The Sheep of Kephas

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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-02-28

Here is Bulletin_2016-02-28

1. Home: The business trip is over and I have returned home safely. My wife and I are trying to live the moment and put aside the travel and the events of yesterday on Chester Gap.

2. Nourishment for the Flock: In the post Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #9 – Bumper Stickers we noted:

The Little Black Book: Early Saturday I picked up my advance copy of the Little Black Book. Hopefully, you picked up your copy too. Bishop Ken Untener continues to be one of the poltergeists lurking in St. Peter’s vestibule.

There was little time that evening, so we we didn’t mention that St. John the Baptist had a far better offering for Lenten reflection – “Rediscover Jesus” by Matthew Kelly. Nevertheless, we prayed that some day similar books would be made available at St. Peter’s. This week, our bulletin informs us:

REDISCOVER JESUS–Free For You

One of our parish families is donating to each of the St. Peter’s parish families, the book “Rediscover Jesus.” This book by Matthew Kelly is wonderful as additional reading during this Lenten season. The books will be at the back of the church to be taken at the end of each mass.

It took “One of our parish families” to see the need and act from the charity and sense of spiritual justice within their hearts to look out after the spiritual well being of the flock. You can be certain that my wife and I are adding a prayer of gratitude to our prayers this evening. Thank you, whoever your are.

P.S. Why can’t Father capitalize the word “Mass”?

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Chester Gap

As I am writing this, it is about 6:30 PM on February 26. Today, I learned of an accident that took place on Chester Gap. An SUV, a school bus, and a small sedan were involved. Thankfully, there were no children on the bus and no one was hurt. The SUV was undamaged, but the small sedan collided with the bus. The direct cause was ice on the road.

The woman driving the SUV was emotionally shaken. She could not reach her husband by phone until over two hours later. The husband was 2,146 miles away on business, where he could provide no assistance. Now he is asking himself why this happened. As I said, the direct cause was ice on the road. Yet, I know, you know, all of the Sheep of Kephas know that there was an indirect cause that led to this accident. My wife, the driver of the SUV, and I, the husband who is so far away during a time of need, know that indirect cause resides at St. Peter Catholic Church in Washington, VA.

On at least two occasions this blog has referred to Chester Gap. In the post Dead Horse #6 – It’s a Mystery, on June 1, 2015 we said:

Chester Gap is at an altitude of 1,339 ft (408 m) and it separates Warren County from our own Rappahannock County. It is also the dividing line between two parishes of the Diocese of Arlington, our St. Peter’s and St. John the Baptist. During the Winter, the Gap presents a hazard to those traveling from Washington, Virginia to Front Royal. The road can be icy and treacherous. It is a hazard that many of the sheep in exile must negotiate on a weekly or even daily basis.

It is Lent. My wife makes every effort possible to attend daily Mass. On Wednesday of this week she was able to attend a Communion Service held by Deacon Benyo at St. Peter’s, only three miles from our home in Sperryville. Why was it that today she had to cross Chester Gap to attend Mass at St. John the Baptist? Perhaps our statements on January 4, 2015 in our post For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-01-04 will help to answer the question.

Personal Commentary: My wife and I made the passage twice across a foggy, rainy, and sometimes treacherous Chester Gap last evening to attend Mass at St. John the Baptist. As we were traveling, we engaged in our recurring conversation about why we travel the extra 20.6 miles each way, week after week. Certainly, if we only made the three-mile trip from our house to St. Peter’s, we would be safer and we would save a full hour of our time. Yet, the Sheep in Exile know why we make the trip. They know why they also make the sacrifice. …

Going back to our statement on June 1, 2015, we noted:

These days, Chester Gap is also the dividing line between to ways of thinking about the Roman Catholic Church. On the Front Royal side of the Gap orthodoxy prevails. On the Washington [, VA] side there is something different. …

There it is. The Sheep in Exile, the sheep of St. Peter’s who desire to be fed with sound, undiluted Catholic doctrine, often make the trek to other parishes. They go elsewhere so that that can partake in sacramental worship and prayer without fear of encountering aberrations. They go to avoid near occasions of sin resulting from frustration and even anger. Go to a Sunday 8:30 AM Mass at St. John the Baptist and will see them and perhaps you will also see us.

As we have said in the past, we pray for our Pastor and we pray for the sheep. But there comes a time, a time like this, when you begin to wonder why we must endure this. At times like this, we begin to wonder why the Bishop thought that moving this particular priest to St. Peter’s would be beneficial to anyone or that any problem would be solved.

Consider if things had gone differently on the morning of February 26. Suppose there were children on the bus. Suppose someone had been hurt.

