Reflections on the “Year of Abnormal”

Farewell to 2021, a most difficult year in recent memory. Like it or not, we have entered a world where abnormality is set to become the new normal. 2021 was the year in which authoritarian autocrats at all levels were emboldened by the (fake) “pandemic” to publicly show their true faces of intolerance and despotic control. It’s been a year of helplessly watching the world go from mad to even madder ~ even as those maddest of hatters accusingly point their fingers at the few remaining sane ones as being the problem. The inmates have overrun the asylum!

Case in point #1 would be the mask lunacy that has become a kind of tribal rite. Even after mass delivered so-called “vaccinations” and natural or acquired immunities have been widely achieved, citizens are still bullied into covering their faces ~ no doubt as a mark of submission to their corporate and various other authoritarian overlords (like pizza clerks with an overdeveloped sense of righteousness). The mask thing has now reached the ludicrous level of medieval superstition, totally divorced from any medical evidence or rudimentary scientific logic. What these mandates really smack of is cynical leaders intentionally creating and promoting mass psychosis in order to bolster their own power. Politicians especially seem keen on replacing legislative governance with executive rule by keeping the fallacy of some life threatening “state of emergency” front and center in people’s consciousness.

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Following the Evidence

Nothing better illustrates the “woke reality” world toward which our society is dangerously tipping in its “social justice” dance macabre than the recent Kyle Rittenhouse trial and acquittal. Despite the sober, common sense result reached by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens after being presented with overwhelming evidence that this was a clear case of self defense, the woke mob is howling in outrage because, for their ilk, meting out political justice holds a higher priority than attaining actual justice. Their’s is the “don’t bother me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind” attitude, an attitude which has become increasingly prevalent in large segments of both the institutional media and academic sectors.

In the first place, this case should never have been prosecuted or brought to trial based on the outstanding facts. Assistant district attorney Binger had access to loads of exculpatory video evidence showing that Rittenhouse was clearly acting in self defense, and yet he chose to either ignore or attempt to hide that evidence while proceeding to charge Mr. Rittenhouse with numerous crimes. By abusing his authority to indict an obviously innocent teenager, no doubt to curry favor from his political base, Mr. Binger grossly violated numerous legal ethics as well as Kyle’s right to due process, even as he brazenly lied about crucial facts of the case and falsely claimed that Rittenhouse had no legal right to be armed that night. For Binger it would seem that evidence is something to be selectively used or ignored in order to achieve one’s preferred outcome which, in this case, was to satisfy a howling leftist mob by convicting an innocent man.

Related to this case, a different kind of “mob justice” was meted out last April to Norfolk, Virginia police lieutenant William Kelly who, as a private citizen, had the temerity to make a $25 donation to the Kyle Rittenhouse legal defense fund. For that act of political correctness heresy Lt. Kelly was fired from his position at the Norfolk police department. So, wanting to help a wrongfully accused person defend himself has now become an acceptable reason to terminate a good cop. The whole woke scenario smacks of the French Revolution or Stalinist Russia where a simple denouncement, unsupported by any kind of evidence, is all that is needed to punish supposed transgressors. Such incidents ought to terrify any people who are theoretically protected against such arbitrary retaliation by a Constitution and Bill of Rights meant to curb abuses of official power.

Presumed guilt or innocence today has little to do with actual evidence, at least in the increasingly oppressive and hyper-politicized court of public opinion, i.e., the mass media and academic elites who control the flow of information and craft the official narratives. In their rarefied worldview, judgments about others are not based upon facts and evidence but instead become a function of one’s political persuasion, religious ideology, or more often color of skin. In their enlightened reckoning, “the lighter the skin, the greater your sin.” This whole tangled mentality reminds me of the once widely touted, but today utterly discredited, “science” of phrenology by which 19th century criminologists claimed they could predict a person’s criminal tendencies by mapping the bumps on their head! The same sort of mumbo jumbo is being applied today in order to determine a person’s character. The only difference is that head bumps have been replaced by wearing a MAGA hat on one’s head. And who needs evidence when we have available such refined scientific indicators to help us root out “domestic terrorists?”

