First and foremost, our prayers, support and understanding go out to those who were betrayed and abused with the “kisses of Judas.” It is inconceivable how victims of these religious crimes can recover. Some do so and courageously continue their lives. Others are not so fortunate. Some are still members of our Catholic community. Some victims of this brutality have “lost faith” . . . with all the depth that this phrase implies.
As of 2018, the new millennium witnessed two revelations of major widespread Roman Catholic misconduct amongst some members of the clergy in the United States. In the early years of the 2000s, the scandalous predatory sexual mistreatment of minors by clergy, as well as the coverup and shuttling of predator priests by bishops, was essentially shouted from the rooftops by the mass media and printed press. In the summer of 2018, with the sudden unanticipated release of the initial Vigano letter on August 22 (click here), it was revealed that sexual misconduct and predatory sexual behavior was not limited to priests, but was present and promoted within the Church hierarchy, including some of our most powerful bishops and cardinals, unveiling a subculture of perversion and predation. What was especially disturbing was the pride and arrogance of the hierarchy, a repeat of the culture of “silence and coverup,” sweeping the crimes and abuses of priests and bishops upon the faithful “under the rug,” so that they will not be seen or heard from again. The Holy Spirit had other ideas.
In sharp relief to this present darkness, there have been a few blazing lights who have carried the torch of Good News, demonstrating the wherewithal to stand up against this sin and consequently challenge the status quo of the hierarchy. These courageous voices could be heard despite their colleagues’ chicken-hearted rattling of knocking knees. One of these has been Fr. Mark Goring. His YouTube videos showed him preaching against the sins of the hierarchy in the fall and winter of 2018, ending each podcast with the joyful cry, “Viva Cristo Rey!”. During a time of prayer, he was inspired to gather a group of like-minded warriors, who would commit to pray 3 times a day, and would commit to action against this religious darkness. He called this group “St. Joseph’s Battalion.” Our first mission was to protest Cardinal Wuerl’s (his alleged pattern of coverups and obfuscation is a matter of significant discussion on the part of many faithful Catholics) presiding at mass at the 2019 March for Life. An outcry via email, physical letters and phone calls from the laity was ultimately successful in preventing Cardinal Wuerl playing a major role in this important event. Unfortunately, Fr. Goring’s activities in this regard brought swift action from his superiors, and his vow of obedience therefore effectively silenced him in January 2019, along with the removal of the attendant YouTube videos. We regard Fr. Goring as a white martyr, with his persecutors coming from the Church itself.
Since the silencing of Fr. Mark Goring, the laity of “St. Joseph’s Battalion” have picked up the banner to continue the fight. While we are independent of his involvement, our intent is to carryon his initial vision. The movement continues to grow and if you are called, please join us. Commit to pray 3x a day, commit to action and even commit to fast. We are the Church Militant and the gates of hell will not prevail against us. With Fr. Mark we cry, “Viva Cristo Rey!”
There are currently 2 Facebook Communities serving as social touchpoints for the St. Joseph’s Battalion. One was started by a fellow warrior in NH: https://www.facebook.com/groups/StJosephsBattalion/, and the other site was started simultaneously by a fellow warrior in California: https://www.facebook.com/St-Josephs-Battalion-340169689906750/
Both are legit . . . enjoy either or both!
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As I was looking for an image that could capture the tenderness and love of Joseph for his adopted-child Jesus, I came across Kendra Parrish Burton’s painting “Joseph the Guardian.” Kendra is a christian artist living in Utah (http://kendraburton.com). Here is what she says about the painting:
“Dedicated to those who tenderly care for all of God’s children.
This painting is intended to help people appreciate all of the wonderful, caring fathers in the world who are guardians of children who may not have been born as their own. It also symbolizes all who care for children, devoting time, talents, and love in making the world a better place for them and future generations.
For nearly 20 years I felt impressed that I should do a painting of Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus. I searched for someone to represent Joseph who would have a kind, tender, heartfelt expression, with the look of awe and wonder in his eyes. His hands needed to be strong, yet gentle and loving. When I finally found the right person, he was honored, saying that his own middle name was Joseph.
After completing the painting, I showed it to a friend who had adopted several children. One of her sons had been teased at school about being adopted. She prayed for an answer that he could understand and accept. Being directed to the scriptures, she let them fall open. She began reading and realized it was the story about the birth of Christ. She gained new insight about Joseph caring for Jesus. It had never before occurred to her until that moment that the Savior of the world, the greatest and most perfect of all, had an “adopted” father, Joseph. She told this to her son. He was happy and completely satisfied with the answer because it made him feel more like Jesus.
My immediate and extended family members have adopted children with different backgrounds from many parts of the world. As I have watched these adoptive fathers tenderly care for the little ones, my heart has been touched by their unselfish love and devotion. Joseph represents them.
Before I began painting, I talked to an author and expert on Hebrew studies. She said that holding the child on the knees was part of a traditional ceremony to accept and welcome a child into a family. She pointed out several significant aspects of the composition including the baby’s hand encompassed by Joseph’s right hand, being the hand of the covenant. Following the lines of the heads to the wrist of Joseph’s right hand, one can see, symbolically, the figure of a heart. There are also two main light sources. One is from the upper left, reaching from Father in Heaven, diagonally in the direction of Joseph’s eyes to the eyes of the Christ Child. The other light source is radiating from the child, creating the shine in Joseph’s eyes and the glow on his face.
While painting, I felt a particular closeness and direction from an uncle who passed away a few years earlier. Then I realized he, too, had adopted his eldest daughter after marrying her mother. He loved them both throughout his life and his guiding influence in the final stages of the painting witnessed his sweet devotion to them and the significant role he fulfilled in their lives. Many “blended” families find comfort in the message of Joseph.
I completed the painting one week before our nine-year old, handicapped twin daughter passed away. I contemplated all of the many “Josephs,” men and women, neighbors, teachers and friends, who were there watching out for her when she needed so much help. They truly gave unselfishly on behalf of our dear little child, fulfilling the scripture that says, “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…ye have done it unto me”, Matt. 25:40. Again, their love and kindness to her were symbolic of Joseph with Jesus.
One man stood before the painting with tears in his eyes. His newest grandchild had been born two days earlier. He said the face of Joseph captured the tender feelings of awe, love and gratitude that he had seen in his son’s eyes, as a new father, holding his own tiny, precious child in his arms.
I hope that as people see this work of art, their hearts will be touched, that they will see what each of us can be as we follow Joseph’s example in caring for all of God’s children.
This story may be copied for noncommercial use.
Kendra Parrish Burton
P.O. Box 712503, Salt Lake City, Utah 84121-2503 www.kendraburton.com “