It amazes me that people fall for this stuff

It amazes me that people fall for this stuff November 29, 2014

A reader writes:

Someone sent me this on Facebook. A lot of people are following this guy now. Claims we will be in a worldwide civil war, the economy will totally collapse, and we’ll also be at war with China. All in the next three years. Then we’ll be miraculously rescued by Mary by Oct 17, 2017.

This guy is claiming that all this is coming from Gabriel, Mary and the Father himself. Me? I think fallen angels may be at work here.

Another dispatch from the seer chasing phenomenon.

Lucky for people like this and the Medjugorje frauds that the Church doesn’t hold with that whole “stone false prophets to death” thing in Torah.

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  • HornOrSilk

    It doesn’t surprise me. Often it is young people who didn’t go through the last cycle.

  • SteveP

    RE: the link–tl;dr. But an awesome picture (
    I’m going to found the First Ursine Calvary Battalion. Who’s in?

    • David J. White

      If they’re fighting in the snow, shouldn’t those be polar bears?

      • SteveP

        The broadcast story is that polar bears are unavailable due to climate change; the real story is that the procurement official lost the money in Vegas. An internal investigation is pending.

    • Paxton Reis

      I so want to be in but my teddy bear doesn’t like noise, or guns, or the outdoors.

    • The Lost Dutchman

      Wouldn’t ursine cavalry be usury?

      • IRVCath

        That’s URsury, not USury.

      • SteveP

        Only if they practice charging interest.

    • It really is a great image. I liked it so much I chased it down. The guns are a later addition. The original dates back to 2006 and featured all three riders with western style straight swords.
      The entry in the encyclopedia dramatica gave the name (Nikolai Nikolaevich Dihtyarenko), date, and circumstances as well as a livejournal link. There are more bear cavalry pictures in the journal.

      • SteveP

        Excellent, thank you.

      • Newp Ort

        Nice research, TM, but you should note NSFW!! Encyclopedia Dramatica has some filthy stuff. Even the ads are super nasty.

        • Sorry, I frankly just didn’t notice the ad on the page bottom and the entry came up in google search so the outlet doesn’t mean anything for me. The livejournal does have a couple of artistic nudes.

          Let’s face it, bear cavalry is not a career enhancing choice for browsing at work anyway. That goes for just about anything that is promoted by 4chan.

          • Newp Ort

            No prob man, just wanted to let you and others know.

  • tj.nelson

    “Medjugorje frauds ”

    Mark – now you are going too far – Fr. Amorth just condemned those who do not listen or follow Medjugorje. Kinda/sorta condemned – but he wasn’t happy.

    I’m torn now.



    • IRVCath

      Fr. Amorth, God bless him, is not in charge of approving apparitions as worthy of belief.

      • merC4all-w/repentanc

        Fr. Amoth does know satan and his lies and his tricks….and with that he believes Medjugorje is legit, and goes there often to be spiritually refreshed.

  • Doug Curtin

    There is a conspiracy behind everything these days. Look at the shows that perpetuate these different types of disaster “apocalypse” events and how people prepare for them. For this person, he may truly believe, it sounded a little less crazy when more than a few people were freaking out in 2012. But in todays day and age the stone the false prophets actually can be found….in the comments page. However I scrolled through Charlie’s comments page and it was high praise. Lucky for him he can dodge stones, the DELETE button.

    • Charlie Johnston

      Doug, with over 6,000 comments, I have only deleted about 15. If you look at the comments policy, you will see I only demand that people be civil and that we do not degenerate to the “Jane, you ignorant slut” style of commentary that so mars so many comment boards. If you read through comments regularly, you will see many people who disagree with me on points rather vigorously – and also a guest column from a serious man who disagreed with me. We won’t find any truth if we dodge criticism.

      I may be wrong, I encourage people to be prudent – and to sift through what I say as rigorously as they do any. In fact, I wrote recently on how much damage a profusion of private revelation is doing. I encourage people to ignore my prophecies if they wish, but take very seriously the formulation at the heart of everything: Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you.

      • Doug Curtin

        That is respectable. Do you find it challenging in this day and age that being a self proclaimed prophet is more challenging then say 2,000 years ago? Especially with people like Mark who have a firm belief in something, what makes it harder to overcome all the naysayers in the social media such as Mark?

