Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bishop Aquila...


Now that Bishop Aquila has nothing to do and Benedict XVI will soon return from Castel Gondolfo, are we finally going to have the confirmation that Bishop Aquila is Minneapolis/St. Paul's new coadjutor?

(I just love Donna Summer's "Rumor Has It" from her "Once Upon A Time" disco hit album. It was so great to dance to. "Duh-ta, duh-ta, duh-ta, duh-ta....rumor has it all around the town..." I'll have to play it tonite.)

Tolerating racism - on Oprah.


That would be reverse racism.

(Photograph of Paul Robeson as Othello and Peggy Ashcroft as Desdemona from the 1930 London production of Shakespeare's Othello.)

The gospel according to Oprah evidently tolerates reverse racism. Coming in from doing yard work I smoked a cigarette and turned on TV to watch the news. I was too early and caught a bit from the Oprah show with the stars of some new movie dealing with interracial couples. Instead of turning the channel, I watched as she had a group of black men discussing the growing trend of black women dating white men. (It's okay with them for the black men to date outside of their race, but not so much for the women.) They made statements such as , "They're just after money or status." when they date white men. And in response to black women stating that they can't find good black men, they respond, "here we are". All of that is fine with me - I don't care about interracial dating, but I started to think about what had been said. If these were white guys talking about the same subject, stating the same opinions, there would be outrage expressed over obvious racist statements. And it would not end on the Oprah show. Maybe I missed something, but it sure sounded like reverse racism to me.

Funny conspiracy theories.

Now new ones...

Even involving Sr. Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, the visionary of Fatima, shown here at her funeral. (But this isn't the first time they have involved her.)

Conspiracy theories can be entertaining on some level, just the sheer nonsense of many along with the intriguing thought, "what if it's true?" thrill. Not a few believe the bogus "Protocols of Zion" are true. There are Catholics who think that there is more to the third secret of Fatima than what the Vatican revealed, while Sr. Lucia as well as Cardinal Ratzinger, including his new Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone insisted the entire secret has been revealed. Cardinal Bertone recently stated so in an interview, when answering this question;

"Q: You closely followed the publication of the secret of Fatima: are there [further] catastrophic revelations regarding the future or has everything been revealed and accomplished?

A: I met sister Lucia many times and had in my hands the declaration written by her on the matter. There are no further revelations of Fatima and the so-called Third Secret has been completely revealed. As for the catastrophisms, some said that sister Lucia did not close her eyes at night since she was so terrified of the imminent disasters. She answered me, "But if I did not sleep at night, how would I be able to pray all day long?" Sister Lucia recommended that credit should not be given to these announcements of misfortunes."
[snip] Rorate Coeli.

How much more do people have to have to be convinced of the fact that the Fatima secrets have been revealed? Maybe they have not come to pass entirely and the message of prayer and penance is still imperative for us today, but we have the full message. We have what we need to know. We need to trust the Pope when he says so. Before all the secrets were revealed, we already had the essential aspects of the message to amend our lives by, what more needs to be done? Some Fatima devotees think that the consecration of Russia was never performed correctly and therefore must be done in accord with what Our Lady requested. This, despite the fact that Sr. Lucia has said "Heaven has accepted" the consecration of John Paul II in 1984, soon after which, the Berlin wall came miraculously tumbling down and Communism seemed to be dying out. (Not that the world is any more secure or better for it.)

Today I received in the mail a copy of the notorious "Fatima Crusader" magazine, operated by Fr. Nicholas Gruener. Fr. Gruener's group are the chief architects of this conspiracy theory against the Vatican as well as the post Vatican II Church. In one of their books on the subject by John Vennari entitled "The Devil's Final Battle" which insults many in the hierarchy and claims a conspiracy to hide the true contents of the third secret, the author is convinced the secret dealt with the ongoing crises in the Church. He indicates the prohibition of the Latin Mass and the loss of vocations, etc. was initiated by Masons and Communists (some of whom were Cardinals) bent on the destruction of the Church. (A local priest, said to be silenced, has also talked about these things as being true, although he is not as extreme as this bunch; however, such views can get someone silenced. Gruener is supposed to have been.) At times the tone and tenor of Vennari's book is downright hateful, and does it's best to sow seeds of doubt and discord in the most casual reader.

