Saturday, May 27, 2006

Papa Benedetto

Pope Benedict XVI in Poland. In every photo he looks absolutely delighted and very much at ease with being the Pope.

The Holy Father is enjoying a tremendous welcome in Poland, the German Pope speaking to the Poles in their native language - does that not seem to assuage, somewhat, the crimes of Nazi Germany on a spiritual level perhaps?

Speaking to the crowds he expressed his hope of beatifying his "beloved Predecessor" and called upon the faithful to pray for this to happen soon. Many hoped and half expected that he would beatify John Paul II on this trip to Poland, but it doesn't look as if that happened.

Viva il Papa!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Burn down the mission!

Never write when you are tired...

Remember when Elton John wasn't so queer? I think it was 1971 and he was touring for his "Tumbleweed Connection" album and he was playing at the Guthrie. It was one of the best concerts I had ever seen. The album was his best as far as I am concerned. And to my knowledge, which was pretty dim in those days, I do not think anyone knew he was gay. Although alot of the "pop star" crowd was in attendance. Nevertheless, Elton was considered sort of "underground" at the time, at least he was here - I mean, KQ played him- how hippie was that?

Now he is saying that the death from AIDs of his friends, and probably everyone else, is the fault of the Catholic Church and the teaching against condom use. He's a fruitcake! (Oh, yeah, we knew that!) Really, he's completely illogical and irrational. What a stupid thing to say. Check out the piece on Life Site News:

When the AIDs thing broke out, for sure you would never have been able to find a homosexual even thinking about condoms. (Straight people used them for contraception, right?) Furthermore, since homosexuals do not listen to the Church when she teaches homosexuality is an intrinsic moral disorder while homosexual acts are gravely sinful, why the heck would they listen when the Church says condoms are immoral? Elton - you're just being a bitch! Now I think I know what the song "Burn Down the Mission" meant, I'll have to tell my friend Donna because she never knew either.

Not just your ordinary Communion...

Mass at St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis, MN

I love this picture!

No, it wasn't Harvey Egan's memorial Mass/service, what have you, it was from Fr. Debruycker's installation Mass - Bishop Pates was there but not his boss. I hope someone got pictures at Harvey's affair.

This photo courtesy- -but I found it on the blog, The Cafeteria is Closed - I have it linked on my page.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

All of them witches...

Detail: Last Judgment, Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - excerpts from "Northland Catholic Roundtable"

"Archbishop Flynn Presided Today at Father Egan’s Service at St Joan of Arc in Minneapolis.
It has been 20 years since I had been back.
St Joan’s bulletin called today’s event “A Mass in Celebration” and a “Contemporary Eucharistic Liturgy in Memory of Father Harvey Francis Egan.” Father Egan, who came to St Joan’s in 1968 was the originator of its famous and controversial “gym Mass.” He retired in 1986 and died last Saturday.

Because Father Egan was cremated, there was no casket and funeral service as such. I don’t know what the Catholic procedures call for in the case of cremations. There was no urn blessing either.

The “gym service” there is unlike most “Catholic” services you have ever seen. Just like the big mega-churches, they provide comfort and entertainment in terms of music. They are very friendly and welcoming to visitors, unlike most Catholic parishes, unfortunately. They also have a strong “social Gospel” ministry that appeals to the ex-hippies and war protesters and others that make up the older core of their membership.

Most of you no doubt will be upset by what follows. I was. It wasn’t this bad back in the “olden days.”

They pretty well butchered the Mass by re-writing many of the words of the Roman Missal to make it more relevant to their philosophy. Of course, like with all liberal parishes, the words “He”, “His”, “Him”, etc. get changed to “God” or “God’s” or even “She” or “Her” to make the liturgy more acceptable to those whose primary goal in life is to have women ordained as priests. That would pretty much be the whole parish there, I would wager.

There is no tabernacle or sanctuary light in sight. A former parishioner told me that the tabernacle is in a nearby closet. Behind the plain altar stood a seven or eight piece musical group. There are no religious statues, paintings, icons or stained glass windows in the gym. Some currently fashionable wide colored ribbons hang at various points from the ceiling.