Consider also, if the driver of that SUV had not had not been compelled to cross Chester Gap by the need seek a Mass said in reverent conformity with the desire of the Holy Church to feed and nourish the sheep.

Consider that, if the driver of the SUV could have found something better than the current minimalist Mass at St. Peter’s, she would have been among the first to be at St. Peter’s that morning – – and she would have been there safely.

Pray for our Pastor. And pray that the bishops throughout this country lay to rest the notion that they can solve a problem merely by moving the direct cause of the problem elsewhere. It doesn’t work for pedophiles and it won’t work for radical pastors either.

Pray for spiritual justice.

 

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-02-21

Here is Bulletin_2016-02-21

Sign

A Woman Makes the Sign of the Cross – It is a prayer, it is our faith

As we are writing this, we are also watching C-SPAN coverage of the Supreme Court Great Hall where Justice Scalia is lying in state. As people pass by the coffin, one thing brings the greatest sadness along with the greatest hope. Many stop, face the coffin, and make the sign of the cross. As Catholics, we share this sign in life and we share this sign in times of death. We know that life in Christ is eternal and this sign, this Cross we remember, made eternal life in Christ possible.

This morning Fr. Fasano, who has been a close friend of the Scalia family, told us at Mass that he is to con-celebrate at Justice Scalia’s funeral Mass tomorrow. This can be a cold and harsh world filled with sin, but when there are Catholic priests like Fr. Fasano and Catholic lay people like Justice Scalia, who really believe and act on their beliefs, there is hope for a better world.

Next week, our post will be delayed by a day or two.

 

 

 

Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #10 – Fruition of a Terrible Dream

1. Network Connection: In a well instrumented campaign, probably begun within days of his arrival in Rappahannock County, our Pastor set out to construct a network dedicated to and fashioned for his personal “Social Justicism” agenda. His plan was simple. Find kindred spirits in the local clergy. After all, they were in place, established, and fully connected to the community. All he had to do was connect, plug in, and turn on the charm.

It was no problem figuring out where to begin. He would merely pick up where he left off inside the Beltway. And inside the Beltway he was most connected with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Virginia (UUCAVA). He, in consort with his friends at UUCAVA, had set up Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) and had it directly affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), which was founded by Saul Alinsky.

Once again, consider this quote from St. Peter’s bulletin on June 29, 2014:

I met with Rev. Walt Childress the Pastor of the Washington Baptist Church and I will be able to meet some of the other clergy at a meeting on July 9. I am looking forward to it.

2. Moment of Conception: Just as with UUCAVA, our Pastor found his kindred spirits at the Unitarian Univeralists of the Blue Ridge (UUBRidge). Now Rev. Russ Savage enters into the picture. Our Pastor and Rev. Savage built an “ecumenical” relationship. They talked about what was wrong in Rappahannock County and how to make it right. Then, their first true opening to realize their plans came. It was called “Laudato Si”, an encyclical authored by Pope Francis and published by the Vatican on May 24, 2015. Apparently, Rev. Savage was so taken with this work from the Pope that he began to preach on the topic. In fact he even has a video sermon on the Internet entitled “Climate Justice“.

Much more has gone on behind the scenes. For now, this incomplete genesis story will suffice.

3. Method Application: As scheduled, the first of five meetings under the title of “Care of Our Common Home” met at the Rappahannock County Library at 3:30 PM, Sunday, February 14. The parking lot was just as we had predicted it would be in Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #9 – Bumper Stickers. Of course the little silver Prius was there. How could it have been otherwise?

Nature-Is-My-Church-2016-02-14Although I took several pictures, I will only show two so that I don’t violate privacy by exposing license plates. This one is troubling because I have made Baptismal vows and Confirmation vows and weekly recite a Creed that would never permit me to fall into this error. I have done so from the age of reason, and have continued to do so to this very day.

The second one is troubling, as well. I believe there were a total of three of these. bernie2016-02-14There were no Trump, Cruz, or Rubio bumper stickers to be seen. I swore an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and did so in uniform for 21 years, and continued to do so to this very day. Socialism does not fit into the Constitution nor does it fit into the context of orthodox Catholic teaching.

A reported 56 people attended and participated in the this first meeting of “Care of Our Common Home”. Our Pastor acted as the host and greeter. Rev. Russ Savage of UUBRidge was the master of ceremonies leading the general meeting.

