Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple, Catholic Christianity... a few thoughts for the day...




The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: "Where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you." The Lord calls all to Himself with the voice of the Gospel, and his voice is heard in all the world: "Come to me, my sheep. I created you, and I love you. My love for you brought Me to earth, and I suffered all things for the sake of your salvation, and I want you all to know my love, and to say, like the apostles on Tabor: Lord, it is good for us to be with You." (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.27)

God will cleanse your sins if you yourself are dissatisfied with yourself and will keep on changing until you are perfect. (St. Augustine, Sermons on I John, I.7)

Whoever hates his sins will stop sinning; and whoever confesses them will receive remission. A man can not abandon the habit of sin if he does not first gain enmity toward sin, nor can he receive remission of sin without confession of sin. For the confession of sin is the cause of true humility.  (St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 71)


To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Who ever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others. (St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 53-55)


A discerning man, when he eats grapes, takes only the ripe ones and leaves the sour. Thus also the discerning mind carefully marks the virtues which he sees in any person. A mindless man seeks out the vices and failings ... Even if you see someone sin with your own eyes, do not judge; for often even your eyes are deceived. (St. John of the Ladder, Ladder, 10.16-17)




Pope Francis really reminds me of the early Fathers.

Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others. Other people will glorify You by making visible the power of Your grace by their fidelity and constancy to You. For my part I will glorify You by making known how good You are to sinners, that Your mercy is boundless and that no sinner no matter how great his offences should have reason to despair of pardon. If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer, let me not offend You even more by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon Me. Amen. - St. Claude de la Colombiere

"Ask grace,
not doctrine."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two important saints for this day: St. Juan Macias and St. Joseph Cupertino.

S. Juan Masias

S. John Macias, feast September 18. Years ago I sent to Rome for first class relics of St. John, St. Martin, and St. Rose, all mystics and humble lay saints from Lima, Peru, each devoted to the Infant Jesus. I waited months and months without hearing a word; I had also sent a generous donation, so I half expected some sort of acknowledgement. Nothing came. Then after praying to St. John I had a dream one night. In it he showed me the nuns who assemble relics in Rome, and let me know the relics were being prepared and would be sent to me shortly. A few days later, the relics arrived from the same convent of nuns I had seen in the dream.

S. Joseph Cupertino

When I lived in Assisi I was permitted to make an 8 day retreat in the solitude of his newly renovated apartments at the Sacred Convent. It was in these apartments that St. Joseph had been 'imprisoned' because of the extraordinary mystical phenomena that surrounded him. He was kept in solitude to keep him away from the curious who flocked to him because of the gift of levitation, for which he is best known. I had a friar who acted as my 'Martha" in the solitude of my retreat, bringing me food and drink and celebrating Mass for me in the saint's oratory. It was a memorable experience for my life. Immediately afterwards, on the feast of the Stigmata, I was professed in the third order of St. Francis at the tomb of our Holy Father in the crypt of the Basilica.

I'm not a monk but I need to take this advice to heart ...

Bishop Guido of Assisi.


How a monk should avoid women and bishops.

The consistent and still current teaching of the old Fathers (which I am embarrassed to repeat, I who failed to escape from my girl cousin, or elude the hands of the bishop) is that in all ways a monk should flee women and bishops. Neither would allow him, once entangled in their company, either to apply himself to peaceful work in his cell, or to cleave to divine contemplation, in the consideration of holy things with undistracted eye. - The Monastic Institutes, John Cassian

As Dusty Towne always says:  "Isn't that true?"

"Isn't that cute?"

Pope Francis urged cardinals, who make up the top echelon of the Roman Catholic Church, to shun the intrigue, gossip and cliques typical of a royal court.



Remember that?

When Pope Francis told the new Cardinals earlier this year:  "May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences."

Yet the blogosphere is lighted up with speculation regarding Cardinal Burke's reassignment, as well as the publication of new books by Cardinals, ostensibly in opposition to Cardinal Kasper's book - the book which Pope Francis happens to like.  Fr. James Martin, SJ covers the disparity here.

Don't forget, we still have Cardinal Dolan playing gay politics with the Erin Go Gay parade in NYC...

I'm sorry, but the Papal Court is coming off more tainted than ever.  It sure sounds like the classic intrigue, gossip, favoritism and preferential court politics to me.

I have to stop following these stories.  I think some people are playing Jesuit politics ...

