is savior. Every one of us on this board knows that ….. My part in the storm is carrying crosses of illness. Mine have multiplied. I am hobbling with a cane these days, in addition to all else, and I am still working full time. I have caused much discussion and conjecture re my state of health at school because it is clear something is wrong and I have kept most facts to myself and a small group of trusted friends……. The more I hope and pray, the more illness and problems I am given. And, yes, I go to reconciliation often. I am working hard to conquer a venial sin and I think I will during advent and into the new year. My resolve is strong and , with the grace of God, I will succeed…. I trust that God has a plan, but it will involve even more suffering than there is at the moment. I cannot dwell on it any more, though I have made some small, (insufficient) physical preparations. I just get through the day, eat simply, rest and do it all again the next day. ….I have been told to offer it all up and I do. I think I am doing what He asks of me.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            Hi Judy, I uploaded the poster with the question for the Lord as much for me as for anyone here. I apoologize if it seemed aimed at you alone. One of the dimensions of this blog that I most appreciate is the divergent thinking which provides us opportunities for all to continue pondering and considering ideas even if we each are honed in on a different emphasis. God bless you.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Judy says:

            I wish a blessed Advent season to all on the board. May God richly bless you and your loved ones, and provide for the needs of those who are suffering or away from the Church.
            Merry Christmas!

            Liked by 5 people

  13. Alfred says:

    “The 17 Bishops the Pope recently elevated to Cardinal were notable for their monochromatic political and ideological views. They could have popped out of a Xerox machine.”

    I dunno Charlie. You do realize that the Cardinal electors appointed by St. JPII and Pope Benedict far, far outnumber the new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis, right? How can you have a magnificent symphony of voices without different viewpoints for the Holy Spirit to work through?


  14. Doug says:

    After a nice Thanksgiving dinner, I took a walk up to visit my farmer friends house with my son and daughter and daughter’s friend. Funny thing is I did not hear any turkeys like I did the last time I went to his house 😎

    Liked by 8 people

  15. I cling so much to these words of Jesus regarding the first Pope and am convinced they apply to Pope Francis, “Simon, Simon! Remember that Satan has asked to sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may never fail. You in turn must strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 Lord Jesus, may it be so. The symphony may be dischordant now but I am hopeful it will find its true, full, beautiful voice. Peace and blessings to all as we enter into the Holy days of Advent.

    Liked by 9 people

  16. Sarge says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Probably totally inappropriate place for this but…

    As you know, my wife is very gravely ill, physically.

    It is the opinion of many other family members, both sides, that she is mentally ill. In my opinion, she is also spiritually ill (screams blasphemies, etc…)

    Her mother had an abortion when she was very young and her father, also the father of the aborted child, died at a very early age of 36.

    Am I dealing with some sort of generational curse here? With my stupid human brain, it seems logical that that is the case but that doesn’t seem right from God’s point of view. My wife is such a beautiful creation, why would she be punished?

    I hope I am not guilty of seeking divination or anything like that. I try to trust God, but I fall on my face regularly. I’m just wondering what someone who is spiritually connected thinks of the situation and looking for guidance. I’m not asking if her father will be released from Purgatory in 33 days if I do something or anything like that. Just looking for an opinion.


    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Pray, Sarge. I do not believe in generational curses, though it is certain that we feel some effects from the sins of those in our line. It is because of proximity to them and their sins – not a punishment of us because of them. It is similar to why a man who is the fifth generation living near the Chesapeake Bay routinely eats crabs: it is not because he was forced by his family to do so – but because they are convenient and his family had lived in proximity to it for so long. Nothing stops him from moving – or not eating crabs if he doesn’t want to. But the fact that his roots are there and it is a common practice makes it more likely.

      Stick with prayer, counseling and pastoral help.

      Liked by 8 people

      • Joe says:

        Respectfully I disagree. Curses are real, and I believe can be generational as well. It is a tool of the Devil. Of course the Devils end is disorder and evil. Priests can offer blessings and curses as well. At least if I remember correctly from what a priest told me when I was younger. [Maybe a priest on this blog can comment on that]. Of course a curse from a priest offers the end of the Good of the Individual or protection from a greater evil. Evidence biblically, St. Gabriel holding the tongue of Zechariah, or Jesus cursing the fig tree for its failure to produce fruit.

        Of course generational curses, I believe, are generally due to sins of an individual that Satan in a way keeps his finger on as it passes through to further generations. These of course can be broken but unfortunately the how is so often not taught as it should be.

        I remember listening to a study were our actions (memory) is held in our DNA. A lot of times we don’t really think too much of how the physical works and its relationship to the Spiritual. Scientists think of the physical but neglect the greater the spiritual and so miss the medicine.

        I like the words from Good Will Hunting “It’s not your fault”. We are all borne with defects, imperfections. Some things come up later in life. We should seek reasonable treatment as needed. But the Spiritual Authority that we have is very real. Spiritual authority is so often overlooked. As a Father, I have spiritual authority over my wife and children. But only in so far as I execute it for their good and not for selfish reasons. This being said, in peace and with confidence I am able to bind certain things and protect my family from certain things that should seek to harm them or has already infected them.

        The biggest part of this is that as a man I have to first seek to purify my vessel. If I do this I enable that authority and am better able to protect those of whom I have authority over.

