Saturday, April 17, 2021


“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” 
 Blaise Pascal

There is a lot of "bad stuff" going on out there! Some people are victims of other people's bad behavior, while other people are victims of their own bad behavior. It is sad to witness it and even sadder not to be able to put a stop to it. Today, I would like to say to all those who, like myself, are in "spiritual leadership roles." If you can't inspire people to choose an alternative to bad behavior, whether it is inflicted by others or self inflicted, at least quit the facile condemnations! 

Sadly, many so-called "spiritual leaders" believe their task is simply to name and condemn sin. That may make condemners feel oh so self-righteous in their condemnation, but that condemning behavior can actually ruin it for those who are able to inspire others to change.  Simply naming and condemning sin may make condemners feel that they have done their duty, but when no one is inspired to choose anything different and  they end up sinking even deeper into self loathing, what is the point? In that case, at least in my estimation, those so called "spiritual leaders"  have failed completely and miserably. 

Of course the answer is not to just "accept" or "ignore" sin, just as it is not enough to merely name it and condemn it. The real answer is to "inspire" people to choose something different. something more life-giving, in their relationships with others or with themselves! Inspiring change takes a lot more effort, a lot more focus, a lot more patience, a lot more finesse and a lot more love! The end is not to make the "condemner" feel more righteous, but to help the "condemned" be "transformed." We have too many religious leaders with strong, angry, personal "convictions," but with little ability to "influence" others to change. They may feel better about themselves, but in my estimation they have completely missed the target of real "spiritual leadership." I define "spiritual leadership" as "the ability to influence to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be."  The focus of a true "spiritual leader" is on "the other," not on "oneself!" 

A fancy title "designating" one a spiritual leader does not of itself make one a "real" spiritual leader. He or she must have "the ability to influence people to move from where they are to where God wants them to be." If they can't do that, their default setting is usually an attempt to align with political power to "make" people be good whether they "want" to be good or not. 

Jesus rejected the temptation to align his ministry with political power. He rejected that idea in the desert when the devil first proposed it and again and again when the crowds wanted to "make him a king."  "Spiritual leaders" who choose to align with political power may win a battle here and there, but they will predictably lose the war. 

Religious leaders! There is a lot of "bad stuff" going on out there! If you can't inspire people to change, at least quit making the situation worse with your self-righteous indignations and condemnations! Quit barking and take your "leadership" to some other arena where you can do less damage! Leave spiritual leadership to the "real" spiritual leaders - those who have convincing voices the sheep want to follow! As Thomas Paine said: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”


Thursday, April 15, 2021



1515 - 1582
Doctor of the Church
Feast Day October 15

My Home Parish
This, our third church, was dedicated in 1856. New stained glass windows replaced the old clear glass windows in the 1920s. You can see in this 1925 photo that only some of those new windows had actually been installed at the time.  This church was designed by the same architect as the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Nazareth Motherhouse Chapel. 


St. Theresa Church located in Meade County, Kentucky, while not the oldest Catholic Church in the state of Kentucky, it is the oldest in Meade County.

Settlers began arriving in Meade and Breckinridge Counties in the late 1700’s. Services were held by missionary priests from Marion and Nelson Counties in the pioneers’ log homes when the priest traveled through. These homes were called “church stations.”

Fr. Badin, the first priest ordained in the U.S, gathered the first congregation of St. Theresa in 1805. The first log church was built in 1818 and consecrated by by our first bishop, Bishop Flaget. The second log church was built in 1827 and was also consecrated by Bishop Flaget. The third, and present, brick church was consecrated by Bishop Spalding in 1861. 

On the grounds of Saint Theresa, the Sisters of Loretto opened St. Theresa Academy as a boarding school for girls and a parish day school in 1866 and stayed till 1869. They were followed by the first colony of Sisters of Charity who arrived in 1870 to take over running the school. In the early 1900s, for a while St. Theresa Academy became a boarding school for boys only and a day school for parish children. The boys who lived in the Academy were referred to as "boarder boys." Some of them were "overflow" from Saint Vincent Orphanage in Louisville also operated by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  The school stopped taking "boarders" in the fall of 1926 and the Academy became a parochial school for girls and boys until it was torn down @1950 and replaced by a new, but much smaller, school. Even that one was finally closed in 1993 after becoming a public school @1956 with a few Sisters still teaching in it. The Sisters could not teach religion in school from 1956 - 1993. Catholic children had to go to the church or parish hall for religious instruction.  They called it "released time."  

