Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Common Sense is Not So Common"

                                 “Common Sense is Not So Common.”

I am a black woman.  I am a weary black woman.  I am a scared black woman.  Why?  Because whites are calling the police on us for everything.  It is as if we should not be breathing the same air.  As of we have not lived next door to them for the past  55 years.  With President Trump leading our nation, racism is back and very much alive.  We are losing the battle we fought so long and so hard for:  the right to vote. That right is being taken away day by day, right for right. Not so long ago our youth and our elder bled and died for the right to vote and now sneaky though it may be, those voting rights are being yanked away for fear that blacks will vote in favor of those who will fight with us to bring back that major right.

Look at the state of Georgia, a state that many of us thought was the shining example of a of a southern state that had “hate for blacks” as its middle name.  We thought those wrongs finally had been made right, that Georgia was the new South.  The real Georgia was revealed during the last voting season when Democrats became the majority in the House of Representatives. Yes, voter   suppression reared its ugly head once again, especially in Georgia.  Recently a non-partisan group rented a bus to take senior citizens in Jefferson County to a voting booth. After the mostly black seniors were on the bus someone called the commissioner’s office who ordered them off the bus stating the bus had been hired by a group that had a Democrat in its ranks. And that constituted “political activity.”  Shame on Georgia.

The Georgia Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp, and Republican candidate for governor, was instrumental in the suppression of voting rights.  Some 53,000 voters’ registrations are being held hostage because they are not “exact matches.”  In other words, there might be an extra space or a misplaced comma, or period on the form and that disqualifies the voter from casting a vote.  A judge ruled several days before voting that that way of disallowing someone to vote was illegal. It has not been lost on white supremacists that these days politics not protests are the way to get into the mainstream. Their kindred souls are in office and in power.

I feel the stings and rocks thrown at us by the President of the U.S. and others of his ilk.  It is frightening to know that the former chief of our Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, was doing all that he could to remove many, many blacks and other minorities from the voting polls.  When white supremacist groups show up at various rallies and trouble ensues, none of the Republicans in office utter a word against them.  They all kowtow to the President even when they know he is wrong.
America is (or was) the home of democracy.  We have never had a president in office who is as boldly racist as Trump. He has insulted most black reporters who have White House passes; there are no blacks or other minorities working at the White House; Trump lies almost every time he opens his mouth, and we have come to realize that those who work for him do the same, especially Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Americans have never been in such a predicament as we are now.  We have few friends around the world.  They have come to see that President Trump is not a man of his word and changes his opinion as often as he changes. . . well, fill in the dots.

The only black female lawmaker in Vermont resigned last month after four years of constant harassment, insults, break-ins at her home, death threats and more from the many white supremacist groups in 95% white Vermont.  It was in Vermont that I was called a “nigger” for the first time in my life. My group of Peace Corps Volunteers spent two months in Vermont at the Institute for International Living due to a coup in Peru.  I was walking down the street with several other female volunteers and some young boys on the other side of the street yelled that word at me. We ignored them and continued on our way.  I was hurt and angry, and thereafter  I limited my walks to country roads where I talked to the cows I encountered.

Also, while we were in Vermont, one of our Peace Corps friends invited me and another black volunteer to her home in New Hampshire for the weekend. Her parents were very welcoming.  At dinner that evening my friend asked about a friend of hers.  Her mother, who was very animated, said without a thought, “Oh, he works at (some place) and comes home black as a nigger every night.” I looked across the table at Pat, the other black woman, and she was looking at me.  We continued eating and not one word was ever mentioned about what the mother had said.
Meanwhile in Maine, Governor Le Paige has not missed a chance to spout racist rhetoric as he does frequently.  He accuses blacks and “people of color” of being drug dealers and suggests that they should be shot.  A Democrat in the state legislature called LePage a “racist” and LePage was so outraged that he wished they could have a duel so he could shoot his opponent!  And this man governs the state of Maine? What does that say about the people of Maine who elected him?

Trump came into office with a chip on his shoulder and it remains. He began by telling us how intelligent he is.  Then he aligned with white nationalists. He could not bring himself to call them what they are – avowed racists.  With the president as their protector, they along with other racists came out of the shadows and suddenly everyone who ever had a grudge against any person of color felt free to call the police to remove any black person from any place the white person felt blacks had no business being, and for speaking out about what they thought of blacks and other people of color. It has become very unsettling and upsetting.

Whites are calling the police to arrest blacks for:
Gardening while black –  two white women saw a black man in Detroit gardening on an empty plot and called the police because he didn’t “belong in the neighborhood.”

Baby-sitting while black – a white woman followed a black man who was baby-sitting two white children . She called the police who contacted the parents who were shocked that the black man was suspected of kidnapping the children.  They said the man often babysat their children.

Visiting voters while black – a black lawmaker was visiting neighborhoods in her district and knocking on doors for votes when one of the neighbors called police because she  thought the lawmaker was checking to see who was at home before robbing a house.

Existing while black – A restaurant in Alabama refused to allow a Kappa Alpha Psi alumni chapter to host its dinner there claiming, “problems with your kind.” The men were in their 50 - 60 years of age.

Being a doctor while black  -  Delta Airlines has refused on two occasions to allow two black female doctors to attend to people who became ill while flying. In both cases the attendants asked for their doctors’ licenses and even after being shown the doctors’ licenses, they still questioned the two doctors.

Waiting for AAA help while black – two black women were waiting in a parking lot for AAA help to arrive to service their car when a drunk white woman began yelling at them that she was white, and were they waiting for their “baby daddy to arrive,” and other insulting comments were hurled at the women who fearing for their safety called police.

Swimming while black – there have been several instances where blacks were challenged when attempting to use hotel swimming pools. The challengers were not affiliated with the hotel, but wanted to know if the blacks had showered before getting into the pool, etc. The black people were guests at the hotels.

Entering your home while black – there are more and more instances of whites challenging blacks attempting to enter their condos or apartments where they live. The whites insist that the blacks do not live there.  The blacks have keys to their homes and when police are called the whites look like idiots. They can’t know every person who lives in the building and for them to challenge a tenant is outrageous.

Driving while black – all blacks have to be careful while driving.  The police have a habit of stopping cars driven by blacks who the police think cannot afford such cars or just want to make an example of them.  The blacks must be very careful. One black woman was stopped in a city she was moving to in order to begin her job as a professor at a university. She was stopped for no reason and she said so.  She also cursed the officer who arrested her.  The next day the woman was found dead in her cell. The police said it was suicide; her family and other blacks know better.

Lawmaking while black - the second black woman to serve in the Vermont Legislature resigned last month after 4 years of harassment.  Her home was burglarized; death threats, and constant harassment led to her resignation. Her husband had recent heart surgery and she feared for their lives and the life of her son. Vermont is 95% white.

Voting while black – These past weeks have seen more vitriol stemming from our mid-term elections. Two whites in Southern states who ran against blacks and were perhaps on the verge of losing their positions, struck back with a vengeance.  One was the Secretary of State who oversaw the election despite recommendations that he step down until the election was over.  He refused until a few days ago.  The man is suspect since he oversaw the election and at the same time he also ran for Governor of that state.   And in Prairie View, TX some 8000 students were denied the right to vote because election officials said Texas was not their home and they should vote at home. By the time that decision was overthrown, it was too late for most of the students to get to the polls which were not conveniently located nearby.

Existing while black -  some fear that it’s open season on blacks. A white man recently shot and killed two blacks at a Walmart store _ one man inside the store and the other one outside - recently.  As he passed another white man, the shooter said to him, “I’m not shooting any white people, only blacks.” That is chilling!

Meanwhile in the Virgin Islands a drunk, white American woman went around yelling
            that she loves Trump and “hates black people.” She was escorted off the island by police.

A man at a DC airport was told by the white woman behind him that he was in the wrong line and should move to let her through.  He showed her his first-class boarding pass. She then mumbled out loud that he must be military and he should still move because she had paid for her tickets.  The man then turned to her and said, “Nope, I’m too big for anybody’s military. I’m just a niggah with money!” The entire line applauded him and it went viral. Perhaps then the woman understood!

When I go out I try to keep an eye on my surroundings. I don’t want to be shot and killed for being black. I have no control over the color of my skin.  It was given to me by God and I shall die happily with it. In Church I worry that someone will burst in firing and I think of what to do in that event. Should I keep my cell phone in my hand during the services in case I need to call for help?

During grade school days I was bused to school because black children could not attend the school closest to our homes.  I was bused to a black school across town. My four years of high school at one of the most prestigious  public schools in the city, Shortridge, taught me a lot about life with white people.   Senator Richard Lugar graduated from Shortridge five years before I did.  I was on the Monday staff of our Daily Echo, our high school newspaper, held a press pass thanks to the Indianapolis Herald – a black weekly newspaper – which allowed me backstage to interview jazz greats and to write about it, and I excelled in my journalism classes.  The few black students were basically ignored by most of the white teachers and students alike. I cannot recall a single white student even looking at me, let alone saying “Hi.

And then in the '60s Dr. Martin Luther King came into the news.  People marveled at his civil disobedience and his message of non-violence.  Finally, blacks were organizing and demanding  an end to “whites only” at eating establishments; demanding the right to use the decent bathrooms rather than a stinky and dirty bathroom outside, and the right to drink from water fountains designated for “whites only.”  We no longer were content to sit at the back of a bus, or to get up to let a white man have our seat.  Were we not human? Hadn’t slavery ended? Our nation rose up and began demanding that blacks have the same rights as whites.  Slowly over the years – with much feet dragging – the majority of Americans obeyed the law.

