Cast Off the Cloak of Lies

Posted on 2023-07-14
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Pinckney, Michigan – A couple of years ago, while discussing the depravities of the abortion industry with David Daleiden, I exclaimed, “There’s no bottom to this. Every time you think you have gotten to the bottom of something you discover a whole new chamber of horrors hidden beneath what you had already plumbed.” He sorrowfully expressed the same surprised wonder that I had. Make no mistake: the abortion industry is heavily involved in child trafficking and exploitation. And why wouldn’t they be? If you think it is a moral right to rip an infant limb from limb, why would you be disturbed about selling them as sexual playthings?

The new movie, Sound of Freedom, is shocking Hollywood with its box office prowess. It is based on the true story of a man who rescues a young girl from sex traffickers and delves deeply into this hideous and large-scale “business.” Our own Sheryl Collmer wrote a pre-release review of the movie for Crisis Magazine. Astonishingly, the left is attacking the movie and the very idea that there is any large-scale trafficking. CNN tried to make the case that only people involved in QAnon believe there is a problem. (While I was never impressed by the QAnon business, I must concede that, for all their often ridiculous claims, their record for accuracy has been far better than CNN these last seven years.) This while the left is openly trying to groom and mutilate children and advocating for normalizing pedophilia. As a Meme I saw said, “You know who hates movies exposing groomers and pedophiles? Groomers and pedophiles.” Once again, the left is showing us who they are.

We live in a time when people are routinely treated as things, particularly by the left. They no longer argue that it is a matter of moral indifference if a child is executed in its mother’s womb; they insist it is a positive good. At the founding of this country, a whole class of people owned other people as slaves. Many, even of these, knew it was wrong – but it was convenient for them and their economic system depended on it. To justify it, they deadened their consciences by telling themselves that black folks weren’t really people at all, even though the evidence before their very eyes proved the lie. It is the same technique the pro-abortion crowd uses today to justify their favorite depravity. The silver lining is that pro-slavery southerners did not start to try to sell slavery as a great moral good until about a decade or so before it was abolished altogether. It was when they started seriously feeling the heat that slavers tried to make their depravity into a moral good. May the sudden moral posturing of the abortion activists be the same death knell for their peculiar institution that it was for the slave power.

In a larger sense, it is the treating of people as things that make all the multitude of depravities that surround us possible. The tautology of “love is love,” used by the left to justify every perversion of the day, reduces love to the actions of mere sexual co-conspirators. When such an idiotic tautology can be taken seriously by so many otherwise decent people, we have really lost the narrative of what it takes to be free, joyful and prosperous.

I will not “affirm” the right of a whole grab-bag of deluded people to impose their depravities on society and, especially, on impressionable children. Until we understand once more that love is to will the good of another, and that perfect love is to sacrifice in order to secure that good, we are adrift. The left ever seeks new boundaries of depravity to cross in their fruitless effort to find meaning in their desperately empty lives. And every time you think they have hit bottom, they open up a new and more horrifying chamber of depravity below what they had previously done.

Don’t get me wrong. The disorder of homosexuality has been with us since the beginning of recorded history. I have known more than a few homosexuals who live worthy and productive lives. You don’t have to agree with me to be my friend, just respect my conscience as I respect yours. But trying to impose your own disorder on all of society is an offense that must be stopped now. I have bad vision and must wear glasses. I am not the least bit ashamed of that. But I would NOT demand that everyone else “affirm” my visual disability by mutilating their own healthy eyes. I will condemn no one for their infirmity, but I will fight them tooth and nail when they try to afflict everyone else with it.

Sadly, the left loves minorities and the marginalized the same way traffickers “love” children: not for their very selves, but for how they can be exploited and manipulated for the traffickers’ wealth and pleasure. No more. But it will not end until we once again acknowledge the intrinsic dignity of every human life, depriving no one of life or liberty without just cause under ordered and dispassionate law.


There are people I care about and deeply respect who are adamant defenders of Pope Francis and the Vatican Curia he has assembled. I am sorry that I am going to offend them today, but there it is. I have had my fill of the Vatican’s consistent, unrelenting attack on Scripture and the Magisterium.

The appointment of Argentine Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez to head the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) is just the latest outrage. Abp. Fernandez is known in some circles as the “erotic poet of Argentina,” hardly a recommendation for either a Bishop or the keeper of doctrinal fidelity. He had not been in place for a week when he opined that we would have to look for an appropriate way to bless same-sex unions. I don’t know whether he actually believes in Christ, incidentally, or not, but he is a hard-left ideologue who, when forced to choose between the teachings of Christ or his own woke ideology goes with woke ideology every time. It seems that as time grows shorter for Francis, he works ever more frantically to stack the deck, appointing more and more hard leftists to key positions while purging the hierarchy of orthodox clerics.

I know many clerics and many laymen have struggled over how to balance their legitimate duty of fidelity to Scripture and the Magisterium with their legitimate duty of obedience to authority over them. I think many are coming to the conclusion that they got the mix wrong.