As soon as one enters the door, he/she is asked to go and join a small group. The attendees were broken up into five of these small groups (10+ people), each with a group leader and a scribe. Each attendee was given a group discussion handout. A partial, single paragraph from Laudato Si was to be read by the attendee (paragraph #14 in this case). Then the herd, I mean attendees were herded, I mean were asked, to use the following format:

3:35 — Welcome Rev. RussSavage.

3:40 — We will introduce ourselves (short) in our small group-What drew you to this dialogue?

3:55 — Small group sharing using the “round robin” method of sharing, i.e., each person, has an uninterrupted chance to share (no more than three minutes each).

4:25 — General discussion in the small group.

4:55 — Summarize in small groups.

5:05 — We will have reports by the note takers from each small group/

5:20 — Sharing of final thoughts: “How was this conversation for you?” “What would make the conversation better?”

Possible questions for sharing
— Your thoughts on Paragraph #14 (see above)? –

— What do you believe about your relationship with the other 7 billion people on the planet?

— In your opinion, what is the most important issue that we need to address about our planet’s future?

— What do you do to address the “damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”?

— What do you believe about human beings having dominion of the earth?

Group discussions were conducted very much in accord with the Alinsky / Delphi method – highly manipulated and orchestrated.  Discussion questions are predetermined and betrayed a very obvious agenda – social change in Rappahannock County. If you happened to voice an opinion or thought that did not fit in with the predetermined narrative, you could be sure that it would not be mentioned when the group scribe/note taker reported to the larger group. Your words were “disappeared”. Only the predetermined “party line” would be voiced.

4. Ultimate Deception: The deception began with the flyers and announcements in the Sunday bulletin. You thought, I thought, they all thought that we would discuss Laudato Si. No, that was never the intent.

The Pope is asking for a dialogue from the whole world on the care for our common home. Pope Francis has said in his encyclical: “I urgently appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone …”

We were really only going to have a dialogue wrapped in the “spirit of Pope Francis”, not in his actual words. Consider, out of a total of 246 paragraphs/sections in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, apparently only one selected paragraph will be used for each of the five sessions. My math is not the best, after all I am only a bear of little brain, but doesn’t that work out to a mere 2% of the encyclical? This was not intended to be a study of Laudato Si. This was intended to be more like Rev. Russ Savage’s “Climate Justice” sermon. We have to change people and their environmental behaviors.

I have to agree with Ann Marie Jakubowkski who lists 11 Things You Probably Won’t Hear About Pope Francis’ Encyclical because you will never hear them at a “Care of Our Common Home” meeting, I guarantee you.

But more to point, to the Sheep of Kephas you will never hear from our current radical Pastor what you would hear from a former pastor of St. Peter’s, Fr. Jerry Pokorsky when he wrote The Popes, the Pill and Climate Change. And you can be sure that the people of Rappahannock County who attend the “Care of Our Common Home” meetings will never hear the real words of our Pope and our Holy Catholic Church.

 

Requiescat in Pace – Justice Scalia

ScaliaIn my heart and in my soul I have many dear friends whom I have never met. Some of them are great saints who have selflessly done the work of God. Some of them are heroes who built our country with their ideas and their lives. Others are still alive promoting the causes of Life and Truth at great cost to themselves. Two of these friends were appointed as justices to the highest court in the land – Scalia and Thomas. As it is with all good friends, you stand to learn something when you listen to them and I have learned much from each of these two men.

As of this day, the Supreme Court has one less man of substance and principle. As of this day, one of my dear friends, whom I have never met, has passed into God’s Eternity.

My wife and I pray earnestly for the family of Justice Antonin Scalia that they may have the peace and consolation that only Jesus Christ can give. May they know in their hearts that Justice Scalia was a beacon of hope to my family and me and many, many others just like us.

We have heard that Justice Scalia, on occasion, has attended Mass at St. Peter’s. We, the Sheep of Kephas, pray that God has taken note of his steadfast faith and efforts for Life and that they are rewarded with the joy of eternal life with our Savior and our Lord.

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-02-14

Here is Bulletin_2016-02-14

My beautiful wife and I look forward to Lent. It is surely the most peaceful time of year for us. We are Benedictine Oblates and we pray together daily. During Lent, however, we come even closer together because of our Bona Opera (good works). Prior to Ash Wednesday, we send a card listing our Lenten resolves of prayer, fasting, and alms giving to our Oblate Director at Conception Abbey. With the blessing of the Abbot, we perform our Bona Opera throughout Lent. We start Lent with a plan and we help each other to follow that plan.

