Saturday, August 01, 2009

Understanding chastisement...

"...that they may recognize that man is punished by the very things through which he sins." (Wisdom 11:17)

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Friday post...

Yesterday a friend sent me an email asking that I consider the veracity of Medjugorje in light of his following insight:
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"Those who have a problem with Medjugorje are definitely not Marian. If a person is Marian, not just a devout Catholic, then he would perceive Our Lady in a different way. Such persons wouldn't see any problem with the duration and frequency of the apparitions in Medjugorje. Try and be objective and tell me if you understand it the same way."
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My response:
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"I'm not sure about that. Devotion to Our Lady is integral to Catholic faith, but that does not oblige faith in apparitions. Consider the apparitions of Fatima - even the Popes were not obliged to heed Our Lady's warnings - indeed they did not - until one got shot and realized the prophecies were true."
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Luke 16:31: "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another sign of contradiction...

"The advent of a Universal Republic, which is longed for by all the worst elements of disorder, and confidently expected by them, is an idea which is now ripe for execution. From this republic, based on the principles of absolute equality of men and community of possessions, would be banished all national distinctions, nor in it would the authority of the father over his children, or of the public power over the citizens, or of God over human society, be any longer acknowledged. If these ideas are put into practice, there will inevitably follow a reign of unheard-of terror." — Pope Benedict XV, Bonum sane (motu proprio on Saint Joseph, July 25, 1920) - Source

Are we reaching the Omega Point soon?


Pope Benedict mentions Teilhard de Chardin.
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"Toward the end of a reflection upon the Letter to the Romans, in which St. Paul writes that the world itself will one day become a form of living worship, the pope said, "It's the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host." - Source
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Teilhard is a popular guy amongst New Age mystics - the following is a sample of one of their prayers:
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"We reach towards the Omega Point with our hearts and minds. As we strive to create a more conscious, interconnected and harmonious society we are strengthened by Your love and wisdom. We recognize the potential for divinity in our fellow men, in nature and in the species that have gone before us. We revere the Filigree, Solarians and Ur-Mothers for showing us that the great goal of becoming a true body of Christ is possible. Help us make the right decisions to live our lives to the greatest good for our species, support us in times of doubt and trouble and grant us the love we feel for You." - From the prayerbooks of the Liberty chapter of the Association of the Faithful of St. Teilhard.
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Whatever works I guess.

Lesbian stories.

