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, June 27, 2009

Mr. Ed

Nada, nada, nada...

Pestiferous evil.
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I love reading St. John of the Cross, and although his works are geared toward genuinely spiritual persons striving for perfection in the contemplative life, as well as those who direct them, the Saint's writing is so clear and his doctrine so fundamental, it can be adaptable for the average person, especially his cautions and discussions regarding the moral life and the demands of the Gospel. At least in my experience I find his ascetical writings helpful in grounding my spirit whenever it falls into distraction, confusion, presumption and/or dissension. How easily I forget that the judgements I level against others fall back on me, while I ignore the log in my own eye.
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For instance, in the section I will here cite from The Ascent, St. John is addressing the harm caused by the supernatural apprehensions of the memory - in other words the Saint is speaking to souls who experience and become attached to visions or supernatural imaginative knowledge contained in such revelations. Undoubtedly (and most gratefully) I do not experience such things, nor do I desire them, but the section remains meaningful for me as it concerns attachment to self-opinion and pride stemming from natural knowledge and intelligence.
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"These supernatural apprehensions of the memory, if esteemed, are also for spiritual persons a decided occasion for slipping into some presumption or vanity. Since anyone not receiving these is liberated from falling into this vice, because nothing within warrants this presumption, so, on the other hand, anyone receiving them will be exposed to the idea that he is now worth something on account of these supernatural communications. (Or, for my purposes, natural knowledge and education.) "Though indeed a person in considering himself unworthy, and attributes them to God and is thankful for them, yet there usually remains in the spirit a certain satisfaction and esteem for the communication and for oneself. Consequently, without one's realizing it, an abundant spiritual pride will be bred."
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This is quite evident from the displeasure and aversion these individuals feel toward anyone who does not laud their spirit nor value their communications (knowledge and opinion), and from the affliction they experience upon thinking or being told that others receive the same favors or even better ones (or are smarter and more knowledgeable). All of this is born of a hidden self-esteem and pride. And these persons are not aware that they are steeped in pride.
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I love this...
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"To avoid this pestiferous evil, abhorrent in the eyes of God, they should consider that virtue does not consist in apprehensions and feelings of God, however sublime they may be, nor in any similar experiences (natural knowledge and intelligence). But on the contrary, it comprises what they do not experience, that is deep humility, contempt for themselves and all things - very explicit and conscious to the soul - delight that others feel contempt for them also, and the desire to be worth nothing in the hearts of others." - Ascent III, 9
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My interpretation is all highly personal of course, and as I said the intent of St. John's teaching is entirely spiritual, directed towards real contemplatives, nevertheless, it seems to me this lesson can shed light upon my defects associated with pride and self-opinion as regards natural knowledge acquired through education and experience. At any rate, it demonstrates for me that humility is the firm foundation for every aspect of the spiritual life in general, no matter what one's state in life.
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I'm keeping comments closed for awhile since I am much too attached to 'checking my mail' and taking the time to respond. Not to mention that comments can induce flattery and vain praise which can be deceptive and contribute to - you got it - self-opinion and pride.
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That's all.

When I become too high minded...



And all holier than thou...
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"I find there are seven kinds of harm that can be incurred through vain joy in one's good works and customs, and because this harm is spiritual it is particularly ruinous.
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The first is vanity, pride, vainglory, and presumption. For one is unable to rejoice over his works without esteeming them. This gives rise to boasting, the critical spirit, etc., as is said of the pharisee in the Gospel: he prayed and sought friendship with God by boasting of his fasting and performance of other good works. [Lk. 18: 11-12]
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The second is usually linked with the first. It is that a person judges others - comparatively speaking - to be evil and imperfect, supposing that their deeds and works are not as good as his own."
- Ascent Bk III Ch 28
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Art: Coptic icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, whose feast it is today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spiritual mourning.

Or compunction.
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"The spiritual way of repentance and mourning has such power that it is immune to demonic deception, or so-called diabolic delusion. The fallen spirit, in order to dupe the ascetic, first tries to convince him of his worth or merits... Yet how can he deceive a man who seeks with all of his power to discover his sinfulness, who bewails what has been revealed to him and is roused by the site of his misery to seek further insights, whose sole endeavor is to see in himself the one and only plea of a sinner, so that both by his outer and inner activity he may offer to God the realization and confession of his sinfulness. Though the devil does also tempt those who mourn, yet he is shortly recognized by them and repulsed. A self-opinionated person, who thinks he has some worth or merit, cannot repulse the devil's seduction from without, because he is chained by him within.
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False ascetics think they have reached their goal when they see themselves saints, when the world believes and proclaims them such. They rejoice at self-deception and self-opinion that has overcome them, not understanding how fatal self-opinion is, not realizing that human praise is the sign of a false prophet.
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The true ascetic rejoices when he begins to see his sin, when in his own estimation he becomes lower and more sinful than his neighbors..." and I would add, even when his neighbor considers him thus. - Instructions to Hesychasts - Archbishop Brianchaninov, The Arena
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Art: St. Claude de la Colombiere, SJ

I am the recipient of the Honest Scrap Award.