Analysis and Commentary

The bulletin this week is merely an extension of the bulletin from last week. As we would say in my military days, our Pastor has developed his “battle rhythm”. He has his strategy and his tactics and we have watched them unfold before our eyes. He has built his coalitions in the county and his name is seen frequently in the local paper, on various church Websites, and on the Web pages of several community organizations. He has “connected” and “plugged in”. And it all started the week he arrived. Consider this quote from our bulletin on June 29, 2014:

I met with Rev. Walt Childress the Pastor of the Washington Baptist Church and I will be able to meet some of the other clergy at a meeting on July 9. I am looking forward to it. Walt and later Mary Ann Krammes told me about the community picnic that all the Churches are sponsoring for the whole county at Rappahannock County Park on Sunday July 27 from 4pm-7pm. This is the first time that all the Churches have gotten together for a picnic so mark your calendars and COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, read this week’s bulletin and compare it to your memories of bulletins during the time before his arrival. Then, compare it to the bulletins of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. There are little things and big things that are bothersome. Earlier in his narrative he did not capitalize the word “Mass”, yet when speaking of the Protestant denominations that revolted and left the Roman Catholic Church, he insisted on capitalizing “Churches”. What can the good people of St. Peter’s learn from this?

Two Words for Consideration: In reading this week’s bulletin two words are bothersome and linger in my mind in a sinister way – “ecumenical” and “confession”.

There will be “Ecumenical Lenten Services” at Washington Baptist Church. The array of themes to be discussed is finally revealed in the flyer in this week’s bulletin. How very odd it is that our Catholic Pastor will be speaking on “meditation” and it will be United Methodist Rev. Sara Keeling who will be speaking on “Confession“. Huh?!, What?! — What does a United Methodist minister know of “Confession“? — How should a member of St. Peter’s who takes up Father’s invitation to attend these “ecumenical” services respond to Rev. Keeling discussing “Confession”? Is this something to be learned or is it something to be spurned?

Meanwhile, this weeks bulletin has only one other mention of Confession. “Help is needed to clean the church for the fourth Saturday of every month — before Confessions are heard.” During this Lenten season of prayer and penance, would it not be a good thing to be announce an expanded Confession schedule and invite all in the parish to come and confess their sins and seek God’s forgiveness and saving grace. But, I guess that would interfere with inviting the sheep of St. Peter’s to the “Ecumenical Lenten Services” at Washington Baptist Church during all the Wednesdays in Lent.

It is both amazing and sad to learn what two simple words can tell you.

As a side note, check out the way Trinity Episcopal Church describes the “Ecumenical Lenten Services”. (Click Trinity.)

Care for our Common Home: My wife said I’m still going. Come join me at the Rappahannock County Library on Sunday. I hear that they are going to break up into tables of twelve or so people and have discussion groups. Afterwards, each table will report to the entire group. Oh, Joy!

(Please see our recent bulletins and check out Care of Our Common Home at the Rappahannock news or the same at Join the Conversation at RappFLOW.)

Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #9 – Bumper Stickers

Time is precious and today I have but little to spare. Nevertheless, there are two thoughts we have time to share.

1. Bumper Stickers: On February 14th when you take your sweetheart to the county library to share in the joyous “group reunion” concocted by our Pastor and Fred Pugarelli, take time to walk through the parking lot and view the bumper stickers of your fellow attendees’ cars. (Please see our recent bulletins and check out Care of Our Common Home at the Rappahannock news or the same at Join the Conversation at RappFLOW.)

As we were driving down US 211 today, we passed a car that will surely be in that group next Sunday. Of course it was a Prius – that is a statement all by itself. Now to the bumper stickers on the progressive limousine of choice.

coexistIt is essential to have this particular jewel in order to establish your credentials as one of the “tolerant” elite.

 

Nature-Is-My-Church-Bumper-StickerThis one explains why the driver can afford to be so “tolerant”. This is a person that has no real commitment or conviction concerning the creator that fashioned the “nature” that is their church.

bernie2016Finally, this is how the driver will ensure that everyone will “COEXIST”. If it was good enough for Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and the Soviet Union, it certainly will be good for these United States.

And it all starts with the Prius – the statement that “I care about the environment.” And so they do, and so they will have you do as well. Whether you want to or not. They would impose it through government power.

My wife and I come from a different school of thought. We also care about the environment as good stewards in the way that God intends, not as the government or progressives intend. Read Laudato Si carefully, and please read the footnotes and sources. There is more there than some of these folks would want you to know.

I’m taking my camera so I can get a “bumper” crop of pictures.

2. The Little Black Book: Early Saturday I picked up my advance copy of the Little Black Book. Hopefully, you picked up your copy too. Bishop Ken Untener continues to be one of the poltergeists lurking in St. Peter’s vestibule.