Part funny, part serious.
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Okay. So Kat posted this photo with a First Communion related story dealing with her frustrations as a result of all the complications involved in arranging for her son's First Communion t her parish. My use of the photo has nothing to do with her post, nor did the following possibly inappropriate comment I left...
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This may be a little off-topic but did I ever tell you about my sister's co-worker who happened to be a dwarf (and a lesbian) and asked Beth - that's my sister - if she would let she and her lover, who was also a dwarf, borrow her twins' Communion dresses and veils because they were going to Vermont to get married? Beth told her no because the dresses couldn't be let out that much, but she (Beth) told her they could use the cake toppers if they wanted. (Your photo reminded me of the story.) - my comment at Crescat
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I know! I thought it was a funny story - and it wasn't that off-topic, was it? (Don't answer that.)
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Vowed friendship.
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Seriously now - since you brought it up, this post deals with another one I stumbled upon at a lesbian Catholic's blog late last night - why I read her I have no idea. She did a post about 'vowed friendship' for same sex couples - all chaste and celibate of course, I guess..., I don't really know. It certainly sounds like a proposal for a variation on gay marriage to me - this from a woman who once wrote she isn't interested in finding out what made her gay - she just is. (Not an exact quote BTW.) In other words, it's just fine with her to identify as gay - at least that is what I take from her. It is like the priest who tells his gay penitents that he is SSA too - same sex attracted. (In his case, it's probably empathy gone wrong.)
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Don't misunderstand me, people can identify themselves in any way they wish, but I think the Catholic penitent needs to move beyond such labels and identity and take his/her place as the woman or man God created them to be, especially if they are presenting their lives as a witness to Catholic faith and teaching on sexual morals. People disagree with me on this issue all of the time, but it is not impossible to do. Therefore if the idea of vowed friendship (a concept adapted from Victorian or even medieval times) were to take hold, I'm convinced it could only be understood as affirming or blessing a same sex relationship in an extraordinary way. And to what purpose? One must remember the gay mystique is all about the extraordinary, the unique, the special, the queer... it is a symptom of the disorder.
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It seems to me that many "Catholic" gays who appear to advocate celibacy and chastity in accord with Church teaching, also seem to desire recognition and affirmation of their very existence as gay, as same sex attracted, or (rarely) homosexually inclined - to use a few popular terms. Perhaps it is not wrong in itself that persons with deep seated homosexual inclination are convinced their sexual orientation defines who they are, therefore as the catechism teaches, "They must be accepted with respect, compassion , and sensitivity." (CCC 2358) Nevertheless, I think the push is on for more.
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Acceptance, respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
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Making friendship a sacramental, binding it by a vow would oblige the Church to move beyond acceptance into the position of affirmation and recognition of same sex unions. Historical revisionists have claimed new scholarship demonstrates that the early Church administered blessings of same sex unions, or recognized some form of filial adoption as an alternative to marriage, just as they have claimed the early Church ordained women. Such claims are distortions of the truth.
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Now it is true that a person with homosexual inclination is not required to seek to change his or her sexual orientation, but simply to abstain from homosexual activity as well as the promotion of the lifestyle; nevertheless as one grows in grace and understanding, a person can experience freedom from the homosexual identity. That said, the ascesis of leaving homosexuality is geared toward sanctity of life, in other words, the person with homosexual inclination is called to holiness, which necessarily includes the virtue of chastity. Same sex friendships are not excluded of course, even particular friendship in the case of lay people, in fact they may be necessary, but they must be chaste and celibate and properly ordered to the will of God. (Inordinate affection and emotional codependency necessarily mortified of course.)
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Everyone, no matter who they are, must try with all of their might to deeply comprehend what our Lord meant when he taught, "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny his very self, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his life shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it." (Mk. 8:34-35)
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It is difficult for us in this day and age of rights and entitlements to grasp this teaching, "deny his very self". I think of St. John's pleading remarks; "Oh, who can make this counsel of our Saviour understandable, and practicable...? Oh, who can explain the extent of the denial our Lord wishes of us!" (Ascent Bk. II 7:5-6)
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Beware of compromise... "selling your birthright for a meal" (Hebrews 12:16)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Novus Ordo Seclorum...



I KNOW!
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I'm kinda, sorta beginning to know how Robert Langdon felt... I came across this site called Sinister Sites - yes, H/T to old Spirit Daily. Actually the memorial architecture displayed on the site is generally wonderful as is the art, although the author points out the Masonic implications and hidden symbolism behind it all. Is it real or is it theory? I kinda, sorta think it could be real. Check out the site for yourself - some of the architecture is great - and the theory somewhat convincing. (See Cath - I know how to spell it.)
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While we are on the subject however, look at the image I lifted from the site - doesn't it remind you of the two pillars in the vision of Don Bosco? Oh! Oh! Look at the ladder in the image - does it not so look like that one Catholic church with the stairway in the sanctuary in Crescat's ugly church contest?
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If you look at another photo on the site, you see the interior of a Masonic temple, the altar looks exactly like the people's altar one sees in Novus Ordo Catholic Churches... what's that all about?
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Oh! And get this:
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“In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.” -Prince Philip (Do you think he had Princess Diana murdered? Just wondering. What a queer thing for PP to say - aren't the royals kind of a virus already? Sorry - my mistake, I think they are referred to as parasites.)
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Anyway. The author discusses the Masonic/Illuminati agenda throughout the post - especially the motivations of the ruling elite, appealing to the sensibilities of the new urban elite in Western culture...
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"The elite are into eugenics, planned parenthood and other (more extreme) ways to reduce the world population. It is important to understand the state of mind of those people and the way they are reasoning before analyzing their symbols. Other researchers who have studied occult memorials have concluded that these structures actually celebrate the ritual sacrifice of these people for the elite, the “illuminated”. The presence of ancient pagan symbols such as phallic and yonic shapes, mixed with emblems of western occultism are very recognizable signatures of Illuminati architecture. When one is aware of the culture of death that is cultivated in the higher level of the occult orders, one sees the real meaning of the National Memorial. It is saying: “These people died to serve our interests.” - Sinister Sites
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Maybe because I'm reading the Weakland memoirs (I take long breaks from it), or reading odd blogs - but it makes one wonder, doesn't it? What's going on? The Novus Ordo... the Pope's encyclical on Novus Ordo Seclorum and Marxist/Socialist economy, and Barack and Skip Gates horsing around with Rachel Tenshun, and Hilary wearing that sling with the seal of the U.S., and Bishop L. had his reception in a Masonic Lodge when he was first made a bishop, and remember that famous Archbishop who allowed a transsexual to be a nun and then dismissed her under pressure, oh - and the military is planning for martial law during the H1N1 pandemic, and, and, and... Sarah Palin may run for president!
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OMIGOSH! I'm screaming in terror! It's all simply much too much! Much too much!
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(See, and yet not a word about the homosexual menace!)

