Saturday, December 10, 2016

Make the Church Great Again!

Sorry liberals and progressives, but...
this is what is really happening to you:

Christ the Judge - Sistine Chapel

A multitude of Trump supporters were ardently praying to God for victory.   How many Hillary backers were praying in the spirit for her to win?   

Now it's time for a Trump-style leader and conservative revolution in the Catholic Church!
It is time to make the Church Catholic again. 
(Maybe it's going to be a woman!)

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Book Now Available 
       I try to write my blog articles on topics and issues that
      will remain relevant with the passage of time.
       Collecting and publishing the best articles in print will
  insure that they will always be available and easily
      referenced. Many of these original posts were chosen
     for “Best in Catholic Blogging” by EWTN's National
Catholic Register.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Padre Pio was not a rigid Traditionalist

There is a wonderful meditation composed by Padre Pio in which he states: “He [Jesus] sees the sacrileges with which priests and faithful defile themselves, not caring about those sacraments instituted for our salvation as necessary means for it -  now, instead, made an occasion of sin and damnation of souls.” From this it can be seen that Padre Pio viewed the sacraments as the “necessary means” of salvation. However, in studying the course of his life and ministry as a Catholic priest, evidence can be found that he understood the sacraments as necessary for all in general, but not for all in particular. Thus, while he believed that the sacraments of the Church are necessary as the normative means of salvation, Padre Pio was willing to admit of exceptions on an individual basis. But these exceptions did not compromise his conviction that the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ is the Roman Catholic Church.

The following documented cases are presented as evidence that Padre Pio believed that non-Catholics could be saved and even receive the sacraments.

Adelaide McAlpin Pyle, a Baptized Protestant
She will be saved because she has faith.”

Most of the information for this first account comes from the English version of the book Mary Pyle, by Bonaventura Massa. This work was diligently compiled from written documents and taped oral testimonies, kept on file in the archives of Padre Pio’s friary in anticipation of the process for Miss Pyle’s Cause for Beatification.

The wealthy Presbyterian, Adelaide McAlpin Pyle, was the mother of Mary Pyle, a well-known convert to Catholicism who renounced her family fortune in order to spend her life near Padre Pio. The Pyle family was related by marriage to the Rockefellers, and made their fortune in the soap and hotel business. After Adelaide found out that her daughter Mary had chosen to move to southern Italy to learn about God from a saint, curiosity impelled her to travel from her plush New York townhouse to medieval San Giovanni Rotondo, in order to meet this holy man.

In spite of an unpleasant initial encounter, Adelaide eventually became quite friendly with Padre Pio. She made numerous journeys from America, beginning in the mid-1920s, to visit her daughter Mary, and to meet with the Padre. Mary often tried to convince her mother to convert to Catholicism as she herself had done, but Adelaide reportedly said in Padre Pio’s presence, “I would rather allow myself to be burned alive for my religion!” Padre Pio advised Mary not to push her mother to convert: “Let her be! Don’t upset her peace.”  However, Mary continued to worry because her mother was not a Catholic, and Padre Pio counseled, “Let’s not confuse her. She will be saved because she has faith.”

In 1936, Adelaide, who had grown older and was nearing death, made one last trip to San Giovanni Rotondo. As she said good-bye to Padre Pio at the end of this visit, the saintly priest pointed heavenward, saying to the Protestant Adelaide, “I hope we will see each other again soon, but if we don’t see each other here, we will see each other up there.”  She passed away in the fall of 1937 at the age of seventy-seven.  Her daughter Mary then became pre-occupied about her mother’s salvation. After dreaming that her mother was in Rome standing in front of the Vatican, she poured out her anxiety to Padre Pio. He replied, "And who told you that your mother could not be saved?”  

Did Padre Pio receive a revelation that Adelaide Pyle had secretly ‘in pectore” converted to the Catholic Faith? If that were true, he most certainly would have told this to her daughter Mary, who was obviously distraught from worrying over her mother’s salvation. Further, it seems likely that if Adelaide had converted, she would have shared this good news with her convert daughter. It is reasonable to conclude then that Padre Pio believed that this particular person who died outside the Church could be saved. In addition, there is evidence that Padre Pio would have been willing to hear Adelaide’s confession, and grant her sacramental absolution. On one occasion, she had confided to her daughter her great desire to kneel before Padre Pio in his confessional, but she lamented that her inability to speak Italian made this impossible. When Padre Pio heard of this, (apparently it was after her death), he bemoaned, “Oh! If she had only done it! As for the language, I would have taken care of that!”

King George V of England, a Baptized Protestant
Let us pray for a soul . . .”

One evening in 1936 Padre Pio was conversing with some dear friends in his cell. Among those present were Dr. Guglielmo Sanguinetti and Angelo Lupi, who would respectively become the medical director and the builder of Padre Pio’s hospital years later. In the middle of their conversation, Padre Pio suddenly interrupted the discourse with the words, “Let us pray for a soul soon to appear before the tribunal of God.” With that he bowed his head, and his guests, although astonished, kneeled and joined him in prayer. When they had finished, Padre Pio announced that they had been praying for the king of England. The next morning, the news blared forth on the friary radio of the unexpected death of King George V of England the previous evening. Two of the sources for this story report that Padre Aurelio was also present in the room, while another source states that Padre Pio went to the friary cell of Padre Aurelio at midnight that evening and asked him to join him in prayers for the king of England who “at that moment” was to appear before God. 

An Anglican and the son of the future King Edward VII, George was baptized on July 7, 1865 in the private chapel of Windsor Castle. Upon accession to the throne in 1910, the new king swore the following required oath: "I, N., do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne of my realm, uphold and maintain such enactments to the best of my power." 

In all likelihood, the king was in his final agony or had already died when Padre Pio requested prayers for him, since he was “at that moment” to appear before God. If he believed that the soul of this Protestant were doomed to the everlasting fire, why would he pray for him, and also ask others including another priest to do likewise, other than to ask for his conversion? However, it is not recorded or implied that he asked his confreres to pray for the deathbed conversion of the king – an important intention that Padre Pio in all likelihood would have explicitly stated, if such were his purpose. Although he mentioned the king to his priest colleague, he did not tell the friends in his room that they were praying for a non-Catholic until they had finished their prayers. One cannot therefore say that it is to be assumed that as Catholics they were praying for the king’s conversion.

