Issue 2024-9

18208 Preston Road, Ste D9-552
Dallas TX 75252

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With you, I can break through any barrier; with God, I can scale any wall.

In my home diocese, six months after the removal of our bishop. we have begun to realize that he was holding back a wave of demolition we weren’t even aware of. Now we are, and despondency is a temptation. In the long run, we’ll be stronger than ever. For now, though, we need to focus on the constructive, not the depressing.

I suspect that is the case with most of us. Therefore, this newsletter is moving toward productive, creative topics, and away from so many news items. This goes hand in hand with the upcoming release of Charlie’s Manual for Building Functional Communities, the ultimate constructive response to destructive events. It’s time to build and create.

I’ll continue to post the Ten Hidden Headlines, the things the mainstream media won’t say. Between those, and Jeff Childers’ Coffee and Covid, we’ll have a pretty good grip on the latest haps.

​Opinions expressed in this newsletter, unless otherwise attributed, are my own.

Sheryl Collmer, editor
May 15, 2024
sherylc@coracusa.com

From the cockpit of the Subaru

CORAC founder Charlie Johnston travels from coast to coast in his trusty Outback to speak in person to those now weathering the Storm.

A SIGN OF HOPE

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

When doing serious political work I used to spend a lot of time in busy diners in various locales, pretending tomore >

BRIEF

Who Is Going to
Stop It?

Some brief thoughts from Charlie Johnston on the degeneration of our culture to the point thatmore >

NEWS

Eucharistic Revival

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, “our national Emmaus moment” kicks… more >

Coffee and Covid

Jeff Childers is an attorney who began writing during the lockdowns, and he contines to… more >

10 Hidden Headlines

What the media won’t say… more >

Survival Medicine Handbook

For when help is not on the way. The CORAC Health & Wellness team posted a review of… more >

Storm Prayer

There have been some scary storm systems this spring. A member from Region 6 told this story… more >

Martyrs Corner

Tarcisius lived in 3rd century Rome, and was 12 years old during the persecution of… more >

Contest

Some of the early entries to the Home Altar contest… more >

When Authority Fails

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.

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

Charlie’s Latest

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7 Questions No. 8

Welcome to the 49th episode of "Chatting With Charlie." Hosted by...

CORAC WEBSITE

Our greatest asset is our website. If you haven’t yet explored it, start on the home page and go perusing from there.

NEWS

Authority in the Church

Bishop Strickland’s latest blog post, “Just Following Orders” is a good reflection on obedience and authority in a time when authority has been misused. This is a matter for serious discernment, and the good bishop helps inform the matter.

Read more >

Eucharistic Revival

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, “our national Emmaus moment” kicks off this Friday, May 17. The four legs start at the borders of the US, and converge on Indianapolis.

Check this map to see if pilgrims will be walking near you >

A plenary indulgence has been granted to anyone who partipates, subject to the usual conditions… detachment from all sin, sacramental confession, holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope.

And Speaking of the Eucharist…

A movie all about the Eucharist is coming to theaters in June! The trailer shows Chris Stephanick and Sr. Mary Grace of the Sisters of Life, so it passes the sniff test for orthodoxy.

Trailer here >

Tickets here for June 4-6 >

The Eucharist is for Us

“The Eucharist takes on the flavor we each need: if we are overcome by the ugliness of our sins, it brings us God’s mercy; if we are lukewarm, it rekindles our love; if we are in battle, it encourages us; if we are fervent, it calls us to an ever closer union with the Crucified One; if we seek to grow in virtue, it gives us the perfect model of it, and so on. The Most Blessed Sacrament contains the entire spiritual boon of the Church, that is, Christ Himself. Presbyterorum ordinis, 1965

Home Altars

The home altar contest is on, and there’s still time to enter. To inspire you to contruct your own altar, see the Appendix for some of the early entries. Get your photos in to me before the end of May at sherylc@coracusa.com to win prizes! Ideas for altars:

Coffee and Covid

Jeff Childers is an attorney who began writing during the lockdowns, and he contines to deliver one of the best news sources on the internet. His daily digest is short and sweet, usually three items, and it’s delivered with humor. You can read his daily offerings here: coffeeandcovid.com and if you like them, subscribe for emails to your inbox in the mornings. He’ll make you laugh, and that’s the best way to choke down the news we have to endure!

Try today’s blog > 

Jeff covers (1) the bankruptcy of Red Lobster, along with the larger problem of industries squeezed by inflation and interest rates; (2)the tariff war against China; and (3) the antics of the lead clowns in the prosecution of President Trump.

You can read it in 5-10 minutes, get a couple of laughs, pick up a few new vocabulary words, and be pretty much caught up on the news of the day.

