Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Reflection for Warrior Catholics

I became a priest because God was calling me to it.  I can promise you...it wasn't my idea.  At the time of my calling, and indeed throughout seminary, I imagined being a priest in a medium-sized parish, baptizing babies, marrying couples, growing old, and eventually dying and going to heaven.

Perhaps to keep me from running away, I was spared viewing the type of priesthood that God has since let me know that I would ACTUALLY be called to.  Practically from my ordination day, I've felt (and been shown) that the priesthood God is raising up in me and my fellow priests of my generation is a priesthood of warriors who will fight and die for the faith.  I've also realized, from pretty early on, that this generation of warrior priests would be, in an earthly sense, too late.  It is tempting to ask, "why didn't God raise up priests like this 40 years ago?"  I don't have the answer, but I know enough to know that God has his reasons.

It began with homilies...when people would come up and complain about them I would sit there and have a kind of out of body experience and think "I should be really affected by this, but I could care less that this person is yelling at me right now."  Of course it continued with videos spreading out across the country to friends and foes alike...I remember thinking "I should be really sad that people are attacking me" but I remember in those moments being overcome with the urge to chuckle at how little it actually DID affect me.  You, as a faithful Catholic, have likely had similar experiences...and that is God working in you and preparing you for what is to come as well. 

And so it begins...

I'm a bigger fan of authentic peace, but I'd rather have a battle than surface level passive-aggressive "peace" that simply masks evil.  I've seen, in 3.5 years of priesthood, that perhaps a battle would do us all some good.  If the stats hold true, 40% of Catholics who go to Mass every week just stood in open defiance of their bishops and the Church in voting in the affirmative for a candidate who
1) supports redefining marriage
2) supports forcing the Church to do something it will never do
3) is for abortion through all 9+ months of pregnancy
4) is for the government helping people procure abortions if they can't afford one
5) provides for the destruction of human embryos for research

Please draw me up a candidate who could more completely embody the opposite of Catholicism.

The Catholic Church in the United States is a cage that needs rattling, and the coming battle will provide just such a shake-up.  The days of bishops and cardinals yucking it up with anti-Catholic politicians will soon be at an end.  The days of bishops and cardinals wagging fingers at anti-Catholic "catholic" politicians and telling them not to cross this line again...and then redrawing the line further back...those days will soon be at an end.

And I guess what I'm saying is that there is a lazy part of me that prefers comfort and wishes it never had to come to blows like this surely will...but there is another part of me that realizes God is doing something in the hearts of faithful priests and Catholics and I think we're on the edge of something that will be unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes.

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace.  I've come not to bring peace but rather the sword."  - Jesus Christ.  He brings the sword because the sword wakes people up, and it is better to be awakened at the last moment so that one can still repent than it is for a person to gain the whole world but lose his soul.

.............

My favorite scene from the Dark Knight Rises movie is at the beginning.  Commissioner Jim Gordon is at a podium and a couple of fatcat politicians are talking about him from afar:
fatcat 1: "He's going to have plenty of free time, the mayor's dumping him."
fatcat 2: "But he's a hero!"
fatcat 1: "He's a wartime hero, this is peacetime."

"Wartime Heroes" always seem clumsy, brutish, unpolished, unrefined etc. when things are going swell and dandy and everyone has enough food to eat.  Wartime heroes don't know how to make a martini and don't have a room full of stogies, but when peacetime evaporates, no one gives a dang about priests and bishops and leaders that are "refined" and "dignified", people turn to warrior priests and warrior Catholics...they will turn to us soon...and we will be ready.

53 comments:

  1. I really needed to read this tonight. Miles Christi sum. Much love to you, Father.

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  2. Thank you for this, Father. I will need to read it again and again, as this isn't easy. You are a light in our Church and nation.
    Pray for Israel.

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  3. It is though the darkness and the hard times that the strength of the Catholic church will shine through and truly be seen

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  4. Thank you for this message Father, I also will read it again in days to come.
    I follow and enjoy your postings on twitter and fb. Is there another way to contact you? Your fb page has reached it's max number of friends. I can only read your posts there, not comment on them.