Since as far as is known they were not specifically asked to pray for his deathbed conversion, there are two alternatives. The first is that they were simply praying for the salvation of a Protestant whom Padre Pio did not consider doomed because of his non-Catholic religion. Of course this scenario would not be acceptable to one who holds that Padre Pio subscribed to a literal extra ecclesiam nulla salus position. Those who hold that position are left with the unlikely alternative that they were praying for a Catholic, and that Padre Pio had requested the prayers because he was given a private revelation that King George V of England was secretly a Roman Catholic, loyal to the Pope!

Julius Fine, an Unbaptized Devout Jew
Julius Fine is saved . . .”

Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M. Cap., lived and worked alongside Padre Pio for many years in Our Lady of Grace Friary at San Giovanni Rotondo. He wrote numerous books about his confrere, and his works provide reliable source material for the saint. The following information is from Fr. Alessio’s book The Holy Souls,  and was related by a “very good friend” of his, Mrs. Florence Fine Ehrman, the daughter of the person in question.

In 1965 her father, Julius Fine, who had practiced the Jewish faith all his life and believed firmly in God, was stricken with what is commonly called “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Mrs. Ehrman wrote to Padre Pio beseeching a cure for her father from this fatal illness. A short time later she received the reply that Padre Pio would pray for her father and would take him under his protection.

When her father passed away in February of the next year, she was able to accept his death peacefully. However after some time, she began to worry about whether or not he was saved, even though he had been a very loving and kind husband and father. “This fear came about because I began to hear many people, Protestants and Catholics alike, say that unless person had been baptized they could not be saved.”

On a visit to the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo in the fall of 1967, she was told by a personal friend (quite possibly Fr. Alessio himself) to write down whatever she wished to ask Padre Pio, and this friend would present the letter to him. She of course wrote down her concerns about the eternal state of her father’s soul – this good and gentle Jewish man who had never been baptized. The reply from Padre Pio, which she received in writing, was this: “Julius Fine is saved, but it is necessary to pray much for him.” Her mind was put at ease by such a “sure and definite” statement,” since she understood that her father was in Purgatory, his salvation guaranteed.

Whether Padre Pio was enlightened by his Guardian Angel, the Holy Spirit, interior locution, or some other means is not known. What is known, however, is his ability to make such determinations after intense prayer, nourished by his mystical union with Christ during his Mass and Holy Communion, and by the offering up of his sufferings, especially the painful bloody wounds of his stigmata. In this instance, Padre Pio committed himself to assuring a grieving daughter that her father, who was not baptized, and was not a Roman Catholic, was saved. As in the case of King George V, someone who wishes to force Padre Pio into the strict “absolutely no salvation outside the Church” camp, is only left with this improbable scenario: it was revealed to Padre Pio that the devout Jew, Julius Fine, was secretly a baptized Roman Catholic!

Padre Pio a True Catholic

From the above examples it appears that Padre Pio did not blindly adhere to the proposition that only baptized Catholics can be saved. Yet, it would be difficult to find someone more committed to the Catholic Church throughout his life than was Padre Pio. His obedience to the hierarchy was legendary, and he humbly submitted to Vatican-authorized suppression and even persecution without resistance. The spirituality of his epistles astonished even Carmelites, and his writings and teachings, born of the school of suffering, are the basis of an effort to make him a Doctor of the Church.

Padre Pio lived by the Spirit of God, not by the letter of the law, except when his superiors in religion routinely commanded obedience of him. His ingenuous openness to the plenitude of God’s mercy anticipated the explicit declarations of the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council on the possibility that non-Catholic churches can be a “means of salvation,”  and on the reception by non-Catholics of the sacraments in certain cases. Padre Pio actually believed that the gospel of Jesus Christ was Good News!

Posted 9/22/16, the eve of Padre Pio's feast day.

Much of this article was featured in the December 2006 edition of “Christian Order.” A formal footnoted version comprises one of the chapters in my book The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Catholic Militia Force?

A Catholic Militia Force - not as far-fetched as it may sound.

In this era of mercy, does one dare talk about justice?  But, there are times when the most merciful action that can be performed in favor of the oppressed is to execute justice against their oppressors. This calls to mind the Lord's injunction, "Seek first the kingdom and God and His Justice . . ." (Matthew 5:33). 

Padre Pio:  "You who are responsible for souls try with love, with much love, with all your love, exhaust love; and if that is useless - punish, because Jesus, who is our model, taught us this by creating Hell, as well as Paradise."

The ruthless Jihadist killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel a short time ago has inspired the founding of a Catholic military order.  From the website of the new "Ordo Militaris Catholicus:"

"After the martyrdom of the French Catholic priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel — who had his throat slit and was stabbed repeatedly, in Church during mass, by 2 Jihadis,  in July, 2016 — our founder, Br. Alexis Bugnolo, a Franciscan hermit, who had been thinking of such an order for nearly 20 years, decided that instead of waiting for military personnel to start such an organization, to work to found it. In prayer it seemed to him that the Lord was saying, “Go and round up the men, you will find them.” We the first members are all Catholics, military, religious and civilians convinced already that this is a holy work which God wills for our present age and committed to seeing it thru."

Recall that, as reported on this blog, St. Francis of Assisi himself supported the Crusades.  The rise of a military order in these latter ages has often been prophesied.  Some of the most specific of these oracles were pronounced by St. Francis of Paola.
Official insignia of the Ordo Militaris Catholicus.

St. Fancis of Paola is one of the great saints of  the Church (1416 - 1507).  Not only did he raise people from the dead, but his own body remained incorrupt in its tomb for over 50 years until Protestants dragged it through the streets and burned it. St. Francis founded a religious order called the Minims, who were to be even lesser than the Friars Minor of St. Francis of Assisi.  He was favored with the spirit of prophecy, and foretold the taking of Constantinople by the Turks and the fall of the Kingdom of Naples to the same infidels, and their subsequent rout soon after from the Italian peninsula.

From the seventh letter (circa 1490) of "Friar Francis di Paola" to the Lord of Montalto, of the Kingdom of Naples:

     "Let your soul rejoice!  For his Divine Majesty manifests through you such wonderful signs and great miracles, according to what I, by God's will, have often and again written and foretold to you.  One of your posterity shall achieve greater deeds and work greater wonders than your lordship.  That man will be a great sinner in his youth, but like St. Paul he shall be drawn and converted to God.  He shall be the great founder of a new religious order different from all the others.  He shall divide it into three classes, namely:
1.  Military knights.
2.  Solitary priests.
3.  Most pious hospitallers.
     This shall be the last religious order in the Church, and it will do more good for our holy religion than all other religious institutes.  By force of arms he shall take possession of a great kingdom.  He shall destroy the sect of Mohamet, extirpate all tyrants and heresies."

