From the Cockpit of the Subaru

Posted on 2024-04-30
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Most here are aware of Charlie’s “A Sign of Hope” blog and are regular readers of those articles. CORAC members have the added benefit of keen insights and advice specific to the mission of CORAC, which are published in every newsletter under the column heading, “From the Cockpit of the Subaru.”  The archive with links to the current edition and all back issues can be found here. As a matter of convenience, we’ve assembled a complete compilation of the latter articles below… a handy guide of sorts for not only doing stuff, but making it truly count for something.

To Be or Not To Be

06/03/2024

In an article I wrote the day after Donald Trump’s conviction, Welcome to Armageddon, some people were concerned that I expressed tolerance for conservatives initiating violence. I do not. But the fault was mine; in a time of frantically mounting tension, precision is important. That was a flaw in my original composition.

It does bring to the forefront the question that is on the mind of many serious people, though. What would trigger the necessity of armed revolt? It is a very serious question, with the very future of liberty at stake. If we wait too long, the left might yet secure its effort to impose a one-party oligarchical tyranny – and then our children will never know the blessings of liberty and prosperity that we have enjoyed. If we act too soon – or act precipitously – we may give the left the very excuse they need to declare martial law and finish making America into a Marxist hellhole ruled by willful cretins. We will be held to account by God for the choices we make – for the things we do and the things we fail to do.

There is a part of me that feels guilty for the thousands of babies who are still executed here every day. Would not violence to stop that violence be just? Similarly, there is a part of me that feels guilty that I have done nothing directly to free the J6 protestors, the pro-life demonstrators routinely jailed by this hideous police state in the making and many others who have been jailed by these tyrants for what they think, rather than what they have done. So why haven’t I engaged in direct action to stop these things? I lack neither resolve nor courage. I have not so acted for strategic and tactical reasons. Any direct action would more likely cause more to perish or be jailed than to cast off the yoke of our current tyrants.

I have to think of a multitude of potential scenarios and come up with ways to deal with them all. I know some are not comfortable with the martial aspects of my nature, but I am not about to plan a peaceful method and then, when lockdowns and martial law come, tell the people who have put trust in me that I didn’t think it would get that far – so they are on their own.

One of the major reasons I started CORAC four years ago was because I largely expected Donald Trump to win the election in 2020 – and then have it stolen from him. If that were the case, we would enter into a downward spiral into tyranny – that could come on very quickly. People’s normalcy bias cannot see past next week. They rarely think the worst could ever happen. When it does, they are shocked and think we have surely hit bottom. And then they are in the gulag or in the grave before they knew anything was seriously wrong. I knew that if we were to be able to resist tyranny, we needed to get an infrastructure in place – and not wait to have to try to do so in panicked reaction to a planned assault from our own officials. I knew that we needed much more than vocal or literary protest: we would need the tools that would allow us to sustain ourselves, work together, and thwart the assault that was coming to our country. And we needed to do it smart so we could not easily be strangled in the cradle.

I had an opportunity five years ago to meet with the leadership of several major national groups that were very eager and patriotic. After doing some deep dive research into their public statements and strategy, I blew off the meeting. One fellow, my chief partner in starting CORAC, who knew about it, asked me why I declined. “If I wanted to meet with the FBI, they have offices right in Denver,” I told him, with perhaps more sarcasm than I should have.

The groups were eager and courageous, but they seemed too filled with their own statements and to lack prudence. I have a duty to all of you. One of my first rules is, “Do no harm.” Don’t do stupid stuff and try to justify your stupidity with an appeal to your courage without prudence. My sense of staying away was vindicated when a couple of the organizations in question were destroyed in the J6 events. I am not here to make a point or a statement. I am here to win – and I know that God demands that I use all my faculties well to achieve that end, not to do stupid things and blame Him for my failure.

I have been studying, cogitating and doing quiet diplomacy with entities and states that are similarly minded for a very long time on how to do this effectively and so as to blunt the option of violence or, for that matter, empty sloganeering. I well know that the opponent gets a vote in such things, though. So far the left has consistently voted for violence and for ending civil liberties by weaponizing the concept of equal justice under ordered law. All of our institutions have been perverted to attack and, ultimately, destroy us.

For over a year, I have been wrestling with the biggest project of my life: the CORAC Handbook and Manual for Building Functional Communities. I holed up for five days last week to work through the remaining issues I had. I am sending my final version, in three pieces, to the top CORAC leadership team this week. It lays out how the country can be organized – peacefully and effectively – and by using the key weaknesses of our opponents against them (and yes, they have profound weaknesses that can be exploited). But make no mistake: if lockdowns and martial law come, I have plans for how to switch to armed rebellion. I pray that day never comes – and I feel pretty confident that what I have produced can forestall it. But whether it does or not, I am determined that this nation of liberty, justice, and opportunity for all and the original vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Thanks for the phrasing, Abe). In fact, I intend that it spread the blessings of liberty throughout the earth in preparation for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. I will not be drawn precipitously into a futile battle but, God help me, I will not turn tail and quit the field if the going gets tough.

I believe I was divinely instructed to finish the handbook by May 30. When Donald Trump was convicted that day, I thought I saw the primary reason for the timing. As I write this, I am making final corrections to and polishing the manuscript. So I am past deadline. I think God, in His mercy, will forgive me. But just to be safe, I am going to steer clear of whales for a while.

When Authority Fails

05/15/2024

Years ago the bishop of my son’s diocese decreed that all parishes in the diocese constituted a gun-free zone. My son was a police officer and insisted it did not apply to him because officers are encouraged to carry whenever they are in public, whether in uniform or not. But the bishop was not having it and rejected my son’s argument. So for a time my son either went to a late Saturday or Sunday Mass in uniform (the law required officers to carry while in uniform – and the Bishop would neither pretend he could decree the law invalid nor forbid uniformed officers to attend Mass) or drove his family 45 minutes away to Mass in another ciocese. His family then became parishioners in that entirely different diocese for several years.

A bishop has no spiritual authority to order you not to be prepared to defend yourself and others. He does, however, have administrative authority to set the rules for those properties under his administrative control. That can create some unpleasant – and absurd – circumstances.

In America, the bishops, as a group, are deeply lacking in wisdom on those things that belong, generally, to the laity’s prudential judgment. Even worse, by using scholastic language to dress up their ill-conceived temporal decrees, they think they are brilliant – unaware that no matter how much lipstick you put on the proverbial pig, it is still a pig.

Religious leaders the world over, through the World Council of Churches, were co-opted as a propaganda tool for the Soviet Union in 1961, pushing the West to disarm unilaterally. Now, in defense of the Council, they were too naive to realize when the Soviets decided to use them as an Active Measure against the West. (Active Measures were a specific program to use particular gambits to demoralize or weaken the West.) These religious leaders were also too morally arrogant to realize they were intentionally being used as tools to undermine the very societies that best defended actual freedom and autonomy. They are not without blame. They prolonged the Cold War and gave cover to Soviet aggression. If they had had their way, we would have lost the Cold War and a lot more of the world would have been in chains. Religious leaders pretending to authority they don’t have, and wisdom they don’t even bother to try to have, has done great damage in the life of the world and of the Church.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is a well-meaning, but usually feckless organization when it tries to opine on matters of public policy that belong to the prudential judgment of the Laity. It has been the partner of the leftists in facilitating the mass invasion at our border these last three and a half years, along with all the human trafficking, spikes in crime, displacement of needy citizens, and drug smuggling that has entailed. They just smugly proclaim we must be open to all and ignore the chaos they help enable. They do NOT pressure other countries to reform their toxic systems. They do NOT offer to act as sponsors, taking financial and behavioral responsibility for immigrants. They do NOT acknowledge that the US has a method for legally processing immigrants. They do NOT recognize that we all have a hierarchy of responsibilities: the first duty is to your family, then to your friends, and then to others who approach you.

The Bishops’ formal position on illegal immigration is akin to saying that if a thug with MS-13 tattoos breaks into your house and sets up housekeeping in your daughter’s room you are obliged to let him stay. It really is that feckless and irresponsible.

You all know that I am adamant about respecting a bishop’s lawful authority. But I am also not unaware that one of the reasons their lawful authority has been so diluted is because so many of them have tried to exercise temporal authority they do not have – and have exercised their pretensions thoughtlessly and without serious attention to effective, rigorous analysis. The Covid debacle was the most recent shameful episode that did the Bishops no honor. I pray – and believe – it was a wakeup call at least to some. Their penchant for virtue signaling without commitment to rigorous analysis has done the Church and the faithful serious damage, while badly eroding respect for the authority they actually do have.

I write all this to acknowledge that you are likely to confront some tough situations as the current ugliness in the world plays out. Bishops who have serially misused, misunderstood, and fecklessly abused the concept of authority are not likely to suddenly combine the precise judgment of St. Thomas Aquinas with the humble work ethic and clear lines of thought of St. John Paul the Great. If a bishop decrees that you must forfeit any of your God-given rights under natural law in order to attend a Church of which he is administrative head, he is not speaking from any spiritual authority, but he is speaking from his legitimate administrative authority. You are NOT obliged to obey this authority generally, but you are if you enter into a property he has administrative authority over. You can – and should – protest this public abuse of authority. But you really only have three choices:

  1. Submit and attend under his offensive terms.
  2. Attend in another Diocese if you can.
  3. Do not attend until the offensive rule is lifted.

Of course, many will wonder how that comports with our obligation to physically attend some Masses. We are obligated unless we are truly unable to attend. Though I am not the final word on such a matter, my take is that a bishop who needlessly requires me to offend my informed conscience in order to attend is the one preventing me from attending Mass. The sin is his – and spiritual communion is available to me.

I do not carry arms. But I have had a real instance where I lived that ethos. During Covid, I absolutely refused to attend any Mass setting that required a reservation. Either all are welcome or they are not. So there were Sundays in different places where I attended no Mass – and I did not take it to Confession, because I did NOT believe I had sinned. The bishop or priest had, delivering us timidly to the secular wolves through his own ignorance and arrogant fecklessness.

I am adamant about our responsibility to submit to legitimate authority, whether we agree with it or not. I am equally adamant that bishops and clerics must live their responsibility well, defending their flock from the wolves without bullying or abusing their sheep. I make the decisions as best I can with an informed conscience and rely on God to cover and correct my errors.

You probably will have situations where you have to make hard decisions that seem to defy authority. It would be well for all to spend some time studying what authority applies where, when it is legitimately exercised and when it is not. Then make your decision, taking full responsibility for the decision you make.

On the bright side, there are many honorable priests who will celebrate Mass privately without the temporal restrictions some bishops love to effect through their administrative authority in order curry favor with the world.

Inform your conscience well, give notice when an offense comes that you can’t abide, then live your conscience fully before God and man, taking full responsibility for what you do. Whether about defensive weapons or other restrictions, I suspect that every one of us is going to have to make these decisions in some cases going forward. It is not that God wants to trap us between a rock and a hard place, but that He wants all of us to think anew. We have gotten sloppy, cold, and sometimes cowardly. God is going to fix that by these trials.

Deliver Us From Evil

04/30/2024

When a machine blows a bearing and starts grinding down, it typically belches a lot of noise, smoke, and sometimes even fire. For all the showy chaos inherent to the process, the fundamental issue is that it doesn’t work anymore. Whatever its function was, you are going to have to get a new one. Sounds a lot like American government these days, doesn’t it?

Democrats have nothing of any substance to offer, so they enthuse about how they will let you kill as many babies as you want, Orange Man Bad, and there is nothing to see here as crime goes unpunished, violent criminals run rampant, everything is more expensive even as there is less of everything to be had, and the flame of needless global war threatens to become a raging conflagration. But hey, you can get as many abortions as you want. Did we mention Orange Man Bad? And don’t forget about “Our Democracy” ™.

Republicans note that this is all terrible and someone should do something. They sometimes make terrific sound bites on television before getting back to writing blank checks to whichever the favored country du jour is, and sashaying off to the next think tank cocktail party.

Our college campuses are aflame, lit by young skulls full of mush who neither know – nor care to know – any history. They call the side that sought to launch actual genocide, “victims.” and the side defending itself as perpetrators of genocide. It is clear that nothing outside of the hard sciences is being taught at university any more – and even those are ever more suspect.

Modern college campuses are become a live performative experiment of Lord of the Flies writ large. There are no adults in sight to rescue the feral students from themselves.

These are some of the sights and sounds of the machine grinding down. As W.B. Yeats observed in his poem, The Second Coming, “…the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It’s not that there is anyone who does not see that everything is falling apart. The worst are eagerly cheering on destruction. I don’t know if they think they will somehow be exempted from the consequences of catastrophic civilizational collapse or are just afflicted with demon brain.

The best have no clue how to stop the ongoing plunge into the abyss. Our churches offer no leadership. For all the Left’s caterwauling about the danger of “Christian Nationalism,” we can rarely get any confident expression of straightforward Christian doctrine from Christian leadership anymore – for fear of offending someone on our journey to the abyss, don’t you know. We could use a lot more bold and authentic Christianity – locally, nationally or globally, for that matter.

A big factor in the paralysis is so many people desperately hoping that it is all going to smooth out somehow – and that they won’t have to do any heavy lifting. But the Almighty has His purposes. I believe He is leaving us to our own devices until it has all collapsed.

If you want to see how we got here, read the 23rd Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. We have tithed, “mint and dill and cummin (paid our taxes and fixated on legalistic processes) and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith.” We thought ourselves the titans. We demanded that the God who blessed our land leave us alone. He has, and now we are in freefall – a freefall that will not end until we have fully acknowledged our responsibility for the disastrous work of our own hands.

I have made it clear that I believe that the old is fully passing away. And yet, the God who made us still loves us – and wants us back in real communion with Him. The question, then, is how will we participate with Him in building the new?

The first step is to acknowledge that, although there is a great “they” who are trying to impose destruction on us, it is our neglect that has allowed such unworthy leaders and cultural norms to take precedence in our culture. Then build anew from among the wreckage that is still crumbling around us. To do that will require each of us who would serve God and each other to get our hands dirty, to put our shoulders to the plow. This IS the hour of the ordinary man – and that is the material which God, Himself, will use to make the world anew.

This weekend I submit my long-awaited CORAC Organizational Handbook and Manual for Building Functional Communities* for final formatting. It is a program for rebuilding, starting right now. There is no sense looking back at what was. It is already gone…and merely in the last stages of passing away.

It does not require all to sign on. It is very much a coalition of the willing. But it will give a way for those who do sign on to begin living functional community with each other under God right now. As people see those little communities that form using these principles actually work, more will sign on – and opt out of the old system already in its death throes.

We will not recover under the charismatic leadership of a man on a white horse. Jesus is our only man on a white horse who has power to save us. But this IS the hour of the ordinary man. Even as the center falls apart, Jesus is distributing white horses to all who will receive them. Jesus has a white horse waiting for each of us who are willing to pray up, saddle up, and get to work in our own little community. Then an army of men and women on those white horses will be used by God to renew the faith and the face of the world. Now is not the time to think big. It is the time to think small – and then do.

Hidden Treasure

04/15/2024

Several years back I was invited to spend a couple of days at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara, California – right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. The invitation came from Fr. Joseph LoJacono of the Fathers of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, then the director of the Shrine. They have four Masses each day. I went to the eight a.m. Mass. Fr. Joseph told me afterwards that I needed to stop by the Noon Mass. I did – and was astounded. There were 750 people there, in the middle of the day, right there in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Fr. Joseph told me that they have that almost every day…that a crowd of 500 worshippers is a very off day.

While I was at Mass that morning, when the Priest was returning the Hosts to the Sanctuary, I was startled at a beautiful full-color image of Our Lady of Tepeyac (commonly called Guadalupe) painted at the inner back of the Sanctuary. After Mass, I asked the Priest if I could get a closer look at it. He asked me what I meant, then opened the sanctuary. There was nothing painted at the back. Yeah, even with my experiences, I am struck by some of the unexpected little graces.

While I was there, Fr. Michael Pintacura was introduced to me. He took me on a tour of a huge warehouse full of artifacts of the faith he has collected over the decades. Fr. Pintacura is a delightful, charming Priest bubbling over with enthusiasm and wonder. He wears the biretta almost all the time – which I think is glorious – and he explained the striking theology the biretta represents. He has opened the warehouse to the public and hopes to get all these things into a larger, more formal showroom. Well, he should, for the items are more striking than those in many museums. Fr. Pintacura is the USA Vice-Postulant for the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi.

The invitation came in the midst of a west coast tour I was doing, so I found a hole of a couple of days and accepted it. Boy, was I glad I did. To see so many taking time to worship regularly in the middle of the day in the heart of the Silicon Valley was a revelation: we have far more allies behind the secular lines than we know. When I was invited to see Fr. Pintacura’s collection I expected to see a roomful of stuff, some interesting, some mundane. I did NOT expect to see a warehouse full of bona fide, fascinating treasures, but that is what I got.

I love and admire all the great, faithful people I meet in the most anti-Christian, deepest blue states who are determined to make their stand where they are, resolved that they will not allow the insane class that has taken transient rule to drive them from their homes. They are great treasures, dramatically sharpened and hardened by the constant challenge they face.

Traveling across the country and visiting with the faithful so much, in so many nooks, I realize we have a vast trove of God’s hidden treasure in this country, just beneath the surface. The anti-God mob cannot see it at all, but it will soon be dispositive.

Over the last year I have wrestled with the hardest project I have ever taken on. What started as a CORAC handbook has evolved (if you will pardon the word) into a manual on how to effectively and peacefully take back society from the millions of petty little tyrants who think it is their job to tell us all what to do rather than to act as our faithful agents and ministers before God.

I have approached it much like I did the first statewide political campaign I ever ran. I evaluated the unique problem we faced, and developed an original, unconventional approach specifically to address those challenges. It was, to use another much-abused word, holistic. Each of its parts was designed to magnify each of its other parts. At the time, most of the experts, including many from our own side, thought it all a pipe dream because it involved so many things that had never been successfully accomplished. In Illinois, no solid conservative had ever gotten more than 30% of the vote in a statewide Republican primary in my lifetime. All my critics were criticizing me because I did NOT adopt the conventional strategy that had never gotten more than 30%. We won – and after that, most state politicians tried to adopt and imitate the strategy they had previously scorned. None understood more than a few pieces of it. (Ironically, the guy who did the best job of imitation was a Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, who used it to win his nomination for governor.)

The great challenge is not some cleverly designed marketing tool or slogan (though one should not discount the power of using those things well). The great challenge is to unlock, deploy, and unleash the creative power of all the ordinary folks who make up a great movement. Leftist activists have long had a chant that I rather like: “The people, united, shall never be defeated.” I think it very true – but am baffled at why the people who say this always seem to think the way to unite “the people” is to dictate exactly what they must do and how they must do it. Treating people like cogs in a machine has never seemed a particularly unifying principle to me. How to truly unite and ignite their imaginations and then fill them with a determined resolve is the key to everything. Start from the premise that this IS the hour of the ordinary man.

I am in the final stage now, mainly tweaking, refining, and focusing the manual. I expect to hear from many how impossible or contrary to standard practice this is. Standard practice has got us into this situation. I don’t care, any more than I did nearly 30 years ago when I set out to WIN, not to place or show well, according to conventional rules. When you face unprecedented challenges, you had better come up with an unprecedented response – or be defeated by your devotion to the conventional. I don’t need everybody, or even 50% – or even 20%. A fully determined, committed, and engaged, tiny cohort can move the world and quickly become self-replicating when they are owners of a grand, unifying cause, rather than cogs in a machine of someone else’s dictate. What they need are some details on how to do what will bring and breed success.

CORAC will not be the master of this drive. Rather, it will be the vital arsenal of the ordinary man as he rises from hearthstones throughout the country to take his home territory back from the bureaucrats who treat him as an afterthought. Much is already there to provide that ammunition in the over 500 videos and PDF’s on the CORAC website. We will do this and sweep all before us – because we have access to treasure carefully hidden for us by God. The hidden treasure is you – and I know how to unleash it.

Danger Ahead: Pathfinders Wanted

04/02/2024

As the American frontier was tamed, the job of pathfinder was lonely and dangerous – but absolutely vital to all those forging ahead into the wilderness. A pathfinder had to be sober and deliberate, while simultaneously bold and courageous. If he was timid, he could never find a path through the wilderness to begin with. If he was given to recklessness, he could lead people into some deadly situations because a path looked good to begin, but he had not explored it fully for hidden dangers. Once he chose a path, he was obliged to prepare people realistically for the challenges they would have to confront. He was very much a man set apart from the fellows he served, spending little time with them because he had to spend so much forging ahead to find the way to safety for them.

The confidence of the people he served and his dependence on God were what sustained the pathfinder. If he led those people into unexpected danger, that confidence was eroded. If he took too long to make a decision, that confidence was eroded. Sometimes, despite his best efforts, a faction would choose to go in a direction that looked easier, ignoring his warning of the dangers that lay that way. He either had to stand his ground and lead those who would follow in the safer path, or devise an effective way to deal with the hidden dangers the rebellious faction was set on in order to hold all the people together. Neither approach was optimal. If he did not have the capacity to choose between which was less dangerous, he was in trouble with God.

Beginning 11 years ago, I have told you true about the dangers that have suddenly risen all around us, dangers that threaten to capsize the American experiment entirely. Very soon I think we are going to be facing an entirely different – and largely unexpected sort of danger.

I speak occasionally of the “invasion of Poland” moment. At the cusp of the full outbreak of World War II, Winston Churchill was a back bencher in Parliament, derided by all factions and held in particular contempt by the ruling class for his constant warnings of the real danger Hitler’s Germany presented. People desperately wanted for there to be an easier way, and hated Churchill for constantly telling them there was not – and that they must gird their loins. He was a pathfinder who told them true. Opinion surveys at the time suggested that a good 70% of the British population considered Churchill an alarmist clown.

Then came Hitler’s invasion of Poland, after having solemnly declaring he would do no such thing. Over the course of the next 48 hours, the most spectacular turnabout of public opinion in history took hold in England. Across the nation, hand-painted signs declaring, “We need Churchill” and “Churchill Now!” sprung up. Suddenly, the people who just hours before had held him in contempt knew that Churchill was the indispensable man because he, unlike the ruling class, had told them true for a decade regardless of the contempt and derision it drew him.

Oh, the ruling class continued their contempt for him, but grudgingly brought him into the government because public opinion demanded it. Truth was, the smug establishment class was already a dead man walking, for the ordinary Brits would bear no more of their “peace in our time” cant. Meantime, France was quickly occupied by the Nazis because it dithered, still pathetically hoping things would work out.

I think the biggest surprise we will have in the next few months will be the utter collapse of the “woke” project in America. Like the invasion of Poland was for Britain, I suspect we will have an event that will fully expose it for the dangerous folly it is. Oh, there will still be a good faction of wokesters out there, but they will be looked at with even deeper contempt than they have showered their opponents with up to this time. They will be blown away like so much chaff in the wind this change will bring.

It will immediately become much less disorderly in this country, but it will usher in the singularly most dangerous period of this Storm, a period that, by design, is forged to ensnare even the most pious.

First, the slow-burning flame of armed conflict around the world is likely to erupt into full conflagration – at a point where we are badly hobbled by all the absurd fantasies we have indulged for so long.

Second, most of the local petty tyrants who revealed themselves during the Covid scare will not change their ambitions, only their methods. They will pretend to be pious and claim they have the answers if you just do what they say, answers they have never had and do not care about anyway.

Third, there are many people on our side who, having gotten comfortable being dissident leaders, will want to set up shop permanently for themselves, directing you on what you must do to be acceptable to Christ. If you are following any that seek to direct your conscience rather than help you form it, you are following diabolical frauds. But oh, they will sound so pious that they will even deceive the elect for a time.

I am in the home stretch of completing the CORAC Organizational Handbook and Manual on Forming Functional Communities in Difficult Times. It is the largest, most complicated task I have ever taken on. How to be comprehensive while also being concise and accessible is always the most difficult task. It relies on you to be a moral and religious people to build in your home town. It relies on CORAC being the primary support system for what you create, rather than a source of remote decrees. It relies on you becoming pathfinders, turning neither to the right out of anger nor to the left out of fear, but walking in a plain path before God and man.

We must not be delivered from the insane chaos around us just to get into a contest over who shall rule. That contest always brings with it the seeds of its own destruction. Rather, we are called to care for each other as loving brothers and sisters, offering our talents and respecting the expertise of others in the endeavor to build each other up in harmony with God, rather than trying to dominate or tear each other down.

It is a lonely job, fraught with peril. But I call on you to find a path through this wilderness, blaze a trail to God that cuts through all the undergrowth. Do it the simple, sure way. Help those around you build the skills they need. Respect their free will and dignity, given by God, even as you protect each other from efforts to coerce your conscience or undermine your community. Authentic Christianity is not for wimps. It is simple, but not easy. Let your triple lodestar be: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Do this, and you will be a profitable pathfinder.

Are You Ready?

03/17/24

Last Wednesday when I went to bed all was well. There was a touch of rain, but all was well. When I woke up Thursday morning there was no power, and a foot and a half of snow on the ground. And it was still coming down hard. That happens in Colorado a lot. No biggie. Except I was supposed to head out Thursday morning towards Missoula, Montana for a talk on Saturday. Missoula is the only place in the country where I have ever had to cancel a talk (when I had Covid real bad). I was not about to cancel twice.

