I've written about Charlie Johnston locutionist-visionary-mystic before - and most of my readers at least, never heard of him. Nevertheless, Mr. Johnston has turned up in Catholic news once again, thanks in part to Kevin O'Brien calling him out. Mr. O'Brien makes a pretty good case that Mr. Johnston may be 'dissimulating' some facts about himself. Kevin O'Brien is an excellent commentator - he's always reminded me of Bill Geist, sharp wit, straight commentary - and funny. He writes well and is a great character actor. Although he's serious in his take down of Charlie Johnston - who now makes me think of Lloyd Braun - the guy who fooled George and his dad with fake computer phone sales:
Frank: He's crazy. His phone wasn't even hooked up. He just liked ringing
And that's perhaps another reason why I don't get excited about locutionists. But I sure wish Kevin O'Brien was online on a regular basis. But I digress, and now, without further ado:
Charlie Johnston is from Belleville.
If you come from St. Louis, that's all you need to know.
Charlie is the kind of guy you'd meet in a bar in Belleville, Illinois - a working class community across the river from St. Louis, where I'm from. Guys from Belleville - and from all over Southern Illinois - are characters. They come up with tall tales and you sit on a bar stool listening to them and you take everything they say with a grain of salt because they're from Belleville.
Charlie Johnston is a liar. Or a teller of tall tales. Take your pick. (That's harsh - think of him in terms of Lloyd Braun. Kidding - but perhaps one may be delusional? I don't know.)
He says an angel is giving him secret messages. He says, among other things, that the last normal Christmas was Christmas of 2013, and if you didn't notice how abnormal Christmas of 2014 and Christmas of 2015 were, that's not his fault. He says that his angel has told him that Obama will not finish his term; that he will convert and that the 2016 elections will be suspended. He says that the Virgin Mary will publicly appear in 2017 and that there will be a utopia of Christian believers on earth from that point forward. He says he walked across America - even though he appears to be in his 70's, is overweight, admits to having nerve damage, and his own posts on his Facebook page prove that he did no such thing.
On Friday, April 29, the National Catholic Register published a well written and well researched article by Patti Armstrong detailing Charlie's weirdness and the bishops who have warned their flocks about him and banned him from speaking in their dioceses. In that article, Patti quotes me, and my two posts on Charlie (this one and this one).
Charlie's response? - Finish reading here.
Kevin O'Brien is pissed because people are duped. Johnston offers some practical advice, though his other predictions - such as the US elections being cancelled can be pretty off the wall - desperate people hear what they want to hear - they follow these reports, they listen to visionaries who speak 'without any mandate' from the Church, often upsetting people 'with their teachings and disturbing their peace of mind'. -Acts 15: 22-31
"Time will prove where wisdom lies."
I often think of John of the Cross of whom it is said remained alone reading scripture while his novices went off to satisfy their curiosity, visiting a stigmatic and visionary in the locale. St. John chose the better part - and for those who do likewise, it will never be taken from you.
Now with the Fatima Centenary approaching, all sorts of people are projecting events foretold in the Third Secret and its warnings seem to coincide with all the wars and rumors of war, terrorism, weather related disasters, earthquakes and so on. Just be cautious, remembering, "If it were possible, even the elect would be led astray."
Stay close to the Church ... pray and don't worry.
And keep your sense of humor - works for me!