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Rushing to Judgment, and Fr. James Jackson, FSSP

As a friend and former parishioner of Father James Jackson, FSSP over the past 15 years or so, I feel no need to rush to his defense against the contemptible charges being made against him for the simple reason that no defense is truly necessary. This is a priest beyond reproach who, for reasons only known to God, has been entangled in a bizarre and suspicious cyber-sting operation which smacks of a deliberate frame-up either by corrupt officials, a malevolent hacker who took offense at something this priest wrote or said, or a combination of both. Nor would Fr. Jackson be the first innocent person to be accused or convicted of child porn possession and distribution. Today there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent people whose lives have been ruined by similar accusations. A Nov. 8, 2009 NBC News / Associated Press investigative article bears this fact out. It begins “Of all the sinister things that Internet viruses do, this might be the worst: They can make you an unsuspecting collector of child pornography.” The piece goes on to report the ease with which malignant viruses can capture an unsuspecting user’s PC and load it with porn. (the complete article can be found at http://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna33778733)

Are we to believe that somehow, 12 years later, this problem has abated even as major corporations and vital pipelines have been hacked and compromised by malicious malware? If Yahoo, Target, and Colonial Pipeline, employing legions of cyber-security experts, cannot prevent such breaches, are we also to believe that someone with a minimal literacy in computers, such as a Fr. Jackson, would be invulnerable to malicious hackers? His case has all the earmarks of the recent Cardinal George Pell travesty in Melbourne, Australia: a patently false accusation and prosecution, apparently orchestrated by corrupt Vatican insider Cardinal Angelo Becciu, himself now disgraced and under indictment for financial fraud. And although ultimately exonerated by Australia’s high court, Pell’s slandered reputation will never be restored.

So before rushing to judgment over such ludicrous accusations, as most of the media has already done, I would beg my readers to view the classic 1953 Alfred Hitchcock thriller I Confess starring Montgomery Clift. Clift’s character is Fr. Logan, a priest accused of murder who cannot exonerate himself without breaking the seal of confession. Consequently, he must watch the ruin of his reputation, face criminal prosecution, and the wrath of a hostile mob. Perhaps we are now being treated to a case of art imitating life, because there is an uncanny physical resemblance between Clift’s Fr. Logan and the real Fr. Jackson that we who know him well have come to love. I wish more Catholic media reporters would reflect on the sins of both slander and detraction before jumping to rash conclusions, but Mr. Dan Dougherty addresses that issue better than I could which is why I have included his recent letter as an addendum, below.

The Fr. Jackson I know is a quiet, thoughtful, and very humane individual whose real desire was to be a contemplative monk. In fact he has spent a year or so in a monastery in France before God called him into an active priestly ministry. Although naturally reserved, he loved playing rugby and became a Marine Corps chaplain before finally joining the traditional Latin FSSP community in 1996. Fr. Jackson is a hard-nosed realist who possesses a truly contemplative soul that longs above all for God. His writings show it, his sermons demonstrate it, his gracious and courteous manners around all sorts of people manifest it, and above all his great love of beauty all indicate how his life is totally ordered to union with the Divine Will.

Such a man does not suddenly turn, after 66 years, to a trifling, soul deadening amusement like pornography. One does not suddenly acquire such a degrading habit at that age. I work with the Road to Purity, a recovery program designed to help people caught up in pornography and sexual addictions, and if such a propensity had been there all along it would have surely manifested itself long before this point. Father Jackson is not naive about human nature. He wrote with real insight about priestly life in his weekly parish bulletins. For instance, “Without the faith (I mean real belief in God) and the pursuit of the interior life, celibacy just creates a class of professional bachelors who are still saying Mass and doing baptisms, but are overcome with isolation and even depression… They naturally turn to the natural for consolation,” he warned. “And with that turning from God, there is hell to pay.”

These are the measured words of someone with a rich interior life, fully aware of the corrupt McCarrick culture infesting the modern Church, so one must ask, what is the real story behind this Kafka-like turn of events? Are we witnessing just another burlesque script from the same authoritarian bureaucrats and media lackeys who have been feeding us Russian collusion, a false pandemic, and now imposing medical tyranny? My perspective is that Fr. Jackson is being targeted for the crime of pointing out unpopular truths: whether it be calling out “psychosexually dysfunctional” priests or challenging an emasculated priest-class he calls “professional bachelors” or leading a prayer rally against a Satanist black mass in Salem. All these things will earn you great enmity in the world. After all, if his foes can take down a high ranking prince of the Church like Cardinal Pell, how difficult would it be to target some lowly unknown pastor in Providence, R.I.?