The night before, I had told Bob Scheich, the fellow who gives me the bottom floor of his trilevel (yep, when home, I live in a friend’s basement) as my home, that I thought this spring he probably ought to give serious thought to developing a wood-burning capacity for the house, because the things we took for granted all our lives are no longer reliable. The next morning, as we sat drinking milk and soda (can’t have coffee without electricity or a Coleman stove, at least) he chuckled and asked if I thought maybe this was God’s way of saying, “Can you hear me now?”

By the time you read this, that is history – but I am living it as I write it. I don’t yet know how all the details are going to play out. But they will play out as God allows. I have had two other times when a scheduled talk was threatened.

A few years ago, in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, I had a major car breakdown that was going to take weeks to repair, in the middle of a tour. And the breakdown happened in the middle of a blizzard. I found a wonderful auto shop less than a mile from where I floundered. It was an old family-owned business that did NOT take new customers. But they had pity on me. Meantime, I was stuck in West Stockbridge.

But wait, there’s more: the CORAC team reacted like the Justice League of America to a distress call. Charlie Domen of Michigan flew out to meet me and drove me to my next port o’call. Then some folks who have a solid company used miles to secure a rental vehicle for me until my car was ready again. When it was ready, I was 1,500 miles away. So Mark and Sue Hill, also of Michigan, drove out to pick up the car and then drove it back to deliver to me as my tour was in progress (See why the folks of Michigan have such a special place in my heart?).

The upshot was that I did not miss a single scheduled talk. In fact, while I was in Stockbridge some of my friends there scheduled an extra talk at Dan and Jane Potvin’s home in Vermont. That talk was on my birthday. Jane is a British ex-pat and makes the greatest scones ever – in fact, one of only two scone recipes I like at all, and I LOVE hers. (See recipe in Appendix.) So I broke down and ended up doing more than if I had not broken down, visiting anew with dear friends while getting a special treat for my birthday.

Another time, my steering went out in Oklahoma, two days before I was to give a talk in St. Louis. I had to leave the car with a note at a little repair shop that had been recommended to me. I was an hour from the airport – but one of the housekeepers at the hotel I was at had her boyfriend take me there. Again, through the kindness of both friends and strangers everything went smoothly. When I got back to Oklahoma, I was trembling awaiting the billfor the repair, as I was completely at their mercy. When it came, it was about one-tenth of what I expected it to be.

CORAC members are always kind and helpful to me. But across the country strangers are almost always kind and helpful, too. I am amazed at how many times, when I have gotten into a pickle, people I’ve never met before get vested in helping me figure out a way to get what I need done – and then lend a hand to help make sure it works.

The truth is that, despite media and political efforts to portray people as constantly at each other’s throats, the heartbeat of the American people is strong and good. When people see or sense that you are of good will, they return that good will back to you. Each time that happens, another strand of the social fabric is repaired. I’m no Pollyanna; there are some people who are filled with malice almost beyond repair. It is simple truth, though, that there are a LOT fewer than the idiot media tries to convince us there are.

Are we ready for sudden, massive dysfunction? No – but we wouldn’t be with even another year or two of ceaseless preparation. The most important preparation you can make is your mindset. When a great difficulty disrupts what you intend, do not wring your hands and ask, “Why me, Lord?” Let’s leave the perpetual wailing of victimhood to the Godless left. Rather, ask, “What do you intend for me in this circumstance, Lord?” Then go on about your business as best you can. Sometimes you direct your way and all goes according to plan; sometimes God redirects your way. It still goes according to His plan. It is in community with God and with each other that our course is set.

Are you ready? No, you’re not. But God is. Wait on Him.

Choosing the Chosen

02/29/24

When I was a boy I hated the “Jesus movies” of the 60’s, 50’s and 40’s. Each and every one of them portrayed Jesus as always speaking in a breathy monotone with all the charisma of a bank examiner who just doubled his dosage of Prozac. This was not how Jesus was when He walked the earth – and the simplest layman could confirm that for himself. Jesus started a movement that swept the world. He inspired workmen to give up their jobs and follow Him exclusively. He took a nation of people groaning under the oppression of both Roman and often Jewish authorities and filled them with new, joyful hope and determination. Whatever else He was, Jesus was powerfully charismatic.

When those depictions had Him do anything substantive other than just drone on, they portrayed Him as a somber, gloomy Gus type personality. And yet children loved Him – so much so that He had to rebuke His disciples from preventing children from coming to Him. Have you ever known children to flock to anyone who did not exude joy? Perhaps this ‘Jesus’ appealed to somber types who were ostentatious about their piety, but these depictions bore little resemblance to the historical Jesus of the Gospels.

I was disappointed when one of my favorite magazines, Crisis, recently published a similarly warped view of Christ by Leila Miller, an otherwise sound writer on the practical application of Catholic doctrine in our daily lives. Her article was a critique of the popular streaming series, The Chosen. Unfortunately, she is incorrect in many of her facts, faulty in logic, and treats her own interpretations of the Gospel as settled doctrine.

She starts by comparing the Christ of this series to the hippy, dippy, buddy “Christs” that ‘70s artists often imagined. Miller insists that this series only shows Christ as a man, with nothing of His Divine Nature. That proposition alone made me wonder how closely she watched the series. The series surely fleshes out Jesus’ human nature, but His Divine nature and power is ever present throughout. It made me think her real objection is that it shows Christ with a human nature at all. Christ is the hypostatic union of both a human and a Divine nature. To deny either one is heresy. This is not the ‘buddy Christ’ of the ‘70s. It is, though, the brother Christ of the Scriptures.

Miller posits that this series is a Protestant-Mormon presentation of a false Christ. The only Mormons involved work for Angel Studios, which played a major role in distributing the series, but neither funded it nor worked in its development. Sheesh…this is a big reach, like suggesting St. John Paul was actually Eastern Orthodox because he sometimes collaborated with them. It also does not address the reality that while Protestant Dallas Jenkins is the creative driver of the series, he consults with various Protestant denominations, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox to get it as right as possible without it degenerating into a rah-rah section for any particular Church or denomination.

Miller’s proposition here is so wildly false it is hard to believe it is the work of an otherwise solid researcher. Miller goes on to accuse the creators of admitting that it is a fictionalized Gospel with fictionalized characters. Of course it is – as every artistic, cinematic depiction of Christ has ever been. What she neglects to note is that the series creators stated upfront that they would stay true to the Gospels and that the fictional material would be only in the holes where continuity lies – and none would be contrary to the Gospels. As someone who has watched every episode of the first three seasons, the creators have lived their initial commitment well. This comment, both in what it says and what it does not say, can only be polemical.

Miller complains that Mary, the Mother of Christ, is not beautiful enough for her taste. When first viewing the series, I was struck that the actress who portrays Mary resembles a young Mother Teresa. But surely Miller knows that, contrary to our superficial understanding of beauty, our glorified bodies will mirror the beauty of our souls. The physical and spiritual will be entirely in harmony. What one’s physical appearance is on earth has little to do with what their actual beauty is.

Most astonishingly, Miller does not give a single doctrinal reason for her objections. She assumes that her interpretations are the only licit interpretations possible – and so are doctrinal. That is a straw man argument that even straw men would shrink from. She complains that Christ is depicted arguing with John the Baptist at one point – and Jesus would never have done that. For crying out loud, Jesus is often found arguing with His own apostles, so why would He not have argued with John? Yes, He is the final word but that did NOT prevent discussions/arguments from cropping up.

The only moment I had when I felt some real discomfort was when the show depicted Jesus wrestling with what He was going to say at the Sermon on the Mount. He is God. He knew what to say. And yet, it is possible that while He knew all things in His Divine nature, He chose, as a matter of discipline, to only take recourse to His human nature in composing it. That is not how I think it happened, but it is not outside the bounds of licit speculation.

It seems to me that Miller’s chief objection is that the artistic depiction of Christ in The Chosen does not mesh with her own imagining of a somber, martial Christ Pantocrator. That, surely, is an authentic aspect of Christ – an aspect that is ignored by too many moderns. But it does not capture the fullness of Christ, certainly not the Brother Christ that is equally an important aspect. I’ll take the whole Christ, not just the aspects of His personality that are amenable to me.

I have long said that each and every one of us is going to find that some things are not as we imagined they were in these difficult times. In the Book of Job, Job’s pious friends spent the whole book defending God against Job’s complaints – and condemning Job for maligning God. In the end God told those pious friends that, “you have not spoken rightly of Me as has My servant Job.” God was so angry He would not even accept their prayers for forgiveness, insisting, instead that they go to Job and ask Him to pray for them. What those pious friends were actually defending was not God, but their own interpretation of what God should be. Miller’s misconceived rant was not persuasive – and the elements in it that were downright wrong cause me to question her honesty. As I said, though, she has done a lot of good work elsewhere. I am going to presume this was just an overwrought tirade because, like Job’s pious friends, her lifelong presumptions are challenged by it.

As for me, along with The Passion of the Christ, I consider The Chosen as one of the two finest artistic depictions of Christ in my lifetime.

Preparing For the Flood

02/15/24

Many people who are aware of how bad things are as they continue to spiral down are very concerned that so many people don’t understand we have a serious and growing crisis at all. Have no fear. The reality is that in every case where a society underwent catastrophic collapse, only a handful of people understood that doom was on them until it came. The two notable things about the crisis that is upon us is that it is global in scope rather than regional, and how very many people, comparatively, understand the trouble we are in this time.

That you understand is a grace from God. The Lord promised Noah, after he came to dry land, that He would never wipe away all humanity with the waters of a flood. Reading and contemplating that Scripture, I interpret it to mean that God will not generally wipe man from the earth at all until the end of time. You may interpret it differently, but that is the metaphor I use for this exhortation.

We face a rapidly rising flood of destructive dysfunction. Diabolic disorientation must play a huge role because so many supposed leaders are doing things that, on their face, are massively destructive and self-destructive. Those leaders seem determined to take all of us down with them. God sees and knows – and He has a plan to save much of humanity from the dystopian nightmare leaders are driving us to. You are that plan.

When I founded CORAC three and a half years ago I knew very well that the great majority of people would not acknowledge anything at all was seriously wrong until they, themselves, were affected by the bottom falling out of society. That was okay. I didn’t need to get a lot of unwilling people to see clearly what was right before their eyes. What I needed was to salt the nation – then the earth – with people who did understand how much trouble we are in and would commit themselves to learning and doing the things which, in concert with each other, under God, would allow for the successful rebuilding and renewing of the face of the earth. A skeletal framework was sufficient.

Usually when societies collapse there is a lengthy period of chaos in which various strongmen vie with each other to take the reins of power and rule over people so traumatized by the extended chaos that they are willing to take on the yoke, if only the chaos will stop. More than a few peoples have come to bitterly regret that decision. By salting the nation with people who saw the rising tide of chaos for what it is; who committed to work with each other to preserve and expand faith, family, and freedom; and who were willing to develop the practical skills needed to rebuild from the ashes left, we are introducing a powerful new element into the mix that follows collapse.

This could not have been done with the Roman Empire or revolutionary France. It could have been done in pre-war Germany, but the people who could have done it thought they could channel Hitler to their own ungodly ends. By the time they saw that they could not, he had already seized comprehensive, plenary power, with raw terror to enforce it. To prevent a wave of revulsion from sweeping him away, Hitler offered more than a few carrots to go along with his vicious sticks. People were guaranteed a job and subsistence – which they would lose if they went outside of, or complained about, the system.

I have actively sought hardy, independent men and women for CORAC; men and women motivated by their faith. Men and women who would do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do – and would intentionally do it before God.

What this does is give those many people who remain in denial until dystopia comes to take all they have, a new option. Instead of choosing which strong man they will cast their lot with in hopes of surviving the chaos, they will be able to turn to people in their area who are committed to the principles and virtues that once made us a great people… and who are prepared. Normally refugees from such storms must simultaneously acknowledge that they are not near as tough or powerful as they thought they were and bow the knee to some strongman who is rarely even as good as the folks in charge that brought on the collapse. Now they have the option of casting their lot with a group that respects human dignity, under God, and have the opportunity to become valued contributors to the reconstituting effort that group has launched.

So, I tell you two very important things here. First, as you have known almost all along, a tide of dysfunction is sweeping away almost all of the old institutions and systems we have relied on. Second, as that is laid fully bare, you will be confronted with a flood of people who do not want to bend the knee to some tyrant in waiting. I have resisted all efforts to put a premium on recruitment, preferring to be surrounded by the type of people who are drawn to this approach. Those are the sorts of people likely to stand when the flood comes.

You have to prepare yourself to deal with the flood of panicked people, finally recognizing reality, who seek something better than following some local petty tyrant in waiting. You do that by first having an active spiritual life. Seek wisdom from above – for you will surely need it. Then concentrate on the skills you will need. We have over 500 instructional videos and PDFs on the CORAC website to help you out. You do not need to learn them all.

First and foremost we are about building communities that collaborate with each other. But endeavor to make sure there are people in your local and regional organizations who do specialize in the various skills. And then we work together as loving brothers and sisters to build society anew, under God. Leave others to vie over who will be the rulers and who the ruled.

Actually, with the first flood, God did not wipe away all humanity. He directed Noah to build a boat that we might endure. That is what you are called to – to become builders of a thousand boats that all men of good will may have a means to weather this great storm.

What a glorious task God has laid out before us – to become boat-builders to the world!

The Hour of the Ordinary Man Arrives

01/31/24

I am anything but sanguine about what is in store for us this year. I expect Oct. 7-style attacks to erupt in the United States and in Europe, and perhaps in Russia, too. Regional wars will erupt throughout the globe, perhaps leading to World War III for real. Islam will probably end the year at war with everybody in the world while revolution takes root within the, until now, seemingly monolithic religion. The borders of nations will shift. In the United States, it should surprise no one if the borders of states change. Federal authority is in freefall and states are likely to realign and shift to reflect the reality that we have become a polyglot nation of lawless urban hellscapes and still relatively sane rural landmass. Suburban buffer zones will have to choose which they prefer.

So why am I so enthused about the promise of this year? For decades, we have meekly submitted to federal dictates – and even to fevered dictates of the aspiring authoritarians at the local health department. Suddenly, the news is filled with the story of Texas repudiating federal authority, 25 states rushing in to support them in solidarity, truckers heading to the border to help stop the invasion, and the federal agents in the Border Patrol refusing to do Biden’s bidding of arresting Texas Guardsmen and cutting razor wire barriers. In France, truckers and farmers are blockading Paris en masse – to show entitled luminaries just how powerful they are when their food and supply lines are cut off. Though French farmers may have ignited the movement, it is now spreading across Europe.

There is no changing how challenging this year is shaping up to be. But if people get up off their knees, stand on their hind legs and say no to all the authoritarian bullies, both federal and junior, we have a real chance to get through the current dystopian nightmare without complete collapse. It seems ordinary folks are figuring that out and acting on it. Whether they will hold ,as panicked God-hating, leftist governments turn to more punitive actions and fomenting crises to enforce compliance remains to be seen. But, by golly, the ordinary people of the world have gotten off to an excellent start.

The more ordinary people realize that we are the sovereign, that the only legitimate governments are those that serve the peoples’ interest rather than enforcing their compliance, and then act accordingly, the better chance we have of coming out of this dark tunnel back into the light with a minimum of strife and violence. We are on the cusp of a great reckoning. Will we timidly enter into a new dark age of chains and poverty – as the pathetically incompetent “elites” want for us, or will we forcefully reassert our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? We have begun the sequence of events that will decide that question.

Here at CORAC we have put together many of the tools you need to work together to secure our liberty under God, to bring new order from the chaos elite governance has become. Explore the website. We have hundreds of instructional videos and pdf’s on the skills you need to weather a time of chaos as the old order falls away. The most important tools are the willingness to work together with your friends and neighbors to build from the ashes our governments are trying to leave us to and your determination that you will not go gently into that dark night they have prepared for you.

Our story is not told. It has barely begun. And the future belongs to all the truckers, carpenters, stone masons, builders, farmers – to all the people who do real work and produce wealth for the whole community. It does not belong to the dour elites who think the world should be divided up between them and their serfs – and their serfs (us) must be happy with whatever they give us. They think themselves titans of the universe because they produce expensive software and Netflix deals. A hundred years ago another generation of elites thought they were titans over all the little people. When the crash came, it was not the little people jumping to their deaths off Wall Street ledges – it was those who, until that moment, thought they were the invincible titans of their age.

We bear no malice towards anyone. Neither will we submit to the vanity and depravity of those who would rule us. We will live as free men and women in our own country, illuminating the path to liberty and prosperity for the whole world. If we act with jaunty confidence in God, when all is achieved, both China and Russia will be free, the Middle East will be at peace, and the whole world will give thanks to the Lord of Hosts for the blessings He has bestowed on us. The moment has come. Now is the time for choosing. At CORAC we choose faith, family and freedom. As for us and our houses, we will serve the Lord.

What Is Changed?

01/18/24

Nothing is changed and everything is changed.

The fall of the Roman Republic was cushioned by preserving the forms of freedom while draining those forms of all substance. The people still had senators and representatives. They could still speak. But their representatives and their speech were powerless against the imperial will of the emperor. Many did not figure out all they had lost until the cynical Emperor Caligula contemptuously appointed his horse to the Senate.

The most effective way to deprive a people of something they cherish is to preserve the little rituals surrounding that object while removing the reality of the object. Even some serial killers take great pains to soothe and mollify their intended victims, the better to take them suddenly with little fuss.

There is an obverse to this, too. If you want to introduce an offensive innovation to which people object strenuously, carefully reaffirm the substance of community values while introducing the form by which you would subvert those values. This brings us, of course, to Fiducia Supplicans, the Vatican’s careful preservation of the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman while expanding how blessings can be offered. Amazingly, while emphasizing the traditional definition of marriage, the Vatican now approves of exactly the form that would be used to bless illicit unions.

The response of clerics throughout the world has, roughly, fallen into three categories. The smallest, but perhaps most enthusiastic response, has been from homosexual activists and their allies who have exuberantly asserted that homosexual couples may now have their relationship blessed. The majority of Bishops have noted that, while couples of any stripe may now be blessed, it still applies to each, individually, because the definition of marriage has not changed a whit. The blessing can only apply to the individuals because it would be impossible to bless a sinful union. This majority is right, of course, but not on as firm a ground as they would like to be. For many of them it is a form of passive resistance, hearing only the reaffirmation of settled doctrine while ignoring the mutilation of form.

That can be an effective strategy. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev had sent both a very inflammatory and a conciliatory message to the United States. While the cabinet puzzled over how to respond to this, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy was reputed to suggest that the president respond to the conciliatory message while ignoring the inflammatory one, which is exactly what Pres. Kennedy did. It worked – and successfully began de-escalating the crisis.

A very large number, though not a majority, of Bishops have engaged in active resistance by rejecting the document altogether – including almost every Bishop in Africa. These Bishops recognize that Fiducia Supplicans is a transitional document, setting the table for overt blessing of disordered unions sometime in the future. It is important to note that both those Bishops who have chosen passive and those who have chosen active resistance are objectively accurate in their assessments. This is a dispute about tactics, not substance. The only clerics who are objectively wrong in their interpretation of the document are those who enthusiastically insist they are now able to bless irregular unions.

Priests have always been able to licitly bless any individual, even an Adolf Hitler or an Al Capone, for an individual blessing is a call to greater Christian fidelity in that person. Priests are also able to bless groups, but that is a bit trickier – for the blessing implicitly encompasses whatever it is that unites that group. Thus, Priests will gladly bless a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous or almost any recovery group, for it is a call to greater growth in their stated purpose. They will bless a group of Missionaries getting ready to go forth. Any group whose purpose is to do something good to grow in holiness and order will be easily and quickly blessed. But few, if any, Priests would bless the Man-Boy Love Assn. or a convention of contract killers, for they know, instinctively, that a group blessing implicitly encompasses the purpose of the group. The immediate peril of this document is that it robs blessings of their efficacy. When you say that you can licitly bless couples in an illicit union because the definition of marriage is unchanged – so it doesn’t mean anything – you imply that blessings, themselves, don’t mean anything.

The grave danger for this Vatican is that this document has united the overwhelming majority of Bishops throughout the world into resistance, whether passive or active. While not quite the ‘Bud Light-Dylan Mulvaney’ moment for the Vatican, it neatly sets the stage for that moment.

Those who say this changes nothing about the definition of marriage are right. Those who say this changes everything about the meaning of blessings are also right. As Charles Dickens once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Above all, it is a time of great confusion – perhaps intentionally so. Whether choosing to hunker down and wait for the confusion to pass or to act now to put an end to the confusion, the great majority of the Bishops of the world have decided that the confusion shall not long stand. Christ reasserts Himself in His Church – and the darkness shall not prevail.

Back to the Manger

12/20/23

A little over 2,000 years ago the world was groaning in misery and despair. Not all were obviously miserable. The elites were doing just fine, thank you – at least in terms of the things and power they held tightly to themselves. But the great mass of people had few things, no power, and little hope. They were scarcely more than cattle, to be manipulated, abused and scorned at the whim of the elites. This was not in one country, but throughout the world.

The Jews taught a theology that gave hope of transcendent meaning, but Israel was held captive by Rome – and Jewish leaders were far too busy currying favor with the Roman overlords to pay much attention to Jewish teaching or the needs of the Jewish people.

Ordinary Jews could only hold onto the slim hope of ancient prophecies which foretold a coming Messiah who would one day redeem His people and wipe away all their tears. The rest of the world had not even that. There were only the elite and the enslaved, all desperately trying to scrabble together some amusement and pleasure before the darkness of the tomb overtook them.

Then came one December 25th and the first great global revolution. At first it was only noticed by a few shepherd boys, alerted by an angel, and some obscure scholars from the east, alerted by an equally obscure celestial display. It started with the birth of a Child in a lowly manger.

It was certainly a slow-motion revolution. Completely hidden for almost 30 years, the early years of that Child’s public ministry were an annoying irritant to both the Jewish leadership and the Roman overlords. But the man, Jesus, was picking up followers, people in whom He had sparked new and vibrant hope that life was much more than just a desperate scrabble for power and things – a game they were not even invited into.

It infuriated many authorities that Jesus was convincing this rabble that they were important and beloved in God’s eyes. So they did what most elite classes do when their primacy is challenged: they executed the man, Jesus.

For a few days this seemed to be the end of it. But then the tomb was found empty and great crowds reported sightings of Jesus teaching again throughout Judea. The disciples who had been in hiding in the first few days after His Crucifixion suddenly were preaching boldly again in His name, filled with the conviction that this was not the end, but the beginning. Jesus had not just conquered the Roman occupation; He had conquered death itself.

For several hundred years the Romans tried to suppress the movement, persecuting Christians wherever they found them. But like a balloon held beneath the water, they would not stay submerged. As Rome quietly became dependent on Christians to help care for the poor and sick, the Empire finally succumbed and declared Christianity a favored religion. The religion spread throughout the known world, spawning a great Western Civilization that progressively insisted that man is not made for bread alone, but to serve God by serving and caring for each other.

In the process, all nations who came sincerely to the man, Jesus, found prosperity and meaning in their lives. The rough edges remained: man will not be perfected on this side of the veil. But it was firmly established that the purpose of government is the good of all the people, not just the powerful elites – and that any legitimate government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

Now we are faced with a new global crisis. Once again a small cadre of elites seeks to impose its will on all people using means both fair and foul (but mostly foul) to refuse accountability to the people they are called to serve. They cagily declare all their depravities to be for the “common good” even as they enrich themselves and declare all dissenters to be enemies of the people. We who are genuinely Christian are not the aggressors in this godless battle for rule, but we are not without blame. All too often our only reflections on the manger have been sentimental and superficial. We have entered into the corrupt bargain of overlooking the sin in our neighbors provided they overlook the sin in us. We find ourselves swimming in a cesspool of sin.

From a temporal standpoint, just as it was a little over 2,000 years ago, the powers arrayed against us are too strong and orchestrated to overcome. But if we take to heart the image of that manger and the teachings of the man-God who emerged from it, we are unstoppable. We must care for each other, care for the sick, bind up the wounds of the injured, and commit our whole substance – not just our surplus – to accomplish it. We must live the Gospel every day of the week, not just for an hour on Sunday. It must fill our lives and animate our decisions. If we are once more to be a holy people, we must each decide to live holiness as best we can, neither excusing our sin nor being discouraged by its persistence.

In doing so, we will live a New Advent, looking back to the manger that we have neglected, just as the ancients, groaning under sin and oppression, looked forward to it. When we do that with our whole hearts, the Lord of Hosts will abide with us, with results as startling and improbable as in the First Advent. Those who put their hope in the things of this world – which are always passing away – cannot hope to overcome those of us who put our hope in the eternal Kingdom -which will never pass away.

We hold in our hands the power to spark the second great global revolution of charity and brotherhood. To do so simply requires that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the same Master who sparked the first global revolution. Let us turn our faces resolutely toward Bethlehem.

Chosen... For What?

12/01/23

There is a pronounced savagery in human nature. You can see it even in a couple of toddlers fighting over a plastic truck. “Mine!” one will shout, just before the other clouts him upside the head wailing the counter-argument, “Mine!”

