See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

'Tis the Season to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless ...

And it was the day before Thanksgiving and we told them, 'go away - you weren't invited!'

Jay Forge't lifts up his dog Mini after eating Thanksgiving dinner 
at Union Gospel Mission winter shelter.

Not in my house...

Let them eat cake in the shelters or the bars.

Especially if they are alcoholics, still screwed-up recovering addicts, annoying mental cases, cohabiting sleaze-balls, or gay perverts.  DO NOT SUPPORT THEIR LIFESTYLE by showing them hospitality!

That's why we have Missions, shelters, soup kitchens, gay bars, casinos, and so on - they can deal with them.  We can donate - even volunteer - but don't you dare come to my house and get me and my guests all upset.  We're not the dysfunctional ones and we will not allow you to disrupt our warm and fuzzy holiday festivities.  Go to the shelters - that's what they are for.

Just a thought.

Holidays are over-rated anyway.


This is so interesting ...

The way cats sit.

Haven't you always wondered what it looks like from underneath?

Me too!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prolonging one's prayer

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,

Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Exodus 17

Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace. -Saint Benedict

Monsignor Pope Has another insightful post on the wiles of Satan which can ensnare the pious.

I always appreciate Monsignor's insights and spiritual counsels.  His latest post is very good, as are the comments - especially as regards devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

Nevertheless Monsignor's first precaution caught me off guard - I think I know what he meant when he wrote:
[Satan] can discourage you with prayer by saying, “If only you would pray a little longer, God will give you what you seek.” But the deception is that if we can pray a little longer, then we can never have prayed enough. Thus though we pray, we only feel guilty and inadequate. And since we can never have prayed “enough,” prayer increasingly turns into a burdensome task; God becomes a cruel taskmaster demanding longer and more precise prayers. Or prayer becomes a superstitious endeavor whose outcome we somehow control by the length and type of our prayers. Jesus counsels us that the Father knows what we need and that we should not think that merely multiple words and pious actions are necessary. We may need to persevere in prayer over time, but God is not a cruel tyrant demanding endless incantations. - Monsignor Pope

Like I said, I think I know what he meant, but it seems to me that sometimes it is very good to prolong one's prayer.  Our Lord gave examples of this in the Gospel teaching on perseverance in prayer, the story of the neighbor asking his friend in the night for something, the widow pestering the dishonest judge, the blind man calling out repeatedly, and more dramatically, Our Lord himself in his agony in the garden before his arrest.

The saints have done likewise - keeping vigils, going on pilgrimage, and so on.  Teresa of Avila remained in prayer at the foot of the statue of the Scourged Christ, telling him she would not move until he granted her the grace of conversion she needed.
Sometimes as soon as you start to pray, you pray well; at other times, in spite of great exertion, you do not reach your goal. This is to make you exert yourself still more, so that, having gained the gift of prayer, you keep it safe. - Evagrius Ponticus
I've experienced prolonging my prayer as a good, especially in my thanksgiving after Communion.  It seemed to me a necessary means to properly thank Our Lord for the grace that he should come to dwell in me - since in Holy Communion we actually receive the entire Christ within our soul.  It is also  an excellent way to learn, to acquire and practice, the prayer of recollection.  Likewise, after the rosary, or lectio it seems to me that to remain quietly in the presence of God is a way to enter more deeply into this prayer of recollection.  Many times the effect of prolonging one's prayer is to return to one's daily activities in a more recollected manner - that is, we can go about our duties more conscious of the presence of God.
Do not be distressed if you do not at once receive from God what you ask. He wishes to give you something better - to make you persevere in your prayer. For what is better than to enjoy the love of God and to be in communion with Him? - Evagrius Ponticus
Scripture tells us to pray unceasingly, and this prayer of recollection seems to me to be the ordinary means to accomplish that without self-love, self-interest or spiritual pride.  In the Eastern Church they use the Jesus Prayer, in our tradition we can use the same means to practice the prayer of recollection - although it is not necessary.  It is very simple to accustom ourselves to the prayer of recollection - a habit which prepares us for the habitual prayer of recollection.

