See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Charles and Sebastian

Transitional homosexuality.
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"I know of these romantic friendships of the English and the Germans. They are not Latin. I think they are very good if they do not go on too long... It's the kind of love that comes to children before they know its meaning." - Cara, Brideshead Revisited
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The relationship of Charles and Sebastian in Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited can be said to illustrate the concept of what I call a transitional homosexuality; Cara remarking, "In England it comes when you are almost men." In the book it is clear Charles moved on, while Sebastian seemed unable to, although in the end, as a sort of porter for the monastery, he was obviously converted and found peace. I expect fans of the novel will disagree with me.
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Yet I believe it true that not all men who identify as same-sex attracted are 'fixed' in homosexuality, which happens to be a fact glossed over by homo-activists who see it as an irreversible sexual orientation. Indeed, activists seem to think 'once gay always gay', rejecting the idea that some men, given the motivation can change, although one must first be able to move on and out of the behavior. This is why homosexual molestation, or pederasty is so very evil, not to mention the indoctrination through sex education programs in primary school, middle school, and high school. (And yes, it is true, as the catechism states, the orientation is not sinful in itself, just the behavior, and by extension, advocating for normalizing or promoting the behavior.)
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Now that I am older and witnessed close friends who renounced homosexual relations, married and fathered children, not unlike Evelyn Waugh, I can tell you change is possible and homosexual inclination can be transitory. Not a few of my friend's homosexual acquaintances were quite unhappy with their decision to leave the culture and get married, they felt betrayed. Yet after 30 years or more, their marriages turned out to be successful, their love sincere and lasting, and their lives quite happy and fulfilled. Thus, it seems entirely possible to me, that men with similar motivation, who renounce homosexual behavior and opt for a chaste, celibate life, could be admitted to Holy Orders and religious life, provided they are in agreement with Church teaching on the issue. Again, the ordinary superiors would have the final say in the matter and be responsible for making that decision.
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I came across a piece written by an Anglican priest, who left homosexuality and is married with children. His insights may prove valuable to some of my readers.
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Pastoral Considerations for Homosexuality - Fr. Mario Bergner
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"My own journey out of homosexuality and into heterosexuality included addressing both spiritual dynamics and psychological issues. Spiritually, my healing from homosexuality came as my conversion to Jesus deepened and I learned to repent of my sin. I first met the love of Jesus at age six in the care of Roman Catholic nuns who lived in my neighbourhood. When I met Jesus personally at age 14 through the evangelical preaching of Leighton Ford, I was also experiencing the emergence of homosexual attraction. I searched for help for overcoming homosexuality, but was unsuccessful. By the time I was eighteen, I lost all hope of finding help for healing, went to university and entered into the gay lifestyle in New York City.
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In my early twenties, I had several immunity breakdowns and landed in a hospital room in Boston with the possible diagnosis of AIDS looming over my head. While on my hospital bed in fear and despair, I prayed to the Lord Jesus. He appeared to me saying, ‘I want to heal your whole person, not just your sexuality. Choose.' In response to his initiative, I chose him. I recovered fully from my symptoms and was never diagnosed with AIDS and later tested HIV negative. The turning point in my life came when, a few months later, I repented of homosexuality and received the forgiveness of sins. My spiritual healing from homosexuality continued as I learned to forgive others and resist temptation. I needed to forgive others for how their sins had negatively shaped me. Additionally, I had to learn how to suffer like a Christian in order to resist the temptations to take back homosexual sin.
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The Lord used psychological insights to address my lack of affirmation in my identity as a man and fears related to men and women. I came to see how I mis-perceived manhood in myself. I grew to accept the unique ways God has created me to be a man and masculine. Through healthy friendships with men, I began to accept myself as a man among men. I had to press through my fear of relating to both men and women. The many godly men and women I met in my local church showed me a new model for male and female relationships. Also helpful was the love and acceptance of fellow students, faculty and staff at Trinity Episcopal School For Ministry in Pennsylvania where I studied for the priesthood. Of special help was the prayerful counsel of Leanne Payne and the many Christian leaders who have served on her team." - Read more here.
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Photo: Sebastian and Charles. Obviously the bear is a big flamer.

Scapegoating Homosexuality?