Robert Kennedy, Attorney-General, under the guidance of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, sent Federal troops to the South to protect blacks trying to exercise their right to vote and to protect little black children who ran a gamut of angry, yelling whites while trying to enter schools.  It was a disgraceful display of anger of people who refused to share the benefits that both races were entitled to.  Watch a little black child protected by Federal troops walking through a raucous, rowdy crowd of whites threatening and yelling. How did they manage to learn or even to study given those circumstances? But they excelled and went on to white colleges and did the same.

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the mountains of Cuzco, Peru when President Kennedy was assassinated.  My first prayer was that he had not been killed by a black person.  The same was true when Robert Kennedy was killed.  These men had helped black people and I certainly did not want their deaths on our hands. In 2018 alone, white men with guns have killed over 12,000 people. Is anyone alarmed at this?  President Trump is appalled when a few illegals have killed some innocent Americans, yet he is not sending troops to ban white men from anything. What would he ban them from – buying guns, working in the public square, from their homes, from breathing?

Following the assignation of President Kennedy, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  That law allowed the withholding of federal funds from programs that had discriminatory practice; authorized the federal government to step in to safeguard the right of African Americans to register to vote and cast their ballots, and allowed access to public accommodations. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, to establish the Office of Economic Opportunity to oversee a number of educational, training, and employment programs. Johnson wanted more safeguards for civil and voting rights, money for education, programs for urban renewal, Medicare, crime prevention and consumer protection. One of  his most acclaimed accomplishments as president was ensuring the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Which authorized the federal government to step in to safeguard the right of blacks to register to vote and cast their ballots.

We leap to 2016 and Donald Trump, the President of the United States, formerly the role model of a democracy where everyone’s rights are protected by the Federal government.  I say “formerly” because that is no longer the case.  Before Trump was elected, he often used the wink and nod to assure white racists that he was one of them.  He  refused to call racist the people who rioted in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. He dug in his heels to get his supporters to act upon the “fake media” and at his rallies, he often called for his people to show others how they felt about reporters and those in the crowd who did not agree with Trump.  We continue to see the results of that.
President Trump has been on a roll recently in insulting black women.  He began by calling April Ryan, a “loser.”  Ms. Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks has covered the White House for 24 years. When she stood to ask a question of the president, he ordered her to sit down and said she “doesn’t know what the hell she is doing.”  Black CNN reporter Abby Philips, was told by Trump that she “asks a lot of stupid questions.”  He went on to insult PBS NewsHour WH correspondent Yarniche Alcindor, a black female reporter. She asked if Trump was concerned that his rhetoric emboldens white nationalists. He replied, “that is such a racist question … is so insulting to me. It’s a very terrible thing you said.”  Trump then walked away. Was it noticed that her question was not answered?

This president had the nerve to say, “When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me, this is a very special place, you have to treat the White House with respect, you have to treat the presidency with respect.” Maybe when the president treats the presidency with respect - just maybe – others will do the same.  Apparently, he does not realize how disrespectful some of his retorhic has been, especially about women.  It is doubtful that he cares.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017


             Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. . .

On Pentecost Sunday near the end of our Sunday Mass the pianist began playing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”  No matter where I am when I hear that music I feel tears rising.  I blinked hard several times to discourage those tears from falling.

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be,

This song brings back memories of the 25th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, September 26 – 28, 1986, a project that was very dear to my heart and it remains so. The goal of reaching out our hands to the poorest of the poor in other nations to let them know that the United States cared about them, was first and foremost in our two years in Cuzco, Peru. While I have fond memories of my village of Quiquijana, about two hours by train from the city of Cuzco, I must confess that I came to dislike the city of Cuzco intensely.

I was the darkest Peace Corps volunteer in the state of Cuzco, the laughing stock of most of the Quechua Indians, and scary as hell to others.  There was one other black volunteer in Cuzco, but her skin was very fair and probably few knew that she was a black American. It was as if they had never seen a black person. And maybe they hadn’t.  If I walked into a tienda (tiny store) to make a purchase, when I turned to go out an audience of Quechua Indians would have gathered in a matter of minutes and as I walked out some would reach out to touch me as if to see if the black rubbed off, others laughed hysterically and scooted away from me, while I tried to maintain a smile on my face. During our training we were constantly told that we were guests in Peru and we were never, but never, to do anything that might insult them.  I broke out in a rash, no doubt from what I perceived as hostility from the Peruvians.

With God as our Father, Brothers all are we.

It was discouraging to go to a school with my two roommates to introduce ourselves and I would be ignored or the principal or a teacher would ask me again and again where I was from. It was as if they did not believe that I could be American. I used to force myself to be on the streets when schools were dismissed. I hoped that eventually the students would become accustomed to me, and not scream and run or laugh when they saw me. I felt that I must have looked like a horrible monster. I had never experienced people screaming in fright, running away from me, touching me to see if the color came off, and while I said nothing to my fellow volunteers, my heart was bursting with sadness. I went there to help the poor, and while I realized that perhaps most had never seen a black woman before, I somehow felt that they were being hateful to me. Two black friends serving in Arequipa were experiencing the same unpleasantness.

                  Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

I noticed when I visited other volunteers in their villages I never got the stares, or screams or attempts to rub off the black.  How odd, I thought. The villagers certainly had more common sense than the so-called “city people.”  Finally, one of the black women  in Arequipa had had enough.  She quit the Peace Corps and returned to the United States. That was a shock to the Peace Corps. We had been prepared and over prepared about Peru, but nothing was ever said about race relations. I wanted to make a difference in the world with my tiny contribution. We had been told that many of us would die from plane accidents.  Their national airline was known as “the death airline.” Yet, we persevered on, determined to represent our country. We were told about the water; we had to boil it for 20 minutes in order to make it safe to drink.  We were told to avoid milk, ice cream, etc.  Nothing deterred us.

Let peace begin with me . . .

Finally I could take the stares and laughter no more and I asked to be transferred to a small village.  Our country director, Frank Mankiewitz, hesitated. Our Peace Corps doctor felt the harassment would be worse in a village, but I persisted. Finally Frank agreed.  He sent me and a new volunteer to the village of Quiquijana to see what we thought of it.  We were welcomed by the school officials and the health official we would be working with. The village people we passed as we walked down the dusty streets were nothing except polite and welcoming! I was impressed! A small house awaited us on the school grounds.  We were excited.  Our own little village! When we returned a week later with our belongings our house had been painted pink! It was lovely.  The tiny house had two rooms and an inside/outside kitchen.  The kitchen was outside of the house in a tiny area without a door and a window without glass.  We almost clicked our heels! We were delighted.  The teachers and mothers of the village met us and it was love at first sight.

       Let this be the moment now.

However, there was one wrinkle. As we walked through the village I spied a Burma Bridge, and I froze. It used to be a permanent bridge, but it had crumbled long ago and the current bridge consisted of ropes and boards over rushing water below. During our training we had to practice walking across such a bridge from ropes strung high in the trees.  I knew that no place on earth would one find such a bridge.  No way! No where! I remembered the way to maintain your balance was to push the ropes out from your body when all you wanted to do was to grab and pull them as close to your body as you could. I yelled down to the instructor that I was going to fall.  He yelled back, “You certainly are if you don’t push the ropes out!”  Damn! I thought!  If I fall, I’ll no doubt break something and that will be the end of my Peace Corps dream, so I’ll go ahead and walk this stupid thing and I’ll never have to see it or walk it again.  Little did I know!

With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow . . .  .

Within a week or so I had conquered that bridge and could walk across it while reading my mail.  The post office and train station were on the other side of the river. Soon one of the two dogs who adopted us began following me across the bridge. If you were alone on the bridge, it was fine.  But when one or two other people were on it, well, it was the bridge from hell because when you put a foot down, somebody else caused the bridge to rise, and I scurried across quickly.  

How I loved Quiquijana!  We were invited to dinner and to family parties.  For my 26th birthday the teachers surprised me at noon by singing Happy Birthday in English; we drank Pisco Sours (a potent and delicious alcoholic drink); the students dedicated a soccer match to me and there was no school in the afternoon.  Everybody, especially me, was more than ready for a siesta! I’ve never had such a birthday!  Only in Quiquijana! A Quechua mother invited us to dinner several times.  Each time she served a guinea pig on a platter.  There it lay in the middle of the table complete with head, teeth, and all four feet pointing upward. I wondered how he had been killed.  The first time we went for dinner I barely touched the meat.  The second time I lied and said my doctor said I could not eat meat for some medical reason.  My roommate was delighted because there was more for her to eat. I just could not eat that guinea pig.  All I could think of was the tiny, furry critters running around the house that I wanted only to pet.

To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally . . .

At 25th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in 1986, I happened to be in the US and in Washington, DC where the celebration was held.   Let There be Peace on Earth became the Peace Corps anthem.   It was played in the huge white tent where we met in Southwest Washington, later at Arlington Cemetary, and again at the closing ceremony at the Kennedy Center.  I was with two former volunteers who were in my group. We marched from the Lincoln Monument, bearing the flags of our countries, and on to Arlington Cemetery where we paused at the John F. Kennedy site, our founder, and to the ceremony.  There were tears as we remembered the 199 volunteers we lost during the 25 years of Peace Corps existence. Their families were there and I wanted to hug each one and tell them what their sacrifice meant to me. There was Nina, Frank’s secretary in Lima, who had memorized our names and faces before we arrived. She was a wonder. We saw other volunteers who we had not seen since 1964 or earlier. Thunderous applause greeted President Corazon Aquino, of the Philippines, our main speaker. We must have applauded for 15 minutes. And then she saw her volunteers in their yellow tee shirts and we went crazy again as she greeted them. It was a magical weekend. It was fitting for us to meet in a tent and sit on the ground and push the chairs aside.  What a magical moment that was. We were the vanguard for those who came afterwards. We were the pioneers. There has never been another feeling like the 3 days that we met in that huge tent.  We were together. It was us against the world.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

This was also the song played in a small Catholic Church in California when I visited a friend.  I had a terrible cold and was coughing like crazy. She had told the priest that I would speak to the congregation after Mass. I had done no such thing. In fact, I spent most of the time outside because I was coughing like crazy. At the end of Mass an usher came to the door and said they were asking for me. I was ready to kill somebody. I walked to the front of the Church and the priest took my hand and let me to the podium. My mind was blank. I had no idea of what to say. I prayed a quick prayer and then I thought of the weekend of July 4th and I told the parishioners of the countries I had served in, countries which had no independence as we did,  and of people trying to survive while under the thumb of a dictator. At the end the priest hugged me and suddenly the pianist began playing, Let There Be Peace on Earth. The tears began flowing as I fumbled my way back to where my friends sat.  A woman reached out and asked if she could give me a hug.  I nodded assent and she hugged me. Other members of the congregation stopped to chat with me. But it was that song that almost brought me to my knees. It was “our” song, the anthem of the Peace Corps, and it will always have a special meaning to me.

Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me. . .  .
(Sy Miller & Jill Jackson)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Picture this!  

Two mature women – mature as mid-70s, close to 80 years old – are enroute to a beach vacation when they decide to visit a friend, a civil detainee who is detained in a “hospital.”  Once they realized they were close to the “hospital” they decided to stop for a quick visit.

The women went inside, showed their drivers licenses, and a check was done to see if they were wanted by the police in any state, etc. – whatever else they check in a few minutes.  The women proceeded through the metal detector and WHOA! – alarms sounded, the doors locked automatically, the guards drew their weapons and everybody froze.  Since the women had no other metal on them, the guards said it had to be the underwire bras the women had on that set off the alarm.  

One woman, fondly called The Mouth, immediately said, “Well, we’ll simply remove our bras and go on in.”  

The guards, aghast, said, “No way!”  They were not going to have these two elderly women marching through the “hospital” with their boobs bouncing around.  Picture that!  

They were told to go away and return in bras without underwire.  The two women stomped back out into the parking lot – which is a far piece from the entrance to the “hospital.”  There The Mouth removed her bra in the car –visible to anybody passing by – not giving one whit as to who might see her.  She then took from the glove compartment a tiny knife and she cut her bra to enable her to remove the plastic-underwire-touched-by-a-bit of metal .  Once she removed the underwire, she put the wireless bra back on and prepared to retrace her steps to the prison, er, “hospital.”  The other woman did not want to ruin her expensive bra by cutting out the underwire, so she remained in the car. And that is another no-no!

Meanwhile, upstairs in the “hospital” the visitee was awakened and told to get dressed.  He had gone to bed at 5:30 a.m. and it was now 11 a.m. His normal waking hours were between 2 and 3 pm.  He was understandably a bit confused.  He rushed to get dressed, thinking that he was being taken to the hospital for a back x-ray.  Then he remembered it was a holiday.  He went to the medical unit to see if they had called for him.  No, they reminded him that it was a holiday.  

Meanwhile, in the visiting room, The Mouth was having a fit – to put it mildly! She ranted at the guards in the visiting room that she had been there for 45 minutes and she had another appointment and needed to leave.  Where was the visitee? Had he been notified?

Back upstairs the visitee called someone to see who called him to tell him to get dressed.  He was told he had a visitor.  A visitor? Nobody just dropped in to visit him.  They always called first.  And then he was told it was The Mouth, and she was upset that he was late!

Late? He wondered how he could be late when he didn’t know she was coming in the first place! After combing his hair and flossing, he appeared in the visiting room and was immediately subjected to a bit of The Mouth’s wrath – from the bra episode, to him not showing up, and then being “late.”  When he asked about the other woman, he was told that she was in the car in the parking lot. That is a no-no, and he was surprised that the guards didn’t tell her nobody is allowed to sit in a car on the parking lot.  He immediately told The Mouth that she had to leave and get back to her car.  She promised that they would stop again in a week when they left their beach retreat.   She also said they would not wear underwire bras and would bring him a lot of his favorite foods to eat – that is a perk allowed at that “hospital.”

They say all’s well that ends well.   I say all is well that ends! And that ends the saga of the bras!

Picture that!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Our Nine Night Cruise to New England and Canada

It was time for another cruise.  How I love cruises!  But arriving at the cruise site is always traumatic. As you may or may not know, I am terrified of flying even though I have done it for most of my life.  I also promised the Lord that if he let me survive until I retired, that I would keep my little, flat feet on the ground.  I tried, but then for most cruises I have to end up flying. However, this time in light of passengers abusing flight attendants, trying to open plane doors while in flight, passengers threatening to bring down planes, etc. I decided that it was train time.

Friends took us to our grubby train/bus station well before midnight. Our train was scheduled to arrive and to leave at 11:59. The train/bus station is the gathering site of the homeless and those who hang out.  We walked between them clutching our purses and trying to hang onto our luggage. Before we got inside the station my suitcases began falling off of each other time and time again. I was loaded down with a medium size suitcase, a small one on top of it, my handbag and a large over  the shoulder bag. I certainly learned my lesson this time! One large suitcase would have sufficed!

Our first crisis - or my first out of body experience.  About ten minutes before we arrived in Newark, NJ, Dee asks, "Where do we get off?"
Me:  In Newark.
Her:  Newark?! (She sounds alarmed. Eyes wide)
Me: Newark, New Jersey.  Where did you think the train was going?
Her:  Jersey City.  (Now where did that come from??)
She's looking at me as if I'm insane.  Maybe I am.  I clearly am on the verge of becoming so.
We overnighted at a hotel and boarded our ship the next afternoon.

Ah, the ship, The Anthem of the Seas, one of the largest in the fleet.  Our cabin was on the 10th floor (of 16 floors!). There was a chapel (no priest); the North Star, a huge ball at the top of the ship that holds about 10 people that lifts you high, high over the ship and out over the ocean! I wanted to go on it, but people who suffer from vertigo were advised not to get on it.
There were five complimentary main restaurants (four of which are available to all passengers)
Other smaller complimentary dining venues include:[5][36]
  • The Café @ Two70° — Made-to-order sandwiches and salads, similar to the Park Café on other Royal Caribbean ships (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

  • Café Promenade — Sandwiches and pastries (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

  • SeaPlex Dog House — Hot dogs and sausages, similar to the Boardwalk Dog House on other Royal Caribbean ships (lunch and dinner).

  • Devinely Decadence at Solarium Bistro — Spa cuisine (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

  • Sorrentos Pizza (lunch and dinner)

  • Windjammer Marketplace — Complimentary buffet (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Includes a new The Grill area, which is open 24-hours and features all-day breakfast, cheese steak sandwichesrotisserie chicken, and other food items.

There are several smaller dining concepts that are available to passengers for an additional fee:
  • Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver (lunch and dinner).
  • Michael's Genuine Pub — À la carte gastropub from chef Michael Schwartz (lunch and dinner).
  • Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine (dinner only)
  • Prime Table @ Chop’s Grille (dinner only)[41]
  • Chops Grille — Steakhouse (dinner only).
  • Izumi Japanese Cuisine — À la carte sushi and Japanese food (lunch and dinner).
  • Johnny Rockets — À la carte location of the restaurant chain (lunch and dinner).

There are a total of 2,090 staterooms: 1,570 balcony staterooms, 147 ocean-view staterooms, and 373 inside staterooms. Of those staterooms, 34 are wheelchair accessible and 28 are studio staterooms for single travelers (including 12 studio staterooms with balconies).The ship carries 5000 passengers and a crew of over 2,000. It is a city unto itself! 

Day 2 - Totally relaxing!  Slept late.  No time for a late breakfast.  We dash to the 5th floor to attend an 11 a.m. event for "top tier" passengers.  That's us! I am a Diamond Member and Dee is an Emerald. And after pushing our way through tons of people out shopping, we arrive at the theatre to find the date on our invitations is incorrect. Grr! It is scheduled for Day 7 and not Day 2. Thanks, I think! I dug my tired and sleepy body out of  bed for fear I'd miss something.  Show me the casino!

Day 3 - We arrived in Boston.  Met one of my special priest friends for lunch. Our friend came to the terminal.  After hugs we took a taxi to a wonderful seafood restaurant overlooking the water. Delightful! Weather was great, in mid 70s. I learned that the Archdiocese of Boston is paying for one of its priests to reside at the Paracletes in St. Louis. I wondered why they won't pay for another priest just out of prison, elderly, sick with cancer, no funds and living in a shelter AFTER the Archdiocese failed in its attempt to keep him in prison as a civil detainee. I understand they are paying for the other priest because he threatened to commit suicide and the Archdiocese did not want that made public. One priest Dee spoke to at the Archdiocese yelled at her that this ill priest "is no longer a priest!" According to Canon Law the mark of Ordination cannot be erased.  One would think a priest would know that, no? Where oh where is the justice and mercy that Pope Francis speaks of? Certainly not in the heart of the Archbishop of Boston, Sean Cardinal O'Malley, who has been appointed to several Boards at the Vatican.  Ah, if the Holy Father only knew.