Whitey


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You will not fear the terror of the night



nor the arrow that flies by day. Psalm 90
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In the monastery we sang psalm 90 every night at Compline - it is one of my favorite psalms and always evokes a variety of emotions in me. I've often connected it to death and dying and still do to some extent - perhaps because it was recited at the end of the day.
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After a restless night, I prayed the psalm once again this morning. The terror of the night... People sometimes mistake such existential fears for the mystical night John of the Cross and other spiritual masters write about. Perhaps they can be likened to such experiences, although I consider that notion personally rather unrealistic. Grasping the reality of life and death - indeed, grappling with it, can be terrifying all by itself - even for the person of faith.
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Recall Therese of Lisieux who warned her sisters to keep medicines far away from the dying lest they succumb to temptation and attempt suicide. I thought of this after reading a comment from Melody to my post yesterday on euthanasia and assisted suicide. I will reprint her comment here since it speaks well to the end of life dangers the lonely elderly or disabled may face.
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The support of family and friends.
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My mother-in-law passed away earlier this year. Her last weeks were filled with suffering. I lost count of the times she said, "I wish God would just take me." She had signed a "no-code", and we were all in agreement that no extraordinary means would be employed. But she didn't mean that she wanted another human being to end her life. I am afraid that if the euthanasia option were readily available, a lot of terminally ill people wouldn't have the strength to resist the temptation, especially if they were suffering. And their families might think they were doing a kindness.
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I should add that when the time came, my mother-in-law slipped away peacefully. Most of the family members whom we have lost have died in peace (the only one who didn't ended his own life). It's just the time leading up to death which has been very difficult. The temptation would be very great to expedite matters; I don't think we want to go down that road. - Melody
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Melody's comment reminded me of the deaths I've witnessed over the years. I remember my mom one day telling the nurse in hospice, "I keep trying to die, I just don't know how to do it." I now understand that if assisted suicide were available, in heCheck Spellingr state she may have welcomed it. Another friend's mother cried out to me the night she was dying, "Terry, can't you do anything?" She may have asked me that because she knew I was praying for her and that I was religious - which turned out to be little consolation for the poor lady in her moment of distress. Likewise, as my brother struggled during his last days he told me - "I'm scared to die." Almost glibly I told him not to be, that purgatory wouldn't be that bad. My assurances couldn't console him... All I could do was to be near him, promising I would pray for him and have Masses offered for him after death - yet it only quieted him - which in turn helped to relieve my own sense of helplessness.
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I've been with others who have died as well. I can see now how each could have been inclined, even convinced to accept some sort of potion to alleviate their pain, and above all, their terror, perhaps in a cocktail mix permitting them to slip away. People without faith or an understanding of suffering may be particularly vulnerable, especially if they feel themselves to be dying alone, without friends or family nearby, and no religious support... just clinicians working the night shift, surfing the Internet, listening to i-tunes or busy texting their time away. I've seen such employees even in Catholic health care facilities. And unfortunately, Catholic health care is disappearing.
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It's not like we didn't know all of this was coming however - JPII consistently warned about it, while any reasonable person ought to have known legalized abortion prepared the way for it.
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From the womb to the tomb.
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"The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being.
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...the point has been reached where the most basic care, even nourishment, is denied to babies born with serious handicaps or illnesses. The contemporary scene, moreover, is becoming even more alarming by reason of the proposals, advanced here and there, to justify even infanticide, following the same arguments used to justify the right to abortion. In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever.
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15. Threats which are no less serious hang over the incurably ill and the dying. In a social and cultural context which makes it more difficult to face and accept suffering, the temptation becomes all the greater to resolve the problem of suffering by eliminating it at the root, by hastening death so that it occurs at the moment considered most suitable."
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No one, however, can arbitrarily choose whether to live or die; the absolute master of such a decision is the Creator alone, in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). - Evangelium vitae
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"It is the Lord who will free you from the snare
of the fowler who seeks to destroy you..." - Psalm 90
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Link:
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International Taask force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Monday, July 27, 2009

