Saturday, July 18, 2009

Queering the church.

In more ways than one.
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That bishop lady - Katharine Jefferts Schori - she appears to be something of an apostate, along with Gene Robinson, the gay bishop guy. (Ya think?) They dress like bishops and talk like bishops and act like bishops, well, maybe not so much, since Katherine is openly expressing views contrary to Christian teaching...
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"The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori derided individual salvation calling it 'the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.'
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In her opening address to the church's General Conference in California, Jefferts Schori said it was a "heresy" to believe that an individual can be saved through personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ acknowledged in a prayer of repentance." - Story
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Another retired woman bishop, Barbara Harris, speaking at a service presided over by Gene Robinson - the gay bishop guy - made it clear that she doesn't believe in the sacrament of matrimony.
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"Lets move on to what some people call the sacrament of marriage," she said before enlarging on the theme, "marriage is basically a civil contract" to which the Church "adds... the sacrament of blessing."
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"What right does anyone have to draw lines beyond to whom God's grace, care and favor extend," queried Harris?
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"God has no favorites. Yet again, we gather at convention to debate and resolve who should and shouldn't, who can and can't receive God's blessing." - Story
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All sarcasm and snarkiness aside, these people are apostates - they have a working theology that sounds authentic and believable, but it is erroneous and false. So why should we as Catholics care? These people are Episcopalians and protestants - it has no bearing upon Catholic teaching.
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Really?
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I'm reading Roman Catholic Archbishop Weakland's memoirs - he just might agree with these people, albeit while putting a more Catholic spin on things. If you read gay-Catholic blogs - you detect similar, if not the exact same lines of apostasy. The new sexualized theology and spirituality is badly infected and corrupted with immorality. Dressing it up in miters and vestments and Catholic jargon doesn't make it Christian.
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Interestingly enough, Mexican Cardinal Rivera, addressing a conference of exorcists in Mexico City this past week said, "that the existence of the devil must be taken as fact... Throughout human history, he recalled, “there has been a hard battle against the powers of darkness, which began at the origins of the world and will endure until the last day, according to what the Lord has said.” - Source
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Photo: Bishop Schori - doesn't she look like the one guy - Simon Helberg - from Big Bang Theory in this photo?
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(My screen has been working for awhile, so I'm posting and answering emails as best I can - the new computer arrives next week.)

Fame



(Gotta work fast while I still have a screen!)

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So yeah. That Susan Boyle lady really made it big, didn't she.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blogs and life and death matters.

Who cares?
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I'm having problems with my computer again - so I will probably be offline for awhile.
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This isn't real you know - blogging. You think it is, but it's not. We think our opinion matters, but it doesn't. We think highly of ourselves, our writing, our being right about stuff - but it doesn't mean a great deal in the long run.
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Monday I got news that an event planner, Robert Isabell died recently. He was originally from Duluth - he created extravagant parties and was sought after by everyone who was anyone. He worked for people like the Kennedy's; he did Jackie's funeral, John and Carolynn's wedding, he did stuff for Caroline, and many other socialites here and abroad. He died suddenly of a heart attack. It occurred to me that in a few years no one will remember him. His 'creations' were momentary - memorable to some perhaps - yet only for awhile. He will fade away - he's just dead.
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They like to speak of Michael Jackson how he will 'live on' through his legacy of music - but he will still be dead.
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My former boss from Dayton's-Marshall Fields died several years ago, the stores he designed and embellished have all been sold, the trends have changed along with the economy, and nothing of him is left. He has an industry award named after him - but he's dead, and soon no one will pay any attention to the name of the award - just the recognition they receive.
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We are all going to die - and most of us will be completely forgotten - we are not as important as we think. Yes, yes, God loves us - but most people's efforts go into making others love us, making others esteem us, making others believe we are important - ego stuff you know. We always think we are right. Most people never really think of God, much less acknowledge him. yet everyone thinks they are going to heaven.

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Not everyone goes to heaven either.
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Whatever. So anyway - I'll be offline for awhile. Have at it.


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Just remember we are all going to die and be forgotten. "Yeah, but what's your point?" - "I'm not sure."

Lovely Lady

Happy Feast Day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A thought from the Founder of the Visitation.