CORAC Emergency Prep Series

This is a 2-part video series featuring Ed McCullough, a former Army Ranger with specialized training in hazardous materials, emergencies, evacuation and survival. Part 1 describes various possible emergency situations we might encounter. Part 2 presents details about how to respond to emergencies.

Survival Medicine Handbook

For when help is not on the way. The CORAC Health & Wellness team posted a review of this book, which addresses medical issues you might have to handle in the absence of a 911 response. Member Ruth Murray, BSN, gives it two thumbs up. It covers diagnosis, treatment and prevention for a wide variety of conditions.

Fourth edition available on Amazon for $40 or order from the authors’ website for slightly more.

Contagion Defense Kit

It’s a good chance that the powers who want to hold on to power will unleash another pandemic on us before November. And they’re hinting at avian flu already. Have a virus-fighting arsenal on hand so you don’t fall prey to fearmongering. The Wellness Company Contagion kit is $300. In addition to Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine, the kit also contains a nebulizer, Budesonide and Azithromycin. That’s a stout defense.

Practical Sur-Thrival Tips

Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut known for spending 520 days in space, had tips in 2020 for surviving well in difficult circumstances, particularly isolation. It’s a good time to bring these out again, as we are all living under duress and do not know what the future holds (except for knowing the One who holds the future.)

  • Schedule: establish a daily routine
  • Leisure: plan for restorative down time
  • Outside: get exercise in fresh air
  • Hobby: do something for pure pleasure
  • Journal: for the mental boost of it, and to have a record
  • Connect: be with others in whatever ways are feasible
  • Info: get reliable information. Block unreliable or negative input

Kidney Stones

For some reason, kidney stones seem to be making the rounds in our community. CORAC’s Health & Wellness team has some suggestions for remedies. Read more >

Rosemary

One of the few things that grows merrily in the red clay and baking summers of east Texas is rosemary. It has some beneficial effects, in addition to smelling heavenly. To make fresh rosemary oil, start by washing a few sprigs of rosemary under cold water. Remove the leaves from the stem and measure out 1 cup of leaves. Mix with 2 cups olive oil in a saucepan and heat over low for 5-10 minutes. Once the oil smells like rosemary, strain. Bottle and store.

Pray for J6 Political Prisoners

“Please don’t forget about us; we are not terrorists.” – Ronnie Sandlin, J6 political prisoner

Storm Prayer

There have been some scary storm systems this spring. A member from Region 6 told this story after severe storms and tornadoes passed through Michigan and Ohio last week.

“We had a horrible, blowing storm about 3:30 pm yesterday, coming straight from the west, driving rain across the house and back yard, powerful enough to bring a branch down in the front yard. The trees were whipping and I couldn’t see the roof because the rain was beating so hard. I was home alone, and I got out the Pieta prayerbook, and prayed it for the first time. Immediately the storm calmed to a steady quiet rain.”

Here is the prayer that she prayed from the Pieta Prayerbook:

Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, has come in Peace. +
God became man, + and the Word was made flesh. +
Christ was born of a virgin. +
Christ suffered. + Christ was crucified. + Christ died. +
Christ rose from the dead. + Christ ascended into Heaven. +
Christ conquers. + Christ reigns. + Christ orders. +
May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning. +
Christ went through their midst in Peace, +
and the Word was made Flesh. +
Christ is with us with Mary. +
Flee, you enemy spirits, because the Lion of the Generation of Juda,
the Root of David, has won. +
Holy God! + Holy Powerful God ! + Holy Immortal God! +
Have mercy on us. Amen!

Make the Sign of the Cross wherever there is a +

The Pieta Prayerbook is a wonderful resource to have on hand. You can order one (or several, they make great little gifts).

GMRS Radio Network

Since the last newsletter, I’ve been learning about repeaters, which can boost your range. See if there is a repeater in your area here. Our local repeater in my area extends my range from 5 miles to approximately 30 miles. There is etiquette proper to using a repeater, so be sure to read the details before using.

More about repeaters here >

If you want to use a repeater near you, get a GMRS radio that is repeater-capable. The Midland handhelds are not, though the Midland base and mobile stations are. The Baofeng UV-5G handheld is repeater-capable and gets high marks from the reviewers at True Prepper (review below.)

You can get a pair of the Baofeng UV-5G’s for $50 on Amazon.

The Midland handhelds are probably still my favorites for newbies. They have fewer buttons and are less intimidating. If you’re trying to convince people to try radio for the first time, I’d recommend the Midland GXT1000. You can get a pair of them on Amazon for $80.