        I know I can’t lay in guilt if I think I could have prevented or protected them and was unable. Some things happen that are beyond my ability and are allowed for a greater good, even though they hurt and sometimes deeply.

        Sarge, first, peace about all of this. Do not overthink. Go to Jesus. The weapons he has given you are far greater than you can imagine. We have to have peace that some battles may last a lifetime or may not resolve how we expect. But we do have the ability to affect change. Not so much by our actions but by the strength of our mind and peace in Christ, as we pray for release and protection of our families.

        A wonderful book I read. “Healing the Family Tree” It was written by Dr. Kenneth McCall [psychiatrist]. I don’t believe he was Catholic but Anglican (can’t remember) but he speaks to the idea of discovering areas in his patient’s lives were they have been bound and he searches along the family tree and the deceased. His premise is often there are those that have sinned in the past in our family tree that may be the root of the problems. He speaks of having success by specifically identify those areas and offering the sacrifice of the mass for those areas and people and forgiveness of those people. I really enjoyed the book and it was insightful for me.

        To end let me impart a personal story. I remember my Mother telling me that my Father since they were first married wanted a girl. Never happened. In fact he had all boys and he came from a family of all boys. It is interesting given that 30 or so years later, I remember having the inspiration to pray a second rosary one day. I offered it specifically up to Mary. That same day I got a call from my Aunt (Mothers side). She is big into family trees and She got contacted by a lady claiming to be the Daughter of My deceased Grandmother on my Dad’s side. In fact, it was true, she was [the older sister to my Father]. Back in those days out of wedlock children were often handled discretely. My Father never knew consciously that he had a sister. But there was always a longing in his heart. Well, now he has had some time to spend with her and I think it is healing for them both. I believe that it was my Grandmother from the Grave trying to right some things. But of course it was through prayer that I believe this was able to be brought about. I also believe that it is also a Great Mercy for a soul as it progresses towards perfection in purgatory to be able to see wrongs made right. I do believe we intersect with the deceased as well as we do with the living.

        Forgive my goings on. I have been praying a release from curses novena. It is a 144 novena my Mother had sent me. I only have a couple days left on it. So reading your comments struck me and I felt the need to respond. I am no priest or spiritual authority. This is all my opinion. I will keep your intentions in my family rosary tonight.

        Liked by 9 people

        • canada1nw says:

          Sarge, here is a link to a RC healing /deliverance ministry. Many of my friends and myself have taken this course and have benefited from the prayers and knowledge of this ministry. .
          Here is also a link for prayers for deep healing and deliverance:

          God bless you and your wife with healing. You both will be in my prayers;)

          Liked by 3 people

        • Beckita says:

          Joe, I have read Dr. McCall’s book and, yes, he was an Anglican psychiatrist who understood the value of the Mass and often sent his patients to a Catholic priest to have a Mass offered for the family tree… with astounding results. At an Eucharistic Marian Conference, I and an aging priest for whom I provide care and with whom I now live in residence first met Fr. John Hampsch. He presented a biblical basis for understanding the need for inter-generational healing and freedom from bondages. Further, as a trained psychologist, Fr. Hampsch has much experience with a bountiful amount of anecdotal evidence that offering Masses for healing of the family tree while praying for the deceased has resulted in healing for the living. To this day, I’m still in communication with Fr. Hampsch.

          Another person, Stella Davis, one of my spiritual mothers, continues in deliverance ministry. On several occasions, I have been on her delvierance team. She presents annually at the International Conference on Exorcism and Deliverance in Poland. She is consulted by exorcists from all over the world because of her gifts and expertise. She, too, believes in and has seen evidence of great freedom coming from inter-generational deliverance from bondages. She also continues to minister to people with individual deliverance.

          All this being said, I recently heard a presentation by the brilliant and highly-energized Fr. Robert Spitzer who continues to evangelize and prepares others to do the same via his own talks and the resources at his wonderful Magis Center website: What I heard him convey, in a reasoned and well articulated way, was a refutation of the idea of intergenerational bondages. I’m not exactly sure in which segment of Fr. Spitzer’s last two presentations on EWTN that he explained his reasoning. I believe it was either the 11/9 or the 11/16 shows which can be found here:

          Sarge, if you wish to explore your concerns with Fr. Hampsch or with Stella Davis, please send me an email at our answering service here and I can put you in touch with either of these experts:

          For sure, with the many here, I continue to pray for you and your dear wife, Sarge.

          Liked by 7 people

          • Judy says:

            Stella Davis and Father Hampsch are fabulous contacts. I think you should allow Beckita to help you get in touch with them. The rest of us will keep praying for you and yours.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Annie W. says:

            Yes, Father Hampsch is a very valuable resource/speaker. I have been to a day long “healing of the family tree” seminar that he did years ago (it was recorded as a video). I also learned from another speaker to pray at the Consecration of the Precious Blood at Mass, asking for the Blood of Christ to wash clean my family tree, and I do that to this day at every Mass I attend.
            God bless and help you, Sarge.

            Liked by 2 people

        • Joe, I am not sure if you have been following Sarge at all and I am not sure if you are aware of his long struggle with his wife’s illness, nor am I sure that you are aware of the stages of dementia or other illnesses of the brain and how those are amplified with other illnesses.

          I find Charlie to be highly prudent and well versed in the Spiritual Life, including the Demonic.