Day 4 Portland, ME - talked to Samantha on the phone. She is a childhood friend of my Godson, Pornchai Maximilian. She was on the road heading to her sister's for a family reunion.  She asked if we were at Bar Harbor or Portland. I said, "Isn't Bar Harbor a suburb of Portland?"  She said, "No, they are about 2 hrs. apart."  I said, "Then I have no idea where we are!"  So much for geography classes in grade school! Wish we could have met.  Someway we will.  Dee and I strolled around and I bought a couple of magnets. Streets very hilly! Yikes!

Later this afternoon an attendant arrived with a tray of chocolate covered strawberries compliments of the ship line. Nice!  Our room has a "virtual balcony." It is a wall that shows what is going on outside of our room.  It's like having a room with a balcony. We close the curtain at night when it's pitch black outside. Interesting innovation.

No main dining room. We circulate with the same dinner companions, Faith and Malcolm from Scotland who are hilarious!
Day 1 - ate at "Chic" shrimp as entree, delish!
Day 2 - ate at "Le Grande", dress is formal - ah, escargots! Ummm! Dee and I were in heaven, not so our dinner companions.
Day 3 - ate at "Silk", Pan Asian cuisine. I had Pad Thai with shrimp and chicken..
Day 4 - ate at "American Icon Grill - nothing memorable
Day 5 - We started all over again with the "Chic."  Had a wonderful lobster!
Day6 -  Back at "Chic" and they had nothing I wanted. The waiter wanted me to be happy and asked what did I want that was not on the menu. I asked if I could have lobster which we had the  night before.  He brought me lobster. Ummm!

Day 5 - Bar Harbor - uphill all the way! Damn! Tendered into town. And then the walking began. Too exhausting! Spent about 1 hr. in town, did a little shopping and back on the tender to ship.

Day 6 - St. John - Bay of Fundy - Disembarked around 11:30 along with the other 5000 passengers! After seeing the steep uphill streets, we decided to take a tour bus. Walked back to ship to get on a tour bus. The Pink bus said we could get one at 1pm. It was now 12:15.  We had walked blocks on a tiny sidewalk bumping into people with baby strollers, walkers, electric wheelchairs, etc. We went back to the terminal for a bus. A volunteer working there told us to take a city bus which would give us a good tour of the city. It was due within minutes. the 12:30 bus was leaving by the time we walked back to the site.  The 12:45 bus was filled. The 1:00 bus never came.  We stood until 1:30 and slowly made our way back to the ship.  We left tons of people standing there waiting for the city bus. One man called the bus company and was told the next bus would come at 2:30!  No taxis came by. The little city was overwhelmed. Good grief! The volunteer later told us that 4 ships would be in dock at the same time within days.  Oh, I sure feel sorry for those passengers! I crawled back to the ship.

Day 7 - Halifax, Nova Scotia -  I haven't recovered from St. John. Leg muscles still tired. Can barely make it to the casino.  Our cabin is about 2 - 3 blocks from an elevator! Groan...!  From the Windjammer on the 14th floor there is a great view of a lighthouse on a tiny island across from the ship.  It is said the island used to hold a prison. There are two tiny houses on the island. Would love to explore there.
Nova Scotia

Read a lot today. Sat in Library and watched yachts floating by as well as people on their ski boats. From the library there was a great view around the corner of Spectre's Cabaret doing a dress rehearsal.  Wow! Can't wait to see the show! We saw "We Will Rock You" in the theatre and "The Gift."  Terrific shows! We had to reserve our seats. Guess they did not want to risk 5000 passengers going at the same time! There was entertainment every night, at the nightclubs, the theatre, and lots of dancing.  We usually sought the comfort of the casino and we were quite lucky!

One night we had our usual winning seats and a woman came by and whispered to us, "I hear they are going to tattoo your names on those seats!"  We had a good laugh.  Much later, around midnight, a man came around the corner for the umpteenth time to see if we were still there.  We were.  He said, "Do you all sleep in here at night?" Before I could reply Dee said, "It's none of your damned business!"  He was chagrined, apologized and said he was only joking. I was tickled to death!

We had to overnight at a hotel in New Jersey before getting our train the next morning. As we sat in the hotel lobby waiting for our room to be available Dee says, "This must be a black neighborhood."
Me:  Why?
Her:  There are only black people here.
Me:  Are you insane?  Look around  And why would neighborhood people check into a hotel in their neighborhood?

 She just looked blank! She looked around and said all she saw were black people. I then had to point out the whites and Orientals in the lobby!  She exhausts me with that nonsense. She always thinks she's the only white woman in a crowd and she never is! She doesn't notice when I'm the only black in a crowd of whites. Truth be told: I don't notice either.  It's been that way all of my life!

It was a good cruise - as they always are.  Thanks to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines! Love 'em! It's always like going home! And we were awarded a free cruise plus guest for each of us! Icing on the cake!

Sunday, February 21, 2016



Monsignor Frank Murphy
I met Monsignor Frank Murphy many years ago. He was one of four priests who concelebrated the funeral Mass of a priest who died in prison in New Mexico.  Father Frank's last assignment was in Alaska where he was loved.  He made a mistake and was exiled.  He had a small ranch in Cuba, New Mexico to which many priests went to hold retreats, but more importantly, Father Frank took in guys just out of prison, and those who had no money and little hope, and he let them work the ranch in exchange for food and a small salary. Of course, some men took advantage of him, but he always gave them a second chance. He never gave up on anyone.

After the funeral of a fallen priest in New Mexico, we were invited to visit Msgr. Frank's ranch. He took me into the farm area where there was a herd of llamas who allowed me to touch their faces and to feel their soft soft fur.  One of his dogs had not yet met the newest baby llama and was anxious to.  The baby stood beside its mother who lay on the grass as the baby jumped over her and back again to escape the nose of the doggie who wanted only to welcome him.

We had lunch with Msgr. Frank and afterwards Dolores scrubbed his bachelor-lived-in kitchen.  Later we had Mass in a tiny chapel on the grounds.  The chapel was not yet finished, and Fr. Frank shared that sometimes mice peeked out from the ceiling.  I thought it interesting that the mice sometimes attended Mass and I kept looking up to see them.  I never did.

Fr. Frank showed us various unfinished projects around the ranch. People came and went, as did Father's ideas for the farm.  When an idea came, he then dropped the previous project and began a new one.  He had not finished the chapel.  There was an unfinished two-person outhouse, and even the beginnings of a new retreat center.

Dolores gifted Fr. Frank with a truck that she and her late husband used in Alaska. Fr. Frank was delighted! His old truck was just that - old and failing, but it was all he had. Dolores was happy to help Fr. Frank in his mission to help others. He drove us into Albuquerque in his new truck where we saw him off  for the last time.

And then his health began to fail.

He sold the llamas to a doctor nearby, but the doctor asked Fr. Frank to let the llamas remain on his property because coyotes were attacking and killing them. So the llamas were back with Fr. Frank even though the doctor owned them.

It began with a blood clot in his leg due to a slight injury.  His doctor was in Albuquerque, about two hours from Cuba as the crow flies.  At least now he had a reliable truck to drive to and from Albuquerque. Over the months he kept in touch with Dolores in California and with me in Indiana.  If he didn't reach one of us, he would call the other one - on his good days, when he felt up to talking.

As we heard less and less from him, Dolores contacted someone in Cuba who looked after Fr. Frank and we learned that his time with us was short. He called Dolores one month before he died and she said he sounded good and was cheerful and she thought he was doing a lot better. She said his voice was strong and he seemed his old self.

I loved hearing from him. He usually had to leave a message for me since I invariably missed his calls. He would begin, "Excellency, this is Frank in Cuba. I understand you've been in Rome straightening out things at The Vatican!" He was a riot!

And then he died.

He suffered a lot before he died. Some good people in Cuba loved him, and looked after him. During his last days friends came from afar to say farewell and to just be with him.  Yes, Alaska weeps, as do many who knew this good man.  He always had a smile, a joke on his lips, and loved playing the piano. He will be remembered for the priestly good he did in helping others and challenging them to challenge themselves.

Rest in peace, good priest, Monsignor Frank Murphy.  One of God's own.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Prelude to the Year of Mercy: Confronting the Truth

Prelude to the Year of Mercy: Confronting the Truth

Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

Silencing the truth is never in service of the Church. Speaking with parrhesia, that is, boldly for the common good even at great personal risk, bears witness to Jesus. 

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Father George David Byers, a friend of TSW and a Missionary of Mercy for the Year of Mercy, who blogs at Arise! Let us be Going! This is a long post, but we hope that it doesn’t read long!

Such is the priestly fraternity between myself and Father MacRae that I hold him to be a brother, a blood brother, as in fact all priests are, for we all say of Jesus’ own blood: “This is the chalice of my blood.” Father MacRae is, for me, a priest’s priest, besides being my best friend in the world. Though he is in prison, Father MacRae has never been “laicized”, nor “chartered”, nor censured in any way. He is in good standing. It is my privilege to be in solidarity with him. More than that, it is a great joy, one of the most magnificent of my own priesthood.