But at a deeper level we must realize that the priest acts in persona Christi – in the person of Christ, and it was Christ himself who was falsely accused, condemned, and led to crucifixion. “If the world hates you remember that it first hated me.” (Jn 15:18) The faithful priest must therefore be prepared for immolation in the world which is exactly what I see when I behold the sad, pensive expression in Fr. Jackson’s eyes from the police mugshot. “Like a lamb led to slaughter, he was silent and opened not his mouth.” (Is 53:7) That, to me, represents the true essence of our Fr. Jackson – a willing victim suffering vicariously for his beloved flock.

In the end, Fr. Jackson will be vindicated, perhaps not in the eyes of the world but in the court that truly matters – the eternal judgment seat. Falsely accused, falsely judged, and wrongfully treated is, for his faithful priest, a sign of God’s special love and providence. Please keep him in your prayers, and also those who are persecuting him. We are living in a time of white martyrdom, and Fr. Jackson is not alone among the many faithful priests today who are likewise being “led to the slaughter” simply for speaking the truth.

Francis J. Pierson + a.m.d.g.

Addendum: Letter of Dan Dougherty to Church Militant below

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Pain Retreats ~ and your Angel

A week ago today I attended an unscheduled retreat at the Littleton Hospital. The cause was a myocardial infarction, in laymen’s terms a heart attack. The retreat master was a Dr. Pain, an excellent teacher who reminds us when we are getting a little too involved in our day to day concerns just what is truly important.

Pain shakes us out of our little comfort zones enabling us to see another, deeper reality beyond material existence. It lifts the veil on an entire spiritual universe of which our material universe is but a small subset. But because we all tend to be such distracted creatures most of the time, it is not until we are forced out of our comfortable routines that we really give any serious attention to that incredible spiritual realm that surrounds us, influences, and directs our lives. The real benefit of pain is that it grabs and directs our attention to spiritual realities. And if accepted in a spirit of humility, pain will guide one into a deeper understanding of that spiritual realm. Of course, there will always be those who will reject the wisdom that pain imparts and turn all their attention towards medicating it rather than learning from it.

So let me share my own experience from last Thursday. As I was being wheeled in to the Cath Lab for an emergency angiogram and stent placement it became apparent that the room was buzzing with angels. All I could see was the team of doctors, nurses, and technicians busy making preparations for my procedure but I suddenly realized that they were not alone. These medical professionals seemed elegantly orchestrated as they went about their various tasks, smoothly and efficiently undertaking the operation. But this was something more than just a trained team going about its job. As I gazed around I strongly sensed the guardian angels of every person in that room, my own included, skillfully guiding each and every hand in the lab in the performance of its duty.

Although I have the deepest respect for the considerable skills and abilities of my providers, it occurred to me how critical angelic protection also would be to a successful outcome. And so it proved to be. As I silently prayed to all those assembled guardian angels the doctor confidently threaded a tiny fiber through my veins, located a 100% blocked artery, and implanted the life saving stent. As they wheeled me out, happy, alert, and pain free, my wife said I looked like a different person from the man they had wheeled in 40 minutes earlier.

I feel profound gratitude for all those wonderful caregivers, including the nurses on my floor who looked after me pre-op and post-op in their pleasant and optimistic way. But I would not neglect to thank their guardian angels whom I could almost see at times standing by their sides. You must understand that angels, being purely spiritual creatures, are more real than the material objects we are used to. As such they also exercise real control and power over all things material. Never underestimate their power nor doubt their presence, even in the midst of danger or pain. Call upon them often, and don’t just wait for some moment of crisis.

These are God’s special ambassadors to the human race, so show them the respect that their dignity deserves. When we are in need they will be at hand to lend assistance. How do I know that? Well, when my short pain retreat ended on Friday the doctors sent me home with evidence that there had been no apparent permanent damage to my heart ~ despite more than 14 hours of intense seizure activity! I know the skeptics are out there. In today’s world we are sadly surrounded people who will reject angelic power even as they accept and celebrate the foulest demons. But our guardian angels are real spirits whose primary job is to protect us from the demons. Pray and listen to them, and let them do their jobs, which is not only to ward off evil spirits but to protect us bodily as well. But this requires our active cooperation.