          That being said, I am not entering into a Debate on Generational Sins and Curses and Anecdotes regarding those and curses pronounced by Popes or Cardinals in the Old Papal States. (You may not know who I am, so we shall leave it there. But I have referenced Hampsch and indirectly McCall.)

          The Church… Sorry. The Lord in His Wisdom gave the Church the Sacrament of Extreme Unction / Healing of the Sick to alleviate the Burden of Sin and Illness both for the Sake of the Individual and for the Sake of the Family / Loved Ones / Friends of the Individual.

          Sarge, I have prayed very few Masses for very few People here, your wife is one of those. Please be assured of God’s Love and I am honoured to virtually know you. Your Struggle with your Humanity in light of all is edifying–as it is with several other folks here.

          Peace and Great Blessings be upon You and Your Wife and all here.

          P.S. Thank You All for your Prayers for my cousin, Cathy, and my friend’s father in Tianjin.

          Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

          Liked by 3 people

      • Sarge, you and your family are not the subject of a generational curse. The Bible agrees with Charlie’s response.

        Generational curses were given by God as a punishment for disobedience of the Law (all 613 commands of it) given to Moses and the people of Israel. It’s important in this case to know that the Law was given in c.1400 BC. So generational curses could apply to Israelites from that point on.

        But about 800 years later, in c.592 BC, God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel and told the people of Israel that He would no longer hold children or subsequent generations responsible for their parents sins. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 18, but in part it says the following;

        “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you will not quote this proverb anymore in Israel. For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.” Ezekiel 18:3-4

        And God continues to make His point clear that no longer should anyone in Israel consider themselves subject to generational curses;

        “What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins …” Ezekiel 18:19-20

        I pray that God blesses and heals you and your wife, Sarge, as I’m sure everyone else on this board does too.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Cheri F says:

        Sometimes when there are secrets in families that aren’t discussed, they are given indirectly to a family member to carry – the shame. She may be carrying her Mother’s shame and not know it. Counselors can help with that. Some things can be buried so deep it takes time and work. (Not sure if helpful – just some thoughts). Have been asking for St. Dympha’s intercession for your wife, Sarge, and will keep praying. God bless you.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Doug says:

      My heart goes out to you Sarge!

      Sent from Doug Pounds mobile

      Liked by 4 people

    • Sandy says:

      Praying for you and your wife Sarge. You’ve got prayer warriors here

      Liked by 6 people

    • JG says:

      Like Doug my heart goes out to you too Sarge. Charlie’s advise is wise; prayer,counseling & pastoral help.
      Your cross( as well as your wife’s) is very heavy at this time. You probably don’t feel like this but you are growing SO much in the virtues as you bear this suffering with her, for her and for yourself. You & your beautiful wife are definitely experiencing the refiners fire. When you said you “fall on your face “I thought about those in the Garden of Gethsemane who fell on their face when Jesus said “I AM”. Being on your face in prayer is not a bad place to be – At these times have you thought about placing yourself in The Father’s lap and resting your head on His Heart as St. John did during the Last Supper? Meditating on this give me such consolation when I’m enduring my troubles. I’m sure you do this but remember as you’re suffering give it value – give it to the Lord ( yes the emotions don’t alter much but a change occurs spiritually, this is when the rubber hits the road so to speak regarding FAITH and then say ,”Jesus I trust in You”. I will pray for both of you to be blessed with the gift of Perseverance.
      May Our Lady of Perpetual Help pray for you, may she hold you in her arms and console you. May St Raphael who aided Sarah & Tobit be there for you and your wife.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Beckita says:

      Sarge, you and your wife are two people who remain in my heart of prayer.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Mack says:

      Praying for you and your wife, Sarge. This year I had the grace to attend a workshop by a very good priest who is an exorcist. He explained that when people let evil spirits into their lives by grave sins like abortion, it is important to renounce the sin and also the evil spirit behind us. It’s not a curse, as such, but it’s like we give the devils a door into our lives and they won’t leave unless they are commanded.
      The priest explained a way to confess that is very effective. After confessing the sin itself, he said to also say “I renounce, reject, and rebuke the spirit of _____ (whatever the sin is).”
      This does not mean that people are possessed, but that evil spirits can hang around, so to speak, to trouble us unless we renounce them.

      Liked by 6 people

      • charliej373 says:

        That makes a lot of sense to me, Mack.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Doug says:

          Funny Charlie, that’s exactly my first thought “that makes a lot of sense to me”. I was really unsure whether to post that given I am not an expert, but do have first hand experience. I then read your comment. I loath the evil one and want nothing to do with him. My focus is is on Jesus and the blessed Mother and all Saints and Holy souls. Playing with the evil one is like poking a stick at a caged ferocious tiger, but don’t insite the tiger because if he gets out of the cage, he will eat you alive.

          Liked by 3 people

          • charliej373 says:

            You would have a better chance with the tiger. The tiger can’t trick you into thinking he is terrified of you so you might let him out – or that he is obedient to you and will use his raw physical power in your service if you will just let him out. It is why I am very reticent to speak in any depth of the devil – because so many foolishly think they can prove themselves by challenging him or showing their mastery over him. They always get eaten.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Beckita says:

            So true, Doug and Charlie. It’s the very reason, when special help is needed, to turn to those with the authority and expertise which this area of spiritual life demands and deserves.

            Liked by 3 people

      • Mack, this is good advice.