Because of there being many editors behind These Stone Walls, writing of posts can begin weeks in advance. When I told Father MacRae a month or two ago of my fear that what I was writing for this guest post might well be the occasion which sets in motion the process for him to be dismissed from the clerical state, “A Fate Worse Than Dying in Prison” (as Ryan MacDonald so eloquently put it), Father MacRae countered that, in fact, it might well be the post which will have me definitively silenced, as much of what I say here does indeed seem to be that for which I had originally been silenced in the early Summer of 2013. After many phone conversations, we agreed, painfully, that when the truth is silenced, it is never done in service of the Church. The Church deserves better. In honor of the Word of God Incarnate being silenced on Calvary, here we go again.

Some might think that it’s quite predictable that one of Pope Francis’ Missionaries of Mercy for the Year of Mercy would thus be in solidarity with someone in prison, but I wonder if this is the case with all the many thousands of us Missionaries of Mercy. I know three other priests (that’s not many) who are not afraid to say that we need due process also for priests, and the others, it seems, are starting to lose their inhibitions to seek both mercy and justice in solidarity with the priests who are their brothers before Jesus whether they like it or not. See, for example: The Myth of Pedophile Priests.

Many of my old parishioners and friends, from Australia to Israel, periodically relate to me stories of interest. For instance, in one parish it was the practice for the parishioners to offer an intercessory prayer publicly at Holy Mass right from their pews. For years, someone kept saying, “Lets pray for Father Gordon MacRae!” There was never a problem until one day, after everyone said, “Lord, hear our prayer,” someone from The Boston Globe, who was passing through, immediately, vehemently attacked the priest: “You are never ever to allow any prayer for Gordon MacRae. It’s a travesty of justice to pray for him! I’ll have you know…” she continued, giving the pastor the lecture of his life. Since then, that pastor, bowing low in obeisance to the failing Boston Globe, then forbade any prayer for Father Gordon, just in time for the Year of Mercy. That is, until recently, when, all danger passed, he permitted the prayer to be made once again. And that’s a sign of hope for renewed blood-solidarity among us priests. That return to reason could not have been imagined just a few years ago.

But we would be fools to think that there isn’t a very long way to go. For instance, a priest who actually was guilty, but who maxed out his sentence, and is now very old and terribly sick, with no money and no where to go except doing the cycle of homeless shelters and soup kitchens, had what amounts to a “hit” put out on him by the Archdiocese of Boston. In taking on the role of Joseph Druce, murderer of Father John Geoghan, they said that they in the Archdiocese, in supporting victims [and who doesn’t?] were troubled to see that this priest is being released from prison despite his serving his whole sentence. This statement begs for someone to take up where the state left off. The Archdiocese had to know that The Boston Globe would trumpet this until someone, coincidentally of course, would threaten this old priest who is already at the end of his life. The priest in question was moved twice between homeless shelters due to concerns for his safety after the statement of the Archdiocese was reported in The Boston Globe. He is presently living in a shelter due to the wonderful and merciful work of those selfless people who operate Boston’s homeless shelter.  At the same time, perhaps Cardinal O’Malley should just be honest with Pope Francis and say that in the Archdiocese of Boston, there are sins which are not available to mercy, not ever. Pope Francis would then instruct him about going to the dark peripheries.

Now, that’s for someone who is guilty. But what about the falsely accused for money? What about Father Gordon? That’s just plain embarrassing to confront for Manchester diocese’s chancery officials who let it happen, who orchestrated the outcome. I’ll just say this: those who have been abused report that there is only one thing that is as obnoxious to them as having been raped, and that is to see their own sufferings capitalized upon by false accusers looking for money and for clericalists to make themselves into heroes by paying out settlements with no due process for the accused. RICO anyone?

When fearlessly digging into truths some say they want to be hidden from the light of day and not shouted from the rooftops, other truths are necessarily also unearthed which make one wonder if these other things are not the motive for the whole lot to be sealed under omertà, that onerous code of mafioso silence. Delving into the case of Father Gordon, that which also happens to point to the exoneration of Cardinal Bernard Law is excavated and registered, complementary to what Father Gordon wrote recently in “Cardinal Bernard Law on the Frontier of Civil Rights.” Is not mercy also the application of a justice which embraces exonerating truth? And if responsibility for policies terribly hurtful to the Church lies elsewhere, shouldn’t this be known? It is not the blood of solidarity that we will find, but the blood shed by Cain, the blood shed by Judas. Let’s take a look at a couple of affidavits and then add some helpful context.

The emphases are mine, as are the added [comments]:
Affidavit of Eileen A. Nevins

1. My name is Eileen A. Nevins and I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New Hampshire and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
2. I met Reverend Gordon MacRae in the early 1980s when he was an associate priest assigned to Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish in Hampton, New Hampshire.
3. On or about 1994, while still a law student, I became aware of charges of sexual misconduct filed against Gordon MacRae. I contacted his New Mexico attorney, Ron Koch [who died in December of 2000], to offer my assistance in doing any legal research that may assist Father MacRae in New Hampshire.
4. Upon acting in a clerk capacity for Attorney Koch I became firmly convinced that the charges against Father MacRae were false and brought for financial gain.
5. I believe now as I believed during his trial that the charges against him are false and have assisted him however possible in obtaining further legal assistance to address the wrong against him. My belief is based on personal knowledge of the case against Father MacRae acquired during the investigation prior to his trial and my ongoing pursuit and review of the investigation into his situation subsequent to his trial and incarceration.

6. In June of 2000, I met with New Hampshire Bishop McCormack at the Diocesan office in Manchester, New Hampshire to discuss the possibility of the Diocese offering some financial assistance to obtain an appellate relief.
7. During this meeting with Bishop McCormack and Bishop Francis Christian, they both expressed to me their belief that Father MacRae was not guilty of the crimes for which he was incarcerated and that the Bishop McCormack would consider offering some financial aid to assist with a legal defense. [“Not guilty” — As an attorney, she would know the significance of reporting an unnuanced statement.]
8. In follow-up correspondence with the Bishop, I stated that it was my understanding that the Diocese would consider giving financial aid to retain an attorney to assist in Gordon’s appeal. [She would have gladly done this herself, but knew that this was not her field of expertise. She was asking that another attorney be brought in.]
9. I had been working with Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal and she recommended Robert Rosenthal to assist Gordon with an Appeal.
10. Due to the unforeseen events of clergy abuse scandals in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the Bishop subsequently failed to act on his offer of assistance. It is my understanding that Bishop McCormack has transmitted Father MacRae’s case to the Vatican for disposition. [This is a statement discerning a nefarious motivation of keeping up appearances on the part of Bishop McCormack. With the explosion of publicity in 2002, how could the Bishop defend a priest against whom his now auxiliary bishop, Francis Christian, had stacked the jury? This is a strong statement for any attorney to make about anyone.]

Ms Nevins is not the only one with an affidavit. Enter Mr. Demers. His affidavit agrees with that of Eileen Nevins, though his refers to a different meeting, this time with Bishop McCormack alone. Eileen and Leo did not know of each other’s meetings. At the time, Leo was Director of Engineering for WGBH, which produced programs for PBS such as the award winning series of investigative journalism, Frontline. He had been asked about Father MacRae’s case from an investigative journalistic angle. The emphases are mine, as are the added [comments]:

Affidavit of Leo Demers

My name is Leo P. Demers, Jr. and I hereby make the following statements under penalty of perjury, believing the following statements are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

The purpose of this affidavit, at this time is to convey the context and substance of a meeting by me with Bishop John McCormack during which he expressed his belief in the innocence of the charges against Fr. Gordon MacRae that led to his conviction and subsequent imprisonment for the past twelve years.

1. My name is Leo P. Demers, Jr. and I have been a Broadcast Engineer in New England since 1962. I am a practising Catholic.
2. I first met Reverend Gordon MacRae in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s when he was a Franciscan Friar in Novitiate training at the former St. Anthony’s Capuchin Friary in Hudson, New Hampshire.
3. During 1994 I visited Father MacRae in New Mexico, where he was working in ministry. At that time Father MacRae informed me that criminal charges of sexual misconduct with a minor had been filed against him in New Hampshire.
4. I believe now, as I testified under oath during the sentencing phase of his trial in Keene, New Hampshire, that the charges against him are false.
5. During October 2000, I met with Bishop John McCormack at the Diocesan office in Manchester, New Hampshire. At the time, my employer, the WGBH Educational Foundation, wanted to produce a segment of Frontline. This production would have resulted in a national story about Father MacRae. Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian arranged the meeting with Bishop McCormack.
6. I had contacted assistant Bishop Francis Christian from my office at WGBH to inquire about the story because he was the only person remaining in the Manchester Chancery Office who was present during the time of the accusations against Father MacRae. Bishop Christian wanted nothing to do with my inquiry regarding Father MacRae but did offer to arrange a meeting for me with Bishop McCormack.
7. The meeting with Bishop McCormack began with him saying, “Understand, none of this is to leave this office. I believe Father MacRae is not guilty and his accusers likely lied.” “There’s nothing I can do to change the verdict.” [Years earlier, Leo wrote a fuller version of the first statement of Bishop McCormack: “I do not want this to leave this office because I have struggles with some people within the Chancery office that are not consistent with my thoughts, but, I firmly believe that Father MacRae is innocent and should not be in prison.” Note the motivation for not telling the truth: “I have struggles with some people within the Chancery office.” Leo may have rightly thought that auxiliary Bishop Christian to be one of those people. He may not at all have known that Father Edward Arsenault may well have been another source of struggles. There is, by the way, something that Bishop McCormack can do to change the verdict, and that is to tell the truth for the sake of mercy, come what may.]
8. I have recently learned that Bishop John McCormack submitted an expert report to Rome. This report purportedly concludes that Father MacRae’s trial was fair and his sentence just. Further, this report allegedly avers that no avenue of appeal is available to Father MacRae. Since I have been in contact with various professionals representing Father MacRae, who are actively involved in investigating his case and prosecuting an appeal, I believe any expert opinion submitted by the Diocese of Manchester to be subject to challenge and serious defect.
9. I am motivated to submit this affidavit, obviously in disregard of any confidentiality requested by Bishop McCormack, because I cannot accept the inconsistency between Bishop McCormack’s statements to me regarding Father MacRae’s innocence and his submission of an expert report to the contrary that is in clear opposition to his stated belief.
* * *