In the ancient world this innate savagery took on some very dark forms indeed, when combined with religious sentiment. Religious sentiment is natural. People long to know where we come from and to what purpose. But without knowledge and given our savage nature, it quickly degenerates into raw tribalism.

It is not just us who long to know our origins: our Creator wants us to know Him as well. So, in the ancient world, He chose one of the various tribes striving for dominance to carry His word and His nature to an otherwise savage world. He entered into a covenantal relationship with Israel for this purpose – to bring the knowledge of Him to the world. He had chosen individuals before for this task. Neither Abraham, nor Jacob, nor Job was Jewish. But He had never called an entire tribe to serve Him intimately.

Many people treat the idea of being “chosen” as a sort of Divine Teacher’s Pet which makes them special and exempt from consequences for their own bad behavior. A reading of the Old Testament ought to disabuse them of that notion but somehow, it does not. One who is chosen is special and, indeed, privileged. But it is a covenantal relationship which imposes great responsibility. If the “chosen” one abdicates – or never even considers – the grave responsibility He has been entrusted with, his consequences are usually more – not less – dire than someone who was not chosen in the first place.

When I expressed my bewilderment at the need for animal blood sacrifice, my friend and CORAC leader Steve Baker pointed out to me that the ancients frequently practiced human sacrifice, even infant sacrifice, to appease their image of gods that were even more savage than they themselves were. Animal sacrifice was a huge step towards acknowledging the dignity and primacy of man. It was from the Jews that we learned that, in the beginning, God created man in His own image. The revulsion among Jews at the idea of human sacrifice was not just a repudiation of raw savagery, but a nascent understanding of the nature of God.

Among the Greeks and Romans, the pantheistic gods they served were seldom as savage as those of some of the more primitive tribes, but their gods were scheming, manipulative, dishonest beings of great power. It was from the Jews that we learned that God is a just God, not a manipulating conniver like the Greeks and Romans worshipped. It was from the Jews we learned that God is One, not a conniving race of beings of vast and capricious power. This is for what they were chosen: to live according to God’s word and display His reality to a world broken by sin and savagery.

Then came the Incarnation – again from the Jews. Jesus Christ is God, the Eternal Son, who chose to take on our humanity, to become part of our family that, after His resurrection, we might become part of His Divine Family. Before departing at the Ascension, Christ set up a Church and gave rules for its governance, knowing from the start that some of those who would claim to lead in His name would be unworthy.

That was part of the reason why He chose Judas from the start. So we would know that He knows…and in times of trial would trust that He will prevail despite the depredations of men who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. This was an amazing and radical departure from any church that had gone before it. There were no regional or ethnic qualifications required to be fully grafted into this Church. All that was required was that one follow Christ’s teaching and confess Him as Lord. We went from savagery to tribalism to a universal call to salvation to the entire family of man. As John’s Gospel says from the very first chapter, “…to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

Human nature is still savage. Those today who pride themselves on their tolerance and compassion busy themselves arguing that people who disagree with them should be put in re-education camps – and argued not long ago that anyone who did not get the untested shots they tried to mandate should be denied medical care. I have heard very few apologize now that it is known that the shots killed many and are causing a lot of serious health problems. That is because the tolerance and compassion are just a pose, a flimsy camouflage over a generation that clutches power to itself shouting, “Mine!” They are just savages with a PR plan.

Yet many who have been chosen through Baptism to bring Christ to the world are not behaving much better. They ignore altogether the obligation they have while smugly claiming privileges that they have abdicated. This is why I get so angry when people engage in triumphalism or kid themselves that they will be protected from the darkness by rapture or angels leading them to refuges. God chose you to bring His light to the world. Do it – and do not think He is going to look at your abdication as a virtue to be rewarded. When He chose you, He expected a return on His investment.

God has expectations of us. We are His chosen. Try to live up to those expectations by bringing others to the light instead of just asking the Almighty to smite them. If the latter is all you have, what an unprofitable servant you have been!

It is our great privilege to be chosen. Whether we will maintain that status depends on how well we live the responsibility it entails.

Organizing Principles

11/15/23

I am a big believer in the concept of ‘organizing principles,’ a core around which people and things will gather to form organizations and communities. An effective organizing principle will attract people to gather around itself organically and organize themselves into effective teams.

A good metaphor for an organizing principle is rock candy. Rock candy is made by suspending a stick or a piece of string in saturated sugar water. As the water evaporates, the sugar crystallizes around the string or the stick. If you just have a glass of saturated sugar water, when it evaporates, all you will have is a glass that is crusty inside. The string or the stick do nothing – and are not even really part of the candy, just a form of support for it. But when they are suspended in the water, the candy can form and organize itself around them.

I used this principle frequently in large campaigns. Any campaign is a time-limited sprint to a particular goal. In a large one, you could not possibly reach everyone you need to on your own. Even if you could, you still could not direct all the people who have to get involved and vote to make it a success. So you have to have some principles that will cause them to selforganize, while providing the structure that will allow them to easily organize around. Control freaks can mount successful large campaigns, but they rarely are efficient – and are always vulnerable to the primordial power of an organizing principle.

Since I specialized in helping good candidates who started far behind or deep in minority territory, finding the proper organizing principle was what gave my guys the greatest chance of beating the odds. Once set in motion, it can be painfully slow developing, but when a certain critical mass is achieved, it will sweep all in its path.

The keys are to capture people’s imagination, give them the freedom to engage their own creative capacity in taking the initiative locally, support them with the larger skeletal structure of a coherent philosophical framework, then turn them loose. Like that rock candy, they start crystallizing of their own accord around that humble little string and you have something magnificent.

We are in the process of drilling down much more deeply to the local level in CORAC with our Go Forth initiative and enhancement of our regional structures. It is all built around our core mission statement, which is as simple and plain as a piece of string.

Using that, people around the country – and the world, for that matter – can take the initiative to start building strong communities that work together to support and defend each other.

In our global ZOOM meeting two weeks ago, someone asked what the plan for CORAC is if something should happen to me. The simple answer is that, while it is best if I am around to express publicly what CORAC is about, once we have reached a critical mass of folks taking local initiative, it won’t stop anything if the primary string – the original organizing principle – is snipped. Once the crystals start forming, even if the string somehow dissolves, new crystals form along already existing crystals. You just have to get to the point where the crystals have started forming.

You will be hearing a lot more about the Go Forth initiative – and how you can and should organize the little community in your own neighborhood under the Godly principles of faith, family, and freedom. Engage people, give them something to do, rejoice when they take the initiative in small things right in front of them, and you will have a movement and community that will grow joyfully with strength even as the corrupted old institutions fall away.

What I seek then – and what all CORAC seeks – is to spark a thousand little initiatives to crystallize into communities around the nation and the world that will honor God and care for each other. In short, I ask each of you to become an organizing principle in your own neighborhood.

Let Your Yes Mean Yes

11/01/23

In Matthew 5:37, talking about oaths, Jesus commands people to let their yes mean yes and their no mean no (exact wording dependent on the translation you use). Many have interpreted this to mean it is always wrong to use deception or subtlety. Yet in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-13) Jesus commends the dishonest steward for his shrewdness.

So what can it mean?

If, in Nazi Germany, you were hiding a Jewish family and the Gestapo came to the door and questioned you, would it be the right thing to do to deliver the Jews to their death? I should hope not.

During the Communist occupation of Poland, it was illegal for priests to have outings with young people. The young Fr. Karol Wojtyla (future St. John Paul II) often took youth groups for outings in the mountains. If accosted by Communist authorities, several of the young people would introduce Fr. Wojtyla as “Uncle Karol.” Was this evasion sinful?

Confronted by King Abimalek, who was enamored of his wife Sarah, Abraham told the king that, “She is my sister.” This was an evasion rather than an outright lie, as Sarah actually was Abraham’s half-sister – but it certainly was deceptive.

Judith seduced the Assyrian General Holofernes in order to slay him. This stark deception made Judith a hero to Israel and was firmly approved of in the Bible.

Many great saints have been divided on the subject, sometimes even with themselves.

Let me weigh in with an interpretation of my own. A person should be transparent about who they are and what they believe. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency he occasionally misspoke. Even when he did, people did not hold it against him, except for the media, who called him the “Teflon President.” I think the truth was very simple: it was not that lies just slid off his back, but that Reagan was so transparent in what he believed and what he was willing to fight for, that people knew what he meant and intended even when he misspoke. His “yes” consistently meant the same thing whatever the circumstances.

Even with the Iran-Contra scandal, where his subordinates surreptitiously put together a deal to trade hostages with Iran in exchange for weapons to the Contra resistance to the Nicaraguan socialists, the scandal never got the traction the leftist media hoped for. Once it came out, Reagan took full responsibility for it and agreed it was an error in judgment. The truth was, he didn’t even know about it until well into the process, but he did not equivocate. People forgave him because, however grievous an error in judgment, they believed he did it in consonance with his consistent principles for freedom. It was the transparency of his motives and consistency in action that lent him the “Teflon” the press so resented.

Contrast this with Bill Clinton. Even in his most plain, declarative statements, people (even his own supporters) doubted he meant what he said. There was always the sense that you had to parse what the meaning of “is” was before you could get a handle on what he meant or intended. It drove the press nuts that he rarely got the benefit of the doubt in the meaning of what he said. Perhaps his most prominent nickname was “Slick Willie,” for his penchant to obscure his real purpose in soothing rhetoric that tended to conceal, rather than reveal, his purpose and intentions.

The great saints and theologians have never come to a single conclusion – and neither have I. But I think that a transparency of mind and purpose in your lifestyle goes a long way to making your yes mean yes, even if at times you use deception and subtlety. I know that if someone’s life depends on it, or if it is to expose a great evil, I will use deception if I can think of nothing else. I’ll take my chances at the pearly gates.

First Things

10/15/23

The most important tool of analysis I have developed is a devotion to what I call “first things,” fundamental principles through which everything I say or do must be vetted before I say or do them. Though this does not eliminate error and contradiction, it dramatically reduces it. A couple of basic examples to start…

God loves us and is good.
All things were made by God.
All things made by God are good.

When you start from these principles, it colors all your thinking and allows you to come up with consistent answers that, though sometimes subtle, are internally coherent.

Are there bad things in the world? Of course. Aren’t these things made by God? Yes, but some are combinations by man of things that are, in themselves, good but combined in a way God does not intend. Others are bad because they are used in a way that God did not intend. Free will gives us moral agency and is one of the primary ways in which we are made in the image and likeness of God. Silly people sometimes ask why evil is allowed to exist at all if God is good. They should rather ask why God values free will so highly that he does not bar the evil that some men choose. It is because He made us to be heirs to the Kingdom – and not mere pets in His household. He is perfectly able to deal with those who abuse their free will by choosing evil at the time He has appointed.

We were made for eternity. This life is just the womb of the eternity where our real lives will play out. All too often, people judge the good by how it affects our standing in this life. If you have internalized the reality that this life is our prelude to eternal life, you become very careful in your judgment of what the good is by what happens here. Instead, you start pondering how different events shape our lives to fit us better for eternity. Think of all the “bad” things that have  happened in your life. Then think of how many of them shaped you to be better and more in tune with God. Often, God is toughest with those who are most devoted to Him – because He knows they will take the lesson to grow more in accordance with His will for them.

Want to know why the wicked often seem to prosper? Because God knows they will NOT take the lesson and they are headed for destruction unless they dramatically change their ways anyway. Why bother with them? The gold, power and willfulness they so cherish are not even dross in the Kingdom of heaven. Yet even so, everything God does is calculated to give people opportunity to choose heaven. Thus, when a whole age has gotten shallow and materialistic, God often sends trials and tribulations that more might see that their blessings are not the work of their own hands, but of God’s grace and mercy.

Seek to boil down everything you believe into first things, the fundamental principles you live by. Then live them rigorously. It works in purely temporal analysis, too.

Just two more purely temporal things:

Truth will stand the test of examination.
This entails absolute devotion to free speech. Efforts to curtail free speech are efforts to prevent examination of assertions. Supposedly noble efforts to ban disinformation are simply efforts to suppress examination of favored narratives, for fear that they cannot stand such a test. Where speech is truly free, those who express abhorrent positions discredit themselves. Speech tests are not an expression of confidence, but of cowering fear. This concerns the realm of policy and ideas: trying to color pornography and such under the color of free speech is simply trying to baptize dysfunction under a principle that does not apply. A community may choose to allow such things, but will reap the consequences for that choice.

The iron rule of human behavior and economics is that what you reward, you will get more of and what you punish, you will get less of. 
Current leaders who punish initiative and productivity while rewarding sloth reveal their intellectual bankruptcy. They do the same by enabling violent crime while trying to disarm innocent people. They destroy society while claiming enlightenment and charity. These charlatans have their reward, having repudiated what God gave as their birthright.

When trying to make intellectual arguments people are all too often opportunistic in choosing what their weapons will be, choosing planks to win a current dispute that undermine their position in other areas. If you go to first things, rigorously seeking them out and living by them, you develop a system of mind, principle and action that are very difficult to assail. It is a lot of work, but if you want to build a good society, it is indispensable. Building a house is a lot of work – but is a lot more useful and defensible than the pile of lumber that forms its raw material.

Things are about to get a lot harder in this world. Fortify yourself and your family by devoting yourself to first principles, under God.

The Plain Path

10/01/23

My favorite Psalm is the 27th. I love the translation from the King James Version particularly. In verse 11 it reads, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”

During my pilgrimage I came to deeply appreciate that line. When you are walking with 70 pounds on your back, going downhill is almost as tiring (and a bit more dangerous) than going uphill. Your legs are tensed on the downhill because they act as constant brakes – and taking a spill is an ever-present danger. Falling with a 70-pound pack is significantly worse than an unladen tumble. I liked the 27th Psalm so much that I formed it into a pilgrimage prayer: “Lead me in a plain path, O Lord, turning neither to the left out of anger. nor to the right out of fear. Lead me in a plain path.”

In these crazy times that keep getting crazier, people are tempted by exotic explanations of how we got here. The truth is simple. We got here because we did not faithfully safeguard basic truths about what makes a culture healthy and edifying. In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, I was an enthusiastic recruit into the “sexual revolution.” What was not to like? To my credit, by my mid-20’s, I started thinking that maybe our grandparents were right in the idea of one man and one woman committed to each other for life. Raw lust, unanchored by committed love, is a dangerous, destructive thing.

Yet I never imagined my generation’s dysfunction would lead to the blasted landscape of transgenderism and perversion that young folks have to try to navigate today. We have not only destroyed a lot of people’s childhoods; now we have expanded to destroying their youth as well. I certainly loudly and publicly deplore it, but a part of my mind remembers that I helped put us on this slippery slope with the now downright innocent-seeming dysfunctions of a couple generations ago. On the one hand I deplore the toxic modern-day dysfunctions that threaten to topple western civilization, and on the other I cry, “Have mercy on me, a poor sinner, Lord,” for my contribution to the dysfunctions that started us down this road.

We are also tempted by exotic defenses against the depravity that rises against us. Here, I advocate firmly for the next right step. You can’t change where you have been – and you are where you are because of it. But you can change your heading. The only safe, reliable way to do that is with the next right step, always taken with reference to God. There is a reason why the man in the street is not eagerly invited to serve with special forces without extensive and exhaustive training. He has neither the skills nor the instincts to do the job effectively – and if he tried he would most likely get others and himself killed. If things required I go to ground off-grid and live off the land, I could do that – but only because I did it for a year and a half when all was relatively well with our culture. Even then, for the first month and a half it was very scary – because my instincts were not honed for living on the road outdoors.

A crisis will force you to learn unfamiliar skills, but it is a deadly time to try to pretend you already have skills you don’t. You have to adapt as you go. Adapting means, in part, acknowledging your failures as quick as you make them and trying a different way. The modern mania for pretending you are right even after you know you are wrong will get you badly hurt or killed in an extended crisis. You must have some humility – which is just candidly acknowledging your limitations…and the difference between your armchair theories and reality when it asserts itself.

That does not mean you cannot develop new skills now. In fact, you can develop a whole host of them just by delving deeply into the CORAC website, where we have a host of instructional videos and training materials. Even then, understand that a weekend warrior is not a special forces soldier. Experience will grow and fortify your skills if you let it. If you love your preconceived notions so much you consider new and contradictory experience to be its enemy, you won’t make it.

The next right step will carry you safely through the wind and waves of the storm around us better than any other doctrine I know. You simply have to walk both humbly and confidently with God. In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul objures us to put away childish things when we are an adult. One of those childish things is pretending to prowess and knowledge we don’t have. We have become very childish in modern times.

Eight months into my pilgrimage, I took a one-month break to help a legislator with a big problem back home (I had promised three officials if they got into a big jam while I was gone, I would give them a month). I was well-known in the Capitol and my “walkabout” had been the talk of the town. Everyone was asking me if it felt weird to be back driving cars, wearing a tie, and negotiating with high officials. It was not. The day I got back, I just seamlessly went to what was already part of my territory of normal life. But there was a difference. The first month and a half I had been on the road, finding new shelter every day, it had been very scary. When I went back on the road, the day I got to it, I was pleased to see that this way of living had now become part of my territory of normal life.

For most of us, after we become about 30, we quit dramatically expanding our territory of normal. Modern events will likely force us to start dramatically expanding it again. God is with us if, acknowledging Him, we commit to the next right step. But we can’t expand our territory if we pretend we already know it. Things are getting scarier by the day, no doubt. But God is inviting us to relive the joy of discovery that so animated us when we were young. To be childish is to exaggerate your own prowess and knowledge. To be childlike is to trust God and delight in new discoveries. The way to be childlike without being childish is to firmly commit to taking the next right step under God.

Lead us in a plain path, O Lord.

Beyond the Failsafe (Excerpt)

09/15/23

Charlie has a couple of big projects up his sleeve, so he’s taking a break from the usual letter that appears here each edition. Instead, an excerpt from one of his best blog posts appears below. This post was widely shared online among people who’ve never even heard of CORAC.

An existential conflict is near at hand – in this country and in the world. The left has decided it will lie, cheat and steal to establish the authoritarian oligarchy it wants. For our own sake and that of our children and grandchildren, we must not and will not submit. The only options left open to us now are revolution, civil war, or secession. Of course, catastrophic collapse could come before any of those options come fully into play. Heaven knows incompetent leftist policies hollow us out culturally, politically, and economically even as they crow about how wonderful everything is. Even so, the skills necessary to weather any of these eventualities are similar, if not exactly the same.

In the first place, we must be prepared for the crisis. As special soldiers forces sometimes say, “Hope is not a plan.” If an enemy is trying to kill you, hoping for the best will only get you killed. Make no mistake, the left is now glad to kill us if they can’t get us to submit. Hundreds of political prisoners are being held in Washington jails. Fire-bombing crisis pregnancy centers is a matter of indifference to this federal government. We must be prepared for ever-increasingly frequent and violent depredations by a federal occupying force that has concluded that we will not submit voluntarily so they must use force and coercion to bring us to heel.

While we must be aware of the specific outrages, if howling about them is where it both begins and ends, we are doomed. You might just as well howl that rattlesnakes bite and scorpions sting. Certainly, if you are too busy howling to put on boots, gloves and trail pants when in the desert, you are likely to get bit or stung. Get dressed for your trek and you can walk with both care and confidence. It is easy and viscerally satisfying to howl with outrage at abuses. If you are dealing with honorable people, it is often even effective. But when you are dealing with a cadre determined to seize power by any means it is not only ineffective, it can actually help enable their seizure by convincing others that they are utterly powerless to stop the assault.

Developing the habits of mind and action that will help you endure and overcome any social crisis takes a lot of work – work that is often mundane and grinding. It also takes a lot of cooperation. There is strength in numbers – and that strength is all the greater when the people involved already know and care about each other. That is why we set up the teams at CORAC the way we have. All the teams are focused on skills and knowledge that will be useful if everything miraculously smoothed out – and vital if they do not.

In the second place, we must “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) by exercising prudence and restraint as well as vigor and action. If all you have is a sword, and no shield, the devil owns you. You may think yourself a warrior for Christ, but what is really happening is the devil is using you to do some of his dirty work until you have played out your usefulness to him.

Then he runs his sword through you and finds another to unwittingly do his bidding. If you find yourself angry and aggressive all the time, you have entered into the service of the satan.

Fear is also a tool to destroy you. Remember, it is when fright overtook St. Peter that he began to sink beneath the waves. Have you ever made a good decision while in a state of panic? They exist, but are rare. If that is your general modus operandus, you will sink soon enough – while the devil hopes you will take a few down with you.

There are a whole host of people and organizations on the right running around like chickens with their heads cut off, in response to the assaults from the left. Which do you think is the more likely scenario: that ordinary folks, as they realize with certainty that things have taken a rottenly sinister turn in the world, are going to turn to people who have been almost as unhinged and volatile as the shrieking, aggressive left or to people who have been measured, joyful, steady, and effective? I take very seriously what I believe to be my commission to help people navigate the greatest crisis in human history up to this point. I will not degenerate into panicked shrieking. Nor will I be distracted into chopping away at the branches of our problems, when I am called to be focused on the roots.

In that regard, I spend very little time looking for enemies. In this time of naked aggression, most enemies reveal themselves quite openly. Rather I engage in a search for allies – and speak in a way that reassures potential allies that if they come to us, they will not be sent away. There is a story about Abraham Lincoln I absolutely love. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, frustrated with Lincoln’s generous temperament, exclaimed in a meeting that, “Mr. President, you must destroy your enemies.” To which Lincoln replied, “Why Stanton, if I make an enemy into a friend, haven’t I destroyed an enemy?”

One way or another, it is all coming down. I do not want ANYONE to dread to come to us out of fear that all they will get is an “I told you so” or a recitation of their previous sins. Lord help us, if all were to have to be reminded of their previous sins before working for the good, who would be able to stand? It is enough for me that one wants to stand now.

In that light, it is incumbent on each of us to work to see what is best in each person we encounter and appeal to that. That is not just a moral prescription, but a practical guide to coalition building. If someone is of evil will, dismiss them. But make them prove it before shaking the dust off your feet. That applies to the hierarchy in the Church, as well. I have not been shy about criticizing abuses from clerics. But what about those clerics who abuse neither Scripture nor the Magisterium nor their people? Yes, many are timid. What have we done to demonstrate to them that if they stand we will stand with them against the inevitable attacks they will attract? Even the boldest warrior, confronted by a hostile army, will quail if he turns and sees his troops are hiding. I want every Priest and Bishop I encounter to know that if he stands boldly for Scripture and the Magisterium, I will stand boldly and publicly with him, wherever the attacks may come from.

Thus, I encourage everyone to cooperate and collaborate with your Bishops and Priests, so long as they are not actively seeking to overturn Scripture and the Magisterium – and do not pretend that, if they simply disagree with you on a point, they are undermining the faith. If they are timid, well, that is not your fault. You will have the joy of knowing that, if they do act boldly in defense of the faith, you helped by showing them they had people who would stand firmly with them. Courage is contagious. Let your courage be open and without rancor and you will inspire many.

Understand that banishing fear does not mean nothing bad will ever happen to you. Bad things will almost certainly come. It is a matter of trust. When you fully put your trust in Christ, it no longer matters much what happens to you, for you are confident that whatever Christ allows to befall you, it is either for your good or that of those around you – or both. Your job is to pray and study before making a decision and then make the best decision you can. You will still make errors, but God will draw fruit from even those. Do it consistently enough and even the decisions you have to make under pressure will get better.

Finally, be rigorous in the standards you hold yourself to, and generous with everyone else. Too many people do this exactly backwards. Do not count yourself among them. If you want to do solid research, privately attack your own position ruthlessly, seeking out every credible element you can that contradicts your position. You are ready to opine on a subject when you can routinely express the opposition’s position better than they can. Sometimes you will change your position. If you have rigorously attacked your own position privately, you can walk with real confidence when you proclaim publicly. Frankly, that is a big part of the secret of acting boldly without acting brashly.

Understand that a lot of good people are going to be caught up in the hysteria and tumult of the moment. While speaking boldly about what you believe to be true, do not be quick to denounce those who have let the winds and waves of the storm cause them to sink into panicked error. To do so may well hinder them from doing great work once again after the initial panic has passed.

It comes down to my most oft-repeated dictum: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to Those Around You. We are the people who do stuff. The old ways are falling away. We are called to stand in the breach. Work steadily without ceasing at this and we will, indeed, be heralds of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

Moral Authority is the Air Which Keeps Formal Authority Rolling

08/31/23

Back when I was young, the leader of a management seminar said something that has always stuck with me. “The company decides who the manager will be – but the workers decide who the boss is,” he proclaimed. Thinking about it, I figured it was an oversimplification – but largely correct. Workers respond to those they can count on to be just and responsive. Ideally, that is the proper manager. But if a manager is either a martinet or largely absent, the workers still find a leader and get the job done. In that case, the manager devolves into a nuisance or a useless appendage.

I have always tried to be just, including with people I disagree with. Two incidents come to mind.

When I was a boy, we organized what may be the greatest sandlot baseball league ever. We played every day during the summer, choosing up teams four or five times and having at it. Everybody played, including the littlest kids. The way we handled that is that if you chose a little kid, their outs didn’t count but if they got a hit, it did. It was a rite of passage and pride for the little kids when we determined they had gotten good enough for their outs to start counting. We had a nice Mexican contingent (who kindly taught all of us to cuss in Spanish, so we didn’t alarm any passing grown-ups). The Mexican players had “cousins” – family members who were migrant workers who would show up sporadically. They joined right in.