I don't think so.
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I read a post on a gay-activist's blog making the claim that "survivors" of Catholic clerical sexual abuse insist that there is no connection between the sexual molestation they experienced and homosexuality. He writes: "I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No organization of clergy sex abuse survivors places blame on homosexuality. They are capable of making the distinction between sexual orientation and sexual abuse; between homosexuality and pedophilia. It’s time the hierarchical Church made - and boldly announced - these distinctions as well."
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The writer quotes an Irish "survivor" as he objected to a statement made by an Irish priest, Father John Owen, of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, when he revealed that the “majority of pedophilia [in the Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal] had been perpetrated by homosexuals.”
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Colm O’Gorman, a so-called survivor of clerical sexual abuse, "described Owen’s comments as 'ill-informed, ignorant, corrupt and dishonest.' He said: 'The church has created a link between homosexual sex and priests who rape and sodomize children. It scapegoats someone else and creates a side issue." - Wild Reed Blogspot
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All of the men I know who had been sexually molested in puberty or adolescence, regardless of their sexual orientation as adults, identify the perpetrators of the sexual abuse they suffered as homosexual men.
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The blog author insists, "no organization of clergy sexual abuse survivors places blame on homosexuality." Well of course not - not all homosexuals are into sex with under aged boys, but if you ask the individuals who were abused by same-sex perpetrators, I assure you most, if not all will tell you the abuse was homosexual in nature, and the men who did it were homosexuals.
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As a man who had been sexually abused in my youth by multiple adult males, my own experience contradicts the premise that men who have sex with pre-teen and/or teenage boys are pedophiles and not homosexuals. It is a ludicrous idea. Pederasty, not pedophilia describes this type of sexual deviancy, and the perpetrators are surely homosexually inclined - to put it politely. Some may have been married to women, in a relationship with a man, or simply promiscuous - but there is no doubt they were gay and predatory.
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I am in no way saying all homosexuals are pederasts, or that men who have been molested turn out to be gay or end up molesting boys or girls. That is not the case. What I am saying is that sexual predators who direct their attentions toward adolescent boys are gay, or at least bisexual - which happens to be the 'B' in LGBT. Therefore it is predominately a homosexual problem. Homosexual activists are misinformed.
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I don't care what law enforcement or the court system labels it, or what psychologists call it, or even what a politically correct diocesan council calls it. Male on male sex is homosexual behavior.
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Men who have been sexually abused by homosexuals in their youth are indeed "capable of making the distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia. It’s time gay activists made - and boldly announced - these distinctions as well."

Friday, May 29, 2009

"There is no such thing as a bad boy." - Fr. Flanagan

Flanagan condemned the Irish reform schools in 1946.
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Fr. Flanagan, who founded Boy's Town had become a famous name throughout the world thanks to the successful 1938 film by the same name, starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. Flanagan became a sort of living St. John Bosco in the mid 20th century. "He was internationally renowned as 'the world’s most foremost expert on boys’ training and youth care.'”
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While touring the Irish schools he was appalled and said so:
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"Fr. Flanagan was unhappy with what he found in Ireland. He was dismayed at the state of Ireland's reform schools and blasted them as “a scandal, un-Christlike, and wrong.” And he said the Christian Brothers, founded by Edmund Rice, had lost its way.
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Speaking to a large audience at a public lecture in Cork’s Savoy Cinema he said, "You are the people who permit your children and the children of your communities to go into these institutions of punishment. You can do something about it." He called Ireland’s penal institutions "a disgrace to the nation," and later said "I do not believe that a child can be reformed by lock and key and bars, or that fear can ever develop a child’s character."
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However, his words fell on stony ground. He wasn't simply ignored. He was taken to pieces by the Irish establishment. The then-Minister for Justice Gerald Boland said in the Dáil that he was 'not disposed to take any notice of what Monsignor Flanagan said while he was in this country, because his statements were so exaggerated that I did not think people would attach any importance to them.'" - Source
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When I was little, after watching the film on television, I recall asking my older brother Skip if we could run away to Boy's Town because things were so bad at home. After explaining to me that mom and dad would catch up with us, he said, "Anyway, you just want to do that because they have a chapel." He was only half right.
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Quick note.
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I got to know an Irish priest who came from the old country to Minnesota. As a young priest he happened to be the assistant at a downtown church and school one of my friends attended when we were young. The priest is dead now, but I think I mentioned him once as being the one who lifted up the boys with his hands on their crotch, to see how "big they were getting". Charming little leprechaun, he was. Years later he retired to become a chaplain in a home for the elderly which I visited. I came to find out we both knew an Irish nun who had befriended me in another care facility. Father asked if I would say hello and tell Sister he would like to come by for a visit.
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Sister seemed slightly alarmed and asked, "How do you know him?"
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I explained he was now a chaplain at a nursing home I visited, and although Sister's reaction suggested to me the priest's fondness for boys may have been known to her, she never said anything about him, and I never let on as to what I knew about him.
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"Please tell him hello, but he need not visit." She told me rather sternly.
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The Irish knew.

