Homesteading skills are pure gold, allowing us to live more independently and closer to the land, but these skills are no longer being passed from parent to child. If we don’t make the effort to reclaim them now, we might become the first generation of Americans who don’t know how to bring in a crop, dress and prepare game for dinner, and preserve summer’s bounty for the winter.
Join us in recovering some of these simple living practices. CORAC (Corps of Renewal and Charity) will present a Field Day of homesteading skills and inspiration on Saturday, November 5 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
The day will include keynote speakers Charlie Johnston, founder of CORAC, and Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, as well as experts in the areas of radio, fish and game, gardening, food preservation, water sourcing, foraging, raising poultry, home defense and more. There will be demonstrations and availability of experts for questions.
THIS WILL BE A WORKING DAY, WITH MANY DEMOS AND LIVE INSTRUCTION.
Event goes on, rain or shine. All talks and demos will be outside, under tents. The ground is unpaved so wear appropriate footwear. Since preparedness is the objective, you will be practicing self-sufficiency by bringing your own chair, refillable water bottle, snacks and layered clothing. Lunch and dinner will be provided, but anyone with dietary concerns should consider brown-bagging. Mass will be celebrated during the day.
Location is a family farm in Lindale, TX. Specific address and further details, as well as a schedule of presentations, will be sent to registrants by October 23.
Registration is $20 for CORAC members, $30 for non-members and $40 for all registrants after October 20. We respectfully request that you not bring children under the age of 12. It’s going to be a long day, and there are hazards for children on the property. Children over age 12 register at the same price as adults.
If you’re not yet a CORAC member, consider joining. There are many benefits, and it costs nothing but your goodwill and readiness to embrace the mission of acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope to others. Read more about CORAC membership here: https://truthforsouls.com/2022/06/10/what-is-corac/ or visit the CORAC website at: https://corac.co
Registration for Field Day is open to all, whether or not a member of CORAC, but we’d love to have you join us. In any storm, the stronger the community, the better.
Sheryl Collmer is the regional coordinator for CORAC East Texas. You can reach her at: email@example.com.
With the debut of daily and Sunday Masses at Veritatis Splendor, the idealistic community up in Winona has sprung back onto the radar screens of east Texas Catholics. For a while, people wondered if the intentional Catholic community would die a quiet death from having bitten off too big a bite. Neighborhoods, schools, recreational facilities, a High Italian Gothic-style church… I mean, really! Somewhere north of nowhere?
But a steady tide of building activity has been going on all year, and there are some days that the property looks like a giant anthill, trucks and flatbeds plying back and forth as pipe is laid, foundations poured and building materials delivered. Infrastructure to support the first phase of neighborhoods is near completion, and lot owners have begun constructing and living on their properties. And now, the opening of the Chapel for public Mass is a major milestone in the life of Veritatis Splendor.
The Holy Family Chapel was completed last month, and the first Mass was celebrated on September 29, the feast of the Holy Archangels, with Bishop Strickland present. The chapel is small, to tide over the worshipping community until the magnificent Oratory on the Hill can be built, still some years in the future. The chapel seats around 50, with overflow seating for another 50. It’s a church-shaped building, constructed within a larger metal barn. It reminds me of the Holy House of Loreto, the tiny cottage where the Virgin Mary was said to have conceived of the Holy Spirit, which is now enclosed within a much larger basilica.
The Chapel is very much a “country church” with stained pine walls and aged wooden pews, with elegant highlights in the trim of the roof beams, the lovely fixtures reclaimed from older churches, and of course, the tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a humble and amiable atmosphere in which to celebrate the Mass, including the Ordinariate Use of the Roman Rite.
The Ordinariate has captured my imagination. Ever since Pope Benedict’s expansion of the use of the Latin Mass in the 2007 Summorum Pontificum, and especially the constriction of it by Pope Francis in Traditionis Custodes of 2021, interest in the Latin Mass has blossomed. What is this rite by which nearly all our saints and ancestors were saved? What drove the process that changed it? Have we lost something we ought to preserve?
More and more people want to find out for themselves, but the Latin Mass can be intimidating for those who came of age after the 1960s. It is different, and requires a bit of orientation and practice to feel confident in its celebration.
The Ordinariate Rite is like a stepping stone to the Latin Mass. It is a beautiful liturgy with its own rich history, whose roots in the Catholic past have not been disturbed. I sometimes explain it to people as “the traditional Mass rendered in English.” The Fathers of the Pious House, who make their home at Veritatis, readily agreed to train and offer the Ordinariate. It is a new leaf in the folio of Catholic worship opportunities in east Texas.
Generically, “ordinariate” refers to an ecclesiastic organization led by someone other than the local bishop. When Anglicans began to embrace the Catholic Church in large numbers several decades ago, dialogue began between Pope Benedict and Anglican clergy. Whole Anglican congregations and dioceses wanted to become Catholic, without losing the rich patrimony of the Anglican church. They had preserved beautiful architecture, music and liturgy for their worship, and many could not bear that it be lost, to be replaced with stick-figure art, singsong music and modernistic architecture, the puerile aesthetic that had taken over many Catholic parish churches.
Then Pope Benedict issued the exhortation Anglicanorum Coetibusin 2009,which allowed for the full communion of Anglicans with Rome, while retaining their own hymns, art and liturgy. These formerly-Anglican congregations were known as “ordinariates” and their liturgy, as the Ordinariate Use.
The Anglican and Roman rites have a common ancestor, of course: the traditional Mass which was largely unchanged from the 3rd century until the 1960s. The Novus Ordo created some new things and jettisoned some old ones when it was promulgated in 1969, but of course, didn’t affect the Anglican Church at all. So the liturgy permitted to the Anglican Ordinariates, even after full communion with Rome, is essentially the Traditional Mass, rendered in English.