“For this is not a supernatural state, but depends upon our own action and by God’s favor, we can enter it of our own accord” -Way of Perfection

I'm not contradicting Monsignor and I'm not at all pretending to instruct anyone on how to pray, but it has been my experience that prolonging one's prayer is good to do from time to time.  Especially since contemporary life militates against prayer and recollection - even in churches, before, during and after Mass.  Yet I have found, even in the noisiest churches that one can recollect oneself and remain quietly in the presence of God.

Do not rouse, do not disturb love until it is ready ...
- Song of songs

"Al Sharpton on his way"

Now that made me laugh.

[Seasons Greetings photo and Sharpton story taken from Drudge coverage.]

Here come the judge.

Monday, November 24, 2014

James Joyce ...

A look we like ...

James Joyce was blind - how come I never knew that?

Well he wasn't exactly blind - but he had cataracts and glaucoma and wore an eye patch - he was just nearly blind.

Actually, I seem to remember knowing all about Joyce but I forgot.

I think I'll do that - wear an eye patch, that is.

Cool photo of JJ, huh?

Contrary to popular opinion, he remained Catholic as well.  He also drank heavily.  So many writers drank heavily.  I think Joyce was depressed too.  Undoubtedly.

Anyway.  I can't wait for eye surgery.

I wonder if I'll become a better painter?

Christ the King ...

I didn't reflect much here on yesterday's feast because that's what homilies are for - and I'm not a priest or deacon.  However, today I was able to consider the mystery more quietly, more intimately.

It's difficult for me to understand monarchy.  I love how Fr. Barron understands this and I appreciate what he said in a short essay for yesterdays solemnity.  He says if we have difficulty understanding the concept of kingship, we need to consider the type of King Christ is...
"He reigns not from a pompous throne, but from and instrument of torture; he wears not a gaudy crown of gold, but a bloody crown of thorns; he issues not peremptory commands, but words of promise. but words of promise: "This day you will be with me in paradise."  Don't be afraid utterly to submit every aspect of your life to this King, for his power empowers you and his command liberates you." - Fr. Barron for Magnificat
Some may think the image of the Infant Jesus (shown at top) is gaudy and pompous, but little kids don't think so - besides, they know he changes his clothes and appearance, and often disguises himself just to be with us - God with us.  He delights to be with the children of men, to play, to serve, to console, to encourage ... to search out and save what was lost.  He embraces us just as we are, and gently restores us in his image.

In fact, he is quite like his sweet Vicar on earth ...

Today ends the novena to the Infant Jesus, the last monthly novena before the solemn Christmas novena.  The Infant Jesus has so much to teach, and surprisingly, he gently takes his time to do this.  Many years ago he could have revealed to me all my sins - my most hidden sins, those I wasn't even aware of; my lack of charity and kindness, my judging others according to the rules, while I made exception for my own personal weakness - when I was often too blinded by my own brilliance to see how disfigured my 'personal' piety was.  Every month the Infant Jesus helps me to grow in wisdom and self knowledge - and how much I hope - in charity, for charity covers a multitude of sins.  I hope those whom I have hurt will forgive me.

In a month it will be Christmas Eve

So I thought I'd do a post showing off my language skills with memorable personal quotes, while emulating a few of the more intellectual blogs I read on a regular basis, in homage to their weekly posts they hope might attract weekend readers who would otherwise ignore them.

All quotes are original to me - but are copyright free.

Friday Quote of the Day - for Monday:

"A que tuente per la savauge en coup, mal de li testa." - TN

Fanatic Friday - for Monday:

"La qui chasmo de la tuat, una cochliamo en implante. Que sera, sera." - TN

Ex voto.

Fine Art Friday - for Monday

"Va cac en Napoli e va funiculara funiculia, la face la mam'." - TN


I hate this blog! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Duchess of Alba has died.

The Duchess of Alba frequently hosted Jackie Kennedy
and Audrey Hepburn when they visited Spain.


Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon her. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

MarĂ­a del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain, head of the House of Alba and the third woman to carry the title in her own right, died at the age of 88, November 20, 2014.

I did not hear of her death until I read Elena's obituary on her blog, Tea At Trianon.

In the past I, have posted photos of the Duchess as she aged and attempted to retain her youthful beauty - unfortunately she was not well served by her surgeons, but she evidently did not let that stop her enjoyment of life.  From what I understand, she was very much loved by the people of Seville.