In today’s service for Father Egan, they skipped the Penitential Rite and the first and second readings; they did read the “There is a time to love, Time to die” verses from Ecclesiastes; and then for the Gospel they took the Sermon on the Mount and rewrote it to reflect Father Egan’s political “issues.” Apparently Jesus’ words weren’t good enough. They used pita bread for the host at the consecration, “crystal” vessels were used on the altar and they used what I surmise was the usual contingent of Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion while a dozen or so priests from the archdiocese, properly vested, just stood off to the side.

The eulogy was given by a Father John Brandes, an elderly priest, I believe a friend of Father Egan, followed by two couples who regaled the congregation with some of Father Egan’s pithy aphorisms from over the years and then some of his more recent serious thoughts.

The crowning hurt was that Archbishop Harry Flynn himself celebrated the Mass and his auxiliary, Bishop Richard Pates, concelebrated with five other priests. There was no entrance or exit procession for the archbishop. He just walked up to and off of the altar, like someone bringing up the gifts. They did wear their miters, so that’s how I knew they were there. I suppose it is traditional for a bishop to attend the funeral of one of his priests, but I would bet that some bishops get stomach aches now and then, too.

The Archbishop has done a lot of good things here, but when he cracks down, it is always on the more conservative people in the diocese, and places like St Joan of Arc, known nationally as being listed among the most liberal parishes in the country, generally go their own way.
He changed pastors at St Joan’s last Fall and made them cease having laypeople give the Homily. I’ve been told a secular message is now given before the service begins.

The new pastor, Father Jim DeBruycker, was there today and at the conclusion of the service, he thanked the archbishop for granting permission for the service, wondered whether the archbishop thought he was in control of his new parish (much to the laughter of the congregation) and then somewhat boldly invited the archbishop to give a “rebuttal” at the end, which except for the eulogy, was apparently a typical SJA service. I wouldn’t call today’s service a Mass.

In his final words, not taking the bait, the Archbishop joked a bit about really “not having a choice when it came to giving permission” and commented humorously about “too many homilists” and said he was going to restrict it in the future. But at least twenty priests witnessed that performance. And you better believe that they are probably all on the phone or emailing right now.

Wouldn’t the average priest have concluded that the service led by Archbishop Flynn today was in fact a verbal and visual imprimatur that will tell the rest of the priests of this archdiocese that he approves of the way the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated at St Joan of Arc parish and that they can experiment with the liturgy as much as they want, no matter what Rome says?"

Well that was a rather informative report wasn't it? Don't bother writing in protest to Flynn - it does no good - he is above reproach. He's done stuff like this before - there had been a notorious gay priest in our Archdiocese who died and the Archbishop officiated at his funeral as well. He definitely cares about his priests...

Archbishop Brianchaninov, a Russian Orthodox Bishop who died at the end of the 19th century wrote a book for monastics entitled "The Arena" - I treasure some of his criticisms of his contemporary Church and often apply them to our situation today. Once I wrote Flynn protesting something to do with St. Joan of Arc and for my header I wrote; "Save me O Lord for there is no saint left; for truths have dwindled from the sons of men. Empty follies they speak one to another, with lying lips they speak evil with a double heart." -Psalm 11:2 The Archbishop wrote me a scathing letter in response informing me that I had insulted the successor of the Apostles.

What can be said about places like St. Joan of Arc and clergy that support and tolerates it? Here's a couple of passages from "The Arena" to think about:

"Faith in Truth saves. Faith in a lie and diabolic delusion is ruinous, according to the teaching of the Apostle. 'They refused to love the truth that would save them,' he says of those voluntarily perishing. 'Therefore, God will send them' (permit them to suffer) 'a strong delusion, so that they will believe a lie, that all may be condemned who do not believe the Truth but delight in falsehood.'"

And finally:

"In our time the majority of people, proud of their progress and claiming to be Christian who do a lot of good, have been striving for the righteousness of fallen nature and have turned their backs with scorn on the righteousness of the Gospel. Let them hear what the Lord says: 'This people honors me with their lips, they draw near to me with their mouth, but their heart is far from me. So they worship me in vain, while teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'

"The man who practices human righteousness is full of self-opinion, arrogance, and deceit. He preaches and blows his own trumpet about his good deeds without paying heed to what our Lord forbids. He repays with hatred and revenge those who oppose him."

I cannot adequately express how disappointed I am with this Archdiocese.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Transitus of Harvey Egan

The rebel priest!

Well finally someone at least wrote about this man, Northland Catholic Roundtable (see my links) has a post about him. After all he has been the longtime pastor of one of the most famous parishes in the country, and he put it on the map.

I'm not going to write anything historical or well documented with dates and places, that type of history may be had from the SJA website. The post on Northland Catholic demonstrates how SJA got to be the way it was with a concise timeline sort of deal.

Harvey Egan was an energetic man, idealistic and nothing but sincere. Did he care about people? You bet. He was in that forefront of the wave of religious and clerical activists seeking civil rights for the African American, protesting Vietnam, what have you. He shouted, marched, and carried signs. It was pre-Woodstock and the times were definitely a'changein', as Dylan sang. The Council happened and yes indeed it was a new era, a new Church. For decades there were rumblings of change and unrest, he knew it, the seminaries taught about it, - it really did not happen overnight. Experimentation suddenly became open ended liturgically after the Council, Harvey and many priests his age and immediately following him embraced that whole heartedly. In society at large a cultural revolution was taking place, Harvey created a parish where these people might worship. It became the "Woodstock" of Catholic parishes. (That happened while the charismatic movement was developing over at Regina High School - another sort of "Woodstock" environment, albeit more faithful to Catholic teaching.) Ever since SJA has attracted the avant garde, the cutting edge element, perhaps the fringe, into it's gymnasium. I was even impressed when Gloria Steinem spoke. I always liked her, even though I did not agree with her pro-abortion/contraceptive dogma.

So we all know about Fr. Egan and what he accomplished. He really was a very nice man. His idea of charity, not the social justice-activist expression, but the theological virtue, was usually to tell people that they were okay just the way they were. It's just between you and God. You are saved. There is nothing wrong with you. He accepted everyone. He wasn't - isn't alone in this view. He was the high-priest of relativism. There are still 50-something and up priests who believe that. They seem to tell people don't be so concerned about eternal salvation - it's the here and now that counts. Liturgy and worship is about the people of God - God is present in the assembly and the people are God, as it were. Harvey was pretty new-age before the term was coined.

He admitted he was a rebel, a revolutionary. Perhaps he saw himself as sort of a Luther, a great reformer? After he retired I would see him on occasion at St. Olaf's in downtown Minneapolis, sitting in the back at noon Mass. Sometimes he was there to go to confession. Sometimes I would say hello to him and he was very kind when he greeted me in return. I saw him not too long ago buying a baptismal gift at a Religious Goods store, it was rather traditional, I wondered if he had returned to the more traditional roots he had grown up with. He was a nice man who obviously had some issues with the pre-Vatican II Church, and cared enough about people to include them in the Church, except, very often, he just did not always present the Truth.

Fr. Harvey Egan died Saturday May 21, 2006 + May he rest in peace.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Monsignor

"Monsignor" - Fernando Botero

As one might expect,Botero is one of my favorite contemporary painters. Others are George Tooker (deceased) Jared French (deceased) and Frida Kahlo (deceased) -to name a few.

Botero's clerical paintings certainly resonate with me. Their voluminous presence does not imply a shred of mockery, nor is it meant to. Their baroque oppulence says much more about status, position, worldly honor, even pomposity, etc. Nevertheless, in our anorexic culture the images remind me of the more common temptations vexing the celibate. If one successfully avoids sins of impurity, the next greatest temptation is usually gluttony, or seeking in food consolations the denial of intimacy imposes. This means of course that the celibate has not developed an adequate interior life that ought to be the reward of the vow of chastity, as well as the defense against loneliness. An unhappy celibate often uses food to fill a void, or deal with an unresolved conflict. Sometimes the celibate does use sex, sometimes possesions or travel, sometimes alcohol or drugs, and sometimes in severe cases, it's all of these things. Aside from all of this, I just like Botero's work.

From the Dialogue

Pictured, St. Catherine of Siena, beseiged by devils, but she herself is not one. (Refer to my post yesterday.)

Still troubled by events in the Archdiocese and deceptive clergy, I returned in prayer to the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena. She wrote about the troubles and scandals of her own day, not in order to spread scandal but to reassure the faithful that Our Lord was aware of what was going on and was going to remedy it. She spoke that her words might bring to repentence those who offend God and give scandal to the faithful. That we might listen to her discourse again, I will quote from the Dialogue concerning homosexual priests.

"I am telling you this to make you see what great purity I demand of you and them, and especially of them (priests), in this sacrament. But they do just the opposite to me, for they come to this mystery wholly impure - and not simply with the sort of impurity and weakness to which all of you are naturally inclined because of your weak nature (although reason can calm its rebellion if free choice so wills). No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weakness; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. As if they were blind and stupid, with the light of their understanding extinguished, they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench even reaches up to me, supreme Purity, and is so hateful to me that for this sin alone five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin. The stench displeases not only me, as I have said, but the devils as well, those very devils these wretches have made their masters. It is not its sinfulness that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature is angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. It is true that it was they (the devils) who shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they flee..."

Perhaps I will do best in the future to simply let the saints speak for me, although someone will still attempt to refute them as well. Our Lord is aware of what is going on, yet why does He delay the correction? St. Catherine pray for us for patience - but not too much patience! With your prayers help us in our repentance to be faithful to the Holy Father and the dogma of faith. Amen.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Priests who deceive.

"Light In The Loafers" - sorry, I made that up - I can't remember the title but this painting is also by Botero.

Around the feast of St. Catherine of Siena I wrote about having been told by a woman that Fr. Benedict Groeschl had told her that he thought St. Catherine may have been a lesbian. I wrote that I felt it was impossible for Fr. Groeschl to make such a statement. I mentioned how people who shop my Store will often ask if there are any saints who were gay and I tell them no. I explain that someone's so-called sexual orientation does not define them as a person. That God "created them, male and female" as the scripture teaches. Homosexuality is a disorder and God did not create homosexuality. Now some saints may have had this temptation just as they might have had other temptations of the flesh. We know in the life of Catherine the demons tempted her in many vile ways, as they did Anthony of Egypt, yet they were not defined by the temptations.

I had a comment posted from a man who politely disagreed with me. He seemed to believe that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in their statement on homosexuality, after having declared it a disorder, and an intrinsic moral evil, also remained neutral on the orientation itself, only condemning homosexual activity. That is a misread or misinterpretation at best. On one level they're saying just because one may have this proclivity, this orientation, this temptation, does not constitute a state of sin. Acting upon it does however. Furthermore, the Church never has stated that this orientation is either neutral or good. It clearly states that the inclination itself must be understood as an "objective disorder", because "it is more or less a strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil." The homosexual lifestyle and subculture is never harmless or even good, nor can it be deemed an alternative lifestyle, much less equivalent to traditional marriage.

Nevertheless, a person with this tendency may indeed live a devout and faithful Catholic life if he/she is living a chaste and celibate life in obedience to the teachings of the Church. In and through such a life, accompanied by prayer and penance, frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist, one may find complete freedom from a sin that otherwise ensnared, enslaved, or even just deceived the individual. Some people can emerge from such a lifestyle by the grace of God, others may suffer the effects, yet may experience the interior freedom of the Sons of God by grace. To say otherwise is to call God a liar. Nevertheless the world mocks such notions and the gay agenda accuses those that hold such beliefs as guilty of hate crimes. It takes great courage and perseverance to go against popular culture. Let us pray for those souls who do so.

I must say that this is what is wrong with churches that affirm homosexuals in their lifestyle and encourage same sex relationships and want to call it marriage, as well as encourage these persons to adopt children, when clearly their life is disordered. (And yes, I am definitely referencing SJA.) In doing so they insist that the rest of the congregation, indeed the universal Church and all the world say that what is evil is good and visa versa. We surely can apply the words of Our Lord to these churches and congregations, and especially their priests and ministers, when He states that they circle the earth and the sea in order to make one convert and they end up making them fit for hell more than they themselves are. (See Matthew 23:15)

Painting of a Bishop

"Bishop in the Woods" Fernando Botero

I like this image as well. It speaks to me. Representational art is more effective in expressing ideas - for me at least - than words. Sometimes when I express myself in words it sounds too harsh or mean-spirited. When I paint something, and maybe when Botero and other artists do so, even if its "in your face" one may always excuse what may seem confrontational. If a painting is naive, as many Latin American works can be, and the style I like, one might overlook many things, dismissing it in precisely that way, calling it naive. Thus the painter may speak his mind with impunity.