The editor of the 1878 book of prophecies from which the above letter is taken, Fr. Gaudentius Rossi, writes the following comment:
     "Moreover, the new religious Military Order so often foretold in these letters will be animated by the true spirit of Christianity, which is a spirit of charity and justice.  They will not wage any unjust war, nor will they practice cruelties and barbarities even in just wars.  They will fight because they shall be obliged to fight, for the defense of their just rights, for the rights of God and religion, of conscience and of Christian society.  The modern pagans, the Turks, heretics, and other sectaries and impious men, have already too long violated the rights of true Christianity, of justice, and of conscience. They will soon become even worse, and attempt more than ever to oppress the true believers, persecute them in every way in their power, and attempt to exterminate the Catholic religion if they could."

The Christian Trumpet, by Gaudentius Rossi (Pellegrino), 1878, reprints available at online booksellers.  Also, the complete book is online here

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Monday, August 15, 2016

The Holy Spirit at Mass

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that at Mass, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven and comes down upon the altar to bless and hallow the Divine Sacrifice.  What follows is an inspiring story confirming this teaching, which recounts a supernatural event that occurred at the end of the first millennium, probably during the pontificate of Pope Agapetus II, pope from 946 to 955.

From The Incredible Catholic Mass, by Fr. Martin von Cochem, pp. 265-67, TAN Books.  

"At Formello, near Rome, there was in early times a bishop who acquitted himself most conscientiously of all the duties appertaining to his office and was most reverent in his manner of saying Mass.  Notwithstanding this, he was accused by some evil-minded persons to Pope Agapetus of having given scandal to his flock by using one of the sacred vessels at table. The pope, believing the accusation, caused the bishop to be brought to Rome and put into prison.

"On the morning of the third day of his unjust incarceration, a Sunday, an angel appeared to the pope in a dream and said to him, "On this Sunday neither shalt thou nor any other prelate say Mass, but only the bishop whom thou hast placed in confinement."  The Pontiff awoke, and thinking over this dream, said to himself, "Shall I allow a prelate to say Mass under so grave an accusation of sacrilege? Before answering his own question he fell asleep again, and again heard the same voice saying, "I told thee, no one but the imprisoned bishop is to say Mass."  While the pope still hesitated whether he should comply with this injunction, the voice spoke for the third time, "Beware that thou not permit any other than the bishop who is in prison to celebrate in thy presence today."

"Thereupon, the pope in some alarm sent for the bishop and inquired of him what was his manner of life and bade him give an account of his actions.  The prelate answered with only these words, "I am a sinner."  Then the pope asked, "Is it true that you ate and drank out of the vessels consecrated to the service of the altar?" The bishop replied as before: "I am a sinner."  As no other answer could be elicited from him, the Pontiff proceeded, "You will celebrate Mass in our presence today."  And when the bishop in his humility begged to be excused, he only repeated the command: "You will officiate at a Solemn High Mass today before ourselves and all the cardinals."

"Upon receiving this express order the good bishop expostulated no longer, but prepared to obey. Attended by many acolytes, he went to the altar and commenced the Mass.  When he got to the prayer which is said at the time of making the first Sign of the Cross over the host and chalice, "Come O Sanctifier, Almighty, Eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared to Thy holy name," he repeated it four times, and then stopped.  The people grew impatient; at length the pope said: "Why do you delay and repeat this prayer so often?"

 "The bishop answered, "Pardon me Holy Father, I repeated the prayer because I have not yet seen the Holy Ghost descend upon the altar.  May I request your holiness to bid the deacon leave my side? I cannot venture to do so myself."  The pope then told the deacon to move a little distance; no sooner had he done so than both the pope and the bishop beheld the Holy Ghost come down from heaven, while the celebrant, with the deacon and acolytes, was enveloped in a luminous cloud.

"This miracle convinced pope Agapetus of the innocence and sanctity of the bishop, and he much regretted having put him in prison.  He resolved for the future not to act so precipitously and to investigate a charge carefully before giving credence to it." 

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Padre Pio's Prayer for the Church

". . . pray that He Himself will take on the defense of Jesus in the Sacrament, either by bringing about an end to the world or to stop so much iniquity." 

Padre Pio composed a powerful, beautiful, and still-timely prayer for the Church as part of a letter he wrote just over 100 years ago to one of his spiritual daughters, Annita Rodote.  Addressing our Heavenly Father, he wrote:

"May the apostasy of many souls belonging to the sheepfold of Jesus Christ come to an end once and for all.  May God's reign come soon; may this most holy Father sanctify His Church; may He abundantly shower His mercy on those souls who have not known Him up to now.  May He destroy the reign of Satan and reveal, to the confusion of this infernal beast, all his evil snares; may He reveal to all slaves of this awful wretch what a liar he is.

"May the most tender Father enlighten the intelligence and touch the hearts of all men, so that the fervent may not become cooler or slow down in the ways of salvation, that the lukewarm may become more fervent, and those who have moved far from Him may return.  May He also dissipate and confuse all the wise of this world so that they do not wage war and inhibit the propagation of His reign.

"Finally, may this most holy Father banish from His Church all the dissension that exists, and impede the birth of more, so that there will be only one sheepfold and only one Shepherd.   May He multiply a hundredfold the number of chosen souls, send us many saints and learned ministers and sanctify those we already possess.  May He, through them, make fervor return to all Christian souls.

"May the number of Catholic missionaries increase, as we once again have reason to complain to the divine Master: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."

"Annita, don't ever forget to pray for these needs which I have set out.  Thus, without your either being an apostle, a priest or a missionary, you will gain that crown which the heavenly Father has prepared ab aeterno for them.
 Padre Pio's then-isolated Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo around the time he received the stigmata in 1918.

