Author: Nathaniel Slattery
Posted: Month of Immaculate Conception, 3rd Day, Year of Our Lord 2022
It is never a good idea for laypeople to teach or debate on theology, faith, or morals in public, and if they wish to engage in it, they should seek permission from their bishop. This is what I was told by my dear father who passed on to his reward last month on the tenth of November. With this in mind, I endeavour to tell you about his life and opinions, rather than present myself as an authority on what devotions you should practice.
Father Christopher Michael Riehl was a good and holy priest of the Knoxville diocese. I say of the Knoxville diocese despite the fact that he was not present in the Knoxville diocese for the last several years of his life. He was, in fact, suffering in a sort of exile from his diocese, without flock or assignment. This despite the fact that he was extremely gifted in leadership, particularly in the leadership of men, particularly in the leadership of men who make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, priests. His talents, from a natural perspective, were an extraordinary waste by virtue of his position, being by circumstances an anchorette hermit. I now pause my novel account of him in order to fully quote the obituary which I wrote of him, which will help you to understand better who he was:
“Father Christopher Michael Riehl told me and my wife that we came into the Church at the twelfth hour of Her passion. We also came into his life in the twelfth hour, and so as I write this, I know that I will say very little about him.
Father Riehl was a good and holy priest, recognized by many as suited for leadership in the Church. He possessed the virtues of courage, wisdom, and magnanimity in the correct proportions, at least from my humble lay point of view, in order to revivify and renew a diocese. Likely, in a just and ordered society, he would have been a bishop shortly, and this is exactly what he would have been doing. He would have extracted his body, mind, heart, and soul of all of its energy and capacity, jogged from one end of the diocese to the other, and removed every semblance and hair of error from every corner such that the faithful could have looked and seen nearly the spotless Bride of Christ within his diocese, or until he collapsed. But this would have necessarily involved ruffling many feathers, not lay so much as clerical, and no doubt very, very many people would be removed by the gravity of their errors. That is why he was not a bishop, and very likely we will never see a bishop like him before Our Lady triumphs. He was exactly the type of person that intimidates the type of priest with which most people live.
Maybe I didn’t know him well enough, maybe I was transported with joy at finding more than a single holy priest (my own parish has a holy priest who knew that his job was to provide the Sacraments these last couple of years), maybe I am a dirty flatterer (pray God no), but this is what I see. We live in such a time, bathed by oceans of infant blood, steeped in the darkness once reserved for homosexual relations before they were allowed to speak up near the altar on Father’s Day in a Catholic Church in Chicago, and under the boot of our Nominalist overlords, that we don’t deserve priests and bishops and popes that remove error and dispel confusion. We have ancestors that for hundreds of years have likely prayed that their progeny would not convert to Catholicism. We have the pride to judge God Himself, and we blaspheme the Holy Ghost to pass the time in our boredom. We live under curses, justly earned, and so we live under poor shepherds.
But God still creates these men in the womb and suckles them in the Sacraments, because His Glory and Holiness are too intoxicating to allow it not to happen. So they exist, and what He seems to do is this: prevent them from having any authority, hide them away from the world that hates Him, and let them do other things than help save people who don’t deserve it.
That is what Father Riehl was. He was a good and holy man, who with all of the capacity and virtue of a saintly bishop in the chrysalis, instead wrote a humble book, and now we can read it. He may not have been suited for writing, which is good, because it is tiresome to read pretty words that say nothing, and those types of books and documents are easy enough to find within the Church. He was suited for salvation and sanctification.
I knew him only a year, and in that year, he perfected my devotional life, consecrated me completely to Mater Dolorosa, and enflamed my desire for sanctity. I firmly believe he was in the rich odor of his own sanctity. His last work was his book, Listen to Our Lady (Or Go To Hell), and you all should read it, because Our Lady took him right after he put down his pen.