The Mass schedule of the Holy Family Chapel gives us ample opportunity to explore our heritage in the Mass, both in Latin and in English. The Ordinariate is celebrated on Sundays at 8:30 am. Other Masses available during the week are Sundays at 10:30 am, Monday – Friday at 12:05 pm, and Saturdays at 9:00 am.
The drive from the Cathedral in downtown Tyler to the Veritatis chapel is 25 minutes into beautiful rolling hills and stands of pine. When you’re there for Mass, take a look around at the vision-becoming-reality of the Veritatis project. Remind yourself that, with perseverance and God’s grace, even dreams that people scoff at, that stumble on obstacles, that seem too good to be true, can indeed be realized, bringing something new and fresh into our lives.
In the spiritual life, to stand still is to go backward. Therefore, the serious Catholic is always forging ahead; it is prayer and reading that move us along. For a Catholic, the exercise of the mind probing the mysteries of the Faith, and the exercise of the spirit in worship are like the two wings of a dove. One without the other is an imbalance. Reading informs prayer, and prayer informs reading.
The Catholic faith is like a suitcase with no bottom: there is no end to the unpacking. And that’s what captivates us: the Faith is so much bigger than we are. No matter how old we get, there is still more.
So we study. We read things that make us gasp in wonder, fall silent in awe, provoke our minds to pursue what those before us have discovered. When we are reading truly good spiritual material, the reading becomes prayer. The best of Catholic literature makes you go deep inside.
To assist reason in its effort to understand the mystery there are the signs which Revelation itself presents. These serve to lead the search for truth to new depths, enabling the mind in its autonomous exploration to penetrate within the mystery by use of reason’s own methods, of which it is rightly jealous.
St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 13
It’s said that the internet has made physical book reading obsolete, so some wonder if the Cathedral Library will be just a beautiful adornment with no great use. I don’t think so. It’s easy enough to read light novels on a screen, but navigating long or deep texts in an intuitive way is difficult on screens. Reading on screen is like being in a 6-foot deep pool; even if you had the breath to dive much deeper, you’re limited by the space. Reading a physical book is more like treading water over the Mariana Trench; it’s seven miles to the bottom so there’s virtually no limit to how far you dive.
Think about reading a spiritual text in adoration: you periodically stop to ponder something. If you’re on a screen, your device probably goes to sleep, so you have to log in again, and find the place you left. On a physical page however, with the book resting in your lap, your eye tends to go right back to where you left off, without disturbing the environment of contemplation, which is notoriously difficult to recover.
What about serious spiritual study, the sort required to profit from reading Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua, St. Augustine’s City of God, a tractate of the Summa Theologica, or St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body – that is, texts that require intense concentration?
Or books that require personal introspection, like de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence, de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, or St. Thérèse’s Story of a Soul? These classics could be read on-screen, but would the deep penetration of the spirit by the text occur in the same way?
What about Frank Sheed’s reflection on the Trinity in Theology and Sanity? I can’t imagine that experience being comparable when read on the same device where I play Sudoku and check the weather.
Or try reading Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence, where he just comes right out and tells you to ditch the screen for any spiritual reading or liturgy!
Reading and re-reading is characteristic of spiritual comprehension. Sometimes we read a line that we sense is significant, but we only “get it” on the third or fourth repetition. Finding and re-reading a particular passage is tough going on a device, but our brains actually perform a “mapping” function when we read on a physical page. We are gifted with a physical sense of where a certain passage appears in a book. It’s like taking a hike in the hills; we have a sense of where the path crossed the stream, and how far back the clearing was.
Prove it to yourself. Read something sacred on your phone. Absorb it, turn it over in your mind. Let it rest and then go back to it. Now try the same thing with a paged book. Compare the experiences.
I believe the Library will be well used by those who are serious about growing in their faith, those who are pursuing the Mystery, and want to follow in the footsteps of the great saints and theologians who came before us. People who are new to the Faith, such as RCIA participants, and those who are returning to the Faith after an absence, will be particularly well-served. A good parish library is an evangelization tool.
Faith meets reason in a parish library, where we can be transformed by the renewal of our minds. The Cathedral Library is being assembled right now. Stay tuned for the Grand Opening this fall.
Since the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs, I’ve observed protestors on our Tyler public streets and parks half a dozen times, carrying threatening and blasphemous signs. My heart sinks; our mostly Christian, friendly little city, where you see “WE LOVE LIFE” lawn signs all around town, occupied by raging, shouting women, glorying in their ability to offend.
The website http://www.wewontgoback.com posts the details of pro-abortion protests all over the country and includes downloadable poster designs, though the most disturbing signs I saw in Tyler were homemade ones, more horrific than these from the website.
Signs have the power to rouse people, for good or ill.
Prayer on the Square
We hold signs, too, when we pray on the town square. Back on January 12, 2022, long before the abortion protests, a group of Catholic prayer warriors began meeting on Wednesday evenings in our city square to pray the rosary. We were acting in solidarity with Catholics in Austria, who had begun to pray for help against the tyrannical measures of their government, under the name “Austria Prays.” We held signs and flags, intended to help wake passersby up to the dangers bearing down on good people all over the world.
The Canadian Truckers’ Convoy was in full swing at that point, and we were eager to support them. They were perhaps the first globally-visible Freedom Fighters, though their efforts ended in apparent defeat. I say “apparent” because the government crackdown on peaceful protestors alerted us to the dangers of central banking when you hold opinions that differ from the government’s official narrative. Prime Minister Trudeau so casually ordered the bank accounts of truckers frozen, that the whole world saw how easy it would be for governments to manipulate a central banking system. For that forewarning alone, the whole Canadian truckers’ movement was worthwhile.