The Duchess and Mrs. Kennedy, 1966.

Vogue photo shoot?  Date?  
The Duchess is seated.

I went to the Ethiopian Mass today.

I went to Mass at my parish first.

I didn't understand a thing at Ethiopian Liturgy.  I couldn't see very well since I stood in the vestibule praying my rosary.  Some 'penitents' were there too - praying faces to the wall.  The people take off their shoes, wear white shrouds to cover street clothes - women cover their head.  Men sit on one side - women on the others.  They dance and chant and clap and the women ululate in praise.  There is a lot of activity - yet great reverence and devotion.

I left after a short time and an Ethiopian man was coming up the stairs and was surprised to see me - he asked, "This is the Ethiopian church, right?"  I laughed and assured him it was.  I was the only white person there, the rest were all Ethiopian of course.

I love them so much - I have to study more about their Liturgy if I'm to go back.

I find it interesting that most Ethiopians, in fact, most Africans do not experience nor identify themselves as 'Black' the way African Americans do.  They identify by their nation of origin and do not think of themselves as 'black'.

New Ways Ministry speaker prohibited by Archbishop Vigneron

Diane at Te Deum Blog has the story with excellent reference points as to why this is necessary.  Chief among them is the 1999 notification by the CDF:
Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have often stated that they seek, in keeping with the Church's teaching, to treat homosexual persons “with respect, compassion and sensitivity”. However, the promotion of errors and ambiguities is not consistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion: persons who are struggling with homosexuality no less than any others have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them. The ambiguities and errors of the approach of Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church. For these reasons, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons and are ineligible, for an undetermined period, for any office in their respective religious institutes. - Te Deum Blog
 Errors and ambiguities ...

See -  errors and ambiguities is what is wrong with many of the new dimensions in pastoral care for the gay - homosexual - same sex attracted person.  I've often said I'm convinced the development of doctrine began with Dignity and New Ways - it coalesced within these movements.  There are hybrid shoots, hot house cultivators working on reconciling the more ambiguous and erroneous cuttings with authentic Catholic teaching.  Look among the LCWR.  These days, everyone looks for the good in sin, even going so far as to call pornography good.  God's plan for humanity, love and reproduction is beautiful and good - pornography corrupts and degrades male and female, as well as the conjugal act.  While it is true the best errors and heresies take on the appearance of what is good and true, they are nonetheless evil deceptions.

As Diane notes in her post:
New Ways Ministry was also the subject of a statement by the USCCB in 2010, which states:

No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

No.  I am not saying people like Eve Tushnet or the Spiritual Friendship group is out to change Catholic teaching on gender, sexuality, or marriage - I'm just pointing out how at least part of the 'genesis' of the 'new' thinking in pastoral care can be linked to the New Ways philosophy.  Perhaps the so-called 'new homophiles' can salvage the wheat from the chaff.  It's risky business and requires great spiritual integrity.

Oddly enough, in my files I came across a letter to a local pastor from the early 1990's expressing nearly the exact same views as some of the Spiritual friendship folks propose.  I will try to print it out another time.  It was an anonymous writer to which I replied in another later bulletin, with the exact same views I hold today - which I'm convinced are in accord with Catholic teaching as well as Courage Apostolate.  Interestingly, the author of the 'gays-need-to-feel-welcome-in-the-Church' letter praised and recommended Fr. Curran's teachings, among other pioneers of the sexual equality movement.  Been there, been through that, read and studied the same stuff.  Ambiguity perpetuates error.

That said.  Gays are welcome in the Church.  Always have been.  The welcome committee is the priest sitting in the confessional - the entrance is narrow - but it leads to life and freedom of spirit.  The sacraments are the ordinary means to enter into full communion with the Church.

Confusion online.

There are many voices in media, in pastoral work, online, on YouTube.  People are writing books and giving interviews, claiming extraordinary conversions and spiritual experiences.  I just want to remind everyone to be careful.  Remember Fr. Corapi - he kept repeating his conversion story, the details seemed to get juicier and juicier.  If you are making a living on your conversion story - be careful.

