Aug 29, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

Another homerun.

It’s funny. I don’t know if you remember but I kept telling you about a letter I was writing you. It started a couple of years ago and I would noodle away at it sometimes. In the end I deleted it because the man I was writing to didn’t exist anymore.

I’m really proud of you brother. I really am. I hope you don’t read that as insensitivity to your pain, not at all. It’s more a recognition of the beauty that’s going to come to full bloom in you in a short amount of time.

As always, I hold you and your family in my heart and prayers.

@$£# you and God bless

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

One of the reasons I eagerly dive into every new post here is that you *don't* act like you've got it all figured out. You're humble, honest, and unafraid to ask questions you don't know the answers to. I can only speak for myself, but I'm all in on riding shotgun for whatever parts of this journey you care to share with us. It's practically an adventure story—and who doesn't love one of those?

As for your novel, please share the prologue with us! Religion meets UFOs? Sign me up.

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

Great post!

You don’t need to apologize to anyone for writing about yourself. We are all selves and your discussion of your thoughts and experiences is interesting and valuable to all of us.

I think as Catholics, when we begin to share our inner, personal struggles, we’re often bludgeoned with “die to yourself” and “offer it up” and other forms of self-negation. Thinking about yourself and your own thoughts is not selfish or corrupt, it’s quite normal and basically how anyone processes anything!

Catholicism encourages people to essentially disown themselves, in my experience. They demand this self-betrayal as though you can indefinitely deny and shut down your true feelings and authentic thoughts in favor of how you’re told you must feel and think, on pain of sin. We often end up with broken, fractured, false selves because of this.

No one has all the answers, and frankly, it’s far more interesting to ask meaningful questions in a good faith pursuit of truth.

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Aug 30, 2022·edited Aug 30, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

Have no fear in continuing to do what you've been doing with the substack. You represent more people than you perhaps realize: thoughtful, intelligent and morally sensitive believers/former believers who wrestle with these questions. Your thinking certainly resonates with me, and it would appear with a multitude of others.

Hart is brilliant. I've been reading the same book off and on as well as lots of Gregory of Nyssa, Isaac of Syria, Macarius and Dionysus the Areopagite. You might want to give the site "Ecclectic Orthodoxy" a try. Lots of good smart people (including Hart) write for it and address many of the issues that concern you.

A friend of mine who is a priest of the Eastern Church said to me once "You Latins want to understand everything and often imagine that you do. It's an exercise in futility. It doesn't work that way. You have to come to a place of contentment with not knowing or understanding." Or as Baronnes Kathryn Doherty, a Greek Catholic and the founders of Madonna House once said "Western Christian, fold the wings of your intellect and bring your mind down into your heart. That's where you'll meet God."

Perhaps Father Thomas Hopko of happy memory was correct when he stated "Western man has been traumatized by his image of God. This is the main reason he has lost faith."

I have seen zig zaging UAPs twice in my life and their images left in my memory can't be erased. Whatever or whoever they are, their resemblance to the fairies, djinn, sylphs, elementals and gods of old is hard to ignore. It would seem that "they" have been here for a very long time. Many Christians dismiss all these phenomena as demonic, but I wonder whether that's too easy. No less a light than St. Anthony of Egypt encountered a centaur and a satyr. The latter told him that he and his kind were neither demons nor men and asked for his intercession.

Not to blow sunshine at your ego but I have no doubt you could write a brilliant book dealing with these themes. You will definitely want to read the work of Dr. Jacque Valle and John Keel.

You and your family are in my prayers.

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I had a weird experience with a Hart acolyte on the internet about a year ago.

OK, so I'm not sold in the idea of Universalism. I am sold on the idea of an immense mercy, which considers all kinds of extenuating circumstances and conditions. I can also imagine a human perversity that rejects such mercy for various reasons. I therefore find myself just a shade less optimistic than Bp. Robert Barron. I don't think I need Universalism to function happily.

So, just to try to work Hart out in my head, I engaged with an online debate with a Hart follower. I did it with the academic idea "Let's see if there is a weakness here, somewhere". Well guess what? The Hart follower not only thought I was wrong to even ask the question, but only a creature of Hell could do so! Yes, you read that correctly: this Hart follower told me - when I added up his disparate posts - that the need to ensure no one was in hell required that I be consigned to it!

Once again we see, here, the utter mystery of this subject, and how we will always tie ourselves in knots unless we keep our faith as simple as possible.

God bless you Steve! Praying for you and yours!

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Steve, I thought of you several times while reading a little book I picked up recently.

The book is 'Courage to Pray'. Seeing the cover in a used book store, it leapt out to me, because as a thoroughly secular person for about 80 percent of my life, I mightily struggle with prayer. I'm reading through it very slowly, but here's what I've got so far.

1. "In the Book of Revelation there is a marvelous passage where John says that those who go into the Kingdom are given a white stone with a name written on it which only they and God know. This name is not the label we are given and called by in this world. Our true name, our eternal name exactly fits us, our whole being...it defines and expresses us perfectly." In short, there is a true version of us.

2. This is the only version of us that can offer sincere prayer, the only version of us that can have relationship, and the only version of us that has ultimate existence, but the difficulty is we don't know ourselves perfectly or even--to the extent that we do--we don't manifest what we know of ourselves perfectly.

3. As a result, we typically come to God in prayer as effigy. We offer God what we think He wants, the particular straw man of ourselves which we bring to church, or to personal prayer, which is often different from the particular straw man we might bring to work, or family gatherings, or various friendships, etc.