        Early in my seminary formation, a well known and respected Priest in the Deliverance and Healing Ministry advised something similar to help break the “foothold” in the wounds our sins have caused. It is good on the Spiritual Level if there is any remaining influence and on the Personal Level if there is any remaining predisposition, so that we would be more prudent to avoid the Near Occasions of Sin.

        Doctor Dave, Thank You for bringing up that Passage in Ezekiel 18!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sarge says:

      I will keep at prayer. Thank you all.

      There is something pscyhiatric going on here for sure, but I have long suspected something demonic too.

      I’ve had her anointed and she can receive Eucharist or hold a crucifix, so I don’t think it is anything extraordinary. But she has these episodes where you would think satan himself was standing in your bedroom. We’ve also had some bizarre, kind of spooky things happen to us, things straight out of a B-list horror movie that I won’t get into here. It would give anyone the sense that something was after them.

      I will keep praying. I will also look into the novena and book recommended. Thank you

      Liked by 3 people

      • acseibert says:

        Sarge, in Oct. i went to Fr. Chad Rippenger’s 2 day retreat on generational spirits. Fr. Rippenger was an exorcist in the diocese of Tulsa. Per Fr. Rippenger, these demons are real, and enter into families due to a grave sin…

        (Forgive me, asceibert. I edited this. There is nothing wrong with it, but I am loathe to put up specific short information on dealing with demons because some get enthused by their newfound prowess and venture confidently way over their heads – in which case they get their heads handed to them. It is like putting up a couple of paragraphs about tactical planning and then watching the enthused going out to fight what they have no real preparation for. To deal with such things requires extensive training, discipline and relentless focus on God. The good news is that we have a failsafe: hold fast to Christ at all times, for the satan can’t touch you while you do. I don’t want anything up which might encourage people to go out onto a battlefield they are not prepared for. I know it seems innocuous, but there are a whole host of people who want to claim for themselves the title, Dragon Slayer, without making the sacrifice and paying the price. Best to stick with holding fast to Christ and trusting to people like exorcist Priests who HAVE the sufficient training to deal with the much more dangerous tasks involved.-CJ)

        Liked by 1 person

        • KMA says:

          Thank you for the Wisdom and Prudence here, Charlie and Beckita. There are solid people trained in all levels of spiritual healing. This battle is best fought through their ministries. They also have the knowledge of what prayers are safe and good for the rest of us to pray.

          Liked by 2 people

        • WUT!? 🙃 My name means Dragon Slayer!


          I didn’t claim it; some old Asian lady gave it to me… and it stuck and I even hit myself on the head, calling myself that, in gentle consternation…

          [The funny thing is in some regions it really is ‘young ducky’, but with a strong accent.]

          Liked by 3 people

      • Mary Ann Parks says:

        She could be being oppressed by the spirit of her father or mother. Or she could be replaying words from her early childhood. Or she could be projecting her feelings about her aborted sibling. Children tend to know, and have to repress that knowledge, and also deal with the parents’ terrible fallout.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Phillip Frank says:

        We must also remember that there are “victim souls” who, by Gods will, suffer for the salvation of others or as a distraction to the satan so others may be saved.
        In the reading Sunday it speaks of a possessed man on an island Jesus was visiting. After the demoniac was exorcised he returned to Jesus clothed and normal and asked to follow Him as one of his disciples.
        But Jesus asked him to remain among the pagans and to evangelize them.
        As a former “demoniac” he would have to suffer the humiliation of his past life/behavior among the people who knew him but they would also be reminded of the man Jesus who came among them and changed this man for the better.
        Sarge, pray to the demoniac whom Jesus used to suffer for and then convert the people around him.
        Nothing is lost in God’s economy.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Linda says:

      I think I’d get ahold of Fr. Ripperger maybe, Sarge??? He does prayers over people and I believe he could help your wife. I know he wants to help people. His name is Father Chad Ripperger….God Bless you, Sarge

      Liked by 4 people

      • wpsahm says:

        When I read Sarge’s question, Fr. Ripperger was the first name that came to mind, Linda. I had never, ever put any confidence in the notion of generational curses before I’d listened to a few of his presentations on youtube. He convinced me, though I’ve no personal experience with such a thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda says:

          Im addicted to Fr Ripperger wpsahm & because of him i now try to do the Auxillium Christianorum daily prayers. ..lots of binding prayers too for my kiddoes😊

          Liked by 3 people

        • Sarge, I am sorry. I am very behind on these posts.

          I am sorry that so many people of good intention threw so much at you.

          You need someone levelheaded and pastorally kind to stick to and not seek other’s opinions.

          Please do not fret. Please do not worry about the illusions that “the satan” may or may not be casting around you to cause you fear. And do not confuse “sundowning” with the satanic, just in case…

          The level headed advice here is good. Keep it simple. Be simple. You don’t need to chase after this or that. If something is very serious, take Biscuitsnita’s advice or write to Charlie personally and I will pray.

          As for the Rest of the Replies, the circumstances that were mentioned are often the special and the exceptional. Do NOT give excess credit to the Devil than due, especially if it causes your brother or sister to worry or fret. God and His Angels are far more powerful. Just being in the State of Grace fixes a lot of things or allows things to be fixed more easily.