LarryD at A of A awarded me this... meme.
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The rules:
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I) Say "Thanks!" to the presenter of the award and provide a link to their blog. So, to Larry at Acts of the Apostasy: Thanks!!
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II) I am expected to share 10 honest things about myself. I don't know if there are 10 things left, I've spilled my guts about everything I think. But as Larry said, "in the spirit of the award, I will comply."
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Here goes:
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1) I love demerol and other prescription pain relievers - I don't have any and I don't use them, but when I've had surgery and stuff, I finished my prescriptions all up like a good boy! Now that we know Michael probably died from that, I'll be more careful if I ever have to take them again. Beer and Vicodin made a good cocktail, but I never did that again after someone told me cardiac arrest is a dangerous side affect. That was a long, long time ago BTW. Oh! And I only had Demerol once in the erly '80's. Versed is nice - I had that before surgery once. My generation will be easy to euthanize if you just offer us drugs first.
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2) I actually love to sing - I rarely do so in public however, but lately I have joined in when there are Catholic hymns at Mass. (I hate Protestant hymns.) When I was little I was embarrassed about singing and that kind of did me in for the rest of my life. I'm a closet singer now. The cats like it. We do the meow mix song every day at dinner time. I sing many songs in meow talk.
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3) This is a big one. My age. So anyway, I was tellin' the cats, kids are people too.
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4) I always wanted to be an author, but could never think of what to write. (I used part of Larry's answer here.)
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5) On that note - I always wanted to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, but I have never acted - except when I had a job - I used to pretend I actually worked.
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6) I've never been to Paris but I know a lot about it - I've been to the South of France however. If I could go anywhere right now I think I would go back to Italy. (I can't leave the cats however.)
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7) I feel I have failed as a parent. I've never had kids, but I know I would have failed if I had.
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8) My favorite foods are ribeye steak, pasta, eggplant, bread, mussels, organic salads, tempura, chocolate - but not all at once.
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9) When I was little I wanted to be a Franciscan priest, then I discovered the Carmelites and I wanted to be a Carmelite priest. My dad said no and wouldn't let me enter preparatory seminary - so he had me go to public high school, where I lost the faith. (I returned to the Church in 1972 - I knew I wasn't called to be a priest by then.)
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10) I regret everything. You know how people say they regret nothing? "I have no regrets." Whatever - I regret everything.
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So, this is how it ends:
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III) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
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In no specific order I award the following blogs:
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  • A) Tea at Trianon

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  • B) Vultus Christi

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  • C) Fr. Z

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  • D) Western Confucian

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  • E) Rorate Caeli

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  • F) Fr. Blake at St. Mary Magdalen

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  • G) Ken at Hallowed Ground (Despite the fact he retired - it was one of the very best.)

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IV) Inform those 7 that they've been awarded the 'Honest Scrap' Award.
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No, I won't inform them since these blogs are not in the habit of doing memes. I also don't want to show which blogs I awarded because everyone else will feel bad I did not award them.

Michael

I suppose "we're" not supposed to feel bad that a pop star died. But Michael Jackson was huge - he grew up - or never grew up - in the public eye. He wasn't well educated, but he was a musical genius, which indicates a very high intelligence and sensitivity, hidden beneath a glitzy facade.
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I really feel sad and sorry for him. I know there is "yucky" stuff in his adult life we may never know the real details of. He came out of an abusive household, he had a mean dad who exploited his own kids... To be sure he never had a normal childhood - hence he never grew up. He never became comfortable with adults, much less with his peers - he had no peers. So yeah, he was a Peter Pan guy. One of my first thoughts after I heard he had died was: "The pain is over now, the scandals and the world can't hurt you any longer." But that is how the world thinks, that isn't reality either, we tell ourselves that stuff so we can feel better about a tragic end of a tragic life.
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My deepest concern is his salvation. He grew up in a false religion - Jehovah Witnesses, and reportedly, just in the last few years he turned to Islam. Obviously Jermaine did as well, since he invoked Allah to bless his deceased brother.
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Death is huge. It is the culmination of our earthly life, the pinnacle of our career as it were. It is the moment we enter into our true destiny for all eternity. Eternally. Poor Michael... for all of his talents, all his riches, all his fame - his entire life had been lonely and dysfunctional - and he died numbed to his existence on Demerol. Looking back on his life, it should be no wonder he tried to recreate himself cosmetically, constructing a never, never land populated with children. No wonder the pain killers and the mental illness. He wasn't educated, he had no real religion... what happens to a soul like that when it leaves the body and comes before God? We can't know in this life.
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When people I "know" die, celebrities or nobodies - I pause and pray for them. Death is the moment when whatever their lives had been, they are going to meet God, and nothing is more important than that. So I pray, because I never want anyone to be lost.
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Michael Jackson is dead. He will always be honored on earth for his talent - pop culture makes it's own kings and queens and canonizes it's own saints and martyrs. But all of that passes away and perhaps on that account may be justly mourned... yet even that passes away.
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We all should be conscious of our last end. It comes like a thief in the night.
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Photo: Album cover, Off The Wall. This was my favorite studio album of Michael's - Quincy Jones produced it. And if I could post one of his songs to accompany this reflection it would be "Remember The Time".

