Sacred Heart Birthday

Last time the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart fell on June 28?


I’m not quite that old. So this is my first ever Sacred-Heart birthday 🙂

If I live as long as my paternal grandmother, I will have three more, in 2030, 2041, and 2052. To have a fifth Sacred-Heart birthday, I would have to live to be 139. All of us will be long-dead then!

Anyway, here’s a homily for today’s Solemnity:

Charles Bosseron Chambers Sacred Heart of Jesus

“God is love.” Scripture affirms it. God is love.

But we have no way of knowing what the words mean. “God” is, by definition, a word we cannot define. Except in the negative. Limitless, infinite, unimaginable.

And “love” seems to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean. “I love World-Cup soccer.” “I love fried chicken.” “I love birthday presents.”

Actually, I don’t really. The person who deserves praise and congratulations regarding today’s 49th anniversary of birth isn’t the passive participant in the original event, but the excruciatingly active participant.


Anyway, God is love, yes. But we don’t know what it means. And the only One Who can translate it into language which we can truly understand is: God.

He did so. By becoming man.

Jesus lived the human life of infinite divine love. He translated omnipotent divine love into perfect human love. He gently healed, fed, forgave, and enlightened the ones He loved. Then He gave Himself over to death, for the human race that He loves.

In the human love of Jesus, we see with our limited human eyes the meaning of the unfathomable divine words: God is love.

So we dedicate our lives to studying this revelation. To studying Jesus, loving Him, and following Him. The four gospels, along with all the other biblical books, and the living ceremonies of the Church—together they give us Jesus. To study, love, and imitate, to learn what “God is love” really means.


And the Scriptures and sacraments give us Jesus our God to worship and pray to. By worshiping Jesus Christ and praying to Him, we encounter the human brother Who loves us with the divine love of the infinite God Who loves us.

In return for our worship, He opens His Heart and gives us Himself. Making us part of the meaning of the words: God is love.




At age 48, a half-marathon hurts like a marathon did at age 23.

But, thanks to your kind prayers, I crossed in one piece.

We ran past the Civil-War Battle-of-Chattanooga cemetery, among other resting places of the dead, so I said a lot of prayers. And the loving souls helped me get to the finish.

If you count all the marathons I have run as two, then throw in all the half-marathons, your unworthy servant just finished my twenty-second half-marathon.

Heading to church for Mass, and I feel like the king of the world. Praised be Jesus Christ!

What a Fool Believes He Sees

[An essay at inspired me to give the old blog a new name–the first line of Shakespeare’s Henry V. A Muse of fire can destroy a Death Star.]
Homily on the Parable of the Sower

The eternal Word proceeds eternally from the Father. He pours out the eternal Spirit. And He gives us created reality as we know it, in all its glory.

Or, should I say: He gives us reality as we strive to know it. The work of our lifetime: to attune our wayward and ignorant minds to reality as it actually is, as God gives it to us.

To hear the Word and accept it—that requires constant effort. It requires our daily readiness to admit that we, for the most part, live in our own little dream-worlds, miles away from God and each other.

doobie brothers 1979

What a fool believes he sees no wise man has the power to reason away.

(Doobie Brothers, 1979)

How? How can we find the courage to reason away all our own foolishness? So we can welcome God’s gift, as it comes? Without getting in His way? Without shutting the little door that cuts off our ‘personal space’ from the great, lovable world outside, full of people whom God gave me to love?

How about if we try to grasp the most-fundamental reality of all, first.

On the cross, the eternal Word spoke His entire truth. “You are My people!”

Let’s answer: “You are our God!”

Travel Unwise (in SW VA)

If you can walk to St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount, I will see you there at 8:00am  for Mass.

Otherwise, dear ones of Franklin and Henry Counties, and the City of Martinsville: Stay home, do the readings if you can, say the Confiteor, Creed, and Our Father, and maybe the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

Quedense en casa, queridos, y disfrutan la nieve.

Scandal Compendium


Compendium of My Posts So Far on the McCarrick Case, the PA Grand-Jury Report, the February 2019 Vatican Meeting, and The Scandal in general, in reverse chronological order

A Year Into the Nightmare, It Continues Unabated August 16

The Gaslighting of Mark Brennan July 26 (Background Paper Trail) July 22

Turns Out Our Archbishop Is Even More Dishonest Than I Thought July 15 And Tone-Deaf July 18

James Grein and Cardinal Bernardin June 27

Closing Out the Fiscal Year June 26

A Dishonest Archbishop of Our Very Own June 6

Guest Post: Catholic Separation of Powers June 6

Pope Francis, Taylor Marshall, James Grein June 4

The College of Lying Cowards May 24

Some Problems with the New Rules May 13

When the Rules Apparently Weren’t the Rules May 10

Highlights from Yves Congar’s True and False Reform in the Church May 9

The Difference Between the Cover-Uppers and St. Paul May 8

Pope Francis a Heretic? May 3

I Disagree with Pope Benedict’s Analysis of the Crisis April 15

Chrism Mass on the Titanic April 15

Open Letter to Archbishop Gregory (the McCarrick Report) April 6

The New Donald Wuerl April 3

Being Catholic on Annunciation Day, 2019

February Meeting Participants February 20

McCarrick Verdict February 16

Noxious Bubbles February 1

Richmond Diocese Abuse List January 31 In Our Parishes February 14

Dose of Reality for the February Meeting January 25

Pope Francis and Donald Wuerl Contra Mundum January 14

Donald Wuerl: Shameless Liar January 11

The McCarrick-case .pdf of My Dreams January 5, 2019

The Cover-Up of the Cover-Up of the Cover-Up December 29

The Christmas Twilight Zone December 21

The Unbearable Roman Malaise December 18 [Pope Francis’ thoughts on Viganò]