          Let me tell you, knowing that you have intestinal worms is freaky — it would freak me out. To say to a Brother or Sister in Christ that they have intestinal worms without certain proof borders the Uncharitable, if not simply the Imprudent, and may cause harm. Advising a sound Priest to whom to seek council is different, but please be careful not to imply there is something there is not!

          And remember what I have often said helminths and their transmission!

          Liked by 2 people

    • KMA says:

      Uniting my prayers to all here for you and your wife, Sarge.

      Liked by 4 people

    • James Ignatius McAuley says:


      I found out about Father John Hampsch several years ago. Beckita is giving you solid advice. Father Hampsh also has a great book, Healing Your Family Tree. Solid stuff, no fluff. You are in my prayers and do not lose courage. I ask that St. Dominic and St. Francis help you in this matter.

      Another angle to approach this with is to say, “what sin do I fall on my face most from?”
      For example, if it is one of impurity, then say a Divine Mercy Chaplet for a soul in purgatory who in this life had a great struggle with this particular issue and ask in return that the soul in question pray for you and help you out with this issue. You will get the help you need and a pal, all in the communion of saints!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Doug says:

      Hi Sarge, I lit a candle after Mass yesterday and prayed for you and your wife. I pray that God give you grace to sustain you in your difficulties to not give up. My wife suffered through many sins of here family and we have dealt with many issues over the years. At one point, it was made crystal clear I was meant to be in her life and this strengthened me. Hang in there and be at peace!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Judy says:

      Sarge, please contact Beckita about Stella Davis and Father Hampsch. I am ill and home today but I was thinking of you. I just looked at some spiritual books which I have on my book shelves. I really think that one of these two can help you and your wife.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Why are my comments not showing up ?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mary Ellen Krug says:

    This Divine Symphony post has been very heartening to me! All the other reports, comments, etc. left me feeling appalled, hopeless. Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 3 people

  19. KMA says:

    Charlie, thank you for the thoughtful, honest post. I too have been troubled by some of the words of Pope Francis lately, and have been confused more than once. I do believe he has the great heart you wrote of. I also agree with Mack that this all may well be part of the storm. I believe it is.

    I do not see anything wrong with the Cardinals asking for clarification of what the Holy Father said and meant. There has been confusion about Church teachings for so long- long before Pope Francis was elected. It seems to me that clarity and refinement of those teachings should be desirable things. If the Cardinals publicly asked for a repose from Pope Francis, perhaps it was because there was no answer forthcoming. The questions are serious, the teachings referenced are serious. They are no little thing. If one believes the public request for clarification might cause schism, what about the statements of the Holy Father themselves, when misunderstood or deliberately twisted? One of the things I love most about our Faith is how clearly stated the Truth is in many areas. I thank God for each and every Priest and Bishop who has spoken clearly and lovingly about the choices we had in front of us in this election. I have been fortunate to be in a place where the last several pastors have always spoken so. Most of the people have been thankful to hear it.

    I have also had the great blessing of working closely with many priests. These are good, solid men of faith. They pray for the Pope more than anyone I know, and pray for him out of love. No confusion will cause them to leave Mother Church. They have loved and suffered for Her, especially in these last few years.They have been targeted by the father of lies forever, and are in the front lines taking hits for us. When I have asked for their help in understanding something Pope Francis was saying, to a man, what every one of them said was “I wish he would clarify what he means.” Every one. The thing is, they are not only asking for themselves, though they have the deep desire to understand as well. They need to know for their flock. People are confused.If we, who have been blessed with at least some knowledge of our Faith are confused, what about the majority who don’t know what the church teaches? Our priests see and hear it everyday. They have such a strong desire to lead us correctly and have such love for our souls. For them especially, I too wish Pope Francis would make the clarifications. I must say again, the priests that I know love the Church. They love the Pope as the representative of Christ on Earth. There questions come with due respect and great faith that Pope Francis is the Pope God wants us to have. I pray for clarity for their sake.

    I remember your writing on the fact that before the rescue, EVERYONE’S faith would be tested.That EVERYONE would lose hope. Including all of us. I pray to be faithful. I pray for Pope Francis and the Bishops.And the Priests. I pray for all of us here. I thinks,as you have said, I will find our how weak I am, how weak my faith is, and how little I know. I remind myself that all of this confusion is part of the storm. Thank God and thank you, Charlie, for this place of refuge.

    Liked by 6 people

    • moreen67 says:

      KMA – I feel that this is one of the tests of faith……totally TRUST in Almighty God. I keep saying to peeps about different subject matters that they are apprehensive about…..God’s got this! He always does. I think in my own experience when in doubt (feeling of hopelessness, etc.) whether about issues in the Church or outside the Church the reason I feel this sometimes so bad is because I’m not turning to the One Who is in charge. I think the Storm is about less me – more God (as numero uno). Love to all here. Maureen

      Liked by 5 people

      • KMA says:

        Maureen, I absolutely agree. It is an opportunity to trust.The reason I am thankful to God and to Charlie for reminding us that all will be tested is that,to me, it is a strong yet gentle warning against spiritual pride.It is also a bit of an armor-when events come that shake my faith or my trust-and they will- remembering that it was said they would come steadies me. I have experienced those moments of doubt and hopelessness too-but even within them God has given me the grace to trust that even though I may not be able to make any sense at all out of what is happening, He can. And he will bring good out of it. He knows what He is about. Yes-we aren’t in charge. Good thing! I think we are living with the effects of thinking we are.