Princes shall come from Ethiopia.

Arise O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered.
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The Patriarch of Ethiopia has said the Ark of the Covenant shall be unveiled today. I know Ethiopians and I find it credible that the Ark of the Covenant has indeed been preserved in Ethiopia - I'm no expert of course. Perhaps the unveiling can only be accepted on faith, but the significance of the event could have great impact upon the world.
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The event calls to mind Psalm 67 (68), verse 31, which in some translations reads: "Princes shall come from Ethiopia" although the Grail reads, "Princes will make their way from Egypt; Ethiopia will stretch out her hands to God." Early interpretations have associated this verse with monks - the desert fathers - who came forth from Egypt and Ethiopia. Although the psalm itself is most mysterious and usually associated with the Ascension of the Lord, the opening verse is considered to be an exorcism prayer from ancient Israel: "Arise O Lord and let your enemies be scattered and let those who hate you flee from before your holy face."
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If only the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant could be the event John Paul II foretold that will free the world from evil... (Wednesday Audience)
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"As smoke is blown away so will they be blown away;
like wax that melts before the fire,
so the wicked shall perish at the presence of God.
But the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy.
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name;
make a highway for him who rides on thee clouds.
rejoice in the Lord, exult at his presence." - Ps. 67: 4-5
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(The verses of Psalm 67 are said to have been taken from a hymn the Israelites used when they broke camp and continued their pilgrimage to the Promised Land: "And when the ark was lifted up, Moses said: Arise, O Lord, and let thy enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee, flee from before thy face." - Numbers 10: 35)
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UPDATE: 6/26/09
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The Ark of the Covenant Story was false. Story here.
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Unreliable internet sources! I fell for it! Thomnus was right once again:
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The original World Net Daily story was the result of bad translation and not even looking at datelines. The story got legs, Bartholomew reported in previous posts, because of Christian Zionists eager to hasten the Second Coming. I would also note that WND was hawking a two DVD set on the ark along with the story. - Source
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I would like to beat someone up when stuff like this happens.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Dies.

I'm stunned.

Exorcism - A Connecticut Yankee in the Devil's Court.

Don't try this at home.
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I didn't watch the video but it's been in the news that some type of Christian sect performed/performs exorcism to rid a person of homosexuality. Yeah, whatevah. I got an email from a good friend with the following:
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"There was a book I read a couple of years ago (Dubay or Groeschl) and the author quoted Peter Kreeft regarding sexual sins ... suggesting that some souls because of the depth of their sexual sins, "exorcism" may be the only thing that would help to break the chains.
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What I don't understand or know enough about is who can rightly perform an exorcism? Are "exorcisms" outside the "Catholic" church effective when other Christians perform them? Personally ... I wouldn't want anyone other than an "authorized" exorcist priest praying over me ...."
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First.
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In the Roman Rite solemn exorcism is restricted to priests properly deputed for the process by the local Ordinary of the diocese the ritual is to be performed in. The exorcist must be a priest in the state of grace, knowledgeable and virtuous, sober and tactful. Prayers of deliverance taken from the Ritual can be used privately without the permission of the Ordinary. Although lay persons are permitted to use certain lengthy prayers to St. Michael, contemporary exorcists seem to caution against that. It is always best to consult a priest first. Ordinary prayers to St. Michael (see below) and the angels, the rosary, as well as Holy Water are suitably efficacious means for lay people. If a person really thinks they are under diabolic attack they should consult a priest. The sacraments are the ordinary means given by Christ to his Church to deliver a person from temptation and diabolic delusion.
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Secondly.
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Can non-Catholics perform exorcisms? I don't know - the mercy of God is unlimited - I just wouldn't trust it - rather, it is the Roman Catholic Church which holds and guarantees the promises of Christ, therefore Catholics should only have recourse to the Church and her ordained ministers. (Also, I believe that since Our Lady is Mediatrix of all graces, any such grace comes through the Catholic Church anyway.) Properly speaking, I would say a non-Catholic Christian could theoretically perform a deliverance - but we need to remember there are divisions regarding diabolic phenomena, and the devil's influence isn't always a matter of possession - in fact it is relatively rare. Obsession is another phenomenon which can be mistaken for possession.
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"Obsession consists in a series of unusually violent and persistent temptations. They can be external as when the temptations affect external senses, or internal as when they arouse sensations and emotions." - Tanquerey Bk III, Ch III, 1532
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I think this is where those who believe exorcism may help in delivering a person from homosexual sin take off with their loving-hands-at-home exorcism theory. Once again - I'd recommend consulting a learned priest, well grounded in moral theology, psychology and faithful to the Magisterium. No doubt all type of prayer is efficacious, but great discernment needs to be exercised. Protestant ministers are not really ministers, they are lay folk - their ordinations are not valid in the eyes of the Church.
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That said, if indeed something like an exorcism or deliverance is to be performed, I think it is necessary for the subject to have a strong desire and determination to stop homosexual behavior in the first place - in other words, a firm purpose of amendment. Ridding oneself of the general orientation is up to the subject and highly dependent upon motivation and age - most mature men have no desire to do that and they deal with the temptations as anyone else would act towards unwanted temptations to sex. In most cases, the prospect is unthinkable and unimaginable, and therefore the Catholic Church never requires anything more than abstaining from homosexual behavior, as well as any promotion of the so-called life-style.
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As far as boys and young men are concerned, parents have to do the best they can through great love and affirmation, shielding the child through solid formation in the faith and Catholic education, as well as a familial Catholic piety, encouraging the child towards wholesome same-sex friendships and activities, and so on. A parent's fear, anger, and/or over-reaction can do great harm however - and to throw a kid into therapy or some public deliverance ceremony is extremely dangerous, as is any form of shame or blame in an attempt to elicit a conversion. I'm no expert however, so always, always, consult a good priest first - he doesn't have to be especially pious either - in these circumstances, understanding, learning, compassion and solid virtue are most important. The child has to be comfortable about it too, and above all, the child must know he or she is loved.
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The other point I want to stress is that although addiction to sexual sin can oftentimes feel like something diabolic is going on and therefore beyond one's control, the person needs to realize and comprehend that we are beings graced with free-will, and with the help of divine grace we can overcome any compulsion, we can leap over any wall, as the psalmist says. The ordinary means the Church provides are superbly efficacious and effective. Conversion is a process, the gate is narrow and the path constricted, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7.
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Pray, pray, pray. The prayers of the Holy Rosary, the Divine Chaplet, daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, frequent - even daily confession if need be, fasting, self-denial, alms giving and works of charity are highly efficacious. The use of sacramentals: the scapular, the rosary, the Miraculous medal, the crucifix, St. Benedict's medal, Holy Water, and so on, used with faith are wonderful protections. Ora et labora - the rule of St. Benedict and the teachings of the desert fathers recommend a healthy balance of prayer and labor, active works coupled with devotion. It can take many years of falling and rising, back sliding and repenting - but in the end the soul is victorious through the Blood of Jesus.
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Just leave exorcism to the judgement of the Church and her ministers and DO NOT play around with the devil.
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It is interesting that in Tanquerey's book, he mentions some of the rules of decorum for the priest in the Ritual of Exorcism, he writes: The priest in the interrogation "should be careful to avoid useless words, idle questions, and above all, attempts at humor. Should the evil spirit or spirits give sarcastic or ridiculous answers or speak at random, he must with authority and dignity impose silence." - 1547. 3
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Remember a morbid fascination with the devil is extremely unhealthy, if not dangerous.
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Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host