St. Gallen Conspiracy Theories and Groër December 7

The Vatican Spills the McCarrick Beans (Off the Record) December 4

More From James’ Amanuensis (with a could-have-been/was comparison) November 21

Guest Exhortation from Dr. Ann White November 17

Tornielli Giorno GiudizioThe Fantasy of the February Vatican Meeting November 15

Proposed USCCB Letter November 14

USCCB 2002: A McCarrick Memory November 13

Non-Persons to the Mafiosi November 10

Journalists and Bishops November 6

They Need a Miracle November 5

Rally in Baltimore; Buffalo Whistleblower; Sioux City and New York City November 2

Here come the Feds: Part I, Part II October 25

Priests’ Convocation: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Pope a Gaslighter? Two Books

Commentary on Marc Card. Ouellet Open Letter to Viganò

Oct. 6 Vatican Communique on McCarrick: Commentary

Archbishop ViganoMafiosi Run Our Church: The Evidence

Holy Father on the Cardinal Wuerl Train

To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 20

When Will the Scandal End? (McCarrick Settlements Edition)

September 2018 Exchange between Bishop Knestout and Your Humble Servant

Being Catholic Now Q1 a2

Another Open Letter to His Holiness, about Severity

Increasing Sense of Helplessness

How to be Catholic Now, Q1 a1

In Love with a Tattered Scarlet Rag

Transparent and Unfathomable

The Corrupt Conspiracy September 7

Open Letter to the Holy Father September 1 [NB. I have removed this post from my weblog at the request of Bishop Knestout]

Caso Romanones August 31

Should the Pope Resign? August 29

Believing Viganò August 28

Pontifical Prevarication August 27

Late Night with Viganò August 26

The Church’s Center of Gravity August 24

Pope Francis mate.jpgWe Think You’re Incompetent August 22

More about the PA Report August 22

Me and Jake Tapper Hate the Bishops August 20

The Good PA Catholics August 19

Victims Crucifix + Wuerl Fail, Part II August 17

PA Grand Jury Report: Not Bad, But Good August 16

Wuerl Fail August 14

The Teaching that Convicts August 12

Checchio Fail August 10

Our Vichy Regime August 9

James w McCarrickTottering Church August 8

Priesthood Ex Opere Operato August 5

Burbidge Fail August 4

Open Letter to Theodore McCarrick August 1

St. Alphonsus, Pray for Newark and Washington August 1

Going Backwards July 31

James’ Amanuensis July 30

James the Man of the Hour July 30

No Longer His Eminence July 28

New Scandal, Worse than the First July 26

Scandal of 2002 Painfully Revisited June 29

The Spider Web June 20

937,603 + Kolbe, JPII, and Our Lady

937,603 visits here so far. Ten years. Happy anniversary, dear Reader!

El Greco Virgin Mary

The Christ came to us, God made man. He was conceived and grew in the womb of His immaculate mother. He spent most His life on earth in her household. When He went to the cross for us, she accompanied Him. Then she saw Him again on Easter Sunday morning. After He ascended into heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit upon His Apostles–when they gathered to pray with His Mother.

The flesh-and-blood intimacy between the Christ and His mother–we cannot even begin to fathom its depths. When she came to the end of her earthly life, the intimacy between them reached its fulfillment: Our Lady entered heaven, body and soul, flesh and blood.

Seventy-seven years ago, a Polish priest came to the end of his life on the Vigil of Assumption Day. He offered himself for execution in a Nazi concentration camp, to take the place of another prisoner who had a wife and family.

Father Maximilian Kolbe had dedicated his life to spreading devotion to the Blessed Mother. He built a small publishing empire to combat the forces of atheism and irreligion.

Father Kolbe had a German father. When the Nazis took over Poland, the priest had an opportunity to sign up for the “German-blood” list. It would have protected him from arrest. But, like many other half-German Poles, Father Kolbe would not do anything to co-operate with the Nazis.

He loved our Lady. He knew that our Lady’s heart beats in heaven. With love for the whole human race. And he knew that the blood flowing through her heart, and though our Lady’s entire glorified body…not German, not Polish. Not English, French, Italian, or Scandinavian, either.


The Nazis killed flesh-and-blood human beings on a massive scale. Because they had fallen in love with the pagan dream of racial purity. But God has no interest in such a fantasy. He’s interested in particular individual human beings. Each of which He makes utterly and unrepeatably unique.