One day, there was a dispute about a call while some cousins were there. It raged for a bit and then they all asked me what I thought. I gave my call and we all went back to play. The cousins erupted in outrage, demanding to know why I should decide. The kids said if it got out of hand, they always had me decide so we could keep playing. “So what,” the cousins demanded, “you think he’s always right?” It was our regular player Gilberto who told them, “No, but when it gets out of hand he always says what he really thinks whether it hurts or helps his team – so it’s always fair.”

As a young adult who was very active politically in my home county, I was often called in to quietly arbitrate intractable disputes among various factions, including with many who were formally my opponents. One woman, in charge of a county agency for food and clothing distribution to people in need, came in to monitor an ongoing dispute between two local agencies trying to take regional control of it was astonished at what happened. The leaders of both groups made their case to me behind closed doors, I made my decision, and the dispute was settled.

She asked me what my title was. I told her I didn’t have one. She said she had been trying to negotiate a settlement for months with no progress, so how did it just get settled with my decision without the screaming rancor? I shrugged and said that, behind closed doors, even most of my enemies trusted me to be fair and just. The lady – and her boss – became dear friends of mine. She never tired of telling the story of when we first met, claiming that, after the problem was solved, she just had to find out exactly who that “masked man” was.

The left is enamored of credentials and titles – at least when they hold them. They think holding a title means that everyone has to do what they say. This often leads them to abuse the formal authority they have, thinking that by forcing compliance, they cement that authority. But every time they coerce people into doing what they want by force, another chunk of their moral authority evaporates.

Moral authority is like the air inflating a tire. It is invisible, but vital. When it is all gone, the tire of formal authority is flat and useless. It is emblematic of the folly of the left that the very thing they think is the purpose of authority – to get their way and bend others to their will – is the thing that destroys any semblance of authority for them.

All authority comes from God. Moral authority comes from living His divine precepts with faithful fidelity. If you get a grant of formal authority and think, “Now I have the power,” you are already on the road to ruin. If you get a grant of formal authority and contemplate the great responsibility you have for the people you have been given authority over, you have the making of real potential success, under God. If you have no title but live justly and fearlessly, you will find people gravitating to you and discover you end with far more authority than those who wield titles and think it is all about power.

In days to come, most of us are going to wield authority in certain circles. I used to tell young parents to seek to be always just and true with their children. When children are young, there is a huge imbalance of power between them and their parents. But the truth is that every parent must ultimately stand in the docket of their adult children’s judgment. That judgment may be charitable, but it will be true.

All of us will stand in the docket of God’s judgment. Most of us will bear some title of formal authority along the way. That is always transient. Endeavor from the start to live moral authority under God and you will never find yourself running on flat tires and wondering why.

Living Without Fear

08/15/23

We are in the midst of a great storm. It is a storm that, I believe, will become the greatest in human history before it is finished. The storm will not be forever, but no one who gets through it will ever forget it. Nor will they ever forget their gratitude for going through it.

The evening after Jesus fed the multitude, a great storm rose up on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were trying to weather the storm in their boat when, in the darkness, they saw Jesus walking towards them. They were terrified, thinking that Jesus was some terrible ghost come to torment them. Then He called out to them. All were amazed, but Peter asked that, if it really was Jesus, the Lord bid him come, also walking on the water. So Jesus bade him come. Things went well (I resist the temptation to say swimmingly) until Peter got scared of the howling winds and boiling waves around him. Then he began to sink. Jesus grabbed hold of Peter and pulled him back up. Together, they got back into the boat. Then Jesus ordered the storm to cease – and it did. They rowed to the other side in calm waters.

This story is worth deep contemplation, for in it is all we need to know to weather the storm we find ourselves in. The disciples did not have to take the boat to get to the other shore; they could have walked around. But walking that route would have been long and slow. So even though the weather was threatening, they chose the shortcut of the water crossing.

How many shortcuts has humanity chosen this last century? Rather than defend the faith and the faithful with fortitude and charity, we have routinely compromised on foundational principles because we did not want any trouble. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. We all know it. That is why, in the Confiteor, we ask forgiveness for the things we have done and the things we have failed to do.

When the storm rises up, the trouble we sought to avoid catches up with us, almost always with greater force than if we had taken the trouble to act well and prudently in the first place.

When the storm comes, even if we repent of the folly that drew us into it rather than taking the steadier but harder way, it does not relieve us of our obligation to row vigorously where we are. The disciples were not allowed to just say, “Oops, we goofed,” and then wait for the Lord to magically pull their boat to the other shore for them. They had gotten so turned around they did not even know where Jesus was – or if He even knew the dire straits they were in. They had to keep rowing.

If they did not know where Jesus was, He knew where they were. The Lord did not come walking across the sea because He wanted a shortcut. He came because He knew the disciples had gotten themselves into yet another fine mess. I sometimes wonder if Jesus was amused at the disciples’ initial terror at the sight of their approaching salvation. We so eagerly go chasing after what will destroy us and recoil from what will save us, all the while boasting of our mighty prowess.

The Lord does love us, thanks be to God, but I think it must often be with the amused affection a man might have for a litter of lively puppies – and their comical pratfalls. We lack the wit to reliably discern between salvation and destruction and yet are proud in our boasts.

Once the disciples recognize Jesus, they calm, but are still filled with frightened wonder at the Man. They knew He was a good teacher and gentle guide, but this is a revelation of raw, primal power. With characteristic boldness (sometimes brashness).

Peter asks the Lord to bid him come. As Peter begins walking on the sea, it becomes clear that the Lord’s primal power extends to whoever He wills it to. Ah, but in the midst of his walk, Peter notices anew how terribly violent the winds and the waves are. Fear grips him and he begins to sink. The Lord reaches out to him and Peter is saved.

How often, despite our profession of trust in God, do the winds and waves around us cause us to sink into fear and, even, despair? Our trust must be greater than this. Trust means keeping our eyes on Jesus, our hearts with Him, and then accepting whatever He allows after this, knowing that it is for our good or that of others to build up the only Kingdom that matters.

After Jesus and Peter climb back into the boat, the Lord commands the sea to calm – and it does. He demonstrates to His disciples that He does, indeed, hold primal power over all things, natural and supernatural. But even though the sea is calmed, Jesus does not pull them to the other shore. They must keep rowing, even if it is a lot easier and calmer now.

It is not our mighty prowess that will carry us through this storm. Without Christ, we can spend ourselves rowing and get nowhere, in danger of capsizing at each moment. With Him, all things are possible. Once we entrust our hearts to Him, be aware of the wind and waves, but do not be distracted by them. They have no power over you save what He allows.

Entrust your heart to Jesus, keep your eyes on Him, and keep rowing.

Rules For the Pilgrim's Highway

07/31/23

A car is a great means for physically getting you where you want to go. Imagine a car with only a brake pedal and no gas pedal – or vice versa. A car with no brake pedal is eventually going to crash and burn. A car with no gas pedal won’t get you anywhere. Fortunately, all cars come with both a brake and a gas pedal. The vehicle depends on your judgment to get you where you want to go. If you hit the gas pedal when you should hit the brakes, you are likely to crash and burn. If you are too timid to ever let off the brakes for fear of crashing and burning, you will never get anywhere. A car is an elegantly conceived and designed tool. Whether or not it is ultimately useful to you or not depends on you; your initiative and your judgment.

So it is with life. God gives each of us a unique set of tools – and each tool in our unique set is designed to help us with the work He intends for us – to help others and to fortify His kingdom here on earth. Alas, one of the great gambits of the devil is to seduce us into falling in love with the tools God gave us rather than using them in His service.

Some men are very strong. They can use that to help those around them – or to bully them. Some are very smart. They can use that to find truth and help others do the same – or to convince themselves of absurd fantasies of their own devising and seek to dominate everyone around them. Some are strikingly beautiful. If they augment physical beauty with a kind and generous soul, they are like a refreshing mountain spring. Or they can use it to manipulate and exploit others, bending them to their will.

Others are wise enough to understand that while they are responsible for honing and refining the gifts God gave them, they are not author of those gifts. Even so, these, too, can fall into a trap of disfiguring their gifts. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest intellects in human history, was given a supernatural visitation with Jesus late in his life. He never wrote again, declaring everything he had written to that point was so much straw. He was right that, in heavenly terms, it was so much straw – as are all of the finest gifts of the greatest in history. But while it was straw in heaven, it was pure gold here on earth.

He had weaved his brilliance into threads of golden silk that would lead millions, perhaps billions, into deeper understanding of and relationship with Christ. That is the highest purpose on earth of all of the gifts. It is one of the very rare times where I disagree completely with St. Thomas Aquinas. And yet, it may have been a great blessing, coming so late in his life. People who have been given striking and extravagant gifts and used them with extravagant fruitfulness can become prey to a subtle pride that they are author of what they have created in love of God. St. Thomas had served so well that I suspect God gave him the gift of seeing how redundant and childish his work was in heaven even at the expense of eclipsing (in his mind) how preciously valuable it was on this side of the veil.

Some have gifts so striking they obtain high positions of trust and honor in this world. For some it gives them the means to vastly expand the efficacy of the good work they do in God’s service. Alas, for many it is the reef on which their work ends. They become so enamored of the position they have that that is what they protect, at all costs. They neither initiate anything serious, for fear of making a mistake, nor object to abuses, for fear of losing their position. They are like the servant who buried his talent in the ground – and they will get the same result, whatever honors they receive in this life. (Matthew 25:18)

Then there is the good and wise servant, the servant who acknowledges the talents he has been given, knows from whence they came, and hones them in service to God and His people. These are the servants who know that for everything there is a season; a season to apply the gas, a season to apply the brakes. They develop their sense of judgment to know when to use each most effectively. They never count the odds when they are required to stand, knowing that God is in charge of all things. Neither do they act precipitously out of unseemly eagerness to demonstrate their prowess, knowing that God delivers the proper season so as to bring the most people back to Him, who is the only fountain of life in the universe.

Endeavor to be the good and wise servant with your whole heart.

Save the Revolution

07/13/23

Most of history is the tiresome tale of various factions striving restlessly for territory and power, an endless quest for preeminence. It could be titled, “Chronicles of Roving Bands of Rival Warlords.”

The founding of the United States of America was a seminal event in world history. Certainly, the elite classes in Europe all scoffed at it, not because they could refute the principles of liberty it elevated, but because, simply, they thought it could never work. Have the common people govern themselves? What nonsense, the elite thought. Chain the American elite so they could do nothing without the consent of the governed? Absurd, they opined. Count on people to take care of most needs through voluntary associations and initiative rather than imperious government orders? A pious fantasy, they taunted. Even the French, who supported us in the Revolutionary War, did so primarily to tweak their traditional rival, the English. Neither thought America could ever amount to much.

But it worked – and better than any government on earth ever had before. It was such a shock to all the elite classes in Europe that a Frenchman in the early 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville, travelled the US to do research for a book he planned on how and why it worked. That book is entitled Democracy in America, and is still the best critical examination of what the US was founded to be and why it was so fabulously successful in securing the blessings of liberty to the American people. Read it now, though, and you will understand better how very far we have drifted from the moorings the American founders laid out for us. America now has a more oppressive government than most of the European countries did at the time we rebelled.

A self-governing people, living ordered liberty under law, is, in essence, a holiday from history. If you counted the 200+ years we lived in real liberty against all the history of depraved scraping for power, it would be akin to the territory occupied by a postage stamp on a football field. We were bequeathed a phenomenal gift.

After de Tocqueville’s book hit the rounds around the world, countries began to slowly adopt the American model. It was an auspicious time for it. People around the world were weary, exhausted from the constant struggle for power and dominance – and unusually well-acquainted with what that struggle wrought, which was unending misery for all. And so, the world saw a slowly unfolding flowering of freedom around the globe. Alas, it has been far too brief.

A new generation of strivers, impatient with the vicissitudes of making their case freely while their opposition was guaranteed the same freedom to make theirs, decided, like the European elite of old, that we must have government by experts. Imperial decrees from unaccountable agencies must replace the consent of the governed. If you wanted to advance, you had to worm your way into the system and the confidence of those already there. The actual people were irrelevant, though an occasionally annoying impediment to your fevered authoritarian dreams.

Now we have come to a great crossroad. Will we submit to the hostile, occupying force that has imposed itself upon us, styling itself “our democracy,” even as it cheerily violates every principle of democracy and self-government ever extant? Or will we band together to form society anew? That is the great question of our age as the world bends toward tyranny.

The first step is to acknowledge God, just as the American founders did. John Adams said that our system of government would only work for a moral and religious people, that it was totally inadequate to the governance of any other. It was Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, who originally proposed the idea of separation of Church and state. But his intention was to protect the churches from the state, not the state from its churches. The 1st Amendment was adopted to prevent the federal gov’t from ever having any jurisdiction at all over religion – and it was at the behest of delegates to the Constitutional Convention who wanted to guarantee that the feds could never interfere with the established churches in their states. It has been twisted 180 degrees, to mean the exact opposite of what the founders intended.

We are far from God – and far from the principles of our founding. At CORAC, we are about the business of knitting the bonds of community anew. Please check out our website at www.corac.co – and join us in our quiet effort to make the world anew, in God’s image.

Together, even as the corrupt dregs of the federal government collapse around us, we can pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to ensure that America will have a new birth of freedom under God. Though the government may fall, that nation forged by the people and made up of the people for the benefit of all the people, shall not perish from the earth; that instead it shall rise from the ashes of the current depravity to secure the blessings of liberty for all its people – and all our posterity.

Join us.

Vatican Inquisitors Attack Orthodox Bishop

06/29/23

As I write this, the Vatican’s inquisition into Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas is completed, though no action has been announced. Many fear that Bishop Strickland is going to be removed. Ostensibly, the visitation was largely due to Strickland’s “controversial” social media posts. No, he does not celebrate gay marriage or transgender nonsense; he upholds traditional Catholic teaching and sometimes criticizes Pope Francis for failing to do the same. The Twitter post most criticized by Vatican officials accused Pope Francis of undermining the deposit of faith. In Pope Francis’ Vatican, consistent orthodoxy is prima facie evidence of subversion.

One of the two inquisitors the Vatican sent is former Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas. He tried, a few years back, to get the USCCB to downgrade pro-life action to a lesser priority. While head of Catholic Relief Services, Kicanas approved a $2.7 million grant to a major abortion provider for malaria relief in Africa. He maintained that none of the money was used for abortions – and is probably right. This is a common dodge for those who hire abortion activists. Money in these agencies is fungible: though it may not go directly to abortion, it frees up other money for abortion by relieving it from having to serve administrative or any other purposes. For a Catholic agency to hire abortion providers for any purpose is a scandal. It is akin to the first apostles hiring scourge-makers to provide fishing nets.

Simply put, the fix is in. The Vatican might just as well have sent former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richardson and trans activist Dylan Mulvaney to judge whether they approved of orthodox Catholic Bishop Joseph Strickland’s tenure. Meantime, “pride” Masses go on sporadically throughout the Western world in direct repudiation of the orders Christ and His apostles gave the Church.

Bishop Strickland attended a prayer march in Los Angeles on June 16 in response to the anti-Catholic hate group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, as they were being honored by the LA Dodgers. The local bishop, Archbishop José Gomez, could have led the procession himself, but declined. Many bishops defend destroying all rules of immigration, vastly expanding the scope and ease of human trafficking, by arguing that illegal aliens are just doing the work Americans won’t do. Though it is not true, it sets the precedent for the argument that Bishop Strickland was just doing the work defending the faithful that American bishops just won’t do.

I am angry, furiously so. Even if the inquisitors decide to leave things as they are, a shot has been fired across the bow of all bishops in America, letting them know that if they insist on being publicly orthodox, they can expect a visit from the Pope’s secret police. Now if they want to hold “pride” Masses, bless homosexual unions, or do just about anything else to spit in the face of the teachings of Jesus Christ, they will not be bothered. Shoot, they may even be invited for a fawning visit to the Vatican. But dare to suggest that the clear teachings of Christ and the Apostles are binding on any who would truly be Catholic and you are the enemy.

Things are about to change. What cannot go on forever will not go on forever. We are not deciding whether or not the Catholic Church will survive as the Church of Christ or become something altogether different, opposed to Christ. It is the Church Christ founded and, regardless of any transient offenses and abuses, enjoys His protection and will remain His Church, however much that may anger the current Vatican and its inquisitors.

Whatever happens to Bishop Strickland in this sordid little episode, he will loom large in the reform and rebuilding of Christ’s Church. He has kept the Faith in the one community he was given, even under sustained assault. He will be entrusted with much more, as the worm turns on those who would destroy the faith as Christ and His Apostles handed it on to us.

In the meantime, those of us in the pews, while not entrusted with the administration of Christ’s Church, can and must do what is licitly in our control. If your parish is orthodox, support it wholeheartedly. If it is not, find another (though I admire those who steadfastly stay with a parish that they consider their birthright, even when it goes sour, in determination of seeing it through to genuine renewal). If your diocese insists on repudiating the teaching of Christ by holding “pride” Masses, blessing same-sex unions, or other offenses against the plain words of Scripture, withhold your money, your time, and your talent from the diocese, even if you are in a parish worthy of support. Give not a dime to the Vatican. Christ will renew His Church…but when you participate in attacking Christ’s teachings with your money, time and talent, you are not blameless in the perversion and blasphemy that has beset the hierarchy. If you are blessed to live in an orthodox diocese, support it with your whole heart.

If you must withhold your money and time from a diocese, make sure to set aside the same amount of money and time you would devote to it to devote to other good and pious works, that you not get out of the custom of devoting some of your time and talent to the Lord. In truth, all you give in faith is offered to the Lord, so it is incumbent upon you to see that what you give is used to build up the Faith, not to weaken or blaspheme it.

By his courage and fidelity Bishop Strickland has become “America’s Bishop.” The Vatican can remove him from his little see, but it cannot remove him from the affectionate regard of orthodox Catholics who are looking for a champion: a champion for Christ and for their right to be given wholesome meat instead of mealy-mouthed lies and offenses.

God Is Your Only Refuge Now

06/13/23

As the world gets darker, the rules that must govern our daily lives have changed in ways most have not fully grasped yet. Certainly, we need to act with prudence, but it must be supernatural prudence. Ordinary prudence will not cut it anymore. In fact, it can become a disastrous stumbling block.

Ordinary prudence involves calculating risks to your own best advantage. There is no reasoning with those who have taken the reins of power in contemporary culture. If we try to ingratiate ourselves to them and their toxic ideology, we offend the Lord. If we mask what we believe, we offend the Lord. If we go clumsily blundering in, swinging wildly at the offenses that beset us from every direction, we can trigger retaliation from the ugly powers that now hold sway. Not only that: we offend the Lord as well – because He expects us to act with competence rather than unthinking recklessness.

How, then, to maintain your integrity before both God and man in these perilous times?

This is the time when you must live “The Next Right Step” with fortitude, resolve, and fidelity. Do not become an exposed nerve which just reacts with a yelp every time it is touched. Neither become a bloodless automaton, not reacting to the daily offenses that surround you.

There is a place for anger. Anger is, in fact, a powerful tool. The key is to use your anger without ever letting it use you. When you do use your anger, there are many who will assume it has gotten hold of you. Give those of good will account of why you have chosen to use that tool, while ignoring those who are just trying to shut you down. Be bold without being brash.

Envision scenarios of things that may happen to you – because they are, even now, happening to others of honest nature. Do not become wedded to these scenarios. They are just mental dress rehearsals to help you decide how you want to behave in extreme and crisis situations. If your performance, when crisis comes, does not match what you envisioned, do not be discouraged. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin on your way again.

You may act in a cowardly way when a real crisis hits. If so, do not wallow in self-pity over it. Often, a bad reaction is how God teaches and fortifies you going forward. St. Peter experienced that intensely when he denied Christ. His deep shame over that episode fortified him to proclaim the Gospel boldly ever after, even going to his death rather than deny the Master again.

Give yourself entirely over to trust in God. Know that when you have done that, whatever befalls you afterward the Lord allows – either for your good or the good of others. When you take this step, disaster loses its sting and triumph loses its hubris. Both are just like different manifestations of the weather. Some days are sunny, some are stormy. Either way, you have to do your daily work and receive your daily bread. Be neither dismayed to distraction by the storms of life nor seduced to distraction by pleasant weather. Receive your daily bread with gratitude; do your daily work with fidelity.

Clever plans to advance yourself will now lead to destruction. Carefully devised plans to build the kingdom and care for those souls God has put in your territory will draw an abundance of blessing. Do not dissemble when questioned about what you believe. Speak plainly, bluntly and without malice.

We are in God’s winnowing fan right now. Though it may seem that those who have chosen evil are prevailing, what is really happening is that we are bearing witness of ourselves in God’s great deposition. Those who seem to prevail by manipulation right now are just being prepared for the fire. During this time, to speak plainly under duress is to show God that you do, indeed, love and trust Him.

In all setbacks, do not ask, “Why me, Lord?” Rather, ask, “What do you intend for me in this, Lord? How may I live it to draw souls back to you?”

We must become like children, without malicious guile. Yet we must act as men of God, with shrewdness for the right that is pleasing to Him. For what we truly are – and want to be – are children of God, trusting in Him while taking initiative to build His kingdom here on earth and proclaim His good news.

Do not be dismayed that the rules have changed. You already know it when dealing with ordinary political and legal affairs. You will learn by trial and error as you go. But self-serving cleverness is soon to be deadly. Remember that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Fidelity to God is now the most practical plan for daily life.

You cannot know with certainty what the next right step is. You can, through contemplation, come up with the most right thing you can think of. Do it, submitting it to God with humility and He will fortify your heart and gently correct your inevitable errors. Intentionally become His sons and daughters – and He will justify you.

Fruit That Will Last

05/31/23

Everybody in the world wants meaning in their lives. The meaning of life is one of the most fundamental questions all men must grapple with. It is unavoidable. Like the old song says about love, whole generations are now looking for meaning in all the wrong places. It has led to an existential crisis of despair.

Young people, particularly, are vulnerable to enthusiasms born of mere appetites. But satisfying an appetite is always transient. You get hungry again. St. Augustine described it as a restlessness in the human heart, a desperate restlessness that can only be stilled when it rests in God.

Some try to find meaning in what they condemn, often in the ugliest terms. But who can condemn anything without being painfully aware in their secret heart of what is contemptible in themselves? Often the greater the shrieking about evils outside oneself is, the more desperate the shrieker is trying to quiet the internal condemnation of their own contemptibility.

Others in this day try to find meaning in their sexuality, devoid of marital love. It is a terribly impoverished idea. Sexual activism is not a source of meaning. Because it does not still the restless heart, acolytes of this method keep moving to greater and greater depravity, hoping to find meaning in their rebelliousness. When it does not avail, they demand that others celebrate their perversions, hoping that this forced external approval will give them the peace they so lack. Eventually, unable to process their own growing self-hatred, they accuse others of being haters.

As offensive and ugly as these modern seekers of the meaning of life are become, they are pitiable. I feel deep sorrow for them, for they have fallen into a loop that spirals ever downward into deeper and deeper despair and emptiness. This is not for what God created them.

Many of those of us who are Christians have done good work in defending our faith and forming groups in which we can preserve it. We know that meaning is found in knowing, loving and serving God, our Creator. We know that that love is best expressed by knowing, loving and serving our fellows. We begin to find meaning when our love is turned outward in service to and the care of others rather than inward in search of self-actualization. The man who seeks to be a true neighbor may become great. The man who restlessly seeks to become great will rarely even become an honest neighbor.

All this is good and proper. Right now our faith needs defending and preservation. But we are fundamentally called to evangelize. If we came upon a camp of people who were starving, near to perishing, we would rally our neighbors to feed and, thus, physically rescue them. Right now, confronted with a world that is spiritually starving, screaming and groaning in agony, too often our only response is to desperately seek to avoid being counted among their number. Those who are searching for meaning in all the wrong places are spiritually dying behind the gates of a hell they have created. Our Lord, however, tells us that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. Without neglecting the defense of the faith it is time to go on offense. God has laid out a banquet and a whole generation is starving. Let us feed them.

I know that the satan has succeeded in making several generations think, without examination, that any sort of religious faith is mere superstition. That is why, as we preserve the faith, as we defend ourselves against the constant assaults against the faith, we must spend some time contemplating how to proclaim the faith so that the sufferers might see it with fresh eyes, hear it with fresh ears. It is a vexing problem in a world grown so cynical and desperate. It is the same sort of vexing problem St. Patrick faced when evangelizing Ireland, a land almost entirely populated by druids and pagans. And yet, the Lord promised the gates of hell will not prevail over those who proclaim the faith. So, it is time to start driving the snakes of self-actualization, disordered sexuality, promiscuity, abortion, the will to power out in a way that people will hear. I don’t have many of the answers, but I think about it all the time. I trust that, as we bend our thoughts and prayers to this, the Lord will lead us in His way and His time.

When it becomes one of our great priorities, we will bear fruit that will last. And it will be a pleasing offering to the Lord.

A Perfect World

05/17/23

We will get no perfect world until we reach heaven. Until then, there is much we can do to make a better world, a world more pleasing to God and a world more fulfilling for our families and ourselves. Let me tell you what a world I ran would look like.