-by the Divine Power of God

-cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

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O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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O Mary, by thy holy and Immaculate Conception, make my body pure and my spirit holy.
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"Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let them that hate you, flee from before your holy face." - Numbers 10:35

Don't cry for me Argentina.

"Oh! That's right? - I was in Argentina!"
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The Gov's wife thought he was away writing a book - I know! His staff said he was hiking, but the guy was in Argentina with a friend. A really close friend.
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This may surprise you, but I really don't think it's a big deal. Of course marital infidelity is a big deal, but what concern is his infidelity to you or me? Did he use taxpayer money for the trip? Why does he have to go live on TV to further embarrass his wife and children with his lame excuses? Is the public supposed to absolve him of this sin?
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I think it was a huge show of instability and bad judgement to go missing in the first place - but the guy is making an even bigger ass of himself with his public confession. Taxpayers elect screw-tops like this and pay their salaries. When they go AWOL, as in any other job, they should either resign or be fired - no moral if's, and's, or but's about it. Then he can go to confession and work on his marriage.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Mouse That Roared

I believe the North Koreans may be basing their war strategy on the premise of this film. North Korea is threatening to wipe the U.S. off the face of the earth... map... or something.

New Age Catholicism

It's not just for liberation-progressive-rainbow-coalition-male/female-nuns anymore.
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I was at adoration this afternoon - I try to keep Wednesdays as a day of recollection. I like it when I'm the only one in the church. As it turned out, one of the local mystics was there with me today. (I blame the charismatic community at Regina high school in the early '70's for all this crap, including the protestantization of South Minneapolis parishes - but that is another post.)
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I didn't know my new friend was a mystic - he wouldn't even acknowledge me in the past, but today was the day he decided to talk, and he told me all about it for over an hour. Evidently She (the Holy Spirit) wanted him to reveal these things to me today. I listened patiently, smiling and nodding, and at the first opportunity I said politely, "Well thanks for stopping to talk, but we shouldn't be having a conversation while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed."
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"Oh that's all right," he interrupted, "He told me it was okay. He wants us to talk in front of Him." And he started in again before I could say anything. I smiled and looked in his general direction and prayed my rosary silently while he spoke, offering an occasional nod as if I was listening. Another person came in and I whispered, "Now we really should stop so as not to disturb that poor lady."
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"Naw! She knows me and knows all about this stuff." And without stopping for a breath, he continued on before I could reason with him. I smiled and appeared to listen in peace while I quietly prayed my rosary, although I was greatly agitated. Did you know agitation is often a sign of a bad spirit, and not just a lack of patience?
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Finally he had to leave to eat supper, "or the wife's gonna be pissed", it was about 4PM. I just stared at the monstrance after he left. I was completely stunned. I thought, "Why me Lord, why do I attract these people?"
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It is the story of my life. It is why I never get involved in church crap. All the visionaries and locutionists seem to be attracted to me and tell me all about their wack job revelations. I'm not kidding - if they aren't having private revelations, they've got a conspiracy theory, or they discovered theology of the body and love supercedes morality. But I digress. So today this guy - who looks perfectly normal mind you - told me how the Father revealed to him that the AC/DC are amongst us already. I didn't ask, but he told me what that meant: The anti-Christ and his demonic-companion, but he would not - could not at this time, reveal their identity. Like I said, I didn't ask. He sees demons and angels all the time and has been caught up into heaven too many times to tell - out of body - and the devil is scared of him. In fact he was just in Starbucks the other night with one of his prophet friends when a "really, really handsome guy came in" and it was Satan incognito. The evil one came over and asked he and his friend if they were homosexuals...
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Why O Lord do you permit this crap?
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Then get this. After adoration the woman who had walked in on the session came up to me to find out what he said to me, and without going into detail, I said it was mystical BS. She said, "Well I don't know about that - it might be true - but I told him not to talk about that stuff during adoration." I looked at Our Lady's statue in desperation and silently pleaded, "Mother of God, am I imagining this? Oh never mind, don't answer that!"
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Holy crap! I've gotta get a new parish.