"To wish to be corrected is an evident sign of perfection, for the principal point of humility is realizing our need of it.
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"A convent is a hospital for the spiritually sick. The sick wish to be cured, and, therefore, they willingly submit to be lanced, probed, cut, cauterized, and subjected to any and every pain and discomfort which medicine or surgery may suggest." - St. Francis De Sales

Maybe I'll go fishing today instead...

Stuff

I'm actually working this week. I'm narrowing the hedge - it's a big job - for me. I need a space between the fence and the hedge - I don't know how successful I'll be. It's overcast and rainy this morning so If I can't go outside I'll force myself to paint - I have to get back to painting.
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I had TV on in the background and heard that the UK is encouraging kids to masturbate instead of being sexually active with one another - I guess to avoid unwanted pregnancy, disease, and so on. People do not think masturbation is sinful - but it is - for Catholics it is a grave sin that must be confessed. (It was only about a decade ago that I found out women do it. I know! I can be surprisingly naive sometimes.)
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Elsewhere online I noted Sarkozy has always been a champion of abolishing Sunday restrictions on trade in France. I wasn't aware businesses were closed on Sunday's in that country. The headline read something like, "France to abolish Sunday" - how revolutionary is that! I immediately recalled Our Lady of LaSalette warning of famine and disaster because of the desecration of Sundays and blasphemy against the Holy Name.
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I'm reading Archbishop Weakland's memoir you know. I laughed to myself that I once said the book should be burned - that was hyperbole of course. The book is interesting however. Especially for those interested in Benedictine monasticism - I'm reading it slowly, despite the fact it almost reads like a novel. I can't really comment on the man's life until I read the whole thing, but the history he provides is very telling as to why his ecclesial life turned out as it did - and he wasn't alone either. Things started going down hill for him after JPII became Pope - although Weakland's resistance to Rome began early, and like I say, he wasn't alone, which may explain the resistance of some congregations of sisters to the Vatican visitation now underway.
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Photo: Ecclesial fashion show sequence from Fellini's Roma

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hillary Clinton Story.

" I clawed my way to the top!"

Courage conference.

My online friend - I'll call him JJ - called me this morning to tell me about his experience at the Courage Conference at Villanova in Philadelphia this past weekend. He was pumped. JJ is a guy who is so obviously being led by the Holy Spirit it is edifying.
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His conversion from homosexuality has taken a relatively short time - maybe 6 - 8 years now. He finds great support in Courage, the apostolate for men and women who happen to struggle with same sex attraction and yet desire to live in accord with Roman Catholic moral teaching. It has been a very successful apostolate for those who desire to live chaste lives with the support of others and the blessing of the Church.
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What is Courage?
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"Persons with homosexual desires have always been with us; however, until recent times, there has been little, if any, formal outreach from the Church in the way of support groups or information for such persons. Most were left to work out their path on their own. As a result, they found themselves listening to and accepting the secular society's perspective and opting to act on their same-sex desires.
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His Eminence, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York, was aware of, and troubled by this situation. He knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions truly needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom find the steps necessary to living a fully Christian life in communion with God and others. He was concerned that many would not find this path and would be constantly trying to get their needs met in ways that ultimately do not satisfy the desires of the heart.
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In response to this concern, he decided to form a spiritual support system which would assist men and women with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love."
- Courage
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JJ was very impressed with Dr. Nicolosi's presentation on reparative therapy this past weekend - reparative therapy is based upon the conviction that a person really can change their sexual orientation. Another speaker who happened to be a priest discussed the question many SSA people ask themselves, "Why am I like this?" Something Nicolosi also addressed. Nicolosi has a new book entitled, Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy by Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. On the Narth website, the reader can find a series of endorsements for Nicolosi's book, the following is a sample:
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"Dr. Nicolosi's theory and therapeutic method is consistent with my decades of research on childhood gender identity disorders. His book shows how homosexual attractions and enactment functions as a situational reaction to feelings of gender inadequacy and to unmet emotional needs including a developmental lack of male attention, affection and affirmation from father-figures and/or other male mentors. Same-sex attractions function as attempts to "repair" an emotional deficit in a male's own "perfectly normal and authentic needs for male attention, affection, and approval.
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Dr. Nicolosi helps his clients to identify circumstances and emotional states when most tempted to homosexual behavior. He affirms human will, and the reality of the ability to choose to interrupt the sequence of psychological events would otherwise lead to homosexual temptation and to homosexual enactment. This book is not only psychologically sound and theoretically insightful, but it is consistent with the Judeo-Christian theological understanding of the creation of humans as male and female and the normality of close emotional, non-sexual, relationships among men as illustrated by the loving relationship between David and Jonathan. His book clearly illustrates how he assists men with same-sex attractions to adjust to created realities of human personality and relationships, while abandoning a False Self that emerged from a problematic development in early life.
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Dr. Nicolosi shows theoretically and therapeutically how strengthening feelings of masculinity diminishes same-sex attraction and how mental health depends on acceptance of psychological realities. He does so with a compassionate understanding of the client's needs and problems." - ---George A. Rekers, Ph.D., Th.D.
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JJ never went through reparative therapy, but he gained a great deal of insight from Dr. Nicolosi's books. He has a great spiritual director and confessor, frequents the sacraments, prays, studies, and so on. Through the observance of chastity and the deepening of his spiritual life, JJ has experienced tremendous freedom from unwanted homosexual desires as well as a former attachment to auto-eroticism. He told me he has never felt more liberated in his life and with this new found freedom of spirit, he can no longer identify himself as gay or homosexual. His experience is a forceful witness to the healing grace of God. JJ and I have corresponded and talked somewhat regularly on the phone for a couple of years now - I've witnessed his growth in wisdom, maturity, and grace. His journey has been incredible and most edifying.
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Lest anyone be discouraged however, let me assure you that Courage is not focused upon changing a persons sexual orientation, but about living chastely and personal sanctity. The Catholic Church in no way requires SSA persons to change their perceived sexual-orientation, only to refrain from homosexual acts and promotion of the gay lifestyle.
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The five goals of Courage.
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"The following five goals of Courage were created by the members themselves, when Courage was founded. The goals are read at the start of each meeting and each member is called to practice them in daily life.
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1 - Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)