In an article in the current "Crusader" Venarri continues to reach - claiming a new book with heretofore unpublished writings of Sr. Lucia, issued with permission from the Vatican as well as her Carmel in Coimbra, cannot be the authentic writings of Sr. Lucia. He writes, "It is the rhetoric of post-conciliar ecumenism, not that of Sr. Lucia's own words." He is writing regarding Sr. Lucia's words about World War II and the persecution of the Jews, while going on to claim the Jewish religion of today is not the same religion of Jesus' time. (Something a few others say as well.) He cites passages from the Talmud to support that claim. This may or may not be true, I have never read the Talmud, but it simply does not accord with what the Church currently understands when the Jews are referred to as "our elder brother in the faith."

The silliest part of the article is where Venarri addresses the ultimate conspiracy theory that Sr. Lucia may have either died or was killed in the late 1950's, only to be replaced by an impostor. (In the '70's there was a similar conspiracy theory by "out there" Marian devotees saying Paul VI was also put "out of the way" and replaced by an impostor.) Gratefully, he finds it hard to believe but states, "My own opinion is that I would prefer the case to be studied by reputable forensic experts." Thus leaving open the absurd possibility of it all.

He ends the article with this statement; "Hence, Catholics would do well to treat any posthumous writings of Sr. Lucia with extreme caution, especially when they contradict her previous lifelong testimony, and contradict bedrock truths of the Catholic Faith."

I think Catholics would do well to avoid any writings endorsed by "The Fatima Crusader". No wonder people think Fatima is for the crazies and ignore its message and relevance to our own times, when people like this incite such division and mistrust in the authentic teaching Magisterium of the Church.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How we may know chastisement is coming.


Burning Man (Painting by Andre Durand. I did not use the real title.)

We can know that a chastisement is being prepared for us without divine revelations or apparitions of the Virgin Mary. (Although we must be grateful to so good a Mother that she would help us discern the will of God.) Her apparitions have been occurring since the 1830's beginning with St. Catherine Labore, with warnings of chastisements. Since we seem to have recovered from every war and revolution we become more and more skeptical that any real chastisement could befall us. We become ever more complacent, permissive, as well as licentious. It seems to me there has been established a new world religion - not so much the "liberalism" Ann Coulter writes about - that is it's cult, or praxis - instead it is relativism that is the idol of this religion. Materialism, pleasure, leisure and convenience seem to be its "graces".

John of the Cross writes, [Chastisements] "can also be known in their causes, since the divine providence responds most certainly and justly to what the good or bad causes arising from the sons of men demand. One can know naturally that a particular person or city, or some other factor, will reach such a point that God in His providence and justice must respond in conformity with the punishment or reward that cause warrants." (Ascent II, 21;9)

What is so wrong in the world that it should merit a general chastisement? I don't know? Maybe read the news and not watch the censored and sanitized version of it on television. One simply has to just look around. Not just the wars and the rumors of wars - those are chastisements.

Abortion. I know everyone gets tired of hearing about it, and soon they won't be with the not-so-new "morning after pill", that guarantees even more promiscuity. Everyone takes contraception so for granted they fail to realize just how much of an affront it is to God. By it we attempt to make ourselves masters of our own creation, while misusing the gift of sexuality for our own pleasure. It cannot be a coincidence that homosexuality has gained such acceptance in a contraceptive culture. Sex without consequence legitimizes just about every other sexual expression. Just as abortion, legitimizes every other type of life choice, such as infanticide or euthanasia.

In our very well educated minds we convince ourselves there is no such thing as revealed truth that governs our lives. Everyone claims we worship the same God and that there is no religion any better than another, pagan goddess worship included. Everyone is equal. Hence, even the Catholic church may host pan-religious prayer meetings at Assisi praying for peace. We now believe every person can decide for himself what is moral or immoral. Thus man falls for the original lie and thinks himself equal to God, and this essentially is idolatry.