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  5. Thank you, Father.
    Suzanne McConnell

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  6. Father, I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't do MORE to stand up for my faith with the many Catholics I know who support the President. This outcome reaffirms the work I need to do... it won't be easy... Lord help us, Father pray for us and keep encouraging us... you're just the warrior priest I (we) need.
    God bless you!

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  7. Thanks, I needed that. :) God Bless you. I miss your homilies.

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  8. Thank you. This has been a tough year for me, but I know God has a plan. I am ready when he calls.

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  9. God Bless, May God have mercy on us, all of us!

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  10. Fr. John, thank you for your words. As a priest who hasn't been ordained much longer than you, I agree with everything you've said. I'm with you in that I'd rather have comfort and security, but God grant us priests the grace to fight for His Church and proclaim His Truth fearlessly!

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  11. God bless you, Father and thank you for writing this.I stand with our warrior priests too.

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  12. Thank you so much Father , I needed to hear this tonight. I have wanted to shake my young pastor and tell him , just say it, spit it out PLEASE! Tell us about abortion, gay marriage,euthanasia, but he never did! Yes some Catholics voted in defiance, but others never heard the cold hard facts- support and vote for this abortion loving president and be guilty of serious sin.

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  13. I knew somehow that the battle was not ending tonight but only just beginning. Thanks be to God for faithful Catholics and clergy and religious. We need all the warrior shepherds we can get! God bless you, Father, from just another warrior sheep trying to be faithful and brave. Lord, have mercy on us all.

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  14. This was a message to the Catholic church. Religion is falling away. It is a dying fad. And I'm happy to say I voted Obama.

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    1. We'll see if you change your tune at the moment of final judgement. Until then I'll be praying for you.

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    2. Hmmm,...my faith in God or my Obama-phone? I know which will stay 'charged', and it's not the latter. Praying for your conversion of heart.

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    3. You are free to do whatever you want - but your "happiness" will not last. If you don't choose the Truth you will one day wish bitterly that you chose the Truth when you had the chance.

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    4. Then why are you here? Shouldn't you be with your own kind?

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    5. Viva Christo Rey, Padre.

      "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31

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    6. The history of the world is littered with the decaying bodies of empires who would see the end of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the American one may still join them. You sir, will be nothing but dust well before the Church's time comes due. And may God have mercy on your soul.

      Bryan Somerville -- I don't want to be "anonymous."

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  15. Father as a seminarian in my third year of formation, I could not agree more with you. Keep up the good work and zeal, if God wills I get ordained I hope to imitate your commitment for Truth. Take care and God bless.

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  16. Father, It is obvious that you wear "The Full Armour of God and The Sword of The Lord!" He has given it to you for good reason. God Bless You and God Help Us!
    Thank you for your inspiration and courage.
    If only the truth were spoken so bravely and bluntly at our Mass............

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  17. This was the perfect post for me as I begin my day. Thank you for being a warrior priest!

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  18. Prayers for you, Father, and for all the priests and bishops who lead us.

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  19. When Cardinal Dolan's invitation to Obama was not yet confirmed a Catholic reporter wrote an article about how it would never happen:

    "Look, Cardinal Dolan is no fool; he's well aware of who and what he's dealing with. ...Perhaps those who are suggesting otherwise don't realize just how grave their allegations truly are. ...Maybe they don't know that they are essentially saying that Cardinal Dolan is about to unleash a scandal of epic proportions by abandoning his duties as shepherd; sowing the seeds of confusion and death among the flock he has pledged to protect unto martyrdom."

    Cardinal Dolan went on to explicitly say:

    "We’ve got two men who - and you can disagree with one of them or both of them - say they take their faith seriously, who don’t try to hide it, and who say, ‘Hey, my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic formation influences the way I think.’ Not bad. Not bad."

    And look where it got us.

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  20. Let's get it on!!!

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  21. If you marrieds in the church have a real sacramental marriage that is a true witness to the world, you shouldn't worry.

    Tampa was the site of the RNC. So? Tampa also helped give Obama the state of Florida.

