Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Michael Voris Mic'd Up Over Sodomy




“There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws..."*


No matter what you say about Michael Voris, the information here is troubling.

That said, Voris certainly nails the means of corruption: Catholic ed., Social Justice groups, and Liturgy.  I've always said LGBTQ theory, according to the Fr. Curran, John O'Neil, New Ways Ministry model, has influenced Catholic education for decades.  Likewise, Social Justice groups in the Church indiscriminately support equality issues related to LGBTQ and radical feminism as well.  I'm not sure how the liturgy has been 'sodomized' - perhaps he means by LGBTQ Masses?  I'll have to watch the show to find out.

Before you say Voris is nuts, just remember what he discusses has been documented and more or less ignored or filed away, out of sight, for one reason or another - again for decades.  The most famous and objective book being The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy - Fr. Enrique Rueda - it remains an excellent reference.  The book was pretty much black listed after its release.  It's out of print but copies are still available on Amazon.  It's not cheap - used copies start at $95 - I paid $90 for my copy a few years ago.

From my understanding there remains a few religious orders in the Church who will not accept anyone with homosexual inclination - even those with 2 or 3 years of living chastely.  It is my understanding that most seminaries and religious communities will accept candidates with homosexual inclination provided they have proven themselves able to live chastely and celibately.  Some Catholic bloggers have taken up this issue once again and I expect the discussion will explode after the Voris Mic'd up episode airs tonight.  Click here.

I've written about this stuff over the years and my experience is that nothing much has changed.  So we'll see what Voris and his troupe can do to reform the Church now.

Voris is also correct in noting that Courage Apostolate has been blocked in some dioceses by priests and bishops who are not supportive.  I know that from experience.

*FYI - a reminder from the CDF:
5. “There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved” (no. 9). 
6. “She (the Church) is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to or as acceptable as the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy” (no. 9). 
7. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. 
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase” (no. 10). - CDF


Song for this post here.

H/T Ray

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Very convincing video on the call to priesthood ...



Included in the video is Fr. Michael Schmitz's vocation story ... he's from the Diocese of Duluth where he works as director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  Fr. Joshua Waltz, from Baton Rouge is the other priest in the video.

This is so good.  You feel discouraged about the Church?  God continues to call good men to follow His Son.  Watch the video and see.

And pray, for these guys and all priests.

H/T Deacon Kandra

On the pastoral care of whatchamacallit persons. More thoughts on 'gay celibates'.



"But-ch-ya are, Blanche, ya are!"

Adding to the confusion here, I just want to say you really can be a gay-celibate.  It doesn't mean you are not a man or a woman.  As Dan Mattson says, our bodies tell us what we are.  Recently I was invited to join Ello, a social website, and I had to write a short profile on myself.  I began with this, "I was born a man and lived all my life as a man ..."  As I frequently say here, I'm a single Catholic man.  I love being a man.

In his essay, Dan Mattson mentions being open to marriage, among other things, as part of his not being gay and simply a single man.  That's his idea.  Nothing wrong with that, either.

One size doesn't fit all, however.

For instance, and as I have often said on my blog and in life:  I never, ever wanted to be married.  In fact, at a very early age, 5, 6, or 7 maybe?  I insisted I would never marry, I insisted that I did not want to be married, and for lack of understanding at the time, I told everyone I wanted to be a priest.  They left me alone after that.  I even made 'private' vows of chastity, all through grade school - even after being molested.  My point is that I knew for an absolute fact I was not called to marriage.  I even tried to 'force' myself to marry later on, after my return to the Church, but it was very clear to me I did not want to be married and it was not God's will for me.  I am a celibate, single man.

So, what is a celibate?  

It is defined as a person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations.

When a person understands himself to be same sex attracted, a sexual inclination popularly, culturally, academically and generally identified as gay, and when such a person decides to return to the Church and the sacraments, living chastely and celibately, he may use the term gay-celibate.  The Church calls all persons to live chastely according to their state in life.  If a person is single and chooses not marry, he chooses the celibate lifestyle for himself.  Interestingly, celibate persons - no matter what their temptations, frequently live together in large or small communities.  Diocesan priests frequently live alone, but more and more join together to live in a community of two or more.  Single men and women can do the exact same thing.

That is pretty much my only disagreement with Dan Mattson's excellent article in Crises.

However, the com box discussion for the article has pretty much turned into a contentious debate, thus taking it out of the pastoral and turning it into an ideological-academic argument in an effort to justify this or that position.  Which is precisely why I hate writing about this subject.  The posts are subsequently picked up by news portals who reduce the work down to a soundbite such as 'you can't be gay and celibate', or something like that.  The person always gets sidelined or boxed-in - thus the pastoral concern gets lost in the details.



But-ch-ya are Blanche, ya are.