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PEOPLE! Stop all this Medjugorje-private-revelation-Jesus-tells-me-stuff bullshit.

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No wonder nonreligious people don't want anything to do with religion.

Mario's big mouth.

Hate crime alert!
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Mario Lavandeire - aka Perez Hilton, committed a great big hate crime last weekend. He called someone the worst thing he could think of - a faggot. In his own defense he stated, "I did what I thought was best at the moment to stand up for myself in a nonviolent yet still assertive way. Clearly, I am not homophobic." Clearly.
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Yet once again, it begs the question. If being gay is so wonderful, why is it the most insulting thing you can accuse someone of? I think it even ranks below the horrible "closet queen"!
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"And that is when I made the split-second decision - that I was gonna say what I thought was the worst possible thing that thug [will.i.am] would ever want to hear. As I was standing my ground - without being violent or physical which I would never do - I told him - and you know what? I don't need to respect you and you're a f**. You're gay and stop being such a f***ot."
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"These are vulgar anti-gay slurs that feed a climate of hatred and intolerance toward our community," said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. “For someone in our own community to use it to attack another person by saying that it is, quote, ‘The worst possible thing that thug would ever want to hear,’ is incredibly dangerous. It legitimizes use of a slur that is often linked to violence against our community. And it sends a message that it is OK to attempt to dehumanize people by exploiting anti-gay attitudes.”
- Source
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And what about Hilton's violence against the Black Eyed Peas guy? Hilton verbally attacked the guy and provoked the incident with the manager. So, if a gay guy attacks a straight guy and gets a fist in the mouth for it - does that mean the straight guy is guilty of a hate crime simply because he acted out of self-defense?
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Oh! Oh! Speaking of gay celebrity inconsistencies... let's go back to Chaz Bono for a second. If a lesbian can change and become a man, (or a gay man become a woman) why can't a homosexual elect to change and become a heterosexual? And if a homosexual really just does not like being a homosexual, why isn't he permitted to leave that lifestyle behind? But it is not permitted in gay culture, the leaders absolutely reject any suggestion that a person can change, despite the fact there is growing evidence to the contrary:
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"A new report in the first edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality has found that sexual orientation is not immutable and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted homosexual attractions is beneficial and poses no significant risk of harm." - Source
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The dictatorship of institutionalized homosexualism seems to have a lot of rules and prohibitions that adherents may not deviate from. They better get their people to toe the party line - where's the pride after all?

Yesterday

I'm writing this tonight for tomorrow so I can satisfy my OCD need to post every day.
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It was far too hot to work outside much today - err, yesterday - in fact I think I had too much sun, so I had to go in. I moved the birdbath to outside the kitchen window since that is where I pray now days - at the kitchen table - when I glance out the window, I'll see the birds. Isn't that odd? I no longer use the area I set aside for prayer, surrounded by relics and retablos and santos and icons, instead I pray in the kitchen, with one of the cats on a rug at my feet. I don't know what it is, but a little holy card of OL of Mt. Carmel and one of a priest saying Mass are the only images that attract me lately. It is good to become more simple - getting older does that.
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Since I was indoors, I also diddled on the computer, and while online I discovered some new things about a few people I know, quite by accident. On one site I realized a deceased deacon had been the grandfather of a young woman who once worked for me. I came across he and his wife's name on a dissident Catholic website which advocates gay lifestyle and education. I immediately understood the family's estrangement from one another, especially as it concerned her gay uncle. While it is unfortunate that a person's sexuality can cause division within families and social groups - it is particularly understandable in Catholic circumstances. Especially when one side accepts Church teaching on faith and morals, while the other side literally seeks to undermine that teaching. Indeed, it is even a source of scandal when one was an ordained minister in the Church.
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I understand my friend and her family much better now. I think it is a great suffering for families to know their loved ones reject Catholic teaching.
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On the same site I noted that the grandmother shared her husband's title of deacon, it read, "Mr. and Mrs. became deacons at such and such Catholic parish." The husband gets ordained - not the wife, they are not both deacons. That site and its members are actually protestants.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to get rid of vampires...