Leo wrote a much more lengthy memo some four years earlier about a phone conversation with auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian, and then an actual meeting with Bishop John McCormack. Let’s pick up that memo in media res, on page two, with my emphases and [comments]:
LEO DEMERS: I am calling from WGBH in Boston. I am concerned that my personal friend Fr. Gordon MacRae was being considered as a feature story for Frontline [Frontline is a multiple award winning syndicated television program broadcasting the results of investigative journalism] here on PBS [the famed Public Broadcasting Service]. Since you are the only person left in the Chancery Office who was there at the time of the accusations and trial, and is familiar with what really happened between the Grovers [who provided money-seeking accusations], the Diocese and Father MacRae, I would like to meet with you to discuss the matter. By the way, although I work in Boston, I live in New Hampshire and have been a part of the Diocese most of my life. So, there would be no inconvenience for me to travel to Manchester.
BISHOP CHRISTIAN: This is not my responsibility. I have nothing to do with that[Given his stacking of the jury some years before, and the ongoing wrongful imprisonment of Father MacRae, this is an amazing statement.] You’ll have to speak with Bishop McCormack.
LEO DEMERS: But, you were part of what happened at that time and would have first hand knowledge of all that occurred. Bishop McCormack was in Boston when all this happened.
BISHOP CHRISTIAN: You will have to speak with Bishop McCormack, he is the one who is responsible. I can arrange for you to have a meeting with him.
LEO DEMERS: I would rather meet with you.
BISHOP CHRISTIAN: Bishop McCormack handles all such inquiries, you’ll have to call him yourself, or I can arrange a meeting with him for you.
[Leo then provides the following three paragraphs of context, before continuing with his later meeting with Bishop McCormack:]
Sensing I had pushed the envelope and was about to lose ground, I accepted his offer to arrange a meeting with Bishop McCormack. A few days later I received a phone call from the Chancery Office secretary regarding a meeting schedule. I explained that I would be in the Middle East and Italy for the next two weeks. The meeting was scheduled for the Friday after our return, Friday the 13th, October 2000. I received a follow-up e-mail “meeting confirmation” along with directions to the Chancery Office.
While in Israel I prayed for strength and courage to have the meeting produce favorable results for Fr. MacRae. He did not know that I was meeting with Bishop McCormack and I was afraid that I might cause Gordon more harm than good.
On October 13, 2000, I arrived at the Chancery Office and was escorted into the Bishop’s office at 10A. Bishop McCormack’s greeting was both warm and disarming. The first words out of his mouth were: 
BISHOP McCORMACK: I do not want this to leave this office because I have struggles with some people within the Chancery office that are not consistent with my thoughts, but, I firmly believe that Father MacRae is innocent and should not be in prison. [Again, those he’s having struggles with may be auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian and, most likely, Father, later Monsignor Edward Arsenault, now himself in prison.]

[Leo then adds this explanatory note, italicized:]
Well, that knocked the wind out of my sails, to say the least. Where would I go from here? In looking back, Bishop McCormack knew exactly what he was doing.
LEO DEMERS: You know why I am here. I assume Bishop Christian has informed you of our phone conversation and my desire to speak with him. You are a busy man. Bishop Christian has first hand knowledge of the events surrounding Fr MacRae’s incarceration.
BISHOP McCORMACK: He was tried and found guilty. [The point of Bishop McCormack is not to contradict himself, but to express his exasperation that neither he nor auxiliary Bishop Christian can do anything about the verdict, false as it is believed to be.]
LEO DEMERS: With all due respect, your Excellency, I was there and you were not. For that matter, there was nobody present representing the Manchester Diocese. [Leo misses the point, though due to no fault of his own. He’s not used to such cryptic brow-beating with sound bites. The Bishop does not disagree with him and informs Leo of this:]
BISHOP McCORMACK: I do not believe the Grovers were truthful. [Could Bishop McCormack put together a string of sound bites such as “He was tried and found guilty,” but not such as “I do not believe the Grovers were truthful,” and compose a letter of sound bites to the CDF, to the Holy Father, asking that Father MacRae be dismissed from the clerical state? That’s quite possible.]
LEO DEMERS: The Grover brothers view this Chancery Office as an ATM machine; and why shouldn’t they? They’ll likely be back to make another withdrawal. [Now seeing what the Bishop is up to, Leo tries to force the Bishop to be publicly consistent with his beliefs by reviewing the financial insanity of the policy of the Diocese (that is, the kind of thing that we now see with The National Catholic Risk Retention Group).]
BISHOP McCORMACK: You know that I cannot discuss any settlement agreements. [The Bishop, realizing he’s been leapfrogged in a direction he must not go if he is not to offend the still untouchable yet now imprisoned Father Edward Arsenault, diverts the conversation back to irrelevant minutiae. Clever. However, Leo thinks himself to be right on top of this for the reason that he can’t fathom, yet, anyway, just how bad things are. He will now dismiss this tactic of the Bishop and go in for the kill, he thinks:]
LEO DEMERS: The specifics of settlements are of no concern to me. What does concern me is the ease with which such settlements are reached. There seems to be a rush to what the Diocese views as justice, often at the expense of innocent Diocesan Priests. This is why I am here. [Leo is going for conscience. What a good man Mr Demers is. He perfectly describes the very frank policies of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, which demand that the priest be held guilty merely because someone makes an accusation, so that a settlement that may save on a litigated claim is instantly made, even without asking about dates or allegations, as they don’t matter; only the shoving of money down the throats of accusers matters. Whether they are lying doesn’t matter. Whether innocent priests are crucified doesn’t matter. Chapeau to you, Mr Demers, sir.]
BISHOP McCORMACK: You know that Gordon pled guilty to an accusation? [But the Bishop is having none of it. Having touched the Evil Grail of what I call “The Judas Crisis,” Leo puts Bishop McCormack into such defensiveness that he now reverses himself by implication, mentioning the plea bargain that Father made under enormous pressure and with lawyers and friends and all priests and his bishops having abandoned him. This moment of weakness, however, was simply a moment. Father then regrouped and reversed that plea deal so as to face, instead, as a young man, a life sentence. That the Bishop does not bring this to bear smacks of evil. More on this below.]
LEO DEMERS: I know that he was advised to participate in a plea bargain. I am not familiar with the reason for, or the terms of that agreement. [The reason was to reduce the life-sentence to, say, a mere 18 to 36 months. When you have your whole life in front of you, and everyone has abandoned you, this is what countless innocent people have done. The statistics are staggering. Priests are human too. But, heroically, for the truth of his innocence, Father MacRae repealed the plea deal and embraced the cross of life in prison as a young man. He knew that Jesus is the Living Truth among us. If Jesus can be wrongly imprisoned and then wrongfully suffer capital punishment for us, the least we can do is carry the cross He permits us to have. Leo’s matter-of-factness is tactfully even more elusive and non-committal than the Bishop’s baiting, forcing the Bishop to reiterate his original statement:]
BISHOP McCORMACK: I mentioned to you that I believe he is innocent. I plan on meeting with Gordon when I visit the prison during the coming Christmas season and discuss this. [What the Bishop means is that he wants Father MacRae to get rid of this meddlesome friend of his. The demand to get rid of people would also be made in regard to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz, who would have published shortly after September 11, 2001, but The Wall Street Journal building was destroyed along with the World Trade Center. She was later able to publish a series of articles in 2005 and then again an article in 2013 (see: A Priest’s Story). I don’t think the Diocese was ever brave enough to demand that Father MacRae never again speak to close friends Cardinal Avery Dulles or Father Richard John Neuhaus.]
LEO DEMERS: You said that your hands were tied because of your belief in his innocence; how can you help him? [Leo rightly points out the inconsistencies and forces a statement of good will that will relativize any difficulties that the Bishop thinks he might face among personalities in the chancery. After all, it’s the Bishop who is the Bishop, right? Actually, Bishop McCormack seems to be admitting that the Diocese is out of control. Indeed, there are indications of fraud related to the CDF which I have written about elsewhere, which officials, if they are thinking of doing anything nefarious with Father Gordon, should contact me so as to obtain such indications of fraud.]
BISHOP McCORMACK: I want to do what I can to make his life more bearable, under the circumstances of prison life. I cannot reverse the decision of the court system. What can I do?” [Leo doesn’t seem to think that he can ask Bishop McCormack about Bishop (then Monsignor) Francis Christian’s stacking of the jury, perhaps since this happened before Bishop McCormack’s time. If he wanted to do so, I think that the Most Rev. Peter Anthony Libasci, the present bishop of Manchester, could investigate the issue. It’s obvious that Bishop McCormack could also speak still today to his belief that Father MacRae is innocent, which would have real effect if conjoined with an admission to stacking the jury by then Msgr Francis Christian, a stacking of the jury which was decisive in the conviction of Father MacRae. The testimony of any accuser didn’t convict Father MacRae, but the stackinhg of the jury by Msgr. Christian. Should the CDF take civil judgments to be just and fair in the face of blatantly fraudulent and self-serving statements by chancery officials, would that not also be self-serving and fraudulent?]
LEO DEMERS: It is not a flawless judicial system; many innocent people fall through its cracks; correcting an injustice is a formidable task; Gordon simply does not have the resources to even begin the process, never mind hope of succeeding. In the short-term, there are plans in the works to move some of the Concord prison population to the new prison in Berlin, NH. That would severely impact any visitation schedule he currently has and make his life even more of a hell than it is. [In other words, the Diocese should get Father MacRae an attorney. At least that. Don’t forget, however, that for The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, which the Diocese of Manchester has everything to do with, the defendant is not the priest, but the Diocese, that is, in an effort to save money, so that settlements are made regardless of guilt or innocence, betting that this would be better than risking any potentially more expensive litigated claims. Perhaps thinking that this may go nowhere fast, Leo is looking for a small gesture of good will — a concern for Father MacRae’s visiting schedule — which the Bishop should be eager to provide in an effort to appease Leo, to get him to back off. The Bishop couldn’t possibly be more delighted with such a conclusion to the conversation.]
BISHOP McCORMACK: (writing notes as I’m speaking). There may be something I can do in that regard, but I cannot promise anything. [Of course he can’t tell the State what to do, but in making this look like he’s really trying, like a martyr, it will make him look like someone who deeply cares. The grand effort for such a small effort makes anything more, like speaking the truth, seem impossibly difficult.]
LEO DEMERS: Fr MacRae, nor I want the Church hurt by the media. I have this memento for you that I brought back from Israel: hopefully, as a friendly gesture. [ At this point, Leo contextualizes what is happening for us in the next two paragraphs in italics:]
While in Bethlehem the week before, there were the early stages of full-scale Middle East war that historically begins with rock throwing in the streets between Palestinians and Israelis.
I picked up some of the rocks from the evening’s conflict and brought it back to the U.S. with me. My wife sewed a small pouch with a tie top for the stone. I explained to Bishop McCormack where the stone came from and what the stone symbolizes to me.
LEO DEMERS: This stone is a gift, a gesture. It represents the first step in a disagreement that can easily escalate into a far more sophisticated and potentially damaging conflict. It’s a stone thrown during a conflict in Bethlehem that I’m not going to throw, and I hope you will not either.
BISHOP McCORMACK: Thank you. Before we part we should pray together. [Leo then adds a couple of paragraphs, to explain how the meeting ended, with more comments:]
Bishop McCormack placed his hands on my head and prayed. I do not recall the prayer, however I believe that it was for truth and justice. The meeting lasted about an hour.
This account is a synopsis of the important points of our meeting. It would be impossible for me to provide a verbatim version of the entire meeting.
July 20, 2004 — Leo Demers