I use that line from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane because SSA or gay - chaste, celibate, or sexually active - those who know you use that language.  They will never let it go.  If you are unmarried, they want a handle to identify you with.  That's reality.  You can say what you want, and have all the Church documents on your side, but it is what it is.  Catholic schools, parishes, priests, bishops - they all speak the same language.  To both the religious and non-religious person, SSA pretty much equals gay.  To a person who finds the idea of homosexuality revolting, you are a pansy, a fag, a creme-puff - and these are just some of the pejorative terms I heard this past week on PBS Masterpiece Theater.

My point is, these discussions are great for the classroom, for precise theological teaching, which aids the pastor directing an individual, but they miss the point to the degree it is used to further alienate and or condemn those individuals who may not be as spiritually perfect as one would like them to be.

There really is a progression in the spiritual/moral life of the Christian.  Condemn it as gradualism if you will, but it is a reality.  We are human beings.  St. Benedict recognized that, hence the vow of ongoing conversion of manners.  Christ himself acknowledges that when he says 'strive to enter the narrow way' and 'not everyone can accept that', and elsewhere when he says, 'what is impossible for man is possible for God'.  It is why we pray and do penance and frequent the sacraments and seek direction through reading and spiritual counsel.

Chastity, continence, and celibacy.

Dan Mattson presents Catholic teaching masterfully - he speaks of the way of perfection - he is a wonderful witness.  Dan's essay is necessary to counter the gay-Catholic Spiritual Friendship movement which insists GLBTQ is an identity - an issue of gender politics with the intent towards a 'development of doctrine' regarding Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage.  This movement pretty much militates against the CDF's direction to avoid 'an all too benign interpretation be given to the homosexual condition itself' and by extension, the approval of same sex unions.

A friend of mine privately responded to me regarding the recent Crisis essays, saying that he was just trying to live chastely - to keep the commandments - that he didn't have the strength or interest in such discussions.  My friend is a faithful Catholic, under competent spiritual direction by a priest.  He makes a very good point.

If these discussions on chastity, continence, and celibacy confuse you, I urge you to speak with a good priest, in confession or make an appointment with a priest for a conversation on these issues.  If a priest is unavailable, read the documents on Catholic teaching, or good books on the subject.  Courage is an excellent resource for solid material.  Above all, pray, pray, pray a great deal - and be patient with yourself.  Don't panic - some people go through life in fits and starts and make themselves crazy.  Don't do that.  Use common sense and don't try to please others to be accepted.

Never - ever - despair of the mercy of God.  The Church does not lay burdens upon you that you cannot carry.  Have confidence and don't be discouraged.  In one of St. Paul's letters he says that one ought to continue before God in the condition of life that was his when he was called.  That is not to mean one continues in living in sin - but the call to holiness is not necessarily restricted by one's state of life.  (Obviously if you're an actor in porn films, you'd quit the business, and so on.)  Indeed, elsewhere Paul says to come out from the midst of them - suggesting one leaves behind a sinful lifestyle, or one riddled with numerous occasions of sin.  That's just common sense, nevertheless, one is not necessarily called to go into 'reparative therapy' either.


Of course I may be wrong.  So pay no attention to me - I have absolutely no credentials or initials after my name and so I'm a complete idiot.


Oh!  Why do I involve myself in these discussions?  Why?

Song for this post here.


Screenshot: Pewsniffers Tabloid News

Yeah. So. The photo used below has nothing to do with the headline or the story it is linked to ... Rather, it's a photo of the Holy Father meeting with a former drug addict in Rio. That story here.


Francis Receives 'Former Woman' and 
His/Her 'Wife' at Santa Marta 
... more

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Pope receives Diego Neria Lejárraga as an invited, private guest. What's wrong with that?

Diego Neria Lejárraga

What's wrong with that?

Nothing at all ... although a couple of Catholic writers seem to be raising a few red flags, stopping short of suggesting something is wrong about it.  This, despite the fact no one knows any details about the personal meeting or what was said - except the Holy Father and his guests.

Did I mention that Diego Neria Lejárraga is a transgender male?

A transgender man from Spain had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday. 
Hoy, a newspaper in the Extremadura region of Spain, reported that Diego Neria Lejárraga and his fiancée had a private audience with the pontiff that took place at his official residence.
Neria told Francis in a letter that some of his fellow parishioners at the church he attends in the Spanish city of Plasencia rejected him after he underwent sex-reassignment surgery. He said a priest even called him “the devil’s daughter.”
Francis called Neria on Christmas Eve after receiving his letter.
The private audience took place a month later.
“After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me,” Neria told Hoy in an interview the newspaper published on Sunday. - Source  Original Spanish report here.

So.  Why would the Holy Father reach out to this man?  I think it's obvious - the man felt rejected by the Church.  The Church doesn't know what to do with these people.  Neria reached out, the Holy Father responded.  That is what he does.  Nothing wrong with that.

As bishop of La Crosse Wisconsin, Cardinal Burke permitted a transgendered woman to begin a religious community, or pious association of the faithful. As bishop, Burke said he did so in consultation with the Holy See. A concerned lay woman went over the Burke's head and complained to the Vatican. As a result, the nascent religious community was disbanded.