"But there is another prayer which you must never neglect:  See how much scorn and sacrilege is committed by the sons of men towards the Most Holy humanity of His Son in the sacrament of love?  It is up to us, Annita, as we have been chosen beforehand by the Lord's goodness, to be members of His Church, or as St. Peter says: of a "royal priesthood." It is up to us, I repeat, to defend the honor of this meek Lamb who is always concerned when the case of souls is in question, but always silent where His own case is concerned.

"Let our entire lives, our every action and all our aspirations be completely directed towards making reparation for the offenses which our ungrateful brothers continually do to Him.

"But our thoughts must be raised higher still.  There is a Father up there who alone can and must give everything to glorify this most holy Son of His.  We must knock at this divine Father's heart, with holy and filial confidence, and pray that He Himself will take on the defense of Jesus in the Sacrament, either by bringing about an end to the world or to stop so much iniquity."


Used with permission.  From Padre Pio's letter to Annita Rodote, March 8, 1915; Letters, Volume III, pp. 63-67, translated by Geraldine Nolan.  Also appearing in the May-June 2016 issue of the Voice of Padre Pio magazine, published by Padre Pio's Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.  Subscription information available at This Link.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Star of David is also Christian

Why is the Star of David Christian?  The answer is very simple: Jesus was of the House of David.

Romans 1:1-3:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures,  concerning his Son, who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh.

2 Timothy 2:8:
Be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel.

Regardless of the difficulties presented by the two genealogies in the Gospels, the above two quotes make it clear, and scripture cannot lie (cf. John 10:35), that Jesus is of the seed of David according to the flesh.

      Star of David symbols on balustrade of the Franciscan Monastery, Washington D. C.

Since his flesh was of the Blessed Virgin, she must have been of that House.

"Tradition tells us that Mary too was a descendant of David. According to Numbers 36:6-12, an only daughter had to marry within her own family so as to secure the right of inheritance. After St. Justin (Adv. Tryph. 100) and St. Ignatius (Letter to the Ephesians 18), the Fathers generally agree in maintaining Mary's Davidic descent, whether they knew this from an oral tradition or inferred it from Scripture, e.g. Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8."

That the six-pointed star should not be considered strictly a Jewish symbol has been underscored by a recent controversy involving (who else?) Donald Trump.

Certain people, with questionable motives, have accused Mr. Trump, who has three Jewish grandchildren, of using anti-Semitic imagery in the above Tweet, since the six-pointed star has been appropriated in popular culture as being exclusively a Jewish symbol, which should not be the case.  Trump simply wanted to highlight "most corrupt candidate ever" within a star, any star, and this one just happened to have six points.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Holy Oil and Wine

This is a poem I composed when I was able to see in perspective the summer of 1967 (THE Summer of '67), which I spent as a true drop-out in the East Village.   As a former Yale graduate school student in Psychology, that summer I got to know, meet, and/or rub shoulders with Harvard drop-out Timothy Leary, artist Peter Max, Alan Ginsberg, Ed Sanders and Tuli of the Fugs, Abbie Hoffman, Nico of the Velvet Underground, Louis Abalofia - artist and "King of the Hippies," Paul Krassner, Lenny Horowitz - N.Y. Times art critic, Diahnne Abbot (before she married De Niro), poetess Anne Waldman, and many of the early and original spiritually-oriented hippies and anonymous drop-outs and Village denizens,  some of whom I met at the old Paradox Restaurant on E. 7th street - a popular macrobiotic eatery and gathering place.

That summer the "flower child" movement had a distinctive Franciscan flavor, until it succumbed to the forces of hedonism and sunk into the abyss of Woodstock two years later. Ironically, it was a book called The Little Flowers of St. Francis that restored my Catholic faith, as the decade of the 70's began.

This poem, written shortly before I rediscovered the True Faith, was inspired by my love for P. M.

 The front entrance of the Paradox Restaurant on E. 7th St. NYC


Deep deep deep within

Where music glides from clouds around

Where the beat is deep

Down down

Within the mind

Into into

Riding upwards into the mind

Where to descend is to rise

Where the way downward, in, in

Seems like the way upward and out

Where getting high is to sink into your mind.

And coming down

Is really coming up - out of your mind

Into the world around you

Outside of you.

Where to feel high is to go down into your  mind

And come down is to rise up out of the mind.

So high is low

And low is high

And down is up,

Up is down

In is out, and out is in.

This way and that way

That way and this.

So here, so there, so everywhere

See, see, how it is.


Rat tat tat

Rat -a- tat tat

One two

One two

Begin, let us begin.

Now, we see all about us

Empty lands

And tingling glasses

And echoes from the sun

And the beauty of a garbage dump

The excitement of an empty, brick strewn lot

The joy of an ambulance siren

The way the living gather around the dead

The holy oil and wine.

Rat tat tat

Rat -a- tat tat

Loneliness, emptiness - how joyful that was

If I only knew then

That when I was suffering,

I was in love.

Which is better?

To love, and not possess -

Or possess, and no longer love?

Rat tat tat

Rat -a- tat tat.


Twist and twirl around

The ocean shall flow

Whether or not it is aware of itself,

To grow and to possess

Is our nature.

To grasp and draw within

To desire anew

When all hope of desire is gone.

To hate suffering

Then to wish for it again

And to give up hope

Of ever being allowed to suffer again

Then to suffer again.

This way and that way,

That way and this.

High tide and low tide

Shall come and go

Whether the sea

Is aware of itself or no.

And we shall grow

Whether we want to or no.

And she shall come

And she shall go

And she shall come again.

Sometimes here, sometimes there.

For how can the ocean

Stop its own flowing?

Now I know

That when I was suffering

I was in love.


Yet I shall suffer again

And say: This is not love.

And I shall seek an end

to suffering once more

by possessing the one I love and desire.

And I shall suffer no more

Neither shall I desire and love,

For that which I loved

Shall become part of me

And I shall have grown.


Rat -a- tat

Rat tat tat

Rat -a- tat tat.

This way and that way,

That way and this,

Joy and growth and happiness.


To grow takes courage

The courage to commit oneself

Confidence and belief in oneself

To fight

For what belongs to us

When others would try to take it away.

To grow, needs

The courage to die for that which you love

And yet one loves many things -

Which one to die for?

Which one to give one's soul for?

Why her of course.

And they will tell you

That you do not love her.

The decision is all your own.

Your own and only your own

No one else's

But only your own.

Look inside, look outside

There is the tree

That is your own.

Know it is yours

And you have grown,

But oh the emptiness

And loneliness that follows.