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2 - Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)

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3 - Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)

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4 - Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)

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5 - Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example/Role Model)
- Courage website
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Keep in mind however, the studies of Dr. Nicolosi and NARTH are helpful for those seeking to understand some of the possible causes of homosexual attraction as well as the effects - it helps answer the question, "Why am I (they) like this." I think it is well understood that not all people are interested or believe themselves capable of changing something they view as a lifelong sexual orientation, and that only those persons who are highly motivated to change and who voluntarily seek reparative therapy - independent of coercion - can be helped. That said, NARTH demonstrates that people can change. Those who believe it impossible may still benefit from the research, which can be a valuable aid in understanding the temptation to homosexual behavior as well as a help to acquiring greater self-knowledge, something so necessary in the spiritual combat.
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What is NARTH?
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"We respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny. NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality. As an organization, we disseminate educational information, conduct and collect scientific research, promote effective therapeutic treatment, and provide referrals to those who seek our assistance. NARTH upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care and the right of professionals to offer that care. We welcome the participation of all individuals who will join us in the pursuit of these goals." - NARTH website

Good morning!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Visiting.



Just a couple things...
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Lately I have been getting stuck on a couple of blogs and cannot exit them - so I do not visit as often.
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On some blogs with heavy advertising or large photo files it takes forever for your pages to download - so I do not visit often.
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On other blogs I have to jump through too many hoops to place a comment - so I don't.
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Sometimes I just get bored with you - so I don't comment, visit, or link to you.

Making fun of nuns.



