Like a military junta, Buhari govt goes after #EndSARS protesters

Premium Times

The government’s clampdown on the protesters involves freezing of their bank accounts, confiscation of their travel documents, and gestapo-like arrests.

byMojeed AlabiNovember 9, 2020

The Nigerian government is currently deploying different strategies to punish those who played key roles in the nationwide protests against police brutality and poor governance in the country.

The new development, which involves freezing of bank accounts, confiscation of travel documents, and gestapo-like arrests, has been likened by many Nigerians to what happened when the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, was the military head of state between 1984 and 1985.

The move is also contrary to the administration’s endorsement of dialogue as the best approach to addressing the protesters’ call for justice and good governance. The government echoed this choice when the protests peaked and spiraled across many states.

The government had promised to constructively engage the protesters in dialogue towards finding lasting solutions to some of the issues they raised.

Apart from Mr. Buhari who addressed Nigerians in a national broadcast, his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, addressed a letter publicly to the youth, aside from various other appeal messages he shared via his social media platforms including Twitter.

For instance, on October 16, about one week after the protest broke out, Mr. Osinbajo wrote a long piece on his Twitter handle @ProfOsinbajo where he said the government took responsibility for the excesses of SARS operatives whom he described as errant officers. He also listed efforts to compensate the victims of the abuses nationwide, and the decision to set up judicial panels of inquiry.

However, while the demands of the protesters are yet to be fully addressed, key figures in the peaceful protests are being targeted for punishment by the government.

Frozen bank accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has secured a court order to freeze the bank accounts of 20 young Nigerians reportedly over their involvement in the protests.

The CBN, which has since passed down the order to six financial institutions, directed the banks “to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as Exhibit A and all other bank accounts of the defendants and respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

The six financial institutions addressed by the CBN include the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guarantee Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and First Bank of Nigeria.

The holders of the affected accounts are Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

Others are Adegoke Pamilerin Yusuf, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited, an advocacy group that reportedly provided media coverage for the protest.

Seized passport

On November 1, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) confiscated the international passport of Modupe Odele, a lawyer who offered free legal service to some protesters arrested by the police.

The NIS seized her passport at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos while she was on her way to Dubai en route the Maldives, an Island nation in South Asia.

Without explanation, and for more than a week, the agency withheld the young lawyer’s travel document, denying her the freedom of movement.ADVERTISEMENT

But NIS has told PREMIUM TIMES that its action was based on a signal received from an unnamed security agency of the government.

In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, NIS comptroller general, Muhammad Babandede, said the investigation was already concluded, and that the lawyer could pick her passport on Monday.

Arbitrary arrests

On November 6, four young men and a female citizen journalist who had taken part in a protest at the National Assembly vicinity in Abuja were arrested.

They were subsequently arraigned at the Wuse Zone 2 magistrate court for alleged offences bordering on criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, inciting public disturbance and public nuisance.

The victims include Oluwatosin Adeniyi, Paul Akinwunmi, Davo Chom, Abdulsalam Zuberu, and Kabiru Gazali.

The magistrate, who rejected an oral application for bail by the defence counsel, Tope Akiyode, remanded them in Suleja custodial centre.

Mr Akiyode, who appeared in court alongside two other lawyers, Odudu Ituen and Sowore Olasehinde, describe the development as anti-democratic and obnoxious.

Earlier on Thursday, two young men who were said to have managed a WhatsApp platform for the coordination of the protest in Osun State, Babawale Popoola and Fisayo Aderemi, were arrested and detained.

The police said they were detained for allegedly playing roles in the arson that followed the protests in the state. As of Sunday, they were yet to be arraigned.

In a similar manner, on Saturday, a key participant in the protest in Lagos, Eromosele Adene, was traced to his home in Ikeja and whisked away to the state criminal investigations and intelligence department (CIID), Panti, Yaba.