        • Charlie Johnston

          I don’t think about it much, Doug…just try to do what is right in front of.

          Knowing what is going to happen is overrated: it is knowing how to behave whatever happens that is really important, for in that simple, ordinary path is where we live our faith out.

          I also am not very concerned with whether anyone believes me. It’s not my job to convince anyone, only to inform them. Then, if things unfold, rather than panicking, they may well see God involved in it and be a sign of hope amidst the panic. If that happens, then I have accomplished what was needed.

          I do worry a little about how vehemently Mark dismisses all such things, as if he has a need to believe that God does not act in such a way in the world today. Though he couches it in intellectual rigor, cynical denial of everything is as reflexively mindless as credulous belief in anything.

          • Doug Curtin

            That is the challenging part of society today, the cynical denial. Granted prophets from the past, that most accept today, received the same lash back and still do. Do you think Christian media has been fair to you, or the general theme towards your work is unappreciated?

            • Doug Curtin

              Is this why you are here defending yourself on this site? Or are you just trying to clarify misunderstandings? But how does it feel for a fellow Catholic such as Mark to speak so negatively?

              • Charlie Johnston

                Doug, I don’t feel unappreciated nor do I get worked up when people launch a broadside. Much Catholic media is not aware of it at all…most of those which are have actually reprinted specific pieces. Readers in America and Europe have included Bishops, many priests and religious, and a few working theologians. I did NOTHING to promote the site, and still don’t. I really do think if it is from God, nothing will stop it and if it is not, it should be stopped. Yet it has taken off.

                What I concentrate on is the work, to assure people credibly that God is close at hand to them – to you. That you are called today to the joy of participating with Him in the renewal of the world. You don’t need me to do that, but if I help steady a few and give them hope, that works for me.

                But mostly I think that people who are skeptical are usually trying to live prudence well – and with as many things out there trying to pull people away from the faith today, that is a virtue, not a vice.

                I spent a long time working as a political consultant for federal (Senate and Congressional candidates) and writing for secular sites. I got used to people “talking ugly” about me several decades ago – and some of those who talked the ugliest became some of my closest collaborators. If everything passed us over, in 2018 I can quit the scene and spend my declining days enjoying my grandkids. If everything happens as I say it will and I keep faith, I can retire in 2018 in honor for having helped people endure. It’s a win-win situation for me. All I have to do is live faithfully my calling as I see it, having submitted for 20 years to my directors, in submission to Mother Church and I will have lived a good life of fidelity. That should be enough for anyone. It’s certainly enough for me.

                • Doug Curtin

                  Well best of luck to you. I think what you are doing is a challenging struggle with all of the mass media and millions of different opinions. But staying true and trying not to let others affect you is commendable. Best of luck.

              • Charlie Johnston

                Oh, and also, why I am responding on this site…I figured it may encourage a few more people from here to visit. They will find, just as the writer of the original note said above, that what is there is not what they would expect from this blurb. It may be a source of hope for them, it may not. But I am trying to proclaim the message of “Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope” every place I get a chance.

  • Thomas Q

    Mark, your love for Christ is evident. Yes, this is seen and I recognize you heart and zealousness for Him, your desire to hold fast and stand firm in Truth. However, remember what was said, in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and the many other Prophecies of JESUS. Yes Mark, it is important that you become less quick to speak and more open to God and His Spirit. You cannot deny Revelation 12 or “the New Jerusalem” with its 2 fruits every month. Sir, I often find negative speech of Medjugorje on Patheos. I’d like to invite you to prayer. To True Prayer Infront of The Blessed Sacrament. Just maybe, this could open your heart to God, to His Christ, to His Word, and stop the false prophecy which is spewing from your mouth just like those who claim to know dates and times and the like. I have a word for you, from The Lord, and it is one of the few He has given me personally.
    “The Fire of My Love Burns Bright in The Hearts of Others, and for These Souls, I CALL, to Ignite the world with My Love”