Immaculate Conception


This is how I did my May altar. The flowers are the relics of saints.
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(I apologize for the glare on the painting.)
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cutie

I saw this on another blog...
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"I know all about it, you can stop emailing me." Or something close to that. LOL!
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But anyway. Since Cutie is a validly ordained Roman Catholic priest, going over to the Episcopal/Anglican church, does that mean he truly confects the Eucharist when he celebrates Mass in the Anglican church? Other schismatics do.
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Cutie also intends to marry his girlfriend. As a married priest in the Anglican church, one day down the road - if he so decides - could he maybe return to the Catholic Church just as other married Anglican priests have done? It could happen... on his faith journey.
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Scandals have a way of raising questions, don't they?

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Raymond must be crushed. First Dave, then Berto, and Mel too!

Brideshead

I surprised myself - I actually liked it. The 1980's mini-series was more complete, but I enjoyed this 2008 film adaptation. I read the novel years ago, so I do not recall much detail, and I never watched the television production more than once or twice, so I was like a virgin watching this one. I love the story and all the Catholic characters, but I'm not a fanatic about the script. It is what it is and I enjoyed it very much. I watched it once and I will most likely watch it again. I also have something to say about Charles and Sebastian's relationship - but that can wait.
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That will be all for now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Be careful what you say...

You don't have to tell me that.
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I wouldn't listen anyway. But the Obama Administration is sure telling people to watch what they say. Pretty soon they will be telling the American people what to think...
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"White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a pointed warning to opponents of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination Wednesday, urging critics to measure their words carefully during a politically charged confirmation debate.
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“I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation,” Gibbs said." Source
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Yet Judge (Ugly Betty) Sotomayor hasn't always been that careful with the way she has decided to describe things...
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In a speech published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal in 2002, Judge Sotomayor offered her own interpretation of this jurisprudence. "Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases," she declared. "I am . . . not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, . . . there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." - Source
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I'm not so sure she is all that wise either - 60% of her decisions have been reversed, and some have been blasted by at least one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
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Janet Napolitano seems to be trying to tell Canadian media to shut up too...
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Napolitano was trying to get past the diplomatic gaffe after an interview last month with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in which she said—incorrectly—that the Sept. 11 terrorists crossed into the U.S. from Canada. The comments caused an uproar in America's neighbor to the north.
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"We know, and I know, that 9-11 terrorists did not cross the Canadian border. I regret that the Canadian media only seems to hear that earlier misstatement by me to that effect," Napolitano said at a brief news conference, adding that she wants to move on. - Source
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I wish Obama and the entire Administration would move on, and take Pelosi with them.



Self-denial, mortification, penance, suffering, and stuff like that.

I'm not there.
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I love that title of the Dylan song and the film by the same name. It impressed me the other day while at Target, looking for a film to buy. People say, "Why buy films, just rent them." Yeah, but I have to return them if I rent them - and I'm not good about returning things - I forget and lose them - which explains why I do not have a library card. BTW - I bought Marley and Me, because a friend said it was good - hated it - schmaltz-o-rama! Jennifer Anniston cannot act, I stopped watching midway through the film. I also bought the new and revised Brideshead - I haven't watched it yet. I know I will say, 'I liked the old one better.' But I digress - I mention all this just to explain how I got to use the title of Bob Dylan's song and how it seemed to fit me in some ways... too private to discuss.
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Do what you feel... Feel until the end...
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Anyway. This post is about mortification, denying one's very self... a mandate for following Christ - in other words, to be a Christian. That sense is lost on modern men, especially in our day. Sometimes a person must indeed deny his very self to be saved. People don't believe that however - one must actualize oneself - fulfill oneself to find happiness.
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Years ago when I returned to the sacraments, a friend of mine told me, "You think you have to give things up for Christ, that you have to suffer..." I didn't really know how to answer her, suffering or penance was never my focus - Jesus was my focus, and I gladly renounced what was contrary to the Gospel to know Him... "considering everything as loss", as St. Paul affirmed. Ironically, my friend has never yet returned to the Church, and though she lives well, and is financially successful, she suffers a great deal emotionally as well as morally. She denies herself all sorts of things in order to remain thin and chic. As a child she was sexually abused, the effects of which she never resolved. Subsequently she has difficulty trusting men and maintaining a relationship, although she is involved sexually with a man who happens to be married, the sex is always degrading and never loving, and there are months between each encounter where she anguishes over his lack of interest in her. That is suffering.
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We all suffer.
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"Mortification may be defined a the struggle against our evil inclinations in order to subject them to the will and to the will of God. It is not so much a virtue as an ensemble of virtues - the first degree of all the virtues - which consists in overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way so as to restore our faculties their lost balance and reestablish among them their right order. Thus it is easily seen that mortification is not an end in itself but a means to an end... the end of mortification is union with God.
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There is a kind of mortification which is necessary for salvation in this sense, that if we fail to practice it, we run the risk of falling into mortal sin.
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The threefold concupiscence that remains with us, spurred on by the world and the devil, often inclines us to evil and endangers our salvation, unless we take heed to mortify it." - Tanquerey, Spiritual Life: Part II, Chapter III, 754 - 755
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"These are not simply pious thoughts, indeed, "If we desire true happiness on earth there is no better way than to cultivate piety (godliness) which as St. Paul says, 'is profitable to all things, having promise of life that now is and of that which is to come.' ( Tim. IV: 8) Peace of soul, the joy of a good conscience, the happiness of union with God, of growing in his love, of effecting a closer intimacy with Christ, such are a few of the rewards which, along with the comforting hope of life eternal, God dispenses even now to his faithful servants in the midst of their trials." - Spiritual Life: Part I, Chapter IV, 364