Midsummer craft project.



Re-thatching a nesting platform, or what to do with spent Hosta stems.
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Midsummer is a time for trimming the hedge, deadheading flowers, and harvesting vegetables. It is also a good time to re-thatch one's roof - imagine a hearty Julia Child laugh right now.
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I cut up the stems of the Hosta flowers that I had cut back and use them to re-thatch the roof of the nesting platform I keep as Our Lady's shrine. Then I take the twigs from my hedge pruning, split them in two, and nail them in place to secure the reeds tightly. The photos are self-explanatory.
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Each winter the birds and Mr. Squirrel pull the dried thatch out, requiring that I repeat the process the next summer. It only takes about 20 minutes to do.

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(The statue is wood and has been with me for 30 years - always outside in some sort of shrine, this year squirrel is throwing her out so I will replace the figure with another that the critters can not chew on. BTW - that is me in the last photo. You can see my big toe if you look closely.)

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Healthcare reform - something to look forward to in old age.

St. Euthanasia
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I have friends who say they will end their lives rather than allow themselves to become incapacitated by illness and old age - they believe assisted suicide is the way to go. I suspect many Americans are coming around to this way of thinking - especially younger people accustomed to entitlements, worried old people will use up all of their benefits. Pro-life folks have seen this coming - and whether or not the final draft of the U.S. health care initiative will include such 'end of life care' for seniors, the issue can not be easily dismissed precisely because it has already been placed on the table.
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I'm aware of conferences at local medical facilities as far back as the 1980's discussing the viability of euthanasia for terminally ill patients and the elderly suffering from dementia. No wonder the issue has been raised in the current health care debate. It stands to reason euthanasia and assisted suicide is emerging as an inevitable proposition considering our unstable economy and the federal deficit - not to mention dwindling medicare and social security funds.
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I think one reason Obama wants to push the health care bill through so fast is because he doesn't want the average American to know the details, and although some in Congress and the media are accusing conservatives of playing the euthanasia card as a scare tactic, some lawmakers are confirming that the euthanasia devil is indeed in the details.
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Two Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are confirming reports that the health care restructuring bill the House is currently considering promotes euthanasia. A leading patients rights advocate is worried about the effects of the legislation.
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Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant government who is now a patient's rights advocate, notes that the government-run health care plan would require end of life counseling for seniors.
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The counseling, she says, would be focused on telling seniors how to end their lives sooner.
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In a statement sent to LifeNews.com House Republican Leader John Boehner Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter confirm those fears.
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"Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments,'" the pair say.
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That section "may place seniors in situations where they feel pressured to sign end of life directives they would not otherwise sign."
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"This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law. At a minimum this legislative language deserves a full and open public debate – the sort of debate that is impossible to have under the politically-driven deadlines Democratic leaders have arbitrarily set for enactment of a health care bill," they state.
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Boehner and McCotter are especially concerned about the provision given that Oregon and Washington have legalized assisted suicide and Montana has given conditional approval depending on the outcome of a state Supreme Court decision.
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“With three states having legalized physician-assisted suicide, this provision could create a slippery slope for a more permissive environment for euthanasia, mercy-killing and physician-assisted suicide because it does not clearly exclude counseling about the supposed benefits of killing oneself," they say.
- Source