Strange as it seems, there are spiritual eccentrics who feel called to engage in gay events telling these people "Jesus loves gay people".  Nothing wrong with that - it may be admirable.  However, these same folks can turn around and tell gay people not to say gay, identify as gay, or worse, say they can't be gay and Catholic.  It's a contradiction.  They contradict anyone who disagrees with their position or doesn't follow their methods of evangelization.

Another person may write a tell all book about her failed lesbian love affairs and tells everyone how evil gay relationships are.  It's a single woman's experience.  Friendships fail.  Love affairs end in disaster.  I'm just saying, one cannot judge an entire group upon individual experience.

I did that years ago and resorted to generalizations and statistics - which mean absolutely nothing to people in search of truth, or more to the point - seeking God.  None of us, still loving the world, can even begin to imagine our own demise unless something very dramatic points our attention towards the final things.  My point here is that trying to scare people with AIDS and threats of hell doesn't work - especially when your life has been a living hell already.  Besides, salacious details simply satisfy curiosity.

But I digress.

There are crackpots online - people who maybe should be on medication - or off, people with uncontrolled mental illness, obsessions; as well as deluded individuals trying to market themselves.  Don't be fooled.

If you want real, clear, Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage, if you want to be welcomed into the Church, if you want authentic testimony and witness, go here.  You don't have to join a group, but it is an important resource to find support, guidance, and solid teaching - even direction - and Courage offers that.

If you are gay and do not feel welcome in the Church - try going to confession.  As I told Diane, "For me the welcome mat has always been the line outside the confessional - which is in a way the narrow door that leads to life and freedom of spirit."

I also want to add that we ourselves frequently create our own barriers to acceptance and inclusion.  That is an important factor one must come to understand.  A little self-knowledge goes a long way.

Oh!  And to be sure!  I may be wrong.  What I say may just have worked for me.  I'm not an authority.  Do not listen to me - listen to the Church and your confessor/spiritual director.  Don't go to strangers - and don't fall for extraordinary displays of piety or evil either.  Don't be too spiritual.

[Ed. Note:  I mistakenly posted this unedited version late last night, subsequently lost my edited version, so I hope the post makes sense.]

The Altar Server: A Tutorial.

Video and commentary from Garrett Johnson at Catholic Link:
As a reflexion, I would like to propose the idea that the liturgy, and above all the Mass, is indeed a School of Christian Living. There, in addition to receiving the sacraments, we learn keys, attitudes, and habits that need to be applied and irradiated in our daily lives. - Garrett Johnson 
This is so needed today, every parish should see this.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patti Smith at the Vatican

She could use a new stylist.

I've never been a big fan - actually, not a fan at all.

Patti Smith is a lot older than I am.  A lot older.  I like that about her.


I don't really care who sings at the Vatican.

Turkey Idolatry

Concentration-Extermination Camp for Turkeys.

Americans celebrate Turkey Day and Black Friday...

With over-eating, drinking, family fights, parades, football and shopping.

It's idolatrous.

Slutty priestess with her votive offering.

Here's something not about gays ...

Heroic drinking and smoking - and still writing.  Now that's special.

Chesterton was a tippler.

That's why he was so fat!  Chesterton cult followers may be disappointed that an 'apparent' lack of temperance may pose problems for his cause - heroic virtue is required if you weren't a martyr.  Although, dispensations have been made in the past - the Pope can beatify anyone.  Kinda, sorta.

"I cook with wine, 
sometimes I even add it to the food."

If Chesterton ever makes it, it will be nice to know we have a saint who liked his drink.  Recovered alcoholics enveloped in the odour of sanctity are so middle class.  These days they are a dime a dozen as well.

Oh wait Chestertonians!  This just in @3:01 PM on November 22, 2014:  Chesterton's reputation untarnished: “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard. . .!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matt. 11:19)

Indisputable evidence of sanctity and distributist drinking thinking.

"Hear, hear!  I'll have another Frances, my dear!"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Here's a thought.

I wonder how long Adam was able to live by himself?

60 Minutes and Cardinal Sean

I've watched 60 Minutes since its debut in the '60's.  I only missed it when I was in a monastery or being a hermit.

This past Sunday, I watched Cardinal Sean's interview.  I thought it was fine, but could have been better.  He wasn't speaking 'ex cathedra' - obviously.  Of course we know the interview was edited down as well.  Interviews are usually edited for time and content.  I think even Fr. Z experienced that and had to do a post explaining what he really said.  (Go here.)  Cardinal Sean expanded upon the content of his interview as well.  (Go here.)