This is what happened in ancient Israel, when the people turned from idolatry and corrupted the temple worship. Turning to other gods is never pleasing to the One True God. It is never pleasing for him to see us engage in abominable behavior, such as infanticide, sacrificing children to idols for a life of convenience, whether by a pill, or a knife. We may not mock his creation by abusing his gift of sexuality through masturbation, homosexuality or transgender operations. It seems to me we have lost our sense of sin because we have forsaken true worship of God and authentic spirituality - thereby abandoning even the natural law.

So you see, we can know by natural reason a chastisement is coming. The question is, when?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A touching and very moving Sacrament of Reconciliation...


At St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(Pictured - the joy of being forgiven.)

"As the room turned dark and our eyes adjusted, the light of the more than three hundred lit candles began to appear in a breathtaking beautiful glow. Each of those lit candles meant that the individual holding it had listened to words from the likes of Julian of Norwich and Hildegard Von Bingen plus prayers offered by Julie Madden and other Prayer Partners.

All were awaiting a final blessing and absolution from our new pastor, Fr. Jim DeBruycker.

Patrick Stevens led the Prayer Partners in this Ritual of Light and Candles to celebrate the Communal Reconciliation Service at St. Joan of Arc parish held at 4 o'clock pm, Sunday, December 11, 2005 in the gym at St. Joan of Arc.

This service in various forms began some years ago when The Sacrament of Penance could be given in communal form and was referred to as the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Sunday evening's service left no doubt in anyone's mind that this communal service had far more depth of understanding than the past method which often turned people away because of much undue guilt and fear.

In this service the prayers and stories told us about Purgatory, which Fr. DeBruycker explained was what happens to us when we finally meet Jesus after our death. We look into ourselves and at how we lived our lives. At that time, we will earnestly wish that we had done more to follow the road Jesus laid out for us. We will wish we had done more for others as Christ told us to do." [snip] Read on, link.

I'm verklempt!

(St. Joan's is so all over the blogs today! See my post from 8/28/06 "Nothin' to blog about.")

Who would you want?


To play your part in a movie about your life?

That Karr guy freak (The Jon Bennet Ramsey suspect, now proven a psycho.) wants Johnny Dep to play his part.

So I thought - who would I want?

Who else? Jon Lovitz! Oh! The drama!

If you know me, take a shot. Who could play my part? Or, just post who you would want to play your part. (No one reads this blog, so there will not be many entries - to my own embarrassment.)

As good as it gets.


What if this is as good as it gets?

What if Christian churches do not ever unite? What if Anglicans and Lutherans and Orthodox just keep splintering and subdividing? While Catholics keep splitting apart; there are "Old Catholics" and traditionalists, with ultra-traditionalists and sedevacantists, and of course those loyal to the Pope and Vatican II, (Wow - let me rush in to clarify that many traditionalists as well as novus ordo faithful are very loyal to the Pope and the Council!) followed by liberals and progressives. Then we may divide Catholics according to diocese and region, continued down to individual parishes such as St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis contrasted with St. Agnes in St. Paul - with the others in-between. We already have the so-called "American Catholic Church" (as a few on the NCCB staff might term it) and the Roman Catholic Church. There seems to me to be many fractures in the edifice.

Maybe the Church will just have to be smaller - maybe numbers will not matter. (Benedict XVI sort of intimated this idea once in an interview.) Maybe those coming into the Church will remain individual conversions, and there just may not be a general reunion of Churches. The Catholic Church already exists whole and entire unto herself; we are already "One, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." Is not the Church complete in herself as the Mystical Body of Christ?

My last post dealt with the current Archbishop of Canterbury saying homosexuals are welcome into the Anglican Church, yet they must change and be converted. This teaching compares well with the Roman Catholic Church. I have always said, we ourselves must change, not the revealed truth of God as taught by the Catholic Church. Therefore it follows, the 'other' churches and denominations must seek to be united to Peter, to the Roman Catholic Church in the same sense the Anglican Archbishop requires of the homosexual person to come into union with the Anglican church. For true union to occur, the other denominations must accept the teachings and tradition of the Roman Pontiff and the Magisterium.

As Pope Pius XI stated in his encyclical, Mortalium Animos;

"Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See...not with the intention and the hope that the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government." (This would apply to dissident Catholic churches as well, such as St. Joan of Arc.)

