Friday, January 12, 2007

My Dinner With...Mr. Hastreiter

Actually, we've never been out to dinner. John Hastreiter is our Church Goods director at the Company I work for. We just have our talks.
When I began working at Leaflet, I already knew John as a customer shopping in his Store - at that time he was just starting the Church Goods dimension of the business. It has grown under his direction - and with his vision - dramatically so.
He's a very bright man, sophisticated as well as traditionally Roman Catholic - not a trad - he attends the Mass of Paul VI when he has to do so, yet prefers the traditional Mass. He is an invaluable resource for our Company. An incredibly astute young man. He has the ear of many seminarians and priests, and he listens to them as well. He knows his theology, and liturgy. He is very balanced, and I dare say, rather holy and spiritually mature. He's mellowed over the years, without compromising his values in the least. (Being a husband and a dad will do that for a guy.)
John is married with three beautiful children. His lovely wife is the"heiress" to the Matt family. (I'm kidding - she's not an heiress, but she is a Matt. So what does that mean? Her relatives publish "The Wanderer" and another relative publishes "The Remnant" - two staunchly Roman Catholic newspapers, both with reputations for being traditional Catholic newspapers - one with a more radical approach than the other, hence the Matt family has this curious reputation...None of it deserved on Karen's side.) When I understood Karen was a Matt, my first reply was, "But she's so normal!" As is her entire family - when I met her mother I somehow expected some chapel veiled woman who couldn't smile - such the opposite. The family simply prefers the solidity of the Tridentine Mass, as well as traditional Catholic upbringing - and the kids (I know her brothers) are living proof that there is nothing odd about traditional Catholics.
Anyway, when I first started at Leaflet, I was convinced that I was a conservative and traditional Catholic, who couldn't figure out why people had a problem with the post-Vatican II reforms. Certainly I knew of the abuses, and the far out theologies - I kept to the middle - keeping my blinders in place. John first shocked me when he told me that Cardinal Ratzinger was basically a liberal. My jaw dropped - Ratzinger? Liberals hated him. How could this be?
This afternoon we laughed about all of that, while I commented that I had changed so much. (I also remember being shocked when he countered a protest of mine and told me that some bishops and priests were gay - that was before the scandal hit the fan. Sure, I knew gay priests - but bishops? I complained John scandalized me and could also scandalize customers. How stupid was I?) Suddenly, today, John, who never reads blogs, told me that since I have been blogging I have changed even more. I was rather impressed that he noticed. He is a really sharp fellow. What is more impressive, he never batted an eyelash when I couldn't understand where he was coming from - even when I complained - after he explained to me what had been going on in the Church. He always remained my friend, allowing me time and space to make up my own mind.
Indeed, I have changed. Reading other blogs, getting comments from other bloggers, I have come to realize how terribly important it is for the traditional liturgy to be restored. Through other bloggers, my Catholic faith has been deepened, my understanding of the Church has thus far been expanded, which explains my occasional "It's too much! Stop the blog, I want to get off!"
I realize as Catholics we can no longer isolate ourselves and content ourselves with a personal piety, pretending there is nothing wrong in the Church, or that people who insist upon the integrity of the liturgy, faith and morals, are creating discord while clinging to an obsolete ecclessiology.
I've read home-school blogs that absolutely crush my smug little prejudice that these are somehow weird people who only want a "Little House On The Prairie" type world. Nothing could be further from the truth! I've read trad blogs that have so opened my eyes to the issues of liturgy, theology, and ecclessiology that are indeed matters of supreme importance. At the other blogs I visit I have been able to hear other people I would have otherwise ignored, or simply not have heard.
Congratulations to all the good Catholic bloggers, those listed on my sidebar, as well as those I continually discover. Thank God for the Catholic web logs!
And thank God for John Hastreiter and his beautiful Catholic family - he is one of the finest men I know - I love and respect him, despite the fact he is quite my junior.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What were you thinkin'?