One of the founding couples of our Prayer on the Square arrived from Canada last year, and Martin proudly held the beautiful Maple Leaf flag in the early days, alongside the Stars and Stripes.
Life in little Tyler, Texas was pretty sedate all winter and spring, but we could see the global community rising up against the lies and over-reach of governments. We hoped that Americans would be energized by the Canadian patriots, to fight for freedom here, but Tyler was not feeling the pinch yet.
When the American People’s Convoy launched on February 23 from California to Washington DC, we were super-enthused. We wished, rather than believed, that it would light a spark in the American people, but it was still not time. Enough people have to be alarmed and personally affected by tyranny before there will be a mass outcry.
So we keep praying, every Wednesday at 5:30, rain or shine. We’ve been meeting for seven months now, and we actually rather enjoy it. There is joy in praying the rosary together, we love the honks from passing cars, and we enjoy our fellowship over dinner afterwards. Since we pray on public sidewalks, we are not required to have a permit, but we’ve had one nevertheless, every week we’ve been out there. It puts us on solid ground with law enforcement, and alerts them to our presence.
Once a month, we visit the nearby police station with pizza, cookies and other treats, to demonstrate our appreciation, and cultivate a relationship with police. They have our backs, as we saw when the abortion protestors marched in front of the Cathedral. We want them to know that we have theirs.
Some of our signs could be considered “political,” but at this point, politics are over: there is only good and evil. Is it political to urge Americans to pay very close attention to their freedoms (including freedom to worship) as governments globally crack down? Is it political to point out the dangerous experimental shot that was forced on the world without ever receiving approval (and which still does not have approval,) but which has killed and disabled hundreds of thousands of victims?
Soon we will have a sign of solidarity with farmers worldwide, who are being put out of the food production business, thus setting up a worldwide famine. If Christians don’t stand up for such things, who will? It’s not politics; it’s solidarity.
Frankly, I’m not sure God cares about what we call “politics”, but I think He cares a great deal about innocent people who are poisoned, killed or otherwise preyed upon by the arrogant and powerful.
He has shown the strength of His arm; He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.
God cares very much about the welfare of His little ones. Once we know what is being done to God’s people, we have to speak up.
Signs elicit responses. They plant seeds. They let people know they’re not alone in seeing that something very wrong is going on, and that there are people who care about it. The media attempts to maintain the fiction that everyone believes the approved narrative, thus gaslighting the population, but with every car that passes us and our signs, we challenge that notion. And when Tyler finally does feel the pinch that the global chessmasters have already set in motion, signs will let people know that we are a community ready to stand up for them.
Join us and our signs and flags on the Tyler town square (Ferguson and Broadway), rain or shine, any Wednesday at 5:30 pm, to pray the Rosary for protection over our community, our country and our Church.
Last summer, newcomers thought that maybe the rumors about Texas summers were exaggerated. But now, Texas is showing its true summer colors… triple-digit heat multiple days in a row, almost no rain, but still able to throw out some humidity in the mornings. You’re not in the Pacific Northwest anymore!
Whether or not you’re new to the intensity of a Texas summer, you should absolutely not think you’re immune: dehydration and heat exhaustion can creep up on you without you even noticing. Suddenly, you’re down. Here’s how to avoid that outcome.
Hydration: Normally you should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day, every day. That’s 64-80 oz, or about one giant 2.2 liter bottle, the kind that Coke comes in… but don’t drink the Coke! Caffeine is a diuretic. You want to hydrate, not flush.
In extreme temperatures, it’s generally not sufficient to just sip mindlessly. Get a calibrated water jug and monitor how much you’re actually drinking every day.
If you’re exercising in the heat, clearly you need more water than normal to replenish your fluids. It’s best to drink a few extra glasses of water several hours before exercise, not during. During exercise, simply drink according to your thirst. With sufficient fluids onboard, you should be able to avoid “crashing” in the heat.
The acid test for hydration is the color of your urine. Don’t be squeamish; monitor your output. If it’s almost clear or light yellow, fine. If it’s dark yellow or amber, you are clearly under-hydrated. Drink up! Other signs of dehydration are fatigue, light-headedness, headache, heart palpitations and low blood pressure.
The other side of hydration is electrolytes. Sweating causes you to lose a lot of your natural salts and minerals. An imbalance in your optimal levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium can cause all sorts of alarming symptoms, like muscle cramps, nausea, headache and vertigo. That’s why athletes drink electrolyte solutions like Gatorade or Powerade, to replace critical minerals that have been sweated out.
If you prefer not to support Pepsi (Gatorade) or Coke (Powerade), make your own rehydration drink.
3 cups coconut water
1 cup apple juice
1 cup ice
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
Garnish with limes or lemons. Put the leftover in a Mason jar in the fridge for later.
You can also buy low-sugar rehydrating powders, such as NUUN, Emergen-C Hydration+, or FLUID products. Just mix with green tea or water for a great rehydration drink. These are especially recommended for people doing heavy exercise or outdoor work during the summer.
Everyone raised in the South knows to beware when you have goosebumps or chills in hot weather, or when you stop sweating. Those are the signs that you must quickly get to a cooler place, stop all activity, and drink water or rehydration drinks.
Other signs of heat exhaustion are “hitting the wall,” losing all energy, low blood pressure, and dizziness when you get up from sitting.
If you take action immediately (rest, cool, rehydrate) you should be back to normal in a short time, half an hour or less.
The most serious sort of overheating condition usually requires medical treatment, but if you’re monitoring yourself, it should not reach this point. If you have stopped sweating and your skin is hot and flushed, your mental state is altered, pulse is racing, head is throbbing, breathing is rapid and shallow, then you need medical attention immediately. Don’t get to this point!
