Saturday, July 01, 2006
"You little fool..." -My Mother's words to me on many occasions.
I seem to be the only nut case blogging on this holiday weekend. So what's my deal? It is hot out, I'm on vacation and I'm avoiding repairing a statue for a client, or finishing a painting, along with mowing the lawn and painting the trim on my house. And I feel guilty - High Anxiety! (Which, by the way, I finally found the video. I watched it and it just isn't as funny as I remembered it - although still enjoyable. The characters are so great and the parody on Hitchcock films is wonderful. I owe many of my lines at work to this film - "These are desperately sick people we're dealing with here!" when defending my crew from criticism. Or, "I assure you, my father is just as sane as I am!" when my management style is questioned.)
Speaking of crazy people, today is the feast of St. Simon Salus, a fool for Christ, if I remember correctly, 'salus' means fool. Here's a quick synopsis of his life from today's "Magnificat":
"St. Simon took up a penitential life in the solitude of the desert near the Dead Sea. After spending twenty nine years thus, he returned to his native city of Emesa, Syria. Simeon imposed upon himself the very humiliating penance of deliberately making himself appear foolish and ridiculous to others, so as to crush his own pride. He was favored by God with extraordinary graces and wrought miracles by his prayers." Works for me! Although I'm still not humble and I have never wrought a miracle, except maybe not getting fired from my job.
Speaking of fools and work. Where I work I come across some very different people, who often remind me of "holy fools". Some of them I really believe are very holy. One man in particular, claims to have revelations from God the Father. Since I've worked there he has repeated to me every year, "This is the year of the chastisement." I like him very much however. He blesses us with holy oils he gets from shrines and prays over us. One notices a sense of peace after each encounter. (Although my assistant can't stand it when he visits the Store.) He's in his 60's I'd say and he has a great white beard and long hair suggesting older images of God the Father, or an "yurodyvi" the Russian word for ascetics who follow the path of foolishness for Christ. He never says anything contrary to the faith - he's just convinced of the messages he receives - which are secrets.
Then there is this other guy. He's scary. he comes in ranting and raving about the bad images we sell - Our Lady talks to him - she's now telling him that her image of Guadalupe is evil and is idolatrous. He talks and talks and talks. He told one co-worker that he should leave our company or else his children will die in his arms. He says the place is evil and will be destroyed. He's told customers they are going to hell. Pretty nuts. I'm going to bar him from the Store if he keeps it up. In his regard I think he is definitely delusional and "desperately ill'. (If I'm found murdered at work he may have committed the crime! So remember this post!)
All in all, I like people with mental illness. I have tremendous compassion for them, probably because my mother was rather neurotic and depressed. I pray for people with mental illness, they are a precious gift for humanity, and their sufferings are a special blessing of Christ's cross. They can also be fun.
My advice for the holiday weekend, "EAT FRESH!" (As Jon Lovitz for Subway says. He's another little fool I love!)
Friday, June 30, 2006
Missionaries of Charity
Four Missionaries of Charity were confronted in India and detained by Hindus as they were going on their regular rounds to visit patients in a hospital. They have been arrested and jailed.
One always imagines the people of India to be so gentle, especially Hindus, who revere cows and animals and believe in reincarnation, why would four little nuns be such a threat? Here's the story from Asia News:
Four Sisters of Mother Teresa imprisoned on proselytism charges
The four Missionaries of Charity were harassed and imprisoned on proselytism and conversion charges. The archbishop of Hyderabad told AsiaNews about their complete dedication to the poor and called for an in-depth inquiry into what happened.
Hyderabad (AsiaNews) – A crowd of Hindu fanatics set upon four sisters of Mother Teresa in a hospital and had them arrested by local police on charges of proselytism and conversion of the sick.
Archbishop Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India told AsiaNews: “This tragic attack on the nuns of Mother Teresa is shocking and has to be condemned in the strongest terms. This is all the more so because these nuns are known all over the world for their altruism and dedication to the poor.”
The four Missionaries of Charity were attacked on 25 June as they went about their weekly visit in a hospital in the city of Tirupati – a Hindu pilgrimage place – in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The four sisters, all aged around 35, were in the government hospital of Ruia, where they usually spend time with patients who are terminally with AIDS. A group of around 50 fanatics of the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi [group for the defence of the Hindu religion] broke into the hospital, blocked the four sisters and accused them of trying to convert patients.
The crowd swelled rapidly and soon there were around 300 people. They forced the sisters to remain in the hospital until 8.30pm. Then police officials arrived and took the women to the local police station.
Mgr Marampudi Joji, Metropolitan Archbishop of Hyderabad, told AsiaNews: “The sisters have official government permission to do visit the wards, which they have done every Sunday for the past 20 years. The sisters, in agreement with the hospital administration, have welcomed these dying patients into their homes, where they can die surrounded by dignity and love.” [Snip]
I know in the past some of Mother's nuns have been killed, I do not kow if they are classified as martyrs however. St. Francis of Assisi saw martyrs from his Order within his lifetime. The slap on the face we used to receive at Confirmation was a sign of what we could expect for our witness to Christ and the Gospel. The red vesture of a Cardinal is to signify his readiness to die for Christ. There are so many symbols of martyrdom in Catholic life, and the possibility is no longer unlikely for any Christian anywhere in the world.
Here is another story I found, an anecdote from the life of Blessed Mother Teresa, I guess it shows that there have been troubles from the beginning:
Sister Andrea tells the story of Mother Teresa and the Kali temple in Calcutta. “The temple is a Hindu temple, and Mother and the sisters were there helping the poor and dying. This upset the locals, that someone of another faith would be in a Hindu temple helping Hindus, and the local people called for an official to remove Mother. The man arrived and entered the temple to find Mother washing a dying man and sisters helping various people. The official walked out on the steps of the temple and addressed the people: ‘Tomorrow when I return, if I see your wives and sisters doing the work of Mother Teresa, then I will throw her out of the temple.’” (Needless to say Mother and the Sisters were never thrown out. Perhaps these Sisters today will be exonnerated as well.)
I the meantime, let's pray for our sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, on this the feast of the First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The Missionaries are an extraordinary group of very holy and courageous women. Holy Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for your daughters, be with them and comfort them in their trials.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Pope St. Pius V
I was looking at some traditionalist websites to see if they had anything to say about Paul VI and came across a startling brief by Pius V on the punishment regulated for priests found guilty of homosexuality. (Praise God that we live in the era of Divine Mercy!) After reading it I recalled a moment in history from Nazi Germany that seemed to me even more grotesque. It happened on this night in 1934. (What a strange coincidence that I should recall all of this today - when I went to Wikipedia I discovered that June 30 was the anniversary of the massacre.)
The night of June 29th and June 30th is a dark anniversary of sorts. It came to be known as the night of the long knives when Hitler ordered that members of the SA or "Brown Shirts" (his storm troopers) be purged of communists, gays and other unsavory types he felt threatened his regime. I saw a film about it in the late '60's, I think it was called "The Damned", a film that left a strong impression upon me. That being the case, it is most likely the reason why I thought of the film, and subsequently the event.
The paranoia of all dictators, Adolf Hitler being no exception, revolves around the inability to trust the people surrounding him. These individuals witnessed how power was seized, and therefore, may want to take over the position themselves. Historically, dictators have taken the important step to eliminate their rivals. Hitler was no different and began murdering the competition, individuals within the party whom he had earlier exploited, almost immediately after he gained power.
Many of these men were in his "Brown Shirt" organization. On 30 June 1934, at 3:00 in the morning, Hitler sent his personal bodyguards the "schutzstaffel" or SS to arrest key leaders of the "Brown Shirts." In all, 1000 men were picked up, driven to local prisons and shot. These were the same men that Hitler had used to gain power, and in many cases, were close personal friends. With elimination of potential threats to his rule, and the death of Hindenburg, Hitler was in firm control. The only institution left that posed an immediate threat to his power was the army. As Chancellor and President of Germany, Hitler took the bold step of forcing the army to swear allegiance to him personally. This meant that the soldiers were to fight for him, not their country.
The leader of the SA was Ernst Rohm, a friend of Hitler's. Hitler initially protected Rohm from other elements of the Nazi Party which held his homosexuality to be in violation of the party's evolved anti-gay policy. However, Hitler later changed course when he perceived Rohm to be a potential threat to his power. As mentioned, during this night of 1934 a purge of those who Hitler deemed threats to his power took place. He had Rohm murdered and used Rohm's homosexuality as a justification to quell outrage within the ranks of the SA. After solidifying his power, Hitler would include gay men among those sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. Many of these gay men were also Jewish and this seems to be a major reason that they were so heavily targeted by the Nazis.
Himmler had initially been a supporter of Rohm, arguing that the charges of homosexuality against him were manufactured by Jews. But after the purge, Hitler elevated Himmler's status and he became very active in the suppression of homosexuality. He exclaimed, "We must exterminate these people root and branch... the homosexual must be eliminated." (Thanks to Wikipedia and other sources for this information.)
It is interesting to note that "Gay Pride" month ends upon so dismal an anniversary. It is my opinion that acceptance of a person's homosexual orientation is one matter, acceptance of homosexual activity is quite another. Especially when it is forced upon society and culture through legislation such as same-sex marriage laws, gay adoption, etc. I do not in any way condone or approve of concentration camps or murderous rampages, nor any kind of violence against gay people. I just do not trust history however. Currently the gay agenda is useful for the "cultural warriors" seeking to promote the culture of death, just as they were in nascent Nazi Germany. There will be a backlash against all immorality one day, not by Christians but by totalitarian regimes, this could all happen once again. Nevertheless, first of all the Christians will have to suffer persecution from the governments who consider their moral teachings to be hate crimes. Remember, Hitler intended that as well, after the war he intended to crush the Church.
It's an extreme thought for extreme times, and it's late and I'm tired. perhaps I shouldn't post this.
The Coronation of Paul VI.
June 30 marks the forty third anniversary of the Papal coronation of Pope Paul VI, the last pope to accept this ritual. Very few Catholics realize that Paul VI also initiated the crucifix crosier that became so identified with John Paul II. When he adopted this crosier it immediately suggested to me that the Holy Father chose to emmulate the Apostle St. Paul when he wrote, "I came among you preaching Christ crucified, and Him alone." (Please excuse my 'free-base' quotes of Sacred Scripture.) Paul VI became at that time the most widely traveled pontiff in modern history, only to be outdone by his successor JPII. Paul VI closed the Vatican Council and proceeded upon a pontificate of evangelization. Sadly, under his reign all hell broke loose in the Church and he suffered much as a result, doing his best to avoid schism and splintering within the Church. He has been gravely criticized since.
I for one always thought he was a saint. I once referred to him as 'great' in a conversation with a couple of rather intellectual and holy priests. One priest immediaately corrected me with anecdotes of his weaknesses and omissions. I silently accepted the correction however, knowing in my heart that I was speaking of his personal sanctity. To this day I wonder if we may criticize or judge the Supreme Pontiff.
Everyone knows his truly great, as well as prophetic encyclical "Humanae Vitae" which penetrated like a sword through the heart of western culture. This encyclical could possibly be said to have caused something of a 'spiritual' schism of sorts amongst some of the so-called faithful, although no one ever has cited it as such, referring to those who opposed it as dissenting Catholics. As we all know, they remain with us in abundance today.
The Holy father was not immune to assasination attempts, the most notable in the Phillipines when a man armed with a knife nearly attacked him. At one point in his pontificate an ex-seminarian or priest? - if I remember correctly - probably a homosexual activist, accused him of homosexuality. There had been a news clip of the Holy Father decrying the slander on television wherein his voice broke with emotion, denouncing the slanderous accusation. "The Holy Father will have much to suffer." (Our Lady's prophecy at Fatima.) Pope Paul surely did suffer. Physically, morally, and spiritually. He had nearly crippling arthritis, making it difficult for him to walk in his later years. He resorted to the use of the sedan chair carried by attendants (pictured above at his coronation ceremony) when celebrating liturgical functions at St. Peter's and elsewhere in Rome.
The very last two Masses of his that I had the privlege to attend were for today's feast of St. Peter and Paul, and for tomorrow's memorial of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. He looked frail and needed a great deal of assistance. I knew he would not live much longer. A year or so later, he was dead. In my mind he was a great Pope, a holy Pope. I do not have the intellectual acumen, the ecclesiastical sophistication, nor the moral or spiritual superiority to say otherwise. His dark eyes looked at me once as he was being carried into St. Peter's, blessing the crowd, and I was certain when our eyes met that he looked into my soul - how many people say things like that? - yet for me it was an inestimable grace. I love him and I love the Pope!
St.'s Peter and Paul, pray for us!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Holy Trinity, image of God, image of man, image of love, image of wholeness.
I was checking out Drudge for something for 'Gay Pride' month and came across a science report considering another 'genetic' aspect in defense of homosexuality. This is interesting because it concerns the fetal development in the womb. Does that mean that science acknowledges the foetus as a viable human being? Read the following:
Womb environment 'makes men gay'
A man's sexual orientation may be determined by conditions in the womb, according to a study.
Previous research had revealed the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be gay, but the reason for this phenomenon was unknown.
But a Canadian study has shown that the effect is most likely down to biological rather than social factors.
The research is published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Professor Anthony Bogaert from Brock University in Ontario, Canada, studied 944 heterosexual and homosexual men with either "biological" brothers, in this case those who share the same mother, or "non-biological" brothers, that is, adopted, step or half siblings. "These results support a prenatal origin to sexual orientation development in men" - Professor Anthony Bogaert. He found the link between the number of older brothers and homosexuality only existed when the siblings shared the same mother. The amount of time the individual spent being raised with older brothers did not affect their sexual orientation.
Writing in the journal, Professor Bogaert said: "If rearing or social factors associated with older male siblings underlies the fraternal birth-order effect [the link between the number of older brothers and male homosexuality], then the number of non-biological older brothers should predict men's sexual orientation, but they do not. "These results support a prenatal origin to sexual orientation development in men." He suggests the effect is probably the result of a "maternal memory" in the womb for male births. A woman's body may see a male foetus as "foreign", he says, prompting an immune reaction which may grow progressively stronger with each male child. The antibodies created may affect the developing male brain.
In an accompanying article, scientists from Michigan State University said: "These data strengthen the notion that the common denominator between biological brothers, the mother, provides a prenatal environment that fosters homosexuality in her younger sons."
"But the question of mechanism remains."
Andy Forrest, a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall, said: "Increasingly, credible evidence appears to indicate that being gay is genetically determined rather than being a so-called lifestyle choice.
"It adds further weight to the argument that lesbian and gay people should be treated equally in society and not discriminated against for something that's just as inherent as skin colour."
Story from BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5120004.stm: 2006/06/27 09:44:27 GMT© BBC MMVI
Maybe,but I doubt it. However this could explain why some boys or girls demonstrate an apparent predisposition towards effeminate or masculine behavior, nevertheless it does not mean it is genetic - wouldn't the womb enviroment still come under the umbrella of 'nurture'? If chemicals or antibodies excreted by the mother influence the development of the foetus, isn't that similar to the effects of alcohol upon a developing child in the womb? There are persons born with down syndrome, or mental retardation, any number of disorders, some affected by enviroment - namely chemical imbalance in the womb.
At work today we were discussing this subject - how some boys appear more feminine even in early childhood. I still think it has some basis in nurture; enviromental, socio-psychological, and more deeply, spiritual and affective components that cause a person choosing to be gay - albeit the choice is not always made in perfect freedom. It can be a compromise, a coping mechanism, but there is an element of choice, even if it is relatively unconscious - at some point it is a choice. And in the more depraved, it is often chosen as a result of hedonism.
What is so askew in our culture is the notion that homosexuality is not inherrently and potentially a moral disorder. The politicization of the subject, the media exposure of it, and most recently the medical establishment (after the psychiatric establishment was coerced to take it off the books as a disorder) is now researching the subject to find some sort of genetic affirmation for it's viability as an equal to heterosexual relations.
This proves to me that every gay man or woman has searched their soul to discover why they have this unfortunate affliction. But they stop at intellectualizations and unsubstantiated studies, they stop at the emotional level. They simply cannot accept the call of the Gospel, "Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel!" Jesus calls those caught in sin, not to change His teachings but to accept them as well as conform to them, and He offers the necessary grace to do so. To believe and trust in His healing power of love, to accept the freedom of the sons of God, and to carry our cross in His footsteps. It is the individual who must change - in and through His grace and mercy - not the laws of nature or the teaching of the Church or the Gospel for that matter. Everyone, gay or straight, is called to conversion. (In many cases there may be persons so seemingly confirmed in the lifestyle they are not able to change, but at least they are able to stop acting out homosexually. Through grace they can live a chaste life in obedience and communion with the Church. This cross in their lives can be the means of their sanctification.)
What if John Lovitz said "Repent!" not "Eat Fresh!" Yeah, that's pretty dumb. But we are all - straight or gay - called to repentance, not excuses.
Monday, June 26, 2006
"Aren't you neat though Agnes!" -Rosalind Russell's line from the movie "Auntie Mame".
The Cafeteria is Closed has a fun post on the recent ordination of women ' priestesses' on a boat in Pittsburgh by 'Bishopessses' no less - as European news agencies have dubbed them.
Another line from Auntie Mame, "When you're from Pittsburgh one has to do something!"
Rather than Roman Catholic, I believe they appear to have been ordained in some New Age/Wiccan sect. It is so not Roman Catholic however.
"EAT FRESH!" - Jon Lovitz for Subway (I've been spelling his name wrong!).
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Gay Pride weekend in the Twin Cities.
June is celebrated by homosexuals as Gay Pride month, an inspiration derived from the 1960's equal rights campaigns for minorities, specifically Black Pride, and later, Black Power movements. The birth of the politicized gay rights campaign actually had it's beginnings in New York city at a gay bar in the Village known as The Stonewall Inn. It was a bar largely patronized by hispanic and black gay men, many, because of poverty and racial marginalization were hustlers, with transvestites and other drug dealers among them. NYC was beginning to clamp down on illegal activity at the time, including prostitution, while in their effort to clean up the city the police also began raids upon gay establishments and general harrasment of gay men engaging in public misconduct.
On June 27th, 1969 the same day as Judy Garland's funeral, (a pathetic icon of sorts for gay men of the day, much like Barbara Streisand or Madonna may be now.) the police raided the bar and attempted to arrest the patrons for lewd conduct or any other charge that applied. They encountered massive resistance and the men fought back. The Stonewall riots, as the press dubbed it, initiated the modern gay rights movement we witness today. At the time coverage of the event was headlines across the country, I remember Life magazine had a cover of the event with a story covering it inside. Earlier in the '60's, Life, Time, and other publications carried related stories on the gay sub-culture in NYC and San Francisco that gradually acquainted the general population with a lifestyle heretofore never spoken about, much less accepted.
Pictured, 2004 gay pride parade in Brazil, this years event attracted over a million according to press reports.
The gay pride movement rapidly spread throughout Europe and Canada and gave bold impetus to the feminist movement as well. Today we have gay pride celebrations in every major city in the United States during the month of June. Stonewall has gone down in history as the "Boston Tea Party" for gay liberation. It gave birth to numerous movements, including "Act Up!" the Black Panther style, more militant movement from the 1980's. I should also include organzations such as Dignity and the Rainbow Sash movement, they most likely wouldn't be around without Stonewall either.
Fr. Benedict Groeschl was once speaking about the gay pride parade passing in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC and mentioned it as being an affront to the Catholic Church that has done so much to help those suffering from AIDs as well as providing support groups such as "Courage" to help men and women live a chaste life in keeping with the Commandments and Church teaching. He expressed incredulity as to how these people could expect any respect when they flaunt their sexuality and practices publicly in such a shameful display. In the past there have been drag queens and nearly nude men simulating sex acts on the floats and among the revelers - which becomes a distasteful display of depravity for any moral person witnessing it. When one does see the extreme elements of the homosexual lifestyle it becomes obvious that there is a lack of maturity as well as morality, it is a culture marked by a sort of 'arrested development syndrome' - as if the majority are stuck emotionally and socially in their early teens. Watch reruns of "Will and Grace" to see what I mean, these people are somewhat retarded emotionally as well as sexually. Gay culture is a sex based culture. It's emphasis has always been focused upon the rather antiquated term 'freelove' and voluptuousness.
Gay publications are littered with sex ads and personals that enjoy an unabashed promotion of pornography. In the past alcoholism has gone hand in hand with the gay lifestyle, and still does to some extent. (Although anti-depressants may now have lessened the need for alcohol.) Yet there are many today who seem to live a conventional lifestyle; many are professionals and live very discreetly, these are the 'upper class' if you will excuse my lack of a better description. It is this more or less affluent group making a rather convicing argument for same-sex marriage, gay adoption, etc. They are influencial with politicians and pepper the media, and business. (As a gay bumper sticker announces, "We are everywhere.") The gay agenda is moving forward. The acceptance of homsexuality in our contraceptive, pro-abortion age by the educated elite and popular culture adherents has removed much of the stigma of same-sex attraction as well as sexual relations - even so-called bi-sexuality. An un-churched, faithless generation who cohabitates liberally, or marries and yet contracepts, cannot really be expected to understand why two men or two women may not enjoy equal status with their own sterile, selfish consumer/leisure driven lifestyles and relationships.
St. Benedict Joseph Labre
"Gay Pride" seems to me to be nothing more than an emotionally charged, adolescent mentality in rebellion against truth and the natural law, devoid of authentic faith or spirituality. Some gay people have adopted the form of religion without adherence to moral teachings. The term 'gay pride' is a decidedly oxymoron. Underlying the 'gay' is a sense of inferiority and loneliness; beneath the 'pride' lays an unconsious sense of shame that none can or will acknowledge, an awareness of conscience that has been more or less stiffled by a deluded self acceptance. Contrary to what the American Psychiatric Association (or whatever the name of the organization) has said in declassifying it as a mental disorder, it seems to me that it still has to be a neurosis of some type. This does not preclude one from living a normal life - it's not as if anyone has to be locked up. To realize that it is an "objective moral disorder" can be a starting point for a person on the path of conversion and wholeness in Christ - "in whom there is no longer male or female, slave or freeman" - in Him we become a new creation. In Him, every person can become the person God created him/her to be. I often look to St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the mendicant who most likely suffered from a sort of mental disorder and was homeless. He lived his life as a pilgrim, on the fringe of society. Through grace and fidelity to prayer and penance he became very holy; a great mystic, and a complete man who lived in intimate union with God.
Thinking about today's events I had hoped that the entire day would be a wash and that thunderstorms and rain would hamper the celebrations. The rain ceased and the sun came out and I recalled Our Lord's admonition to "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." And elsewhere, "Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful; He makes the sun to shine on the just as well as the unjust." They've got a gorgeous day for their celebrations here in Minneapolis, so let's pray all the harder for their conversion and make reparation for their omission of keeping holy the Lord's Day.