This photo shows Saint Theresa Academy from the backside with some of its farm support buildings. My father bought the Academy Farm around 1950 and held it until it was sold after his death in 1991. Both he and I attended the old Academy. I know every inch of that farm since I worked and played on it for many years growing up.

Both Father Bob Ray and myself attended St. Theresa Academy as day students from 1949 -1951, after which it was torn down and a newer smaller school was built. We both finished our grade school years in the "new" school. 

The Sisters of Charity served at St. Theresa for 123 years. After the school closed, they left in 1993. Saint Theresa Parish owes the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth more than anybody knows! They kept the Academy going all that time by subsidizing it more than once during the leanest of times. 

As proud as I am of its history, I know that "golden ages" are susceptible to decline and often fade into history. However, I also know that decline can be reversed and a "second golden age" is possible with faith and hard work. I experienced one such dramatic reversal when I was pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption when it was on the verge of closing. I am praying for a "second golden age" to be realized at my beloved Saint Theresa Church. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


My dear island of Saint Vincent is experiencing a real disaster. The volcano is still spewing out ash that has reached other Caribbean nations. Barbados and Saint Lucia at 10:00 in the morning look like 10:00 at night. 

The photos below show what it is like all day in Saint Vincent.  Breathing, water access, electrical power and food availability are serious issues and are growing worse by the day. Thousands from the northern most segment of the island are being evacuated to other Caribbean nations. The orphans from Saint Benedict Home for Children, from the northern segment of the island, are being housed in Saint Mary's School in the capitol in the very southern part of the island. Priests from the northern segment are being housed in the Pastoral Centre in the capitol city of Kingstown down in the south. 

Some of our "investments," through my Catholic Second Wind Guild (the Pastoral Centre, automobiles, school supplies and tuition help, most church renovations), are intact as far as I know. However the whole roof on Our Lady Star of the Sea Church collapsed into the church from the weight of the ash and sand. That was the church that we renovated with some of our old Cathedral chairs, new ceiling fans and other nice used liturgical furniture. Look how deep the ash and sand from the volcano is! No wonder it collapsed!

After we fixed it up and before the roof collapsed 

As it looks now after the roof collapse from the weight of the volcanic ash and sand. 
Father Alando sent the photo above and also a video below of what he encountered on the road home. 

Even though I feel a bit helpless at this point, I am consoled by the fact that the Diocese of Kingstown would be a whole lot worse off without our past help. 

The saddest thing about all this is that it could continue for a long time, it could get worse and people who have been evacuated may not be able to return for months and even years! The ash will affect the fruit trees, the vegetable gardens and the farm animals - a big source of their food supply. Because people are having to crowd together in smaller spaces, COVID will no doubt spread faster than ever in a country with a limited health system! A country who has suffered so much is suffering even more now!

I am in contact with the Bishop and several of the diocesan leaders by telephone, text and WHATSAPP.
If you are inspired to offer help, please make your donations check out to SAINT BARTHOLOMEW CHURCH - SVG MISSION FUND and send them to me. I can still deposit them from here. This is the safest, quickest and cheapest way to get it to them. Bishop County has a committee to divide and distribute any help fairly and efficiently. 


Rev. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court
Louisville, KY 40217

Out in the country ash keeps falling like snow.

Ash is blanketing the whole city of Kingstown. It's so bad, the streets are almost empty. 

Some men are trying to clean the ash off a house roof. The roof is red. The ash is brown. As you can see, it is no easy task. Just imagine everything covered with ash getting wet and baking in the hot Caribbean sun for a few weeks!

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (AP) — La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of ash and hot gas
early Monday in the biggest explosive eruption yet since volcanic activity began on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent late last week, with officials worried about the lives of those
who have refused to evacuate.

Experts called it a “huge explosion” that generated pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks.

“It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, told The Associated Press. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”

There were no immediate reports of injuries or death, but government officials were scrambling to respond to the latest eruption, which was even bigger than the first eruption that occurred Friday morning. Roughly 16,000 people who live in communities close to the volcano had been evacuated under government orders on Thursday, but an unknown number have remained behind and refused to move.

Richard Robertson, with the seismic research center, told local station NBC Radio that the volcano's old and new dome have been destroyed and that a new crater has been created. He said that the pyroclastic flows would have razed everything in their way.

“Anything that was there, man, animal, anything...they are gone,” he said. “And it’s a terrible thing to say it.”

Joseph said the latest explosion is equivalent to the one that occurred in 1902 and killed some 1,600. The volcano last erupted in 1979. Ash from the ongoing explosions has fallen on Barbados and other nearby islands.