Monitor your fluid intake (ounces)
Monitor your urine output (color)
Replace electrolytes from sweating
Rest, cool down and rehydrate at the first symptom
It all sounds a little scary, and people have died from heat-related symptoms, but millions of Texans have survived these ridiculous summers for a long time. You’re only in danger if you’re not paying attention to your own body and its signs. Be wise and attentive when the temperatures are extreme!
Gandalf: The board is set… the pieces are moving. The fate of the world will now be decided.
Like Sauron’s army spilling out of Mordor, Satan has come out in our lifetime. He has dispensed with the glamour phase of human recruitment, and has moved into the brute force phase. No longer dangling shiny objects in order to attract innocents, he is out in the open.
See how Satan once disguised abortion as health care, as compassion for women. He seduced those of decent intent who merely lacked critical thinking skills, and sucked them in. When they didn’t fight, evil overcame them. Now, abortion advocates carry signs that say, “Abortion = Good Snack.” Satan is confident enough of his servants to drop any pretense of civility.
In the Lord of the Rings, Sauron committed all his assets in one final play for domination of Middle Earth. The current axis of corrupt government, tech giants, the disciples of the demonic World Economic Forum and World Health Organization, and the complicit media is Mordor.
Saruman: Together, my lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle Earth. The old world will burn in the forest of industry. Forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machine of war with the sword, and the spear, and the iron fist of the orc.
The great question is: will we fight? Will the world of men stand up, or be boiled alive like frogs in a pot? Do we have the courage of intrepid hobbits who, with the thinnest, most tenuous hope of success, set out for Mordor to destroy the Ring?
Theoden: How did it come to this?
The darkness has been lowering for many years now, slowly enough that it seemed normal, though it was filled with evil. Was there ever anything normal about random promiscuity and the circumvention of God’s great gift of procreation, and the extermination of any little human who slipped through the sieve? Is massive corporate farming using toxic materials normal? Is the weaponization of health care normal? Pornography? Pedophilia? The manipulation of psychically weak personalities to carry out evil agendas?
We’re not longing for what we once called normal; we’re longing for what normal should have been. We’re longing for the Shire, for cozy homes with happy children, good food and ale, tilled earth and green growing things, music and dancing, and above all, a community that held together through generations. We are longing for a world of goodness and love, not that old world we used to call “normal.”
Consider the endgame now evident: the worldwide medical destruction caused by an engineered virus, the dangerous shot, the excess mortality rates in working age people, the organized shutdown of viewpoints that differ from the approved narrative; the hemorrhaging of US funds to foreign powers, the planned instability at our Southern border, the manufactured food shortages which are only in the beginning stages, the dangerous biolabs placed around the world by a US shadow government, the targeting of children in their innocence, and the perfidious media deliberately hiding it all.
In fact, the media is the lynchpin of the whole enterprise. The media runs cover for Mordor.
And the endgame is intensifying. Governments are rolling out a digital identity system that will control behavior and spending. New bioweapons are being revealed, to suck in the unthinking. Children are assaulted on every possible front. If evil were a game of Jenga, we would be nudging the last remaining block that holds the tower up.
It won’t be enough to flee the cities. Mordor is advancing, like a flood of poisoned waters. It will reach everywhere if we don’t stop it.
Pippin: Maybe Treebeard’s right. We don’t belong here. It’s too big for us. What can we do? We’ve got the Shire. Maybe we should go. Merry: The fires of Isengard will spread. And all that was green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.
The media makes excuses for all the things that are purposefully being done to us, but even the most willfully blinded people know something is off. It’s like downshifting on a hill; you can feel the change in Satan’s energy. Anyone who hasn’t realized it yet undoubtedly will, if diesel runs low and our food supply is short, if groceries can’t be bought without digital identity, if witches take over the public square and the attacks on our churches heat up in earnest, if the government arrests a critical mass of people for holding unacceptable views. The warning signs have been posted.
None of this is stupidity; it’s not party politics or conspiracy theory. It’s Sauron releasing the Orcs.
The Orcs are in every major institution of the world. While we raised our families, worshipped our God, and found joy in the created world, Satan was planning, and placing his minions in influential positions literally everywhere. This is a huge, coordinated machine we’re up against.
Evil has no love, no pleasure in simple things, none of what gives human life its sheen; it is not distracted from its one purpose. That’s why Jesus warned us that the children of darkness are more shrewd in their dealings with their kind, than the children of light are with theirs. Darkness doesn’t rest, even when we must.
So we must rise united, ready to shore each other up; we must forgive each other’s faults, and allow nothing to come between us. No one of us can fight this battle alone.
Elrond: Strangers from distant lands, friends of old, you have been summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle Earth stands upon the brink of destruction; none can escape it. You will unite, or you will fall.
Every day, more people realize that there is a plan, not a hash of unrelated disasters. Every time a complicit news outlet is compelled to reveal a fact previously hidden, every time a bought politician has to backpedal to save his skin, every time one person decides to stop complying with the madness, it’s like a light switched on in the middle of the night, sending the cockroaches scurrying. These skirmishes show that the battle can be won. Don’t listen to those who say, “It’s too big; we can’t win.”
We can win. Middle Earth wasn’t saved by the hobbits who hid in their holes. It was saved by those willing to leave, to make sure their home would survive. We must come up out of our semi-comfortable lives. Understand that Satan has committed unimaginable assets to this battle, perhaps all his assets. It is both his strongest and weakest moment. We have a chance for a decisive victory, but it will take all of us.
Gandalf: Men are not as weak as he supposed. There is courage still, strength enough, perhaps, to challenge him.
He will not risk the peoples of Middle Earth uniting under one banner.