    Mark, please, stop.
    You do not know the things you so quickly blaspheme. Relating false prophets and the Fruits of Medjugorje or saying Mary is a Fallen Angel is blaspheme against The Holy Spirit. This makes no sense for you and is contrary to your yearning and heart for The Lord you love. What you continue to do Is like saying The Battle of Mount Carmel was a fraud because many false prophets made claims there. Do you understand me? If you are to carry The Spirit of Elijah, then you must be willing to retreat, to listen, to be zealous for God, and if it be your place to prophecy then do so, but if not, then open, discern, and remain in prayer.
    Don’t you worry, the true prophets are here too, and if you would take a minute to stop, breathe, pray, and LISTEN, just maybe that is exactly what satan is distracting you from doing, from being formed in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, from Your true gift of prophecy. Don’t feed hate with hate, don’t live by the sword, you be love, you be peace, you be prayer.
    Again, Mark, please consider your many gifts and blessings, and then ask God what He thinks of your comments.
    You may just get the answer you are so afraid of, that same voice that comes out of you towards others who need our prayers. I will prayer for you.
    With love for you and your salvation,
    -Thomas Q

  • It would be useful to run through the rules. Correct me if I’m wrong. My understanding is that if you think you have received a private revelation, you should go to a priest and talk it out with him, taking guidance from the Church.

    Supposedly, he is doing so. The only thing that seems to be lacking is a way to contact the relevant bishop to get an official picture on what is going on here. Why does most of the commentary seem to be shoot from the hip mockery?

    The guy could be lying about the priests he consults. You can get a few good blog posts about debunking the man’s supposed work with these priests. But nothing shouts out to me a priori that he *must* be lying. In other words, the story’s improbable, not a proven falsehood. Proving it would be a useful exercise.

    I would counsel consulting with a priest and just going through the Church’s well established procedure for these things.

    • Charlie Johnston

      Hello, I am the guy being discussed. I do not release the full names of my priests publicly, but I do give contact info for serious inquiries, preferably from another priest. The priest who has kept the archives for the last 20 years is willing to speak to others regularly. For what it’s worth, he spoke to Michael Brown of Spirit Daily 11 years ago when brown did this article. Brown notes that conversation briefly in the fifth paragraph.

      I do not try to hide anything, nor do I want my priests to be subject to a circus.

      • If you notice, I did not ask for the name of any priest. If this were a serious case, the chancery office of the relevant priest’s diocese should know about it and there should have been a bulletin put out among the bishops on how to deal with your situation. Which chancery should an inquiry go to? My own eparchy is very small and has limited staff. I don’t make unnecessary work for them. They can’t afford it.

        • Charlie Johnston

          Understand TM. I am in the Archdiocese of Denver, but I don’t know what you will get if you inquire there. When I first came out here, I wrote the Archbishop two letters submitting to his authority and stopped by there several times seeking to see him. He didn’t actually refuse, just never responded at all – and never has.

          One of the priests who directs me is a man in some authority. He does several retreats for Bishops each year around the country and is spiritual director to a few. I asked him, in no little frustration, what to do. He said as long as I am not condemned, I should just continue. He is based in another city but occasionally has to come to Denver for his work – and we always get together for a meal and chat. I miss visiting him regularly, but we talk by phone.

          I know of three Bishops who follow my website regularly and one – the Bishop of Corpus Christi – who occasionally openly re-posts a column of mine on his personal website. But I have never heard from my own Archbishop.

          • Aand that’s about as good as it gets. I don’t have a dog in the fight over whether these revelations are truly His work. Your predictions are pretty close to some of the purely secular predictions out there and the stuff of some of my own personal nightmares.

            But those are geopolitically analytical in nature on my part and no more divine than the usual, just using the tools He gave me to think and reason. We’re under tremendous systemic stress at the moment. You can’t pile up $22T in unused lending authority without eventual consequence.

            You’ve given enough information that the part of the readership here that has good contacts can make quiet queries as to whether you are telling the truth without a lot of time wasted. I don’t know whether Mark Shea himself wants to follow up on this but I can think of less fruitful things he’s written about. It’s all bloggable as he kindly notes in the sidebar.

            • Charlie Johnston

              Thanks TM. For what it’s worth, I do not get offended at anyone who does not believe what I say on the private revelation part. If I had not lived it, I would likely not believe it. The things you see happening were now are things I was telling my priests 20 years. For almost a decade we have laughed with each other and said that you don’t have to be a prophet to see it now.

              Mainly, I say the things publicly now so that, as events continue to unfold, rather than panicking, people will see the hand of God behind it and understand that this is NOT the end. The really important thing is to acknowledge God, Take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you in the midst of troubles. Don’t be frozen by all the things you can’t do; just do the little you can that is right in front of you.