The spiritual warfare never ends, and our material world is its battlefield. So don’t let a little crisis or the experience of pain turn you away from your angelic protector and advocate. Instead, turn to your guardian angel so that, with its help, the pain you may be experiencing will become a source of great learning and profit to you. God may be sending you an impromtu “pain retreat,” so take advantage of it, and remember that whatever you suffer, you are not alone. Your guardian angel will be right there doing whatever necessary to lend all necessary aid and comfort.

Francis J. Pierson +a.m.d.g.

It’s Okay to Discriminate, After All

After 50 plus years of non-stop lecturing on the manifest evils of discrimination, America’s woke progressive left has suddenly discovered what they had not realized all along: that discrimination is not only okay, it now positively virtuous! People who have religious convictions or some archaic notion of civil rights; those who believe that the Constitution really means what it says constitute the most likely candidates for discrimination. These are the people who just won’t go along with every faddish diktat that comes along from on high, because as true Americans they actually believe that the individual, not some Sultan of Health or pretty boy politician, ought to be responsible for their personal health decisions.

In evidence I offer three anecdotal, yet personal, first hand cases. The first is my father-in-law, recently deceased, who at 84 was suffering from low oxygen levels and early stage Alzheimers. The VA quickly diagnosed him as Covid positive. Thankfully he was able to die at home surrounded by loving family members instead of being isolated in some sterile medical gulag unit. The interesting part is that later, in talking to the funeral director who was required to go through a lot of extra procedures, we learned that the body showed absolutely no signs of the China virus. His body was clean as a whistle regarding Covid.

Big Pharma now presents Medi-Jihad

How little Americans seem to have learned in 20 years! September 11 marks the somber anniversary of a despicable attack on the American people by foreign terrorists. But as of today, 9-11-2021, our people are again under attack; this time by domestic terrorists in our own government. Headline: The acting president just declared war on those Americans who, either for reasons of conscience or medical freedom, refused to be injected with an abortion-tainted agent not yet out of clinical trials.

Biden has effectively declared a medical dictatorship which allows politicians, who now deem themselves more qualified than medical professionals, to forcibly make medical decisions for you. Regardless of what you may think of a particular “vaccine,” the principle these autocrats are invoking is both atrocious and unconstitutional ~ namely that government knows better than you, or your doctor, your personal health needs, and that it nevertheless has the right to forcibly inject a foreign substance into your body. If you refuse, you will be denied the right to work or to participate in society. You will be accused of being a menace to the community and tarred as an outcast. You will be publicly denounced and discriminated against. Medical “Jim Crow” has now arrived on America’s doorstep!

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Gnosis ~ Light that leads into Darkness

Christ is the true Light of the world, but there is another, false light which ultimately leads one only into darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world… yet the world knew him not.” (Jn 1: 5;9,10) And the reason it knew him not is because there has always been a competing, mendacious light in the world designed only to lead men astray. In the 18th century vicious pirates would sometimes light a fire at night along some rocky patch of shoreline hoping to lure unsuspecting ships to their destruction on the jagged shoals. Just so, the false light which the ancient enemy of God sets up as a guiding beacon is actually intended to lure unsuspecting souls into ruin on the spiritual shoals.

Such false beacons have taken various forms over the millennia, and one of the more dangerous of these deceptive “lights” has long been Gnosticism. Gnostic comes from a Greek word for knowledge, and Gnosticism encourages the notion that some secret learning or knowledge will somehow provide one the key to success and happiness. It treats the “light of reason” in the same way, as indeed a replacement for the Christian “light of faith.” Reason and knowledge is what will free one from this broken world of pain and evil. Sin is no longer a moral fault but merely the effect of ignorance. Spiritually this is a deadly notion because it deflects our attention away from combating sin, the real root cause of our unhappiness, and redirects the will to fighting other things like poverty and ignorance which are only the symptoms, not the real root of human problems.

Remembering TWA Flight 800

Today, July 17th, is a somber anniversary of the demise of TWA Flight 800 which 25 years ago today burst into flames and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Long Island, New York. Mystery continues to shroud that tragic event primarily because our own government agencies charged with the investigation have for decades shamelessly stonewalled and lied to the very people they ostensibly serve. Just coincidentally, on that same July 17, 1996 our navy was conducting secret submarine exercises in the same vicinity. Dozens of eyewitnesses on shore as well as at least one pilot flying by all reported seeing an rapid orange streak rising from the water which then intercepted Flight 800 followed immediately by a huge fireball. Was this a sub-launched missile that somehow went awry?