I ran across a fun post concerning the history of vampires and early 'kits' to kill them. Vampires are already dead, as everyone knows - which makes them the living dead. I suppose a soul in mortal sin could be sort of a vampire - maybe not - although there really is a whole subculture of people who think they are vampires. There are therians too - people who think they are animals - these are not the same as werewolves however. I worked with a woman who believes she is a dragon - seriously. When I say I have worked with witches, I'm not referring to a personality defect.
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The kits (like the one shown) were contained in fine wooden cases with compartments for all the necessary elements needed to eliminate the vampire, somewhat similar to the sick call set used by a priest. The kit usually consisted of a crucifix which sometimes doubled as a stake to plunge through the heart, otherwise a wooden stake was also provided, a ritual or prayer book/bible, silver bullets and a pistol, containers for holy water, garlic and other repellents, even a rosary. The impalement was most likely performed by a layman. I find it curious that such kits even existed in Catholic lands, since an authorized exorcism would have sent the demon running. If indeed real vampires ever existed - the animator of the dead person would surely have been a demon, or a soul of the damned - hence the efficiency of ritual exorcism. I suspect the makers of such kits were probably the precursors of the snake oil salesmen who traveled the American prairie.
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Anyway - those fun Vampire Killing Kits go for a lot of money at antique auctions, for more on their history and some fun vampire facts, click here.

Midsummer Eve

St. John's Eve.
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The summer solstice marked the point of midsummer for pagan Europe - the midpoint between May 1 and August 1, hence the night was a celebration of light, specifically fire; bonfires, wheels of fire rolled down hills, ritual fire, the ashes of which were scattered over the fields to protect them and make them fertile. The old customs prevailed into the Christian era, and thus the celebration of St. John's Eve, the day before his nativity. The Church celebrates only three nativities: Christ, his Blessed Mother, and St. John the Baptist. Perhaps the Eastern Church honors his greatness best of all in the hierarchical structure of their iconography, as seen in the Deisis of the Iconostasis: Christ flanked by St. John Baptist and The Blessed Virgin Mary.
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Midsummer madness...

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"As the Church appropriated and consecrated each of the pagan feasts in turn, it was inevitable that this unrestrained celebration of tumescence and fertility should be hastened into the fold: it is one of the oldest feasts introduced into both Greek and Latin liturgies to honour a saint. In keeping with the benevolent spirit of the season, the day settled on is one of the very few saint's days to mark the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of its namesake, John the Baptist. While solstice can technically occur anywhere between June 20 - 26th, the Christian holy day is fixed at June 24th (although, in the old way, festivities are celebrated the night before, or St. John's Eve). The precursor to Christ, it was John who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan -- for which service Jesus referred to him as: "A burning and shining light." Accordingly, the Church could in good conscience instruct congregations to light their Midsummer fires as they had always done -- if only they would turn their thoughts to St. John instead of the sun. But churchmen would find this ancient root particularly difficult to eradicate, and so the holiday continues to flourish across Europe, disguised in a threadbare Christian cloak. In the Scandinavian countries solstice is an official public holiday, celebrated for convenience' sake, on the Saturday nearest the 23rd. After the collapse of Soviet occupation, Estonia decriminalized bonfires and restored June 23rd as a national holiday. Midsummer has never really captured New World imaginations, and Hallowe'en very much remains our premier "pagan" feast." - Source

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Coincidence? I just finished this post and thought 'I think I'll check to see if anyone else posted on this... now who would be most likely? Elena!' So I clicked on Tea at Trianon, and sure enough - she posted on Midsummer Eve. Read it here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Government: The New Screwball Comedy.

Goofy. (He looks the part, huh?)
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NY Governor Paterson threatens to bring out the state police to force the State Senate to work together.
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty balanced the State budget himself because the State Senate couldn't get their act together to do so.
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Then there was the AWOL S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford - he just took a hike one day.
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Remember Gov. Blago? I know!
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The list goes on and ends with the Obama Administration.
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Collapse - I think it is just a few laughs away. Did you know Congress recently voted themselves an increase in their office budgets? No wonder all the a-holes want to get into politics. There is money to be made.

My apologies.


My apologies to fat women in capri pants. I'm just jealous I can't wear them.

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There - are you happy Miss B?

Dante's Inferno - The Musical.