Father John Geoghan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, the all-time worst offender (murdered in prison), was continuing to abuse and, in 1993, he was sent to be re-evaluated. Dr Frank Valcour, M.D., staff psychiatrist and Clinical Director of Saint Luke Institute up in the beltway of Washington, D.C., called the Director of Admissions for the Servants of the Paraclete down in New Mexico, Father Gordon MacRae. Both institutions were treating abusive priests at that time. Both men were convinced that Father Geoghan needed long term care, and recommended that he be assigned indefinitely into the care of the Servants in Albuquerque.
Meanwhile, Father John McCormack (later to be appointed Bishop of Manchester in 1998) was on his way to his tenth year as Secretary for Ministerial Personnel in the Archdiocese of Boston, and so was in charge of handling complaints about sexual abuse by priests at this time. He was on the phone with Dr. Valcour, asking him about recommendations concerning Geoghan. When told of the conclusion of both Dr. Valcour and Father MacRae, Father McCormack reportedly said to the clinical director of Saint Luke:
“These facilities are always trying to keep their beds filled. This is overkill!”
There did not appear to be any consultation with Cardinal Law before deciding not to place Father Geoghan in a facility that could supervise him closely. Just to say, at the time, the Servants of the Paraclete were doing a great service to the Church, at least inasmuch as they were offering a place to feed and house and care for Father Geoghan. They were not getting rich with the offer to take him for $12,000 a year. Some private facilities were charging more than that per month, were they not? But Father McCormack was intransigent, and reassigning Geoghan to Regina Cleri, a retirement center for the Archdiocese of Boston, a dorm, really, on or near the campus of Boston College, with only the most minimal supervision. How imprudent is that? Geoghan went on to re-offend multiple times along with getting moved around again and again. After more incidents, Father Geoghan was sent for a stint at Saint Luke Institute, only to fail. Instead of $12,000 a year with the Paracletes, the Archdiocese paid out something like $55,000,000 all-told for Father Geoghan’s continuous abuse. Here’s a video record of what happened in the wake of the facilitation of Father Geoghan’s abusing:

Did the great refusal of McCormack to the offer of Father Gordon MacRae create an animus against Father Gordon on the part of McCormack right through the years? You decide. But one does have to wonder what kind of clericalist machine was humming along in the chancery offices of Boston that recommendations would be forthcoming regarding Father John McCormack, promoting him to auxiliary bishop of Boston and then as the local ordinary of Manchester, so that the year Geoghan was “laicized” was the same year that McCormack became bishop.

When McCormack was announced to be the next bishop of Manchester diocese in New Hampshire, Leo Demer’s wrote him a letter expressing his concern that Father Gordon MacRae would be the subject of an administrative dismissal from the priesthood in the same way that Father Geoghan had been dismissed before his trial. The response from McCormack stated that the process of administrative dismissal is reserved only for the most egregious cases which he didn’t believe he faced in the diocese of Manchester at that time. This was two years before Leo’s meeting with McCormack, who then stated his belief in the innocence of Father MacRae multiple times.

In 1994, when Father MacRae was accused by T.G. for money (as the accuser himself brags about), accusations which refer to many years when Father MacRae was no where near Grover’s parish, was not a priest, was not even a seminarian for the Diocese of Manchester. It was just then that up-and-coming Monsignor Francis Christian, soon to become auxiliary bishop for future Bishop McCormack in Manchester Diocese, stacked the jury against Father MacRae, going against Canon 1717 to do this, sending out a prejudicial statement to the media.

Diocesan attorney Bradford Cook later went to meet with Father Gordon MacRae in prison. Bradford admitted that he himself had written the statement and had then faxed it to Monsignor Francis Christian. He said that he had written the statement with the word “alleged”, and was horrified to see in the newspapers that the word alleged had not been included in the final draft that Monsignor Francis Christian had sent out to the news media.

Father Gordon MacRae’s Canon lawyer, Father David Deibel, called up and protested to Monsignor Francis Christian that such a pre-trial press release was abusive of the rights of the accused to due process. Monsignor Christian responded to say that the press release was merely published in New Hampshire newspapers, and so he didn’t think Gordon would see it. So, Monsignor Christian thinks if an accused party is unaware of jury stacking and all around prejudicing of a local population, that that makes it all O.K. Monsignor Christian went on to say that “This is a carefully crafted response to the concerns raised by the news media.” Carefully crafted is right:
“The Church, too, has been a victim of the actions of Gordon MacRae just as these individuals have been. It is clear that he will never again function as a priest. We support his victims in their courage in bringing these charges forth at this time […].”
Editing out any mention of mere allegations ensures lack of due process and a conviction. Indeed, this was the sole piece of “evidence” convicting Father MacRae. Journalist Bruce Daniels couldn’t understand the brazenness of the stacking of the jury by Monsignor Christian that he had read about on the AP story, and asked to speak with Father MacRae about it. This is how Father MacRae came to know of the nefarious actions of the Diocese of Manchester and how he came face to face with The Judas Crisis, receiving the kiss of death from Monsignor Francis Christian.

If the Monsignor does whatever it takes to give the mere appearance that he is “tough”, then he can think of himself to be a hero, instead of being the Monsignor he is, so super-lenient that he would later have to plead the 5th countless times and then make a plea deal on behalf of the diocese so that the diocese could escape prosecution. This plea deal was far reaching in its destruction to the rights of priests, to the rights of the Church, to the constitutional right to free exercise of religion. You can read what John S. Baker, Jr., wrote about this in his article on “Prosecuting Dioceses and Bishops.” I guess sending Father Gordon to his death in prison made the Monsignor feel better, like he’s accomplished something.

This was an ideal situation for McCormack, the new bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, to step into. He had been the ultra-lenient head of clergy personnel in Boston, had made Cardinal Law his scapegoat, and now had an insatiable need to dissociate himself with his past and to look tough, like a hero. Monsignor Christian set the precedent for him. Father Gordon was his new Cardinal Law.