In Thanksgiving.

Fr. Lee Piche has been named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Excellent choice! Congratulations Fr. Piche! As well as prayers of thanksgiving.
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Links:
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Catholic Spirit
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Weight of Glory
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University of St. Thomas

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I love people who do this...

Examine their use of the Internet.
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Michael Spencer (Internet Monk) has a wonderful reflection pondering the effects of the Internet upon those who are caught in its web... Well kind of.
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"It strikes me that the predominant sins in this medium are narcissism and waste. We need to differentiate narcissism from various kinds of legitimate self-revelation, but we need to proclaim that narcissism is a sin many of us are absolutely exulting in.
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And waste is waste. Time. Affections. Work. Mental energy. Significance."

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Yup.
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"Theology students: Have you worked out how a student behaves as compared to a teacher? Do you have a personal commitment to living out the difference between an amateur and a professional? The internet has allowed every theology student in the world- the bright ones, the not so bright ones, the ones with amazing things to say, the ones with nothing to say- to all have a web page with a Latin title infested with posts about the importance of expository preaching, the problem with N.T. Wright and the good news that some of their professors agree with them.
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It’s too much, boys. Too much."

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Yup.
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"It’s too much. It’s not community. It’s not socializing. It’s too much. There are things I need to do. Books to read and write. People next door and in hospitals and shut in to talk to. Letters to write. Thoughts to think. Dreams to dream. Music to listen to. (And I can do all of this without taking another two hours of my day to tell you all about it.)
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Yes, I bear some guilt, so stop wagging your finger. I’m just thinking here."

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Yup. Me too.
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I know, the Holy Father just encouraged young people to evangelize via the Web. Think about it first.

The Archbishop of Dublin on the Ryan Report

Causing even the angels to weep...
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Church leaders need to address these issues head on, and it appears Archbishop Martin of Dublin is doing exactly that.
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“WHERE DOES the church go from here? The church has failed people. The church has failed children. There is no denying that. This can only be regretted and it must be regretted. Yet “sorry” can be an easy word to say. When it has to be said so often, then “sorry” is no longer enough. But “sorry” must always be the first word.
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Sadly, the Ryan report came so late.
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Anyone who had contact with ex-residents of Irish industrial schools at that time knew that what those schools were offering was, to put it mildly, poor-quality childcare by the standards of the time. The information was there.
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A chaplain to Artane had put much of it writing. A few courageous and isolated journalists like Michael Viney spoke out. When the first efforts were made to reform Artane, it was patently evident that the only change possible was to close it down.
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There is a sense of shock among many good priests and religious at what has happened. But that sense of shock should not slip into a situation in which they feel themselves almost as the victims. No one in the church must ever try to water down or reformulate the suffering of survivors. Let the survivors speak and tell their stories as they experienced them.
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I believe that you owe it to your good members to try to answer that question thoroughly, honestly and in a transparent way. Your credibility and the credibility and survival of your charism depend on the honesty with which you go about that soul searching. This may be a painful task, but it is unavoidable if it is to be possible for your charism to survive. People are angry and disillusioned.
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What was lost was more than just a charism. Somehow along the way the most essential dimension of the life of the followers of Jesus Christ got lost by many. The Christian message is a message of love. What the Ryan commission recounts is sadly so very far removed from that. In Jesus’s eyes the poor deserve the best and they did not receive it here." - Source
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Thanks to Idle Speculations for the story.