On the day when the Nazis killed Father Kolbe in a concentration camp, Pope St. John Paul II was also in Poland. He was working at hard labor, because the Nazis had closed the university. He was 21 years old.

Anyway, as we know, the 21-year-old fellow Pole grew up to be the pope. The pope who would canonize Father Kolbe and declare him a martyr for the faith. John Paul II understood from the inside that Nazism counted as a persecution of the Christian religion. Father Kolbe had said what the Church believes–when his brother Franciscans asked him about helping to save Jews: “We are all brothers!”

During the 1930’s and World War II, the Church had a kind of meltdown. The rise of Nazism posed a huge challenge, and not every Catholic met that challenge. Many bishops, even whole national conferences of bishops, lost sight of this crucial aspect of the Christian mystery: God loves every individual human being enough to die on the cross for him or her. Plenty of Catholics, including plenty of bishops, forgot that God loves the Jews as much as He loves anybody. And they forgot that the Son of God, and the Mother of God, are both…Jewish.

Christ would have died just so His mother could go to heaven. Even if she were the only one, He would gladly have done it. We think: well, of course, He would have died to save His mother. But the same goes for everyone else. Christ would have died for any single individual human being–any single one–to go to heaven.

The many Christian martyrs during the time of Nazism kept that fact in perfect focus in their minds. Their witness inspired Pope St. John Paul II to formulate his doctrine about the Gospel of Life. We, the Church, stand for the dignity of every human being. Or rather, we stand with every human being–especially the weak, the victims of injustice, the suffering.

From heaven our Lady sees everything and identifies with those who need love. May she help us always do the same.

James’ Amanuensis and The Catholic-Press Shadow House

James w McCarrick

You can’t google him, because he hasn’t given his last name. As far as I can tell, no one has yet collected links to all his statements to reporters. So I want to do that, because he deserves an amanuensis. (Please click Leave a Reply and let me know, if you have other links.)

The original New York Times story.

Follow-up story in the Washington Post.

Interview with Rod Dreher

TV interview: Fox 5

TV interview: NBC 4

Nauseating, in the extreme. But also profoundly consoling, as I tried to point out at Holy Mass today. What James has done is: compare McCarrick to Jesus Christ.

By that standard, McCarrick deserves severe chastisement. James’ hunger for justice (see Matthew 5) has changed the silent, suffering victim into the courageous advocate.

Should we doubt anything James says? Back in 2002 I learned: Men do not accuse other men of sexually abusing them, unless it happened. Also, other anonymous witnesses have corroborated some of the circumstantial details of James’ story, as you can read in Rod Dreher’s account of his conversation with James.

Addendum: Sed contra, One careful analyst notes some problems with James’ account. I, too, found James’ reference to Fr. Paul Shanley of Boston a little too perfect. But even if he got that wrong, or gilded the lily there, I still think the basic story rings true. After all, if James had made up the whole thing, and McCarrick stands falsely accused here, then surely the wronged Archbishop would have publicly denied it all by now.

Meanwhile, in the shadow-world of the Catholic and mainstream press…

1. The Pope did a great, unprecedented, bold thing on Saturday, accepting McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals. This altogether-weird interpretation of what happened Saturday is apparently the official position of the USCCB.

Hold on, please:

The Pope accepted McCarrick’s resignation. The Pope did not expel McCarrick from the College of Cardinals. The Pope reacted; he did not act.

2. The Archdiocese of Washington and Cardinal Wuerl made public statements to address the problem.

But hold on, please:

The only immediate practical upshot of any of this is: James is Bishop Burbidge’s problem, not ours. (We know that James lives in the Diocese of Arlington.)

Please, can we focus on the actual facts:

On June 20, the Archdioceses of Washington and New York announced then-Cardinal McCarrick’s suspension from public ministry, because of an accusation leveled by a New York man named Mike. …Since that time, no official in the Church has actually done anything.

On July 19, the New York Times published James’ story. …Everything that has happened since July 19 has happened because James spoke out.

James, and the journalists who have worked with him, have brought about the beginnings of a reckoning with justice. The Church has only reacted to events. And, as far as we know, no Church official has made the slightest effort to contact James.

I for one want to honor James, by name, for giving me hope in the face of excruciating pain. Mike, too: Thank you.



Soon I will board a plane, to go visit…


St. Peter

Pius x tomb

St. Pius X

st john paul ii

St. John Paul II


St. Paul

St. Andrew Amalfi.jpg

St. Andrew

tomb of St. Matthew Salerno.jpg

St. Matthew

Tomb of St. Januarius Naples

St. Januarius

San Costanzo Capri

St. Constanzo

(in their tombs)

Plus, St. Thomas Aquinas‘ arm

St. Thomas Aquinas arm Naples San Domenico Maggiore

and some of St. Blaise‘s bones

St. Blaise basilica maratea italy.jpg
Basilica di San Biagio

I will pray for you, dear reader, when I visit all these saints.

Please pray for me, that I will have safe travels. And plenty of good pasta and Taurasi. In Rome, Naples, Salerno, Amalfi, Maratea, and Capri.

A dopo.