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Read this newsletter in PDF format for greatest clarity. Print out any sections you might want in a power-out situation.
In both spiritual and secular realms, we are more battle-ready when we clearly see the tactics of the opposition. This newsletter will focus on the spiritual, trusting that all of you are accessing reliable independent journalists for secular news. (If not, check the Ten News Stories You Didn’t Hear This Week in this issue.)
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 BLOG
Cast Into the Deep
It is nearly three years since I and a group of CORAC members attended the J6 protests in Washington, D.C. ...
CHATTING WITH CHARLIE
Charlie answers 7 more audience questions on subjects ranging from prayer, to Pope Francis and the Church…
Two steadfast bishops discuss the state of the Church, and what we can do… more >
of the Church
US Grace Force hosts Daniel O’Connor talking about the Passion of the Church…
10 news stories you might have missed this week…
Trust Your Gut
Tucker Carlson believes next year will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before and he urged people… more >
What About the Children?
Federal whistleblowers testified before Congress about the tragic situation of children exploited by… more >
You’re buying gifts anyway; you might as well make them reminders of the Catholic faith!… more >
Chosen… for WHAT?
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.
CORAC is a grassroots organization dedicated to the traditional values of faith, family and freedom
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.
A Sign of Hope Blog
South Haven, Michigan – As we enter more deeply into this Lenten...
West Middlesex, Pennsylvania – Sunday would have been the Feast Day...
Laurel, Maryland – I am in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. right...
Chatting With Charlie
HAVE A QUESTION?
Every month Charlie will answer 7 questions on the podcast, so be sure to submit your question here:
The Bishop has re-formatted his website bishopstrickland.com to conform to his new situation as a teaching bishop without a diocese. You can find his pastoral letters and messages, social media feed and links to his new YouTube channel there.
Two steadfast bishops discuss the state of the Church, and what we can do.
A Toast to Bishop Strickland
This week, Bishop Strickland celebrated his anniversary of episcopal ordination. To commemorate the occasion, an anonymous Catholic wrote the following:
A Litany of Thanksgiving from Catholic America
– Thank you, Bishop Strickland
- For pointing us to Jesus all the time, first and foremost
- For your honesty and for challenging us to speak the Truth, who is Christ
- For urging us to pray to Jesus’ mother, Our Lady, for help
- For having the courage to challenge your brother bishops
- For speaking always about Jesus’ Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- For your example of obedience
- For your charity even during personal attacks
- For talking about your flock and declining to abandon it
- For being a humble man from East Texas and not being ashamed of it
- For having the audacity to stand with our Lord in the streets of Tyler for all the world to see
- For taking up your cross and being joyful during the carrying of it
- For asking people for prayers
- For being a good steward and manager of the Tyler diocese
- For not being cowed by naysayers
- For asking Catholics to not leave the Church
- For sharing with us the thoughts you have during your meditations on the rosary
- For raising up strong priests
- For being approachable
- For your smile and kind words
- For your laughter and sense of humor
- For helping save babies and families from the horror of abortion
- For supporting the Latin Mass
- For perpetuating the practice of Eucharistic Adoration
- For having Eucharistic processions
- For saying the rosary with us
- For supporting priests and sisters who had no place to go
- For attracting us to a life — a life lived like Christ
All praise be to God for gifting us Bishop Joseph Strickland.
The Passion of the Church
US Grace Force hosts Daniel O’Connor talking about the Passion of the Church.
Bishop Strickland’s first pastoral letter after his removal, referencing the Passion the Church is undergoing. The full text of this letter appears in the appendix to this newsletter.
Many Catholics have never been catechized about indulgences, which received a black eye during the Protestant Rebellion. Indulgences are powerful gifts to us!
A plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment from birth until the moment the indulgence was earned. It renders a soul as if newly baptized.
The three constants of plenary indulgences are confession, communion and prayers for the Pope. With an indulgenced act such as visiting a church on its titular feast day, praying the Te Deum on the last day of the year, or praying the Way of the Cross on Good Friday. There are many more, and the value of a plenary indulgence is nearly unimaginable, removing all suffering due to sin.