UPDATE:  Fr. Z has an interesting post on Cardinal Kasper here.  Sounds to me as if Kasper is creating a bit of intrigue all his own:
“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” the cardinal (Kasper) said. “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”
Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes.”

Cardinal against cardinal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cardinal Dolan Responds: Don't rain on my parade.



From Cardinal Dolan's website.
I did not oppose the former policy; nor did I push, condone, or oppose the new one. While the Parade committee was considerate in advising me of the change, they did not ask my approval, nor did they need to. 
Thank you for letting me know of such concerns. I share some of them.
However, the most important question I had to ask myself was this: does the new policy violate Catholic faith or morals? If it does, then the Committee has compromised the integrity of the Parade, and I must object and refuse to participate or support it.
From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals. Homosexual actions are—as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, lifegiving bond of a man and woman in marriage—a moral teaching grounded in the Bible, reflected in nature, and faithfully taught by the Church.
So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.
To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture. I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching, but simply identifying themselves as “Gay people of Irish ancestry.”
If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object. As Cardinal John O’Connor remarked, we do not change the Creed—and I’d add, the Ten Commandments—to satisfy political correctness.
In fact, the leaders of the Parade Committee tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching. They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city, which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching. While they were quick to acknowledge that, in reality, the policy was not unfair at all, they were also realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.
I found their sensitivity wise, and publicly said so.
If, in doing so, I have shown an insensitivity to you, I apologize. - Cardinal Dolan

Works for me.  Kinda.

Moving on...

Monsignor Pope has a great post today entitled: Homosexual Acts Cannot Be Approved or Celebrated By the Church and Here's Why.  Monsignor's post is very good instruction BTW - it would be good to bookmark and keep for future reference - I think you're going to need it.

If I may, I'd like to suggest that a limited or incomplete emphasis on 'homosexual acts' alone leads to this: Gay in Christ: Dimensions in Fidelity.  Not that that there is necessarily anything wrong with that...

It's just that fuzzy thinking can lead to fuzzy points of view - sort of like cataracts.  A sort of spiritual macular degeneration can occur, frequently more common in the aging, but it can happen at any age - even after corrective thinking lenses or surgery.  Perhaps.  As in the case of this South American Cardinal maybe?
On the question of homosexual unions, legalized by the Brazilian Supreme Court in 2011, Cardinal Damasceno Assis is quoted as saying,

"It is a decision by the Supreme [Federal Court, the highest Constitutional Court in Brazil]. Of course, for the Church, it [homosexual union] cannot be equated to marriage, that is different. But, regarding respect for the stable union between these people, there is no doubt that the Church has always [sempre] been trying to do it this way", said Damasceno Assis  - Rorate

Yeah.  So otherwise I have nothing to say.


Trivia:  Know how to say Dolan's name with a Boston accent?  Cad-nel Dho-lun.


I never thought of gay as happy,
much less an identity.



St. Francis and Monte Alverna


"To rise from the contemplation of God`s symbols in creatures to the vision of uncreated goodness itself..."

"While I meditated on the possibility of the soul ascending to God, presented to me, among others, was that wondrous event that occurred in that place to Blessed Francis, namely, the vision of the winged seraphim in the form of a crucifix. And meditating on this, immediately I realized that such a vision offered me the contemplative ecstasy of Father Francis himself and at the same time the way that leads to it" (Journey of the Mind in God, Prologue, 2, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Opuscoli Teologici / 1, Rome, 1993, p. 499).

The six wings of the seraphim thus became the symbol of six stages that lead man progressively to the knowledge of God through observation of the world and of creatures and through the exploration of the soul itself with its faculties, up to the satisfying union with the Trinity through Christ, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi.

The last words of St. Bonaventure's "Itinerarium," which respond to the question of how one can reach this mystical communion with God, would make one descend to the depth of the heart:

"If you now yearn to know how that happens (mystical communion with God), ask grace, not doctrine; desire, not the intellect; the groaning of prayer, not the study of the letter; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness not clarity; not light but the fire that inflames everything and transport to God with strong unctions and ardent affections. ... We enter therefore into darkness, we silence worries, the passions and illusions; we pass with Christ Crucified from this world to the Father, so that, after having seen him, we say with Philip: that is enough for me" (Ibid., VII, 6). - Taken from Idle Speculations

Lord Jesus Christ,who reproduced in the flesh of the most blessed Francis, the sacred marks of your own sufferings, so that in a world grown cold our hearts might be filled with burning love of you, graciously enable us by his merits and prayers to bear the cross without faltering and to bring forth worthy fruits of penitence: You who are God, living and reigning with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen


The feast of the Stigmata ...