        When I posted, I was thinking particularly of the priests I know. Working in Catholic education, and having the opportunity to talk with so many priests in an effort to help me understand some of these things, I understand their desire for clarity. I guess my point in the whole thing is that because one questions, it doesn’t mean that one has lost faith, bashes the Holy Father, or is trying to sow division. That may be the case for some, but perhaps far fewer than we think.

        Love to you too, Maureen, and to all here. I pray you all have had a blessed Thanksgiving. To those who comment from across the seas-thank you! I have read every post, and I thank you. I have wanted to reply to many comments, but with 200+ report cards, two late nights of conferences, and the wakes and funerals of two students all in one week my heart and brain were tired. I just want you to know how welcome your voices are and how deeply I appreciate hearing from you. I do not have to meet you personally (although I wish I could) to love you. Blessed Advent to all!

        Liked by 6 people

  20. CrewDog says:

    Advent starts on Sunday!!!
    If Ya haven’t seen it already, you/family might watch “The Star” documentary for an Advent “Event”. When I first watched it on EWTN 10 years or so ago it increased my Faith & belief in the Christmas Story:

    A short overview:

    Entire show:

    Bonus feature:

    “Catholic Answers” Guy Jerry Akin’s take in radio interview:

    Website of show producer:


    Liked by 5 people

  21. OK Charlie
    Weigh in on this.
    What do you know about or think; of this PIZZAGATE news that is sweeping across the internet.
    For those you do not know of it YET, it is about a large Pedophilia (that’s child sexual molestation) Organization in Washington DC that the people at the very top of the US Government are involved with.
    Satanic worship symbols are everywhere in this.
    What have you got to say about this ?
    That’s not Mayberry USA!!!!


    • charliej373 says:

      I think it is largely overblown on Reddit and lacks any compelling evidence – but since it confirms what many would like to believe, it has gone viral. I still insist here on solid evidence. There was plenty of sleaze with the Clintons that DOES have compelling evidence. No need to enter the fever swamps to demonstrate that.

      Liked by 4 people

      • CrewDog says:

        I heard about PizzaGate … What? … a couple-three weeks ago but had other things on my mind. MOG has a recent post about it and there is “Stuff-Out-There” and all kinds of lurid theories?
        History tells us that when you mix riches-n-power with godlessness you invariably get perversion-n-corruption …. and the rich/powerful usually can get-away with feeding their most perverse passions … blue dress, Lolita Express and Holiday Tree adorned with pornographic ornaments come to mind when thinking of Billary. There may be something to #PizzaGate as there are, methinks, some interesting “Dots” that might be connected: Where is Julian, The WikiLeaks Guy? What happened to WeinerGate and the NYPD Investigation that was taken-over by the Feds and now seems to have gone “Down de Memory Hole” …. Carlos Danger, last we heard of him, is in a porno rehab center?! Why did Obama advise Billary to cede on Election Night and why no hue-n-cry from Democrat Bigs for a recount …. now Jill de Green Lady is doing their bidding? Could a major scandal involving Liberal Bigs be a possible answer to the above? The Christmas Season has always been a favorite time for Slimy Pols to dump nasty documents, unpopular legislation and defuse scandal whilst BoobLand USA is distracted by Silver Bells …… OH!! … and why is Media Matters/ABCNNBCBS-NPR/PBS in an uproar about “Fake-News” all of a sudden!!?? Are you &%#@(*%^ Kidding me!? These people are the experts of Fake-News! …. Especially these past 8 years … No Friends! …. Something Wicked This Way Comes and skullduggery is afoot … Big Time!! If there is something to #Pizza Gate, if it explodes Mainstream and DC Democrat/RINO Bigs are involved you could see near instant resignations …… even to the Oval Office!!??


        Liked by 2 people

  22. On my journey says:

    Because the Church is the bride of Christ, some quotes on marriage have popped into my head in regards to this conflict between the 4 bishops and Pope Francis. Charlie’s opinion that this struggle is part of a fruit-bearing process is one I agree with. For the cardinals to be quiet about this seems wrong.
    From Father Charles Pope: Lovers fight, lovers get angry,and well they should. For when love is in the mix, things matter. Truth matters. Error and harm matter. Lovers want what is best for their beloved, not merely what is expedient or convenient.
    From Dale Alquist writing on Chesterton: Fighting and loving actually go together. You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all.
    Finally from Pope Francis: There are always arguments in marriages and sometimes plates are thrown.
    I am glad the 5 men we are discussing have love and passion for the church and for God.

    Liked by 10 people

  23. vkmir3 says:

    I read Mark Mallett’s piece that he posted today entitled “The Counter-Revolution.” A portion of this piece spoke of beauty and hope. He stated, “This present darkness can aptly be described as an ugliness. It is an ugliness that has covered everything like a sullied black cloak, from art and literature, to music and theatre, to how we speak to one another on forums, in debates, on television and social media. … It is this pervasive ugliness into which we are called to restore beauty, and thus restore hope.”

    Mark quoted Pope Paul VI as saying “This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart, and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration.” —December 8th, 1965;

    He quoted Dostoevsky who said, “beauty will save the world.”