Not much to ask, is it? But what if this is as good as it gets?

Monday, August 28, 2006

What's up?


Is it true?

The Archbishop of Canterbury saying that homosexual sex has no place in the Church? Whadya do about the gay bishops, priests and others - who are active members of the Anglican communion? Read on:

"Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, said that homosexual activity is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and that homosexuals must change their behaviour if they are to be welcome in the Anglican church.

In an interview last week with a Dutch journalist, Williams, who admitted to knowingly ordaining an active homosexual to the Anglican ministry, said that homosexual persons need to be “welcomed” but their activity could not be “included,” in the normal life of the church.


“I don't believe inclusion is a value in itself. Welcome is. We don't say 'Come in and we ask no questions'. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions,” Williams said. He said he has backed a resolution which says that homosexual practice is incompatible with the Bible."
[snip] LifeSite News.

What kind of turn around is that? Why, it's almost Catholic. Bring on the schism!

Nothin' to blog about...


except maybe the continued use of wire hangers at St. Joan of Arc.

(Pictured: Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest".)

Even the news sucks when the big story is about Conehead O'Brien's very funny montage that depicted an airline crash - bad taste because one really occurred on the same day. His parody was in reference to the show "Lost" - get over it. Anyway - there's no news - the next shoe has to drop I guess. I got it - let's bomb Iran!

Needless to say, there is always St. Joan of Arc, the reigning dissident parish in South Minneapolis. The very gay "BLT sandwich" of baby-boomer pseudo churches. ("BLT" sans the "G" - get it?) Here are some choice picks from their current parish bulletin:

Call to Action Minnesota: Womenpriests Celebrate the Eucharist. On Saturday, September 23, 4-8 pm. Call to Action invites you to a Eucharistic Celebration with Regina Nicolosi presiding. Rev. Nicolosi was ordained as a womanpriest this summer. Following the Eucharist is a presentation by SJA parishioner Dr. Dorothy Irvin on "Ancient and Contemporary Models of Womenpriests and Deacons". Supper is included. FFI contact Judy McGuire at 612.927.6825.

(This announcement must be for their "Peace and Justice" ministry.)

A Soulful Journey to Your Inner Mystic: SJA's annual GLBT retreat is Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16-17 at Dunrovin Retreat Center in Marine-on-St.-Croix. In addition to facilitated sessions there will be time to enjoy nature and friendship. FFI, pick up a brochure at the Parish Center front desk.

(If I were one of the gay "BLT" I would rather check in with the "Inner Child" to see what went wrong in my life. I hope they play a lot of Motown hits.)

Then there is Fr. Jim's "Pastor's Corner" article...

"This is kind of a special day in the church calendar. It is the day on which all good Catholic Churches must decide whether or not they are going to read Ephesians 5:21-32 or an alternative reading. We have opted for the alternative. Ephesians 5 is the chapter where it says ‘wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.’ If this was read at St. Leonard’s at least one person would get up and leave church. I can’t imagine what would happen at St. Joan’s.

Of course, the problem with the reading, besides the fact that no American can ever envision themselves as being subordinate to anyone, is the concept that there is a perfect man, or for that matter, a perfect woman. If you were subordinate to the perfect person, who would know it? It would be a relationship of mutuality, faithfulness and sharing, not one of dominance and abuse, which is how we mainly translate subordination."[snip] Check out their website for more. (How gay is that?)

(Gosh darn! I just do not think Ephesians was speaking about the perfect man or the perfect woman. It's kind of a "call to perfection" - if a priest cannot read and preach what the Scriptures and the Church teach, and the liturgy calls for, what's the point. St. Joan's is so like the "Happy Hands Club" from "Napoleon Dynamite". Besides, if they cannot tolerate, "Wives should be submissive to their husbands as to the Lord." maybe it is clear the so-called Catholic parish cannot be submissive to the Lord after all.)

I think the Archbishop should have assigned Fr. Altier to St. Joan's - Flynn could have killed two birds with one stone that way.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thinking about martyrdom...


The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas.

In today's news the two journalists who had been kidnapped by Hamas were released without apparent harm. Reports are that they were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. It caused me to reflect upon martyrdom. If these men were religious, perhaps they would have refused and witnessed to their faith through martyrdom. In thinking about it, the idea seemed ridiculous - what is wrong with pretending to accept another faith while your own is hidden in your heart, in order to stay alive?

The world and secularized culture cannot understand that there would be anything wrong with pretending to convert, especially to save one's life. Yet that one, seemingly innocuous little compromise may perhaps determine one's eternal salvation. Nearly every martyr in history has been offered the ultimatum to chose or reject Christ in the circumstances of their martyrdom. Granted, those such as Edith Stein and the martyrs of the holocaust would not have been given their life back if they had apostatized; their initial intention and offering of their life is what more or less constituted martyrdom in their cases.

The seven monks of Atlas, in Algeria, anticipated martyrdom by their monastic profession, and more especially considering the mounting violence surrounding them, they prepared for it. Martyrdom is a Divine grace, it is rare that one unprepared to face death for Christ, would be able to accept it. Prayer and fasting and the devout practice of the Catholic faith are the normal and necessary means to be found worthy of it. (Perhaps this is the meaning in the ongoing apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje, with the repetitive messages...maybe Our Lady is showing us the way to prepare for martyrdom?) At any rate, a secularized culture and the individuals within it cannot fathom the meaning of martyrdom. It is exactly why we in the West cannot comprehend terrorists and suicide bombers, who imagine their suicides to be martyrdom.

Here is the last testament of the monk Dom Christian de Cherge written a year before his martyrdom with his community. It was not discovered until 1996.

Testament of Dom Christian de Chergé (opened on Pentecost Sunday, May 26,1996)

Facing a GOODBYE.... If it should happen one day - and it could be today - that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to engulf all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church and my family to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country.

I ask them to accept the fact that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure. I would ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering? I ask them to associate this death with so many other equally violent ones which are forgotten through indifference or anonymity. My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value.

In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood. I have lived long enough to know that I am an accomplice in the evil which seems to prevail so terribly in the world, even in the evil which might blindly strike me down. I should like, when the time comes, to have a moment of spiritual clarity which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of my fellow human beings, and at the same time forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.

I could not desire such a death. It seems to me important to state this. I do not see, in fact, how I could rejoice if the people I love were indiscriminately accused of my murder. It would be too high a price to pay for what will perhaps be called, the "grace of martyrdom" to owe it to an Algerian, whoever he might be, especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes to be Islam.

I am aware of the scorn which can be heaped on the Algerians indiscriminately. I am also aware of the caricatures of Islam which a certain Islamism fosters. It is too easy to soothe one's conscience by identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist ideology of its extremists. For me, Algeria and Islam are something different: it is a body and a soul. I have proclaimed this often enough, I think, in the light of what I have received from it. I so often find there that true strand of the Gospel which I learned at my mother's knee, my very first Church, precisely in Algeria, and already inspired with respect for Muslim believers.

Obviously, my death will appear to confirm those who hastily judged me naïve or idealistic: "Let him tell us now what he thinks of his ideals!" But these persons should know that finally my most avid curiosity will be set free. This is what I shall be able to do, God willing: immerse my gaze in that of the Father to contemplate with him His children of Islam just as He sees them, all shining with the glory of Christ, the fruit of His Passion, filled with the Gift of the Spirit whose secret joy will always be to establish communion and restore the likeness, playing with the differences. For this life lost, totally mine and totally theirs, I thank God, who seems to have willed it entirely for the sake of that JOY in everything and in spite of everything.

In this THANK YOU, which is said for everything in my life from now on, I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today, and you, my friends of this place, along with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers and their families - You are the hundredfold granted as was promised! And also you, my last-minute friend, who will not have known what you were doing: Yes, I want this THANK YOU and this GOODBYE to be a "GOD-BLESS" for you, too, because in God's face I see yours. May we meet again as happy thieves in Paradise, if it please God, the Father of us both. AMEN !

Algiers, 1st December 1993 Tibhirine, 1st January 1994 Christian +

(Go to this link to read the complete story of the Trappist martyrs of Atlas.)

Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us that we too may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.