April 4, 2008 - Friday
This week, much like the past several months, has been very difficult for my husband and me. The little store we have, a small ecumenical religious shop, is on its last legs--humanly speaking. From a human perspective, the store is a business failure. From a ministerial perspective, the store has been a blessing, and countless people have told me so. We began this store just 2 years ago, and our approach, believing we were hearing and following God’s lead, was "Failure is NOT an option!" Both Joe and I thought about that today, and he brought it up at lunch. Is it a "failure?"
At this point I expect we will have to close our little shop this month. I will mourn it because of the good people I will not see again. Yes, we will keep in touch with some, but most we will not see again. But is it a failure? If it is, it is only financially. The good people who came to our little store to shop for family and friends, to give gifts to express their love and share their faith made our shop a blessed success! If it is God’s Will that we close now, to try to save our home, then, AMEN. We are behind in many bills. We spent the Winter without heat in our home, and this week the electric company turned off our service at the store, leaving me sitting there in total darkness.
I prayed with the psalmist: "even darkness is not dark for You, and the night is as clear as the day, for it was You Who created me and formed me in my mother’s womb." And yet, I was angry! I quickly realized it was NOT the electric company with whom I was angry. That was a just debt. I was angry with the Roman Catholic pastor who went out of his way to kick the shovel out of our hands! I was angry at the Roman Catholic priest who slandered my husband Joe, saying that he was impersonating a priest!!! Geez, even by Roman Catholic canon law Joe IS a priest FOREVER. How does one impersonate oneself? The fact is, Joe is a Celtic Christian priest, a bishop, serving in the Celtic Christian Church. If he had converted to the Episcopal Church this self-righteous pastor would not have DARED to say such things about Joe and his public ministry any more than he would publicly insult the FEMALE priests who serve in the Episcopal Churches in this area!
This was not just innocent ignorance on the part of this Roman Catholic pastor--it was a deliberate vengeful attempt to destroy a 76 year old man’s livelihood! See how these Christians do not love one another! Our store being a religious shop, we depend almost entirely upon advertising. The logical place to advertise has been in the local Church bulletins. When this Roman Catholic pastor saw our ad in his church bulletin, he called the local RC priests and told them to get our ad out of their parish bulletins. Most ignored him. Many sent parishioners to our shop!! One can only guess most of them have his number, and just ignore him. However, he and the local pastor both removed our weekly ads, and put a mortal dent in our business, by not allowing local Roman Catholics to know we are here, a dent that has brought us to this point in time--the point of closing our doors and local ministry, or continuing to wait for a miracle. Joe and I have great Faith--but we will not tempt God!
I am not a particularly good person. I pray every day for this nasty priest, and beg the Holy Spirit to touch his heart before he dies--which will be soon. I have been privy to stories that are far nastier than this, where he has deeply hurt others. Indeed, Joe has picked up more than his share of the pieces of wounded persons that this priest has left in his wake! But I’m not a particularly good person because I sat in the darkened store angrier than I have been in a very, very long time. If it were not for Jesus Christ cramping my style, I would destroy this priest. Yeah, the street kid in me was ready to rumble. How easy it would be to destroy him. Then that scripture comes drifting through my mind...what profit to gain the world and lose my soul? By allowing myself not to love him--not to pray for his soul, but to go out of my way to harm him I would destroy my own soul! Well, Jesus, when You put it that way, You leave me little choice...(mumbling to self)
God is God. I will do no harm. However, I will speak the truth of what I have experienced as bigotry toward us, especially toward Joe as a former Roman Catholic priest--now a Celtic Christian priest. Sustained and deliberate bigotry and slander intended to harm him, us--and primarily from Roman Catholic priests, and holier-than-thou religious whose gross ignorance of Church (i.e. CHRISTIAN) history is so extensive as to leave an echo in their heads when they hear the facts of history spoken, explained. OH, pardon me, you’ve never heard of "OLD CATHOLICS?" NO, it doesn’t mean we’re Roman Catholics nearing 99 yrs of age...!! No! Sorry! Old Catholic is a Church Body--as in part of the Body of Christ, just like those Episcopals, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians you pray with at those ecumenical services--the ones where the Old Catholics are not even given the kiss of peace. Yeah, Old Catholics, that denomination with valid apostolic succession and sacraments--unlike those you pray with (according to your own laws, that is).
I will speak about the intentional bigotry of priests and religious who have great nerve pointing fingers at ANY other Church body in this day and age! Shame on you! We will continue to pick up the pieces of those whose spiritual lives you harm or destroy without giving it a second thought, the youth humiliated, and adults insulted by you. Oh Father, SHAME ON YOU! Shame on you for kicking the shovel out of an aging brother priest’s hands. I do pray the Holy Spirit touch your heart, turning a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. However, until then, what is done in the dark (of a cold dark heart) will be seen in the Light.
At the end of the day, we await the Dawn. Christ is our Dawn. I pray you live to see the Dawn in this life, in the land of the living. That is the best I can do right now, just pray for you, and pray you stop hurting people. Yeah, I’m still angry, like a Mama Bear. "Don’t mess with my family" I want to roar. I guess I’ve done that here... I hope you folks NEVER meet this Roman Catholic pastor in question.
Anyway, this has all come at the very time I’ve pulled together an Internet Talk Radio Show called: "The Independent Catholic." On the show we will discuss the various Independent Old Catholic Churches in the USA and other countries. We will bring on the bishops and members of these Churches and introduce them to our listeners. Many have suffered far more from powerful Church denominations and their clergy and hierarchy than we have from our petty clerical neighbor. All that will be made known. But more importantly, we will focus on the ministries and service done by so many--without the support and the public forum of mega-Church institutional structures. The Independent Catholic! You can tune in and listen, or call in and participate at:
The first show will air on Monday night April 7th, at 11 PM US Eastern Time, and will be on each Monday thereafter. If you can’t listen that late, you will be able to download segments from our BlogRadio website or as podcasts from iTunes.
OK, I’ve vented. I feel a lot better now. Now I will try to be a better person! Pray for me, please, cause it ain’t easy!