How we will fight is not as essential as determining that we will fight. We will figure out the logistics later, but we must first decisively show up to the battle. We will not hide ourselves from painful facts. We will not believe media rationalizations without investigating. We will not take refuge in junk movies and video games to escape the realization of the grave danger we are in. We will not bite back the truth for fear of repercussions. We will not turn our faces from evils that make us sick to our stomachs, as Jesus did not turn from evils so hideous that He sweat blood in contemplation of them.
Prayer is the foundation of all we do, but prayer alone is not enough. God has placed us here, now, to fight this battle. All heaven is watching, all the faithful gone before us, all the thrones and dominions. Can you imagine how the great saints would have loved to live in this time, deemed worthy to fight for the Good?
It is time for us to unite under one banner, the hosts of the Lord, and destroy Mordor.
Aragorn: This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
Christians, come out! The army of the Lord is moving.
CORAC is the Corps of Renewal and Charity, created in 2020 to help people be ready for the storm we could see on the horizon. There are members across the United States, organized into geographical regions, so that everyone has a local group, as well as access to national expertise and support in communications, health and wellness, sustainable living, crisis scenarios and prayer.
The ethic of CORAC is simple: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to others. This credo has already gotten me through some hard times. It distills all the noise and fuss down to something anyone can do.
For people who may be isolated in leftist parts of the country, CORAC provides a forum of like-minded people of faith, so that no one need feel alone in their convictions.
CORAC team leaders have spent over a year building an infrastructure so that in a crisis situation, we would have resources already at our fingertips, ready to deploy, as well as plans thought out in advance. For example, the crisis scenario team has protocols and checklists for a variety of possible emergencies posted on the website, and ready for each family to print out and have on-hand. That team also has a communication plan to deploy in case of emergency.
One plan relies on a national network of HAM radio operators to get communications out to each member. The hub is a mega station in the Dallas area, and that particular operator is networked into Bishop Strickland’s ham network for the Tyler diocese.
There are resources on the website for anyone who is not yet certified as a radio operator but wants to get equipped, as well as practice sessions for those who are just listeners on shortwave radio.
The health and wellness team consists of conventional physicians, homeopaths and herbalists. They review protocols for safety and accuracy, and publish those that deal with current health issues; for example, strategies to deal with vaccine injuries, ways to stay healthy through the cold & flu season, medicinal herbs that you can find almost anywhere. Much of what is on the website consists of solutions to problems we might encounter if conventional medicine was not available.
My sister in Kansas had a very bad case of covid last year, and could not get proper treatment in her little town, being unvaxxed. She finally called an MD in the nearest city, who was able to help her enormously. By sheer coincidence, that physician was a CORAC member. Now that doctor is my sister’s regular physician.
The national reach of CORAC has allowed members to find trustworthy doctors in other parts of the country for our family members who live far away. For example, one family here in Tyler had a relative in Illinois who was in serious trouble with covid. The hospital in that area would not treat him. I was able to call the regional coordinator for Illinois, and get a recommendation for a real doctor (one who cares more for the patient than the government) who prescribed the proper medications and got him on the road to recovery.
The sustainable living team deals with such things as farming and gardening, sanitation during emergencies, foraging, canning and preserving food. They do periodic Zoom classes that are recorded and then posted on the website, along with the notes in PDF form.
The prayer team has a national network of people who are actively praying for the monthly intentions of CORAC, as well as an ongoing Catechism class with Desmond Birch, one of the foremost eschatologists in the Church today.
The prayer team is also in charge of the network which will swing into action in a crisis, and match members who want to check on their out-of-state family members, to CORAC members in that area. This network is still being built, but I was able to access it in February when I had a friend who was terribly sick and stranded in Montana. He’d gone to two ERs for help, and neither one treated him. I called a CORAC member in Montana, who got prescriptions and food to him, as well as a priest who anointed him. (He’s fine now, thanks to that CORAC member.)
That’s the power of having a national infrastructure.
At the local level, it’s up to us to draw people in and build the supportive kind of community that will be like gold if there is a breakdown of any kind. This could look like foraging walks with a group, everyone identifying different plants and taking cuttings or samples. It could be a canning tutorial where all the participants bring fruit and learn how to preserve it safely. It could be a meeting of people bringing their shortwave radios to a central spot to practice tuning. It could be a workshop of emergency medicine, like bleeding control and triage techniques.
In a technology blackout or genuine emergency, we will all be hyper-focused at the local level, by necessity, so it’s important to build relationships and skills within the local groups. Access to national expertise may also be helpful for any knowledge gaps in the local groups.
There is a plan in every town where there is a CORAC member, to meet at the local parish church at 9:00 on the Saturday morning following any multi-day communications blackout. This is our strategy to share information, as well as to seek out those who may need special help.
There is no cost to join CORAC, and some materials on the website are only available to members. In addition, members receive a biweekly newsletter with news items, inspiration, tips for action, and links to helpful resources all around the internet.
So join me and help build a local network that will be charitable, helpful and resourceful in the event of a crisis. If a crisis never materializes (we wish), we will have built a strong community with valuable skills anyway!
Once upon a time, the world was safer for children. We played outside without adults, invented games, solved our own disputes and everyone got home in time for supper. Day or night, we knew that we could (and did) knock on literally any door in the neighborhood, and the adults there would help us without question. The whole culture looked out for children.
These days, if adults are looking out for children, it may very well be to exploit them, not protect them. If kids are even allowed to play outside, there are not multiple safe havens to run to; most households have no one at home. It’s a different universe for children now; they have no idea what true safety actually is. Roe changed everything in 1973. The world was already changing, and Roe sent it nuclear.