Salve Regina has an interesting quote from Paul VI on the reform of the liturgy. Holy Father was certainly prophetic in Humane Vitae,,,what about the Mass?
From an allocution at the Wednesday audience by the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI.
" A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead.
It is at such a moment as this that we get a better understanding of the value of historical tradition and the communion of the saints. This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed..." - finish the allocution at Salve Regina
I venerated Paul VI, I saw him several times. I love him. I think he is a saint.
Although, now I must ask, what was he thinking?

"War, What's It Good For?

Absolutely Nothin'!" Elaine Benis, "Seinfeld"
Remember that episode from Seinfeld, when Elaine insisted that is what Tolstoy wanted to title "War and Peace"?
The President's brief address last night concerning troop escalation (they refuse to call it that) in Iraq, was not at all funny. The war is not funny - nothing about our involvement in Iraq is funny. We created the mess, it seems to me we have to clean it up.
The President's proposal for an increase in military is relying on two things, the willingness of young men and women to enlist, as well as keeping our National Guard troops on extended tours of duty. The later are National Guard troops - meant to protect the homeland, yet they find themselves on foreign soil. These men and women are our co-workers, our neighbors, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, away from family, home, job and country. I am in total awe of our military, their dedication, their courage and generosity, their sheer goodness, as well as their fidelity to duty, God, and Country. Male or female, their virile dedication is awesome. They are daily in my prayers and thoughts. Daily! Even all day!
Curiously, in the workplace, or out and about in daily life, I rarely hear much from others about the war. No one discusses it, except to criticize the President or his cabinet. In the United States, one would never be able to tell we are at war - it's business as usual. The mindless obsession with celebrity is the only indication that there is some disconnect...something is not right in our society. I think the distraction by media, reality programming, along with celebrity has become an escape for our anti-depressant drug culture these days.
Just as psychedelics, grass and rock were a distraction for the Vietnam Stateside generation. Certainly there were massive demonstrations against the war - which seems to be beginning now with this war - yet on a much, much smaller scale. In the Vietnam era, we were not attacked on our soil, as we were on 9/11 - this experience presents an entirely different dynamic.
Despite the "massive protest" in the Vietnam era, there were many people who just floated by, unaware of what was really going on. Many kids just dropped out - my friends and I were among them. Most of us never participated in rallies - unless there was a rock band, or dope was there. We loved Crosby, Stills and Nash and raised our fists at concerts, but we were usually doped up. Sure, we were against the war in a "didn't want to go" type of way. A couple of friends did some stuff to protest, and seemed to be really into it, two of them, girls at the time, were pretty much infatuated with a couple of the guys who led the group - the ladies really were not political.
Freaks my age, all grown up and successful, albeit still uber liberal, want and expect massive protests against Bush and the mess we have to clean up (because it really is justice that we do so) while I believe some, along with the media, want to bring back the '60's in many ways. Hopefully, we are all much more sensitive to the sacrifices our soldiers are making - learning our lesson on how badly the Vietnam vets were treated, than to discredit those who have died, as well as those fighting in their place; we can't just bail on those who have died and bring a premature end to our involvement in rebuilding a nation we pretty much destroyed in the first place.
Support the war or not, most people just don't act like it's going on at all. It's a little conflict "over there" someplace, it's not affecting us. My advice: Skip a few doses of prozac or other antidepressant drugs that keep you happy, really think about what is going on. Turn off American Idol, or Grey's Anatomy, or whatever veges you out - think and pray about what is taking place in our Country at this time. Stand up for our troops - don't ever let anyone sell our military short, just because they hate Bush. (I'm not in love with him either!) It doesn't matter if they are a movie star, a rock star, or some bull-dyke Rosie on morning TV, or Nancy Pelosi, or Teddy (Drunk-Again) Kennedy. Support our men and women in harms way!
I'm ashamed to admit it, but it was 30 years after Vietnam when I realized that some Credence Clearwater and Crosby Stills and Nash songs were about Vietnam. Part of the culture was doped in the '60's; and surprise, surprise, more people are medicated today than they were then. "Prozac Nation" don't ya know.
(And, did you know, if we would have stuck it out in Vietnam, we would have been victorious? We must support our troops! Pray for our troops! )

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who Does God Approve?

Pictured, The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas.
At the end of his life St. Thomas stopped writing, he lived in silence. He had a mystical experience, a revelation, that led him to declare everything he had written was as straw. (Therefore, we may conclude that this painting does not represent Heaven, much less an appropriate entrance into Heaven. No one is going to be comparing notes on what Thomas wrote, nor what anyone else wrote.)
Who does God approve?
Someplace, in the psalms we are told,
"This is the man I approve, the lowly and afflicted..."
I cannot remember which psalm it is, yet we know from Our Lady's Magnificat that it is the humble the Lord exalts...
"He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
...the rich He has sent away empty."
Sometimes, the liturgical controversies, the ecclesial conspiracies, the theological speculations...everything that gets religious people going, all of that wearies me.
I so wish I could be like a very simple, and obviously poor old man I would occasionally see at Mass, quietly kneeling in the most profound recollection after everyone else had left the Church. He appeared to be a retired worker, the years of hard labor lined in his face. I recognized that he was probably not a man with university degrees, nor a man of much sophistication, and I could tell he was alone in life. Yet he seemed to me to be very close to God and undistributed by the world or the tumult in the Church. He was united to Jesus, and it radiated from his face, as he knelt, eyes closed, his head slightly uplifted toward heaven.
This is the man God approves.

More on Conspiracy Theory #5

This is just going to get bigger - just like that fishy stuff going on in Los Angeles...

Rorate Caeli posted a link to First Things (after Robert Miller linked to him in his article) regarding an analysis of the Wieglus events in Poland. New Catholic wrote:

"We believe that Prof. Robert Miller's analysis of the events at First Things, with a kind link to us, presents an accurate portrayal of the deep Vatican problems related to the Wielgus Affair, particularly the disastrous process of episcopal nominations, centered in the Congregation for Bishops." - Rorate Caeli

I think I was on to something in last night's post, JPII - What Did He Know?

New Catholic prefaced his quote from First Things with this disclaimer:

"Let us remind our critics that we had not published a single word on Wielgus in December 2006 - because we had trusted the first note issued by the Holy See, according to which the "Holy See ... took into consideration all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past" and the "Holy Father... nourishes full trust in Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus and, in full awareness, has entrusted him with the mission of pastor of the Archdiocese of Warsaw". " - Rorate Caeli

And then New Catholic finishes with this from First Things:

"The concluding paragraph of Miller's text is particularly appropriate:

'Now, either the Vatican knew about Wielgus' past when it appointed him, as Wielgus says and as the Vatican's statement in December strongly suggests, or else it did not, as Re now maintains. If the former, then the Vatican's investigation of Wielgus prior to the appointment was grossly negligent, failing to discover information that was readily available in Poland. If the latter, as seems much more likely, then the Holy See exercised very poor judgment in making the appointment in the first place and even worse judgment in attempting to ram it through even after the truth about Wielgus became public. It stood by Wielgus while it knew he was lying to the faithful by denying the allegations. Many faithful Catholics looking at this situation will think that our bishops, rather than their critics, are the ones doing the real harm to the Church here.'" - Rorate Caeli
See! It happens!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

People's Choice Awards...

It was on. I watched a portion of it. I hated it.
A couple of days ago people were critical of this painting I posted depicting Angelina Jolie as an object of veneration, by artist Katie Kretz . A friend who protested the painting and celebrity publicity, said that if the tabloids disappeared from the supermarket, no one would miss them nor the celebrities they promote. I had to disagree.
If you watched the People's Choice Awards tonight, you know how right-on this artist was in painting the piece. There is most definitely a cult of celebrity. And the "People" make really poor choices for their entertainment.
This awards show represents "popular" culture. These celebrities are "popular" cult figures.
And some people want us to elect our president by "popular" vote! Can you imagine?

John Paul II - what did he know?

Did John Paul really know who he appointed as bishops and archbishops? One can't really expect the pope to know everything about everyone who marches up the ranks of Church hierarchy, can he? He would have to trust those promoting the candidates. Some say JPII wasn't interested in the minutiae of day to day business in the Vatican; yet appointing bishops certainly must have concerned him.
I came across an interesting article on WorldNet Daily - not in reference to the Polish Archbishop who last Sunday resigned over allegations he was a Communist spy - rather about the homosexual infiltration in the Church. JPII, as I've said before, was very sophisticated and politically savvy, so I'm sure he knew about the "spy-priests" - or did he? Of course he was not responsible the recent Wieglus' appointment as Archbishop. Nevertheless, I suspect he had to know about what was going on in his homeland, especially as concerned his priests. Although, this from WorldNet on the homosexual thing, may apply to the espionage matter.

"Posted: May 2, 2005

The reason Catholic Church leadership includes homosexuals is because John Paul II refused to believe reports that potential clergy held that orientation – a mistake that will not be repeated by Pope Benedict XVI, says geopolitical expert Jack Wheeler.

In a column on his intelligence website, To the Point, Wheeler explains that a Vatican source disclosed to him why John Paul discounted the charge of homosexuality.

"Whenever Vatican investigators brought the results of their vetting process regarding an individual's candidacy for bishop, cardinal or other office, and they revealed he was a homosexual, John Paul II would refuse to believe it," he writes.

"He did so because accusing someone of homosexuality was a standard practice of the Communist government in his native Poland regarding anyone it regarded as an enemy of the state. From his ordination as a Catholic priest in 1946 to elevation to Archbishop of Krakow in 1963 and Cardinal in 1967, the then Karol Wojtyla witnessed this personal destruction repeatedly. So traumatized, he summarily dismissed such accusations as pope, and would approve the elevation of anyone so accused. "

Wheeler says that's why the church is "riddled" with homosexuals today." - WorldNet Daily