In the midst of such mayhem, Father Gordon made a most startling move, which drew the ire of all his friends. In his own words written for SperoNews in 2011:
“Rather than risk taking public and vocal positions against the decisions of Church officials, I wrote my bishop a private letter in 2002. In that letter, I told him that I am innocent of the claims for which I am in prison, but I would withdraw my defense and remain silently in prison for the remainder of my life if he asked me to do this for the good of the Church. Short of that, I wrote, I will continue to fight this unjust case by every means available to me.
“Bishop John McCormack later told me that he considered my overture. To his credit, he said that he could not ask me to surrender my civil and canonical rights. I respect my bishop for this. It was the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue who convinced me that staying the course of truth and justice is not only in my best interest, but that of the Church as well.
“When he heard of my overture to my Bishop, Dr. Donohue wrote: ‘Remember that what will always be of service to the Church is the truth. Pursue the whole truth, and you are pursuing what is best for the Church.’ I will always be appreciative to Bill Donohue for that basic and essential piece of guidance.”
It should be known that the now imprisoned Monsignor Edward Arsenault, in a confidential memo to Bishop McCormack, suggested that the bishop should consider taking up Father Gordon’s offer, as this would end the involvement of a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner Dorothy Rabinowitz, who has written multiple times of Father Gordon’s case. This, in fact, was always their aim, afraid of her as they are. To be blunt about it: McCormack’s advisors wanted the offer of financial help for attorneys to be conditioned on severing ties with Dorothy. For some articles and video, see the top links on the articles and commentary page of TSW, and especially on The Wall Street Journal: “The Trials of Father MacRae.” The video is a must see. Father MacRae adds:
“I was accused falsely, and in the context of being a Roman Catholic priest. If I was not a priest, I would not have been accused. To pretend that somehow the claims against me are not related to the context of my priesthood is false. This is something that most Church officials long recognized, but many have put aside the rights of priests in open disregard of Church law.”
As the years flew by, Father MacRae says he has learned a hard lesson that such open disregard of Church law by local (arch)dioceses has become the policy of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and other entities recently created in the Holy See. The Holy Office washes its hands of responsibility by beginning with the premise that the priest is presumed to be guilty unless he can prove his innocence, that is, since the case arrived in Rome at the bidding of local Church officials who are presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty. This is bad enough, but it’s actually worse: the priest has the immense burden, impossible really, of trying to prove his innocence in a secular court of law whose jury is stacked by such as Monsignor Christian. The secular court’s extreme political correctness will not permit a priest to defend himself. Father Gordon has never once been allowed to say a word in his own defense, never. Court rules are written by prosecutors who build into the system delays that judges use to bankrupt and wear out defendants. We have seen this used against Father Gordon most recently by Judge Laplante.

But this is what happens when the priest is lucky. Rome also knows that a local church will almost never let things go so far, but will be quick to point a finger of guilt at the priest, inescapably implying guilt by paying out-of-court settlements in which, again, the priest is never allowed to defend himself, and because of which he will likely be laicized by those in Rome. The proof of the guilt is the settlement, they say. The lawyers become the surrogate Judas who are paid well by their (arch)dioceses and their overseas lackeys with thirty pieces of silver. Jesus was also judged by a state that was pressured by the religious authorities of the time in favor of their own paid lackey.

The Most Rev. Peter Libasci, the present local ordinary of Manchester Diocese, has, to this day, not once allowed Father MacRae to speak of his case. While Bishop Libasci insists that criminal Edward Arsenault does get to have due process in every way, he does not breathe a word about the stacking of the jury against Father MacRae. Ryan MacDonald wrote of the unconscionable statements of the diocesan spokesman in this regard in “The Post-Trial extortion of Father Gordon MacRae,” citing “Priests in Limbo” by Joan Frawley Desmond in the National Catholic Register (February 15, 2015).

Let me paraphrase: In 2011, diocesan spokesman Kevin Donovan said that Father Gordon pled guilty to some charges, and ignored that Father Gordon was pressed into this plea deal precisely because of the jury stacking wrought by Monsignor Christian. The diocese is saying that the plea deal makes him guilty, effectively saying that he is guilty because they said he is guilty. Again, the stats on innocent people who take plea deals to get out of impossible sentences and are later proven to be innocent by DNA, etc., are staggering. Priests are human. But I ask you this: how many people making plea deals would then immediately renege on the same, throwing away an 18-36 month sentence so as to take on a life sentence? This is what Father MacRae did as a young man. Let me repeat that: as a young man. He had been betrayed by friends, his fellow priests, his lawyer, and all ecclesiastical authority. Think of it. To this day, Father MacRae could get out of prison at any moment by pleading guilty. He just spent his 22nd Thanksgiving in prison. Would you do that, Kevin Donovan? Bishop McCormack? Bishop Libasci? Bishop Christian (who pled the 5th and made a plea deal for the diocese)? How about you, Monsignor Arsenault (who made a plea deal hiding many counts and charges and is still in prison)? Tell me about it. Father Gordon is exhibiting heroic virtue in defending his innocence against all of your conniving. It is because I witness such heroic virtue in the likes of a Father Gordon MacRae that I myself remain Catholic and am happy to be a priest. This is what it’s all about. This is what it means to be in blood-solidarity with Jesus in His own solidarity with us.

Please excuse my insistence. All of this is a kind of execution, which is held to be acceptable because it is polite, that is, because it is paid, and promotes hypocritical double-standards for legal concepts unknown to most laymen such as “prescription.” It would behoove those not up-to-date on the maneuvers of the bishops and the Holy See regarding “prescription” to catch up by reading Opus Bono Sacerdotii’s reprint of the article entitled “Prescription” originally published in the Boston College Law Review. With great courage, it was written by canonist Ladilas Orsy, S.J. In “Our Catholic Tabloid Frenzy About Fallen Priests,” Father MacRae writes: “In ‘Anti-Catholicism and Sex Abuse’ in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Ryan MacDonald referred to forced laicization subsequent to the manipulation of prescription as ‘a sort of ecclesiastical equivalent of lethal injection.’”

In a recent phone call, Father MacRae told me about what it is like to face this “process” that is so unjust both in secular and ecclesiastical courts. His words remind me of his patron saint, Maximilian Kolbe, who was injected with carbolic acid:
“The struggle to tell the truth in a court of law on the one side [almost never permitted], but being silent on the church side because of being warned that making waves with the truth will bring about one’s laicization[which looks to the state court side], is like waiting on a kind of ecclesiastical death row, waiting for the needle to be plunged in. Dispensing of prescription has been a terrible affront to due process and justice.”
The purpose of this article is to help bring the crisis full circle. If you think that has already happened just because the number of credible cases is down to near zero, think again. The same abuse of power which can abuse a youngster is the same abuse of power which can move guilty priests from parish to parish with omertà, that evil code of silence, which is the same abuse of power which can, when caught out, nevertheless still feign heroism by throwing merely accused priests into prison or out of the priesthood regardless of actual innocence, with no due process, no confronting of the truth, which is all the same abuse of power which will cover up abuse after many years of a good track record of no cases, a coverup just for the sake of self-referential self-congratulations, a cycle continuing ad infinitum, unless we bring it to the light of day.

Until the attitude of abuse of power changes, until justice and due process is provided, the cycle is even worse, a swirling vortex sucking the Church downward. It is this self-referential, self-absorbed, Promethian neo-Pelagian self-congratulatory attitude which marginalizes souls into the darkest of existential peripheries. It must be stopped. It’s the self-referential Church which Pope Francis wants to bring to its knees in repentance and conversion to the Lord Jesus. This is one of the “Things that I Absolutely Love About Pope Francis.” He, that is, Cardinal Bergoglio, put it best in his pre-Conclave intervention to the Cardinal-electors. This is my translation from my previous guest post on TSW, “Pope Francis and The Judas Crisis.”
“The Church, when she is self-referential, without being aware of this, believes to have her own light; she ceases to be the “mysterium lunae” [the mystery of the moon (which reflects the light of the sun, that is, the Son)] and gives way to that ever so serious evil which is spiritual worldliness (according to De Lubac, the worst evil into which the Church can run amuck): that living so as to give glory to one another. Put simply, there are two images of the Church: [1] the evangelizing Church which surges forth from herself, “Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidente proclamans” [religiously listening to God’s Word and faithfully proclaiming], or [2] the worldly Church, living within herself, by herself, for herself. This must shed light on the possible changes and reforms to be accomplished for the salvation of souls.”
When Judas left the Last Supper into the dark night possessed by Satan, precisely when he had become a blood brother of Jesus in partaking of the Chalice, that is when he set about betraying Jesus. One cannot be betrayed by an enemy, for it is expected, but only by a friend, precisely what Jesus called Judas at the very moment of the kiss of death in Gethsemane. To this day, Bishops McCormack and Christian have not been forthcoming about the truth, and have no solidarity of mercy with Father MacRae.

There simply is no place in the Year of Mercy for a lack of solidarity, a lack of mercy, a lack of justice, especially among priests. In fact, the mercy for the falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned priests is that they have the opportunity of due process and justice from their fellow priests and bishops.
Success for the Year of Mercy will be predicated on whether The Judas Crisis is allowed to continue unabated. At the moment, Cain is still murdering his brother Abel. Judas is still betraying Jesus.
The terribly sad part is that when the shepherd is struck, the sheep scatter. The same Diocese of Manchester has also made a recent settlement for a case regarding confession, which if followed up by other lawyers, would spell the end of the Sacrament of Mercy in America and around the world. This has always been the prize. The bishop of Manchester has walked right into the trap. After all, what’s the difference for diocesan attorneys? Just as priests have not had due process or been able to defend themselves in abuse cases, just so, because of the seal of confession, they cannot participate in any due process or defend themselves.

As a Missionary of Mercy I do not think that confronting the truth and calling out the hypocrisy against mercy is unmerciful as a prelude to the Year of Mercy. Let’s pray for our bishops. Mercy is also for them if they desire it. As a Missionary of Mercy I’m also available to them. Let’s pray for those such as Father Gordon MacRae, who give us all hope to go to Jesus for mercy, for blood-brotherhood.