In a letter, Bishop Burke responded to the complaint, writing:
"With regard to Sister Julie Green, F.S.J., the recognition of the association of the faithful which she and Sister Anne LeBlanc founded was granted only after consultation with the Holy See," he writes. "These are matters which are confidential and do not admit of any further comment.... I can assure you that Sister Julie Green in no way espouses a sex change operation as right or good. In fact, she holds it to be seriously disordered. Therefore, I caution you very much about the rash judgments which you made in your letter to the Apostolic Nuncio." - Source
Today some people dispute the story about Cardinal Burke, nevertheless it is true, local people know many the story well, knowing both the informant as well as the unfortunate victim.

To my knowledge Cardinal Burke has never responded to the story publicly.

I expect the Holy Father is simply trying to respond to a situation as did Cardinal Burke.

The best thing I have ever read on what is wrong with calling it "gay celibacy".



Memory and identity ...
If we wish to speak rationally about good and evil, we have to return to St. Thomas Aquinas, that is, to the philosophy of being. With the phenomenological method, for example, we can study experiences of morality, religion, or simply what it is to be human, and draw from them a significant enrichment of our knowledge. Yet we must not forget that all these analyses implicitly presuppose the reality of the Absolute Being and also the reality of being human, that is, being a creature. If we do not set out from such 'realist' presuppositions, we end up in a vacuum. - St. John Paul II

Daniel Mattson seems to me to be something of a mystic.  (Pier Vittorio Tondelli considered chastity a mystic virtue, and rightly so I think.)  Mattson's most recent essay for Crisis is a spiritual masterpiece: The Strange Notion of Gay Celibacy.

Read Dan Mattson - especially this latest essay - because he presents Catholic teaching much better than I ever could, and much better than anyone else writing on the subject has done.  Here is an excerpt:
Despite what most people might think, the virtue of chastity, like all other virtues, isn’t so much concerned with what we do or don’t do. Rather, chastity is the virtue that helps us see things truly and objectively—things as they really are—within the realm of sexuality. This clarity of vision is necessary for true human freedom and human flourishing. It is chastity that gives us the freedom to order our sexual appetites and therefore make decisions that correspond with reality. Christ lived as a chaste man, not because he followed every dot and tittle of the law (which of course he did), but rather, because he lived in accordance with the truth of what it means to be a man, made in the image and likeness of God. Like Christ, a man who truly knows who he is will naturally lead a life of chastity.
When it comes to homosexuality, then, the reason I mustn’t have a relationship with a male isn’t based on an arbitrary whim of God. Rather, it is immoral because it is irrational for human beings to live in such a way, based on the sort of creature that human beings are.
Put more simply, the reason it is immoral for me to live out a life according to my subjective desires and inclinations is precisely because I am not, in fact, a gay man.
Nor is any man. - Dan Mattson

Sounds crazy, huh?  It's not.  This is exactly what happens interiorly as we grow in understanding and self-knowledge in the spiritual life, we grow in wisdom and grace...  Dan goes on:

Why would I call myself a gay man, then, simply because I find men sexually attractive? This is in opposition to the way God made me and the nature he gave me. Regardless of what my feelings might tell me, my body reveals to me the truth that I am not gay, but rather a male made for a female. The Catechism is clear about our sexual identity: “Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.”
Accepting myself as I truly am requires that I reject a belief that I have a sexual identity other than being a man made for women. Recognizing this truth of who I am, as a sexual creature, is fundamental to the virtue of chastity. When it comes to homosexuality, however, many seem to believe that sexual continence is the earmark of chastity. But this is not so. Rather, continence, in any single person’s life, is a necessary sign of chastity, but it does not express the fullness or breadth of the beauty of the virtue. Chastity is far more than what we do or don’t do with our sexual organs. The Catechism tells us that “chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” - Dan Mattson

Please read the entire exposition of Dan's thought which conveys perfectly Catholic teaching.

So many people believe it is more honest to use the term gay because this is what is used in popular culture and even academia - as well as common usage among clergy and hierarchy.  It adds to the confusion of our day.  LGBTQ advocates especially insist upon the using such terms of identity.   With that understanding, I use the terms here interchangeably.  I'm wrong to do that.  I'm a bad example.  Which is why I tell people not to read me.

However, some people not in complete communion with the Church, or who do not fully accept or understand the fine points of these issues, or have friends and relatives who actually do identify as gay, continue to use the term, and some of them read me anyway.

That said, be assured I will always direct you to read solid Catholic teaching.

Belgau and Hill at last year's Gay in Christ conference.
Mattson's essay would probably not sit well with 
the Spiritual Friendship, Gay and Catholic group.
Not a few clergy like their approach much better,
considering it a more workable alternative to Courage Apostolate.