The 10 News Stories You Didn’t Hear This Week
What About the Children?
Federal whistleblowers testified before Congress about the tragic situation of children exploited by our own government agencies. Yes, I know, I don’t want to watch it either, but we owe it to the children. We’ll never be able to stop the evil if we are unaware of it. “Where Did the Children Go?” a 40-minute video of the whistleblower testimony.
Trust Your Gut in 2024
Tucker Carlson gave a 30-minute talk at Risk On 360! Conference last week. He believes next year will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before and he urged people to stay strong and continue to speak the truth even when it is polarizing or difficult. He suggests several things that can help us keep anxiety in check.
Sugar Beet Molasses
Beet sugar molasses are a simple way to obtain a very concentrated (and thus efficiently stored) sweetener that is shelf-stable pert near forever, from a renewable resource that’s way easier and cheaper than keeping bees. Beet molasses are extremely high in iron (for those who might be anemic) and B-vitamins (which everybody needs).
Catholic Christmas Gifts
You’re buying gifts anyway; you might as well make them reminders of the Catholic faith!
Items are being added all the time. Keep exploring!
Empowering our leaders and members to act.
December Prayer Intentions
For the prompt-enough prudent development of the CORAC Defense League, using trained personnel both at the local level to defend our communities, and at the national level to develop and share strategies
That all people of good will draw closer to Christ ~ the Way, the Truth, and the Life ~ during these days of confusion and persecution occurring even within religious institutions
That all of our loved ones will return (or come to) the fervent and joyful practice of our Judeo-Christian faith as quickly as possible
For healings and restoration to occur for all who are sick and battling disease in the body or mind, healing that will defy medical rationale and can only be explained by the healing power of our Lord, the Divine Healer
That our daily spiritual journeys to holiness be nourished by God’s abundant grace: for more focused meditations, more pointed fasting, and more selfless charity to others ~ all to honor God’s great love for us!
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!
An Open Letter to the Faithful From Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
(November 27, 2023)
As I am sure you have heard by now, I have been removed as Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler. I was asked to meet with the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and in that meeting I was read a list of the reasons I was being removed. I would make these reasons available to you if possible; however, I was not given a copy of this list at that time, and I have not been able as of yet to obtain a copy despite my requests.
In the reasons that were read to me, no mention was made of administrative problems or mismanagement of the diocese as the reasons for my removal. The reasons given seemed to be related, for the most part, to my speaking the Truth of our Catholic faith, and to my warnings against anything that threatened that Truth (including things that were being brought up at the Synod on Synodality). Also, mention was made of my not walking alongside my brother bishops as I defended the Church and her unchangeable teachings, and of my not implementing the motu propoio Traditionis custodes, which were I to have implemented, would have required me to leave part of my flock unfed and untended. As a shepherd and protector of my Diocese, I could not take actions which I knew with certainty would injure part of my flock and deprive them of the spiritual goods which Christ entrusted to His Church. I stand by my actions as they were necessary to protect my flock and to defend the Sacred Deposit of Faith.
This is the time for everything now covered to be uncovered, and everything now hidden to be made clear. In fact, it was in a time when things were being hidden regarding disgraced now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Church sex abuse scandal that it seems I first entered the Vatican’s radar. My main crime, then as now, seems to always have been about bringing to light that which others wanted to remain hidden. Sadly, it now seems that it is Truth Himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ, that many desire to be hidden.
Although I am now without a diocese, I am still a bishop of the Church and therefore a successor of the apostles, and I must continue to speak Truth even if it requires my very life. I want to say this to all of you today – DO NOT ever, ever leave the Church! She is the Bride of Christ! She is now undergoing her Passion, and you must resolve to stand resolutely at the Cross! It is important to attend Mass every Sunday and as often as possible, to spend time in adoration, to pray the Rosary daily, to go to confession regularly, and to call always upon the saints for assistance! I urge you to persevere that you might say in the end, “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.”
May Almighty God bless you, and may our Holy and Blessed Mother intercede for you and point you always to her Divine Son Jesus as we enter this Advent season.
I remain your humble father and servant,
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland