Friday, October 24, 2014

The unique compassion and pastoral care of Cardinal Burke for SSA persons ...

I keep trying to convince people that Cardinal Burke is not the cranky old guy MSM and social media paints him as.  He does not hate gay people.  He is not unwelcoming or intolerant.  Far from it.

Badger Catholic posted this story:

Cardinal Burke and the 1998 conversion of one of "Wisconsin’s most outspoken gay activists"
The story is from 2011 but the actual conversion happened in 1998 in the La Crosse Diocese.
From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.*
To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.
As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.
My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms....
A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return. - Finish reading here.

Matt's account ends with an anecdote not so edifying.  The author, Eric Hess mentions a priest who attempted to convince him that 'gay is good':

Despite the blessing of Archbishop Burke and priests like him, I want to stress that there are others who lead souls away from eternal life and happiness.
For example, when I recently went to confession, a priest told me something that is both a contradistinction from and a contradiction of the truth that Archbishop Burke taught me.
The apostate priest told me: You’re gay and the Church calls us to accept our sexuality. I am an ethicist—a scholar. And the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very close to this position—and this is the position—am I going too fast for you? If you are attracted to members of the same sex, that is natural for you. And for you to deny that and resist that is to go against natural law. I believe, as an ethicist, that you can have a male roommate and be intimate—of course without genital expression. But if you do slip in that regard, it would not be a mortal sin. - Badger Catholic

I've often heard similar things in and out of the confessional over the years.

Matt commented that he wasn't sure that it was true that the USCCB is really all that close to the position cited by Hess, but I suspect it could be true for many involved in the organization.  I actually think it is priests and activists like the priest Hess describes who really have it in for Cardinal Burke.  It should be no surprise that not a few gay Catholics reject the 'language' Cardinal Burke uses when speaking of same sex attraction and family - which conforms exactly to Catholic teaching BTW.  Opponents say the 'language' is harsh and therefore a 'language barrier' to those who already feel 'unwelcome' by the Church.

Cardinal Burke's actions, his genuine pastoral care, contradicts those who seek to discredit him.

*I know a few guys who did the exact same thing.  This story sustains my hope they will one day return.

Funny stuff ...

Jazz hands!

Just David!  Just Jack!

It could happen.

'Cranky' Cardinal Burke.
(I saw him called that on a news site.)

Did it hurt?
When you hit the ground?
You know, when you were thrown out of heaven?

I like these dancing priests the best.

Michael Voris wanna be.

More on friendship ...

While friendship itself has an air of eternity about it, seeming to transcend all natural limits, there is hardly any emotion so utterly at the mercy of time. We form friendships, and grow out of them. It might almost be said that we cannot retain the faculty of friendship unless we are continually making new friends. - Robert Hugh Benson

And that's just sad.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ignored by the Synod Fathers: Overlooked ... dissed .... how do you think I feel?

We didn't even get a vague-sounding 
one liner in the relatio.

Fighting the stigma of the unwed cat dad.

I go to Church alone.

Always have since grade school.  My family is not religious.  I was rejected as religious freak at the age of 7.

I never married.  I couldn't... wouldn't

I have no kids.  Thank God for them.

I had a dog when I was little.  My parents drove him out to the country and left him.  My dad said he needed a farm family.  I watched him running after the car as my dad drove away.

I was alone.

As an adult in my first apartment I found a cat.  I named him Pasha.  I didn't want him in the apartment though, so I left him in the hallway.  He left me.

I was alone.

I lived alone and never did very well... For I was ... lonely.

I got more cats - but I had to put them to sleep.

Alone again.

Then I got new cats and became attached.  I loved them so much.  They lighted up my life.

I cared for them, hugged them, cuddled with them, talked baby-talk to them - they even prayed with me.

But they weren't allowed in church.  I went to Mass and adoration alone.

I didn't fit in.  My cats weren't accepted.

No one understood what it was like.

Even priests made fun of me for being a cat freak - unmarried, creepy guy with cats, sits by himself at Mass.

I felt alone.

Frequently I was embarrassed by the cat hair on my dark Polo cashmere jacket with the crest on the pocket.  People ignored the nice clothes, the sales tag hanging from the cuff, but laughed at the cat hair.  Why should I even bother going to their Christmas Craft Fair?