Gate of Heaven: The importance of church doors to evangelization and catechetics.


Holy Doors.
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"I think doors are so important to our Church and it is something that we as Catholics have neglected terribly in modernism. Perhaps it can start turning around. Doors need to be part of our envangelization as they were in the past. I have heard others compare the doors of a church to represent the Veil of the Bride and the sanctuary Her Face as she awaits Her Groom!" - Anthony Visco
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Locally, many modern churches are adding glass doors, which permit a view into the sanctuary when the church is closed. Yet many of the grand old churches and cathedrals seem to have wonderful bronze doors with scenes from the lives of the saints or Christ and the Gospel. As with the great facades depicting angels and saints and the mysteries of faith, Church art is meant to instruct and edify the viewer, believer and non believer alike. The iconoclasm of modernism has pretty much obstructed doctrine as well as devotion. Today artists such as Anthony Visco are reversing that trend.
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Art: Anthony Visco's design for the doors of the church of Saint Stephen Martyr on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. - a modern design church with an interesting interior made of parabolic curves. It is where the Kennedys went to Mass when they were in the White House. Visit Anthony Visco here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cause for the Canonization of John Paul II

More delays.
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NCRegister reports Andrea Tornielli's comments regarding the delay in the canonization process for JPII: “None of the consulters doubts the personal sanctity of the great Pontiff” and there are “no insurmountable obstacles.” Evidently the snag has to do with a lack of unanimity amongst the consulters. "Several parties “raised objections and difficulties,” he says, and so the meeting has been postponed to a later date, probably before the Vatican summer holidays in August."
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The process is extremely detailed and involved. Click on Holy See to read some of the rules.
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Hopefully the delay will help to clear up much of the confusion surrounding a few of the Holy Father's ecumenical gestures during his papacy.

Little Kim

Memorial Day 2009.
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After seismologists confirmed the underground nuclear test had the power of a 4.5 quake, President Obama said North Korea's programme posed a "grave threat" to world peace. - Source

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Charlene Tittman



Charlene Tittman is the name of the girl in the True ad that pops up on the MSN Live home page. You know, the one who flips her hair and seems to be talking and smiling, inviting you to join her in social chat. When Benedict XVI spoke about social networking, I doubt he was referring to that stuff.

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I wonder if Charlene went to college? Or maybe she was home-schooled and ran away from home to a big city like Dubuque, Iowa? She could be a struggling actress, although she's too fat to be a fashion model, maybe she is an escort? Mrs. Rabitowitz knows her, and the other day she told me, "She's kind of a slu..." I interrupted Mrs. R. and told her that particular label is no longer considered a bad word, "Girls call each other that all the time now."

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"Well that seems appropriate, considering how many of the young girls dress and act these days, do you know what some of them now do with their boyfriends instead of a good-nite kiss?"

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"Yes. I heard about that on the radio the other day." I responded. "Did you happen to notice the crazy guy going down the street with his junk out yesterday?"

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"Indeed." Mrs. R. replied, and then hopped off muttering, "You people have the morals of rabbits..."

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"Wait Mrs. Rabitowitz, wait!" I called to her, laughing. "What do you mean, are you saying rabbits are immoral?"

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Mrs. R. stopped suddenly and sat silently, gazing on ahead, as if she intended to ignore me in the same way she does when strangers are nearby. Slowly she stood up, turning about, looking as stern as any nun, and speaking very deliberately, she spoke with an air of instruction; "No my dear man. Rabbits mate and reproduce abundantly, but not out of lust, we do so in order to replenish the stock, so as to become food for other creatures, amongst other things. Our moral boundaries are quite set. All life has purpose, despite the fact it demands sacrifice, animals have a particular vocation which sentimentalists consider cruel - but you know all of this from conversations we had previously."

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Sitting back upon her haunches, she continued, "However, the point I was getting at is that many humans seem to have degenerated into a sort anthropomorphism or animality, their reason obscured by lust and sensuality. Unlike the animal kingdom, humans often engage in shameful acts, and if they do happen to join in natural intercourse, many deliberately impede fertility, or kill their offspring."

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"Mrs. Rabitowitz, with all due respect, I don't know if things are as bad as you seem to think they are... Although I will admit you are a keen observer of human behavior - being up all night as you are." I added with a chuckle. Changing my tone, speaking rather softly, and with sincere consideration for the two babies she lost to crows recently, I continued, "Please don't forget that some animals have been known to destroy the weakest of their litter in order that the strongest may thrive."

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"Indeed." Mrs. R. said with a slight smirk. "But we are animals, humans are much more than that." And off she hopped.