CORAC plan for GMRS emergency network >

How to get your GMRS license >

Reviews of GMRS radios >

More Radio Resources

I don’t intend to get my ham license, but I am nevertheless taking a free online ham course to increase my radio knowledge. You don’t have to take the test to study the course. hamtestonline.com

The CORAC electricity course is another way to up your game if you’re a radio neophyte. Start here >

In fact, the whole CORAC Communications page is loaded with tools to help you get more conversant in this area.

Highly recommend >

Martyrs Corner

Tarcisius lived in 3rd century Rome, and was 12 years old during the persecution of the emperor Valerian. The faithful had to hear Mass in the catacombs at that time. Known Christians were imprisoned and executed, often in the Colisseum where lions mauled them for the entertainment of the Roman crowds.

At the conclusion of Mass, a deacon would hide the Eucharist on his person, and take the sacrament to Christians waiting in prison. Eventually, all the deacons were found out, and imprisoned or executed themselves. Tarcisius asked for the honor of taking the Eucharist into the prisons. Because of his youth, he thought he could get in and out without discovery.

The consecrated Hosts were wrapped in a linen cloth, and placed in a small box, which Tarcisius hid next to his heart, under his tunic. While making his way across the city to the prison, he was confronted by a mob of boys. They became intrigued with whatever Tarcisius seemed to be concealing beneath his tunic, and began jostling him, and roughing him up to the point that Tarcisius uttered a prayer to Christ.

Now knowing that Tarcisius was a Christian, the beating begain in earnest. By the time a passing Roman soldier broke up the gang, Tarcisius was near death. The soldier and the boy recognized each other as secret Christians from having seen the other at Mass. Tarcisius died in the soldier’s protective arms, holding the Eucharist to his heart, according to the testimony of the Roman soldier. Later it was attested that those who beat Tarcicius were unable to see or touch the Blessed Sacrament.

He is the patron saint of altar servers and first communicants. His feast day is August 15, but since we celebrate the Assumption of Blessed Mary that day, Tarcisius is not regularly venerated.

Pope Damasus wrote a poem about Tarcisius, which is translated thus:

At Rome, on the Appian way, the passion of St. Tarcisius the acolyte, whom pagans met carrying the sacrament of the Body of Christ and asked him what it was he was carrying. He deemed it a shameful thing to cast pearls before the swine, and so was assaulted by them for a long time with clubs and stones until he gave up the ghost. When they turned over his body, the sacrilegious assailants could find no trace of Christ’s Sacrament either in his hands or in his clothing. The Christians took up the body of the martyr and buried it with honor in the cemetery of Callistus.”

More about St. Tarcisius here >

Video here >

St. Tarcisius, pray for us, that we not be deprived of the Holy Eucharist.

PRAYER

May Prayer Intentions

  • For all CORAC members as we study, disseminate, and implement the principles and ideas presented in The CORAC Handbook and Manual on Building Functional Communities, which Charlie has been prayerfully working on for more than a year, “the hardest project [he has] ever taken on”

  • That many people be healed in body, mind, and spirit through the online Physical Healing Prayer Session via Zoom, on the last Wednesday of each month; and through many other healing prayer ministries in which CORAC members are engaged

  • For Mark Lapchak, who passed into eternity on May 1, and for his wife, Mary, Charlie’s long-time former CORAC events scheduler ~ both dear friends of Charlie and CORAC; for special graces during this journey.

  • May the Lord draw all people of good will ~ Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and others ~ closer to himself; may he make us holy; and may we live our faith with fidelity, courage, love, and joy as we pray the Prayer of Doing

  • For the peaceful repose of the souls of all whom the Lord will call home this day, in accordance with his Divine Will; and for the consolation and strength of their families and friends

  • That existing and new CORAC members may strongly desire and find the means to participate in financial support for our vital ministries

  • For all intentions carried in the hearts of CORAC members and those posted on the CORAC Prayer Hotline, with gratitude for prayers answered in our daily lives

St. Gabriel, enlighten us.
St. Michael, defend us.

St. Raphael, protect us.
Ave Maria, Stella Maris!

Prayer Hotline

Email prayer requests to the CORAC Prayer Hotline at prayerteams@coracusa.com, and we will post your request (using first names only) on the CORAC Prayer Hotline Signal group.

APPENDIX

Some of the early entries to the Home Altar contest

Mick – Best use of vintage furniture

Marie – Best use of wall decals

Jane – Best use of icons and statues

Kelly – Best use of an article you usually find in a church

Sheryl – Best use of garden posts

Susan- Best integration of the outdoors

Jessica – Best icon

Laura – Best use of corner space

Paul & Sylvia – Best use of what looks like a Keurig rack

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