    Mark stated that beauty would save the word, “By stirring in mankind again the longing and desire for Him who is Beauty itself. Perhaps we believe that it will be refined apologetics, orthodox speeches, and bold discourses that will halt the erosion of moral values and peace in our times. Necessary as they are, we must ask the question: who is listening anymore? What is needed again is the refulgence of beauty that speaks without words. … When we encounter true beauty, it is always something of God. And because we were created for Him, it touches us in the core of our being.”

    I could go on and on quoting beautiful statements in this piece; however, it might be better to savor it yourself. I know for myself, that beauty in creation, in nature, in music and art and in children are just some of the ways that will touch my heart and cause me to praise God and thank Him for the gift of those moments of beautiful. I literally get chills when I encounter such beauty.

    That is why the satan is encouraging humankind to succumb to darkness. You see it in the clothing styles of the young and celebrities…dark and stark….in lyrics to music, in the abstractness in art, in the edgy sound of music. We have even encountered it in our more recent church architecture, in the music we use in our liturgies … in the ugliness with which we treat each other on social media, etc.

    That is also why I am grateful for those things that are posted here that draw us to such beautiful things as I mentioned above, especially your posts and your photos, MP. Viewing those photos is like placing us there with you to contemplate all of the wonderful, beautiful images you encounter in the desert. I believe that we need to speak of beautiful things, point out beautiful sights, sunrises, sunsets….they all speak of God and His creation and our hope in Him.

    I thought that “The Divine Symphony” would be an appropriate place to thank you all for the beauty that you share and to encourage each of us to bring that beauty to others as a sign of hope in these dark times. God bless! Vicki

    Liked by 10 people

    • Beckita says:

      And you have written with beauty, Vicky. Thank you.

      Liked by 4 people

    • the phoenix says:

      As an artist who currently has 15 painterly photographs and 5 abstract paintings on display in a public building, on exhibit starting from this past September 1st through the end of December, 2016 … it appears I need to write a manifesto in defense of abstract art.

      Like anything else, abstract art can be a vehicle for good or evil. It can be excellently done, or poorly done. Geometric shapes commonly found in abstract art … squares, circles, triangles, rectangles … were first envisioned and created by God. These simple shapes are building blocks from which more complex shapes can be formed. The colors were created by God. Good abstract art, like good representational realism, requires knowledgeable use and skill developed through practice (or at least plenty of inherent talent and hard work) of such concepts as composition (including focal point), light/dark, color coordination, types and use of line, etc.

      “In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. [2] And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. [3] And God said: Be light made. And light was made. [4] And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. [5] And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.”

      The first day of creation. Light and dark … this sounds like abstract art to me, and God saw that it was good.

      On the second day, God added the firmament, and divided the waters (still pretty abstract if you ask me, yet filling in more details, sounds like a really cool seascape with a sunrise and sunset) … on the third day, He added dry land … I’m envisioning here a nice abstract landscape with maybe a mountain range …

      Outer space (God’s beautiful creation) can also lend itself to some awesome abstract art scenes … nebulae (they sure look like abstract art to me), aurora borealis (northern lights … shifting abstract curtains of shimmering color), spiral galaxies, and of course the spherical moons and planets seen from a distance against a gorgeously immense black velvety background … Also, if you look at closeups of the rock formations on Mars, you can get some fascinating abstract compositions out of it.

      I love abstract art.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Doug says:

        Oh this is wonderful Phoenix! You belong in our red wagon train for our trip around the universe.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Beckita says:

        Beautiful, Phoenix! Thank you for this clarification.

        Liked by 2 people

      • vkmir3 says:

        Beginning as an art major in College and as a lover of art, I should not have generalized abstract art when I mentioned abstract art in the same breathe of things that are not beautiful. Your clarification, Phoenix, is absolutely correct. What I was thinking of was some of the so-called “art” that has been displayed that is very dark or offensive. Thank you for your clarification, Phoenix.

        Liked by 3 people

        • the phoenix says:

          Nice to hear from you, vkmir3, … It tends to come down to asking, what is the subject matter, what is the message being communicated, what is the intent? Is it meant to be a shocking political statement or morally offensive or obscene on purpose, … or is a particular piece a work of abstract art consisting of innocent colors, shapes, lines, forms, composition, and design that is simply not widely understood? And yeah, sometimes it comes down to, people will have different tastes in art as far as what is beautiful … de gustibus non est disputandem. I like chocolate, someone else might prefer vanilla.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, there’s certainly something to be said for good abstract art, Phoenix, and I think you said it quite well. Interesting, but I think in the course of your “manifesto in defense of abstract art,” you actually ‘painted’ a very broad panorama with fine detail (perhaps ironically), managing to take me on quite the journey with many an inspiring and fruitful contemplation. Well done.

        As an artist first and foremost (and practically speaking) I’m often enthralled with simple things… endless fine details even in the abstract too… basic colors, shapes, textures, etc, as evidenced by my delight with Joe Crozier’s mention of pie. Of course he did craft quite the story/lesson, so much so that I felt that I was sitting in the pew with him, half grinning in bemusement, half delighted at the child’s impetuous honesty.