4. God cannot save the straw man or have relationship with the straw man we offer, because it has no ultimate existence, no correspondence with that name on the white stone that John speaks of in Revelation. God can save a scoundrel if that is what we are, but not a straw man.

5. In wrestling with the question of hell, this strikes me as insightful. Effigies are burned. The straw man is made of chaff. It can only end in fire or non-existence. I don't have a problem conceiving of hell as a place where we cling to our effigy and refuse to trade it for that stone, which would force us to see ourselves as we really are and bear our shame; great and terrible, so beautiful and tragic. In this light I can see the great sorting of goats and sheep as a sorting of living bodies from dummies

6. To my mind, wrestling with ourselves, casting off effigies--even the good Christian boy effigy; the one that holds all the right opinions-- and bearing the shame of our own reflection is the purpose of the Christian life. That's how we climb out of the grave, or the pig pen, and come to ourselves. We have to start where we are and actually learn to both identify the good and then to desire it. Parroting it won't do. Parroting it is easy. In this piece, you wrote, "I can’t get out of my head long enough to write something truly objective and universal." What you were doing before, I think, was more in your head than what you are doing now. Your effigy could pound out content to its straw heart's content. Now you are casting the effigies off, which is strangely perhaps more objective and universal--and more personal. The effigy can be propped up, kneeling in the pew and yet it is never really able to draw close or hold the sacred fire without bursting into flame. It can never be a burning bush. It may call out "lord", and yet it can never be known.

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Aug 30, 2022·edited Aug 31, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

Hi Steve, I have only been reading your articles for the past several months, but I went back and read quite a few to understand the chronology of your story and the circumstances that led up to your present mindset. We may have taken different paths to get to today but my mindset is in quite the same place. I am 56 years old, a cradle Catholic, wife, mother of 3 grown women, and an attorney. Now that my kids are grown, I finally have, and am taking, the time to delve into all of the questions and doubts about my faith that I have had since I was little but was quickly told to suppress. And frankly, I was too busy, too tired, and too afraid to investigate. If the answers uprooted me, I knew I was not in a place mentally or circumstantially to deal with it. Nor did I have the wonderful world of the Internet in my younger years so I really had nowhere to start. My priests were certainly not going to recommend any books or literature that provided any contrary answers to my questions. So at the time, I suppressed it all with “spiritual” reading…

Then now, along comes someone like you who so perfectly articulates not only my questions and criticisms but my inner turmoil. I have been moved by your raw honesty and candor about your struggles…it is so refreshing to hear my struggle have a voice that has let me know I’m not crazy. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My fascination has always been with the apostles and the beginning of the Church and how “this whole Christianity thing” got started. So that is what consumes me at present, interspersed with research into the Catholic church’s teaching and dogmas. So much I never knew and so much I didn’t know I didn’t know. I am trying to insure I have reputable sources for the history and the actual text of the Church documents for the content of the teachings. It is the uprooting I was never ready for.

I would love the opportunity to chat with you sometime but don’t know if that’s possible. So let me just say, regardless of faith, it is always good to help others, and while some may not see it as so, you are truly helping folks you don’t even know. I am one.

As for your question about the audio recordings, I personally prefer to read because sometimes I re-read within the article and that’s too hard to do when listening. So my vote is nah, don’t bother with it.

Thank you,


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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

I read 1P5 closely as I found the New Mass perfunctory and hollow. I discovered TLM several years ago and thought I had found the piece that was missing. If I became more immersed in the experience then the True Spirit™ would be served. As the New Coke Pope continually added sugar to the naturally sweetened Church, the farcicalness of it all unveiled that it wasn't the New Mass or the Old Mass, it wasn't the drums and guitars or the Gregorian chant, it was the old men behind the curtain. They were actually making this all up as they went! And I could hear the old, pompous, red-robed, pedophile, homosexual Cardinals and Bishops sing "what's good for thee is not for me" as they concocted more ways the moral would be doomed to hell and those who could care less had their path to "heaven" made more accessible. I can't abide by this any more. It's all theater and they can keep it - the purgatory, the judgement, the absolution, all of it. The game is up. Walking away from decades of indoctrination isn't easy, but it is the path to salvation.

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Aug 30, 2022·edited Aug 30, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

The Fall was probably the first, big theological problem I could never find an answer to independent of what nonsense is transpiring in the Catholic Church at the moment.

Why would God create us knowing we would immediately rebel, subsequently God would then have to descend and and die to redeem a creation that rejected Him pretty much immediately? Beyond some allegory, it never made sense as a concept. I appreciated those who told me they didn't have an answer more than those who tried to contrive one.

I don't believe Catholics have the most intellectually consistent answers to questions of divine foreknowledge. I eventually become forced to believe either God remains incredibly distant from us and rarely if ever intervenes in the affairs of men (i.e., He'll intervene selectively in big moments through history and revelation but won't, for example, help you on a test), or would have to adopt the Calvinist idea of total divine sovereignty. In the end, neither won me over.

Anyways, I still appreciate you being able to say you don't know the answers.

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by Steve Skojec

As a closet Universalist, I never had the heart to tell people that eternal torture was a possibility for them if they did not accept a particular religion with its set of dogmas. Somehow I remain a Catholic, and I hold on to the hope that God's mercy is beyond anything we could dream of. Anyway, wherever you land I will always look forward to your thoughts and maybe dare I say hopes.

By the way, I hope your G-Men can stay healthy this preseason, they have a promising year ahead of them in my opinion. Take care, hope you and your family are well.

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