              And anyone who wants to make serious inquiries, I will share the contact info with a priest or bona-fide organization.

              • Joseph

                I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that there is a chance that the US will sink into some sort of civil war, that some states will attempt to secede at some point. But that’s just looking at the future through the lens of the past. Denying that it’s a possibility is sheer ignorance. However, whenever someone starts giving *dates* and claiming that these messages come from God through some saint or other conduit, then it loses credibility… really quickly.

                • Dave

                  Generally this is true, Joseph, but then again, God (or His messenger) COULD give dates. It is not the end of the world that a date is being given for. We shall find out fairly quickly whether Charlie is right. I also sensed several years ago (I guess I would call it a random thought that popped into my head) that the 100th anniversary of Fatima (which is also the 500th anniversary of Protestantism, interestingly enough) would mark an important turning point. We shall see…

              • LSpinelli

                Hi Charlie. I’m the note writer.

                I tend to be very skeptical about things like this (the prophecies). 99.9 percent of recent ones fell by the wayside. The second and simpler explanation is I don’t want them to happen. (But who does?) I have three kids; I want to see them grow up, have their own families, live their lives.

                However, since I wrote that note a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading your site, and I keep coming back. A few of the pieces, like the one on Pope Francis, went straight to my heart. With all the negative blogs out there, this is refreshing and eye-opening. Thank you for that.

                • Charlie Johnston

                  Well, pleased to meet you, Mr. Spinelli. I understand perfectly. Being very skeptical is simple prudence. I get a lot of people who assume based on a blurb that I am going to be some huckster pitching Armageddon, which is a perfectly reasonable expectation, because about 99% of the time that is what it is. But that is not my focus at all. I am glad you are finding some meat and some hope in my little site.

                  One of my great helpers came to visit me because his wife nagged him – and he literally told her that he wasn’t interested in hearing some slick huckster pitching Armageddon. When he came, he was astounded that what he found was not what he expected. I just spent Thanksgiving with their family. (My best friend, a judge in Southern Illinois, when I told him this story said the man’s wife should have said, “Honey, Charlie’s not slick.”)

                  • LSpinelli

                    Heh, I’m a Mrs. Thought you could tell from the cat avatar. 😉 It’s not a stock one, either. That’s my cat, Luna.

                    Even if the prophecies don’t come to pass, there isn’t a thing wrong with saying Trust-Do-Love. We need a lot more of that in the culture we live in.

                    • Charlie Johnston

                      Ha, Mrs. L. I like both cats and dogs…so that didn’t do it. My sister has both – and she sent me some piece that said, “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.” I loved it…very true. Yeah, I have often said that if all of it passes us by, I won’t go and sulk like Jonah. I will be glad that enough people decided to Trust-Do-Love that it could pass us by…and if that happens, I will be glad to be a laughing-stock.

    • kidinwheelchair

      You said, “The only thing that seems to be lacking is a way to contact the relevant bishop to get an official picture on what is going on here.” Why can’t he contact the bishop? After 20 years?? I’m sure the priest would know. That seems odd to me. (and I haven’t read any of what he’s written..someone just mentioned him to me so I did a quick google search…I tend to be leery of these things as I’ve been misled before….

      • Inquiries, apparently, should go to Denver. I have no opinion on the revelation itself but continue to maintain that following established procedures is best.

        • kidinwheelchair

          Denver Archdiocese? Is that where the bishop whom they have no way of contacting is? I’m supposed to contact him but this guy and his priest have no way of doing so? Come on…what’s going on here? ok…I emailed the archdiocese. I had no problem finding the bishop (archbishop, actually). I wonder why Charlie hasn’t been able to…for 20 years…..)

          • Why do you think I have answers or are under some obligation to resurrect this thread to give them to you? I’m a layman from a different rite. I’d have to do the exact same work as you to get the answers without the advantage you have of caring about the question very much.

            • kidinwheelchair

              You’re the one who said they had no way of locating a bishop. I was merely commenting. I did email the archdiocese of Denver. Somehow you got that information (about the bishop and referring me to Denver) so I thought maybe you had more info. Sorry to resurrect this thread. Ignore this comment and I’ll stop posting.

              • It came up later in the thread. That’s the only information I recall. Look at the timestamps. You are resurrecting a dead thread.

