Saint Judas

After seeing this story out of Buffalo, New York in yesterday’s news, it seems to me that I need to get my novel and screenplay about seminary life (Saint Judas) written at the first opportunity. As it turns out, life is sometimes more salacious than fiction.

What I learned from my seminary experience was basically this:

1) it was an institution riddled with people who didn’t know who they were

2) since they didn’t know who they were, they were insecure and shifty; in a word: they lacked integrity

3) these people would say one thing and do another, thus fostering a climate of distrust

4) at that point, Satan could schedule a long vacation… he had other people to carry out his charism of sowing division

In shorthand: identity issues led to integrity issues, and integrity issues led to trust issues. It’s as old as Genesis 3.


X: Jesus is stripped of His Garments

The climb to Calvary is complete; a moment’s rest awaits. But the humiliation continues, as the guards strip Jesus of His garments. He is left naked, exposed, vulnerable. But this is the very form of love, the trustful abandonment of all defenses. Unlike Adam, who, in his nakedness, hid himself in fear, the New Adam does not seek to cover Himself. He has no one to fear: God is His loving Father.

The world seeks freedom in the accumulation of possessions and power. It forgets that the only people who are truly free are those who have nothing left to lose.
Despoiled of everything, detached from everything, they are “free from all men” and all things. It can be truly said that their death is already behind them, because all their “treasure” is now in God and in him alone.

Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom

who was Benedict referring to in this passage?

From Patrick Madrid’s coverage on Relevant Radio:

…In light of the scale of the pedophilic misconduct, a word of Jesus has again come to attention which says … “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” That’s from Mark 9:42. And Benedict says the phrase “the little ones” – in the language of Jesus – means the common believers who can be confounded in their faith by the intellectual arrogance of those who think they are clever…

Like, I don’t know, maybe… certain gadfly priests who flit around on social media and flit around giving talks and lectures and appear on, you know, late night television programs and confound the faith of believers because of their own intellectual arrogance and they subvert the teachings of the church… I don’t know; I’m just pulling ideas out of the air here. He’s referring to that kind of thing.

So here Jesus protects the deposit of the faith with an emphatic threat of punishment to those who do it harm. What he’s saying here, I should just say, is: bishops and priests, take note. Those who cause these little ones who believe in me to sin …. It would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. He identifies the little ones from the Greek that’s used there as the common believer – the average person who doesn’t have a theological background. The modern use of the sentence is not in itself wrong but must not obscure the original meaning…

Click here to listen to the audio.

sshhh…. this letter is an open secret

Hi all you fine clerics of Bavaria, just wanted to be sure you received a copy of the letter from the pope emeritus. Translated into English. JCR (aka PB16) greets you cordially, by the way.

Also, Patrick Madrid does a nice job of explaining what it all means. It’s profound, compelling and nutritious. Enjoy!  If you like what you hear, please consider subscribing to his podcast over at Relevant Radio.

Given in Minnesota, on the 12th day of April, 2019, the 49th year of my insertion into the priesthood of all believers.


another Unplanned encounter

I saw the movie Unplanned a second time, this time at the AMC in Eden Prairie.

Before going into the theater, I purchased seven tickets at the kiosk, and went over to the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic, which is only a block away from the AMC in a strip mall.

Unlike the Burbank location, the Eden Prairie clinic allows people to walk in during business hours without having to buzz in through an intercom system.

Once inside, I had the following dialogue with the person sitting at reception.

Planned Parenthood Eden PrairieHi there. How can I help you?


Yeah, um, I wanted to talk to you about, um, the possibility of scheduling an appointment.

Yes, we could schedule that for you.


Could you write down here what you would like to schedule an appointment for?

She pushed a post-it note pad over the counter to me, with a pencil. I wrote down “possibility of scheduling an abortion” and gave the note pad back to her.

So, are you the patient then?


No? So, we would have to talk to the patient then.

Sure, OK, so the patient would need to come in.