And how disappointed we all shall bee

When we come to know that

I am you -

And you are me.

What desires are left to be?


Does the universe

Go on and on?

Or does it stop and start again?

Does God keep growing and growing?

Poor fellow -

How hard it must be

To be where no one else has been before.

So many things we don't know

Such as

How far do we have to go?

Is there any end?

Do we decide to start all over again?

Ting -a- ling. Ding, ding

God falls in love with non-god

and non-god falls in love with God

And the one becomes the other

And the other becomes the one

So on and so on

Forever and ever.

Oh oh forever and ever

Ever and ever, ever and ever

On and in and up and out

High is low and low is high

God loves death and death loves God

Rat -a- tat

Rat -a- tat

Rat -a- tat -a- tat.

Copyright 1969 Frank M. Rega

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Monday, May 9, 2016

How to Pray the "Secret Rosary"

My tenth book is now available, and it is titled How to Pray the Secret RosaryEssentially it teaches you how to pray the Rosary in situations where it is not convenient to hold the beads, and without the need to count out the ten Hail Marys for each Rosary Mystery.

The book also contains chapters on the history of the Rosary, Fatima and the Rosary, St. Padre Pio and the Rosary.  It shows the connection between the four mini-gospels and seven pillars of wisdom with the praying of the Rosary.  And, for those new to the Rosary, the book describes the traditional Rosary prayers and mysteries.  Complete with bibliography.
Praying the Rosary without the beads and without having to count the Hail Marys is not only possible, but some day might be necessary if we are forced to pray the Rosary in secret. 

See my books on Mary, Padre Pio and others Here.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Russians, Muslims, and Stolen Europe

After reading an article about the plight of Europe, "Saker rant about a stolen Europe", I sent the link to my friend Bob, who is a retired high-ranking U.S. government official (stationed in Europe for many years), and a Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at a major university. We exchanged two emails about this article, and with his permission most of that exchange is presented below:

   Thanks for sending along the “rant.” I’m not sure where to begin on my comments. I guess first of all I would say that certainly many of his observations are correct. For example, today’s Europe is not the one of yesteryear. On the other hand, today’s US isn’t either. The south increasingly looks like the north and vice versa. Blacks can now ride anywhere in the bus they would like and drink from the same water fountains. Much of the differences that once characterized the north and south are gone. Is that all bad? I think not.
   On the other hand, the author is correct. There have always been at least two Europes – the one of the north and the one of the south. On my first visit to Europe in 1960, among the things that struck me was how much the northern Europeans felt superior to those in the south, yet to say as the author does that the Germans and the the Italians have “nothing” in common is a bit of a stretch. Northern Italians are in many ways very much like many Germans. The Germans have the 4th largest economy in the world. Italy has the 8th (most of that economy is from production in the north). The northern Italians are very productive, industrious, and creative. I might add that the northern Germans see themselves as superior to the Bavarians. As a good north German friend of mind once remarked to me, they don’t even speak the same language, which if you’ve lived in south Germany you will recognize as true when the Bavarian dialect is spoken.

   Now on the subject of immigrants changing European society. Well this is of course true. Just as successive waves of immigrants changed the colonial society of America. Think about the “Micks, Dagos, Wops, Krauts, Jerrys, Huns, Wetbacks, Negroes, etc." They definitely changed America. I would say it enriched our society and continues to do so. So much is in one’s perspective and sometimes it is an issue of timing. Surely Europe is being overwhelmed today with a huge influx of immigrants. They are not easily digested in a few years, perhaps not in decades. But the Germans, Irish, Italians who came to the this country and huddled together in unmixed communities, now have largely integrated into our society. For me this has been a positive.
I should, however, note that the writer is Swiss, not American. In fact Europeans take ethnicity very seriously. Often, though not always, If a person is from France, even though living in and a citizen of Italy, he or she will often consider themselves French, not Italian. Ask a Mexican who is a citizen of the US and he will tell you he is an American. This clinging to ethnicity for identity is perhaps changing a bit with the younger generations, But it will take decades not years.

   Now for Muslims. There has been a very strong anti-Muslim feeling that predominates in Europe. It is not new. It predates current immigration problems. Perhaps it goes back to the Crusades. However, one of my first encounters with this was in the mid-1980s when Turkey was being considered for membership in the EU. Sitting with an ambassador, friend and colleague of mine at a banquet marking the 40th anniversary of the formation of Allied (NATO) Forces Southern Command, the conversation turned to Turkey’s possible inclusion in the EU. After a long list of why, for economic reasons, Turkey should not be admitted to the EU, his bottom line was captured when he said to me “Bob, they just aren’t like us. We are a Christian people, they are Moslems.”
   Well, There is perhaps not enough time for me to deal with all of the issues our “ranter” raises. Let me touch on a few.
"Just remember that Daesh is CIA-controlled.” Rubbish
"The EU is essentially a US project via the Bilderbergers and the Zionist lobby in Europe.” Me thinks he forgets the Robert Schumans, the Paul Reuters, the Jean Monnets, etc.
I find his rants against the so-called AngloZionists outrageous and unsupported by fact. On the other hand, I do agree that Russians, while admiring the industriousness of northern Europe, find themselves more comfortable with the the southerners. Having traveled widely all over Russia, we find many of the Russians to be more like southern than northern European.
"Muslims are here to stay. You can hate it or love it, but that is a fact. Fact 2: Islam, real Islam as opposed to Wahabi Islam, is categorically opposed to AngloZionism.” Probably much on target, though I personally would separate the “Anglo” from the “Zionism."
"Call me crazy, but I am coming the conclusion that Turkey, at least in its present form, is inherently a dangerous and non-reformable entity which must be beat back to a size and quality commensurate with the notion of “normal country”. Erdogan is potentially a problem. But the Turks aren’t stupid. They have already shown their concern over Erdogan’s grab for more power.

   After receiving this email, I sent the following note to my friend:
   Thanks for your observations - I was surprised to receive such a thorough analysis! Agreed about how good immigration has been especially for the USA. Only problem is that a certain element of the Muslim community does not want to integrate in our society, but actually wants to destroy. That is why we do need some kind of filtering, profiling or whatever you want to call it, over the immigrants coming in.
   What interested me greatly was your comment that Russians are more comfortable with southern Europeans. I wonder if this is because the southerners are more religious. From what I have read, the Russians have a deep religious spirit (except for those who became communist). I think they even refer to Russia as "Holy Mother Russia."