+ + +


Trivia:  (Just because I can't stay serious for more than a few minutes at a time.)  Mr. Daniel Mattson was my 8th grade teacher.  So how old does that make Dan Mattson?  I know!

See.  I'm always younger.

What?


Song for this post here.
  

People who hear voices in their heads are now encouraged to talk back ...

Sister Magdalena of the Cross, once esteemed by many in Spain, 
confessed, one day, that the Devil had been visiting her in her cell.


File under: Things Catholics always knew.

Besides, isn't that what blogs are all about?  And not just for those who use the Internet to publish their personal locutions?  Some of our blog posts just may be answering the voices in our heads - with our only feed back being the com box - and if you close comments ... the voices in your head get really angry.  What?

All kidding aside, there is an interesting article that may prove helpful for people who actually do hear voices, as the article says, It may not always be a sign of mental illness or need treating with medication.  An interesting thought I suppose.  Reading the entire article however, it strikes me as a little nuts, but so do locutionists.

I also never knew there was a network for people who hear voices.
Recently, Waddingham and more than 200 other voice-hearers from around the world gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the sixth annual World Hearing Voices Congress, organised by Intervoice, an international network of people who hear voices and their supporters. They reject the traditional idea that the voices are a symptom of mental illness. They recast voices as meaningful, albeit unusual, experiences, and believe that potential problems lie not in the voices themselves but in a person’s relationship with them. 
“If people believe their voices are omnipotent and can harm and control them, then they are less likely to cope and more likely to end up as psychiatric patients,” says Eugenie Georgaca, a senior lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the organiser of this year’s conference. “If they have explanations of voices that allow them to deal with them better, that is a first step toward learning to live with them.” 
The road to this form of recovery often begins in small support groups run by the worldwide Hearing Voices Network (HVN). Founded in the Netherlands in 1987, it allows members to share their stories and coping mechanisms – for example, setting appointments to talk with the voices, so that the voice-hearer can function without distraction the rest of the day – and above all gives voice-hearers a sense of community, as people rather than patients.
There's a place in the Church for that too.

Did you know Locutions to the World continues to publish?

I'm sometimes troubled by the language in the Monsignor Esseff publications, the last time I read it, the voice of Mary was warning about economic collapse, and prices skyrocketing.  The language could have been lifted from the Wall Street Journal.  But who am I to judge?

The Hearing Voices Network would do well to consult Catholic mystical teaching on locutions.  Especially John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.  As readers know - I always refer to these saints when it comes to this type of mystical phenomena.  Read here.

The following from Teresa of Avila is also very good:
St. Teresa of Avila, who herself had an abundance of visions, takes a similar stand. She admits that great profit can be had from such things when they are genuine and are received in the proper spirit. Yet she says (Interior Castle 6. 9): "I will only warn you that, when you learn or hear that God is granting souls these graces, you must never beg or desire Him to lead you by this road. Even if you think it is a very good one... there are certain reasons why such a course is not wise." 
She then goes on at length to explain her reasons: First, such a desire shows a lack of humility; second, one thereby leaves self open to "great peril because the devil has only to see a door left a bit ajar to enter"; third, the danger of auto-suggestion: "When a person has a great desire for something, he convinces himself that he is seeing or hearing what he desires." Fourth, it is presumption for one to want to choose his own path, as only the Lord knows which path is best for us. Fifth, very heavy trials usually go with these favors: could we be sure of being able to bear them? Sixth, "you may well find that the very thing from which you had expected gain will bring you loss." 
She then adds that there are also other reasons, and continues with some wholesome advice that one can become very holy without this sort of thing: "There are many holy people who have never known what it is to receive a favor of this sort, and there are others who receive such favors even though they are not holy." - Fr. William G. Most

Joan of Arc Hearing Voices (1879) by Bastien-Lepage



BTW - I never answer the phone - so it goes without saying I'd never pay any attention to imaginary voices, much less answer them.  

What'd you say?



Song for this post here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Little saints: Bill Sackter


William "Bill" Sackter (April 13, 1913 – June 16, 1983) was a mentally disabled man whose fame as the subject of two television movies helped change national attitudes on persons with disabilities. - Source

I watched a deeply moving documentary on Bill.  If you are interested, go here.  Barry Morrow and his family are pretty saintly as well.

Barriers to Christian Unity ...



Or you can't be Catholic and  >fill in the blank<

Concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis said today:

“It is a bad thing that Christians are divided, Jesus wants us united, one body. Our sins, history has divided us. For this we must pray that the Holy Spirit bring us together again". - Angelus message.
Is anyone listening?

Probably not anyone associated with The Remnant and other 'restricted' sites.

I was reading a blog post from a writer who recently challenged Mark Shea on Facebook over something 'gay' related.  No surprise there.  I noted the critic referred to Shea as a neo-Catholic.  I never really knew for sure what that meant - but it made me wonder, 'how can there be unity among Christians when the Catholic Church is divided into factions?'

I Googled neo-Catholics to find out what it means.  I got more than I asked for from The Remnant.