Of course, I don't know how factual this report is, however it seems reasonable - although, I like to think doubtful. If it is true, could the same dynamic have been at work as regards the man
recently presented for Episcopal installation from Poland, accused of working for the Communist party? Maybe it is a continuing practice in the Vatican. That may explain the approval for Wieglus' appointment - which he has now resigned.
And, this may explain many appointments, even on the diocesan level...
Someone in authority must know about these people though! Gosh, I hear all the petty gossip - even about priests who habitually oversleep and miss their morning Mass, while the "nun in charge" has to do a Liturgy of the Word with Communion when it happens. So how can this big stuff be overlooked?
Conspiracy Theory #5!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Pictured, an illumination, "The Abbot and the Apostate Monk."
This post isn't about Mahony, or other bishops or clergy, it comes about as I've pondered and prayed for friends who have left the Church over the years.
One day in the monastery, the novices were discussing a priest who left the Church to get married, he was highly regarded by the community, and considered very spiritual. He left, not only to marry, but to be a part of a protestant ministry.
I recall protesting, "How could anyone leave the Church with Jesus truly present in the Eucharist and after receiving so many mystical graces?" That was said by a rather fervent, as well as naive, novice in a contemplative monastery. Just a few years later, when the breast of Divine consolation was pulled out of my mouth, I faltered for a time, afraid of the dark night, seeking my consolation elsewhere.
Certainly, the defection of some ought not to surprise us, yet charity compels us to be concerned, and to pray for them. Nevertheless, each man chooses his path. Some of my friends remain Christian and live devout lives, albeit outside the Catholic Church. Some have abandoned religion all together for a lifestyle incompatible with Church teaching. While others have embraced neo-paganism, wicca, or witchcraft. (The later were usually converts from the "old religion" in the first place.)
In 1 John 2;18, the Apostle writes of the presence of antichrists in these final hours:
"It was from our ranks that they took their leave-
not that they really belonged to us:
for if they had belonged to us,
they would have stayed with us.
It only served to show that none of them was ours."
I think of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, those who awaited the bridegroom in the night of faith, the wise having their lamps ready, while the foolish neglecting their lamps only to wander off to obtain the oil of consolation and light elsewhere. While away, the bridegroom returns and the wise virgins joyfully enter the wedding banquet as the doors are locked behind them. When the foolish virgins return, they understand they have become persona non grata, and are barred from entering. It seems harsh doesn't it? The Beloved Disciple tells us they "never really belonged in the first place" while the parable confirms eternal life is denied the apostates.
One friend in particular cannot accept the idea of a God who permits suffering, unable to understand, or accept the concept of original sin, while adamantly rejecting the fall as a condition all men inherit. The idea of a Savior, redeeming mankind, by his perfect sacrifice is no consolation. If I understand things correctly, many mystics and Church Fathers feel one aspect of Satan's rebellion pretty much involved the same difficulty. Not that he didn't believe - he simply rejected the Incarnation and the Redemption. He voluntarily rejected God in disobedience because he could not bear to hear Him, (which is the root of the word obedience, "to hear") Satan, refused and rebelled against God's plan - which is pretty much what my friend is going through now.
It seems to me, any apostasy finds its archetype in Satan's apostasy. In the garden he invited Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree, encouraging her to reject God's plan for mankind, assuring her that she would be all knowing as God. Convincing her that God had deceived and cheated Adam and Eve of a greater beatitude. (Now I believe Adam and Eve lived as saints, enjoying a Divine Union and beatitude unlike any saint or any of the greatest mystics, except for Christ and the Blessed Virgin.) Truth be told, our first parents were deceived and fell from grace.
Theologians, as well as philosophers, tell us there is a natural consequence, even chastisement for every sin or act, proportionate to its gravity. The sin of our first parents was a serious act. Scripture tells us God walked with Adam in the garden, Adam knew God intimately, therefore God would have clearly instructed him about everything - albeit, warning him not to partake of the fruit of that particular tree. Adam and Eve knew what they were doing, just like you and I know what we are doing when we chose to commit a mortal sin - it would not be a mortal sin if we did not have full knowledge and complete consent of the will. Strangely, we can know what constitutes a mortal sin, while understanding its consequence, yet we commit the sin.
The original sin of our first parents was so severe, so grievous, it altered our nature, affecting all of nature, so to speak. Subsequently, in procreation, the effects are regenerated not unlike an imprint upon our DNA, if you will. It remains the condition of human being before baptism in Christ. At least, in my simplicity, this is how I understand it. Is it fair? Yes, because of God's justice, as well as His mercy and love, which immediately provided an antidote, the Savior. Did God do this to us? No, we did, or rather, mankind in our first parents did it. The only analogy I can use to comprehend, much less explain it simply, is to compare it to what we know today as regards some children born with physical or mental defects through no fault of their own.
My best analogy is the mother who drinks heavily during pregnancy, and runs the risk of giving birth to a child with birth defects. The child she conceived did nothing to cause the malady, and sadly, it is in reality, the fault of the mother, even though she may never intended to harm her child. Despite her motivations, the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome affected the baby in the womb. The results clearly are a natural consequence, a severe chastisement if you will, upon an innocent child. My example is simple biology, yet I believe it fits my analogy with the supernatural generation of man.
We cannot comprehend God with the intellect. We cannot grasp the Trinity, the Eucharist, the Resurrection and other mysteries except through faith, experienced in love, while persevering in hope throughout the difficulties of life. Theologians and mystics can describe and explain the mysteries of faith, nevertheless, everything presented to us by the Church requires the assent of faith. The wise virgins of the parable held onto this faith, their hearts burning with love, while awaiting the bridegroom in patient hope. We all must pray for perseverance while preserving our faith through prayer and good instruction in charity.
My poor explanations to my friend, just as the Catechism and the scriptures, along with the writings of the saints and Fathers, have been rejected. They are just words. Just words. I'm nothing but a simple man myself, without great education, I just don't know how to posit the faith any better than I've done.
It is indeed sad when a soul falls away.
In the monastery the monks always conclude night prayer with the intention, "And for our brothers who are away." Pray for my friends who are away.