   Bob then replied with these additional observations:
   On the Russians, most of those I’ve met that are not senior officials in the government (who often feel they have to be serious since they represent their government), seem to have a fun loving, easy, Latin spirit to them. They love to sing songs and get together. Even when they get pretty smashed on vodka, they can be a lot of fun. This perhaps stands in contrast to some, perhaps many, northern Europeans, particularly north Germans, who to me seem to be much more serious.
My experiences don’t link this fun loving attitude on the part of Russians to religion. Though as you suggest, Russians, indeed almost anyone on earth may be more religious than most northern Europeans, except the Poles and a few others. When we lived in England I think the figure was 15% of the English were church goers. And that might have been a number on the high side. On the other hand, don’t jump too quickly to the conclusion that southern Europeans are serious about their religion. When we lived in Italy, many Italians went to church. However, that might have meant ducking in for a few minutes, maybe to hear the Gospel, maybe not. Now if you want to live where people seemingly are serious about religion, come to the Bible Belt. On the other hand, I often feel that many here in the South don’t really have a clue about what Christianity is really about.
   As for the Muslims, surely you are correct in asserting that some Muslims are here to destroy our society. I don’t find that particularly surprising. Just like the non-Muslims who have sought to destroy our society and what it represents (think Black Panthers, the Oklahoma bombing of Federal building, the bombing of Synagogues, etc.), these people need to be sorted out, rooted out if already entrenched, and removed. However, one must be careful in the process to not stigmatize and in turn alienate the entire community of Muslims, the great majority of whom are decent, law abiding, and just plan good American citizens. To do so would be very un-American.
   I have traveled widely in Muslim countries – e.g. Egypt, Libya, Morocco , Turkey, Azerbaijan, all of central Asia. I have Muslim friends from Pakistan and elsewhere around the globe. I have found Muslims to be a very friendly, open, and hospitable people.

Best Regards,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How many sacriligeous Communions will now occur?

With the release of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, battle lines are being drawn between liberal vs. conservative, traditional vs. progressive Catholics.  Conservatives are bending over backwards in their hope that responsible priests and bishops will follow a rigorous discernment process regarding eligibility to receive the Holy Eucharist. On the other hand, the liberal hierarchy seems all too ready to grant Communion to whomever seems to sincerely wish it, regardless of their objective situation.

Let's face reality.  I fear that the net result of this document will be a dramatic increase in sacrilegious Communions thanks to the progressivists, regardless of the noble efforts of traditional priests to guide their flocks according to perennial Catholic doctrine. How many liberal priests intend to warn the recipients that their eternal salvation may be at stake by an unworthy Communion?

In light of this coming flood of injuries and sorrows to Our Lord in the Eucharist, the following  lament by Jesus to pray and repair for the many abuses and sacrileges of the Sacrament is extremely appropriate for our times, although this sublime Communion meditation was transcribed by the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta in 1923. 

"After I received Communion, my sweet Jesus made Himself seen, and as soon as I saw Him, I threw myself at His feet, to kiss them and to cling to Him with all of myself. And Jesus, extending His hand to me, told me: “My daughter, come into my arms, and deep into my Heart. I have covered Myself with the Eucharistic veils so as not to strike fear. I have descended into the deepest abyss of humiliations in this Sacrament in order to raise the creature up to Me, identifying her with Me so much as to form one single thing with Me, and, by letting my Sacramental Blood flow inside her veins, constitute Myself life of her heartbeat, of her thought, and of her whole being. My Love devoured Me and wanted to devour the creature in my flames, to make her be reborn as another Me. This is why I wanted to hide Myself under these Eucharistic veils and, so hidden, enter into her to form this transformation of the creature into Myself. But in order for this transformation to take place, the dispositions were needed on the part of creatures; and my Love, giving in to excess, as It instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, so It issued from within my Divinity more graces, gifts, favors and light for the good of man, to render him worthy to receive Me. I could say that It put out so much good as to surpass the gifts of Creation. First I wanted to give him the graces in order for him to receive Me, and then Myself, to give him the true fruit of my Sacramental Life.
"However, in order to anticipate souls with these gifts, it takes a little emptying of themselves, hate of sin, desire to receive Me. These gifts do not descend into rot, into mud. So, without my gifts they do not have the true dispositions to receive Me, and in descending into them, I do not find the void in order to communicate my Life; I am as though dead for them, and they are dead for Me; I burn, and they do not feel my flames; I am light, and they remain more blinded. Alas! how many sorrows in my Sacramental Life. Many, for lack of dispositions, feeling nothing good in receiving Me, reach the point of nauseating Me; and if they continue to receive Me, it is to form my continuous Calvary and their eternal condemnation. If it is not love that pushes them to receive Me, it is one more affront that they give Me - one more sin that they add upon their souls. Therefore, pray and repair for the many abuses and sacrileges that are committed in receiving Me in the Sacrament.”  
[March 27, 1923, Volume 15.] 

May is Mary's month, and in order to foster the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, I strongly recommend the daily readings for May from Piccarreta's The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, which is available online Here.

P.s. Stay tuned for my tenth book, How to Pray the Secret Rosary. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Who is a True or False Pope?

True or False Pope? Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors, by John Salza and Robert Siscoe, is a book regarded by many as the Summa and final word against Sedevacantism.

I have heard a lot about this book and here is why I am not going to read it.

Although I still have not definitively crossed that Rubicon, I maintain that there is a strong incentive to believe that Francis may have lost the Faith, and if so he would not be a pope.

How can the authors claim to refute the possibility of Sedevacantism when it is clear to me that I can make a personal decision that I no longer believe that someone professes the Catholic Faith? Why should I read 700 page book designed to show that there is no point in using my own mind to come to such a conclusion, or that my personal beliefs don't matter.

God has endowed us with memory, intellect and will.  Don't I have a right to form my own personal beliefs using these means, otherwise why has He endowed us with these faculties?

I can make use of our God-given faculties of thought, reason and logic. [Intellect.]

I can make use of a study of what constitutes the Catholic Faith. [Memory.]

I can make use of my free will, in union with the Will of God. [Will.]

I can make us of prayer, especially Mary's Rosary.

I can make use of a properly formed Catholic conscience.

I can make use of my Sensus Catholicus.