Neo-Caths, Rad-Trads, Trads, Progressives, oh my!

The terminological problem is that two groups of Catholics claiming to be "simply Catholic" differ markedly and sometimes dramatically in matters of theology and praxis, a development not seen until after the Council. The termsneo-Catholicism and neo-Catholic are intended to express the difference between traditionalists and those Catholics who adopted progressive theological views and new practices after the Council even though the Church has never actually commanded any Catholic to do so. The resulting dynamic tension throughout the ecclesia between two essentially orthodox constituencies, one of which did not exist a half-century ago, has no parallel in Church history. - Remnant

And you can't be Catholic and ___.

Really?

Not interested ... how's that for disinterested.



I don't think little children
make these types of distinctions.



I like this from Little Therese:
"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet." - S. Therese of the Child Jesus

Theology of the Body: Rabbit test.


"Class! No petting during the test!"

"Yes Sister."




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some thoughts on Friendship for the Feast of St. Francis De Sales



I'm reading all this stuff on friendship and 'that' particular inclination, which reminded me of something I once copied for another post from Francis De Sales.  I thought it might be a nice followup to yesterday's post.  Forgive me, I took a couple of liberties with the text.
"Whatever is founded on mere sensuality, vanity, or frivolity, is unworthy to be called friendship. I mean such attractions as are purely external; a sweet voice, personal beauty, and the cleverness or outward show which have great weight with some. You will often hear women and young people gay men unhesitatingly decide that such an one is very delightful, very admirable, because he is good-looking, well-dressed, sings, or dances, or talks well. Even charlatans esteem the wittiest clown amongst them as their best man. But all these things are purely sensual, and the connections built on such foundation must be vain and frivolous, more fitly to be called trifling than friendship. They spring up chiefly among young people, and gay men who are easily fascinated by personal attractions, dress, and gossip—friendships in which the tailor and hairdresser have the chief part. How can such friendships be other than short lived, melting away like snow wreaths in the sun!" - St. Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

Too simple?  Perhaps.

There are some who will tell you that you should avoid all special affection or friendship, as likely to engross the heart, distract the mind, excite jealousy, and what not. But they are confusing things. They have read in the works of saintly and devout writers that individual friendships and special intimacies are a great hindrance in the religious life, and therefore they suppose it to be the same with all the world, which is not at all the case. - Ibid

NB: Truth be told, St. Francis De Sales' direction on spiritual friendship is more practical for lay people than the work of St. Aelred... just saying.


Don't listen to me, go to confession and get a spiritual director instead. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tom Brady can do no wrong.



So leave him alone.

His wife is beautiful too.

They are perfect human beings.


Song for this post here.

Deacon Jim Russell splits the hairs of 'disinterested friendship' and same sex 'couples'.

Disinterested?


Ouchamagaucha!  He's sooooo strict!

I like Deacon Jim Russell.  He has a way of getting under people's skin though.  I believe he is blessed with a sensitive conscience, as well as a love of the truth - in charity, no matter how difficult it may be.  He has actually helped clarify, for me at least, some teachings of the Church regarding same sex friendship, and what that really means.  Today I discovered his essay on Catholic Vote regarding "Chaste Gay Couples - and other same sex unions".  He's a brave man.

How dare he?!

I say that jokingly because many people believe that all the Church calls people to is chastity - as long as same sex friends don't have genital sexual relations they are good to go.  Actually, the Church calls all of us to sanctity - holiness - which means a complete and total love of God alone, and our neighbor as ourselves.  Love never harms the beloved, hence, outside sacramental marriage, love never demands the exclusive love of the other.  Don't listen to me however, I have trouble expressing these things, which is why I like the fact Deacon Jim dares to step in and do so.

Perhaps these are hard sayings for most, especially those who are trying to live chastely with a friend they were once intimate with.  It can be hard to accept at first, but if one thinks it through, one eventually can understand there remains a distinction between disinterested same sex friendship and a variation of same sex union.  It may seem unnecessary to make such fine distinctions, but one needs to remember that 'same sex unions' prepared the way for legal recognition of same sex marriage.