Today's feast, once celebrated universally as an optional memorial, is now observed primarily by Franciscans. This feast had been permitted to enliven the hearts of men with the flame of love and devotion.
To enkindle love for Jesus crucified in the hearts of the faithful, Paul V extended the feast of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (September 17) to the universal Church. The prayer for the Mass is as follows: "Lord Jesus, who at a time when charity was growing cold in the world, to enkindle our hearts with the fire of Thy love, didst renew the sacred stigmata of Thy passion in the flesh of the Blessed Francis, grant us, in Thy goodness, that by his merits and prayers, we may continually bear the cross and bring forth worthy fruits of penance. Thou who livest," and so on. In this prayer we see the great realism of the Church, which to the highest elevation of thought unites the effective practice of all the virtues. - Three Ages of the Interior Life




Really allow yourself to be loved - let yourself be attracted by the spiritual, the extraordinary, the ecstatic.  Allow yourself to be raised above the complexities - try to see the situation as God sees it.  

Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi ... When the world was growing cold ...

Oratio


Dómine Jesu Christe, qui, frigescénte mundo, ad inflammándum corda nostra tui amóris igne, in carne beatíssimi Francísci passiónis tuæ sacra stígmata renovásti: concéde propítius; ut ejus méritis et précibus crucem júgiter ferámus, et dignos fructus poeniténtiæ faciámus: Qui vivis.


A blessed feast day to all.


Art: The Sacred Stigmata, Francisco de Herrera, el Mozo (o el Joven)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From Crux: More propaganda against Archbishop Nienstedt...

Archbishop Nienstedt (foreground) 


Theology professors from the University of St. Thomas join the critics of Archbishop Nienstedt.

Warning of a 'pastoral breakdown' in the Archdiocese, the professors add fuel to the contention that the Archbishop should resign, because of the sex abuse scandals and how these have been handled by the archdiocese.  Perhaps there's a personnel problems which acerbates the situation?  In other words, maybe Nienstedt is not the problem?  After all, he is working to restore confidence - maybe his critics don't want it restored?

Right from there were people in this archdiocese who were not happy with the appointment of Archbishop Nienstedt.  Local pastors who call for his resignation included - and now the theologians have joined in.  Is it a conspiracy?  I'm not sure.  Although I'm very much reminded of the anti-clericalism leading up to the French Revolution when I read stories such as this - which resonate with the complaints made by certain pastors within the archdiocese who have already called for the Archbishop's resignation:

A group of theology professors from the largest Catholic university in Minnesota penned an open letter to the archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul, lamenting ongoing revelations of clergy sex abuse and “also to the manner in which these scandals have been handled.” 
Addressed to Archbishop John Nienstedt, under fire for allegedly mishandling reports of clergy sex abuse, twelve tenured faculty members of St. Thomas University wrote, “Recent events have shown how badly the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese has failed” to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics there. 
The group stopped short of calling for Nienstedt’s resignation, writing that they “remain committed to working and praying for the good of the whole archdiocese, including its pastoral leadership.”

“The harsh light now being shone on the inner governance of the Archdiocese makes clear that the problems are not merely personal,” the authors wrote. “They are systemic, the product of a long-standing and deeply entrenched clericalism that does not have to be the corollary of the ordained priestly ministry.” - Finish reading here.

The suggestions for 'recovery' in the archdiocese proposed by the theologians are not at all unreasonable however:
The theologians suggest ways for Nienstedt and his team to “proposals that may open a path toward recovery from the pastoral breakdown we are witnessing,” such as a series of town hall-style meetings at parishes, stepping away from direct involvement in legal proceedings, and engaging more lay people in church governance.
 The Archbishop has started that, employing Timothy O’Malley, the former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to fill a leadership position created by the archdiocese in response to the wave of clergy abuse allegations in the past year.  This is a signal the Archbishop is working to restore confidence - perhaps he's not moving fast enough for his critics?  Give him a chance and support him in his efforts.

That said, I'm not sure "engaging more lay people in church governance" holds great promise.  It seems to me there are plenty of laity involved as it is.  I think we need more priests and religious, but who will be attracted to religious life when they witness such division and lack of support among church people?  And what priest would ever consent to being a bishop in such a negative culture?

Pray.  Pray for the Church and the Archbishop.  Pray for vocations.

H/T Ray and Maria.

The Blessed Virgin and Islam: Two famous Marian shrines in Italy, one in Spain, provide sanctuary for sacred relics rescued from Muslim pillage and desecration.

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.



The Holy House of Loreto and Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Both popular piety and tradition holds that the Holy House and image of Our Lady of Good Counsel were transported by angels away from Muslim invaders. The Sacred Image of Good Counsel was carried from the Turkish onslaught of the Balkans. The Holy House was transported, first from the Holy Land to Croatia, and then, providentially came to rest in Italy.


Translation of the Holy House.


The Holy House.
How this Shrine came to be is a fascinating story. This is the House of Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, which had been brought by angels from Nazareth to the Dalmatian coast, and later, by the same angels, transported to Loreto where it stands today enclosed in the huge Basilica just described. The history of Loreto is based upon a wealth of sound tradition and reliably recorded historical facts. We know from the visits of reliable witnesses to the Holy Land, whose journeys were carefully recorded in documents, that the Holy House of Nazareth was intact in Palestine at a relatively late date. St. Louis, King of France, heard Mass in Nazareth in 1253 in the same chamber where the Angel announced the coming of Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
The Holy Land had seen its last and unsuccessful Crusade in 1291. The last of the Christian soldiers withdrew from Nazareth the same year, leaving behind the holiest of houses unprotected. It was to be dealt with according to the Muslim tradition of pillaging and destruction. It may seem far fetched to think that a tiny clay house venerated by a handful of Christians could merit such vindictive rage. But this was a unique house -- visibly an edifice of mud and straw, but preserving within its framework living memories of its Royal Household -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. 
The first assault was that of the Seljukian Turks in 1090. They rampaged through the Holy Land, looting the treasures left in the churches of the Holy Places by devout Christian pilgrims. They turned basilicas and churches into mosques, and destroyed what was deemed useless for their unholy purposes. Among the last class fell the fate of Santa Casa, home of the Holy Family. Fortunately, when Constantine had the first Basilica built over the holy spot in 312, the house, along with the grotto that was attached, was interred within a subterranean crypt. And so it survived the initial desecration of Islam. - Finish reading here.
"...the fresco has inexplicably remained suspended in the air 
close to the wall of the chapel in the church of 
Our Lady of Good Counsel for over five hundred years."


Our Lady of Good Counsel

The history of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is available on several websites, so I will not go into great detail here.

In 1467, on the 25 of April, during celebrations for the feast of San Marco in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud was seen covering a 5th century church dedicated to Our Lady. Shortly after the cloud lifted, the townsfolk, summoned by the church bells, discovered a delicate fresco of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, it was painted upon a very thin piece of unsupported plaster, and floated in a small niche of the church. Later it was revealed the image had been transported by angels from Scutari, Albania, because the region was coming under Islamic control.
"One day during the siege of Shkodra (Scutari) two escaping Albanians stopped at the Church to pray to Zoja e Bekueme (Our Lady of Good Counsel) for their safe journey. While praying fervently, they suddenly noticed the painting moving away from the wall.... The two Albanians, Gjorgji and De Sclavis,"followed the painting, as if it were a bright star, all the way to Rome, where the image disappeared. They heard rumors that a miraculous image had appeared in Genazzano. They ran to the nearby town and there discovered the painting of their beloved Zoja e Bekueme." The two "settled down and made Genazzano their home." - Source
Our Lady of Guadalupe Extremadura



Our Lady of Guadalupe (Estremadura)

The shrine houses a statue reputed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist and given to Saint Leander, archbishop of Seville, by Pope Gregory I. According to local legend, when Seville was taken by the Moors in 712, a group of priests fled northward and buried the statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Virgin appeared one day to a humble cowboy named Gil Cordero who was searching for a missing animal in the mountains. Cordero claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him and ordered him to ask priests to dig at the site of the apparition. Excavating priests rediscovered the hidden statue and built a small shrine around it which evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery. - Source
Guadalupe is actually an Islamic name...

As noted, Our Lady's very special statue was enshrined in a nearby Franciscan Monastery next to the "Wolf River." 
The Moslems, during their Spanish occupation, had actually named the river. The Islamic term for Wolf River is "Guadalupe" (Guada = River; Lupe = Wolf). Hence, the famous Catholic image in Spain has been known, since the 14th century, by the Islamic name of "Our Lady of Guadalupe." - Source

Our Lady of Ransom, September 24.

Our Lady requested a a religious order be founded to ransom Christian captives from Muslim slavery.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter Nolassco, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three men established a work of the redemption of captives. She desired the establishment of the Mercedarian religious order. (derives from the Spanish word for mercy - merced) Its members would seek to free Christian captives from the Moors and offer themselves, if necessary, as an exchange. The complete name of this order is: Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Ransom of Captives (OdeM). 
The Order was legally constituted at Barcelona by King James of Aragon was established in Spain and later approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. St. Peter was the first superior, with the title of Commander-General; he also filled the office of Ransomer, a title given to the monk sent into the lands subject to the Moors to arrange for the ransom of prisoners. - Source


Prayer to Our Lady of Mercy
Blessed be Thou, O Mary, the honor and the joy of Thy people! On the day of Thy glorious Assumption, Thou didst take possession of Thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of Thy merciful interventions. The captives whose chains Thou hast broken, and whom Thou hast set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, may be reckoned in the millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of Thy dear Birthday; and Thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief. And yet, what sorrows there are still upon the earth, where Thou Thyself didst drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Thou alone, O Mary, canst break the inextricable chains, in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high-sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole earth, the entire human race, cries out to Thee, in the words of Mordecai: "Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!"(Esther 15: 3)


Four historical examples of devotion to Our Lady in response to militant Islam.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows

In thanksgiving for favors granted.

I want you to read something.

On September 15, 1943, Bishop da Silva went, therefore, to Tuy and he asked Sister Lucy to write down the Secret “if she really wanted to.” But the seer, undoubtedly under the impulse of the Holy Spirit was not content with this vague order. She requested of her Bishop a written order, formal and perfectly clear – that is very important. The final Message of the Virgin of Fatima is, as previously were Her other requests, linked to marvelous promises. It is an exceptional grace offered by God to our 20th Century in order to meet its most urgent needs. But again it is necessary that the pastors of the Church have sufficient faith and docility to the designs of Heaven in order to be instruments of this outpouring of grace that God wants to bestow upon the world through the sweet mediation of His Immaculate Mother. In 1943, God desired that it be the Bishop of Leiria, who demanded of this messenger the writing down of the Third Secret. - Frere Michel de la Saint Trinite
Read more at Unveiling the Apocalypse.  It is very good information regarding the Third Secret of Fatima.

FYI:  A 54 Day Rosary Novena, 27 days of petition, 27 days in thanksgiving, begins today asking Our Lady of the Rosary for the defeat of radical Islam.  Details here.  The novena ends on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  It seems to me the intentions of Our Lady of Fatima may be a better way to phrase the intention of the novena.  Our Lady asked that the children 'pray the rosary every day for the end of the war and for peace in the world.'  

Here's a thought: As long as we're talking about a "piecemeal" World War III...



How about recognizing a piecemeal schism?

How about recognizing a piecemeal great apostasy?  

How about a piecemeal Islam?

I agree with the Holy Father's observation that we are in a piecemeal WWIII - I have no problem whatsoever with what the Pope says...

Just with the rest of you.

Last night I caught a rerun of Bill Donohue on EWTN.  What a load of _____.  He and Arroyo were discussing the St. Pat's parade and Donohue was explaining why he decided not to march.  The whole thing boils down to the fact he was kept out of the loop and felt betrayed.  Who cares.

Betrayed, bewildered... wrong response?

So many of our arguments online are just ego jousts, self promotion and "I'm more Catholic than you" popularity contests.

Some of these conflicts betray something deeper, more divisive.

There really is a piecemeal schism.  This weekend I noted on one 'news' portal (and elsewhere) a few not so subtle little digs over the announcement of the feast days for St.s John XXIII and John Paul II.  I got the impression they were more than pleased that the feast days were not obligatory memorials. What is so schismatic about that?   It is an attitude shared by those folks who reject Vatican II, the Ordinary Form of Mass, and just about everything Pope Francis says.  (Not to forget "all those Fatima 'crazies'.." whose comments will be removed if she keeps posting her crap.)

Yeah, but, a piecemeal great apostasy?   Look around:  Closing churches.  Bad catechesis.  Unfaithful Catholic colleges and universities.  Christians who claim to be spiritual but not religious.  The general population disagrees with Church teaching on contraception and abortion, homosexuality and marriage, and so on.  While religious leaders seek to accommodate teaching to be more welcoming.  It's piecemeal, of course.

Maybe - but a piecemeal Islam?  Really?  Islam is a major religion, a religion of peace.

That is what I get so tired of hearing and reading.  Be it President Obama or some Cardinal claiming Islam is so much like Christianity.  Everyone bends over backwards to say ISIS is not Islamic.  That ISIS can't just decide on their own to form a caliphate.  As if the claims made by ISIS don't count because they don't play by the rules.  To say they are not Islamic is like saying the Nuns on the Bus are not Catholic, or Pro-choice politicians like Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden are not Catholic.  They certainly believe they are.

People are pretending.  Either that, or they are deluded.  Or.  Schismatic?  Piecemeal of course.  Apostate? Piecemeal to be sure.  Embracing Islam, the religion of piecemeal?

“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate
 - that's just like the sign of the cross!"
Watch your neck...


So anyway...  Cardinal McCarrick.
“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself to the audience at a meeting arranged by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. That praise of the Islamic deity is an important phrase in Islam, is found more than 100 times in the Koran, and is akin to the Catholic prayer, ”In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of the human person… [and] as you study the holy Koran, as you study Islam, basically, this is what Muhammad the prophet, peace be upon him, has been teaching.” - Story here.

That sounds fairly piecemeal to me.

I may be wrong of course.

"Never in the history of New York’s 
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 
have homosexuals been barred from marching."
Bill Donohue

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chapel in Espanola New Mexico burglarized - but no money was taken.

Ex-voto wall, Sanctuary of Chalma in Mexico State. 
Even these can be stolen for resale.


Chapels and churches in New Mexico - and elsewhere - be on guard:

Not just to protect sanctuaries from anti-Catholic desecration and sacrilege either ...
It’s a low-blow, even for a burglar. Española Police said someone broke into an old chapel and made off with all kinds of religious items, even some artifacts. The quaint chapel in Santa Cruz near Española has been a place of worship for the Catholic group, Las Carmelitas for years. 
“There’s a lot of history,” said Tania Bustos, a member of Las Carmelitas. 
Over the weekend, it’s members found someone broke in through a window and stole loads of religious items. Among stolen items, are statues of the Virgin Mary used in prayer processions, an old banner of the blessed mother and pictures from the wall are missing. There are empty spaces on the alter, religious relics are gone. 
“They took several saints, a set of curtains, several retablos, wood carvings,” said Detective Corporal Solomon Romero, of the Española Police Department. 
Even a set of embroidered curtains were stolen. Bustos said much of the items are centuries old, some from Spain. Other items were donated. 
“It’s very meaningful, they’re priceless items, they cannot be replaced,” said Bustos. But the burglar didn’t get any money from the break-in, which is all the more puzzling for members of Las Carmelitas. 
“I can’t imagine why they would want to take them,” said Bustos. “I was just saddened by that.” - Source

Scavenging for art and antiquities thieves.

People shouldn't be surprised - especially folks living in New Mexico, where art galleries and shops deal in such antiquities, in addition to a healthy market in contemporary works of traditional religious art.  New Mexico is well known for Spanish Colonial treasures, mission churches and chapels, as well as the retablos and santos they contain - antique and new.  Religious artifacts, paintings, carvings, textiles, relics, and sacred vessels and crowns and accessories, continue to be highly collectible items and demand high prices.  Over the years I have gathered a modest personal collection from reputable dealers and collectors, but the cost grew to be prohibitive.  I have also shown and sold my own art work in Santa Fe.

Just like Europe, Mexico, Central America, and South America have suffered religious art thieves for decades, it appears that now the United States, especially the Southwest and California may expect the same.  Years ago I had dealers tell me that Mexico and Cuzco were already picked clean, and today prohibitions are in place to prevent the loss of national treasures of a certain vintage.

Obscure art and antiques that are stolen can be sold at estate auctions or to small antique dealers who buy and sell at such venues as flea markets and antique shows.  Such treasures also find their way onto websites which specialize in religious artifacts and art.  If a church or chapel suffers such losses, those responsible, and/or curators of such sites should scour the Internet, especially sites such as Craig's list, Ebay, 1st Dibs, Lofty - any website which would sell arts and antiques.  I would also alert dealers and galleries to be on the look out for the stolen items.

Chapels and churches in New Mexico - beware. Catalog and photograph your relics, santos and retablos, textiles, and so on.  Document and protect precious antiques, as well as contemporary acquisitions and furnishings.  And do install some sort of security system.

The Holy Father demonstrates how the Church supports marriage and family ...



"Pope Francis married 20 couples on Sunday, some of whom had already lived together and had children..."
- Source

It seems to me all that secular media and papal critics take from these stories is that the Holy Father married couples already 'living in sin.'  They seem unable to comprehend the act of reconciliation which occurred, the blessing it brought to couples - especially those with children.  It demonstrated nothing is impossible with God - there is always a way back.  The Pope blessed these couples, dignified and sanctified their love, uniting them to Christ and the Church.  Surely the couples had been properly prepared beforehand to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony.  

I like very much what the Holy Father had to say in his homily.  An excerpt:
The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not “fiction”! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross. - Pope Francis

Saturday, September 13, 2014

O my God, I am heartily sorry ...

The Pope said it again...




World War III
Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction…
[...] 
The shadow of Cain hangs over us today in this cemetery. It is seen here. It is seen from 1914 right up to our own time. It is seen even in the present. - Pope Francis' homily at Redipuglia

It is at least the second time the Holy Father called the current global crises WWIII.

Here's a thought.

Since I was born, the United States has been involved in some sort of 'peace keeping' mission, advisory status - with troops stationed on foreign soil, and even engaged in all out war in one region or another around the globe.  Saying nothing of the Cold War and covert operations to defend American interests in foreign countries already engaged in revolution or civil war.

Providentially, on this date in 1917: 

Words of Our Lady of Fatima, alluding to that same war the Holy Father journeyed to Redipuglia in remembrance today:
Our Lady: Continue the Rosary, my children. Say it every day that the war may end. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.

God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to wear the cords to bed. Keep them on during the day. 
Lucia: "I have the petitions of many for your help. Will you assist a little girl who is deaf and dumb?" 
Our Lady: She will improve within the year. 
Lucia: "And the conversions that some have asked to have brought about? The cures of the sick ones?"

Our Lady: Some I will cure, and some I will not. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe. - Source



I have an idea for the Pope.

Perhaps the Holy Father could do something for October 13, the anniversary of the Miracle at Fatima - as a way of preparing for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in 2017.

What if the Holy Father made the following request to all the Bishops of the world:

"I know brothers that the Consecration that Our Lady of Fatima asked for has been accomplished. 

Nevertheless, considering the precariousness of our times, let us join together on October 13, 2014 to renew that consecration, and let us do so exactly as Our Lady requested.  

Considering the dangerous situation in Ukraine, let us join together collegially and consecrate our beloved Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother.  Let us also, together with every diocese of the world, begin the devotion of the Five First Saturdays of reparation asking for peace throughout the world - in addition to a worldwide rosary crusade."

I wonder what would happen?

Editor's note: If any reader has contact with the Pope will you please give him my suggestion?  Monsignor Ganswein, if you're reading...  Tell him not to call me though - I don't like talking on the phone, and I rarely answer it - of course you already knew that.  Thanks!

Rob Ford drops out of Toronto mayor's race...

Story here.
"My reasons for withdrawing 
have nothing to do with Cardinal Dolan or with the gays."



I love Rob Ford.  I love Toronto.  I love Canada.

What?

Friday, September 12, 2014

I love this story: Best Mates get married in New Zealand.

The newly weds: Messrs Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick
They're bears too!


And I say, "Why not?"*  

Narrow minded, bigoted, LGBTQ activists have condemned the marriage.  I know!

Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick wrote their wedding vows yesterday, brimming with"nervous excitement" about their big day. 
The Dunedin men will marry tomorrow (today), but their move has horrified gay groups. 
The pair are heterosexual best mates. 
Engineering student Mr McIntosh, 23, and teacher Mr McCormick, 24, will tie the knot to win a The Edge radio station competition and a trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. 
Mr McCormick said from Auckland yesterday opposition to the wedding was understandable but the pair never intended to offend anyone. 
"We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path." Mr McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage.
The pair said their wedding vows would touch on their friendship and recall their time playing rugby together at King's High School in Dunedin. 
Mr McCormick, a teacher at Musselburgh School, said the friendship began after the two met at Pirates Rugby Club in Dunedin when he was aged 6. 
His family, like Mr McIntosh's, was excited about the wedding.
"They're backing us 100 per cent," Mr McCormick said. - Source

Their parents must be so proud.  I'm thinking it will be a Josephite marriage, which is quite edifying.

Gay groups claim the pair are trivializing marriage ... actually making a mockery of it.

Imagine that.



I wonder if they'd be available for St. Patrick's Day?




*Just kidding - kinda - I'm against same sex marriage. 

H/T Ray and Joel

Bill Donohue got the memo: "We will not march!"


Bill Donohue issued the following remarks yesterday:

The Catholic League, which has marched in 
New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 20 years, 
will not do so in 2015. - Catholic League


No, no, no, Mike!
My reasons for withdrawing from the parade 
have nothing to do with Cardinal Dolan or with the gays.



Editor's note:  BTW.  I think there is a strong possibility this just might be a way of creating an 'out' for Cardinal Dolan.  The Cardinal can now say, "The Catholic League made me aware of this oversight and in conscience I have to back out as Homecoming King/Grand Marshall of the parade."  When the going gets tough, play the pro-life card and you are so off the hook.  Not that anything's wrong with that.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Introducing The 'cyber caliphate'...

In memoriam - thirteen years after.



"Jihad and the rifle alone ... No negotiation, No conferences, No dialogue."

IS is planning to establish a cyber caliphate.
Islamic State militants are planning the creation of a 'cyber caliphate' protected by their own encryption software - from behind which they will launch massive hacking attacks on the U.S. and the West. 
Both Islamic State and Al Qaeda claim to be actively recruiting skilled hackers in a bid to create a team of jihadist computer experts capable of causing devastating cyber disruptions to Western institutions. 
They are now boasting it is only a matter of time before their plan becomes a reality.

WWIII.

We are in it.  The world has been at war all of this time and many of us only now realize it.  Those anti-depressants are good aren't they?  We never even noticed what was happening.

A large local company recently announced their computer system has been hacked.  According to local news, it is the same Russian hackers that took down Target and other systems.  Notice how no one ever mentions the Chinese cottage industry of hacking and online surveillance?  As Edward Snowden revealed, government agencies and small time hackers can do a lot.  And now aimless, anarchist - yet highly skilled young men and women are being recruited by the Islamic State.  Cool, huh?

It is only a matter of time.

It seems to me the collapse of the towers on 9/11 was prophetic.

Song for this post here.


But Father! But Father! - That's what the Pope said.

 Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light...

What the Pope said.  (He's just like Fr. Z!)

“‘But Father’ [one might say], ‘I don’t feel like behaving that way’. ‘Well’, [one might reply], ‘if you don’t feel like it, that’s your problem, but that’s the Christian way.” This is that way that Jesus teaches us. ‘And what can I hope?’ [one might ask]. Go on Jesus’ way, which is the way of mercy. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Only with a merciful heart can we do all that, which the Lord counsels us to do – all the way. The Christian life is not a navel-gazing [It.autoreferenziale] one. It is a life in which one gets out of oneself in order to give oneself to others. It is a gift, it is love – and love does not turn in on itself, it is not selfish, but self-giving.”
The Lord asks us to be merciful. He asks us not to judge. Often, said Pope Francis, “It seems that we have been named judges of others: engaging in gossip, talking behind people’s backs, we judge everyone.” The Lord, however tells us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. “Do not condemn [others],” said Pope Francis, “and you will not be condemned.” The Lord asks us to forgive, that we might be forgiven. “We say it every day in the Our Father,” noted the Holy Father, “forgive us as we forgive others – and if I do not forgive, how can I ask the Father to forgive me?”:
“This is the Christian life. ‘But Father, this is folly!’ one might say. ‘Yes’, one might answer, ‘it is’. We have heard in these days, though, St Paul, who said the same: the foolishness of the Cross of Christ, which has nothing to do with the wisdom of the world. ‘But Father, to be Christian is to become some sort of fool?’ [one might ask]. ‘Yes’, [I would say], ‘in a certain sense, yes. It means renouncing the cunning of the world in order to do everything that Jesus tells us to do and that, if we do the sums, if we balance the ledger, seems to be against us.” - Vatican Radio

Do not judge.  Do not condemn.

Some days I think this is a harder saying than the Discourse on the Eucharist, when many of the hearers went away sad.

Don't go away sad.

I have friends who have left the devout life, the sacraments and even the Church because they found many of the sayings/teachings to be hard, saying they couldn't accept this or that - or even the scandal given by clergy.

Don't go away sad.

Not in this time when martyrs' blood flows from the temple refreshing the the parched vineyard of the Church.  Not now when saints are rising up all over the horizon, heads held high, awaiting the Bridegroom!  

Don't go away sad.

Listen!

 The sound of my lover! here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.

My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
See! He is standing behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.

My lover speaks and says to me,
 “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come!

For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come! - Song of Songs

See! He is standing behind our wall,
gazing through the windows...