                • kidinwheelchair

                  Which I believe I acknowledged in my previous post….when I said if you ignore, I’ll stop commenting.

                  • LSpinelli

                    Hi guys. I looked here after a long while and was surprised to see this resurrected, so I’ll keep it brief.

                    I contacted the Archbishop’s office in July. To my surprise, they answered me back within hours…I guess because there have been a lot of inquiries lately as to what exactly is going on here.

                    Charlie said people are trying to get him shut down, to stop him from speaking. Just wanted to say that I wasn’t one of them. I simply wanted to know if I should be taking any of this seriously or not.

                    Here’s a direct quote from that exchange:

                    “The only circumstances in which the archbishop could intervene in Mr. Johnston’s speaking engagements is if he were speaking at Catholic parishes, or if he were
                    saying something clearly heretical. It seems as if Mr. Johnston’s words could cause confusion or fear for somebody… but so long as his words do not directly
                    contradict the words of Christ or the doctrine of the Church, we presume his good will and we cannot stop him from speaking in non-Denver parish settings.

                    So we keep him in prayer, as well as all those who listen to his words.”

                    That’s definitely not a ringing endorsement. So I would still err on the side of caution about these messages.

                    • LSpinelli

                      …and so much for keeping it brief… 😉

                    • catholic friend

                      The archbishop Sam Aquila of Denver said Charlie is NOT authentic. He also said that Charlie has not said anything against church teaching either.

                    • LSpinelli

                      How did you find this out? I looked at the Archdiocese website and the Denver Catholic and couldn’t find anything.

                    • LSpinelli

                      OK, I just contacted the Archbishop’s office again, and they told me this isn’t true. Please don’t resurrect a year old post to spread misinformation.

  • Matthew

    I don’t know he sounds like a dangerous fellow. Any guy whose primary message is: “Trust God, Take the next right step, Be a sign of hope to those around you” must be regarded with suspicion. Since he seems to have been “foolish” enough to give a “late 2017” end date for this predicted chaos, I guess we will all know in pretty short order whether he is a false prophet or not.

    • Joseph

      Except that he’s providing specific prophecies alongside specific dates… which is always suspect and about 99.99999999% false… every time.

      • Charlie Johnston

        No, Joseph, the only thing I give a specific time-frame for is the rescue, which is very late in 2017. It surprised me, too, but my visitor was adamant that I tell that. I suspect now it is because things will get so bad for a while that people will really need to see the other shore to give them the incentive to hang on. But the basic thing is, I would much rather you disbelieve all the visitation aspects of it provided you be a sign of hope to those around you as best you can. That will help all endure.

        • Dave

          Thanks for showing up, Charlie. Whether or not your revelations are authentic, you are an awesome guy, and very balanced on how you are handling them. Anyone who actually reads your site will see that you are about as level-headed of a Catholic as exists.

          • Charlie Johnston

            Thank you, Dave. I, too, just try to take the next right step. I appreciate you reading some of it before deciding what you think of it.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If this was coming from St. Gabriel, I suspect the grammar would be better. You can have a “worldwide war” or you can have a “civil war.” What you cannot have is a “worldwide civil war.” That would be like having a round square or five-pointed triangle. The very definition forbids it.

    • Dave

      You could effectively have a worldwide civil war if the battle lines were over an issue that transcends national boundaries.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Only if you redefine “civil war,” and I’m not a big fan of redefining words without reason. A “civil war” is a war between citizens of the same country. That’s just what the term means, plain and simple. Therefore, the only way you could have a worldwide civil war is to have one country that covers the entire world. We don’t have that.

        • JD

          We have been at civil war in the USA for decades… a war waged by adults against defenseless children in the womb. And we are responsible for having exported this civil war across the globe.

  • AquinasMan

    I am quietly, cautiously impressed by Mr. Johnston’s Blog. I have a decent radar for flim-flam, and, ironically, he comes across like someone who has much in common with Mark’s own oft-repeated sentiments regarding all things Catholic.

    I could be suddenly, hopelessly gullible, but I get a sense of peace when reading Mr. Johnston’s Blog. Admittedly, I have not plumbed deep enough, but everything rings very true to the faith — especially the absolute necessity to trust — beyond all contemporary conjecture and hyper-analysis, that Peter’s faith WILL NOT FAIL.

  • agadofive.leti

    Well, I see much of the things Mr. Johnston describes as happening now.