Yes. So, do you want to tell them they can make an appointment by calling this number (She pulled out a business card an highlighting a phone number)… That’s our patient services line.

Ok, so that is the number they would call?



Um, it’s a little unusual… um… in that it would be my mom.

So, they would have to be speaking with the patient.

Right. Right.

To discuss the appointment.

Got it.

Yeah. So that would be the number that person would call.

OK. She’s no longer alive.

Uh… your mother?


So, I mean, she couldn’t call. But I know that when she was considering having me, she was thinking about an abortion, because I’m the youngest of ten, and they just didn’t have the resources. But, it was before Roe v Wade, so she didn’t really have that choice.

I suppose otherwise you could try … Casey Martin may be able to talk to you. (She passed me a second business card) So you could leave a voicemail on that one.

Ok. Ok.

She may be able to answer some questions for you as well.

OK. Alright. That’s good. So does she work out of this office … or he?

She does not. She works out of our, um, downtown office.

Oh, OK. All right. OK. Um… And just the last thing is, I’ve got these tickets for this movie, if anybody in your office is interested in seeing it. (I put seven movie tickets on the counter from the local AMC)

No, don’t worry about it. Yeah.

OK. It’s already paid for, so you wouldn’t have to be putting out any money…

Yeah, I can’t accept anything. I definitely hope you find someone who would definitely appreciate that.

OK, I’ll find somebody for them. Thank you.

Thank you so much.

So I left there and walked over to the Barnes and Noble in the mall. In the cafe, I found some students studying. I approached one young man who was studying a psychology textbook and offered him the tickets for the following evening, explaining that they were for the movie about Planned Parenthood and that the clinic staff at the neighboring clinic had not been interested when I had offered to give them away. He said that although there were seven members of his family, he could only use three of the tickets. I gave him three, then turned to the table behind him where four students were gathered together. They had heard my prior conversation, and so I simply asked them if they were interested in free tickets for the following evening to see the movie about Planned Parenthood. They were willing to take the remaining tickets.

Kudos to the young woman at the clinic who handled herself very graciously in a very odd situation. She must have been a bit confused by the nature of my inquiry. Of course, I have to admit being a bit thrown off by her responses too… especially when asked if I was the patient! But I guess, today, you just can’t assume anything…

And, just for the record, I have since confirmed with one of my siblings that when I was in utero, the doctors had recommended termination of the pregnancy due to concerns about my mom’s health and my viability. I don’t know if she gave the option serious consideration. But in any case, I firmly believe that she loved me; a lifetime of experience provides ample witness to me of that truth.

I’m reminded of a debate I once got into on Facebook about the existence of God and the problem of evil. In the course of the debate, someone asked me:

Name one thing that you (or anyone) thinks or knows that did not rely on empirical data.

I think that my parents loved me. I have evidence, but … no airtight proof, so to speak…. Evidence does not equal proof. I may see a roof over my head, may smell dinner in the oven, may feel my parents give me a hug, may hear affectionate words, may… taste a meal they have prepared… but none of it proves they love me. It could be possible that they provide all these things while being narcissists, and do not love me. (Think of some celebrities that have adopted children as accessories.) But I choose to believe that they love me. True, it might be reasonable to believe it, but the fact is that I could be wrong. It’s a choice I have made to believe it, requiring a leap of faith. Faith is a leap into the light, rather than into darkness…

After my dad died, I did come into possession of a journal entry that he had written sometime after Humanae Vitae was published, in which he was working out in his mind his own convictions about contraception and whether the Church’s position was correct, and I had the sense that it was not a matter of abstract consideration for him. I also know that my mom underwent a tubal ligation after I was born.

Providentially, everything finds resolution and peace in the just and merciful gaze of the Savior. To Him I entrust my parents, my family, anyone who has procured an abortion or has assisted in procuring one, as well as any who might be involved in such an act in the future. Most of all, I entrust myself to Him, as one most in need of His loving and forgiving gaze. Jesus, I trust in You.