First, there would be no authority to tell you what is and is not misinformation. Everything would have to submit to the test of examination. The way to counter bad speech would be to give better, more persuasive speech. We would still make mistakes, but because we were focused on the good, when we did we would acknowledge and correct those mistakes together.

We would value dissidents, knowing that they help challenge our assumptions and both sharpen and refine our thinking. On the other hand, we would shame and ignore those who have nothing to offer but a sneer or an insult. They think themselves dissidents but are merely ignorant cranks. You don’t have to agree with me to be my friend, but you do have to respect my conscience as I respect yours. If you can’t do that, we can’t be friends.

Our justice system would focus on fighting and jailing criminals while defending ordinary people. To that end, the law would be focused on actual justice rather than a kabuki dance of technicalities, even while protecting the basic rights of the accused. Normal people would be free to arm themselves, as criminals don’t wait for the police to arrive to make a “fair” fight. Even Jesus, as he prepared to physically leave this world, advised His disciples to get a sword to defend themselves in His absence (Luke 22:36).

When a criminal assaulted innocent people, there would be no endless kibitzing about whether police or heroic bystanders used the proper amount of force. When the criminal made the decision to assault the innocent, he would take his own life in his hands and the result would be on him. Healthy societies have always made a clear distinction between the aggressor and the defender – and the aggressor knows up front he takes his chances.

Local churches and synagogues would be the center of society, not city halls and the federal government. It would be an overtly Judeo-Christian society, for that is the necessary foundation upon which freedom and human dignity has been built over several millennia. We would render under God that which is God’s, and not have the hubris to try to correct what some of us think are His mistakes. Even so, dissidents would be free to live unmolested, but not free to force us to “celebrate” their dissent.

Government would be much smaller. It would not guarantee your health or pay for your wants -or even your needs. Its job would simply be to provide for the common defense and to coordinate those things that we legitimately cannot do ourselves or through voluntary associations. The principle of subsidiarity would reign. Government would be our servant rather than our master. God is our only master.

Things are getting very dark in the world right now – and, sorrowfully, in America. The institutions we always relied on are failing at an epic pace. The dysfunction is speeding up rather than smoothing out.

Even as the social fabric tatters, CORAC is assembling the tools we need to build a free, self-sufficient society based on mutual, voluntary collaboration, founded in faith. Take a look at the many downloads and videos our various teams have put together at our website, corac.co.

Now faith is not the end of our duty to God, but the beginning. As it is written in 2 Peter 1:5-7, “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

We start with faith, which leads us to take actions to purify and better ourselves, which leads us, through love, to form communities pleasing to God. We cannot make a perfect world in this life, but starting with faith, through action and love, we can and will make a Godly one for ourselves and our families.

He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear...

04/26/23

How often have you talked with someone who didn’t listen to you, but impatiently waited for you to finish what you were saying to use it as the platform from which to launch his next rhetorical assault? A fellow who didn’t care what you had to say but only regarded you as the exhibition stage to display his brilliance? It is the stock in trade for some cable TV hosts – and it always leaves the victim feeling frustrated, angered and used.

We can’t control the fact that there are a lot of jerks in life, but we have complete control over whether we are going to be one or not. Our refusal to be a jerk often does inspire others to do the same, thus reducing the sum total of jerks in the world. Far more endearing to a person than generic flattery is to see them, to hear them, to notice what the things are that make them unique. I have made far more friends and allies by affectionately noting their little foibles than most have by dishing out copious amounts of flattery.

Among my family and friends, almost all are deeply pleased when I give them a compliment. It is not because it is coming from me, but because (though I am diplomatic) I simply do not offer false praise. Thus, those who know me best trust me to tell them true rather than blow smoke at them. When I see what is best in them, it allows me to hold a mirror up so they can see, freshly, what is authentically best in them as well. And it is enabled by a refusal to blow smoke in the first place.

People have a deep hunger to be known for who they are, their foibles acknowledged with affection and their virtues acknowledged with admiration. To do this, though, you must pay attention. You must see them; you must hear them, you must treat them as something more than just a setting from which you can display your brilliant facets.

Every life is ultimately an epic saga, filled with hopes and fears, dreams and anxieties. If you can get beyond the clinical details of a curriculum vitae and see the full person behind those details, you can participate in that saga with them. The truth is that every story worth hearing is a human story – and you need to understand what makes a person tick to hear the swelling music of their epic saga.

When I was still in grade school I wondered why some grown-ups were grouchy all the time and others were cheery. In all cases, I was fascinated to know what made them that way. I thought about it a lot and tried to discern clues. A big part of it was that I did not want to grow up to be grouchy all the time – and if I could figure out what caused it, I could avoid it. Along the way, I fell in love with the epic saga that is every person’s life.

In my twenties, I was a hotel manager. Big place, 180 rooms, two dining rooms, a show lounge, and banquets for up to a thousand. I liked to spend a little serious time in each department getting to know the people that worked with me and that I managed. In the housekeeping department there was an older lady (well, actually, in her 50’s – at least 15 years younger than I  am right now) to whom all the young maids would go with their troubles and whom they all loved. I spent some time talking with her, eager to find why she inspired such confidence and affection in those around her. Turns out she was Hungarian.

After some time visiting with each other, she told me the harrowing story of how the Soviets murdered her son and her husband before her eyes when she was a young woman there – and the even more harrowing story of her escape to America. After she told me, she caught herself and asked me not to reveal these things to the other people she worked with. She said having a life in America was a great second chance for her, but it could not heal the wound of the loss of her family. By caring for the troubles of other women the age she was when she lost her family, she honored her husband and son and got the most effective revenge against the Soviets possible – by helping others learn to live the full and joyful life those Soviets tried so hard to rob her of (and nearly succeeded).

The people around you are an unquenchable library. Take the time to hear them – not just what they say, but what they mean. Sometimes fear presents as anger. Sometimes hope presents as skepticism. Sometimes insecurity presents as cockiness. Get outside yourself and see the people around you. See what they mean by what they do. Become a safe repository for their hopes and dreams and you will become privy to a whole host of glorious, epic sagas.

And in the process, you will help knit together anew the social fabric of solidarity under God. It doesn’t take much: just hear – and care.

Prepare For a Great Blessing

04/15/23

When I was in my 30’s I sensed my angel before me. “Prepare for a great blessing,” he seemed to tell me. Well, who would want to argue with that? Shortly after, great tumult and disaster came upon me. A year or two later he seemed to come to me again and direct me to go look in my mailbox on a Sunday morning. I did. In the box was a note which simply said, “Prepare for a great blessing.” More wary now, I was still largely enthused, figuring this would be a chance for him to make up for the last time. Instead, again with the tumult and disaster. A third time I sensed him before me, solemnly instructing me to prepare for a great blessing. This time I told him I was feeling pretty blessed already and thought it only fair for someone else to share in the blessings. He laughed and said, “I was wondering when you would catch on.”

Since that third time, I have never sensed him saying those words to me again. But I have also never since failed to see the blessing in serious adversity – and that is, itself, a blessing.

Many of you have spoken to me about your fears for your loved ones and family who have rejected the faith and are living lives of indifference or, even, hedonism. I have heard the sorrow in so many voices. Some sorrow is simply because their children have chosen a different path than they have. While understandable, this is largely selfish and self-referential, rather than truly loving. The larger sorrow is because the grievers have recognized that those loved ones who have fallen are living lives of misery, emptiness and desperation. The grievers want the good for those they love.

I have struggled with this in my own life. My dear daughter has struggled with substance abuse since she was 12, and it has mostly been a losing battle. Around a year ago, she went to jail and was forced into a mandatory rehab program. It was, in fact, an answer to a prayer. My hopes were modest, simply that if she were in jail, she would have a much harder time getting the substances that were killing her and robbing her life of meaning. And so long as you live, the possibility of redemption remains. Our first conversation after she was jailed was very ugly. It ended with me screaming at her and hanging up on her. She ventured to call me back two weeks later and we laid out some ground rules for regular communication and support. (Well, actually, I laid out some ground rules).

Mirabile dictu! This time it seemed to be taking. My son has often chided me that I never allow myself to get played by anyone – except my daughter…and I have let myself get played by her repeatedly. On the other hand, when I was starting to lose hope a few years back, my son was even more alarmed, telling me with deep worry that if there was to be a chance for reclamation someone had to keep the door open – and that if I shut it entirely there would be no one there to keep hope alive.

My daughter left jail on December 8th of last year. Having faced more than a few adversities, she has not wavered in her sobriety. Her attitude is entirely different this time. She was always quick-witted and very literate when herself, a quality which she can’t mimic when she just “talks sober.” At one point she told me that I have been her rock and that she wants to be a rock for others like I have been for her. I drily responded that, “It’s hard to be a rock.” To my delight, she immediately caught the pun and howled with laughter.

Her new boyfriend is a very committed Protestant Christian. After ascertaining that there is no whiff of anti-Catholic bigotry in him, I am very pleased. For Easter, she went to morning service, afternoon service and pot luck, and evening Bible Study. I laughed and told her that if she had on her Bingo card the unlikely probability that this Easter Sunday she would spend about three times as long at Church as I would, she was a winner.

There have been more than a few false starts, but this time I believe with my whole heart. Her whole attitude is different. We laugh and joke together and she catches the sly and subtle puns with which I routinely lace my conversations for my own amusement. When she told me of getting her 10-month sobriety pin I laughed and told her that was the longest she has been sober since she was 12. She laughed and said, “I know.” Now, she faces the new reality that a few other members of the family have sensed her new steadiness and have been running their problems by her. I noted what a good, if occasionally difficult, sign that was. We have talked about how to deal with it – and she has laughingly agreed that it is, indeed, hard being a rock.

When God is going to turn your life around, the first thing He usually does is to crush the old delusions and illusions you have relied upon. It feels like disaster. But He is clearing the ground so that, if you are willing, you may build anew with Him as your foundation. Those of you who worry and grieve over loved ones living lives of misery and emptiness should be prepared to see the dysfunctions in their lives come to a head in disaster. It is not the end but, in most cases, the answer to your prayers. It is the logical end of the old dysfunction – and an opportunity to build anew under God. If you lay a firm and loving foundation, what begins in seeming disaster will come to be seen as the great blessing that was the turning point of many lives. The whole world now groans as it prepares for a great blessing. May we be willing.

Thy Neighbor As Thyself

03/31/23

People often interpret the Lord’s dictum to “love your neighbor as yourself” to mean love them uncritically as they are. Really?! Do you love yourself uncritically? Do most people? If so, why are New Year’s resolutions and self-help books so popular? Truth is, most healthy-minded people are painfully aware of their flaws and shortcomings – and want to overcome and transcend them. What most people want is the good – and they know very well they don’t fully measure up to it. Their love for themselves helps prod them to try to attain it more fully. So to love someone as yourself is not to inanely celebrate whatever they do, but to will their good – and be willing to put yourself out to help them attain it.

A woman I worked with for many years on various political projects was brilliantly gifted at recruiting, organizing and motivating big, diverse crews of people to action for a common goal. She was also one of the best gatherers of political intelligence I have ever known. A big part of her skill on the latter is that she often came off rather flighty – something of a ditz – so both opponents and neutrals easily deceived themselves she was no threat. It amazed me how well she played the role.

One day we were running some errands together and I asked her to stop by an ATM at the bank for me. Holy cow, was that a memorable day! First, she drove up to the exit of the ATM line instead of at the entrance. She was very flustered and fluttery as I explained to her how she had to enter the line, as we had to back up and go back around. Then, because she was driving, I had to give her my card. She had no clue how to operate the machine – and was on the edge of panic as she kept hitting the wrong buttons. When we finally got through with the transaction, I looked at her in astonishment and said, “Ginny, now I know why you play a ditz so well. In many ways you ARE a ditz – both a ditz and brilliant at the same time.” She looked at me and grinned enthusiastically. “I just love it when someone really gets me,” she said warmly.

There is a great power in seeing someone as they are and loving that friend for all their qualities. People are often fearful that if others knew their quirks and shortcomings they would be put off by them – and not like them so well. To know that a friend sees them and is endeared by them is a great comfort – and cements, rather than diminishes, bonding.

When I first started heavily doing statewide politics, I noticed that state officials and candidates, when appearing spoke at local events, tried to ingratiate themselves to the crowd by offering generic compliments to specific local luminaries. “That Mary Jo, she is one of the finest committeewomen I have ever known” and such. The crowd would applaud politely (mainly for Mary Jo) but no connection was made because it came off as so phony and contrived. I always loved to get to know the top people in a county or region and spend some time with them. When I spoke to a local crowd as emissary of a state official (which I did a lot) I would always begin with a little anecdote that highlighted a lovable quirk about one of the local luminaries. That made a real connection with the whole crowd quickly.

Once, in a fairly large southern county I had never spoken in front of before, I did know the chairman well – and his quirks. The man was named Robert, but everyone who knew him called him “Dog.” So, I told a couple of “Dog” stories. Both Dog and his wife were laughing with the crowd as I spoke. After the dinner, several people came up and slapped me on the back, laughingly telling me, “Man, you have Dog down to a tee, old buddy.” I had never met anyone in the room but Dog and his wife before, but now I was their old buddy because I really did know and appreciate a man they all knew and loved.

Far more than generic, flowery words, people love to be known for who they are and cared about for themselves. It is the stuff from which real friendships are forged and the social fabric is knit.

Want to know how to love your neighbor as yourself? Don’t shower him with flowery praise or mindlessly second his every whim. In tough times, that suggests you neither know nor care about him. You’re just trying to flatter him to your advantage – and he feels that. Know him. Care about him. Work with him towards a common goal. Help him when he stumbles – and ask for his help when you stumble. Actively will his good. This is how you love your neighbor as yourself. It is also how you build real community – and it is the CORAC way.

Every man’s life is an epic tale. Don’t just be an enthusiastic observer. Be a fellow traveler, sharing the load and the laughs, the sorrows and the quiet, leaning on his strengths as he leans on yours. That is how you love your neighbor as yourself. And oh, what a joy it is to have friends who know your flaws and are devoted to you in spite (and sometimes even because) of them.

Fulfilling All Righteousness

03/15/23

The Gospel of Matthew records that when Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptized by John, the startled Baptist told Him, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus responded, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

God, when He took on our humanity in the person of the Son, did not exempt Himself from the most humble requirements. From these poured great graces. In the case of the Baptism at the Jordan, after it was accomplished, the heavens opened up and the voice of the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

So it was with Christ from the start. As an infant, He was taken to be purified according to the law of Moses. Imagine that! The Eternal Son, through whom all things are purified was, Himself, taken to be purified according to temporal (though divinely appointed) ritual. When He taught at the Temple as a 12-year-old, Scripture records that he went down to Nazareth afterwards with Mary and Joseph, and was obedient to them. It does not say that the Man/God pretended to be obedient to them, but that He WAS obedient to them.

It is easy to fall into the devil’s trap of believing, when you have accomplished a few things, that you are too important to worry about the little things. But doing the little things well is where grace most abundantly manifests itself. It is a common, but errant, assumption that obedience is the submission of the lesser to the greater. In Christianity, obedience to properly appointed authority in its proper exercise is a means of channeling grace, of clearing out the obstacles that clog it.

God, Himself, was obedient to the created humans He, Himself, had appointed to exercise authority over Him in His Incarnation. At the wedding at Cana, when Mary told Jesus they had run out of wine, He knew that to solve it, He would have to reveal Himself. He told her His hour had not yet come. Knowing Her Divine Son so well, Mary did not even argue with Him, but told the servants to do whatever He told them – assuming His obedience to her maternal authority and His charity for their friends. It has been a constant marvel to me that when Jesus said His hour had not yet come, and Mary said help them anyway, He deferred to her. His great heart opened up as a fountain of charity to their friends. There is a universe of startling wisdom in this episode, alone.

The Lord’s tender attention to the little things is mirrored in the behavior of those to whom He entrusted Himself. When Mary heard of her cousin Elizabeth’s dangerous, late-in-life pregnancy, she could have easily just assumed the Lord would take care of it directly. What concern was it to her? After all, she was to be mother of the Messiah. Instead, she went off on an arduous journey through the hill country to offer what help she could. Because of this, besides the first meeting between Jesus and John, both still in their mothers’ wombs, we have what I consider the most beautiful prayer ever composed by a created being: the Magnificat.

Again, what a universe of startling wisdom in this one episode! In this age where Herod reigns supreme, slaughtering innocents with unprecedented abandon, God makes clear that we are fully human and fully His from the very beginning.

When the angel who had confided to Joseph the truth about Mary’s unorthodox pregnancy – and God’s call to him in raising this Divine Child – now warned him of the danger Herod presented to the child, Joseph did not wring his hands in worry over whether he should take it seriously or not. He uprooted their lives and fled to Egypt with them until the danger was passed.

I have had the good fortune to accomplish a few good things. It can sometimes overwhelm me with busyness and distraction. I do not worry that I am going to fail at the bigger things before me. I do the little I can and entrust God with the rest. What fills me with fear is that, distracted by all the details of my work, I will miss giving the encouraging word to one God has sent to me or has crossed my path unobtrusively when they most need it. For I know that in the little things, God’s most abundant cornucopia of grace is to be found.

When I am given a legitimate directive that contradicts my will by one legitimately set in authority over me, I chafe a little because of the low concupiscence that is endemic to our state here. But the better part of me finds my security in living well within the order that God, Himself, has set up for us all and which He, Himself, lived well while physically walking this earth. If we would live well, our souls must not magnify ourselves, but the Lord. It is in attention to the little things and docility to the order He established that we participate in fulfilling all righteousness.

Our Daily Bread

02/28/23

One of my Mother’s favorite snippets of Scripture was, “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34) I like it, too. The thrust of it is to spend less time worrying about tomorrow, lest you ignore the challenges of today and, in doing so, make the challenges of tomorrow even greater. All we are given is the moment before us. How we handle that plays a huge role in how our lives play out.

All too often we worry so much about getting everything just perfect that we never get around to getting anything actually done today. Such worry can sabotage even the best of plans. Imagine yourself on your own for the first time, at age 18. It occurs to you that, if healthy, you will live at least to 80. It would be foolish to try to gather up all the food you will ever eat in one fell swoop so you never have to worry about that. Shoot, even if you could accomplish it, a lot of the food would spoil or go bad before you got to 30. As it says in the Lord’s Prayer, “give us each day our daily bread.” If you focus faithfully on the little you need and the little you can do each day, you will be well prepared for the greater challenges over the course of your life.

What is our daily bread? It is both physical sustenance – and spiritual sustenance. If you worked in the heat of the day each day and neglected to eat, you would faint. I found, during my pilgrimage, that in sustained, extreme circumstances, hunger presents itself differently than just as pangs and cravings in your abdomen. One morning, while hiking relentlessly uphill on a steep grade, I found myself exhausted. I couldn’t understand it, as I had slept just fine the night before. I sat to rest and grabbed a yogurt-frosted granola bar out of my pack. That perked me right up. I was fine. Eating irregularly, I found for the duration of my pilgrimage that hunger first presented itself to me as fatigue. Go without any food at all and, by the third day, it is all you can think of. We need our daily bread daily to function properly.

But what about our spiritual daily bread? If we don’t take time to go to the Master for a while each day, might the same sort of effects begin happening spiritually that define physical hunger? Does your spirit get fatigued? Do you get more snappish and surly? Could that not be a sign of spiritual fatigue because you hunger for your Daily Bread? Of course, spiritual hunger is more subtle than physical hunger. We do not even know for what we hunger. Go too long without your spiritual bread and you are liable to try looking in the wrong places to fill the growing holes in your essence, forgetting that it is only the Living Bread that can fill these holes.

I am not suggesting you must live some exhaustive daily spiritual regimen to get your Daily Bread, any more than I would suggest you must spend all day at the buffet to satisfy your physical hunger. My philosophy is pray and do. Eat and work. Ora et labora. It is not an event, but a process. Food gives you strength for your work and work gives you appetite for your food. Neglect neither.

All my life, some people try to dazzle me with the magnitude of their big plans. What dazzles me is the consistency of little plans, the mundane cycles of every day we live with love, fortitude and resolve. From such little disciplines, faithfully lived,  come big results. When we think we can do nothing unless we do something big and grandiose, we fail to trust God. God multiplies our little efforts when we intentionally do them in His presence. So to worry overmuch is to fail to trust God. As it is written in Isaiah 55:10-11:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Trust God. Do the little you can right in front of you – and do it faithfully and resolutely. Sufficient to the day is your daily bread… and your Daily Bread. Grandiosity comes from the evil one.

Making the Lame Walk

02/15/23

I sometimes ask the Lord why He did not allow things to come to a head for this storm while I was younger and all my moving parts worked the way they are supposed to. It sure would have been a lot easier on me. But then it occurs to me that persisting through my struggles is a sign of hope to many. I mask my frailty and my chronic pain pretty well, but people can see how I often struggle with simple physical tasks. And then it becomes both a sign of hope and a prod to them. After all, they figure, if old Charlie can persist, so can they. I was thinking last week that sometimes what cripples us is simple fear over how big and hard the challenges before us are. So if I inspire someone to action by my persistence, aren’t I participating with the Lord in helping the lame to walk?

None are so deaf as those who will not hear. Yet if we ask questions that force ideologues to confront the internal contradictions of their narrative, aren’t we participating with the Lord in helping them to hear? First they hear themselves. If they have any decency, they are embarrassed – and then they can begin to hear others in their effort to cast off the shame of their constant cant.

None are so blind as those who will not see. Yet as the ideologues in media, big tech and social media are losing their jobs in massive numbers because of the depredations they have forced on all of us, doesn’t it force them to see beyond their sloganeering to the actual effects of their ideology?

It is a funny thing about a great train locomotive. When it is stopped, it takes an enormous amount of effort and persistence to get it going. But once it is going, it takes an enormous effort and great persistence to stop it.

Leftist ideologues have been expending enormous effort for generations to put a stop to the policies, faith and shared values that made America a great nation under God. Heaven knows that we are not just stopped right now; we are being pushed backwards into a dystopian medieval nightmare. It will take a lot of sustained effort to get this locomotive back on track and moving forward. So what is our call?

With persistent fortitude we are called to get those shouting silly platitudes to hear; to get those blinded by ideology to see the world as it is and as it can be under God; to inspire those frozen by lassitude to new hope and new action, doing the little right  in front of them. We are called to go forth and participate with the Lord in giving new sight to the blind, new hearing to the deaf, and making the lame to walk – all in service to Our Lord and to each other.

We ask the Lord for a miracle. Now He whispers to us, “You be the miracle.”

Make Your Life a Command Performance

01/31/23

I knew a very honorable man a few years ago who was caught in a predicament. His father had deeded over his real property to him in preparation for a time of possible diminished capacity of the older man and to facilitate the younger man handling the estate. All in the family had concurred with, or at least accepted, the decision as a wise one.

The time came when this young man called me. His dad wanted to make a move requiring the son’s acquiescence that might have possibly severe negative consequences, including leaving the old man ultimately homeless. So I told my friend he should make like Nancy Reagan and just say no. And there was the rub.

My friend had already tried to change his father’s mind without success. Now the decision was his, and he was afraid his family might think he was just greedy to keep the property whole for his own inheritance if he refused. Now I understood. I told him that this was exactly the sort of temptation the devil tries to contrive especially for honorable men. They are focused on doing the most right thing they can – but what happens when the most right thing they can think of appears to many to be a wrong or selfish thing? Will they do the wrong thing that looks right in order to appease men, or will they stand firm even if they look bad to the world for a time? (Of course, this presumes they have done a serious self-examination first – and have concluded that the decision they would make is truly the best for those in their care and is part of their own legitimate authority.)

This is where so many get tripped up. What do you do when the most right thing you can think of looks wrong – or when a great wrong looks right? That is when you find who you truly are. Will you voluntarily accept the slings that will surely come your way in order to do right, or will you take the cheap applause that comes from doing what you know to be wrong but looks okay?

It is fitting and proper that we should show due respect to the opinions of those around us. If not, there would be no need to be as “wise as serpents and as gentle as doves” as Christ commanded us. Popular approbation is necessary to mount any great public endeavor – and at times, that is needful. But sometimes we stand at the edge of a decision that, however tempting, might put those we have taken responsibility for (either formally or morally) in far too much risk. In those situations we need to make sure that we are exercising only the legitimate authority we have been given. If God refuses to impose His will on us, who are we to impose it on others?

There are times when we must decide who our primary audience is. In a moral crisis do we act to please men or to please God? If we choose God, we must act knowing that He does not approve of us squandering our credibility with self-righteous posturing. He does not approve of us setting ourselves up as gurus to direct the consciences of other men on matters where He has given them moral agency. But on matters where we have been given authority over other men’s affairs, He expects us to exercise that legitimate authority for their benefit. We must choose to make our whole lives a command performance before God – for that is what it is. This is our audition for heaven. Don’t blow it by hamming it up for the crowd, nor by treating those given into your care for a time with contempt or indifference.

I walked through the details with my friend and became convinced that what he thought was the right decision was, in fact, the most right decision he could make. So he made the decision, disappointing and angering his father. He did, indeed, suffer some withering criticism from a few others in the family. But after about a year, his father was deeply grateful to him for protecting him from what would have been a terrible error. While his critics in the family had little to say, all saw, in this realm, the wisdom of his father in originally appointing him steward over the father’s affairs and the son’s wisdom in administering that stewardship. In this case, he aced his audition for heaven by living his command performance seriously and with moral fidelity.