Something Fishy, Conspiracy Theory #4

"Finally... it has happened... to me... right in front of my face... and I just can not hide it" -CeCe Peniston

Homogenizing homosexuality within the Catholic Church and culture, from the top down, is it happening right in front of our face in Los Angeles and elsewhere? That gay fish pin story just doesn't go away. Lump it together with all the speculation of recent years that there is a homosexual subculture in the Church, what is a person to think?

More on the fish story:

Contrary to Sacred Tradition, Cardinal Roger Mahony's Archdiocese of Los Angeles 'Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics' [MLGC], under his Episcopal authority, has robbed this ancient symbol of its sacredness, mutating and deforming the Christian Eucharistic fish symbol into a profane external sign of the homosexual subculture.

Cardinal Mahony instructs his nearly 5 million Catholic members to "see in the [gay] fish pin a sign of recognition of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers." Is Cardinal Mahony trying to hook his already desensitized laity with this fishy bait?

The Cardinal is perversely distorting a once holy and revered symbol used not only by the early Christians but today's Christians as well. Through the gift of the same Sacred Tradition the Apostles received from Christ, the early Christians recognized one another in the image of the fish during the persecution of their Church. - Barbara Kralis Renew America

The above snippet is from an extremely well researched and documented article by Barbara Kralis, brought to my attention at Roman Catholic Blog.

What else can I say? If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck, even if it has rainbow feathers.

[As regards fish however...what will feminists think when they discover "fish" was a late 20th century vulgarity used by homosexuals in reference to women? It could be another conspiracy thing maybe...well, probably shouldn't get their conspiracy theories all mixed up.]


And of course, the royal cats...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Exalted Highness Duchess Agnes the Venal of Londinium-le-Thames
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Countess-Palatine Celine the Recumbent of Gallop Hophill
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Sunday, January 07, 2007

One last 13th Night silliness:

I got my very first tag since blogging! From The Crescat ! (I added a couple of categories.)

It's a film meme. "You love me! You really, really love me!" (Oh! Sally Fields, shut the hell up!)

Your Favorite Film?

Zeferelli's "Romeo and Juliet" - I've always been in love with Olivia Hussey!

Your Favorite Film Priest?

Montgomery Clift, in "I Confess".

Your Favorite Film Nun?

How could you even ask this? Audrey Hepburn, "The Nun's Story"!

Your Favorite Religious Movie?

"Song of Bernadette" "I did see her! I did see her!"

Your Favorite Comedy?

"Waiting For Gufman" I did not realize Corky was Christopher Guest and I thought he was just a really gay actor.

Your Favorite Action Film?

"My Dinner With Andre"

Your Favorite Thriller?

Yeah, that would be the "Thriller" video by Michael Jackson.

Your Favorite Foreign Film?

"A Man and a Woman" - I'm old.

Favorite "Alternative" Lifestyle Film?

"The Bird Cage" I agreed with the Senator, I also thought Mrs. Coleman a wonderful woman.

Your Favorite Animal Film?

"Babe" I love that pig!

Your Favorite Animated Film?

"Bambi" of course.

Your Favorite "B" Movie?

"Beaches" - I'm so kidding.

Your Favorite "Newer" "B" Movie?

All of the "Scream" series.

Your Favorite Black Comedy Film? (As In Humor.)

"Mommie Dearest", with "Serial Mom" a close second.

Your favorite Period Film?


Your Favorite Biblical Film?

"The Passion of the Christ"

In your opinion, the most important film in Cinematic history?

"Moonstruck" I know! Wasn't Cher great!

Oh! Yeah! I tag Rhapsody, Adoro, Cathy, and Ray!

Meet me missus...

Her Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Noble Excellency Gladys the Charming of Chignall Duntisbourne
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

On Epiphany - I Received a Title!

Actually, my nobility has simply been recognized.

(Friends, family, employees were obviously correct when they said I was a Royal SOB! I never knew what those initials meant until today.)

"You love me! You really, really love me!"

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milord Earl Terrance the Profuse of Grasshopper in the Hole
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