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dear Abbey

No shoes, no shirts, no Communion.
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I don't know why I didn't think of this before - but when blogging becomes a problem I think I'll do a Dear Abbey column. Send me questions - as you always do - and this time I may answer some of them. The following is a variation on a frequently asked question concerning appropriate attire for Mass:
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Dear Terry - err Abbey,
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My friend and I go running every Sunday morning and stop at the Cathedral for the earliest Mass on our run by. During the summer my friend insists we wear t-shirts if we are stopping in - we have on running shorts of course - nevertheless people stare at us even though we sit off to the side and in the back. This is the best time for us to attend Mass - is our attire inappropriate? Should we skip Mass rather than attend in our running clothes? The Romans who converted to Christianity must have worn togas to Mass - that's kind of a joke - but I've seen photos of mountaineers in their gear assisting at Mass - isn't our condition similar?
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Signed,
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Don Sichspaque.
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Dear Don,
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I'm no authority so my comments are simply my POV - always ask your priest for direction and questions regarding the faith. Until you do however, let me say right off I think it is wonderful that you and your friend consider it so important to attend Mass on Sunday - in a time when so many people do not. Although to some it may seem you are squeezing it in, I suspect you attend Mass more out of devotion than a sense of obligation, which is also to be commended.
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That said, if you assist at Mass attentively and devoutly I personally see nothing wrong with how you are dressed, as long as you are covered, and the running clothes were an exception - not your regular habit. Of course many people will disagree with me on that one, and they really do have a point.
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I gotta say, I like your toga excuse though - I used it myself when I'd go to Mass wearing shorts - but it doesn't fly in our culture - even though everyone seems to wear shorts - they just don't cut it for formal occasions. Formal dress is not required at Mass of course, but being suitably covered is - for the sake of modesty and respect for the presence of God. In fact, even if one is just making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament or dropping in to light a candle, a runner or biker should always have a shirt on over his shorts - church is not clothing optional.
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In warmer climates and throughout the summer women and men do attend Mass wearing shorts in the US, and if they are modest, it doesn't bother me. But it is not up to me either - it is up to the priest to enforce dress code, albeit difficult to do with vacationing visitors. As many people know, raincoats are handed out to immodestly dressed tourists at St. Peter's in Rome, but Americans resent authority far too much to put up with that practice here.
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So anyway, to answer your main question while ignoring all the other issues it raises, it would be better for you and your friend to at least wear long pants and a shirt to Mass, and maybe postpone your run. Readjust your schedule - perhaps you could even attend Mass the evening before or later in the day on Sunday.
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Incidentally, I think I saw the two of you that one really hot Sunday when you weren't wearing shirts, outside doing your stretches on the Dayton side of the church - I'm glad you didn't go in undressed like that.
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Keep the faith buddy!


Nothing to blog about.

Sunny days are distracting.
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I surfed the net after Mass this morning, I found nothing interesting enough to post about. I ended my search by saying, "Why bother?" And, "Who cares?" Is that apathy or just blogger burn out? Perhaps it is sloth? Or maybe it is rancor? It feels like rancor. I feel rancorous at some of the news stories I read, and some of the blog posts I skim through. Rancor stems from envy. Am I envious? Envy often shares her disposition with anger, and both are rooted in pride. These are sins you know.

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But wait a minute, wait a minute! Snap out of it! No one said I have to write or comment about anything. So I don't feel like blogging and the Internet bores me today, yesterday - and maybe tomorrow. That is okay.

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Although I want to say something about the sins I just mentioned. Feelings are not sins - if I feel those things; rancor, anger, envy, etc., it is not a sin. If I do not consent, if I do not harbor such thoughts, and especially if I do not act upon these temptations - it is not a sin. One does penance and practices mortification by the self-denial it requires in not acting upon these dispositions and bad humors. And that is misery's silver lining.

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Which means I will not say anything about the load of crap I just read on that last blog post! ;)

Sunday