It is not an easy thing being a serious Christian, but it is our calling. Always remember who your primary audience is and you will find it easier to make hard decisions. God is watching with interest.

Be the Benefit - Fruit That Will Last

1/10/23

In the last two and a half years, CORAC has cobbled together a host of benefits for our members to help all thrive in good, bad or even terrible times by working together to develop key skills with each other and sharing them. CORAC has put together a host of videos and seminars highlighting home and frontier skills, such as foraging, butchering and preparing game animals, safe food preparation, basic self-defense, strategies for simple but effective heat stoves, canning, and safe storage of dried foods.

While government and public health authorities were busy suppressing effective Covid medications, CORAC was helping people obtain Ivermectin and offering effective protocols. Meantime, hundreds have taken – and taught – free courses on homeopathy, a medical system that has been used by St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta and was predominant in this country for many years.

As the government was colluding with big tech and big media to shut down dissent from preferred official narratives, even canceling people who had done no wrong, CORAC was working with others throughout the country to build a nationwide network of ham radio operators so that people could get reliable information in the event of a crisis.

In the different regions, CORAC has set up shelters and crisis centers – stocking them with food and medicine – in case of emergencies. They came in handy during the big hurricane that hit Florida last year.

CORAC’s Education Team has been building curricula and plans for Home School Co-ops that help people get out of failing public schools, and see that their kids get a real education whether we hobble along in this country or the bottom falls out of a failing governmental system.

Under the leadership of the Prayer Team, people of all stripes are being brought together to live their preferred devotions with each other or take Catechism Classes directed by eschatologist, Desmond Birch.

As things get darker, while we do occasionally curse the darkness, we are far too busy lighting candles to make the former our focus. We are about the business of knitting the frayed social fabric back anew, among those who are willing to work voluntarily together. We get the side benefit of making good, reliable friends throughout the country with our efforts. (I personally think that is the main benefit, but I prefer that people figure that out at their own pace.)

Anyone can join without charge and access all the materials CORAC has to offer. This year, I want to take it to a deeper level: you be the prime benefit to your neighbors.

When you join CORAC, recruit a God Squad in your own neighborhood or town. Look for things that need doing and then…do them. Find the elderly shut-ins who need some help with home repairs – and get a crew to help them. Maybe there is someone who needs help getting to the store once or twice a week. Recruit a crew of the willing and help them. Maybe a single mother or the caregiver of an invalid needs a break now and then. So help them. Check in with your local churches and synagogues and find out what the needs in the community are – and then help meet those needs. It can be as simple as reading to a child or as complex as building a new porch.

You will get the joy of camaraderie with your fellows as you share accomplishments – and build new friendships and community groups who will form a great bulwark against the ongoing decay of the social fabric. Truth be told, while the media shows a hugely divided public and the Federal government tries to inflame animosities between people, most folks are pretty nice. I travel the country and talk to strangers all the time – and they like to laugh and talk and help each other. Shoot, the other day I replaced the headlights in my car. Actually, I bought the headlights in an AutoZone. By chance, the manager of the store helped me – and then insisted on coming out to install them for me. When I tried to offer him a little extra after he was finished, he refused – and said he had enjoyed talking with me too much to take extra money from me. Let your soul, with Mary, magnify the Lord, that all may see and rejoice in the light.

Get your crew together – and let it multiply…right in your neighborhood. Hold meetings and barbecues. But for goodness sakes, don’t let it be the sort of bureaucratic meetings that have been the bane of modern existence for decades. I once suggested to a group that we just set a tape recording of our next meeting, then run the tape in an empty room every two weeks without any more meetings…because they were all the same blah, blah, blah anyway so why waste valuable time with such dead-end nonsense? Do rotating social events. Figure out what needs you are going to work on, who is in charge of each project, and then play some cards and chow down. The business part should take all of, maybe, 45 minutes.

Things are not holding together in our society anymore. But we can build anew, one brick at a time. Do not worry about all the things you can’t do. Just do the little you can that you find in front of you. If you do that with enthusiasm, trust me, your crew will grow and the territory of what you can do will grow with it. Just take the next right step, and many more will follow.

The finest mansion in town was built by putting one brick on top of another. I walked 3,200 miles on my pilgrimage across the country a decade ago by putting one foot in front of the other…doing 10-15 miles a day while relentlessly enjoying the day and the people I met during that day without fretting about the fullness of the journey, nor getting bent out of shape during the occasional detours that arose. We are neither building a mansion nor taking a long hike: we are building that shining city on a hill with each other to offer Christ. But the technique is the same. Focus on the next brick and the next step – and we will produce fruit that will last, even as the stilted, formal avenues collapse around us.

All in the Family

12/13/22

I have always loved Christmas. My Dad said I was the most frustrating of his kids in that respect. He liked to find what a kid wanted most for Christmas, then give everything out except that one gift (which he had conveniently hidden in another room). After the kid’s face fell, thinking he just wasn’t going to get it, Dad would “remember” one more gift. He just LOVED the delight on the child’s face when what they thought was lost was there all along.

One year I wanted a bicycle. So Dad carefully hid it. With both irritation and pride, he would tell people how my face never fell because I was too busy gleefully organizing the rest of the kids into playing board games after presents were opened. He finally gave up on getting my face to fall and went to get my bike. Bringing it out, he said I looked back, said, “Thanks, Dad,” and went right back to the game with my brothers. Of course, Dad illustrated the story with a lot of wild hand gyrations and facial mugs. He concluded by telling people that what I seemed most to love was Christmas, itself.

That was true. I loved the music, the food, the lights, the enthusiasm – and all the trappings more than anything else. Most of all, that God, Himself, came as a little baby to make common cause with us mesmerized me. I mean, how cool is that?!

Even as a little boy I would get mad at people who made it out as if Jesus were just God in a Halloween mask – and never really suffered or felt the pains and pangs, sufferings and longings that all of us did. For a time, I thought that the eternal son became man so He could see what it was like. Then I realized that He already knew, as He knows all things. Rather, He became one with us – and the lowliest of us – to make common cause with us. He did not come to rule us (that was already beyond dispute as the Eternal Son), but to be with us, to live in solidarity with us.

I have come to understand in a very deep way that, from the moment of His Divine Conception, the Eternal Son emptied Himself for a time and became fully part of the family of man. That is incredible – and brings incredible consequences. From the moment of creation, the satan had waged unrelenting war on man. With the Divine Conception, for the satan to continue this war was to make war on God, Himself, for God had made Himself one with the family of man.

It came full circle on the first Easter Sunday when Our Lord was resurrected. In overcoming death itself as a man, Jesus gave us the means – and an invitation – to become part of the family of God. The Angels are part of the Household of God – and highly favored members of that Household. But we are invited to be members of the family in that Household, full heirs of the Kingdom.

Most of us have family members who suffer from some disorder or dysfunction, often self-imposed. We do not pray for the destruction of that family member, but for their reclamation into the circle around the hearthstone. Neither do we willingly allow them to hurt other members of the family, but protect those innocently vulnerable members. We know the little foibles of our kin and make allowances for such. In fact, some of those little foibles are what bind them even deeper in our affections.

I hate pious-sounding but trite – and often errant – sentimentality. One of the phrases which irritates me to no end is when someone says we are all “children of God.” That is not what the Bible says. Oh, we are all created by God…and we can all become children of God. But we have a choice. We can follow God (or the good implanted in us if we lack sufficient knowledge of Him – for no one is bereft of the knowledge of the good implanted in him) or we can become slave of our own appetites. As it is written in John 1:12, “…to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” Before Christ, all could be followers of God. With Christ, all can become children of God. (Nothing is lost

in God’s economy. All are alive to God – and all those who walked this earth before Christ came gained power to become children of God when He came.)

But you can become a child of the satan by rejecting God, either overtly or through your actions. Contrary to popular belief, the only kingdom the satan will ever have is this world – which is part of why he wars so relentlessly against those who embrace God. Choose to lie, cheat, steal and oppress others for advancement in this transient kingdom, and you have chosen a dark father, indeed. I sometimes think the major difference between the satan and those who make themselves his acolytes in this world (either consciously or implicitly) is that he knows that all this is ultimately doomed – and those who choose it above all else are doomed with it. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be. How sorrowful to choose doom because it gives transient advantage!

Christmas is, first and foremost, a family celebration. It is a time of epiphany when the family of God and the family of man become one. But we are only given power to choose our place at the family table, not forced to sit there. Let us reflect this Christmas on the magnitude of the dignity and joy our Lord has won for us – and resolve to bring more people joyfully to the family table, without ever enabling the evil that assaults them. Let us pray that the Lord will make of each of us a divine spark, carrying the light of Christ far and wide throughout the world, giving new hope, new joy, new resolve, new love to all who encounter us. Let us resolve to bring more out of the cold into the warmth of the family of God. For He has given us power to become heirs in His Household.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

To Accomplish A Lot, Do A Little

11/29/22

Back when I was doing serious politics I had a reputation for taking a lightly known candidate and making him into a winner – or at least a serious contender. Some thought there was some magic or genius involved. Certainly, I was a competent strategist and tactician. But the heart of the matter was much simpler, something anyone could do, but few would actually try. It was simply to do something tangible right from the start.

Candidates going into statewide or even Congressional races spend an inordinate amount of time planning – and doing nothing else while they are planning. That seemed stupid and inefficient to me. If you are planning this big, grand design on something you are building from the ground up, you are likely to add a whole bunch of things that sound good but don’t accomplish much. Gambits that are time-consuming with little return are the most inefficient things you can do. Doing and planning work best when yoked in tandem.

It seemed to me that if you start off doing the little you can, even if you are fuzzy on the big picture, the things that are really needful will make themselves obvious organically. You will not end up with a lot of useless whistles and bells attached to your organization. Each level of growth will reveal the organic needs for the next level.

Most people were very uncomfortable with this seemingly helter-skelter method. Even with great results, only a handful realized that it was incredibly efficient and lean – even after the fact. We have been brainwashed to believe that heavily regimented, bureaucratic systems are the most efficient when, in reality, they are among the least efficient methods of operation. Obviously, there was a LOT more involved, but without this simple first principle, putting together big, comefrom- nowhere, or come-from-behind campaigns would have been impossible, no matter how well we did the other things. I had my share of flubs and fumbles, but it was never for failing to do anything.

The world is in a lot of trouble. The crises are overwhelming. It is hard not to be shaken or even paralyzed right now. Do NOT fall into the trap of thinking things are too big. I think one of the dumbest, seemingly pious statements people make is that, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Seriously?! He does it all the time. The truth is God never gives you more than HE can handle. Often, He does this to try to prod you into actually turning to Him. Right now, He is doing it on a global scale.

Remember who our God is. He revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Man/God who, faced with a hungry multitude, took a few little fish and a crust of bread that some brought to Him and then fed the multitude their fill. Ours is a generous God when we give Him even a tiny bit of our trust. He knows very well that we will never have more to offer him than a fish or a crust of bread – but with that humble offering, He can and will feed the world.

So don’t worry about all the things you can’t do. Instead, do the little you can that is right in front of you. Spend time with your family and spread a little simple happiness. Pay attention to who around you might be struggling. Don’t take them on as a project – just make a casserole and spend a little time with them. Every time you do a little thing to brighten what is right around you, to give a little joy, you are offering a little fish to the Lord. And Our Lord takes it and, in His generosity, incorporates it into His plan to renew the face and faith of the earth.

I reckon I don’t have to tell anyone here that you should not deceive yourself that you can save our bleeding world. Neither should you be like the fellow who buried his talent in the ground for fear of losing it. Just do the little you can. We are called to be the people who live Matthew 25:37-40:

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

The Lord tells us clearly what He expects from us. Just do the little you can and you will accomplish a lot. Never be unwilling to do the little you can.

Our Hope: Locally Prepared, Heavenly Sourced

11/01/22

An old political bromide advises candidates that, “all politics is local.” This is something it is far too easy for candidates, particularly those running for legislative seats, to forget. People love to yammer on about big, abstract issues while neglecting the more mundane, basic ones. People want to know how you are going to improve their lives.

The first Congressman I ever worked for was the late Robert McClory of Illinois. I drove him around, wrote some speeches for him and did some legislative work. We would kick around policy and strategy as we drove the district every weekend. McClory was something of a moderate, non-ideological Republican, book-ended by conservative firebrand Phil Crane to the southeast and progressive firebrand John Anderson to the west. It was a fairly conservative district. He taught me something important about how to maintain a solid re-elect margin in a district where you are a slightly uncomfortable fit. It was constituent service.

McClory was not a particularly harsh taskmaster, but there was one thing he was deadly on. Every one of us who worked with him were expected to have notepads and pens with us wherever we went. If a constituent had a problem we were expected to get all the details on it – and he focused like a laser on solving it. Most of them were related to social security, but it didn’t matter to him what it was, including things that were not at all within a Congressman’s purview. He figured folks needed someone to listen, to care, and to navigate the bureaucracy for them. If it was a state issue, he would contact the appropriate authority and stay on top of it until they had it resolved. If you bobbled a couple of constituent requests, you could go do something else. It worked. People loved him, even if they didn’t love all his positions.

The late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (the original) had a similar ethos. He like to say that, “good government is good politics, and good politics is good government.” Daley gave operatives in the Chicago machine a lot of latitude, but he was adamant that basic services – garbage pickup, snow removal – be attended to with dispatch. A precinct captain that wasn’t getting that done soon found himself outside looking in. For all the mythos about the Chicago machine, folks who lived in Chicago in those days knew that if you called your local precinct captain, you were going to get results – and quick results, to  boot. That was the primary foundation of the Daley machine. Of course, those days are long gone and Chicagoans still vote reflexively Democrat even as the city sinks beneath a tide of violence and debris.

As we go forward with CORAC, I want more and more emphasis placed on local action. We have set forth our religious and philosophical aims with clarity. We have set up a LOT of committees helping people with health and wellness, sustainability, communications, prayer, emergency preparedness and such. Now we need CORAC members everywhere to see themselves as ambassadors – or old-style precinct captains; people who watch for problems and help their neighbors to solve them.

I want, in the coming year, for CORAC members across the land to make contact with your local priests, pastors and rabbis. Find out where the needs are. Get a team of volunteers together. If there is an elderly couple needing some help with a home repair, get people from the team out to do it. If someone needs a ride into town occasionally, get someone to help. Some folks are just lonely. It would be nice to have people who could visit and chat, say a little prayer, have a cup of tea.

When I was a kid in elementary school, I loved visiting the old folks around the neighborhood. I’d make my weekly rounds. I was amazed at how glad they always were to see me. The Luckels always had a fresh batch of Brach’s soft candy in a bowl set out for me. Mrs. Thompson always had tea and cookies out for me…and on and on. I thought it was cool how welcoming they were to me, just a little kid. And they had the greatest stories. Mrs. Thompson told me how her family had come to Illinois from back east in a covered wagon in the late 1800’s. Can you imagine that? I was fascinated by them…and they liked me. It was not until after I was grown that I understood that they were both kind – and lonely. It was nice to realize that the joy they gave me by their kindness also gave them joy by my interest and lively questions and conversation.

What we are about, more than anything else, is knitting together anew the fabric of a healthy society. That is accomplished by being there for a multitude of little things. It is a kind of pointillistic painting, a whole series of tiny encounters and kindnesses coming together to reveal a much larger pattern – the pattern of a healthy, loving society under God. It is not particularly glamorous and will not feed any delusions of grandeur. It is, however, incredibly joyful as the sphere of souls you love, and souls who love you back, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It is the stuff that sustains people through whatever comes. Friends who care for each other are what makes the world go round.

So go forth. Let us be known far and wide as the people who do stuff…and may our tribe increase, under God, and with joyful resolve. Make friends who can count on you – and you will be able to count on them.

Keep It Simple

10/17/22

In order to maintain the illusion of control in times of great stress people tend to concoct elaborate explanations for why things have gone so wrong and to develop equally elaborate and grandiose schemes for how to set them right. All this accomplishes is to internalize a false narrative about what has happened while developing an elegant scenario for how to right it – a scenario doomed to failure from the start.

Peaceful times are like canoeing on a lake. You are in control and can steer wherever you want to go. Tumultuous times are like coming down a violently moving river and shooting the rapids. In the latter times, seeking absolute control is the most likely thing to cause you to capsize. What is important is your ability to see what you face as you face it, and to react to sudden obstacles with dispatch.

I’ll be blunt. We are not in the position we are in because of an 800-year-old Masonic conspiracy or because of Vatican II or because of the Bilderbergs. People’s minds always want to impute massive, coordinated machinations to powerful, shadowy groups that have spent decades or even centuries preparing and executing their nefarious plans. The simple truth is that this is the human condition. Faith and honor weather tribulation quite well – even growing stronger in the midst of it. It is peace and prosperity that is our Achilles’ heel.

During tribulation, people eventually realize that things are too big for them and learn anew to rely on faith to sustain them. Though it is often to their surprise, they discover it works. In prolonged periods of peace and prosperity, ambitious second-rate minds are seduced into believing that they are the architects of it all – and kick God to the curb along with honor and humility. They are invariably shocked when they find that they do, indeed, reap what they sow.

There is an evil mastermind – the satan. Oh, how he delights in seducing those ambitious, second-rate minds into believing that they built the blessings God conferred. (The first fact-check was when the serpent, in the Garden of Eden, told Eve that contrary to what God said, she would NOT die if she ate of the forbidden fruit, but would instead become like God herself. After all these millennia, ambitious, second-raters are still falling for variations on the same theme. And they think themselves smart!)

Over the course of my life, I have been invited into a couple of those big, shadowy secret societies. On each occasion, I have had to struggle to keep from laughing out loud. They are not composed of masterminds, but of willful, scheming, vain mediocrities. They don’t know that the only possible outcome of their intrigues is death.

Wisdom is to acknowledge God, see where you are, take the next right step to where you would like to be, and comfort those on the journey with you. Leave the rest to God. This is simple to describe, but brutally difficult for people to live in practice. We all want to know the inside scoop and feel like we are in control.

Keep it simple. Avoid delusions of grandeur and of heroic prowess. Do the little you can that is right in front of you for yourself, the people you love and the people you encounter along your way. When you keep it simple, you invite God to emerge and lead the way. Until you change and adopt the faith and trust of little children in following the Master, you are not there yet. Keep it simple and, I tell you, God will emerge, He will reveal Himself, and He will rescue you even though you walk through the valley of death.

Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That really is the sum total of my philosophy. The rest is just detail. Keep it simple.

Be Not Afraid

10/04/22

Throughout the Bible God tells us to be not afraid. Almost every time an angel appears to help someone, those are his first words. The very first words St. John Paul spoke to the world as Pope were, “Be not afraid!” The first words the archangel Gabriel spoke to Our Lady at the Annunciation were, “Be not afraid!” It is a central message throughout Scripture.

Now the world and the institutions people have relied on are rapidly and visibly crumbling. How do you confront that and manage to cast fear aside, embracing trust in God?

First, you must banish childish interpretations of “Be not afraid” that would make it to mean that nothing bad or scary will ever happen to you or that you do not have to do any work in response to God’s call – and replace it with a childlike trust in God as you go forth to do the work He lays before you. “Be not afraid” almost always precedes a command to get to work and provides the assurance that when you do, God will be with you.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the Lord did not promise him that there would be no challenges – even up to the Egyptian Army in hot pursuit of them up to the banks of the Red Sea. God promised that if Moses and the people would live fidelity to Him, He would be with them every step of the way. He was – and more than that. The Israelites’ fidelity to God was a fragile thing, often breached by their fear. God’s love for and fidelity to His people was steadfast and merciful. In fact, often the only thing standing between the Israelites and destruction was Moses’ determined fidelity, no matter how things appeared.

A little fidelity goes a long way with God. But it never exempts anyone from having to grapple with fearful – even mortal – dangers. Rather, “Be not afraid” directs us to the only approach that will sustain us as storms rage over us with howling fury. There is little reason to have to reassure people when nothing scary or fearful is on the horizon. Assurance is most needed in the most frightful times and circumstances.

“Be not afraid,” then, is not a trite assurance of blue skies and smooth sailing, but a command to go forth into the storm with the assurance that God is with us if we keep focused on Him. It guides us on what our approach to the storm must be. Both panic and courage are contagious. If, by your trust in God, you confront terrifying challenges with the confidence borne of that trust, you will inspire many to do the same. Alas, if you panic and flee the battle, you will frighten many into doing the same – while betraying your own lack of faith. Your steady courage under extreme duress is a profound sign of hope to everyone around you.

Do not think I mean to say that no harm will ever come to you. When you trust God fully, that means you trust that whatever happens to you in His service will help advance His plan and gain more souls to heaven. I get very annoyed with people who tell me piously that they want to be a martyr. I do NOT want to be a martyr. I hear it hurts. But I trust God. If that is the end to this world He has for me, I will go forth to it, griping and complaining about it the whole way. (I often complain to the Lord about the situations He prods me into – but I do it. I like to think all my grumbling about it amuses Him). Be not afraid is a divine call to action, with the assurance that you act in his service with your soul under His divine protection.

Be not afraid! God calls all men to salvation. Answer His call. Sound His call to all you encounter. Go forth. Be not afraid!

Fruit That Will Last

09/19/22

At the end of every article I write for my website, A Sign of Hope, I put a note that if communication were to go out for any length of time, people should meet on Saturday mornings at 9 am local time at their local Church.

Some have asked me what they are to do then. Obviously, if such an eventuality were to occur it would be because we were in some sort of crisis. I can’t predict the details of that crisis. The depth of it will vary from place to place. Will utilities be out, as well? Will you be in the dead of winter in the north? Or perhaps the height of summer in the south? Do you live in a desert with little natural water available? Or perhaps a city that has a lot of mouths and little food after the stores are cleaned out? It would be easy to panic when you are suddenly confronted with the unknown and unexpected – especially when you are not getting any information on what, exactly, is going on. To go from a culture where we deal each day with information overload to information deprival would be tremendously disorienting.

The purpose behind emphasizing this now is mainly that if communication went out, it would be difficult to initiate it then. At the heart of it is that, in a time of crisis, few things soothe people like seeing some friendly faces gathered to weather the storm together. This is propped up by the reality that, when people gather to work together, they discover they are more adaptable than they thought and good things can begin to take root. This has led to some questions about what people should do when they get there. I will touch on that, but more importantly, I want you to know how to think of these things in a clear, deliberate manner.

First, why churches? In times of crisis, people naturally tend to gather at their church. The people you are most like to find gathering at a church are the people most likely to set their fears aside enough so they can help each other and come up with approaches to weather the storm. Some have figured that I only mean Catholic churches. Hardly. My understanding is that, through whatever crisis we must surmount, all believing Christians and Jews, of whatever stripe, are to treat each other as full and equal partners in the work before us. If we do that well, God, Himself, will see to the unity after the storm is over. Further, we are to treat all people of good will, regardless of their faith or lack thereof, as true neighbors.

Over the years, at least a dozen fine Protestant assemblies have served as the venue for my talks. I am always grateful to them. There is no room for triumphalism here. The newly pagan world we are surrounded by in the West is deeply hostile to our Judeo-Christian heritage. It would utterly destroy us if it could. This a case when we must surely live Benjamin Franklin’s  words after the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “Now we must all hang together or we will surely all hang separately.”

Do not turn away supplicants simply seeking help. For a good 80 years before Constantine made Christianity a favored religion in the formerly hostile Roman Empire, the way had been paved because Christians had become noted for caring for all, regardless of religious affiliation, and offering real help. Christians had reduced pressure on the empire’s limited social resources by their care for all people in need – and Roman officials had already started turning a blind eye to the presence of formally forbidden Christians because of the good they were doing. In an important way, caring for all is a return to our earliest roots. We are not engaged in a puerile battle over doctrine, but a great work to help each other survive, grow and thrive even in the midst of great troubles. The way of the world leads to death and misery. The way of following God, even when we have some disagreements on how to interpret His word, leads to life and hope. We are His hands and feet on this earth.

Gather people in. If someone wants to make it a battle over exclusivity, rebuke them and, if they persist, expel them and advise them to form their own assembly. If someone wants to eat without contributing, do the same. But gather those who are willing to work together so that they may share in their gifts.

Because of the size of the country, some areas may have few people gathered together to start with. If so, keep combing the Churches until you have a working group. Other areas already have a large group of people already set on where to gather in case of emergency. Whether you have to glean first to gather people in, or already have a group willing to work together, here are some things you must get people to focus on and form working groups to deal with:

Communication: Once you have gathered people together, how are you to maintain communications with each other? Some may have ham radios, but that will be useful for larger issues and maybe getting news from other groups. You have to figure out how to keep people informed and how to reach each other in an emergency. Perhaps you agree to one area being a common square with a public message board. Perhaps you set up some sort of signal, like bells, for an emergency or to call an impromptu gathering. However you fit it for your particular needs and situation, you need to set up a system where people can be confident they know what is happening and can share ideas.