Wouldn't that be a fun Broadway show?
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Anyway. I've been reading Dante lately, as well as a few commentaries on the medieval masterpiece. Did you know the sin of sodomy is considered a form of violence? Defenders of the vice like to say only in cases of rape and humiliation of conquered enemies, but it is more than that. Sodomy is considered a violent act against nature... kind of like fisticuffs, if you know what I mean. Of course the "practice" of such intercourse is so obviously against nature, one shouldn't have to explain, given the fact physical injuries and health issues can follow such behavior. Unrelated to actual sodomy, one may note the violence done against one's own body as a result of sexual reassignment surgery. Severing body parts from one's person, though performed in a sanitized, clinical setting, certainly seems like a violent act to me. Of course, so is abortion.
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Considering all of this, I came across an interesting article titled, "Why does Dante consider sodomy worse than homicide and suicide?"
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"In the Inferno, the penalty holds a mirror to the sin itself, to show how it manifested itself in life."
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"Dante finds the sodomites at the bottom of the seventh circle (of hell), a circle that contains three rings. Again, his geography is very revealing. In the top ring of the seventh circle are those who killed for gain, whether in empire-building or in robbing travelers on the highway. Appropriately enough, mass murderers such as Alexander are up to their eyebrows in boiling blood, while common robbers are only ankle deep. Below them in the second ring are those who committed suicide because they lost money, reputation, or status. They are below the homicides, because they willfully violated the law of self-preservation, an even more basic law of Nature than love of neighbor. Since they set a lower value on their life than on worldly additions to it, they are now deprived of their human form and reduced to thorny trees oppressed by nightmarish Harpies.
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But Dante places sodomy in the bottom-most ring of the seventh circle, below homicide and suicide, suggesting that this sin is an even worse form of violence. The implication here is that sodomy involves an even more thoroughgoing hostility to Nature than defying the laws of self-preservation or love of neighbor; that it is a culmination of violence in being destructive to neighbor, violating self-love, and at the same time undermining family and community. Note that the suicides in the first ring damned themselves alone, while the sodomites damned themselves with others. Therefore, sodomites must run in a band forever on the burning plain. The burning sands on which they run represent their sterility. With this detail Dante shows that the intimacies of sodomy lead to a lack of posterity and put an end to one's family line.
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Thus, Dante reveals that sodomy has wide social ramifications that go beyond homicide and suicide. The sodomites are on the same burning sands as the blasphemers — those who are violent against God — because they were equally destructive of the community. Just as the blasphemers assaulted the faith of the people, so the sodomites assaulted family life, and both of these are foundations of the community, one spiritual and one natural. - Source
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The myth of "coming out".
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It seems to me that the concept of self-hate/self-loathing, which the gay-pride movement asserts is overcome through acceptance of one's 'gayness' and 'coming out' is for the most part simply magical thinking - it is delusion on a grand scale. Active gay people are never able to free themselves from the cycle of self-hate they accuse their so-called homophobic adversaries of. In many cases it seems to me theirs is a wilful turning away from Divine Providence, the Divine plan. The Pride movement by definition resists God to His face as it were, "I will not serve, I will not obey." The Pride movement can provide a superficial semblance of virtuous solidarity and freedom, but it does not offer an antidote to the deeper, more profound alienation of soul - it only distracts from such self-knowledge. I find it interesting that the author of the article cited above included the following critique:
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"Now, the punishment for sin in the Inferno represents exactly what the sinner obstinately chose during life. So it is important to note that Dante sees the sodomites running in a company, not paired like the lustful heterosexuals of the second circle. He implies that sodomy involves not couples, but a large pool of sexual partners - (or in the case of Pride, non-sexual partners). And when Dante asks Brunetto about the most famous men in his company, it is the sodomite himself who speaks of his fellows with contempt as a "wretched mob" made "filthy in the world," giving us a glimpse of the self-loathing and the contempt of sexual partners that accompanies this sin." - Anne Barbeau Gardiner
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Of course, these are just things to think about. Although I happen to believe that only real peace can be found in renouncing this sin and being reconciled with God and the Church through the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. Authentic self-love, which is understood in the commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself, is first and foremost concerned with the salvation of one's soul, and the souls of others.

Existential anxiety...

I believe it is a very real phenomenon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Speaking of Military Chaplains... Fr. Tim Vakoc +


Another fallen hero.
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+Cathy informed me that Fr. Tim Vakoc died yesterday - I have no other information.+
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01 June2005: On Saturday May 29, 2004, Army Major H. Timothy Vakoc, a Roman Catholic Priest, was returning from saying Mass for soldiers in Iraq when his humvee was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device) and he sustained a severe brain injury. He was treated in Germany, then Walter Reed for several months then transferred to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. - Source
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May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
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Photo: Fr. Vakoc saying Mass in the field.
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Ray has a nice memorial here.