Mr. Adene, an artist, who was conspicuous at the barricade at the government secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, was also part of the planning for a peaceful protest scheduled to hold in Lagos on Saturday. He provided his contact on the leaflets that announced the programme alongside that of a central committee member of Revolution Now Movement, Sanyaolu Juwon.

On Sunday, one of the lawyers who visited Mr Adene at the CIID, Ayo Ademiluyi, told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone that the victim had been taken to the state command of the police in Ikeja.

Mr Ademiluyi, who is the secretary to the Radical Agenda Movement in the NBA (RAMINBA), said Mr Adene’s personal lawyer, Tunde Jinadu, had accompanied his client to the state command.

The lawyer said he was not sure whether Mr Adene would be arraigned on Monday.

Government, police keep mute

The police public relations officer (PPRO) at the force headquarters in Abuja, Frank Mba, neither picked calls to his mobile phone nor responded to short messages sent to him. But his counterpart at the Lagos police command, Muyiwa Adejobi, told our reporter that he was in a security meeting when he was called.

He promised to reply to this newspaper’s inquiry on the arrest of Mr Adene and the general clampdown on the protesters. However, his response was not received by our reporter as of the time of filing this report.

In Osun State, the police spokesperson Yemisi Opalola, who confirmed the arrest of Messrs Babawale and Aderemi could, not give the specific date when they would be arraigned in court.

Meanwhile, all the government spokespersons asked for their reactions to the development neither picked their call nor replied to messages sent to them.

Our reporter made efforts to get the reactions of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed; both the special adviser and the senior special assistant on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu respectively, but they did not pick calls made to their lines or reply t the short messages sent to them.

Immigration speaks

The immigration boss, Mr Babandede, said his agency seized Mrs Odele’s passport based on a signal received from security operatives.

He said; “We represent all the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria at the border posts. So if there are issues concerning anyone, we are always asked to observe, check and report to the appropriate authorities. In fact, we do many things at the borders which are not known to many Nigerians. Some of them border on national security which we don’t need to disclose to Nigerians.

“So it was one of those issues that necessitated that we should take her passport. We have checked and we are able to finish. Now she can travel. She wanted to come but we said she could even send her lawyer, so that she can travel.”

Reacting to the question on how much the victim would have lost in terms of her missed flight and engagements, Mr Babandede said it would be difficult to make any claim concerning that, since it was a matter of national security.

“The truth is that we don’t explain issues of national security. Even in court, we only explain to the judge without giving details. Let’s say, for instance, there is a roadblock, and security operatives stopped you to conduct searches on you, if you missed an engagement, it doesn’t mean that you can make claims,” he said.

The official added that when national security is involved, human rights are limited. “She was neither harassed nor detained, we only conducted an investigation, and we are through with that,” he said.

Nigerians kick

A pro-democracy activist and lawyer, Femi Aborisade, said by its conduct, the Nigerian government is criminalising peaceful protests. He therefore urged all lovers of democracy to rise in the defence of democratic principles such as freedom of movement, freedom to assemble, among other inalienable rights.

Speaking on the phone with our reporter, Mr Aborisade said the development is condemnable and unacceptable.

“Under section 40 of Nigeria’s constitution, Nigerians have the fundamental rights to gather peacefully and protest peacefully. Even top officials of the government regime have attested to the fact that #EndSARS protest was absolutely peaceful. To now be picking the leaders of the protest by security operatives amount to criminalising the right to peaceful protest.

“Nigerians are not conquered people; we are not slaves. We have constitutionally guaranteed rights, and we will refuse to be reduced to the status of slaves.”

He advised the promoters of the protest to join hands with other relevant individuals and organisations to fight the clampdown on the people.

Mr Aborisade also called on the labour unions to wake from their slumber to protect the rights to peaceful protest, saying keeping quiet could be dangerous.

He also urged the affected individuals to seek legal interventions in vacating the order freezing their accounts and to secure their freedom from detention.