I can make use of basic common sense: if it walks like a duck....

If the use of the above means causes me to no longer believe that Francis professes the Roman Catholic Faith, then I must conclude that he cannot be a true pope, since Our Lord promised Peter that his Faith would not fail him.  It's really that simple.

But no -  some will say that we must have a visible Church with jurisdiction.  But I ask, is the Church since the Vatican II Council undergoing the Passion of Christ as many are now saying?  Is not Holy Saturday a part of that event?  On that day, there was no longer a visible Christ, there was no jurisdiction, all we had for certain was the perfect Faith of His Mother, Mary.  

Is it not possible that the election of Pope John XXIII was invalid (theories abound), thus leading to a line of false popes?  Is it not possible that Modernists hijacked the Council documents such that a counterfeit Church was created?   The true Church was designed and created by Jesus Christ, and the nature of the Church is to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15).  But Karol Wojtyla admitted in Sign of Contradiction, "... the Church succeeded, during the Second Vatican Council, in re-defining her own nature."  What a telling confession! Vatican II redefined what Christ established, creating a Church which replaces proselytism with dialog, conversion with shared prayer, and exempts today's Jews from having to except Jesus as savior.

Ironically the book True or False Pope? which is designed to refute Sedevacantism, might end up convincing Catholics to remain loyal to a false Sedevacantist Church and pope.

(In addition to what is mentioned in the above post, on their website for the book the authors resort to ad hominem personal attacks and mockery towards those who disagree with them, which indicates that the authors are not completely objective scholars.)

Frank Rega


Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Church Deemed the Emancipation Proclamation Hypocritical

We learn this from Adam S. Miller's The North, the South, and Slavery, the second of his series four books on the civil war, written from a traditional Catholic perspective.  One might ask, how could there be anything hypocritical about setting slaves free?  The truth, however, about that famous Proclamation, is a different matter, one that those of us indoctrinated in the politically correct view of the Civil War will find difficult to accept. The fact is that, legally, not one single slave was set free by that document.

"L'Osservatore Romano [the Vatican's newspaper] condemned it as a desperate and hypocritical measure which freed no slaves but encouraged rebellion in the South.  The Jesuit Journal, La Civilta Cattolica, portrayed the war as a hopeless and unjust war to punish the South." (p. 95.)  Lincoln's Proclamation only applied to those Southern states or parts thereof that were not already controlled by Federal troops.  It did not apply to slaves in Northern or border states, nor to slaves in the areas of the South that were under Union control. It did not free any slaves in those domains; that is to say, it freed no slaves in areas under the jurisdiction of the United States.  Rather, it applied only to Confederate states or sections which were still in rebellion, and over which the North had no legal jurisdiction. Hard to believe?  Read the Proclamation yourself.

Miller writes that the implications of this should shock those who subscribe to the myth that Lincoln was a great humanitarian.  The Proclamation of 1863 was actually a war tactic, whose purpose was to encourage slaves to flee from their plantations, disrupt farm production, and join the war against the South. Lincoln wrote later that year that he hoped "the Negroes should cease helping the enemy, [and] to that extent weaken the enemy in his resistance." (p. 92.)  Shortly after it was issued, the New York World editorialized that the Proclamation "was not merely futile, but ridiculous."  The paper exposed the fact that "The President has purposely made the proclamation inoperative in all places where we have gained a military footing which makes the slaves accessible.  He has proclaimed emancipation only where has notoriously no power to execute it." (p. 94.)

Was Lincoln actually a racist in the worst sense of the term?  In an 1862 speech to Northern black leaders, he told them that blacks "are far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race."  Thus, they "didn't belong in this land of whites." (p. 97.)  During the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, he said that "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes. . . I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." (p. 96.)

What has been presented so far is only a glimmering of the truth behind the "official" view of the Civil War and the issue of slavery in the South.  Miller's book exposes a plethora of the "Northern myths," revealing, for example, that the first slaves brought to the future United States were not Africans, but were Irish, English, and Scottish Catholics, and certain legitimate criminals, all white.  In later years, there were thousands of non-whites, including freed blacks and Indians, who owned slaves.  "Slavery in America was not strictly based on racial prejudice, since there were black masters of black slaves, and white masters of white slaves." (p. 40).  The hypocrisy of the North: by 1760 the North had at least 41,000 African slaves, and 3000 white, mostly Irish Catholic, slaves.  When the Revolutionary War broke out, New York was the second largest urban center for slavery. In the first U.S. census of 1790, there were 12,422 registered slaves in New Jersey (p. 45).

Written from a Catholic viewpoint, this work also contains sections on Church teaching on slavery, Catholic slaves and slaveholders, and even lists the many canonized slaves and even slave masters.

This short review cannot possibly enumerate the facts presented in this powerful, compact, myth-busting book.  It is not written in a sensationalist manner, nor does Miller intend to justify the immorality of slavery in any way. If you can handle a serious paradigm shift in your view of the Civil War, and are open to shedding any pre-conceived, politically-correct understanding of that conflict, I highly recommend reading this book.

The North, the South, and Slavery is the second of a projected four-part series on the Civil War by Adam S. Miller. The updated editions of the author's books are best obtained from his website

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trump and the classic Catholic counter-revolutionary

The late Catholic philosopher Dr. Thomas Molnar, in his book The Counter-Revolution, explores the counter-revolution undertaken in defense of the Catholic-based social order, which revolutionaries have been trying to uproot even before the France of 1789. Below is an excerpt from this 1969 book which sheds light on the current political situation in America, where a progressive/globalist/socialist movement stands markedly opposed to basic nationalistic sentiments. Keep in mind as you read it the recent speech by the latest Clintonista, Hillary, in which she called for more “love and kindness.”  Of course Mr. Trump is not a Catholic, nor is he consciously calling for the reign of Christ the King over society.  But his overall approach and focus on U. S. sovereignty, protecting the jobs of American citizens,  and his nationalism (patrie) is consistent with the broad definition of a counter-revolutionary. 

"In revolutionary doctrine the nation, the patrie, is at best an intermediate phase between the tribe and the world community, en route toward the latter.  Revolutionaries never cease urging the need to go beyond a "narrow nationalism" as contrary to the goal of history.  Long before 1789 Freemasonry was at work to dissolve nations where it detected a certain imbalance, and therefore hope for its own grand design.  In 1786 the Freemason Weishaupt denounced national feeling as the seed of local, hence selfish, loyalties.  Of patriots he said: 'Take away the love of the patrie, and people will again know and love each other like human beings.'