—Nathaniel Slattery, Editor”
I have promised with the title of this article to give you an idea of First Saturday devotions as the most important devotions to practice. It being the very early morning of First Saturday, that is one occasion of my writing this article, and the other is what I have seen on this very website and for a long while in somewhat silent observation of the Catholic laity surrounding me. I have heard with an ear terrified of scandal and sin, my own more than others, laypeople, and particularly women who, as St. Paul says, should not be suffered to speak in a church. Rather than observe modesty of speech, these people describe devotions and practices related to unapproved apparitions and novel theology with an intention to persuade by emotion instead of clear and simple reason, and without the authority to do so. These people will mention things such as divorce and depression as if they were acts of God put upon them, unavoidable, instead of what they are, which is grave disorders and sins that should have signalled to them to retreat from public life, and particularly should have given them the humility not to attempt to teach or persuade others to follow them into devotions which are not secure nor profitable. But they claim profit, and this supposed spiritual profit is described in emotional terms, such as the calling of the Holy Spirit, or the workings of God through subtle instruction. But I ask, what are you being instructed in? Have you become more holy? Have you born good fruit? Holiness consists in not sinning, in developing virtues, and in clear and simple reasoning, which is called wisdom. Compare for instance these two quotes which I have drawn from random, one from a traditional source, and the other from a modern source:
“There are many different qualities looked for in a good priest. Priests are expected to be caring, compassionate and understanding. They are looked up to as good role models and are often asked for their opinion or advice. They are approachable and friendly, someone people will not be afraid to go to. But most importantly, they spread God’s word to people. They live Jesus’ example everyday and work hard to bring Jesus and God into people’s lives. Priests are a prime example for the Catholic faith and morals.” (Southcoast Today, “What are the Qualities of a Good Priest”, July 26, 2008)
“This Sacrament [Holy Orders] should not be conferred on children, nor on the insane or mad, because they are devoid of the use of reason. Yet if it does happen to be administered to them, we must unhesitatingly believe that the sacramental character becomes impressed on their souls. As for the precise age requisite for the reception of the various orders, this will easily be found in the decrees of the Council of Trent. Slaves also are excluded. He who is not his own master and who is in the power of another, should not be dedicated to divine service. Homicides and men of blood are also rejected, because they are excluded by a law of the Church and are declared irregular. The same must be said of the illegitimate and of all those not born in lawful wedlock. It is only right that those who are dedicated to the divine service should have nothing in them which could expose them to the well-deserved derision or contempt of others. Finally, those who are notably mained or deformed should not be admitted. A defect or deformity of this kind cannot but offend the eye and stand in the way of the due administration of the Sacraments.” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, pg 360)
Can you see the difference between how things have been described by Catholics today as compared to all of our wonderful history? From which of those two descriptions of the requirements for priests do you have a clear idea of what a priest should look like or be like? Does one offend you? Does one permit you to hold erroneous opinions without being corrected?
Now I submit to you that most of the laity has no idea what it is supposed to be doing with itself, that is, people do not know how to spend their lives in light of the state of the Church and the perils of the modern era. They do not know how to pray, how to raise their children, how to serve Holy Mother Church. This is because they are inundated with teachers for their itching ears that try, often with goodwill, to please them rather than to instruct them for salvation. And so I now move on to Father Riehl, and how he may instruct you and help you, and how this holy man which God reserved for Himself, stopping up our ears and blocking our eyes lest we be saved, could indeed cause the salvation of many.
Hopefully, from the above, you can understand that my dear father was a man anointed by the Blessed Virgin (this as a metaphor) to write a single book. In that book, he does not speak emotionally, nor does he fail to make anything but conclusions reached by the means of God-given reason, informed by an extraordinary breadth of knowledge of philosophical and theological history, as pertains to Marian apparitions. This is what that book is about, which I highly recommend you read: starting from the errors of the pagan philosophers, he flies through all philosophical errors of humanity, through the Great Schisms with the East (a shallow and flawed false religion, little more than Protestantism), the Protestant rebellion, the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century, into the fullness of evil of the nineteenth century, where all of the world’s ills (abortion, communism, Americanism, Modernism, euthanasia, homosexual partnerships, atheism, capitalism, etc.) can be traced, and then how these evils persisted in shaping the twentieth century. As he does this, he pairs the Marian apparitions (Good Success, Miraculous Medal, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, and Akita) in order to show Heaven’s response to the world’s crimes.
Heaven’s response was to send pestilence, famine, war, and death. It was to entirely condemn, in specific and simple terms, everything evil in the world. Our Lady, in these approved and authentic apparitions, specifically mentions freemasonry, blasphemy, the neglect of Sunday, the loss of charity, the impurity of religious, the destruction of marriage, and many other elements about which you will be surprised to read. She does this and specifically enumerates the cures which God Almighty has provided through Her. That is the difference between approved and unapproved apparitions. In approved apparitions, She comes, says what the world is doing wrong in simple and concise language, predicts the future, and threatens us with plagues, exactly as God did with Moses in Egypt. In unapproved apparitions, some person comes and tells us to do nonspecific and apparantly pious practices, for nonspecific reasons, and consumes all of our time and attention, without denouncing the evils of the world.
Now generally, all of this results in a story which is much more simple and straightforward than anyone could expect when reading the entire history of the world, from Flood to Triumph, unless they knew the character of God Almighty and His absolute, perfect, and divine simplicity. That story is of an evil world, which repeatedly ignores and persecutes the prophets of God, and neglects particularly the message of Our Lady, Who is the final voice which He has sent. If you read the book and follow the story, you’ll see how all of the apparitions were not obeyed. This leads up to Fatima, which (with the exception of Akita) is the final apparition, and is the last one to give us specific devotions which we can follow as a laity in order to lessen the coming chastisement and the inevitable death of millions of poor sinners, destined for hell. We can save some of those (ourselves first who are in so great a danger of hell), and of those already meriting salvation, we can lend ourselves in humility to merit the coming of saints, or the lessening of the suffering of souls.
That is the significance of First Saturday devotion, which I now quote from Our Lady below, exactly what you must do:
“I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
If you wish to purchase the book and read all of this in detail, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Listen-Lady-Christopher-Michael-Riehl/dp/B0BBY5G934
If you cannot afford it, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will assist you. However, I also enjoy holy poverty in the tradition of St. Joseph and will have to exercise both prudence and justice in conjunction with charity.