As we look with hope to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Mississippi, it’s important to listen to those who once knew a world in which children were indisputably valued under the law. Only 20% of the American public was born before January 23, 1973, and knows what a pre-Roe world looked like. We are like World War II veterans; soon our story will be buried with us. We have to tell it, and it begins in Dallas, where I grew up.
Roe v. Wade is a Texas tale. The case originated in Dallas with a Texas cast of characters: Henry Wade, the swashbuckling Dallas District Attorney; Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two University of Texas law graduates; Norma McCorvey (Roe), a pregnant Dallas waitress, who wandered into the story by chance.
I was 14 years old in 1973, a freshman in a nominally Catholic high school in Dallas, and mostly unaware of national political events when Roe was handed down. My older sister remembers very well reading the Tuesday headline, “ABORTION LEGAL” on the front page of the Dallas Morning News on that fateful January day. She understood what it meant deeply enough that she remembers crying over it.
Many years later, I found out that one of my best friends was among the first in line when clinics opened the moment the decision was handed down. The clinics had been set up well in advance, ready to service women the minute the decision was announced. They were dicey affairs in sketchy parts of town, and my friend remembers it only as “hideous.” She’s spent decades trying to erase the memory, but she does recall that all the girls lay together recovering in a big space where folding cots had been set up in close lines without privacy curtains.
It seemed that January 23 was a “tipping point,” everything already in place to make the decision inevitable. It’s like the tracks were greased.
Henry Wade, the losing name in the equation, was the Democrat District Attorney for Dallas County. Wade was a big Texas legend who cast a long shadow. He had an undefeated record for criminal prosecutions, including Jack Ruby’s conviction for killing Lee Harvey Oswald. He put on a Southern-fried Columbo act, catching legal opponents in his web like a cigar-chomping spider. He was formidable.
But he seemed to have cared little about Roe. He’d earned his reputation as a prosecutor of murderers, rapists, assassins, not as a defendant of a Texas law he didn’t really support. He entrusted the defense to two associates, not interested enough to participate. In later years, he never even read the decision.
When opposing attorney Sarah Weddington was informed that the case would be argued by someone other than Wade, she is said to have thanked her lucky stars. She was only 26 years old, and had never performed in a courtroom before. Had Wade given a damn about abortion, he probably would have buried Weddington in court, and children might still be safe in the United States. Or maybe not. In hindsight, the victory appears planned and coordinated.
In the original Dallas case, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington allied to force the issue of “reproductive rights” in the courts. Coffee had already sketched out a test case when she asked Weddington to join her. The legal team complete, they went looking for a plaintiff to challenge the abortion prohibition in Dallas County.
In 1969, Norma McCorvey, an addicted nomad who’d worked in carnivals and restaurants, found herself pregnant with a third child and no support. Looking for an illegal abortion, she was introduced to Coffee by an associate who knew Coffee needed a plaintiff. Norma was already 5 months along, and desperate for help. She seemed unaware that the legal proceedings would not, in fact, help her at all, given that she had only four months to delivery. That may have been the beginning of what Norma would later characterize as “being used” by people for their own purposes.
Had Coffee and Weddington actually answered Norma’s request, they would have arranged for her to get an abortion in New York or California, but they needed her to be pregnant when the suit was filed, in order to have legal standing to sue. As the legal machine was just getting warmed up, Norma delivered her daughter, who was adopted by a north Texas family, all in God’s good plan.
Meanwhile, Norma became the name of the abortion culture after the Supreme Court decision in 1973, and was passed around the country on the speech circuit. Really, she had gotten sucked up by circumstances: she wanted to lose a child at the same time that Linda Coffee desperately needed a pregnant plaintiff. Had Coffee not been so anxious to bring the case, she might have waited for a more well-spoken, more well-turned out subject than Norma. Even after years on the public stage, Norma never developed into a polished speaker, and was never quite sure what people expected of her.
Despite the fierce face she learned to put on, Norma was a fragile personality inside a hard shell. In the mid-90s, her prickly heart was cracked open by the affection of a 4-year old child who greeted her in the mornings as she went into work at a Dallas abortion mill. The child belonged to a pro-life worker, praying and counseling on the sidewalk of the facility.
Norma began attending church with that family, and in 1995, was famously baptized in a swimming pool by Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Rescue.
Through friendships with many Catholics and Fr. Frank Pavone over the ensuing years, Norma began attending Mass at the Dominican Priory at the University of Dallas. She came under the direction of a holy priest, Fr. Edward Robinson, and was received quietly into the Catholic Church in 1998.
Norma regretted her cooperation with Coffee and Weddington terribly, calling it the biggest mistake of her life. In reparation, she founded the organization “Roe No More,” hoping she would live to see the day the carnage would end. She died in 2017.
And here we are, waiting expectantly for the Supreme Court to scrub her name from the pro-abortion movement. But can the world ever go back to the times when children were safe? Unfortunately, legal and widespread abortion has given rise to evil we couldn’t even have imagined in 1973. The hard-heartedness that grows in the aftermath of abortion has built up an army of irrational ragers against pre-born life, and against those who try to protect it. Over time, the movement has dispensed with niceties, and shown itself to simply be haters of goodness and of God.
It would be poetic for legal abortion to end in Dallas, where it began. And indeed, Dallas has built up a full-bodied pro-life organization with paid staff, hundreds of volunteers, and robust ministries for every phase of pregnancy and early parenthood. It’s been called the most effective diocesan pro-life organization in the world.
Every pro-life organization and person in the country will need to step up if Roe is overturned by the Dobbs decision, as appears likely. It will take at least a generation for people to modify their behavior when abortion is less easily available. The children may be protected by law, but the task of reclaiming all the souls who have been coarsened by access to abortion will be epic. All hands will be needed.