As some readers know, I am convinced that marriage is impossible for same sex couples - precisely because of the lack of physical complementarity as well as the ability to 'naturally' procreate - being 'open to life' doesn't make the cut here.  People disagree with me of course, but it remains the basis for my insistence that same sex couples cannot be married, and even if they claim to be, the permanence of a real marriage cannot and does not exist.  This is also the basis for my claim the erotic interest between same sex friends dissipates and can only remain active in and through the use of porn or some other outside stimulus, even degenerating into mutual-consensual promiscuity.  I would also note that proper disinterested friendship, especially between former 'lovers' is an exceptional situation.  The friendship would necessitate resolute determination to help one another grow in holiness and wholeness - to support one another while allowing each other to attain that authentic freedom of spirit God wills for us.   People hate it when I say that stuff, so I'll shut up and hand this over to someone who knows his theology of the body better that I do...
In certain Catholic landscapes, an unsettling custom seems to be developing.
Many Catholic writers, pundits, and thinkers are opting to give a thumbs-up to the notion of the “chaste, gay couple,” describing self-identified “gay” couples who have opted to abide by Church teaching prohibiting “homogenital acts.” These observers of such couples are so rightly impressed by the pursuit of “chastity”* that they, unfortunately, wrongly overlook the other vitally important descriptor—“couple.” 
By glossing past “couplehood,” the observers are missing the inherent contradiction of saying all at once that someone is gay, chaste, and a couple. The claim is that the only “homosexual inclination” that the Church teaches to be “disordered” is the inclination to homogenital acts; therefore, by agreeing with the Church that such acts ought never be willed, the couple is therefore free to live life happily ever after in blissful, chastely-gay couplehood. Additionally, observers assert that being a “couple” is not wrong because the two men or two women aren’t succumbing to the temptation to act out sexually. Such couples are being referred to as Catholics living life in utter fidelity to Christ and His Church. 
Of the many inherent problems with this relative to an authentically Catholic understanding of human nature (which I won’t address here), one basic problem of “category” exists as well—the “chaste, gay couple” represents a specific form of same-sex union, and the Catholic Church makes clear, in its teaching regarding efforts to legalize or recognize same-sex unions, that Catholics are called to oppose them (See “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons”). - Please finish reading here.

I would like to reprint the entire article here, but I don't have permission for that, so please go to Catholic Vote and read what Deacon Jim has to say.  People have asked why Deacon Jim takes an interest in these matters, that it doesn't concern him.  I disagree, as an ordained minister he has Holy Orders, and his concern is pastoral and an important part of his ministry.  It's part of his vocation.

Disinterested.


I came online to check emails while thinking about my recent posts on what Catholics were saying about what the Holy Father said on the flight back from the Philippines ...

There's a church for that.


And I couldn't remember why I thought it was important for me to even comment on it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Archbishop Georg Gänswein gives interviews too.

"Speaking of an antipope is simply stupid, 
and also irresponsible. 
 That goes in the direction of theological arson."

My friend Diane sent me an email with an interview attached.  Gänswein was interviewed by Christ & Welt, a weekly supplement to Die Zeit in Germany.  It is a great read.  I'll offer just a couple of excerpts below.

With the Synods on the pastoral care for families this past and the coming autumn, Francis created a focal point. Especially the question of allowing divorced and remarried faithful access to the sacraments causes much disagreement. Some also have the impression that Francis is more concerned with pastoral care than with doctrine…
I do not share that impression. It creates an artificial opposition which does not exist. The Pope is the first guarantor and keeper of the doctrine of the Church and at the same the first shepherd, the first pastor. Doctrine and pastoral care are not in opposition, they are like twins.
Do the current and the retired Pope take opposite views in the debate about divorced and remarried Catholics?
I know of no doctrinal statements from Pope Francis which are contrary to the statements of his predecessor. That would be absurd too. It is one thing to emphasise the pastoral efforts more clearly because the situation requires it. It is something else entirely to make a change in teaching. I can only act pastorally sensitive, consistent and conscientious when I do so on the basis of full Catholic teaching. The substance of the sacraments is not left to the discretion of pastors, but has been given to the Church by the Lord. That is also and especially true for the sacrament of marriage.
Was there a visit of some cardinals to Benedict during the Synod, with the request that he intervene to rescue the dogma?
There has not been such a visit to Pope Benedict. A supposed intervention by the Pope emeritus is pure invention. - In Caelo et in Terra


Papal gaffes.

soup du jour 
Art: Michael Sowa


So many Catholics online seem to be embarrassed by their Pope when he gives interviews ...

Some say he speaks beneath the dignity of his office.  Others insist his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI would never speak the way Pope Francis does.  Many of these critics just don't like Francis - and that's fine - no one has to like the man.

That said, Catholics seem to have short memories.  Every predecessor of Pope Francis made their own spectacular gaffes and received severe criticism from faithful Catholics - be they progressive, dissenting, or the inflexibly obedient.  As I said in the com box to another commenter:

Actually dear Pope Benedict XVI had a reputation for gaffes - he made a couple of statements on the use of condoms - in Africa, as well as by male prostitutes, which media and faithful Catholics pretty much attacked. Likewise his famous Regensburg lecture on Islam caused quite a stir throughout the world. Even the current Pope Francis was critical. Benedict's appointments were very often criticized, as was the lifting of the excommunication of SSPX Bishop Williamson. Some people still view the Pope's resignation as either appropriate for a failed papacy, or a huge mistake and a running away from the wolves. 
St. John Paul II was even more sharply criticized and accused of gaffes by liberals and conservatives - depending on the 'offense' - especially when he kissed the Koran, as well as his participation in the Assisi gatherings. One can't forget the bare-breasted women communicants in New Guinea, not to mention the liturgical abuse ridden World Youth Day gatherings. 
Of course it would fill a week's worth of com box entries to enumerate the many horrible gaffes traditionalists and secular media attributed to Bl. Paul VI - the real PPVI, not the impostor.