One government minister who toured the island’s northeast region on Sunday said he saw an estimated two or three dozen people still remaining in the community of Sandy Bay alone, prompting Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to urge people to leave.

“It is over time for you to leave,” he said. “It is dangerous.”


The volcano is erupting yet again. I am getting photos and videos of falling ash, rivers of mud and landslides faster than I can keep up with! 
It appears to be a "hell on earth" situation that keeps getting worse by the day! 
My heart goes out to the people of my adopted country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines!  

Sunday, April 11, 2021


Little Sisters of the Poor
Louisville, Kentucky  


The community of believers were of one heart and one mind.

Acts of the Apostles


Our photo albums are a very important part of remembering and sharing the history of our families: births, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, going off to college or the military, Thanksgivings, Christmases, Halloween parties, beach vacations and proms. Smile! Look this way! Stand up straight! Say cheese!

As wonderful as a family photo album is, it never tells the whole story, does it? Unless you were really weird, you never got the camera out to get a shot of Mom the moment she was diagnosed with cancer, you probably didn’t get a shot of Granddad taking his last breath or Grandma in her coffin, you didn’t get a shot of dad in a drunken rage, uncles and aunts not speaking to each other or old girls friends that didn’t work out, you probably didn’t get a shot of Dad when he lost his job or the response on your parents’ faces when they found out that your unmarried sister was pregnant. No, they were normally taken at happy times, when things were at their best 

In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles today, we have one snapshot of the early church. We have that beautiful passage about everybody meeting for prayer and the breaking of bread, sharing everything in common and attracting new members to the community every day. Unlike most family albums, if you keep reading the Acts of the Apostles, you realize just how disarmingly honest it is! It includes some not so beautiful snapshots of the early church. Not everything was sweetness and light – even in the beginning. Keep reading and you will see another side of the very early church. 

(1) Yes, we read that people sold their property and possessions and divided them according to each one’s need, but we also read that the Greek speaking widows complained that the Hebrew speaking widows were getting a disproportionate share of that division.  We read that one of the couples, Ananias and Sapphira, made a pledge to sell their property and give it to the church, but also that they actually held back some of the proceeds and later lied about it. They both dropped dead for lying.

(2) Even Paul, before his conversion, we are told, was out rounding up Christian and having them jailed for heresy, even holding the coats of those who stoned St. Stephen to death. A new convert by the name of Simon, we are told, was so amazed that the Holy Spirit was being conferred by the laying on of hands, that he saw a gold mine of opportunity, offering to pay money for that kind of power. These are a few of the not-so-flattering snapshots of the church, even at its beginning, that Scripture has the courage to include.

(3) In another place, St. Paul calls St. Peter “two-faced” for acting one way around Jews and other around Gentiles. We read about Saul and Barnabas running all over that known world proclaiming the word of God, taking John Mark with them. If you read that passage without reading the rest, you would miss the fact that John Mark quit and came home. On the next trip out, Barnabas wanted to forgive him and try him again. Paul refused. They had a few strong words, and behold, the first team ministry ended in a fight. Unable to resolve their disagreement, they had to split up. 

If we imagine the church was perfect in its infancy, we can get a pretty distorted image of the church in its reality at its beginning. When we idealize our history and make it sound so perfect, we erroneously conclude that the church today has wandered so far from its ideal as to be nothing like it “should” be! And because it is not as it “should” be, it is OK to leave it!   If you do not know of the other early church snapshots, you might be tempted to be critical and even bitter about the weaknesses of the church today.  I believe those who leave the church because it is “not like it used to be” simply do not know how the church “used to be!” 

The church, because it is made up of sinners like us, will always be “semper reformanda,” “always in need of reform.” It is so tempting to think that the responsibility for “cleaning up the church” belongs to “somebody else,” when in fact we are all responsible for cleaning it up because we are all responsible for its weaknesses! Looking at our problems as a church today, I don’t blame those who have stayed, as much as I blame those who have left it for others to clean up and who criticize it from afar!  

When it comes to fidelity to the Church in the rough times, as I mentioned at a recent Mass here, one of my heroes in this area is Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit and a scientist (who, by the way, died yesterday in 1955). Because of his new ideas, he was silenced by Rome in 1926. He was urged by many to leave, not only the Jesuits, but also the Church. He decided rather to "go on to the end and with a smile if possible." Why? He said, "When I took my vows, I committed myself. To break them would be an offense against honor." "One must work from within," he said. "Those who leave no longer have any influence."