Immediately after that mid air explosion at +13,000 feet altitude, land based radar detected some unknown object racing away from the scene at 30 plus knots. The 747 jetliner with 230 passengers and crew broke apart and plummeted into the Atlantic. No one survived. A months long salvage operation along the sea floor yielded countless pieces of wreckage along with all 230 bodies. Initial testing by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) charged with the investigation discovered nitrates and various explosive residues on many of the recovered shards. The most damning evidence was a spray pattern of these residues across the outer surface of the center wing fuel tank. Even though the tank itself had split open the spray pattern on either side of the rupture was neatly aligned, meaning that the residue was already in place before the tank had actually ruptured.

Keep this vital fact in mind as the official NTSB report on the crash was finally released some years later. Their conclusion was that the plane had exploded when a fuel pump inside the center wing tank had caused a spark which ignited the fuel. According to friends of mine who are veteran retired airline pilots this explanation made absolutely no sense. Aside from the fact that the NTSB never adequately explained such an improbable event nor found any irregularity with the suspect fuel pump, an explosion originating inside the fuel tank could not possibly leave a residue pattern on the outside of the same tank. It’s physically impossible. Nor would it leave traces of nitrates and other explosives!

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Eucharistic Coherence and Public Sin

Considering all the brouhaha over the question of pro-abort politicians being admitted to Communion and all subsequent hand-wringing by various bishops on what to do, the answer is simple. Enforce Canon Law #915 which clearly states that obstinate public sinners are to be denied Communion, not out of any meanness but in true charity for these souls which have put themselves in such grave danger. There is really no need for a study group or special commissions or joint statements. Each prelate in his own diocese holds both the power and the responsibility for preventing blatant sacrilege, while also seeing to it that the faithful at large are not unduly scandalized. No, it doesn’t take some special document to fulfill one’s apostolic duties.

One of the issues that seems to be muddying these particular waters, however, is confusion on the part of the laity about the nature of grave sin. Many so called “cafeteria Catholics” have convinced themselves and others that no one should have the right to determine what is objectively sinful. Moral relativism is the flavor of the day among too many Catholic politicians who seem to believe that persons ought to decide for themselves what is sinful and what is not. In this attitude they are confusing two very different things, objective sin and subjective culpability. I am no trained moral theologian, so I need simple illustrations to help me understand the distinction between objective sin and subjective culpability. I therefore imagined some kind of meter with a red line running down the middle marked 100%. Think of that red line as the objective sin boundary. Everything to the left, going from 0 to 99%, is less than grave matter and therefore not sinful (mortally). Everything to the right of the red line, 100% and above, is grave matter which, objectively speaking, represents mortal sin.

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Tolerance Corrupted

Living in a pluralistic society such as ours, a keen spirit of tolerance is essential to ensure social harmony. In fact, our American republic is founded on the presumption of mutual tolerance, something we pride ourselves upon. Yet how easy it is through excess for human nature to turn a virtue into a vice. The philosopher Karl Popper shrewdly observed that unlimited tolerance eventually produces intolerance. Popper warned about pursuing tolerance to extremities, for when that happens the thing turns into its very opposite, and brings about a culture of intolerance.

This is what we are quite plainly seeing in our society today, rife with its “woke” cancel culture. There needs to be some natural limit to what people will tolerate because unchecked tolerance does not produce social peace and harmony. Instead it empowers the most intolerant factions to weaponize tolerance against the very same well-meaning individuals who are busy tolerating everything and everybody. For the intolerant, tolerance is always a one-way street, namely the obligation of you to tolerate whatever I may say, do, or think with no corresponding obligation on my part to be tolerant of your views.

A good example of this lopsided dynamic has been the infiltration of liberal democracies such as France by radical Islamists who have taken full advantage of the freedoms provided by that liberal democratic state to impose their very illiberal Shariah law upon certain neighborhoods around Paris and other large cities. And once control is seized by an intolerant minority any real semblance of toleration evaporates like the morning mist. In short, unlimited tolerance fails to provide a secure peace because it enables and shields the most intolerant factions to bully the more tolerant population into submission. Such feckless tolerance refuses to confront evil before it assumes tyrannical proportions. And any protest after the fact is too late, and too feeble, to restore the necessary balance.

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