Do you people even understand what it is like to be a single cat dad?  Where do I fit in in the Church?  Cats are told they have no souls, that they are going to hell - or no where.  As a cat-dad how can I deal with that sort of invective and hatred?

People have no idea of the responsibility involved in parenting cats.  The spaying, medical bills, Fancy Feast and treats bills, accessories,  Cat school.

Then the loneliness.  I get lonely too.  Cats can't speak English or human language.  My cat meows and hisses and runs to the cupboard when she is hungry - that's my only communication - except when she licks my legs after I get out of the shower - otherwise I have no intimacy in my life.

Oh, sure!  Make fun of cat people.  I'd have a dog, but I would still go to church alone.  They don't want animals at church.  Married or single pet parents - our pets are not welcome!

FYI:  I'm a stay at home cat dad too!  So - don't you dare tell me I don't work.

And yes, I get lonely too.

Deal with it.

Song for this post here.

Signs and signals that the church may be shifting its position on homosexuality always make headlines, but behind the scenes ...

The Catholic Church is changing and celibate gays are leading the way?

Let's be clear, here—the recent softening of the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality hasn't happened in a vacuum. The church has opened itself to change because the general public's attitudes have shifted so profoundly that its condemnation of gays has begun to seem heartless and out of touch. - Source

Oh I don't know - it's not just celibate gays who led the way - c'mon - give New Ways and Dignity some credit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thank heaven Fr. Z is in Rome! A Michael Voris intervention forthcoming?

This really is serious.
A Seersucker jacket in October, Michael? In Rome?

See - I'm not the only one who cares about Michael's appearance.  How many times have I said he looks better with a dark jacket and tie - clean white shirts - even a dark blue or stripe on occasion - no pastels, always with a classic tie?  Don't listen to me though - check this out here.   Like I said, he looks great all the time, but he has to be careful about seasonal clothes and fabrication - and color.  Perhaps he could do a stopover in London on his way home and get some new clothes from Hackett?  In Europe and in the States - rules continue to apply - for men.  Classic is best - check out the very well dressed De la Renta.  No Seersucker after August.

Where is Christine Niles when he needs her?

The very first Feast Day of St. John Paul II

My second favorite Pope who is a canonized saint.

Holy Father St. John Paul, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death!

(Remember the letter I sent you.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More thoughts on friendship.

We can't go on meeting like this!

"... a most severe evil, I have no friend ..."

As a follow-up to my earlier post, On friendship, I want to add a few thoughts from Enbrethiliel's Book Club post on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
"Something that I didn't expect to find in Frankenstein was the theme of friendship. It shouldn't have been too surprising: I had been aware of the Monster's great loneliness at being the only one of his own kind. But now I see that it is more than just an aspect of the Monster's character; it is something that can be felt by all men.  And we first see this longing for a true companion in the loneliness of Robert Walton, who lives and works among men whom he admires but cannot truly consider his peers.
'. . . I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother! I am too ardent in execution and too impatient of difficulties.' (Walton)
What complicates matters is Walton's worry that he himself is not up to snuff. He didn't receive the same education that he imagines sympathetic souls did--and one reason why he wants a true friend from this class is that he believes only one such as these could "endeavor to regulate [his] mind." And whether or not he is right to wish so, he gets exactly what he asked for in Victor Frankenstein." - Enbrethiliel

That is so insightful.

I think there may be much here to consider as regards the cultivation of disinterested, non-sexual friendship.

Understanding one's feelings, as well as one's desires, is critical these days when so many seem inclined to equate, and sometimes incorporate, romantic affection and casual sexual intimacy with friendship.  18th-19th century notions of romance and friendship differ completely from our contemporary understanding and experience of affection and intimacy.  We see the exaggeration most often in the way many gay-history-revisionists misinterpret some of the most noble same sex friendships of history.  The friendship of Cardinal Newman and Fr. Ambrose St. John comes to mind.  Recently I read a revisionist's take on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, suggesting Francis had a 'special' friend in his youth and that he and Br. Elias may have been an item.


Lonely? Hug someone at the sign of peace.  What?

On friendship.

Praying for a friend?

A friend told me not long ago that he was praying to find a good friend - or just any friend.  He's SSA and  strives to live a chaste, celibate life - and it gets lonely and boring at times.  All single men and women know how that goes.

Anyway, he prayed and evidently God listened.  A man from the Men's Club at his parish came up and asked him to join.  Some other guy may have come along as well - I can't recall the details.  Long story short - he wasn't sure he'd be a good fit for the Men's Club, and the other guy - wasn't a good fit... maybe even not his 'type'.  Long story short - he felt he might not fit in, or feared he wouldn't be accepted - and I'm just guessing here - when they realized he was SSA, they might reject him or keep him at arms length.  (I may be reading too much into it - maybe not.)

I told my friend that I know the feeling.  I was just like that.  I prayed so often for a good friend, who understood and accepted me - someone simpatico.  Someone who would accept me just as I am and could be a good prayer buddy, a BFF.  I surveyed the landscape, looking for a healthy, balanced, normal friend to hang out with, to be a support to live chastely, and so on.

Just like my friend, God sent along some really great guys to hang out with.  But they weren't the type of friends I expected.  This guy was too old, that guy too simple.  This guy was really conservative, that guy too liberal.  One guy was a recovering alcoholic - that couldn't work out well if I wanted to stop someplace for a drink.  Another guy wasn't very sophisticated, not very cool, you know ...

Years ago I was invited to be part of the Young Adults Group - but I didn't think I'd fit in.  A few years later a guy asked me if I'd like to join the Men's Club.  Again, it just wasn't a good fit, you know what I'm saying?

What I figured out later, and tried to explain to my friend, God sent the friends - and ample opportunities for friendship and even 'community'.  I just didn't accept the opportunities God provided.  They didn't meet my standards.

Joey and Ross nap - "Friends"

So what did I want?

Just a buddy.  Maybe someone just like me.  A friend to hang out with, meet after Mass, maybe get together for a few drinks - maybe go out night clubbing once in awhile ... Someone who looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch model maybe?  Polo would do.  Know what I'm saying?

I know it now - but I wouldn't admit it then.  As they say, if I knew then what I know now... if I could turn back time.

So maybe my friend, who feels like 'friendless in Seattle', really has the opportunity to have a good friend, but the candidates just don't suit him?  It doesn't mean God didn't send them.  I think he knows that.  It's how 'we' grow - we have to go through this stuff, you know?

The following is a story from the Desert Fathers which may help explain more simply what I've tried to say here:

A brother said to great hermit, 'Abba, I want to find a monk who agrees with me and I'll live and die with him.'  The Abba said, 'Your search is good, my lord.'  The brother repeated what he wanted, not understanding the irony of the hermit.  But when the hermit saw that he really thought this was a good idea, he said to him, 'If you find a monk after your own heart, do you plan to live with him?'  The brother said, 'Yes, of course I want this, if I can find one who agrees with me.'  Then the hermit said to him, 'You do not want to follow the will of anyone, you want to follow your own will, and that is why you will be at peace with him.'  Then the brother saw the sense of what he said, and prostrated himself in penitence, saying, 'Forgive me, I was very proud of myself, I though I was saying something good, when in fact there was nothing good about it at all.' - The Desert Fathers on Discretion


Song for this post here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oscar de la Renta, RIP

An extraordinary gentleman.

+July 22, 1932 - October 20, 2014+

Asked in an interview: Are you religious, Oscar?

De la Renta replied: Yes. I was born and raised a Catholic. If you were to see me at night, you might think I am deeply stupid. I say exactly the same prayer that I was taught when I was 6 years old: “Four little corners has my bed, four little corners keep me safe.” These are all in Spanish, of course, so I am translating here. The other one I say is, “God I go to bed with, the God I wake up with.” And the last one is, “Angel please keep me company, never leave me alone, not by day nor by night.” - Source

Spiritual consolations ... leave them to heaven.

“You must pay dearly for spiritual graces. Better not to have any; you are in total darkness afterwards. If the Blessed Virgin was behind that door, I would not ask Her to come in. All that is to be paid for… more by tears of the heart, than tears of the body." -Pere Lamy

Recovering from the Synod ...

Satirical allegory of the Protestant Synod of Dort, 1622

I've been reading about synods and councils ... Catholic and non.

They can get kind of dicey.

I should do a satirical painting of the current Synod.

Last week really exposed every one (of us) - and our worst fears.

All will be well.

St. Paul of the Cross

"Build an oratory within yourself, and there have Jesus on the altar of your heart. Speak to Him often while you are doing your work. Speak to Him of His holy love, of His holy sufferings and of the sorrows of most holy Mary" - St Paul of the Cross writing a reply on Jan 9, 1760 to a busy married woman who felt that she couldn't find enough time to pray.

even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Ps. 139:12

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Terry Terry quite contrary, How does your garden grow?

So anyway ...

I'm cleaning out my garden preparing everything for winter - collecting seeds and harvesting wild herbs, talking to elves and rabbits ...

While cleaning out the pots wherein I planted salvia guaranitica (salvia 'black and blue' - planted in memory of my parents who loved to fight and beat up each other), I came upon what appears to be carrots - the salvia roots bore brownish carrots or potatoes.  I was totally mystified.

Pray tell, does anyone know about such things?  Are they edible?  Are there any pharmaceutical uses for salvia?

Do tell.

A Day of Rejoicing!

For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul "we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers" (1 Th 1:2). - P. Francis


And, as I have dared to tell you, [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all. - P. Francis


We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them. - P. Francis


Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! 
Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness 
of love for Christ and his Church! - P. Francis


 A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned... 
- P. Francis
(All quotes taken from Whispers in the Loggia)

Song for this post here.





In Thanksgiving for the Beatification of Pope Paul VI

Blessed Paul VI
Look upon him
In the crown with which his mother has crowned him
on the day of his marriage,
on the day of the joy of his heart.
Songs 3:11

Pouring out a thousand graces ...

In praise and thanksgiving for the life and heroic virtues of Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini).

To the glory of God most holy and of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, for the profit and edification of the Church, in the name of all the pastors and all the faithful, we now pronounce this profession of faith, in full spiritual communion with you all, beloved brothers and sons. 
We believe in one only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called angels, and creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul. - Credo of Paul VI

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Is the Church not merciful?

A faithful son of the Church.

"We cannot use language that is more or less ambiguous to please the world." - Cardinal Burke

I think one of the meanest and most subversive suggestions allegedly coming from a few of the synod participants is that the Church has not been merciful.

Hasn't Catholic teaching always been characterized by mercy?  Isn't that what the Church stands for?

It seems to me some prelates may be mischaracterizing Catholic teaching as harsh and intolerant, lacking in mercy, with the implication that Church teaching forges burdens too heavy to carry.  In other words, suggesting that up until now, the Church has been a cruel task master, governed by Pharisees?

"I am offended by the abysmal idea that, until today, bishops and priests could not have been merciful." - Cardinal Burke
They say that times have changed, that we can no longer talk about natural law, or of the indissolubility of marriage…But man has not changed. He continues to be as God has wanted him to be. It is true that the world has become secularized, but this is a reason to all the more speak the truth in a clear and forceful way. It is our duty, but to do this, as St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae, we have to call things by their own name. We cannot use language that is more or less ambiguous to please the world. - Cardinal Burke

Jesus, I trust in you.  You alone.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Church History is so fun... Boniface VIII

Boniface VIII
Song for this post here.

As rumors fly...

Boniface succeeded Peter Celestine - the 'Benedictine' pope-to-resign prototype, kinda, sorta.  I'm thinking and reading about these guys because of the mess in Rome now days...

We live in exciting times, I tell you!

Did you know?

Boniface was denounced by some as a heretical criminal?

He had a tumultuous papacy.

He cancelled everything his predecessor decreed - which wasn't much.

Oh!  Oh!  Pope Celestine was said to have been persuaded to resign - and Boniface was one of his advisers... I know!  He had him imprisoned - quarantined ...

14th century miniature.

And then, and then ...
On 7 September 1303, an army led by Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna surprised Boniface at his retreat in Anagni. The King and the Colonnas demanded his resignation; Boniface VIII responded that he would "sooner die". In response, Colonna allegedly slapped Boniface, a "slap" historically remembered as the schiaffo di Anagni ("Anagni slap").
Perfect for Halloween.

Oh! Oh! And then ...
Boniface was probably beaten and nearly executed, but was released from captivity after three days. He died on 11 October 1303. He had died of suicide from "gnawing through his own arm" and bashing his skull into a wall. - Wiki

What a wonderful Church we have, such a rich, fascinating history.  Who needs fiction when the truth is so captivating?!  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Not to worry!


Quote of the day:
Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam urgente fide credere cogimur et tenere, nosque hanc frmiter credimus et simpliciter confitemur, extra quam nec salus est, nec remissio peccatorum. - Boniface VIII

Disclaimer:  No harsh accusations of living or dead embedded in this post.  No hidden agenda or meaning intended.  No judgement against the living or the dead proposed.    

I'll say it again - Catholics need to apologize to Dan Brown and Ron Howard ...


What you said in the darkness ... what you have whispered behind closed doors ...

Remember when everyone was up in arms because Dan Brown and Ron Howard 'conspired' together to destroy the Catholic Church with the very, very, outrageously fanciful-fictional "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons"?  They were called anti-Catholic bigots, out to destroy the Church.  Though the plot was clearly fictional and not a few details were so completely far out that it might have bordered on camp in the hands of a lesser director.  I think the films are highly entertaining and delightfully suspenseful.  I love the sets.  (If only Brown would have used the Legion of Christ instead of Opus Dei for the bad guys - it may have been more believable.  What?)

Just a reminder...

The Dan Brown films, along with "Priest" and "Philomena" and other so-called anti-Catholic films and novels pale in comparison to what is happening in real time, in Rome, online, and in mainstream media... I doubt even the most talented conspiracy theorist could come up with greater drama and scandal.  And it's the Catholics themselves doing all the damage.

Ya gotta laugh...

And apologize to Dan Brown and Opie Taylor Ron Howard.

"Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed." - Today's Gospel

Pa, just what did I do that was so bad?

Don't read stuff into the Holy Father's homilies...

 ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 
‘It’s going to rain’, 
would that be bound to happen?’ 
‘Oh, yes, Father.’ 
‘But supposing it didn’t?’ 
He thought a moment and said, 
“I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, 
only we were too sinful to see it.’”
Brideshead Revisited

People seem to be reading the daily homilies of Pope Francis as if they are a sort of horoscope, or worse, code for what he thinks about the Synod and the Synod Fathers.

Don't do that.  Don't read things into what the Holy Father says in the daily homilies.  If it seems to you he is speaking code, that he is commenting on the Synod in a passive aggressive sense - ignore it.  That isn't the Gospel, and the Mass cannot be used as a political weapon.  These ideas are from the Evil One.

If the Pope doesn't make sense, if you believe you have to interpret what he says to fit some agenda, ignore him, move on.  Instead, read the Gospel, go to Mass, pray the Rosary - pray and be patient and trust God.  Every priest offers commentary on the Gospel at his daily Mass - sometimes it may not be all that meaningful to us in the moment.  If that is the case, then meditate the readings of the day on your own.

That said - it is perfectly alright - even a duty - to object to the very bad doctrine being circulated these days ...  Fr. Z said something I have to agree with regarding social media:
Had the social media existed at the time of the Second Vatican Council, it would never have been possible to ram through the radical liturgical “reforms” of the 60′s and 70′s. - Fr. Z
I hope so.

Looks like rain.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

To be honest ... I'm sad.

Chastity is “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it 
and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality." - Tondelli

Now that Fr. Check of Courage has said something, I can admit that.

I was consoled to read that Fr. Check also had concerns over the confusion generated by the 'relatio':

Now Father Paul Check, who leads the international Courage apostolate, which helps Catholics with same-sex attraction live in accord with Catholic teaching on chastity, has expressed concern about this passage. During an interview today, he said that Courage members are worried and confused about the message from the Synod:

"I am most concerned for the people who are part of the Courage apostolate. They trust that what the Church teaches on homosexuality is true. They are striving with God’s grace to live that teaching, amid other voices — including their own families — telling them to live another way and find a partner. 
They look at this language with dismay, concern and some pain. They count on the voice of the Church to keep them strong and reassure them that the choices they have made are true. The Church gives them strength to persevere. 
I also think about our EnCourage parents and their struggle to trust what the Church teaches is true, when there are many other voices in the legislature and judiciary that want to normalize same-sex unions.
When I read the statement, one thing that went through my mind was to ask the question, “Do we have the conviction that a chaste life is part of the good news of Jesus Christ, no matter what our state of life?"
We don't do someone any justice by allowing them to remain in a sinful way of life. but the call to conversion does not ignore the conditions in which someone is living. - Source

I'm not a member of Courage, but I embrace the spirituality and encourage others to embrace it.  I have struggled to live faithfully to Catholic teaching ever since my conversion in 1972.  I have failed, fallen, too many times, but I kept trying to live a chaste and celibate life for 30+ years.  The Lord heard my prayer and mercifully granted me that grace through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Great Jubilee of 2000.  As the late Italian author, Pier Vittorio Tondelli said after his conversion, chastity is “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality."

Chastity is possible and obtainable.  If only I could convince others of what a beautiful grace it is.  To love chastity - pray for that - God always hears and answers our prayers which accord with his will.  Chastity imbues the soul with the most delightful freedom of spirit.

So yes.  To be honest.  I was sad.  I was sad that there are those seeking to convince the Synod Fathers otherwise.

What do I really do when stuff like that happens?

I double down in repentance - because I have so often compromised in the past.  I repent - convinced of my own infidelities.  I pray for mercy.  I pray Our Lady's Rosary.  I pray in reparation.  I make acts of faith and hope and charity.

I also try to laugh and pretend I'm not upset.  Like St. Therese used to do so as not to upset the Child Jesus - I pretend that I'm not sad.  Sounds childish and pious, I know.  I don't care.

It works for me.

Many thanks to Fr. Check for his support, encouragement, and guidance of same sex attracted people.  That's the kind of support the people of God need and desire.

Ed. note:  Sorry - I'm closing comments for this one... I might even remove my own commentary as well.  I always say too much.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Synod Chat: Call in the exorcist!

Crazed nuns from "The Devils" a film by Ken Russell.

I wrote an email response to a friend just this morning regarding the confusion generated because of the Synod.  I actually give credit to Francis for this.  I think this is what he meant by making a mess.  I'm serious - even if he didn't intend for it to be quite as messy as it has become - way before any resolution is even proposed!  The thing just started - it's not even close to being concluded.

The scene shown above is from the film, The Devils.  It shows the nuns being convinced to partake in the conspiracy of diabolic possession ... more or less.  Huxley's novel is more complicated than that - yet I thought of the scene in relationship to what I've seen online this morning.

People have to get a grip - there is a hysteria brewing and sweeping through Catholic social media, and it seems to me it is rather morbid - if not diabolic.  And many people are being convinced by it ...

Watch what you read and say, who you read and listen to.  I have to agree with something Eve Tushnet wrote on the subject: Obviously the “relatio” is not official Church doctrine etc etc etc, and I have no idea how much it even reflects the conversations and thinking of the bishops. I tend to expect the worst from them; put not your trust in princes of the Church and all that.  Although I distrust social media commentators - like myself - even more.

That said, what was stated in the relatio sounded rather familiar to me.  It's the type of thing I have heard pretty much all of my life.  Now the whole Church gets to hear it.

Trust God.

I trust God.  I trust Divine providence.  I believe God is allowing this 'division' amongst the hierarchy to become manifest so as to reveal the real state of our Church and society.  It mirrors the division in our families.

As the Lord told Peter - Satan will sift 'all of you'.
“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” - Luke 22: 31-32
In other words, God is allowing this sifting of the hierarchy - and the faithful.  Keep in mind, "nothing is hidden that will not be revealed."  Thus the unmasking of the crisis in the Church.  This must be a purification, a distillation of sorts, and we need to stand fast and have confidence the Holy Spirit is purifying the filth in the Church.

We all know there is division in the Church, in our archdioceses, our parishes, our families, our country.  If you are looking for a chastisement - I've got the feeling this is it - and it starts with the Church.

"Pray and don't worry." - Padre Pio

"Be not afraid!" - John Paul II

"Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully." - Jesus to St. Faustina

Make frequent acts of faith, hope and charity.  That's how the saints endured their trials.

And laugh.  It really helps.


Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).

One of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa is, "Prayer is the trap door out of sin."

So often people are told that if they are in a state of mortal sin they cannot merit any grace, and their prayers and good works are not efficacious.

Nevertheless, it is important that the sinner never give up prayer.  Pray as best as he knows how, and as often as he can - even when he feels he cannot quit his sins. God never fails to hear prayer, especially the prayer to be free of ones sins, placing all of ones confidence in the mercy of God.  We do not have to be perfect to pray. The idea of merit?  Leave that to the Blood of Christ.

Pray, pray, pray without ceasing, this is how you will attain eternal life.

St. Teresa, teach us how to pray and obtain for us a greater thirst for prayer.