God is incredibly efficient, often accomplishing a multitude of things with a single gambit. After being spoiled for several centuries with an unending series of good – and even great – Popes, a sense grew up among the faithful that one should never criticize or disagree with a Priest, Bishop or, God forbid, Pope. Beginning in the 19th century, ultramontanism progressively began to pick up speed until it had absolutely run amok. When you have such a run of solid Popes, who would notice that obedience had become a fetish, unmoored from doctrinal demands? Well, God would. If we consign all our decisions to a limited authority, we abdicate the responsibilities God demands of each of us. And what was the fruit of this triumphal refusal to ever criticize a cleric? Well, that would be the sexual scandals that have rocked the Church for over a half a century. Is that, then, an excuse to adopt the equal and opposite error of treating clerics with reflexive cynicism and contempt? Absolutely not!

It is Jesus Christ, Himself, who established the hierarchy that He appointed to govern the Church He founded. But so we would not be deceived into thinking that the men He appointed to this task were impeccable He made sure to include Judas in the original 12 apostles He commissioned. That the hierarchy is appointed to guide and guard us does NOT relieve us of our moral agency or of our duty to demand fidelity to Christ’s words from our leaders.

I completely lost confidence in Pope Francis with the Pachamama fiasco, which I thought (and still think) was the “abomination that makes desolate” foretold in both the Book of Daniel and the Gospel of Matthew. Within months of that desecration, Masses were shut down throughout the world. Let he who has eyes open them to see. Pope Francis loves to use ambiguity to confuse. St. John Paul encouraged ecumenism, that people from different religions can collaborate on what they agree on without sacrificing their internal integrity. Pope Francis adopts syncretism, the canard that all religions are the same and tries to pretend it is the same thing St. John Paul did. It is not. It is a tool of the satan to mimic genuine good while adding a vile ingredient that negates the good in the imitation.

We have, at the highest levels in the Church, a group of men who have given themselves to evil, aggressively seeking to contradict the teachings of Christ and His early Apostles, to remake the Church in their own image, toppling Christ from His throne while still giving Him lip service as a fig leaf for their own depredations. I call it the Pope Francis Faction. He has appointed abortion advocates to Pontifical Academies. He has tried to gut the teachings of St. John Paul the Great – and appointed men to academies bearing the saint’s name who are determined to destroy that teaching. (My interpretation of the Third Secret of Fatima envisioned that this would happen shortly after the death of St. John Paul.) Pope Francis has heartily congratulated and promoted men who help him in contradicting Christ and the Magisterium, while disciplining and dismissing men who uphold orthodox fidelity to the faith. Most recently, Pope Francis gave a warm welcome to the “artist” who displayed a Crucifix submerged in a jar of urine, titling it “Piss Christ.” And why not? That artist has proved himself to be a comrade in arms with those who hate Christ and His Church. Pope Francis has refused to promote – and often dismissed – those prelates who are notable for their fidelity to Scripture and the Magisterium.

I have kept certain dissident organizations which criticize Pope Francis at arm’s length. Quite a few of them are just willful. The Cancelled Priests coalition includes more than a few men who I think should not have been cancelled. But it also includes some willful Priests whose main gripe with their Bishop is that his judgment on matters licitly within his authority differs from theirs – and so they will not serve. The first sin was one of disobedience. Christ, Himself, after the teaching in the Temple, was obedient to His earthly parents (Luke 2:51 – Note that it says He WAS obedient to them, not that He pretended to be obedient to them). Obedience to licit authority is important to me because it is commanded by Christ. When my Bishop gives me direction, I do not waste time worrying about whether his judgment matches mine. I only concern myself with whether it is genuinely within his authority and does not obviously contradict Scripture and the Magisterium. If I disagree with him strongly, I am free to make my case on the matter. But if it is within the scope of his authority and a lawful order, I obey, whether I agree or not. By the nature of my work, I sometimes end up coloring outside the lines. When it is pointed out to me, I submit. I do NOT consider it a hardship. Rather, I consider it a blessed form of guardrail given by God to keep me from driving off a cliff. I thank God my Bishop is solidly orthodox – and has never attempted to direct me on matters outside his licit authority. But even if he were not, I would follow his lawful edicts. (In that case, I reckon there would be a lot of controversy because a heterodox Bishop would try to give me all manner of orders on political, economic, and other temporal matters that were outside of his authority – which I would casually ignore). Obedience in Christianity is not a matter of the lesser submitting to the greater. If it were, how could Jesus have been obedient to His earthly parents? It is a means of opening up channels of grace – and establishing guardrails which keep all of us out of the ditch. It matters – and I cannot cheer someone, particularly a Priest, who dissents just because he does not like the judgment of his Bishop.

I have been watching for a clean case. The Vatican visitation of Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, is exactly that case for me. He is solidly orthodox, profoundly engaged with his flock, and champions the teaching of Scripture and the Magisterium with clarity and fidelity. The worst anyone has been capable of accusing him of is “imprudence” – publicly calling out heresies proposed by this Vatican. Yes, and those few clerics who called out the heresy of Arianism when most of the hierarchy had adopted it were “imprudent” in the same fashion. Thanks be to God. (I love St. Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Clause, not least because he is reputed to have punched Arius in the face at the Council of Nicaea).