    I think you people need take a look at how you are evangelizing people. Your sales pitch and prayer pitch is a bit off. Evidence of this is how many of you fear going into the inner cities and not being able to relate to minorities and the poor people who live there. They don't want to be Christian or even Catholic because many are sooooo high and mighty over them. It is the reason for abortion and their VIP down at the club 'tude. Most have never been in a church, yet you all continue to listen in your comfort pews what you want to hear and no one prays for them and with them.

    Get off your bleeps and get out there. Any apostle would tell you that.

    Those who have their children do not know Jesus.

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    1. Pope Benedict XVI agrees with you as well. Pope Benedict XVI has reflected that early Christianity started in major urban, metropolitan cities but as it grew and moved to more rural areas which is where it developed a greater foot.

      Pope Benedict XVI says that Christianity needs to return to the inner city - you are right!

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  22. You're absolutely right, Father. God bless you and all our warrior priests; we need you so much.

    You're in my prayers.

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  23. THank you Father, you truly are a light in this dark world.

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  24. A new novel entitled An Advent for Religious Liberty just came out, the plot of which revolves around the mayor of New York City publicly declaring the Catholic Church to be a hate group. I wryly joked to friends that such a story was clearly outlandish, as we're at least a year or two away from that actually happening. Judging by some of the reactions I've seen online, however, I may have to up my estimate to, oh, the end of the week, perhaps?

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    1. Indeed! The public and political hostilities directed at Christianity drove me to write "An Advent for Religious Liberty." I'd love to hear some feedback on the book, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/An-Advent-Religious-Liberty-Stephen/dp/1480174491/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351260469&sr=8-1&keywords=An+Advent+for+Religious+Liberty.

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  25. Shortly before my father died he gave me a prized possession, his eleven volume set of Will Durant's, "Story of Civilization". A year later Mel gibson released the film Apocalypto, which opens with a quote from the books, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
    Also Cardinal George recently said, "he expects to die in bed, his successor will die in prison, his successor will die in the streets, a martyr, and his successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society, and slowly rebuild society as the church has done so often in history". I believe the Cardinal may of over-estimated the timeline.

    In Luke 22:36 Jesus contrasts how he previously equipped the apostles when he sent them out two by two, this time by telling them to sell their cloaks and buy swords. which will be used after pentecost.
    Father thank you and continue to equip us with swords!!

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  26. Amen, Father. And you have an army of faithful warriors behind you doing spiritual battle on your behalf. "In God's name, forward boldly!"

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  27. We SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO needed to hear this today!!! Thank you for writing this!!!

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  28. Amen.

    'Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him'

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  29. The role of the priest is to be in persona Christi, first and foremost in the Holy sacrifice of Mass. Christ himself did not imbue himself into the politics of the day. The type of extremism in this post and others are very similar to the same extremism that is proliferated by Muslim Extremism. This type of extremism by any religious group is just a small amount of the entirety of believers of that religion, but yet a very vocal minority. My way or the highway does not work, never will.

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    1. "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."

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    2. Thank you, Anonymous. My thoughts exactly while reading Rev. Hollowell's post and these comments.

      It appears the Reverend's words are calculated to stir up his "followers" (similar to Rush Limbaugh and/or Glenn Beck.) All the talk of "warriors" and "battle" and "weapons" does nothing to help one's cause.

      Jesus may very well approve of the Reverend's goal--but I don't believe He'd approve of the tactics.

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  30. God has called me and is preparing me for the last 2 1/2 years. I've been asked to give my life, be a martyr. I am 55 years old male, solidly Catholic and will be speaking boldly. I am waiting for when God sends me out. If you are familar with Mark Mallet and his story before the blessed sacrament where he was told he was going to be a St John the Baptist type and the next day a mystic seeked him out at his Church and gave him a St John Baptist relic. Well my story is completely similar. Marys Army is being prepared."Militia Immaculata"



    RB2

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  31. Did anyone notice that our new bishop is a MISSIONARY by the way?

    Our holy father knew EXACTLY what he was doing.

    We now live in a pagan society and we need a missionary for our own people. The pagan society we live in converted half of our own people to their beliefs.