Assessment: You will need a working group to figure out what the priorities are in your area. A subtropical area will have dramatically different needs than a northern rural area. Modern homes are tightly sealed and made for air conditioning. Without power, they could easily become hot boxes that are death traps without modifications. Apartments in cities certainly will become such if there is no power or utilities. If you are spread out and there are marauders taking advantage of the situation, you may want to set up temporary housing in a field or patch of woods, where you can group and protect each other.

Food and Water: If you have ample groundwater or are blessed with nearby bodies of water, you will still need to figure outways to purify it and make it available to people in your group. Unfortunately, modern immune systems are largely crippled and not equipped to deal with the bacteria found in open water sources. Simply boiling it can solve much of that, but you have to have places and utensils to boil it with when there are no utilities – and then a place to store safe water. You will have to have people who are skilled in foraging or hunting and gathering – and then other people who are skilled in preparing it.

Tradesmen: You will need people who can fix things. People who can retrofit homes so they are not death traps in the heat or can be safely heated in the cold with no utilities.

Leadership: First, get groups meeting the specific needs from your assessment. After you have met a few times you will have a sense of who has the greatest organizational skills and who has the capacity to fill others with confidence that you can all thrive together. Choose a board of elders to help coordinate your burgeoning efforts and guide the community.

Above all, adjust as you go, based on your changing needs and the difference between what your initial perception of the problems were and what the reality shows them to be. Cast off the bureaucratic mindset that adopts rules and holds fast to them mindlessly even when it becomes clear they do not fit the community’s needs. You need to build strong, but supple, muscles – both in your body and in your mind.

I have been working diligently to develop a system for scrip – how to develop local emergency currencies to keep your community working smoothly and ever expand your outreach. I will write about that in a few weeks.

When I went on my pilgrimage, I did very little to prepare, trusting that I would figure it out as I went along. I was about 800 or 900 miles into it when I realized that if everything collapsed tomorrow, I would be able to weather the storm. I knew how to find shelter and how to find food. My early fears had been replaced by confidence that I could do this. I tell you, so can you.

Mansion Builders

09/05/22

In each of the Synoptic Gospels Jesus chides His sleepy disciples for not being able to “keep watch” with Him for merely an hour as He prayed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. While Jesus is clearly annoyed, what is striking to me is His indulgence of their weakness and their complete cluelessness of what was about to happen – despite all He had told them over the past three and a half years. There is almost an affectionate resignation in the Lord’s attitude, mildly annoyed that they are not ready yet, but confident that they will be, after the convulsion that will soon follow.

Why would He not be confident? The Lord had carefully laid out the infrastructure they would need to make their stand when their time came. Even as they did not yet understand which were the most important elements of that infrastructure or what, exactly, the Lord had been doing, He had molded them into the shape of what they would need to be. All that was left was for them to be forged in the fires of the next three days.

Many among us note that so very many people cannot see what is coming (actually, what has already begun). That’s true enough, but I hope that people who are working to prepare for themselves and others are wise enough to keep two other things in mind. First, to imitate Jesus and treat those who do not see how stark things are with affectionate, if mildly annoyed, resignation that they will stand when they have to – because we have helped prepare the way. The second is to know that, with the disciples, we do not know as much about where we are as we think we do. Remember that, as Jesus prepared to go up to Jerusalem while serious plots against him multiplied, Thomas wearily said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16). The disciples thought they were prepared for what was to ensue, but for a while they, too, were scattered in panic and disbelief.

(I say nothing here for survivalists, for whom I can scarcely hide my contempt. I admire the many people who use what they have now to prepare help for others later – including themselves – but not for survivalists whose only thought is how to take care of themselves. They are like the man who buried his talent in the ground and gave it back on his master’s return with no gain. (Matthew 25: 14-30) The Master took what that man had and gave it to another who had worked through the difficult days to bring a return for the Master’s return. As the Lord said, for those who congratulate themselves on their self-centered ‘prudence,’ there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.)

At CORAC, we busy ourselves preparing the infrastructure and the way for people to work together to renew the Kingdom of God in the world even as the kingdom of man visibly falls. Even as we set our hearts and minds to do so, we too, are likely to be surprised, scattered and disoriented for a time at the shocking moment the clash erupts. That’s okay. For seven full weeks after the Resurrection, Jesus frequently appeared among His disciples to help gulf the chasm between their expectations and the reality of what was happening. He helped them get their sea legs to begin to evangelize the world with the Gospel, the Good News. I often contemplate the joyful wonder and amazement of the disciples at the Ascension as they realized what they had thought just a few weeks back was the end, was actually the beginning.

In John 14:2 Jesus tells His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” What a privilege to be called by God to build mansions for His people, recruiting many with renewed hope to occupy them. That is the joyful task before us. As we rebuild many neighborhoods of God, we contribute to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Yes, the workers are few, but as the tremors and clashes and shocks of these destructive times mount, many will eagerly join us in the work of building neighborhoods of mansions to the Lord. Let’s get to it. The harvest will be plentiful.

Love Among the Ruins

08/22/22

The relationship between the apostle Peter and Jesus is instructive for how we should behave in these times. When Jesus came walking on the sea, He beckoned Peter to walk out to Him. So long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. As soon as he let the fearsome wind and waves become his focus, he began to sink. The Lord does not promise us that we will not face daunting obstacles – even obstacles that we have no capacity to surmount. He does promise that so long as we keep our focus on Him, He will uphold us.

When many followers abandoned Jesus after He would not soften His insistence that they must eat His body and drink His blood, the Lord asked His disciples if they would leave Him, too. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter did not pretend he could understand the depth of what Jesus spoke of. It was enough for Him to now that Jesus was Lord and would tell them true even when they did not understand.

After the Resurrection, Jesus sat with Peter and asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter said yes all three times, becoming quite dismayed that the Lord did not immediately take his word for it. At each of Peter’s three affirmations, Jesus ordered him, “Then feed my lambs.” The Lord was telling Peter that if he loved Him, he would show it by his actions and not just his words.

I have been thinking of when I was driven off the road on the interstate coming out of Amarillo a few months back. Though my car spun out of control doing a complete 360 degree turn and crossing four lanes of traffic at 75 miles an hour, I was completely unharmed, and my car only suffered the automotive equivalent of a nosebleed. I think in that moment, I was walking on water towards the Lord.

Though many do not yet fully grasp it, our Republic is lost. It is already a police state. The only reason we are not all already under arrest is because there are so many of us who are faithful and conservative, and there are not enough federal police to take all of us at once. It is stormy and getting stormier. So what are we to do?

First, keep our eyes on Christ. Despite the wind and waves, He will uphold us on our way if we keep our eyes on Him. Do not judge by human appearances.

Second, we cannot understand the depth of what He intends. Trying to grasp His mind is like trying to capture the ocean in a juice glass. But it is not necessary. We are only called to believe in and to trust Him at each step we take. Now we find how far our trust extends.

Third, we are called to live the prayer of doing, to feed His lambs. If we are unwilling to do that, we are lying to ourselves when we say we love Him.

The anti-God left is determined to reduce Western civilization to rubble. They do not know what they do, but they are succeeding. It may well be that the disorder has metastasized and is terminal. But nothing is terminal with Christ. It is from the midst of the ruins that our love for Him, demonstrated by our love for our neighbor, will rebuild a healthy culture of love and civilization. Keep our eyes on Him; trust Him even when we do not know the way; and feed His lambs. Do all these things through the course of this storm and our society, itself, will become a foreshadowing of the promise Our Lord gave us: it will be resurrected in His good time.

All we have to do is resolve to live love among the ruins.

Call On The God of the Gaps

08/08/22

When I became a single parent long ago, I drove myself nuts for a long time. If I was working enough to support my kids comfortably, I wasn’t spending enough time with them. If I was spending enough time with them, I wasn’t working enough. I agonized over this for a year, struggling and praying to find the right balance. Finally I gave up, conceding that there was no answer I could put together that covered all bases. I decided I would do the very best I could, and trust God to cover the many gaps I could not.

After that decision, grace took up residence in our little home. Somehow we became the center of the neighborhood, with kids always gravitating to our house to play – and asking to go with us on our many little day trips. Shoot, the neighborhood kids all wanted to go to Mass with us on Sundays. I decided they could take turns, two at a time, coming with us. Each week, whichever two got to come with us were so excited you would think they had just won the lottery. After a few weeks of bringing my kids and two random others each week, my priest asked if there was anything I needed to tell him. “Nah,” I responded, “Everything is fine. Just raising a couple of little evangelists.”

Grace only settled on our household after I recognized the problem was too big for me, and surrendered to God, trusting Him to cover the many gaps I would leave – because there really wasn’t anything else I could do. And it came in abundance. I still don’t know how it all managed to work. But it did.

In the last few months of my travels, I am hearing from many people about agonizing personal challenges that are bigger than they can handle. Some involve health issues, others family issues, and still others financial issues. It seems the devil is trying to soften people up for…something. He is gleaning the fields, looking for a few he might pick off to despair while he still has time to prowl the streets seeing whom he might devour.

A common statement says that God never gives us more than we can handle. Nonsense! That’s a mindless, chirpy statement that may quiet you for a bit, but you know quite well is not true. In fact, God routinely gives people – and particularly faithful people – more than they can handle. But He never gives people more than HE can handle. This is so common that I have come to think, over the years, that is one of His favorite tools to force people to rely less on themselves and turn their faces more definitively towards Him.

Shortly after Pharaoh did, indeed, let God’s people go, Moses and the Jews found themselves at the banks of the Red Sea with fickle Pharaoh’s troops in hot pursuit. Abraham set out for a promised land, wandering for several decades and then yet another for his promised son to be born. Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned by the Egyptians before he became a high-ranking official in that land. St. Monica prayed for decades for the conversion of her often wastrel, but brilliant, son, St. Augustine. Each of these people – and many more of great faith – were faced with many problems far greater than their ability to deal with.

What they did was to take the next right step in service to God and to those they loved – and in faith that God can surmount all obstacles. They all counted on God: heaven knows none of them counted on instant gratification. None of them were notable for carrying fewer burdens than their peers. If anything, they were notable for carrying more. Don’t even get me started on Job.

It is very noticeable now how very many heavy burdens many people are suddenly carrying. Do not let the devil seduce you into despair. Look with trust and confidence to the patriarchs who trudged along for 20, 30, even 40 years or more, with little to show for their efforts. It was their trust in God that sustained them and the same God ultimately brought improbably abundant fruit from their endurance.

Remember that yours is to serve God by taking the next right step, but that it is only He who will pen the outcome to your story. Has there ever been a hero who has not faced seemingly unbearable setbacks and loss? If there were, he would not be called a hero – just lucky. Heroes are forged in their response to trials.

God is calling you to be a hero. To forge you, He gives you things that are way too big and difficult for you to conquer. When you forge ahead anyway, trusting that God will do what He will with you to gain more souls for the Kingdom, your trust in God will grow with each step you take, even as you grieve over the trials that beset you. And when it is just too much for you, call on God to cover the gaps that you just cannot – and take the next step anyway.

It is of such stuff that heroes are made.

Proclaim the Kingdom

07/25/22

The only thing powerful enough to sustain a noble purpose until the end is love. Vanity won’t do it: it withers when it is not noticed. Vengeance won’t do it: it eats away at the heart until it has mutilated the soul. Greed won’t do it: the more it gains the more it craves, until there is no room left for any purpose other than greed.

All the motivations encompassed by the seven deadly sins are focused inward: how can I satisfy myself. They eat away at the self even as they are exerted. Love looks outward: how can I care for those around me. This is the beginning of love.

St. Augustine said, “You Have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Some insightful men have paraphrased this to describe a hole in the heart that can only be filled by God. The deeper your love for God, the deeper your love for your fellows, and the more you will trust that God knows how to handle all things most efficiently.

Unlike the deadly sins then, which only make the hole in the heart bigger and more insatiable, when you fill that hole with God, you are both satiated and filled with purpose. You progressively lose that, ‘what’s in it for me’ bug that the satan is always trying to inflame in you, and become consumed with keeping faith with God and, thus, your fellows – His people.

A noble parent will die eagerly to save his child. (And yes, I know to my sorrow, that some modern parents care little for their children except as fashion accessories). Expand the love you have for your children to as many of your fellows as you can and you tap into the unending source of fuel needed to endure all pains and surmount all obstacles in your quest for what is noble and what is true.

Everywhere I go, almost everyone I know is walking on eggshells, waiting for the bottom to fall out of the leaky tub we find ourselves in. Some get lost in the firehose of dysfunction that surrounds us, decrying each evil as if we could just end that one all would be well. It is like complaining that the faucet doesn’t work when the house is ablaze: true as your outraged observation may be, it is not terribly relevant to the issue at hand.

Others get caught up in nostalgia, hoping that if we could just get back to some critical piece of the good old days, all would be well. That drives some of the enthusiasm for the Traditional Latin Mass, something I have a lot of sympathy for. The reality is that many of the most faithful Catholics adore the Latin Mass – and in growing numbers. But it is a self-selected group. People like to go to the Latin Mass because many of the most orthodox people go there – and as things get crazier, it is where a lot of orthodox people feel most safe.

But back in the day, it was not a self-selection of orthodox folks. It was everybody – and the very disorders that bedevil us now took root and sprouted in the culture where the Latin Mass was the only option. As Shakespeare said, the problem is not in our stars but in ourselves. The problem has become not that a particular element is out of whack and that, if we can fix that, all will be well. Everything is out of whack. The house is ablaze – and fixing the faucet is not going to change that.

We are at the very edge of some cataclysmic change. It may not be as dire as I think it will be, but it will be comprehensive. The ship of state is not in for a tune-up; it is about to undergo a complete overhaul.

Now is the time to truly trust God and do the little we can that is right in front of us. Obsessing over a fragment of the disorder or yearning for a better time is not a way of dealing with the problem. It is a form of escapism that creates an illusion of useful advocacy.

I operate from the assumption that things are too far gone and all is coming down for a time. So I deal with those dysfunctions I can that are right in front of me, but my focus is on the things we will need and can do together to rebuild and renew under God after all seems lost. Figure out where you will get your basics – water, food, shelter – and how you can band together to extend those necessities to those around you. That is what will put us in position to grow together whatever happens.

It is fearful because we do not know exactly how it will all happen. But that is a feature, not a bug. God wants us to rely on Him more without failing to do the little that we can with our neighbors, with love for each other. Trust me: when we give him that little fish of our trust with the tiny part we can do, He will use it to feed a multitude. Divine love grows to fill our lives. We will do what we can BECAUSE we love, trusting that whatever outcome God allows will forward the Kingdom.

If I am to live, may I live for Christ. If I am to die, may I die for Christ. However God disposes things, with this sort of love, the Kingdom is unstoppable. Let us all go forth and bear fruit that will last.

The Times They Are a-Changin'

07/11/22

All pro-lifers have been celebrating the overturning of Roe v Wade. It is well that we should. Already, thousands of babies’ lives have been saved. As some have noted, though, this is the beginning, not the end of the battle.

The strongest pro-life organizations have generally been centered in red states. In many of those states, people will react by saying, “Mission accomplished!” as their legislatures ban or heavily restrict elective abortions. Yet the desperate need to enshrine the right to life in Constitutional law remains.

Up until 1861, some states acknowledged the fullness of the humanity of black folks and some did not. We now enter a similar situation to antebellum times: some states acknowledge the humanity of a vulnerable class of people; some do not. It can lead to a clearer geographic division than the era when the courts forced all states to allow (and even provide) abortions. Now the strongest advocates for the right to life are concentrated in states where it is already largely recognized. We must remain strong, but must also become more lithe and agile. I don’t know exactly how to best address this, but I am working on it. As Abraham Lincoln said, “As our case is new, we must think and act anew.”

The cultural landscape is changing all around us in ways we don’t yet perceive. As always, my advice in volatile times is the same as it always has been: be deliberate. Don’t be quick to jump to solutions just because they are new and sound good. Take the time to think through the likely consequences of any proposed solution – and some of the unlikely ones, as well. The world is in a mess because all too often we first act – and then think about the action as an afterthought. Think first, then act. We have a whole society of people running their carts before their horses and wondering why things are so messed up.

I think we will shortly see another change in how things work. I think it now pleases God to change the rules, subtly at first, but then more and more overtly. I think that very soon the most dangerous thing you can do will be to try to play it safe. The time is coming when your “yes” must mean yes and your “no” mean no, or God will confound and impoverish your calculations. That means the diplomacy you use must be calculated towards achieving the good without compromise with evil. That does NOT mean you must suddenly make everything into a morality play – pretending that any opinion differing with yours is evil.

If I am right, you will notice that more and more, people who rely on complicated schemes and double talk to maintain their “viability” are going to see those tactics routinely blow up in their faces. There will be great bafflement as people who have spent their whole lives manipulating events and language to their personal advantage find these tactics no longer work at all. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching Him in the first chapter of John, the Lord exclaimed, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.” It was a joyful and divine rebuke of a cynical age. I think the Lord is, once more, gearing up to rebuke a cynical age.

How best to prepare for it? The same way I have told you from the start: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to Those Around You. Contemplate this well and it will prepare you for the new era which is already begun.

Assume the Good Will of Others

06/19/22

One of the most deeply damaging psychoses of the modern world is to automatically assume the bad will of others when they disagree with you. Except for occasional crabby moments, I have always assumed the good will of all I meet – until they prove me otherwise. It has served me well. Many people who started off having animated words with me have become friends. A few are even close confidantes.

Decades ago, when I was a young local political columnist, I was seated next to the wife of a sometimes-controversial county Republican chairman. We were having a nice, lively chat when she started gushing about how much she and her husband loved my work. I thought it was probably true because they had refused to even talk to anyone from my group of newspapers before I came on the scene, but I was a bit puzzled. I asked her why that was, when I had probably criticized her husband more than any other single reporter in our market area. She was baffled for a moment and then earnestly said, “But you always treat us like real people instead of some evil cartoon. When you criticize, Bob (her husband) thinks of how to improve rather than how to get back at you. And you’re a lot of fun.” It pleased me and reinforced one of my central ideas from the time I started writing: never lose sight of the humanity of the people you cover.

I would have a much harder time of it today. In those days, believing that most people in authority wanted to do the best they could, but often stumbled, was a lot easier than today when so many – particularly on the left – think any vicious thing is justified in the pursuit of raw power. Even so, looking for the best in people until they prove they are hell-bent on the worst often brings out the best in them and serves as a nice cushion for what are merely stumbles.

Unfortunately the old Saturday Night Live running sketch, “Point-Counterpoint,” while comedy then, has proved to be prophetic in foreshadowing the modern style of public debate (though usually without the piercing wit).

In better times insults and ‘gotchas’ were primarily the province of dull-witted lowlifes who lacked the intellectual bandwidth to come up with a coherent argument. (I do not speak here of the cutting witty banter that has been an art form for ages). On a rough day, anyone could resort to toxic banter – but anyone with any breeding would have the wit and honor to apologize. And a real apology, at that, not some feeble attempt to mollify an angry mob. Today, such venomous banter is the norm. It is a great poverty.

Certainly, when times get harder people’s tempers get shorter. Heaven knows with inflation running rampant, food shortages looming, and winds of war whipping up around the globe, times have gotten much harder and people’s tempers much shorter, fueled by real anxiety for what the future of these dystopian times can possibly hold. Yet we are called by Christ to be the light of the world. We cannot be light while spreading darkness and assuming the worst of those who disagree with us.

The Most Important Thing

06/05/22

As things grow darker people often ask me what is the single most important thing they can do to prepare. I tell them to make as many real friends as they can. Alas, people often think I am speaking metaphorically when I am speaking literally – and vice versa. It is a constant challenge for me. Usually, I just let it go, expecting that they will figure it out soon enough. Folks think I am engaging in hyperbole, but I am dead serious.

Over my entire career organizing political campaigns and other movements, I have tried to pattern myself on the way Jesus did things. It is a poor imitation, but I like it a lot. Jesus put his emphasis on one-on-one contact and table fellowship. Even when I was running statewide campaigns, I spent a good half of my time getting to know people and…making friends. In one US Senate Primary where we were given no chance, I was in Tazewell County (just east of the river across from Peoria County) for a Lincoln Day Dinner. Normally, I had some locals take me from table to table to visit with everyone there. On this night, though, Don Totten, the campaign manager for our opponent, was there. So I told my team to stay seated: I would make the rounds myself. I went just ahead of Totten and his advance team. At every table I knew a good five or six people, at least, and greeted them by name, making a little small talk about their family or work.

We won that primary. A few months afterwards, I ran into Totten (who ran Illinois for Reagan in 1980) and we chatted. He told me that it was that dinner where he felt the first stab of fear that they might be in trouble. “If you could do that all over the state, I knew we were toast,” he said. I grinned and told him I could – and I wanted him to see that.

People constantly ask what the currency will be if everything collapses. They usually imagine crypto-currency or precious metals and stones. I think crypto-currency will be as worthless as a confederate dollar in a serious collapse. Currency stored in the cloud won’t do you much good when the only clouds that are working are cumulus, stratus and nimbus. Gold and silver will have some worth, but not near as much as people think. The currency that will stand in those earliest days of collapse will be the genuine friends that you know and care about – and who care about you. It is the network of souls around you that will sustain you as you do what you can to help sustain them, because you all love one another in the truest sense of the word.

There are all sorts of gimmicks you can use to create the illusion of power and influence, but these are all flimsies that will collapse with the first serious blast of wind. It is to build on sand. The friendships you make are bedrock that will withstand the toughest of storms.

Even now, I spend half my time on the road, meeting and getting to know folks around the country. It is labor intensive, for sure – but nothing tells people you care about them like traveling for hundreds, even thousands, of miles to visit with them. I have had groups of as large as 1,500 and as small as seven…and it is all a joy. The larger crowds are certainly flattering, but you can really have a great conversation with the smaller crowds. And with each visit, the network of souls we are knitting together grows stronger. Last year, at our national conference, I was deeply excited to see so many friends together in one place, but what I was most excited about was that so many of these wonderful people were going to meet each other for the first time. They saw what a joyful, determined group of people we had already become. To me, it was a foretaste of what things will be like after the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

So I motor around making friends across the country and building that network one at a time. It is a foundation that will last. And if the new currency will be the genuine friends you have, I will suddenly go from living poverty to being the richest man in the country.

Make friends and spend time with them. That will be the coin of the realm when things are at their worst – and, frankly, should be now. I mean it quite literally.

You Can Do It

05/22/22

When I was a little boy, my Mom sometimes let me mix the baby formula for my first two brothers. It was simple. She would use a can of evaporated milk (Carnation or Pet Milk), add a can and a half of water, and a dollop of Karo Syrup or honey. Voila! We had baby formula. By the time my last three siblings came along commercial formulas such as Enfamil and Similac were available and, by all accounts, better for the baby. Certainly, they were much more convenient.

It is certainly symbolic of the grotesque incompetence of the current executive authority that this shortage was caused by its own casual malice – a faux populism to stick it to the largest formula manufacturer under false grounds months ago while taking no action to make up for the shortfall…while taking pains to make sure there are ample supplies for the illegal aliens being welcomed across our former border. It was a major, senseless and unnecessary screw-up. And yet not a cause for panic.

Up until about 65 years ago there was no such thing as baby formula. Even so, babies thrived and grew healthily and happily. Some people are acting as if there is going to be some sudden and massive die-off of babies. There is no doubt that baby formula is best for infants – a real nutritional and medical advance, but it is not vital. For thousands of years babies grew and thrived without ever tasting commercial baby formula. I was once one of those infants. We need to stop, take stock, settle down and get ourselves clear on the difference between a crisis and an inconvenience. We are going to see a lot more of both.

Remember that we are sons and daughters of the pioneers, those brave souls who set forth in a covered (and sometimes uncovered) wagon to make their way west into the plains and mountains to make a new life for themselves and their families. They did not have baby formula, water purification systems, or much of anything we now consider vital necessities. Yet they populated everything in the country west of the Allegheny Mountains, through many toils and hardships.

When I made my pilgrimage across the country beginning eleven years ago, I had less material things than I ever have had in my life. I left with $50 in my pocket and a 70-lb. pack on my back. I had some ideas, but no experience in finding effective cover each night. I figured it out after a month or so.

I was amused at how many people, in the wild, looked at the water in a creek, river or lake and thought, “Death!” when our pioneer forebears looked at the same and thought, “Life!” One night, making camp by a river in Mississippi, I had to pull water from the river for I had emptied my bottles during the day with no other source of refills. It was spring and the river was chock full of tadpoles. It tickled me to write on my Abraham’s Journey Facebook Page that it made for a “wiggly drink.”

In cooler weather, I slept on the ground. It enhanced body heat. But sleeping in the woods, I often had to try to pull away significant underbrush to make a spot. Once I would lay down, the stubs of various little plants would dig into my back and make sleeping very difficult. At one point, I found a small pair of wire cutters along the road and picked them up to see if they might be useful for anything. Those cutters never touched metal after I picked them up, but it was the single best find of my year and a half trip. I was now easily able to snip away underbrush – and the plant stubs that dug into my back I would just snip at the roots. It made for a lot more restful nights.

There are a lot of modern conveniences that are going away, not to be common again until after the renewal of the faith and face of the world. Considering it a crisis when you can’t hold onto what was part of a dying system will only keep you in panic, and frozen when there is a way forward – the way that our great grandparents lived routinely. Do not mourn what is dying away. Rather, look with eager anticipation to what is being born – and count the inconveniences and hardships a bargain price to pay to be midwife to a gloriously renewed world. You can do it.

