Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm at a loss for words.

Really.

The problem with Monarchy and Monarchists.


I like pageantry as much as the next guy, but this is ridiculous...
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The Bishops of Spain have in effect said it is okay for King Juan Carlos to sanction, with his required royal signature of approval, a new law easing restrictions on abortion.
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"As the law was being debated, Spain's bishops had said Catholic members of parliament who vote to liberalize abortion would place themselves outside the church and should not receive Communion.

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"That his majesty the king must sanction this law with his signature is a unique situation. No other citizen would encounter this," and so "general principles" cannot be applied, said Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, conference general secretary." - Source
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No kidding.
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"The late King Baudouin of Belgium faced a similar dilemma in 1990 when his nation's Parliament passed a bill liberalizing abortion.

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Saying his conscience and Catholic faith would not allow him to sign the bill, he worked out an agreement with parliament allowing him to resign for less than 48 hours. During his temporary abdication, the country's council of ministers assumed the king's powers and signed the bill. Parliament then reinstated the king." - Source
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Nuts anyone?  That's hypocrisy.

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

Patron saint of gun owners...
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and therefore of Fr. Erik Richtsteig.
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February 27 is the feast of St. Gabriel, whose history may be found here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Beatles - Fixing a hole

Boozy ape.

I've been called worse.
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Anyway, I love this story:
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MOSCOW - A Russian chimpanzee has been sent to rehab by zookeepers to cure the smoking and beer-drinking habits he has picked up, a popular daily reported on Friday. An ex-performer, Zhora became aggressive at his circus and was transferred to a zoo in the southern Russian city of Rostov, where he fathered several baby chimps, learned to draw with markers and picked up his two vices.

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"The beer and cigarettes were ruining him. He would pester passers-by for booze," the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper said.
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It added he has now been transferred to the city of Kazan, about 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow, for rehabilitation treatment. - Source
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At least I quit smoking.  Friday is a day of penance BTW.
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The Sacred Made Real

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I would love to see this exhibit.
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"The Sacred Made Real" - an emotionally searing exhibit of Spanish paintings and sculptures from 1600-1700 that will be on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington from Feb. 28 through May 31. 
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Top Image:  Polychromed sculpture, “Ecce Homo” sculpted pre-1621 by Gregorio Fernandez. 
Bottom image: "Venerable Mother Jeronima De La Fuente" by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velazquez.
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Links:
Exhibition Note, New Criterion - On "The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700" at The National Gallery, London, 2009
More images

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good priest, bad priest...


A few quick thoughts.
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Lately I've noticed that a few commentors online - especially amongst locals (meaning Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis), seem to think that the only good priests we have here are those who have been ordained in the last decade or so.  Everyone else, aging hippy or not, somehow just doesn't make the grade, especially if they were ordained in the 1970's or '80's.  Unfortunately this has been bothering me lately because it seems to be against justice and charity.
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From what I understand, a few of these well meaning folks assessing the state of the local Church were not even born until after that era, and if they were around, they were most likely not attending church with any regularity, if at all.  In a couple of cases some of these folks have really only been practicing-faithful-to-the-Magisterium Catholics for the last 3 to 5 years or so.  With all due respect, in essence they are relative neophytes, albeit well intentioned, they are blessed to have come onto the scene since the pontificate of John Paul II and the so-called "New Springtime" he initiated. 
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To be sure, this Archdiocese seems to be in the best shape it has ever been in my lifetime.  We have been blessed with Archbishop Harry Flynn who devoted himself to promoting vocations and strengthening the seminaries here - an accomplishment key in renewing the vitality of the Church.  And today we are doubly blessed with our wonderful shepherd, Archbishop Nienstedt, and his auxiliary, Bishop Piche.  Our seminary remains strong and vibrant and has been producing wonderful priests, guided by excellent priests, to be sure.  Our Archdiocese continues to offer to the Church excellent candidates for the episcopate.
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A few good men.
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Don't be over-sold however, our seminary has been producing good priests (and bishops) all along.  Faithful-to-the-Magisterium good priests.  While reading some blogs, one can get the impression that before Archbishop Flynn there were no good seminarians or priests except those associated with Monsignor Schuller and the Church of St. Agnes.  God bless the late Monsignor and the fraternity he provided for the more traditional-liturgically minded seminarian, but there were other men who made it through the liberal/progressive vocational vetting process without the assistance of Monsignor.  Some bloggers tend to emphasize the refuge of St. Agnes as if it was an underground seminary similar to what existed during the days when JPII studied in Nazi occupied Poland.  With all due respect, that is at best an exaggeration.  Indeed, there were very good men coming through the seminary who never hung out at St. Agnes.  And remember, the group at St. Agnes, solid as it was, wasn't immune to harboring one or two bad guys either.  Bad apples can and do turn up in every situation.
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To my knowledge, the seminarians now priests, who came through those times, were never obliged to lie about their spirituality, ecclesiology, appreciation for tradition or anything else.  (A good priest never lies.)  Most of the men who got through were discreet, balanced, well rounded personalities, who continue to enjoy the esteem of their superiors and colleagues.  I know a few of these guys.  They understood the documents of Vatican II and the liturgical reforms, they also rejected the 'popular' liturgical abuses which have always threatened both the Extraordinary Form as well as the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) of Mass.  Permitting changes such as Communion in the hand, altar girls, and EMHCs whether they agreed with the changes or not, were innovations they accepted in accord with the norms established by the Bishops conference and local ordinary. 
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The fact that these guys were trained to celebrate and appreciate the Novus Ordo, celebrating it devoutly and well mind you, does not make them aging hippies, liberals, progressive relativists, or bad priests.  Hopefully one of these days, I will be able to write more extensively about some of these guys and their contribution to the local Church.
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One good man.   
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One good man who comes immediately to mind is Fr. Gerry Dvorak of St. Joseph's in Hopkins.  Few people realize or acknowledge that Fr. Dvorak was instrumental - while yet in the seminary - for establishing the first chapter of Secular Discalced Carmelites in this Archdiocese.  Currently Father is superior of a diocesean community of Carmelite men, two of whom have been ordained.  (In fact Father has directed many souls into religious life and the priesthood.) 
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Fr. Dvorak is one of the hidden gems - holy priests - of our Archdiocese.  We have been friends since his seminary days - as a priest he dropped everything to come and reconcile my mother to the Church on her death bed.  He once told me he never missed daily Communion since his first Holy Communion.  He has always consistently possessed a lively sense of devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As founder of the local Secular Discalced Carmeltes, he is an authority on Carmelite spirituality and an invaluable spiritual director and confessor.  Yet he remains very humble and leads a rather hidden life as a parish priest.  No self-promotion distracts this man from his duties.
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Our friendship was the result of our Carmelite sisters in Lake Elmo, who introduced us many years ago.  In fact, I'm convinced that Carmel was the real power behind the good vocations which came through those doctrinally challenging days.  Many, many good priests can probably trace the support of their vocation to the prayers of the Carmelite nuns rather than to any rectory supper-club.  (In those days, the nuns always led me to good priests.)
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So please, don't dismiss our priests who have faithfully persevered all of these years.  And let's continue to pray for all priests - good or bad.

Not that mime - the other one, Marcial Maciel.

The Mexican pretender.
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An amazing story this one - it makes every conspiracy theory you've ever heard about the Church seem believable as the story of the once revered Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ unfolds.  This powerful, manipulative priest had been a favorite of John Paul II.  This past week the superiors of the order he founded are apologizing to victims for the harm he caused by his double life and immorality.
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"The apology was offered by the Legion’s secretary-general, Evaristo Sada, in a speech last weekend at a church event that was posted later on the order’s Web site.
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'With all my heart I wish to beg pardon of everyone that our founder harmed with the immoral acts of his private life, and of the people who have been injured by the consequences,' Sada said about Maciel, who died amid accusations of sexual abuse.
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Shortly after Maciel’s death, it became known that he had children, six according to the attorney of three of them who are seeking legal recognition.