The smoke of satan, which St. Paul VI, said had seeped into the Church two generations ago, has become a choking conflagration. We have some villainous clerics who are working for the satanic side. Many of these do not acknowledge either God or the satan – and think they are working for themselves. It is satanic, nonetheless, and they will find out soon enough who their master is.

We have many good Bishops who are genuinely orthodox, but are skittish, refusing to make waves on behalf of Him who controls the waves. The big problem is that we have a whole host of peacetime consiglieres in a time when we need wartime consiglieres. Do not treat an orthodox, but timid, Bishop with contempt. In peacetime, his emphasis on collegiality and unity are often very valuable qualities. But he is wholly inadequate to the crisis we face. Joan of Arc and Therese of Lisieux are both saints – but it would be an error of the first order to send St. Therese to lead troops while confining St. Joan to a convent.

This Pope and the Bishops who follow him in spitting in the face of Christ are anathema to me. I will waste no more time trying to find some innocuous way of seeing what they mean when they are plainly showing me who they are. As St. Paul said in Galatians 1:8, “…even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Even so, if a licit order within the confines of his lawful authority were given by Pope Francis, I would obey it – even though I think him a pernicious and aggressive heretic who has made himself enemy of the faith. I would do so because that is what Christ commands – and Christ knows what He is doing when I do not. It is a matter of trust.

I know many are worried that this is going to continue for a long time since Pope Francis has stacked the College of Cardinals with men after his, rather than God’s, own heart. Fear not. Disorder always collapses of its own excesses and…disorder.

A decade ago, a judge in St. Clair County, Illinois (where I once lived) died of a drug overdose. It turned out that another judge and a probation officer were involved in the possession and trafficking of drugs in the local court system. St. Clair County is run by a powerful Democratic machine. In raw panic, the machine decided to appoint a friend of mine, Stephen McGlynn, to replace the deceased judge. McGlynn was a Republican, but his integrity was acknowledged by all, including the Democratic machine. It was a desperate attempt to restore some credibility to the local judiciary. The Democratic machine thought they could blunt the immediate crisis and then beat McGlynn at the next election. It was not a bad bet: no Republican had won any countywide office in St. Clair County since the 1930’s. But the bet did not pay off. McGlynn won the next election despite the unified opposition of the machine that appointed him.

Disorder breeds disorder. Eventually, people erupt in revulsion when it becomes too much to stomach.

Here is what I expect: At some point in the next couple of years a hideous scandal will be revealed involving one of the heterodox clerics Pope Francis so dotes on. In a panic, at the next conclave following the scandal, Cardinals will elect a fully orthodox Pope, in hopes of tamping down the controversy. They will reason among themselves that they will be able to control this holy new Pope. They will not. The holy new Pope will drain the swamp, using precedents that the villainous Bishops, themselves, set in their efforts to topple Christ. It could come in the conclave following Francis’ passing – or it could come after the brief reign of another Pope in Francis’ image. But it will come, I have no doubt. God is not mocked.

I believe that the day will come, not too long from now, when the clerics sitting in judgment of Bp. Strickland will be profoundly grateful that he is a much more honorable and noble man than they are, for I think it very likely that he will end up sitting in judgment of them.

Choose or perish. The time has come for all of us to publicly declare ourselves in the great battle for the faith before us. For all you Bishops, Christ is sitting right next to you now asking if you love Him. Your words mean nothing. You will show Him your love by feeding His flock.


My friend, Bob Scheich, spontaneously came up with a new prayer that absolutely delighted me. Bob, as many of you know, is the man who graciously gives me the downstairs level of his tri-level home as my residence. We both love breakfast biscuit sandwiches of the type that McDonald’s and Hardee’s make. Bob made the mistake of getting some frozen biscuit sandwiches from the store. If you have ever tried them, you know there is something about breakfast biscuits that make them turn out pathetic and forlorn if you try to freeze and pre-package them. Bob had just microwaved one for himself and it sat like a sea-tossed refugee on his plate. After our normal grace, Bob spontaneously added, “And Lord, please bless this poor biscuit!” I couldn’t help it. I howled with laughter. It was so appropriate to the moment. May the good Lord bless all us poor biscuits.


This Sunday, July 16, at 4 pm Eastern Time (3 Central, 2 Mountain, and 1 Pacific) we will hold a national online meeting to discuss some details from our Go Forth initiative at CORAC. You are all invited to join us. You will be able to type in any comments or questions and the moderator will ask them. To sign in, go to:
Meeting ID: 820 3929 4105
Passcode: 719802
Matthew Hill presents me with a brass squirrel at the Michigan Field Day. CORAC Board Member Sue Domen, at the rear, called him up for the presentation. It is HEAVY. I have changed my Clue answer to: Matthew under the tent with the brass squirrel. Be on the lookout.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

At the Michigan Field Day I showed an original Icon, given to my by Kati Richey, the dean of professional American Iconographers. She wrote it about 15 years ago – and figured it would help keep me safe in my travels. I loved it immediately, because the expression on His face matches a lot of what I am feeling these days.


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