I am continually appalled by what Catholic commenters write in reaction to everything and anything which comes out in MSM on what this or that religious figure said.  I came across a comment calling Cardinal Sean a slime ball.  Worse things have been said, but that is an evil thing to say.

Anyway.  Rorate Caeli has a very good take on the 60 Minute interview.  I cite it because it is a respectful and dignified response to a Catholic who was obviously confused by what the Cardinal had to say in response to some very tough questions.

Cardinal O’Malley apparently resisted being interviewed on 60 Minutes for a long time but finally gave in. In so doing he put himself into an impossible position of trying to make sense of Church doctrine in a purely secular context, that is, a context that sees everything through the lens of personal rights and equal opportunity. When Norah O’Donnell, his interviewer, first brought up the question of why the Church denies the priesthood to women, the Cardinal’s answer was solid: he referred to the Incarnation and the maleness of Christ. He did not follow that through, however, for he was immediately forced to respond to the question in the secular way of thinking as set by the interviewer: power, fairness, exclusion, discrimination against women. O’Donnell, using “gender” terminology as a preface, asked the Cardinal the set-up question: Do you think the exclusion of women in the priesthood is “immoral”? The Cardinal was put in the position of having to respond to the question in terms of “gender”, gender discrimination. And that is where he stumbled, for Catholics do not believe in the ideology of gender theory. We believe in sex: male and female. He could have gone back to the Incarnation and the maleness of Jesus Christ, but that would be talking about theology, about doctrine, something of no interest to secularists, even Catholic secularists. - Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla

Read the rest here - it is a charitable and respectful commentary. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fr. Mark needs prayer.

I just noticed Fr. Z made a request for prayers for Fr. Mark Kirby who is in the hospital.

Please pray for him and his community.  They may need added donations as well.

Go here to learn more.

Eve Tushnet: Wrong? Or right?

Big Pulpit has the attention grabbing headline: Eve Tushnet is Wrong, by Kevin O'Brien

Really?  Is that ex cathedra?

I had already read O'Brien's post which didn't really declare "Eve Tushnet is wrong" - it was more fun than that.  What I got from the article is that he disagrees with Tushnet and therefore she is wrong because Joseph Sciambra pretty much said she was wrong and Kevin agrees with him.  More or less.

And then we get into hairsplitting the meaning of words such as gay, lesbian, gay Catholic, SSA, and even "former gay porn star".  Joseph Sciambra now explains he was an amateur porn actor and escort.  Adding in his profile:
In 1999, following a near death experience, Joseph returned to the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Since then he has written extensively concerning the real-life issues of pornography, homosexuality, and the occult. - Sciambra
No doubt Joseph is a good faithful Catholic and has very deep concerns with the acceptance of porn and homosexuality in our culture, as well as the influence of the occult.  What he writes is good and true.  Obviously he disagrees with Eve Tushnet's book - or some of the things she states in her book.  I have some disagreement with her POV as well - but I disagree with many people over issues of homosexuality.  For instance, I disagree with things Cardinal Dolan has said.  It is clear that Eve isn't promoting a different Gospel - she is writing from her experience and understanding about an issue she has struggled with.  She is not claiming infallibility in what she says in her book.

What I believe she is doing is offering people a look at what it means to continue to identify as gay or lesbian - even queer - and still be called by Christ to the fullness of the Gospel, to be chosen to follow Christ as a faithful, Catholic, Christian woman.  There is nothing wrong with that.

The Church does not say to a person who experiences homosexual attraction that he or she must seek reparative therapy if they are not converted from the inclination entirely.  The Church doesn't say that a person needs change what they have understood, perceived, or experienced as a 'sexual orientation', rather that the person is called to conversion of heart, conversion of manners: the person is called to holiness, to chastity.

Some people see the call to chastity and holiness as nearly insurmountable as it is.  Many gay people are convinced the Church hates them.  They experience the Catholic welcoming committee as banging them over the head with "You can't come in if you say you are gay - if you want to come in you have to say, 'I'm not gay - I'm same sex attracted'!"  But that is not true - that is wrong.  The official language of the Church does not use terms such as 'gay' ... although the Church is clear that such persons are called to chastity, and are among those called to holiness.

Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. -CCC

That gets repeated so often we ought to know it better than the Baltimore Catechism Q and A.

That said, even active gay people can go to Mass, and to be sure, they can and should pray.  They may not receive sacramental communion at Mass, but they can certainly go to church and participate in Mass.  The Church condemns homosexual acts - not the person.  (Alcoholics at AA still identify as alcoholics.)

Therefore, Eve Tushnet is not wrong since she accepts Catholic teaching and offers hope to many who seek God - no matter who they are or how the identify themselves.

Joseph Sciambra on what bothers him about Eve's book:

First of all, the problem starts right off in the title of the book itself: “Accepting My Sexuality..;” this is not “my sexuality,” and it is not your sexuality, it’s a wounded condition. In fact, it’s not a sexuality at all, as the Catechism rightly states - it’s a “disorder.” And, as the Sacred Congregation wrote, in its “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:” the inclination itself “…is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” Therefore to “accept” homosexuality is to accept a moral evil. 
Secondly, Tushnet disturbingly writes: “I’m in no sense ex-gay. In fact, I seem to become more lesbian with time—college was my big fling with bisexuality, my passing phase…” While I completely understand her ambivalence towards embracing the Catholic ex-gay therapy movement, by the way - which I highly recommend (in particular: Dr. Joseph Nicolosi,) I am gravely worried by her admonition that she has become “more lesbian.” 
Thirdly, Tushnet wants to somehow redefine the gay lifestyle for skeptical Christians, who, according to her, have been mislead by overly critical works; on this subject she wrote: “And—more problematically—these books tend to assume that gay communities are like fairy gold, which looks like real gold but turns to dead leaves overnight. So, too, gay communities are presented as attractive and perhaps even liberating at first, but ultimately hollow and worthless. There needs to be a book directed at people who still find beauty, mutual aid, and solidarity in gay life…” - Sciambra

I do not have a problem with any of that.  I think I understand  where Joseph is coming from - and he is right as far as Catholic teaching is concerned.  Nevertheless, Eve is not saying anything contrary to Catholic teaching.  In fact she is writing to people 'where they are at'... she accompanies those most in need of mercy.  She reminds me very much of Madeleine Delbrel whose mission was to live amidst those who were most in need of evangelization.

It seems to me Tushnet is a realist, she understands the term disorder and believes homosexual acts are indeed sinful.  I don't claim to understand how she feels even 'more lesbian' now that she is celibate and sober - but I don't understand women - lesbian or not.  To be honest, I don't understand gay.  I understand myself as a man... a Catholic man.  Just Catholic.  How another person defines himself is not my business.

The secular world, and some in the Church use the term gay.  That's just a fact.  It is also a fact that this is taught in schools - it has been since Eve was a kid, and is even more so now days.  (I point to that fact all of the time.)  It is used, and has been used for decades by mainstream culture.  The Church doesn't use the term in doctrinal documents.  The secular world uses it though.  It's just a fact of contemporary MSM life.

I'm not sure Eve is trying to redefine the "gay lifestyle for skeptical Christians."  I think she is introducing skeptical Christians to an aspect of gay culture they have not hitherto been acquainted with - gay Christians.  I don't get it completely, but evidently many gay Christians do.

I told a friend I was reading her book.  My friend is rarely interested in anything Catholic except art, architecture and Pope Francis.  He perked up at the title of Eve's book, "Gay and Catholic" saying, "Really?  That sounds interesting."  I asked why he said that, and he said he didn't know you could be gay and Catholic.  I answered, "Yes, you can be - you just can't engage in homosexual acts - no sex.  Chaste and celibate."  He answered, "Well that I am."  I replied, "Then you can become a Catholic."

Nothing is wrong with Eve Tushnet - as far as I can see.

Nothing is wrong with Joseph Sciambra either - as far as I can see.

Just saying.

I'm sure I'll be writing more on this subject in the future.

"...and the Israelites moved on from the wilderness of Sinai by stages..." - Numbers 10:12

Song for this post here.