On his part, Mr Akiyode, who decried what he described as the crude style of the government to crush the protesters, said he would be in court on Monday to file a written application for the bail of his client.

He also said one of those whose bank accounts was frozen has reached out to him to secure an order to lift the embargo placed on his account.

“We will ensure that justice is served. It is a way of intimidating us but I want to believe that we are more resolute than the crude approach being deployed by the Nigerian government,” Mr Akiyode told our reporter on the phone.

Meanwhile, the secretary of Bwari branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja, ‘Lekan Oladapo, has said his branch would approach the court to challenge the actions against the detained Abuja protesters.

According to Mr Oladapo, the branch is prepared to offer free legal services to any of the protesters whose rights are being violated by the Nigerian government.

“We will intervene in this matter. There is no justification to seize a Nigerian passport for no reason given, and for the random arrests of innocent Nigerians. We all are victims until those suffering illegally are rescued,” he said


Varsity Experience

true love - the covenant gateway to a new chapter

There Is Nothing Mystical About True Love. True Love Is The Combination Of The Word That You Hear, Believe and Obey (John.14:15).

He That Hath My Commandments, And Keepeth Them, He It Is That Loveth Me: And He That Loveth Me Shall Be Loved Of My Father, And I Will Love Him, And Will Manifest Myself To Him ~ John. 14:21

There Was A Scene In John Chapter 21 Where Jesus Asked Peter If He Loved Him. Peter Said That He Knew All Things And Jesus Said “Feed My Lambs.” Again and Again, Jesus Asked The Same Question, Peter Do You Love Me? Peter Was Almost Furious This Time, He Responded With The Same Response And Jesus Said “Feed My Sheep.” ~ John.21:15-17

You See, We Must Demonstrate Our Love In Order To Genuinely Proof To Jesus That We Love Him. What Jesus Was Telling Peter Was That Don’t Just…

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How to Brace Yourself for Disappointment

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I can recall many times in my life where I’ve been waiting for big news and was worried that things wouldn’t go my way. There were college and grad school applications. Job interviews. Promotions. Book proposals. And even, yes, elections.

I’ve never known the best way to make it through these waiting periods. Often they feel agonizing, my mind vacillating between imagining the best possible outcome and bracing myself for the worst. These are often times where my sleep suffers, and I spend the hours between 2:00 am and 4:00 am with dark thoughts about what the future might bring (not to mention all of the mistakes I’ve made along the way).

One of my main coping mechanisms during these times of uncertainty is thinking through the potential disappointment. I know I’m not alone. 2020 has been a year of disappointments — often serious and grave ones — for so many people, from job losses to school closures to illness and death. And there are likely more disappointments on the way. There are the leaders who are anticipating the possibility of more layoffs, the small business owners who aren’t sure if they can survive another mandated closure, and the parents who aren’t sure how they will perform their jobs if schools can’t remain open.

So how do you prepare yourself for what might be a large, perhaps even life-changing, disappointment? Is it better to think it through ahead of time? Or do you just end up wasting energy and causing yourself anxiety when you can’t know the outcome yet anyway?

I wanted to better understand how we could brace ourselves for big news so I asked two experts to weigh in. Here’s their advice.

Ask yourself if worrying helps.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes worrying does help. It can spur you to become better prepared — mitigating your anxiety in the long run. “If you want to succeed and you worry you might fail, the gap between those realities creates motivation to take action,” says Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Bring Your Brain to Work: Using Cognitive Science to Get a Job, Do it Well, and Advance Your Career. If you’re worried about losing your job because of the economic downturn, for example, you might get your finances in order or reach out to former colleagues who might know of job leads. This is called “defensive pessimism.”

But if you’ve already done all that you can do to affect the outcome — perhaps the job interview is completed, you’ve made your case to a potential funder, or you’ve voted and made calls for your candidate — then agonizing doesn’t do you much good. “In those moments when the outcome is utterly out of your control, the worry is only going to create heat,” Markman says. “Energy with direction is work, but energy without direction is heat, and it comes out as worry and anxiety.” So ask yourself if the negative emotions you’re feeling will actually compel you take further action that would help “stave off the negative outcome.”

