When Does Christ Call Us to Reject Legitimate Authority, Legitimately Exercised?

Posted on 2024-03-21
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Missoula, Montana –



I wrote a week or so ago about my very pleasant experience last year touring the grounds of the Mission of Divine Mercy near San Antonio. The people were solid and faithful and focused on Christ, it seemed to me. I liked them. I also noted that, at that time, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia Siller, had not made a public statement on the purported messages from heaven the Mission has recently published. Now, he has. In addition to the statement, Abp. Garcia Siller issued a formal decree.

A big issue of contention is the statement from the messages that, “…you have allowed the usurper to sit on the chair of My Peter – he who is carrying out the Great Treason that will leave My Church desolate…” I initially interpreted that as meaning the satan has fully infiltrated the Vatican and is influencing, sometimes even directing, error. Abp. Garcia Siller interpreted it as being personally directed at Pope Francis, certainly a good faith interpretation. Reading through correspondence between the Archbishop and the Mission, it is clear that the Mission interprets it as the Archbishop does. This is a BIG red flag for me.

Whether or not anyone accepts the authenticity of my visitations and visions, it has been the experience of my entire lifetime. I can speak with some knowledge on such things and the rules and parameters of them. In over 60 years of such experiences, only once have I ever heard heavenly beings speak with raw contempt of a specific person. Always there is sorrow, and often pity, but the sole time there was raw contempt was startling – and not as nakedly contemptuous as this interpretation is. Heavenly beings need not speak with raw contempt, for they know that Christ is sovereign. Whatever individuals do will be used to carry out His sovereign plan, regardless of the person’s intention. The sorrow and pity is for the potential loss of heaven for the person. Heavenly beings do not react with fear and loathing to the bad activities of men, only sorrow and pity. (The one case where mild disgust was exhibited to me involved a person who, with full knowledge of what he was doing, chose the satan over God. Thankfully, I have good reason to believe the person involved has repented.) It could still be that my interpretation is correct, but the Mission insists that it specifically targets Pope Francis and the Archbishop is taking them at their word. If their interpretation is correct, then this is a false message.

As regular readers know, I am not an enthusiast of Pope Francis, but I am not an enthusiast for trying to make a bad situation out to be a super-duper bad one that gives me license to violate Christ’s commands. And that is what this is.

In its response to Abp. Garcia Siller, the Mission says it is obeying God rather than men. That is the feeble dodge of people who have become unhinged by their own grief or anger. It is also a failure of trust in Christ. Some suggest that the Archbishop is a “woke” Bishop. That is irrelevant. The only question is whether determinations on such things are within the local ordinary’s legitimate authority. The answer is a simple yes. That has nothing to do with whether the Bishop is right or not; such determinations are disciplinary rather than doctrinal. Many great saints have been suppressed for a time – and they were obedient to legitimate authority, legitimately exercised. Their obedience proved them – and Christ, who always ultimately gets His way, justified them – more than a few times to the joy of those who initially suppressed them.

The hierarchy was initiated by Christ, Himself. There is NO situation in which He would say that something is so important that you must disobey His prior command. None. To pretend such is to pretend that God can err. To obey your Bishop’s lawful command, lawfully given IS to obey Christ.

Let me underscore how vital this is to me. My Archbishop allows me to speak and to write. He forbids me to do so in public presentations on Catholic property in the Archdiocese of Denver. If an apparition of Christ appeared publicly in Church in Denver and commanded me to speak publicly there I would refuse, even though all could see and hear Him. Why? Because it could only be a test of my obedience to the hierarchy He set up or a devil playing at being Christ. I KNOW what Scripture says; I KNOW who my Archbishop is; but I can only believe who an apparition is – and I am not so childishly foolish as to believe I cannot be fooled by the devil. Nor am I so lacking in trust that I can be made to believe that the only way Christ can prevail is if I defy His clear Scriptural commands.

That does not mean I have to do whatever my Bishop says. If he tells me what kind of car I must drive (or, for that matter, what shots I must take) I am free to ignore him. But when he speaks from his legitimate authority with a legitimate command, to obey him is to obey Christ. When He went up with Mary and Joseph after the temple, Scripture records that Christ was obedient to them. Not that He pretended obedience, but that He was obedient. If God, Himself, in His Incarnation, was obedient to the people He placed in authority over Himself, how could any of us claim to be imitating Christ in our disobedience?

There are more than a few cases where I have encountered people who I believed had started having credible locutions. Some react properly with awe and a determination to get it right, knowing what fragile vessels they are to carry such divine treasures. Many, though, decide they are suddenly experts on the mind of God and master of all they survey. I know that kindergartners love to play at grandeur, but this is a deadly dangerous place to play at such vanity. It can quickly destroy any usefulness they might ever have. I understand the impulse. After I first understood the nature of these things when I was a boy of seven, it was all cool and fun. A heavenly emissary would tell me something and so it would turn out to be. What’s not to like? And surely I was special. But after a couple of years, it took a hard turn. Things that I was told would match the specific words I was given, but would not be at all as I expected. When warned of danger ahead for a specific person, I was often directed NOT to tell them. In the early days I violated that more than a couple of times – and the result was always worse than the original danger I was shown. Learning to trust and obey God often violated every human instinct I had. But putting me through that discipline taught me to have real trust that Christ has this rather than a petulant trust that would only stand firm so long as He did it my way. Right now, as I see all the hair-on-fire takes of so many purported mystics I am profoundly grateful for all the decades of training I have had, despite all the tears, frustrations, fears, and sacrifices involved. Until you have been tossed around and knocked on your rear end by the phenomena you have not begun to be mature in these things.

Understand that the devil, the king of liars, often surrounds the central lie he needs you to believe with an escort of truths in order to give you confidence in the lie. Obedience to lawful authority, lawfully given is the guard rail God gives us to keep us from going off the cliff to our destruction.

As I said, I like the people at the Mission of Divine Mercy and respect their dedication to the faith. I pray that they will reconsider their decision on  obedience to legitimate authority. If not, as pious as they are, they will be useful neither to men nor to God.


Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Georgia) hearing Investigating Black Market Baby Organ Harvesting on Tuesday was gripping. It included 18 minutes of previously unseen video footage of abortionists speaking candidly. Some of the video was redacted to hide faces and names of the abortionists, but it comes from the trove that San Francisco Federal Judge William Orrick ordered suppressed. Orrick has no authority to suppress it when displayed by Congress. Watch this and ask yourself why Orrick suppressed any of it, other than that he is an enthusiastic supporter of abortion. The hearing does not begin until the 3:37 mark in this video, so pull ahead to avoid the dead air and elevator music.


Dr. Joe Brickner and I will soon host the final podcast with emergency preparedness expert Ed McCollough, featuring your questions and his responses. Get those questions in to seven7questions@gmail.com.

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

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