Mike Nichols

"Dryly urbane"

“Most of the time people thought we were making fun of others when we were making fun of ourselves,” Mr. Nichols said in 2000. “Pretentiousness. Snobbiness. Horniness. Elaine was parodying her mother, as I was mine, and a certain girlishness, flirtatiousness, in herself.”
“But what I really thought it was useful for was directing,” he said, “because it also teaches you what a scene is made of — you know, what needs to happen. See, I think the audience asks the question, ‘Why are you telling me this?’ And improvisation teaches you that you must answer it. There must be a specific answer. It also teaches you when the beginning is over and it’s time for the middle, and when you’ve had enough middle and it’s time already for the end...” - NYT


Jimmy Ruffin, RIP

+ 1936-2014 +

What becomes of the broken hearted (1966)

That song would have been the closing credits of the movie of my life.  LOL!

May Jimmy Ruffin and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

What becomes of the broken hearted?

As I walk this land of broken dreams,
I have visions of many things.
But happiness is just an illusion,
Filled with sadness and confusion.
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a tumblin' down.
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger,
I can't stand this pain much longer!
I walk in shadows,
Searching for light.
Cold and alone,
No comfort in sight.
Hoping and praying for someone who care,
Always moving and goin' nowhere.
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find,
Some kind of peace of mind.
Help me..
I'm searching though I don't succeed,
For someone's love, there's a growing need.
All is lost, there's no place for beginning,
All that's left is an unhappy ending.
Now what becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find,
Some kind of peace of mind,
I'll be searching everywhere,
Just to find someone to care.
I'll be looking everyday,
I know I'm gonna find a way.
Nothings gonna stop me now,
I'll find a way somehow.
I'll be searching everywhere...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why is 'dysphoria' more acceptable than 'disorder?

Jon Kortajarena
for The Narcissist

Random musings.

If there is no such thing as gender and human beings have evolved to a non-binary state - sort of like angels - then we can have sex with anyone - if they consent, that is.  It's beyond gay, isn't it?  Yeah, it is.  Human nature being what it is will still have to create some sort of caste system all over again though - don't you think?  (Comments are still closed so you can't answer that.)

Back to disordered thoughts...

So why is dysphoria a kinder gentler term than disorder?  I don't think it is.  I think disorder is very informative.  In fact, I don't mind real terms such as, disorder, dysfuntional, dysphoria, dystopia, dis an' dat.  (I hate being serious, but I am lately.)

Self love - inordinate self love - is disordered, it makes me dysfunctional, and causes you to be dysphoric, and therefore life becomes dystopic.  Yes it does.

Yesterday I read something important about self love.  Self love motivates many of us - probably most of us - and it seems to me that is what the Pope is trying to explain half the time we keep asking, "You talkin' to me?!"

So anyway.  Think about this and what you are trying to do to make your dysphoria go away or be accepted and approved ...

"The sin of self love consists in viewing nothing honestly ...

The sin of self love consists in viewing nothing honestly, neither happiness nor even God himself, except in relation to self.  It consists in appropriating all to itself, inasmuch as its one end is its own welfare, and it only looks upon the possession of God, and of his love, as a means to this end.

By this strange confusion (disorientation) love of myself becomes my principle and ruling passion, and the love of God is but a secondary love.

I desire my own happiness and I love myself above all else.  Afterwards I love God, and I desire to possess him as a means necessary to that happiness ... - Fr. Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J.

After the fall ... disorder.

I like this from St. John-Paul II (Today's meditation in Magnificat.)
The story of the human race, even after the fall - into sin - is a story of constant achievements, which, although always called into question and threatened by sin, are nonetheless repeated, increased, and extended in response to the divine vocation given from the beginning to man and to woman (Gn.1:26-28) and inscribed in the image which they received...  - John Paul II, December 30, 1987 Blessing at St. Peter's
What we have received ...

What we have received from God is not disorder or dysphoria, these came after the fall, adding to the disorientation which continually entices us to reject God's plan, his call, his will for our lives.  As JPII explained, "it is a story which is constantly endangered by reason of infidelity to the Creator's will, and especially by the temptation to idolatry."

Free Fall


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cardinal Burke and "normal" Catholic teaching ...

Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce,
“so-called gender theory” into schools. 

I was reading Fr. Z's post on comments Cardinal Burke made in Ireland and they are just so - right.