Priest saints

Military men.
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Normally I focus most of my saint posts on lay saints, especially male saints - men need good examples, especially single men, which explains why I preferred to write about holy laymen who were single. Now for the year of the priest, I'll try to focus a bit more on priest saints.
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Fr. Emil Kapaun is a great example, an army chaplain and hero, who just happens to be in the news today. I have always liked military chaplains - the pastor of my parish is a retired military chaplain. They are some of the best confessors; well balanced, no nonsense guys - shocked by nothing, their spirituality is deeply practical and manly - and always fatherly. I've known many military chaplains, and I have the greatest respect for them all, young and old - I never met one I did not like.
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Father Kapaun
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Kapaun was a chaplain assigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment, which was surrounded and overrun by the Chinese army in North Korea in October and November 1951.
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Kapaun became a hero, rescuing wounded soldiers from the battlefield and risking death by preventing Chinese executions of wounded Americans too injured to walk.
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He became a hero again in prison camp, stealing food for prisoners, ministering to the sick, saying the rosary for soldiers, defying guards' attempts to indoctrinate soldiers, making pots and pans out of roofing tin so that soldiers could boil snow into drinking water and boil lice out of their filthy clothing.
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Hundreds of American prisoners died in the camp of exposure or starvation or illness that first winter. The Chinese guards did nothing to tend Kapaun when he became sick; he died in May 1951, two years before the war ended.
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Soldiers who survived have praised Kapaun for decades; some of them have said he deserved not only sainthood but the Medal of Honor, in addition to the lesser Distinguished Service Cross the Army awarded him after his death. - Source
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Fr. Kapaun makes the news today due to the report of a possible miracle attributed to his intercession.
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Chase Kear, a member of the Hutchinson Community College track team, fell on his head during pole vaulting practice in October.
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By the time a helicopter delivered him to Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus, his family was already frantically praying as they watched the helicopter land. Chase's skull had been cracked from ear to ear, his brain was swelling, and the danger posed by such an injury meant that either the surgery to remove a skull piece or possible infection that might follow would probably kill him.
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Paula and Paul Kear and dozens of other people made regular trips to the chapel at St. Francis to pray, always with the Father Emil Kapaun prayer:
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"Father Emil Kapaun gave glory to God by following his call to the priesthood and thus serving the people of Kansas and those in the military," the prayer says. "Father Kapaun, I ask you intercession not only for Chase Kear... but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks oh Lord."
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The miracle: Only a few weeks after Chase broke his skull, he walked out of a rehabilitation hospital, shaken but alive. His near-complete recovery stunned all the doctors involved.
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Prompted in part by what the Kear family has said publicly, and partly by a preliminary investigation begun by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, a Vatican investigator named Andrea Ambrosi will arrive from Italy in Wichita on Friday.
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Ambrosi will investigate on behalf of the church whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War. - Source
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Fr. Kapaun pray for us!
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And happy Father's Day to all priests.
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Photo: Fr. Kapaun. Source.

The devil in the details.

Pro-abortion violence against pro-life advocates.
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We just never hear this stuff on the news.
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Fr. Euteneuer: In the days when I was more actively doing sidewalk counseling, I was threatened with death twice by abortion clinic workers, threatened with physical harm numerous times by boyfriends and others who accompanied women to the clinic and several times I was assaulted by people in vehicles trying to run me over. The verbal harassment is too numerous and gross to recount, especially when directed against a man of the cloth.
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Fr. Euteneuer cited examples of harassment on an international scale:
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Several members of our international network who have direct contact with the abortion lobby in their countries do encounter problems however:
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-In Kenya an abortionist tried to poison our director;
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-in Mexico, the HLI director found a knife covered with red blood-like liquid stuck in his couch with a message to stay out of abortion;
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-in Austria the anti-lifers have sued our affiliate (without success) and the city government of Vienna created special laws against them;
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-in the Philippines there are attacks against the character of our pro-life people and one parliamentarian called for the deportation of HLI’s Dr. Brian Clowes when he did a speaking tour there;
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-in Ecuador our affiliate leader was threatened with death, satanic graffiti was put on the door of a church against us, the severed head of a dog was thrown into a church with a desecrated Sacred Host in its mouth.
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Fr. Euteneuer concluded: The behaviors have always been irrational, but the new element seems to be an occult element that I believe we will see more in the future. “Death-scorts” seem to be more prone to curse and "pray" against pro-lifers probably due to so many of them being involved in New Age and witchcraft. Some of it is overt and some not. The abortion clinic owner in Rockford, IL periodically comes out of his place dressed in a devil outfit, for example. He also puts blasphemous images of Jesus and religion in the window of the clinic. One abortionist in FL some years ago shook blood from his abortion instruments on the pro-lifers after a morning of killing. We will see much more of this in time. - Source
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It is obvious who is behind abortion.

Saturday Vigil Mass

Saturday night and Sunday morning.
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The girl who distributes communion had a sweater over her sun dress Saturday evening - and she kept turning to look at me. I never spoke to the priest about her attire, so maybe she read my blog. Wow! And that means I really do look like Aaron Eckhart because she recognized me! Yeah - I don't think so. (That sounds so creepy, doesn't it. LOL!)
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Anyway. The priests will be gone next week - for their diocesan retreat in Rochester. I don't get that. (Love you bishops and priests - kiss, kiss - why can't you stay home?) Really, I don't get it. What it means - instead of Mass each morning there will be Liturgy of the Word instead. Then let's do General Absolution before they go too.
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Seriously, after Friday's Mass, and Saturday evening's anticipated Mass - I wished that the Novus Ordo had never been concocted, that there were no EMC's, that fat women in capri pants and sleeveless tops with hideous hair were not permitted in the sanctuary, and much worse, permitted to do the readings. I wished that... oh forget it.
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I've been leaving Mass depressed lately. I think I better return to St. Agnes - and don't jump to any conclusions - I'm just not ready for the pomposity of the trad place yet. (Besides, I don't have the clothes.)
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Very seriously - I really believe if the Mass was offered ad orientum it would solve a whole lot of problems.
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I need to do more penance.