Through Wind and Waves

05/06/22

As the waves of our tempestuous culture boil and churn with ever greater agitation and chop, the winds of change now howl around us with apocalyptic fury. At the time this is written, I do not know how widespread disruptions of Sunday Masses around the country will be. Certainly, the pro-abortion forces threaten to go after Catholics particularly to vent their blistering rage that they might lose their “precious.” Frankly, if pro-aborts want to blame Catholics for ending Roe v Wade, I’m kind of flattered – but wish there were more evidence to support our culpability.

It is now so clear that the top leftist and globalist officials in the West want to inflame the war in Ukraine that even Noam Chomsky says that the only major western figure calling for negotiation and peace anymore is Donald Trump. Didn’t see that one coming. Meantime, since the left figures they are likely to lose the ability to control the narrative with Twitter, the Biden forces have decided to set up their own Ministry of Truth (the Disinformation Governance Board) to police what Americans say. Waiting in the wings is the Div. of Environmental Justice in the (In)Justice Dept.

Ah yes, the wind and waves are whipping up, indeed. But they are distractions to what each of us who take our Christianity are called. Remember, St. Peter was doing fine as he walked across the waters so long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. It was only when he got distracted and scared by the wind and waves surrounding him that he started sinking. The devil is in a fury, shouting “boogety-boogety” at all of us in desperate hope that he can scare at least some of us out of our wits that we might start sinking beneath the waves. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

We can’t stop the left’s eagerness for war; we are probably going to be targeted for persecution by the self-proclaimed guardians of tolerance, and the wheels of effective national governance are grinding and squealing – about to pop a bearing or four. What we can do is stay focused on the simple things right in front of us. Start a garden. Learn to communicate via ham radio. Talk to a neighbor. Who knew that holding a backyard barbecue would become an act of defiance in America? We can continue to weave the bonds of friendship and solidarity with those people around us, forming a great spiritual prayer cloth to the Lord. But we can’t do it if we let the wind and waves scare us into forgetting who we are called to be – and sinking.

You will see many frightful things in the days ahead. But the only effective response to this is to do your daily work with trust that the Lord is carrying us to a peaceful cove at the end of this terrible voyage. The answer is what I have told you from the start – perhaps the most prophetic thing I have ever spoken: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to Those Around You. That will serve Christ and beat the devil.

Calling on the 300

04/22/22

I get asked from time to time about how people can sign up for CORAC and maintain their anonymity. For the most part, you can’t – and that is the way I want it.

Oh, we have more than a few “secret squirrels,” people who want to participate with us but, because of their position in the federal government or the Church, need to be discreet. The people who are officials or employees of the federal government are, in essence, behind the lines – and can sometimes offer critical information because of that. It is essential to maintain their cover or they could be ostracized or fired – and that information would be gone.

Inside the Church you will probably not be surprised to find that while some Bishops think I am a heck of a guy, there are also some who think I am a dangerous radical. Most Bishops are blissfully unaware of my existence at all. Maintaining confidentiality for allies who are in chanceries around the country can be useful to both them and to me – and it makes it harder for those who are hostile to know who to focus their fire on. Again, it can be a powerful conduit for useful information.

For a time I had connection to a very high-ranking official in the Vatican, itself, who I could get insight from. Alas, he is gone – but because of his orthodoxy, not because anyone figured out there was any connection.

There are a few other such situations, but not very many. The reality is that authoritarians in the West are trying to cover us like a shroud. But they have not secured their power. This is not Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia just yet. A key error ordinary people have often made when a malignantly evil force is trying to take over a country is to keep their heads low. That does not make most people any safer for more than a little while – and that comes at the cost of making it far more deadly dangerous for everyone just a little later on. While the issue is not settled, the thing most likely to keep tyrants from cementing their hold on power is for people to stand publicly against them. To do so right now just means you may face ostracism or harassment. Stormy weather.

To be brutally blunt, I don’t want people joining us who want to keep it a secret without a truly compelling reason. If you fill your ranks with the bold and the brave, when things get rough enough, some of them will slink away. That always makes a stand much tougher at a critical moment. But if you fill your ranks with people you know are going to abandon the cause as soon as the going gets tough, you sow the seeds of your own pitiful destruction.

I don’t think we are going to get to a situation where we have to behave like the French underground. If we do, we will adapt. But I do not want a situation where the organization could be toppled by just a few government or media bullies yelling, “Boo!” That just is not tactically sound.

There is another even more compelling reason for me. I have long said that this is a great battle between good and evil – and that I believe God intends we stand up and publicly declare ourselves. You can’t stand up and be counted in unless you actually stand up and publicly declare yourself. Our strength comes from standing with God and with each other. If all you have to offer is secret sympathy, you facilitate takeover by the anti-God left. If that’s your gig, just join the establishment wing of the Republican Party.

When God called Gideon to overthrow the Midianite oppression, at first, Gideon was very timid – and agreed to work with God so long as God would keep his name out of it. Those terms were NOT acceptable to God. Only when Gideon agreed, trembling and shaking though he was, to stand boldly, would God put His might behind the man. Once Gideon stood boldly, God steadily winnowed down the force he would fight with, until it stood at 300. Gideon was all-in by this time – and with that force of 300 men routed around 400,000 Midianite soldiers. Sometimes, when He finds someone willing, it pleases God to show off a little, to let men know in whose hand the battle really lies.

Now is the time, and God is, once more, winnowing the battlefield forces. Won’t you help the Almighty show off a little?

Start Chopping

04/08/22

The news has been replete, of late, with warnings of vast food shortages in our future. In the past few weeks, I have talked with some very serious people who have a much starker take on everything: that we are headed for a massive global famine within the next year and a half. Energy costs are causing input prices to skyrocket. Commercial fertilizer stocks are so depleted that two have told me they expect shipments to stop altogether by the end of this month.

You have got to give Joe Biden credit for a peculiarly perverse sort of skill. As hard as it is to be right most of the time, it is almost equally hard to be consistently wrong on everything – yet Biden has accomplished the latter metric. If things continue on this trajectory, if you are going to feed your family, you are on your own.

That means the time has come to start stockpiling emergency supplies of dried goods, such as beans and rice. If you can get a wood-burning stove installed in your home, get to it. The time may be on the horizon where the only fuel you can afford is the wood you can find and chop. Start looking around you for a source of water you can get to. After my parents moved back south, they lived, for a few years, in a home that had no electricity or running water. They got their water from a well in back – the kind in which you dipped a bucket. Several times a year, that well would dry up, Then they would take their flatbed truck to a spring a few miles away and load up fifty or so plastic gallon jugs.

The efforts of the federal government to extend its control into every aspect of everyone’s life is backfiring. If it is not checked, I foresee a time when there is no effective national authority at all. You may very well need to work with your neighbors and friends to set up effective local governments that work together to meet each other’s needs. You may even have to establish local means of exchange, that is, currencies. That is not as hard as it sounds: the American colonists did it routinely and it continued for decades after the revolution. The problem with barter is that it is too specific, exchanging one particular type of service for another specific type. If the one with the good or service you seek does not need or want the service you offer, you are out of luck. At its foundation, the establishment of a currency transcends this problem, for it is a measure of value for the goods or services you produce that can be generally used in the community for any good or service.

One can hope it will never get to this, but it is always better to be prepared than not to be – so long as you don’t make it an obsession. It is time to adapt your manner of thinking so you don’t go into hard times unprepared. With prudence, the advent of hard times presents challenges to be overcome. Without prudence, the advent of hard times can create debilitating panic.

Ever since my pilgrimage, I still frequently, almost by reflex, look around wherever I am driving to find places that would make for good cover if I needed it for a night. Time to build and refine your own reflexes in collaboration with your neighbors and friends.

A New Generation of Hope

03/25/22

I have been getting a lot of people in their 20’s and 30’s at my talks this year – and joining CORAC. Small wonder; it’s not like many other social avenues are offering a way to speak with genuine freedom and a means to express themselves through building something up, rather than tearing things down.

Back when I was a prominent statewide political operative in Illinois, young operatives would try to get to work with me because my reputation was that I didn’t care how old or young you were; if you worked effectively to deliver the goods, you were going to rise in any organization I ran. (I eventually found out that the young “Charlie people” from different campaigns would sometimes get together – and weed out any pretenders by saying some of my common but peculiar phrases. “Bloody hell!” was my phrase of surprise or exasperation and, “Talk to ya,” was often my way of ending a phone call.)

It occurred to me a few weeks back that the kids born on 9-11 will be 21 years old this year. (Man, it seems to me it took me a LOT longer to reach 21 than it has them!) It kind of staggered me to realize that they have never known an America that was fully free, encouraged initiative, and really worked to promote opportunity for all.

The America that people my age are nostalgic for has never existed for them, except in underground history books. Infact, ever since the early 90’s we have been constraining freedom and opportunity at an ever-accelerating pace until now, when almost nothing works in America. “Equity” instead of equality of opportunity has meant the progressive impoverishment of all – and watch what you say lest the mob comes for you. America is now governed by roving bands of rival warlords.

Chillingly, at a dinner near Washington, D.C., a man in his 20’s told me that he was glad to hear me say that; that I was the only person my age he had ever heard acknowledge it. But, he added, he and his friends talked about it a lot. It is not their time to step into predominant power, he noted, but when they do they intend to tear it all down. This was no wild-eyed revolutionary. He is devoted to his wife and kids and is deeply faithful. It shook me a bit to realize how clearly the best among the younger generation know how very badly we have failed – and even betrayed – them, both by the things we have done and the things we have failed to do, as it says in the Confiteor.

There are any number of organizations which encourage young people to express themselves by talking about what they are against and what they hate in others, degenerating into the feral, mindless rage of Antifa or BLM. We have to be the organization that defines people by what they are for and what they will work to build, while offering ways to do those things. Building a house is slow, steady work; not nearly as dazzling and quick as blowing one up. Shoot, you  could level several neighborhoods in the time it takes to build one house. But in the leveling, you cannot forge the bonds of friendship, camaraderie and accomplishment that come with patiently building one house.

I encourage you to actively start recruiting young people into your groups. Standing for faith, family and freedom will never be as transiently exciting as fire, mayhem and destruction. But young people are increasingly repulsed by the vandals who have bullied their way into influence and power in America. The young are hungry for people who can how and help them to bear fruit that will last. We failed by letting the vandals in to ravage the house that we built – but unlike the vandals, we know something about building. With a “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” let us forsake our decades of neglect and forge alliances with our young people to rebuild a just society that rewards initiative and works to create opportunity for all. That is fruit that will last.

If a Forest Collapsed Into Their Laps, Would the Media Notice?

03/11/22

As this is written, the massive People’s Convoy (the American trucker’s convoy) is circling Washington, D.C. several times a day. At one point I saw drone footage of the length of the convoy while it was in the Midwest. The person who posted the footage said it stretched for almost 90 miles. This is one of the biggest protests in American history.

How much have you heard about it from the establishment media? When the biggest protest in history happens under their noses, it’s all crickets in the corrupt American media – because it does NOT fit in with their preferred narrative.

If you do not know by now that the establishment media is filled with liars and gaslighters; that it has, indeed, become the enemy of a free people, you may be an invincibly slow learner. If you do know that and you still get much of your news from the MSNBCNNABCBS media complex, what are you thinking?! Do you think they intentionally lie about this and not about everything else? They are not interested in informing you: they want to herd you into serfdom.

It is time to opt out and plug in. Opt out of establishment media, as defined above and that of your local daily newspaper, led by the New York Times/ Washington Post Axis of Lies. You need not be uninformed, but you should refuse to continue to be intentionally misinformed.

Some sites you can completely count on are the American Spectator, the Federalist, and American Greatness. Some of the other secular sites I peruse regularly are Townhall, RedState, the Daily Wire, American Thinker and Citizen Free Press. My top religious sites are The Catholic Thing, Catholic Culture, LifeSiteNews and First Things. Another of my favorites is Crisis Magazine, where the managing editor of the newsletter you are reading, CORAC’s own Sheryl Collmer, has a piece this week entitled, “Dispatch From the Convoy.”

More important, perhaps, than the media in this age of lies and chaos is getting out and getting involved with friends and neighbors who are determined to work together to do the little they can that is right in front of them. That is fundamentally what CORAC is about. Check in with your Regional Coordinator or go to our website at corac.co (not .com) to check out the different national teams we have set up where you can work with people close to you AND all across the country to help each other with medical needs, communications, education, gaining home and frontier skills and prayer teams.

Some think the prayer teams sound innocuous and sedate. Let me tell you about just one of the projects coming from that group right now. It is the Wild Initiative – not because it is crazy, but because I chose to name it after the person who sparked the idea. Many people have family members, whether students at school or relatives who are not near other family – and rightly worry about how to look in on them if a need arises. A Carmelite Nun had this concern and mentioned to me at lunch one day that she wondered if there might be someone in CORAC, since we are national, who might be near her parents and could look in on them if need be. What a fantastic thing! So now we are working to connect people with loved ones isolated from family to people in CORAC who are near those family members to check in on them when the need arises. Simple stuff, but it forges community and gives peace of mind to many.

Our prayer teams work together on contemplative prayer, prayer of worship, prayer of praise, prayer of petition AND prayer in action. So it is with all our teams and regions. Opt out of fake news, and plug into our community that brings people together to help each other and those around them who ask – and share in the joy of real community in action. Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That’s the CORAC way.

Workers of the World, Unite!

02/25/22

The American truckers Freedom Convoy left Barstow, California on Wednesday this week. This issue of our newsletter will give you lots of information about that convoy and the route it will be taking across America. Check in with your Regional Coordinator on what you can do to show your support for those who are bravely putting it on the line to demand that public officials remember they are honored to be servants; not privileged to be masters.

Never underestimate how much strength we have when we work together under God. Early this week, Canadian officials quietly started to try to walk back their act of freezing and seizing protesters bank accounts. Seems five Canadian banks shut down operations altogether rather than risk the ruinous bank runs that Justin Trudeau’s ruinous emergency act was triggering. Yep, the Canadian government sought to harshly punish anyone who dared to have a different opinion from that which the government allowed and instead has risked tanking their entire banking industry. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of tyrants.

When one bee starts buzzing you, it is simple to swat it away as a nuisance. If a million bees start swarming you, you had best run and take cover. That is what has happened in Canada – and that story is not over yet, even though the Parliament despicably confirmed Canada’s descent into tyranny.

Shockingly, a poll commissioned by the Daily Wire, showed that only one group in America supports Canada’s act of war against its own people: Democrats. The left in America supports Justin Trudeau’s handling of the protesters by a whopping 65%. I suppose that shouldn’t be shocking, given that Democrats supported putting people who would not take the Covid shot into camps and seizing their children. But man, this sure isn’t the Democratic Party of John Kennedy anymore.

Astonishingly to me, a full 8% of Republicans supported the descent into tyranny. I’m guessing the pollsters accidentally called the Lincoln Project’s headquarters. What a hideous thing for that despicable group – to name itself after the president who ended slavery while that group supports renewing it, only for all the people who are not part of the ruling class. Amazing that in this “Looking Glass America” the thug groups like to call themselves their exact opposites: the fascists call themselves antifascists and the people who want serfdom for all but a few adopt the name of the president who worked to end any form of serfdom in America. I guess they have convinced themselves that the folksies they so loathe are stupid. Truth is, they remind me of toddlers who think that, if they cover their eyes, you can’t see them.

In any case, 55% of the people polled condemned Trudeau’s attack on freedom. Thank heavens, but that number is way too low – mainly because of the robust support for tyrannical methods by Democrats.

There was one segment of the polled group which condemned the Canadian overreach unanimously: people between the ages of 24-35. That should send shivers down the spines of all the authoritarians in America. The left has always counted on the support of younger people. Their antics have now earned them the unanimous contempt of younger people. So much for the “emerging” permanent Democrat majority.

I hope to see CORAC people showing up in force to support the truckers throughout their route across America. Showing up to a big protest has huge consequences. It heartens the faithful – because courage is contagious. Bring signs. If supplies are needed, work together with others in your region to help get them, so our heroes can keep on trucking. Make it clear to all the aspiring tyrants in America that we will not be ruled – and that we will toss all the petty authoritarians to the curb (and, hopefully, to prison).

Freedom lovers of the world, unite!

Formula For Effectiveness

02/11/22

In tumultuous times, people are often frozen by the fact that they can’t do everything. Too often, they don’t do much of anything because they are intimidated.

The problems that beset us are big ones and travel with a multitude of other problems. Not a one of us can conquer them all – or even a significant fraction of them. Most of the time we can’t solve any of them. But if each of us are small and fairly insignificant in the larger scheme of things, we travel in an even greater multitude than the problems that beset us. Together, we are an incredibly powerful force.

Don’t believe me? Check out the Canadian truckers convoy, before whom draconian Canadian governmental mandates are already starting to tumble. Take a look at what each of these truckers decided individually to do, though. Each one decided to drive to the capitol city of Canada, Ottawa, and park. That was not a big decision individually, but when it formed a 45-mile-long convoy of individual truckers who had made the same small decision, it became an action that has shaken the very foundations of the Canadian attempt to transform free citizens into intimidated serfs.

The pro-tyranny faction in Canada has worked mightily to intimidate truckers, making up “laws” to deny them food, fuel and other necessities – not passing laws, but simply making them up as they go along and demanding that free citizens obey their imperial whims. The result, after these decrees were issued, were that citizens who were not truckers grabbed fuel cans and jammed the streets of Ottawa daring police to do anything about it. Turns out just a little bit of courage is far more contagious than most respiratory viruses.

And the truckers and their supporters have been prudent and disciplined. Even in the midst of being slandered as “insurrectionists” they have kept their cool and simply made their stand – refusing either to back down or to be baited into doing desperate things. The truckers passed along a picture to each other of a man, presumably a Canadian federal agent, who was passing among them urging them to “occupy the Parliament.” They would not take the bait of the corruptocrats.

Perhaps by the time this appears, corrupt Canadian officials will have found a way to get the truckers off their game. Perhaps a cohort of police or military will come in to break them up and randomly arrest and persecute some. I would that it does not happen, but even if it does, those corrupt Canadian officials will be fully exposed to the whole world as the oppressors rather than the aggrieved. And so, with the next big action – and there will be one – those officials will enjoy no benefit of the doubt.

This simple action by Canadian truckers has left corrupt, tyrannical officials with only two long-term options: either back down from draconian rules that would enslave the populace, thus defusing the crisis, or keep doubling down on tyranny until all those officials are swept away in a popular revolt. Oh, the officials may well create some drama along  the way, but these are now the only two long-term options. All this because a lot of otherwise powerless individuals decided to drive to Ottawa and park their trucks there.

Do not let yourselves be cowed by the size of the problems that face us. Do not focus on the many things you cannot do. Just zero in on the little things you can do right in front of you. The multitude of people simply carrying jerry cans of fuel in response to illegal edicts served this movement. The many people who made a few sandwiches or baked some goodies to give to the truckers near them served. A lot of people doing the little they could may well have changed the course of Canadian – and world – history.

Always remember the extravagant generosity of Our Lord. This is the Jesus who, with a few little fish and crusts of bread, fed over 5,000. Our Lord does not demand that you part the waters, tame the tides, or bring forth the winds. He merely asks that you bring Him the little fish or crust of bread that you have. Then, in His extravagant generosity, He will use that to make sure the human hunger for freedom under God is fully satisfied. Let God worry about the grandiose. You just endeavor to bring Him a fish or a dinner roll.

9 Things to Help You Prepare for the Worst

01/27/22

Of late I have talked often of the need to learn to go analog in a digital world – that is, to recover some old-school skills that many of us once had, and some others that our forebears had. I encourage everyone to be prudent and not obsessive, to spend no more than you can afford. The ideal is to do things that will be good even if everything, miraculously, calmed down, and could be vital if things continue down the current path.

Here are nine things that can get you started on recovering the skills that will protect you and your family in case of serious crisis:

  1. Find a reliable source of water nearby. This could come from streams, rivers or lakes. You probably ought to get filtering equipment or boil any water you take from “the wild.” Next to the air we breathe, water is the most vital and constant form of sustenance we need.
  2. Put aside a small store of non-perishable food supplies. This can include dried beans, rice, dried fruits and powdered milk.
  3. Get a good quality camping knife. Knives can be used for a variety of purposes – to prepare food, to cut away small brush, to open packages and much more. Also, stock up on small utilitarian items you might need but would be in short supply in a crisis – such as BIC-style lighters, cook pots and utensils.
  4. Get wood-burning capacity if you can. This can come in the form of a fireplace, a wood-burning stove, or a chiminea. It is important to be thinking of how it might be used to cook food or heat your shelter, if needed. You can also lay in a supply of propane or natural gas canisters and perhaps, even, a small generator.
  5. Get a bicycle for each member of the family. In the case of serious shortages or deep crisis, bicycles can give you a handy means of transportation using only human power. Consider any family members who have disabilities and think of ways you can provide for their mobility in difficult times.
  6. Learn to read and write cursive – and get some carbon paper. For quick, reliable communication when no keyboards are available, cursive writing has been effective for hundreds of years.
  7. Get paper maps and learn to read them. If GPS satellites became inoperative – or even spotty – a lot of people would be lost. I got very good with paper maps, both road maps and wilderness maps, when I was still in my teens. It is an invaluable skill. But the skill means nothing if you have no paper maps. I got a good, 50-state Atlas again after going without for a long time.
  8. Get a rolodex. I realized last year that if the internet or utilities were shut down, I would lose almost all my contacts. Start putting your contacts on rolodex cards and you won’t lose them. Make sure to include physical addresses – and directions.
  9. Get a light-weight tent and a sleeping bag rated for cold weather. If things really got tough you would need both quality materials and ease of portability. When hiking, weight is your sworn enemy. If things calm down, you have great camping equipment.

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list – but it is a good start. As much as I say it is good to be prudent, I say more emphatically that it is vital not to go full survivalist. I am convinced the times we are in are God’s way of forcing us back to primary reliance on Him. If you get obsessive, God has the means to make your plans meaningless. For me, my only preparation is to keep a loaded backpack and quality hiking shoes always near me – and it does include a lightweight tent and good sleeping bag. But I have the experience of living and hiking outside for over a year to help. Make sure you have enough so you can learn safely on the fly if you have to.

Welcome

01/13/22

Welcome to the new national CORAC newsletter! We want to ring in the New Year by bringing you news you can use to help organize your region; collaborate with your neighbors; connect with others – near and far – who are committed to faith, family and freedom; and tout the things that are working all across the country to bring people together.

Sheryl Collmer of Texas is the managing editor for this project – and we hope it will become a useful tool for all of you who are activists, a source of information for all, and a way to build the organization and keep everyone connected with what is happening across the country.

Last year, the Health and Wellness Team trained hundreds of volunteers in homeopathy. In the last few months, we have been getting info out to thousands on effective regimens for Covid, along with direct emergency assistance with effective therapies. We want to have as much success in all our areas of focus; helping people develop genuine home skills that will help them sustain their families in hard times, building communications networks that will keep people in touch whatever happens, and grounding it all in a solid base of prayer and devotion to God.

2021 was a dark year when all of our public institutions squandered their credibility. 2022 could well prove to be even darker. But here at CORAC, while noting and resisting assaults on our liberty, we spend our time lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness. While some run around asking frantically, “Can you believe what just happened?” our focus is on how to help people live their faith effectively; cooperating with their neighbors from the bosom of their families; and assuming the freedom that God bequeathed us and that our Constitution guarantees us. In short, we are old-fashioned Americans who are determined that the light of liberty shall not perish from the earth.

Our primary focus in this newsletter will be on things you can do to visibly and actively support faith, family and freedom in cooperation with each other. As things develop throughout the year, we want to hear from you about the sort of things you want to see in this newsletter.

The world has gone crazy, but we have not gone along with it. Our fondest hope is to take America back to a time when faith, family and freedom were predominant in our culture. Our most fervent wish is to make this the future for ourselves and our children. Come and join us as we work to bring America back to the future!

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What is CORAC?2021-10-31, , , , , , , corac-leaders-forum top-stories national-news regional-news leader-resources general-leaders-forum-discussion other-media
Building Bridges (Updated)2021-09-19, , , , , inspiring-stories corac-leaders-forum
Bibles, Beans & Bullets2021-09-13, , , , , , , corac-leaders-forum regional-news other-media
Overcoming “Busyness”2021-09-08, , , , corac-leaders-forum leader-resources downloads-lf
The Map On The Wall2021-09-05, , , corac-leaders-forum leader-resources downloads-lf
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Jab Religious Exemption Downloads2021-07-30, , , , , , health-and-wellness health-news corac-leaders-forum downloads-hw downloads-lf
Team Building Guide2021-06-16, , , , , corac-leaders-forum leader-resources downloads-lf
Leaders Forum – General Discussion2021-06-15, , corac-leaders-forum general-leaders-forum-discussion
Defending The Constitution2021-05-24, , , , , inspiring-stories corac-leaders-forum
Walking With The Real Presence2021-01-28, , , , , inspiring-stories corac-leaders-forum
Celebrating Life2020-12-07, , , , inspiring-stories corac-leaders-forum
Living Rosary2020-08-15, , , , , inspiring-stories corac-leaders-forum

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