Pope Francis is simply the soup du jour among Catholic politicos, pundits and bloggers - who find him intolerable, not excluding the traditional enemies of the Church in secular media of course - they know how to pit everyone against one another.

What?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Catholics are so sensitive...



How did that happen?

I blame the Catholic Defense leaguers.  They are always on the lookout for some insult against Catholics.  Or maybe it's just American Catholics who have become so feminized?

It's really only since JFK was in office that Catholics took on an air of social respectability and got their names in the paper for other than bootlegging.  I exaggerate perhaps, but before 1960 Catholics had to tough it out, 'paying their dues' as underclassmen to the White Anglo Saxon Protestant majority in power.  So maybe it's a status-oriented-political thing then?  It's not like Catholics were ever slaves in the U.S. ... Eventually they gained a foothold uptown and at the Cape - which meant, respectability, status and class.  Cardinals hobnobbing with the rich and famous and politically powerful became a common sight especially since the 1950's.

I wonder - is that why egos are bruised and crushed so easily today?  Is that why Catholics in the United States feel marginalized and persecuted?  Are the sufferings in this country somehow worse than what Catholics in Syria and Iraq have faced?  Are Catholics chopped to bits or burned alive here in the States?  Is there any suffering like our suffering?  Does the Government force abortion and contraception upon Catholics who seek Government assistance?  Is it the Government who is closing parish churches and schools?  Are men banned from entering seminary?  Are priests banned from travelling abroad and collecting donations for every trip to a foreign powder room?

Of course not.

Yet let the Pope say something innocent, which secular writers use to goad religious people they do not like with, and the tears start swelling up, and the very manly Catholics start pissing and moaning and feeling sorry for themselves.  Where's Cardinal Burke to witness and speak out about such effeminate behavior?

Those poor lonely single Catholic women, some even single mothers, who can't get a date.  The lonely single celibate gay Catholic, suffering the pain of loneliness and isolation, unable to masturbate or marry - exiles in their own parish - so unwelcome, feeling they don't fit in, sleeping alone at night.  Where is the Pope - why can't he call these people and console them and let them know that they are loved and give them a teddy bear?  Why didn't the Synod Fathers ever mention the sad plight of the single person, adrift in a pop-culture they are no longer cool with?  Forget about the widows and widowers who miss their loved ones - they had their chance.

Then.  This past week.  A very special Blossom: The plight of ... Catholics - with ... large ... families!  Oh.  My.  God.  The humanity!  Get me to a Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form or I will never make it to heaven!

Very seriously people - er, gentle reader.  What kind of Catholics have we become?  How painfully sensitive?  What whiners?  What martyrs?

As I said last night in the com box:
If many faithful Catholic couples are in uncomfortable positions because the 'world' doesn't understand what the pope meant or said - what is wrong with that? Isn't the Gospel uncomfortable any way? I hope so.
Did you ever feel funny saying grace in a restaurant? Did you ever get teased for not eating meat on Friday? Haven't people suggested you could skip Mass on Sunday and holy days? Haven't you ever been ridiculed for some Catholic teaching? It goes with the territory. 
I have traditional Catholic friends who are married with lots of kids and consider it a scandal that there is a childless couple who doesn't tell everyone at donuts and coffee that they are either unable to have children or they are practicing NFP - thus, the Inquisitors assume they are contracepting or the husband may be gay. Seriously - I worked with these religious busy bodies.  They can be worse than what we complain about as anti-Catholic bigotry from the world.
And what about gay people? The universe tells them they are nuts to follow the teachings of the Church and to live celibately - they are mocked and marginalized when they support and live according to Catholic teaching. I've been damned if I do or I don't use one term or another in speaking on the subject - and I'm nearly expected to give a blood test to prove I'm faithful to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage when saying anything nice about gay Catholics. Catholics eat their own and cry fowl when someone steps on their toe. 
But so what?! That is life.  We are Catholics - the Gospel is counter-cultural. It's the cost of discipleship. What is with all this self-seeking, self-pity? What is it that pampered, Western modern Catholics want? Praise and the esteem of society for being good boys and girls and keeping the commandments? Do we want adulation and praise just for being faithful?  Are we so self-absorbed that now we imagine even the Pope insults us?  In doing so we make ourselves more Catholic than the Pope, more Catholic than the Church.
Where is the faith? Where is the generosity of spirit? Where is the humility?
I think many today believe they 'paid their dues' and they are seeking some sort of exaltation and praise - simply for doing their duty. That's not Catholic.

. . . 

Bonus feature:  You wanna see sad?  Just remember, not all rabbits have large families ... but they do get lonely.



What? 

Lambs



I love lambs.

The Pope blesses lambs today on the feast of St. Agnes - find out why here.