Sister Act - a video I saw on another blog showing seminarians dressed up as traditional nuns performing a number from the movie of the same name. I don't think it's a good idea for men to dress up as nuns - especially seminarians - even if it is just for fun at recreation. Whatever the motivation, making fun of nuns has often been something of a past-time for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Don't get me wrong, it is almost always done without malicious intent, nevertheless there is very often some level of mockery underlying such satirical presentations.
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Currently, with the Vatican ordered visitation of American Sisters underway, nuns are getting swiped again. I know there are religious women who no longer seem to belong to the congregations they once professed vows in, yet claim they are furthering the original charism of the order in the lifestyles they adopted. We all know of institutes dedicated to a New Age version of Catholic spirituality. And we all know that many of these sisters no longer wear a discernible habit and no longer live in convents. More traditionally minded Catholics, lay and clerics alike, miss the old nuns and seem to want them back - hence they welcome the visitation. On the other hand, the more progressive sisters do not welcome it.
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Throughout the history of the Church visitations and reforms have been conducted of religious life - that is the duty of the Shepherds - our bishops and the Pope - they safeguard the faith. And yep - the laity gets their nose in it too - at lest voicing their opinions and complaints. That isn't all that unfair however. The orders depended upon the laity in the beginning - vocations come from the laity, as well as donations and support for their apostolate and living situations. All religious exist because of the laity - hence they are accountable to the whole Church, which includes the hierarchical structure that orders the visitation.
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What has happened in the post Vatican II era is that Independence and self-governance has become the norm and the visitation challenges that development. The progressive nuns feel threatened. Catholic bloggers are not terribly sensitive to that either - and many of us fall into that old making fun of nuns routine with our critiques.
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I don't know the full story on congregations such as the Sisters of St. Joseph who have a reputation for being quite liberal now days, but it seems to me, although they may be dying out, they continue to have fruitful apostolates. I read an editorial in the NYT:
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Across 30 years, the modern version of the Sisters of St. Joseph has been revolutionizing the treatment of imprisoned women in New York. Thanks to the nuns’ efforts, mothers are now allowed to care for their infants on the inside and remain close to their children in creative visitors’ programs. Once they are paroled, these women and their children can find a year’s shelter in one of nine Providence House sanctuaries the nuns created in defunct city rectories and convents. The order has never lacked courage: five members were guillotined in the French Revolution for giving shelter to the hunted. - Source
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After reading that I realized many of the congregations were formed in response to the social justice and catechetical needs of their times. The women wore habits which reflected the fashion of the times - often described as 'widows weeds'. They set up housekeeping in normal houses - not huge monasteries, and they attended Mass in parish churches, often praying the Little Office of the BVM instead of the Breviary or monastic office. The institutions they established grew from these simple beginnings.
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I think we as Catholics have to support these women as best we can and to be more sympathetic to the development of their religious life and their internal struggles - respecting their familial boundaries as a community. Yes, sound Catholic doctrine must be insured, which is why the visitation was ordered.
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So anyway, let the visitation go on, but we maybe should be a lot more charitable towards these religious women who strive to live out their original charism in modern times. The Church is a diverse family, there are traditional orders for those who seek that life, and there are congregations for those who seek a more active participation in social justice issues and works.
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I like nuns, I just keep my distance. I tend to be more traditional and therefore have a greater affinity for more traditional orders, but I appreciate the works of the others as well. Any public work in the name of the Church must be subject to the oversight of the ordinary Magisterium however. It is better to pray for all concerned in the visitation rather than making fun of those who initially resist it.

Just a couple things for Sunday morning...


"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." - Philippians 2:12
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Remember that from the ending of Emily Rose? I know!
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Anyway - after many years I finally found out the source of another scriptural passage I often recall when I sense I may be the object of scorn or detraction by others. The interpretation which ruminates within my heart is: "The sin of the Gentiles is they lack charity." Nevertheless, I could never find the same translation in Scripture, and I had no recollection as to where I got it from. Until today.
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I discovered the source of the translation is contained within this passage: "One sees in them men without conscience, without loyalty, without affection (charity), without pity." [Romans 1:31] Paul is discussing the situation of the pagans who refuse to glorify God and whose unbelief led to the errors and depravity of the pagan world.
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I encountered the passage in the writings of St. Francis De Sales on friendship, which I have read numerous times without realizing it contained the obscure Scripture: "The sin of the gentiles is they lack charity". St. Francis references the passage while writing on the suitability of particular friendship for persons in the lay state, offering examples from the lives of the saints.
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"St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, and all the great servants of God have had very particular friendships without doing any harm to their perfection. When condemning the disorders of the pagans St. Paul accuses them of being people "without affection" [Rom. 1:31], that is, they had no true friendships. Together with all good philosophers, St. Thomas states that friendship is a virtue. He speaks of "particular friendship" since, as he says, "perfect friendship cannot be extended to a great many persons." Hence perfection consists not in having no friendships, but in having only those that are good, holy, and sacred." - Introduction to the Devout Life, Bk. III; 19
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Of course Philippians 2:12 is translated differently from my recollection of it as well: "Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation." I think "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" is more apt, since "our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in the region above." [Ephesians 6:12]
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Art: Allegory on chastity; Sacro Convento, Assisi.