        I had fully intended to contemplate more of the Mayberry theme in the wilderness on Saturday, but I like to be a little less reliant on my own agenda, and considerably more nimble. The truth is I didn’t have much energy once I got out there (probably all the Thanksgiving pie was to blame), so I found myself sitting on a log. Time was I couldn’t get a signal out there, but lately I’ve been getting at least 3 bars, so also settled into Dan’s recent article under dreary light due to the overcast skies. Right about the time I finished that piece, I snapped this picture:

        That’s an original shot (with no retouching) of a bald eagle flying overhead against the dismal sky. Not terribly abstract, but I imagine most folks wouldn’t know that was a bald eagle unless I pointed it out. At any rate, contemplating that flyover was putting a damper on my mood, but at least served to get me off that log and moving in search of something more inspiring.

        Here’s something abstract:

        That’s a little slice of another image I shot, in fact I’m delighted with the composition including a little abstract ‘slice of pie’ shape towards the middle. I applied some color manipulation and filters to achieve the desired effect. I understand if that’s not everyone’s cup of tea though. I also imagine that most folks wouldn’t know exactly what they’re looking at unless I pointed out the cactus at left. Also, the pie shape is defined in part by a twig on the right. Still, I think it really has something to say about joy and life… at least to me.

        Of course if I was going to take the direct route… transport you, vkmir3 and others right out on that very ledge with me (as much as I am able), I’d just share this shot:

        Even then, I suppose that’s just a little slice of the scene. On the way back, I ran into some of these characters again, including the elusive white one:

        I suppose I could have spared you that one, but can’t help myself for a couple of reasons. (1) Any time I see any cattle out there lately, they always remind of Patrick. Hey, Patrick. (2) I’m delighted that they let me get a little closer on each subsequent encounter. I think they’re really warming up to me. Maybe if I packed some feed next time, I bet I could eventually get so close as to touch them. When I do, I’ll share the shot.

        I’d love to see the pieces in your show, if not in person then at least online if you have them hosted somewhere. If so, shoot me a link at my email if you’re so inclined.

        God Bless,


        Liked by 8 people

  24. canada1nw says:

    I see today on Spirit Daily the talk is about the election and how things may change according to American law, it sounds like people can withdraw their votes and vote again (?) Charlie is spoken of in this article but not named.


    • charliej373 says:

      No, people cannot withdraw their votes. But in an American election, it is actually the States which vote – and the slate of electors for each state is determined by how that state votes. But under the Constitution, electors are not obliged to vote for anyone in particular. It has been the case that electors almost always vote as their state directs them. There have only been 58 “faithless” electors in the history of the country. Some states, such as Michigan, have laws invalidating the vote of any elector who votes other than the state directs, immediately replacing him with another elector.

      It would be unprecedented for the Electoral College to overturn a state’s votes. If it were done to change an election result, it would rightly be seen as a coup d’état – and civil war would almost certainly follow. This is why American politicians have followed the results. In one case, even when there was substantial evidence that vote fraud had robbed a candidate of election, that candidate ultimately chose to accept the results and fight again another day rather than risk the convulsions and potential civil war the overturning of an election would involve. That case happened in 1960, when John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon – and there was compelling evidence of vast vote fraud in Illinois and Texas. Had either been overturned, Nixon would have been elected. But Nixon conceded – and meant it, unlike Hillary Clinton.

      Understand that both conservatives and liberals are patriots. Sadly, there are very few liberals left on the far left, which is focused on power by any means.

      Liked by 4 people

      • canada1nw says:

        Thank you Charlie for explaining this to a neighbour to the north 🙂 I believed that more chaos would have happened if votes were overturned, bringing more civil unrest and chaos. Thank you for this clarification :”It would be unprecedented for the Electoral College to overturn a state’s votes. If it were done to change an election result, it would rightly be seen as a coup d’état – and civil war would almost certainly follow.”
        I have never, in my 65 years, been so interested in American politics!

        Liked by 2 people

  25. Joan Bunte says:

    Your blog about the Pope comforted me. He (the Pope) has been scaring me a bit lately, especially with his sadness and almost creepy adoration of Fidel Castro.


  26. Bob says:

    Some thoughts about Pope Francis relations with Cuba with the recent death of Castro:


  27. CrewDog says:

    Yeah! … I Know!! … the below is from the Alternate “Fake News” Sites…. sooooo …. if you are a fan of MSNBC for your news … Well … grab a Kool-Aid and suck it up 😉
    Just more “SIGNS” … if anybody here needs them?


    “What do they know? Mega-rich preparing for disaster”

    If Ya don’t think Ya need to plan-n-prepare just remember all those “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” Brits, French, Poles, Danes, Dutch, Finns, Norwegians, … Six Million Jews …… in The Summer of 39!


    Liked by 3 people

  28. Jay Olaguer says:

    Regarding Amoris Laetitia, there is one solution I would like to recommend to this impasse. When I was a young child preparing for my First Communion, it was emphasized by my teachers that I could receive Jesus in spiritual communion anytime I wanted, even if I could not receive the host. Perhaps there could be a special communion ceremony in which sincere Catholics who felt trapped in second marriages while their first marriages are not yet annulled go up to the altar to receive spiritual communion and a special blessing from the priest, after the priest communicates himself on their behalf by consuming the host. This would emphasize the vicarious priesthood as an instrument of intimate significance that enables God to dispense a special mercy and help to those otherwise denied the privilege of direct reception of the Eucharist, while protecting the integrity of the sacrament and the Church’s teaching with regard to marriage. In this way, Jesus through the priest “caresses the wound” (as Pope Francis would say) and welcomes the sinner with open arms, giving him or her a special grace directly derived from the Eucharist.


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