"In counter-revolutionary view, on the other hand, the nation not only is a repository of tradition, hence of shared memories, it is also endowed with outstanding architectonic qualities.  Counter-revolutionaries do not say that the nation is the last form that human communities may take . . . the future may hold in store other, as yet unknown forms of community.  But they hold that the nation is admirably adapted to the modern situation since it is at the point of equilibrium of the various lines of force active today, and able to resist internal and external pressures. 

"It is both vast and resistant, says Maurras; it is the most natural form as the basis of a stable world organization, adds his disciple Salazar.  The Spanish Falangist leader, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, extracted its essence when he said: 'The patrie is a total unity in which all individuals and classes are integrated. . . It is a transcendent synthesis, indivisible, with its own goals to fulfill . . . A permanent, irevocable unity.'

"The nation is not only the most suitable form of integrating a vast and diversified community, it is also the most efficient energizing unit under modern circumstances.  It protects its citizens' work, and at the same time sets a goal that transcends their activity, providing a higher justification." 

From Thomas Molnar's The Counter-Revolution, New York, Funk & Wagnalls, 1969, pp. 95-96.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Twenty Four Hours of the Passion

Special Lenten meditations – the Twenty Four Hours of the Passion, beginning with the hour that Jesus took leave of His Mother Mary, until His burial. These are based on a book which has had six Imprimaturs from various bishops and countries.

They were composed by Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, under the spiritual direction of St. Hannibal Di Francia.

Below are some web sites that have these "Hours" or you can order a book from the Internet, titled under Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. has additional info    as well as the promises/benefits

Product Details

Monday, February 8, 2016

The "Catholic South" and the Right to Secede

A review of Catholic author Adam S. Miller's The North & the South and Secession, the first of his four-book series on the Civil War from a traditional Catholic historical perspective.

Surprisingly, a large part of the cultural difference between North and South came from the fact that the Catholic influence on society and culture had a greater impact on the South.  Although the North had more Catholics, those in the South tended to be in greater positions of influence.   Southern society was structured in a way that reflected the old European Catholic hierarchical and patriarchal world view. "Southerners in general had a deep respect for their European heritage and the social/cultural traditions which came from there, whether or not they knew that this heritage, culturally speaking, had been born and developed as a result of the Catholic Church."  (p. 9.)

Southern Catholics completely supported the Southern cause, as did every one of their Catholic bishops.  Correspondence between Pope Pius IX and Jefferson Davis shows that the Pope acknowledged Davis as President of the Confederate States of America, and "implies that he favored the South during the Civil War and recognized values in the South that were not common in the progressive-industrialized world, like the American North." (p.11.)

Miller's smallish but logically tight book dispels the myths that the war was fought over slavery and that Lincoln was justified in invading the South. This book clearly proves that the South had every legal right to secede from the Union, since secession was not prohibited in the Constitution. Further, slavery was also legal according to that same Constitution. It was economic oppression of the South, due to unjust and excessive tariffs imposed by the Northern states via the Federal government, that ultimately forced the South to secede. The South carried the vast majority of the taxation burden, and thus provided most of the Federal revenue.

It is a fact that when the conflict began the Union had more slave states than the Confederacy! The commanding General for the North, U.S. Grant, made use of slaves, and said that if the war had been fought to free the slaves, he would have turned in his sword (p. 73). Lincoln went to war "to apply the erroneous belief that the federal government was sovereign over the states" (p. 75). The true insurrectionists were the Northerners who rebelled against the founding concept that the federal government was simply an agent for the free sovereign states.

Miller provides page after page of proof that the initial concept of a Federal government under the Constitution was derived from the consent of the founding states, and it was not to be their ruler as a powerful central government.  The creator was the assemblage of sovereign states, and their creature was the Federal government.  But the North, led by Lincoln, reversed this paradigm so that the creature would dominate the creator, and do so by force of arms.

Consider this analogy as to what occurred during the Civil War, although Miller does not mention it:  suppose Germany were to pull out of the European Union, and the other member states said it was not allowed, and they invaded that country militarily to keep her in that Union against her will.

This book is quite a revelation, and I plan read to the subsequent three books in Miller's series on the Civil War.  The updated editions are best obtained from his website

Sunday, January 10, 2016

An Example of St. Padre Pio's Mercy

I recently began to re-read parts of a book on St. Padre Pio I had written about a dozen years ago.  As time goes by, even authors have to refresh their memories about the content of their own work.  I had been contacted by an organization interested in the saint's interaction with the American military during World War II.  In fact, not far from Padre Pio's friary in the town of San Giovanni Rotondo, the Army Air force had established a ring of air fields girding the town of Foggia.

Foggia was on an enormous plain, situated just below the Gargano mountain, upon which sat San Giovanni Rotondo.   Often the soldiers and airmen would explore nearby towns, and exchange candy and cigarettes for fresh eggs and vegetables from the locals.  During these interchanges, the troops began hearing stories about some mysterious holy man on the mountain. 

Before long, many soldiers, with some Protestants joining the Catholics, were making the trek up the Gargano to attend Padre Pio's early morning Mass.  One of these men was Ray Ewen, who was attached to a bomb group of B-24s based near Foggia.  From 1943 to 1945 Ray made so many trips up the mountain that he became friends not only with Padre Pio but also with the saint's father Grazio, who was residing near the friary.  Ray would often sit on the little stone wall surrounding the elm tree in front of the friary, listening to Grazio Forgione talk about his famous son.

Quoting directly from the book, Padre Pio and America, pp. 120-121, is the following occurrence that Ray Ewen spoke to me about:

     "On one of his visits to San Giovanni, Ray was inside the church while Confessions were taking place, and he heard Padre Pio order someone out of the confessional.  After hearing Padre Pio say this, some of those waiting their turn in line lost their nerve, got out of the line, and left.  They had witnessed one of the distinctive marks of Padre Pio's ministry of bringing souls to God.  He would refuse to hear a Confession on those occasions when he was aware that the penitent was insincere, or required a jolt to make him realize that he needed to examine his conscience.  It is said that invariably such people would undergo an inner conversion, and eventually return to make a sincere Confession either to Padre Pio or to another priest."

Padre Pio and America is available at or from the publisher TAN Books.