Think through what you will do in the worst-case scenario.

One action you might take, for example, is gathering the resources you’ll need to get through the disappointment. “Sometimes the worry helps because it forces you to think about contingencies and how to be ready,” says Markman.

Zoe Kinias, an associate professor at INSEAD who studies resilience, says that you can bolster yourself by playing out the possible negative outcome. If it helps you imagine how you’ll survive the worst-case scenario, thinking through your disappointment “steadies the anxiety of anticipation in the moment,” she explains. For example, if you’re waiting to hear about a new job, Kinias suggests you might tell yourself, “There will be other opportunities. I have the skills and experience to be up for consideration. So if I don’t get this, I’ll keep trying, approach the problem in a different way, or do something a little bit different next time.”

There are also several research-backed ways that you can prepare yourself for a negative outcome. Kinias points to self-affirmation techniques in which you reflect on your core values and how you carry them out, by being a good friend or participating in community service, that can “buffer resiliency in advance of disappointment.” She also suggests mindfulness practices where you focus on your breath: “breathing slowly and consciously, experiencing the inhale and exhale through simple guided mediation.” She explains that this helps “to release both negative emotion and attachment to sunk costs.” You can also reach out to people who share the same worry or who can provide help if and when you need it. Any of these practices can help make you more resilient in the face of disappointment.

Balance worry with hope. (Yes, it’s okay to hope.)

As someone who is irrationally superstitious, I’ve often resisted the idea of imagining a positive outcome, thinking it will somehow curse the process. Of course, this is rubbish.

“Thinking positive thoughts is fine. A certain number of fantasies about what you would do if you reached your goal can be helpful,” says Markman. You might imagine what you’d wear to the first day of your new job, or think through who you’d call to share in the good news.

Kinias suggests adopting Maya Angelou’s words from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” In Kinias’ experience, successful leaders have the capacity to anticipate and plan for setbacks, but this tactic works best “when balanced with positivity and an ability to enjoy and experience the present moment, through optimism, mindfulness, and social support.” Being both planful and hopeful can improve wellbeing and make us more resilient if and when the worst-case scenario comes true.

Temper your confidence.

You can be hopeful but you don’t want to be overconfident. Not even entertaining the possibility of the negative outcome can be emotionally devastating. “The risk is when people are blindsided with overconfidence — as many Hillary Clinton supporters were in the 2016 presidential election. They were already planning how to celebrate,” Kinias says, before the electoral college votes were counted.

Don’t rehearse your misery.

You won’t guard yourself against pain by trying to feel it ahead of time. As Markman says, “there’s no way to prepay your pain.” And reinforcing negative emotions can cause more pain in the leadup to and after the disappointment, explains Kinias.

Feeling your misery in advance of the news also isn’t helpful because we aren’t very good at predicting future emotions, as extensive researchfrom Dan Gilbert, Tim Wilson, George Loewenstein, and Daniel Kahneman has shown. We tend to overestimate the intensity of negative feelings, like sadness, anger, and frustration, and we think we’re going to experience them longer than we actually do. Researchers call this “affective forecasting,” and the reality is that negative events usually prove to be less intense emotionally and the bad feelings are more transient that we expect.

Reframe the anticipated pain.

Wanting something really badly means that you care, and that’s a good thing. “There will be a sting if you don’t get it, and the pain is often proportional to what you invested,” says Markman. So when you’re worried about how devastated you might feel, remind yourself that that’s the cost of caring.

And the goal in life isn’t to avoid all negative feelings. If you did that, you’d rarely put yourself out there and try to reach your goals. So, you might think of the pain as a good thing and allow yourself to grieve if things don’t go your way. “Being aware of a negative outcome can help you get your resources in a row, but you are still likely to have to go through a grieving process for anything that makes a tear in your life story,” says Markman.

