Wednesday, May 24, 2023


"We believe that Bishop Dave has received his recompense for his life and his ministry...We know that he is in heaven. Let us ask for his intercession..." 

- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, at a novena for the recently murdered Bishop David O'Connell, quoted in Angelus, the official publication for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mar. 10, 2023, Vol. 8 No. 5 (and also here on CNA). 

I didn't know that an individual bishop could canonize another one, all by himself. 

He can't of course. 

It appears that Archbishop Gomez has fallen victim to the mostly post-Vatican II penchant to place loved ones in heaven...and immediately. 

While that may make us feel better - which is what Archbishop Gomez may have been trying to do - it is probably the most uncharitable thing one (a Catholic) can do. 

As Catholics we believe the following:

Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he is," face to face. - Catechism of the Catholic Church, Par. 1023

The key words are "perfectly purified," and only God can know that. 

In fact the command to "judge not" (Mt. 7:1) goes both ways. 

While we "use" the command to "judge not" mostly (and often wrongly) [1] to admonish others not to judge the sinfulness of others, we are also not to use it to judge the rightfulness of others - such as placing the dearly departed in heaven because he or she was a really good person, or we because we really liked him or her, or because we just really want to feel better. 

Other than canonized saints - which is an act of authority to "bind and loose" possessed only and ultimately by the Successor of Peter - no one can say what Archbishop Gomez said...about anybody. 

In fact, given what we Catholics believe about the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell), by believing or "placing" a departed soul in heaven, we may be uncharitably condemning that soul to a much longer term in Purgatory. [2]

Curiously, the Angelus article titled "Mourning a peacemaker," featured a picture of a crowd gathered in the parking lot of a local church on the second night of a novena organized by members of the Knights of Columbus "to pray for the repose of O'Connell's soul..." 

The picture includes Archbishop Gomez, rosary in hand. 

There is no point in praying for the repose of O'Connell's soul if, as Archbishop Gomez declares, O'Connell is already in heaven and we are to pray to him for his intercession. 

Just more confusion in the name of "charity." 

What a shame. 


[1] While we can, and must, judge acts as to their sinfulness or rightfulness, we are not to judge "hearts" as "the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ) 

[2] See: "Greater than Any Pain of this Life: The Hard Truth About Purgatory" at

Thursday, February 23, 2023


I believe it was Ash Wednesday, 1983. 

I was living and teaching in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and was living through a particularly challenging time. 

So Ash Wednesday, that year, had a more than normal personal meaning to me. 

In those days I used to ride my bike to and from my job at a local Catholic high school, about a 7 mile ride each way. 

That afternoon, which was particularly hot, and which was in what we call the "dry season" in the tropics, I saw smoke rising in the direction towards which I was pedaling home. 

As I came down the hill which sloped toward the beach near my home, I saw that the entire area around the place where I and a friend lived had been burnt black. 

There was about a hundred yards between the paved road and my home that was a dirt road. 

I slowly pedaled down the dirt road while the smoke rose from the burnt black tangan-tangan "fields" on both sides. 

It was hot, smoky, and dead. As close to a reminder of Hell as I wanted to get. 

Today, my former home is still pretty much surrounded by Tangan-Tangan fields. And every time I visit I remember that Ash Wednesday, when, like my life at that point, everything around me had been burned to a smoking ruin. 

However, thank you Jesus, He raised me from both the ashes on my forehead and the ashes surrounding my life and home. 

It was a good lesson as there would be more fields of ashes to navigate as I grew we all do. 

Keep the faith.

Sunday, February 12, 2023


I was struggling to title this post - which might become a series. 

So I think I'll call it "stuff that bothers me," though at this point in my life, I am willing to just put up with it and keep my head down. 

The latest thing to jump out at me is the way lay "readers" read at the Mass. 

I'm not sure if they're told to do this or they just like to do it, but they portend to be public speakers instead of readers. 

I say this because these "readers" feel they must look up from the reading and directly look at the congregation at the end of each sentence - or close to it. 

It is not the reader who is "proclaiming" - but the Word of God that is being proclaimed. 

In fact, the reader who looks up from the reading and attempts to directly engage the congregation by looking at us distracts from the Word of God and makes him or herself the focus. 

Just read the Word of God and sit down. 

In fact, it would do all of us well to revisit the venerable Catholic practice of CUSTODY OF THE EYES.
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