Norma’s story should serve as encouragement. As a pro-abortion activist, she was none too pleasant, and I expect I would have recoiled from her anger the same way I recoil from the screeching rage that we see displayed now, across the country and even on our own small city square. But after everything she had done, and everything done to her, she retained enough of her true self to embrace Christ. I don’t think she ever fully healed from the damage she’d sustained, but Jesus and Mary brought her the rest of the way.
That’s a possibility for every person we encounter on the mined battlefields we will travel in this next era. Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t strike down Roe, notice has been served: the pro-abortion folks will never again take it for granted. The change is here, no matter what the Court does. And whether Miss Norma is in Purgatory or Heaven, she can pray for us. She can remind us that every angry woman can be saved.
May God strengthen us all to pave the way for goodness, after Roe is redeemed.
The night after I saw “2000 Mules,” I didn’t sleep.
I went on Monday, May 2, opening night. I wanted to be part of the first wave if the film had the paradigm-shifting power I thought it might. I also prefer to see a movie before I read any reviews, so that I can experience my genuine reactions, free of any subconscious prejudices I may have picked up from others.
When I emerged from the theater, my mind was staggered with all the provocative issues the movie raised… and then, when I turned my phone back on, it was all blown up with messages about the Supreme Court leak. It really felt like the world had indeed shifted in the course of one evening, and that is not conducive to sleep.
Since Monday night, only one paradigm has taken over the national conversation, leaving “2000 Mules” in its dust. But like every other manufactured crisis (draft written months ago, final decision pending, the leak intentional and timed), the public’s attention will not stay focused for long. And when people realize that Roe is still not overturned, there will be “2000 Mules,” patiently waiting for you to notice.
For anyone who thinks that election fraud is not in the same universe of importance as Roe v Wade, I maintain that our best chance to restore a culture that values life is to have fair elections, in which decent people actually have a chance of being heard.
A week before the release of Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, an internet pundit predicted that soon, everyone would know what geo-fencing was. And if you see the film, you will want to know much more about the technology that True the Vote used to isolate the most egregious mules, in the most contested states, in arguably the most important US presidential election in history.
The term “mules” comes from drug cartel culture, where a mule is someone who illegally traffics substances for profit. The term was popularized by the 2018 Clint Eastwood movie, “The Mule,” in which the lead character begins to courier illegal drugs across the border to make enough money to save his broken existence. Votes are the drug in “2000 Mules,” and since it is incontrovertibly illegal to traffic ballots, the analogy holds.
Showing in an almost abandoned, echoingly empty mall, the theatre was packed. The only empty seats were in the neck-strain section of the very front row. The audience was like a noisy Pentecostal church congregation, shouting and cheers for the white hats, hissing and boos for the criminals. No one seemed to mind the noise.
As movies go, it was not great cinema. You could clearly see that Dinesh and Debbie were re-creating the setup scenes, like when they’re in their kitchen chatting and the phone chimes, and whaddaya know, it’s Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote, calling to tell him that there are some things he’s going to want to see. Then you see Dinesh’s car pulling up to a mysterious warehouse-looking place for the Great Reveal. Yes, it’s a little hokey, but it was a humanizing device to add a bit of normalcy to a straight documentary format.
(It was especially amusing how Debbie could not stop smiling during the presentation of the evidence, which was as serious as myocarditis. She’s just so darn proud of her husband, she couldn’t keep it off her face.)
The inclusion of Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas was another humanizing device. They were the Geiger counters. Dinesh solicited their opinions before and after they saw the evidence so you could see what effect it had. Before, several of them were unwilling to state categorically that the 2020 election was fraudulent, though they were suspicious. Afterward… well, you’ll see.
True the Vote is the real star of the movie, represented by founder Catherine Engelbrecht and data analyst Gregg Phillips. They say that the movie is just the beginning of a marathon effort and that they will not quit. Thank God for them! Gregg is the data specialist, and I would like to have heard much more from him, but the movie kept the premise simple enough to reach the majority.
Mules are identified as illegal couriers who picked up harvested ballots at central organizing points, and then visited multiple dropboxes to deliver them, often in the middle of the night. The team selected only those mules who visited at least 10 dropboxes and at least 5 non-profit organizations, where they presumably picked up batches of illegally obtained ballots.
The story of the electronic data used to identify these worst of offenders will surprise you. Did you know that vendors of phone apps collect your location data and sell it, through brokers, to anyone willing to pay? Analysts are able to build a “pattern of life” from the signals our cell phones emit. That explains why, when I get in my car, without ever opening an app, there is a notification with directions to my next destination. And it’s usually correct. It “knows” where I go on a regular basis.
In any case, True the Vote obtained two petabytes (a pedabyte is a million gigabytes) of data, ten trillion cell phone pings, and four million minutes of government surveillance video for their research. Curiously (wink) many of the cameras dedicated to surveilling the dropboxes had been disabled, but there’s plenty enough to carry the point. Video after video shows mules dropping off big handfuls of ballots. Anyone attempting to explain these videos away as rational behavior needs to answer the questions: who has access to so many ballots? who wears nitrile gloves to drop off ballots? who votes in the middle of the night? who takes photos of the ballots before dropping them in? who goes to dozens of different dropboxes on a Pac-man sort of a route through the city?
True the Vote only looked at certain counties within five swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Using the criteria of 10 dropboxes and 5 stash houses, they identified only the worse of the offenders. The fraud is potentially much, much bigger.
We learn that it is always and everywhere indisputably illegal to pay anyone for a ballot. Whistleblowers described how traffickers in nursing facilities appropriated or forged the ballots for people who were legally incompetent to vote. Did you know that a mail-in ballot probably went to your old addresses, as the Democrat party agitated for universal mail-in balloting in 2020? I had to wonder if COVID was created for just this purpose. Ballot harvesters target places like college dorms, apartment complexes and nursing facilities, places where people establish an address for only a short time. That leaves large numbers of ballots undeliverable to the proper person.