St. Francis of Assisi used to cry when he saw a lamb because he thought of the Passion of Christ, the little Lamb of God.  It is said a lamb followed him everywhere he went, another story says it was a rabbit he had rescued from a trap.

Lambs are so simple.  Francis called Br. Leo 'little lamb' because of his simplicity and obedience.

Many know the story of how Francis tamed the wolf of Gubbio, who became as gentle as a lamb.

Today we honor St. Agnes, the pure and spotless little virgin who shed her blood rather than surrender her virginity.

St. Agnes pray for us.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, Supports Large Families... Get over it!


Pope Francis' Address to the Italian Association of Large Families

"In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society."


Dear parents, I am grateful to you for the example of love towards life, that you preserve from conception to natural end, despite all the difficulties and burdens of life, and that unfortunately, the public institutions do not always help you. You rightly remembered that article 31 of the Italian Constitution, asks for particular attention to large families; but this is not adequately reflected in the facts. It remains in words. Therefore, I hope, also thinking of the low birth rate that has long been in Italy, for a greater focus on policy and administrators on a public level, in order to give due support to these families. Each family is a cell of society, but large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant, and the State has an interest in investing in it.
Therefore, we welcome the families meeting in this association– like this Italian one and those of other European countries represented here -, and we welcome a network of family associations capable of being present and visible in society and in politics. In this regard, St. John Paul II wrote: "Families should grow in awareness of being 'protagonists' of what is known as 'family politics' and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference." (Familiaris consortio, 44)
The commitment that the family associations develop in the various national and local "Forums", is precisely that of promoting in society and in the laws of the State the values and needs of the family. We also welcome the ecclesial movements, in which you members of large families are particularly present and active. I always thank the Lord in seeing mothers and fathers of large families, together with their children, engaged in the life of the Church and society. For my part, I am close to you through prayers, and I place you all under the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. And a beautiful news is that in Nazareth, a house for families is being built for families around the world who go as pilgrims where Jesus grew in age, wisdom and grace (cfr. Lk. 2,40).
I pray in particular for the families who are most tested by the economic crisis, those where the father or mother have lost their job, - and this is hard – where the youth have been unable to find [work]; the families tried by love ones and those tempted to give in to loneliness and division. 
Vatican City, 

HE SAID THIS IN DECEMBER OF 2014.

A million kisses and thanks to Elena Vidal for the reminder.

Laughing with him - not at him ...


What?

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Pope of surprises ... I guess.

Watch out how you paint him.

 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." - CCC


Fallout from the Holy Father's visit to the Philippines.

Apparently the Holy Father surprised people because he spoke out against contraception and gay marriage and spoke in support of, and the need for support of the family:
Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi later confirmed with Catholic News Service that the Pope had been referring to same-sex marriage among other distortions to both marriage and the family. 
"As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture," he said. "[resist] ideological colonization that threatens the family"

These comments from the Pope are consistent with comments he made in the past while Pope and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jose Maria Bergoglio. Speaking before an audience from the international Marian movement in October, the Holy Father said "the family is being bastardized" and decried "new forms of unions which are totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage." His comments came only a few weeks before he exclaimed, "children have the right to a mother and father" at the Vatican-sponsored "Complementarity of Man and Women" colloquium in November. - Source

The Pope has consistently held up Catholic teaching when it comes to these questions - before becoming Pope he was very clear in his stance against same sex marriage.  The 'faithful remnant' chose to ignore these facts and ran with anti-papist/anti-Catholic  news reports from secular agencies and Catholic blogs and Catholic 'tabloid news portals' such as Pewsitters and other start up sites.

One particularly shrewish Catholic blogger, self-congratulates and pretty much heaps self praise upon herself and other crackpot bloggers such as Ann Barnhardt, Steve Skojec, and other fear-mongering-divisive 'faithful remnant' sites claiming the influence of the Catholic blogosphere goes to the Chair of Peter itself.  In other words, the Catholic blogosphere believes they've somehow forced the Pope to become more Catholic?!  Amazingly ridiculous.

I seriously think many of these folks are deluded malcontents. They are like drunks hanging out at their neighborhood corner bar - arguing and fighting and looking for new fights to get into - just for the sake of congratulating themselves for the win - and if they should lose a round, they start to denigrate and shame their 'liberal' opponent to death.  So today, after they are forced to acknowledge that the Pope is faithful, they ALL go on the attack against secularists, who have no interest in Catholic teaching save to find ways to circumvent it or destroy it.  Suddenly, everyone with a Catholic blog-site muscles up all their sarcasm and derision to hurl insults and told ya so's against the cultural enemies of the Church.

What a bunch of blowhards.  Don't forget to hold out your tin cups to support yourself - especially now while the hits are coming in.

Be sure to support the online 'faithful remnant' priests too.  You know - the ones who wander the 'digital continent' like gyrovagues.

'Gutsy lady' 
Catholic-blogger-type A-O.