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  32. In regards to what you mentioned about the importance of family and friends, it reminds me of the end of the 6th Harry Potter in which Harry is contemplating the road that is now in front of him. He thinks to himself,

    "In spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione."

    I think this parallels exactly what you mentioned about friendship and family being our biggest comfort through these difficult times that we all see ahead of us. I don't know exactly what is to come in the next few years, but I know that I have a family that I love and friends that will always be there with me. Thank you for being a light of hope for all of those in despair as our nation once more chooses a president that directly defies the constitution and goes out of his way to oppress the Catholic Church

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  33. Amen! Amen! Amen! Oh my goodness! I can hardly believe my eyes!! Despite the sorrowful tears they have cried over this disastrous election and the situation you just described about many who call themselves "Catholic"!
    I praise God for you! I thank Him for all you are doing and will do in your battle! You can't imagine how much I needed to hear this today...I, too, battle abortion and the apathy and moral relativism of the world through my music, writing, and speaking. The suspense book regarding the abortion issue I just finished writing has a priest in it. This priest I created is the type of priest that I long to see more of. This priest could be you!
    God bless you, Father. Know that if you are fighting, I'm fighting with you. Through prayer AND action. Every time we read the passage about those who shouted Barabbas' name, I realize that it's happening all over...every day that our people choose death over life. Darkness over Light. If you EVER need me to do anything for you or your diocese, let me know. I have three pro-life videos for you to use if you'd like. www.willyoubemyvoice.com I am also a singer/songwriter and I would be more than happy to share any music you need or I could write something you need. Know that I am fighting with you. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you. You have made my heart sing this morning!

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  34. oh, that we would have more Priest's like you is our prayer. God Bless you always Father. Pray for us in Washington State.

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  35. Hi Father: did not Pope Benedict say something, early on, about how the church would be a smaller church but a true church ? What was it he said - obviously he saw all of this coming, a long time ago.

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  36. I'm skeptical, Father.

    We'll see what happens when your Bishop sends you to some out of the way parish Gulag. I'm not saying you won't remain Faithful. I'm saying you'll be less troublesome to the heirarchs. And, to those "c"atholics who are unhappy with you. Afterall, the Bishop needs the butts in the pews for the $$$.

    I pray for holy priests such as yourself every day. I've only run in to two in person both visiting priests. A MIC priest came to talk at my parish to a packed house. Well, that packed house only lasted about 10 mins in to his talk about Holy Mary, Tradition, Magisterium. 4 Last things and then there was a run for the exits!

    I don't think I'll rely on my bishops or priests. I havent been able to up til now. Why should I think that will change. Just thinking about that pic of laffing Obama and laffing Cardinal Dolan. Perhaps the Cardinal should have worn his Cheese Hat as well?

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  37. I will pray for you and for your work, Tell us all how to help . We need to have a true church, fewer in numbers (maybe), stronger in faith, A watered down church is not working.

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  38. Good blog and thank you. I am now, at age 46, enrolled in the RCIA program. But this election has devastated me. What happened to the Catholic vote??? How could any catholic vote for Obama?? I feel called to this faith, but abandoned by its people.....

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  39. Awesome. I really liked this. We need warrior priests and warrior laymen all around!

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  40. FYI - I just spoke to a friend of mine that walked out of his catholic church when his priest told them on the Sunday before election that anyone who votes for Obama is going to go to hell. That priest helped get Obama more votes. Thank you catholic church. All major institutions of control are under attack, not just the catholic church. A more informed species will want more freedom. And remember, freedom isn't about getting to do what you want to do, it is about other people getting to do what you might not want them to do. Peace. Love. and god bless the USA. By the way, this has been one of the best weeks of my life.

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  41. Dear Fr. Hollowell, I don't know how blogs work but I have a concern. An election is coming up again and I am hearing about the Indiana Catholic Poverty Summit. This sounds like a Left Wing movement thru the Catholic Church to endorse the Democrat Party's agenda. Why do they promote government involvement which takes three times (at least) much money than the Church would need when the Church actually improves people and the government condemns people to a life of dependence? In addition, the Democrat Party promotes the evils of abortion, gay marriage, etc. I don't understand the actions of the bishops/priests who support the Democrat Party.

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