Lashing out at the “so-called contraceptive mentality,” he warned it was “anti-life” and blamed it for “the devastation that is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography” and the “incredibly aggressive homosexual agenda,” which he claimed could only result in “the profound unhappiness and even despair of those affected by it.” 
Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce “so-called gender theory” into schools. 
He warned that such theory was “iniquitous” and that exposing children to such “corrupt thinking” could not be permitted. *
He said “society has gone even further in its affront to God and his law by claiming the name of marriage for liaisons between persons of the same sex.” 
To applause, the cardinal said he refused to use the term traditional marriage for the marriage of a man and a woman. 
“My response is — is there any other kind of marriage? I fear that by using that terminology that we give the impression that we think that there are other kinds of marriage; well, we don’t.” - Source

I totally agree with what Cardinal Burke has to say on these particular issues.  He knows them well.  He knows the dangers posed by gender ideology.  The introduction of gender theory into schools has happened already.  Besides that, students already know these things.  They know.  If they were not taught in school, they pick it up outside of school.  It is the same dynamic which introduced kids to things like gay-straight alliance clubs, and other after school specials.

Then the kids grow up.

*Too late.  It's permitted.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A very kind priest sent me the following thought ...

But first - another friend sent me this:
“before you can be your brother’s keeper, 
you have to be your brother’s brother.”

"Won't it be a relief to see Jesus and whisper all our pain, shame, secrets, and abandonment into His ear? Can you imagine our joy when He tells us, 'How could you doubt my love for you? I've waited for you from all eternity.' " - A priest friend.

And then, I came across something written by another very kind priest - something terribly important to remember for those of us who comment publicly on the lives, actions and statements of others.

It is about grace ... amazing grace ...

In much of the thorny discussion surrounding doctrine and sacramental discipline surprisingly little is said about grace. It is this want of reference to and of confidence in grace that causes the discourse of some to sound akin to that of those who “bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’ s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4). What needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops and in every corner of the ecclesiastical blogosphere is the message of the Apostle: 
There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me for which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful. (2 Corinthians 12: 7–10)
According to St. Augustine: “God does not command you to do impossible things, rather, in commanding he invites you to do what you can, and to ask for what you cannot.” The Council of Trent adds, glossing St. Paul, “and God helps you and makes you able” (Dz 1536)
This is a message of mercy and hope, entirely consonant with the universal call to holiness and with the costly practice of virtue in every state of life. This is a message that needs to be repeated by priests in the confessional and in the pulpit until it reaches the hearts of those who, weary of the struggle, are tempted to despair. “Do what you can and ask God for what you cannot. God will help you and make you capable of those things that, of your self and by yourself, you cannot do”. - Source

The same priest once told me 'there is no accounting for grace'.  It took me all of this time to figure that out. 

Return to your early love ...

The readings from today's Mass touch me deeply.*

They were very important to me when I first returned to the Church.  They call out to me once again today.
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning—
great is your faithfulness!
- Lamentations 3
The call to return to my early love - renewed - each day.

How free that was!  How engrossed I became with Jesus in the Eucharist, with his Sacred Heart - how fixated I became upon him crucified - his holy wounds, his heart, an open wound of love.  I wanted only him.  I didn't care who or what called out for me to stop my prayer: "Jesus!  Have pity on me!"  Like the blind man in today's Gospel - I want to see.  They could tell me to stop and they would even tell me to go away, and I would flee to the next tabernacle...

The world's slow stain.  St. Catherine of Genoa warned of that - 'the contagion of the world's slow stain' is what she feared the most.  That compromise we make with ourselves, our feelings, our desires ...  the desire to please, to fit in ... those voices are really telling us to be silent, to go away from the fountain of light and love.

Nothing, no one, no condition, no circumstance can keep us away from Christ...

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8: 35-38

*Readings for today's Mass here.

Song for this post here.

St. Elizabeth of Thuringia

It is amazing how mistreated St. Elizabeth was in her lifetime.  Rejected by family after her husband's death, she was treated especially severely by her spiritual director.  Read about her holy life here.

If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny his very self ... Mark 8 34-35

"Oh who can make this counsel of our Saviour understandable... Oh who can explain the extent of the denial our Lord wishes of us..." - John of the Cross