I guess I thought there was a mechanism in place to purge me from the voter rolls of my former addresses, but apparently not. This is a solid steel reason to go back to in-person voting. There could still be cheating, but it would be much more difficult.
One caveat to the overwhelming conclusion that Trump won the election is that legal proof was not shown that all the fraudulent ballots were marked for Biden. Anyone with a lick of sense knows they were, but it’s not provable by the movie. I would think that identification and investigation of the non-profit stash houses where the ballots were distributed to the mules would provide that evidence, but perhaps that is part of the marathon effort that True The Vote has pledged.
“2000 Mules” presents the mere tip of the iceberg, and makes any thinking person want to know more about that electronic evidence. Then we all have the task of motivating law enforcement to take action on it.
The movie was set to detonate on Monday night, but suddenly, thanks to the Roe leak, no one was listening. Strange, that. But the evidence is there nevertheless. The criminals only got a reprieve, not a pardon. Go watch the movie and be a part of justice unfolding.
I didn’t hate “Father Stu.” That’s a low bar for a movie, but there it is. Though it personally left me a little cold, I have to acknowledge the good intentions of the movie, and the genuinely good real-life story of Fr. Stuart Long’s conversion and priesthood.
I just wish the movie had told that story. Perhaps to make the story more relate-able to “average” movie-goers, at least as Hollywood sees us, (ignorant of faith, entertained by vulgarity and with a certain bloodlust,) general ugliness was elevated over the real story. Details of the real lives of the Long family that would have mitigated the tawdriness of the movie were left out. Bill, the father played by Mel Gibson, was not the brutal drunk of the movie. Stu had a college education, and an intellectual life long before he entered seminary.
The movie portrays Stu as ape-ish, led around by anything but common sense, with the facial expression of someone who’s been hit too many times in the boxing ring. There’s not a whiff of his interior life. Even when he begins RCIA, he is depicted as simple; and I don’t mean endearingly simple like a child, but dull and unwitting like an orangutan (that fell out of a tree on its head.)
The constant level of vulgar speech in particular is noted in most reviews. It was not just the use of vulgar words, though; it was also vulgar concepts. I worked for a man once who did that: put together two ugly words to create an ugly concept that you just couldn’t scrub from your mind. Like a mashup of cussing. I’ll refrain from using an example here.
I’d been warned about the language, and was prepared. That’s the guarantee of a good story, right? If the language is way over the top, it must mean that the story is so good, it justifies the language. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. But that overshadowing of ugliness with beauty was not fully achieved in “Father Stu.” The movie was not so good as to make the language worth it.
Part of the problem was numerical: two-thirds of the movie stayed on the dark side, leaving only a third to explore Stu’s conversion and life in Christ. Truth to tell, they never really got to his life in Christ. Oh, they showed lines of people waiting to go to Confession with him, but the movie never gave up the goods on exactly why he was so compelling as a priest. They left it at the implication that any priest who could cuss at a professional level would be enough to draw crowds. But it takes more than just a deep knowledge of the seamy side of life to make a good confessor. Why didn’t they explore that? A lost opportunity of great magnitude.
Comedy is what happens when you juxtapose two radically different things, so there was some comic relief when Stu goes into a prison to minister, alongside a seminary classmate who is painfully proper. The prig bombs like a plane dropping out of the sky, and Stu steps in (so to speak; he’s crippled by disease at that point) with some crudity, immediately gaining the trust of the men. It’s an easy laugh to show a Catholic priest saying seriously vulgar things, and the director took advantage of it. I wondered later if the real Father Stu actually taunted imprisoned men with the idea of their wives in bed with other men. That goes beyond crude, all the way to cruel.
The sermons Stu preached in the movie lacked depth, which was perhaps part of the strategy to draw in a worldly audience who couldn’t comprehend anything more. But doesn’t that imply that genuine Christianity is too much for the average person? I think that was a poor decision. Christ never dumbed down anything.
I particularly noted a facile bumper-sticker slogan that Stu repeated in a conversation, “We’re not bodies having a spiritual experience; we are spirits having a bodily experience.” That is not Catholic theology: we are not two separate essences, body and spirit, one dominating the other. We are one essence, an inseparable unity. Granted this is a little profound for a Hollywood film, but since it is at the heart of damaging gender ideology, it’s an especially inappropriate time to throw that confusion at an audience.
I didn’t like Stu as a person for most of the movie. I didn’t like his father or his mother either. Carmen, his love interest, was the shining light of the movie, a rose of pristine virtue… and then he beds her. This detail was true to life, but it broke my heart. Did it advance the movie to include this detail? I suppose it did make his decision to enter seminary particularly poignant, set against the weeping betrayal that Carmen felt.
So the language, the violence, the bedding, was the first two-thirds of the movie. By the time Stu actually became likeable, the movie was almost over. His change of heart, his deepening, his development as a priest, were all glibly portrayed in about ten minutes, with easy devices, like the line snaking out the building for confession.
I have friends who found the movie perfectly excellent, who appreciated the long road that Stu traveled to get to the Faith and the priesthood. The road beyond that conversion point, though, was the real interest for me, and that road was very lightly trod by the movie. I would have switched the proportions, and given more time to the amazing priest that Stu became.
The movie certainly has people talking, and articles are appearing about the “real” Father Stu, who was quite a bit more inspiring than the movie character. For touching those who explore his life outside of the movie itself, “Father Stu” may have scored an indirect win.
6 out of 10, mostly for the good intentions and unintended consequences.