And remember to keep it in perspective. If you don’t get the outcome you want, all of the effort you put in this time is setting yourself up for your next time at bat. “If you consistently go after things, you set yourself up for success down the line,” Markman says. In other words, just because you lose one round, doesn’t mean the fight isn’t worth fighting.

Distract yourself.

Much of this advice might fall into the category of “easier said than done,” especially when you’re staring at your ceiling in the middle of the night. That’s why Markman says some of the best tactics to steel yourself while you wait involve distracting yourself. He suggests watching a silly movie that makes you laugh, practicing mindfulness by taking deep, focused breaths, or going for a run — anything he says, that will “decrease the energy.”

They’re Stealing the Election – Crisis Magazine

G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.” I wonder what Mr. Chesterton would have said about mail-in ballots. After so many hopeful prayers and earnest efforts …

Source: They’re Stealing the Election – Crisis Magazine

Passive Purification

Passive Purification

Presence of God– My God, illumine my way, that I may not go astray in the midst of the darkness of tribulation.


Although it is possible for us to enter the night of the spirit by a generous practice of total renunciation and an intense exercise of the theological virtues, we will never be able to penetrate into its deepest part if God Himself does not place us there. Only He can deepen the darkness which envelops us in this night, so that we may be reduced to nothingness in all, to the point attaining the purity and poverty of spirit which are required for union. Far from taking the initiative, our task is then reduced to accepting with love, to enduring with patience and humility all that God disposes for us.

for post on passive purification

In order not to resist the divine action, we should remember that God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian, every apostle, every religious, there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the spirit. These are the sufferings which God Himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them. Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support, failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude—these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man, and which, we will find in ours. We must understand that all such things are positively willed or at least permitted by God precisely to purify us even to the very inmost fibers of our being. In the face of these trials, we must never blame the malice of men, or stop to examine whether or not they are just; we must see only the blessed hand of God who offers us these bitter remedies to bring perfect health to our soul. St. John of the Cross writes: “It greatly behooves the soul, then, to have patience and constancy in all the tribulations and trials which God sends it, whether they come from without or from within, and are spiritual or corporal, great or small. It must take them all as from His hand for its healing and its good, and not flee from them, since they are health to it” (Living Flame of Love 2,30).


“Teach me, my God, to suffer in peace the afflictions which You send me that my soul may emerge from the crucible like gold, both brighter and purer, to find You within me. Trials like these, which at present seem unbearable, will eventually become light, and I shall be anxious to suffer again, if by so doing I can render You greater service. And however numerous may be my troubles and persecutions … they will all work together for my greater gain though I do not myself bear them as they should be borne, but in a way which is most imperfect” (Teresa of Jesus Life, 30).

“O grandeur of my God! All the temptations and tribulations which You permit to come upon us, absolutely all, are ordered for our good, and if we have no other thought, when we are tried here below, than that of Your goodness, this will suffice for us to overcome every temptation.

“O Word of God, my sweet and loving Spouse, all power in heaven and on earth is Yours. You confound and put to flight every enemy. As for me, I am extremely weak; I cannot see, being filled with misery and sins; but by Your slightest glance, O Word, You put all these enemies to flight, like bits of straw in the wind; first, however, You permit them to give battle to Your servants, to make these, Your servants, more glorious. And the greater the grace and light You want to give Your servants, that they may love and know You better, the more do You try them by fire and purify their hearts like gold, so that their virtues may shine like precious stones.

“By Your power, O divine Word, You confer strength for the combat, and he who wishes to fight manfully for Your glory must first descend into the most profound knowledge of self, yet all the while raising his heart to You, that he may not be confounded” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).


Note from Dan: This post on passive purification is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Finding a Spiritual Director? Watch Out for Confused Sheep

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Foundational to any sound spiritual direction is the idea that there actually is a tangible direction to discover. That is, the practice presumes that spiritual truth is an expression of objective reality – just as objective and real as a map of your own hometown. For instance, if you asked someone to give you directions to the Cathedral and you ended up at the town dump, you would clearly know that something was amiss. The Cathedral and the dump can’t be the same thing at the same time. Those of you who have a rational basis for your thinking are shaking your head right now saying, “Of course – who in their right mind would disagree with this?”

Unfortunately, there are many in the Church in positions of authority, in religious orders, who would disagree with this kind of thinking. No, they wouldn’t disagree with the way that I just stated it, but they do see the world in terms that will, spiritually speaking, confuse things as diverse as a Cathedral and a place of rotting spiritual refuse.

A great example of this sad confusion surfaced in a conversation I had today with someone who was taking classes with a religious order to become a “spiritual director.” In one of her recent classes, the nuns brought in a Buddhist, a Natural Spiritist, and a number of other non-Christian representatives to share their spiritual insights. The goal was to understand that, as she said, “we are all Children of God” and that “we can learn a great deal from the spiritual lives of those who come out of these other religions.”

I was a bit dumbfounded even though I am accustomed to this particular convent spreading dissent and confusion. What struck me was how readily this “spiritual direction” trainee had accepted what they presented to her. A number of scripture verses began to swirl in the back of my head as I cordially smiled and listened… “I am the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). “All who came before me are thieves and bandits but the sheep did not listen to them” (John 10:8). By the way, Jesus is talking here about one of the groups that presented their “spirituality” via the nuns. Another verse came to mind, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, they follow me” (John 10:27). I wondered if she had ever read or pondered any of these passages. With deep incredulity, I wondered why someone would look outside of the endless depth and riches of their own faith, the One true Faith, the pinnacle of all that is good and true, into the spiritual wastelands of those who reject Christ both directly and indirectly. Even looking at the good of what is available in some of these religions, it is something like being diverted away from the most lavish banquet ever served in the history of time to a garbage can in the back of a greasy dive. Yes, something in there will be semi-edible, but why would anyone who had a seat reserved for them at this great feast ever choose to eat this way?

This scenario points out the tip of the iceberg regarding a few serious issues facing those seeking sound spiritual direction. Here are a few ways to avoid taking direction from a lost sheep who claims to be a spiritual director:

1) Don’t settle for the garbage bin when you have a seat reserved for you at the feast of the King of Kings! The great spiritual Doctors of the Catholic Church provide unfathomable wisdom and depth that cannot be plumbed in any one lifetime by any one person. If you are seeking spiritual direction, ask your would-be director where they get their inspiration and training. If it is outside of the person of Christ and the tradition of His Church and the Doctors of the Church, you are about to be led into a spiritual garbage dump.

2) Don’t settle for the first answer to your question and don’t be ashamed to dig a little. After all, you are seeking truth and guidance into a deeper relationship with Christ. There is no greater aspiration in this life, nothing more worthy of careful consideration. A great second question to determine if a director can lead you to the true banquet of Christ is to ask them their position on Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae. If you get anything but unequivocal and strong support for this controversial but clear teaching of the Church  – you are headed for a spiritual garbage can.

3) Finally, don’t settle for PseudoSpirituality in the form of New Age Catholicism. Ask them about “centering prayer.” If they enthusiastically smile and point to a method whereby you can quickly achieve contemplative union (a sacred word, a specific posture and breathing technique, etc.), you are headed for a very confusing journey into a rotting carcass of spiritual darkness.

Unfortunately, finding a sound spiritual director instead of a confused sheep can be difficult. Don’t give up, don’t stop praying, and don’t settle for anything but a place at the table where you belong, with the King of Kings.

Seek Him – Find Him – Follow Him

Dropped Call or Demons?

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A priest in need of consultation tried to call me this morning. He had a thorny case of someone who, he believed, had a real demonic problem. He had just used his cell phone in that spot earlier and it worked fine. I also was in a good spot and calls that day went through fine. But this time, we tried again and again and again, more than a dozen times. We would begin to speak and then it just went dead.

It seemed unnatural to me so the next time I quickly said, “Let’s say a prayer.” We prayed to the BVM and St Michael to keep the phone lines open. That time, it worked just fine. We had a good chat and he really did have someone who was in strong need of deliverance praying.

Consistently, I find that possessed people, on occasion, will have great problems connecting on the phone to their priest-spiritual directors or to an exorcist. As their exorcist, there are times when they inexplicably can’t get through on the phone. We see a clear pattern of demonic interference trying to stop these troubled people from getting in touch with the priest helping them. The demons do whatever they can to isolate their targets. Staying in touch with a priest is the last thing the demons want. And demons love to mess with gadgets!

Solution? Pray over the phone lines to keep them clear. Also, we typically have a backup way to stay in touch as well. We may use skype or some other internet form of communication. Or we contact a close friend or family member who then contacts the afflicted person. Eventually, we always get through. The demons can slow us down but with a little perseverance and prayer, we get through. This is typical of demonic harassment- they can stall, harass, and try to make things difficult but, in the end, God always wins!

Leaders, Principles and the Pursuit of High Performance Teams

Art Petty Leadership Caffeine

In high-performance teams, the leaders managed the principles and the principles managed the teams.” –Carl Larson and Frank LaFasto via Jim Highsmith in Agile Project Management-Creating Innovative Products.

Larson and LaFasto in their assessment of high performance teams offer us a profoundly powerful and simple to comprehend answer to the question of how to support the emergence of effective teams: clear, strong, actionable, livable principles beget an environment for effective collaboration and innovation.

Every high performance team I’ve experienced as a participant, a sponsor or an outside advisor, was governed by an overarching set of principles or values that formed and framed the culture. And while good words alone don’t create success, the combination of the leaders and participants living and acting according to those words everyday made things work.

On successful teams, the team leaders…and ultimately the participants eat and drink the principles for breakfast, communicate them constantly and most importantly, they live them in how they collaborate, problem-solve and challenge themselves and their team members forward in pursuit of success.

And since as we all know, even the best of teams face dark days when nothing goes right, the guiding principles serve as bedrock for self-reflection and guidance for navigating the way forward.

There’s a cautionary tale here. As Highsmith warns us, “Grand principles that generate no action are mere vapor.”  When engaging with an organization for the first time, I make it a habit to understand a firm’s values, and all too often, what I find are nice words…unarguable in their intent, that serve only to occupy space on a wall in a conference room. It’s a wholesale failure on the part of the leadership of an organization, when the guiding principles aren’t a visible part of everyday life.

Teams are a fact of life. We execute strategy via projects. We innovate on teams. We develop new products, improve processes and search for ways to better serve our customers via projects and teams. We darned well better figure out how to succeed at this more often than not. Right now, in too many organizations, “not” is winning.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

This intangible, sticky, squishy topic of operationalizing guiding principles or values doesn’t lend itself well to a prescriptive list of steps-to-success. The onus is on you as a team leader, project leader, functional leader, informal leader or organizational leader to ensure that your best efforts are supported by meaningful, actionable guiding principles. If you can’t articulate what those principles are and what they mean for behavior, accountability and performance, then it’s time to take a step back and tackle this issue. The effort will pay dividends going forward. Larson and LaFasto are right…leaders should manage the principles and the principles will manage the team

This Day in History: November 9

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Berlin Wall opening 1989 – Opening of the Berlin Wall Long a symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, erected in 1961 and eventually extending 28 miles (45 km) to divide the western and eastern sectors of Berlin, was opened by the East German government on this day in 1989.

Evander Holyfield

1996 – Evander Holyfield scored a technical knockout of Mike Tyson to win the heavyweight boxing championship for a third time.


1953 – Cambodia became independent from France.

Albert Einstein

1922 – Albert Einstein was named the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect; the Nobel committee had delayed awarding the 1921 physics prize until 1922.