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“It grieves us deeply what the church and these people have suffered,” Sada said.
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Maciel was accused for decades of abusing seminarians, eight of whom filed complaints that went as far as the Vatican.  In May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI formally urged Maciel to give up “all public ministry” and ordered him to live a quiet life of prayer and penitence." - Source 
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More people other than the victims have been hurt by this and an apology doesn't do a heck of a lot to change that.  Not at all.  The betrayal of a such a high-profile, highly-esteemed-for-his-orthodoxy-and-fidelity-to-the-Magisterium-saintly priest has the power to destroy faith in little souls.    Sexual abuse sucks the life out of souls.  In Maciel's case, it may have destroyed both faith and vocations as well as sucked the life out of his congregation.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The new Bishop of Scranton.

Doesn't he kinda look like an aged Kenny Bania in this shot?
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Photo: Msgr. Joseph C. Bambera
Bania: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0qm0KUPeD8

"What if we said 'wait'".

Wait...
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They've been saying that all along haven't they? 
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I know I'm late to this party (the debate over the new English translation of the Roman Missal) and there has already been petitions circulating saying "We've waited long enough" with many blog posts defending the new translation, but that is because I just don't see the new translation as a problem.  Obviously a minority of English speaking Catholics do.
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Fr. Z has an excellent commentary on a Fr. McBrien article who joins with Fr. Michael Ryan of Seattle in urging priests to be disobedient and refuse to implement the new translation of the Roman Missal.  I hate to say it, but many of these dissident types have pretty much been disobedient all along - so what is new here?
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Anyway, I honestly don't get it - why are they so resistant to the new translation?  It is just a translation, they still have their English, so what's the problem?.The language is much more theologically and doctrinally clear and accurate - so why would they not welcome such a thing? 
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Photo:  Renovated Cathedral of St. James, Seattle, Washington, home of Fr. Michael Ryan, Pastor, and author of "What if we said 'wait'".  Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen was instrumental in promoting Fr. Ryan.  Fr. Ryan is not exactly a fan of Pope Benedict XVI, as evidenced by the following archive:
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Ryan (the Very Rev. Michael G. Ryan, pastor at St. James Cathedral) recalled the significant role Ratzinger played in the scrutiny of Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen two decades ago. In 1985, Ratzinger, as head of the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — essentially the church's guardian of orthodoxy — issued a report disciplining Hunthausen in areas such as ministry to gays and lesbians, divorce, and the role of women in the church.

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That report led to Hunthausen being relieved of some of his power and the appointment of an auxiliary bishop. Eventually, the Vatican removed the auxiliary bishop and restored Hunthausen's full authority.
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"I'm sure there would be some resentments against Cardinal Ratzinger because of it," Ryan said. "I always wished the Holy See had come up with a better solution to the problems they perceived in Seattle." - http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002246832_popelocal20m.html

Monday, February 22, 2010

I absolutely hate the Olympics...

New Header!

I'm not worthy!

Many thanks to Vincenzo the art major!  Though he is a saint, please pray for him.

A post without a title.

A couple of thoughts from the Holy Father's book, "Jesus of Nazareth" - BTW, he got that title from the movie.  (I wonder if Zeffirelli could sue?)
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"The whole conversation of the second temptation takes the form of a dispute between two Bible scholars.  Remarking on this passage Joachim Gnilka says that the devil presents himself here as a theologian.  The Russian writer Vladimir Soloviev took up this motif in his short story "The Antichrist".  The Antichrist receives an honorary doctorate in theology... and is a great scripture scholar.  Soloviev's portrayal of the Antichrist forcefully expresses his skepticism regarding a certain type of scholarly exegesis current at the time.  This is not a rejection of scholarly biblical interpretation as such, but an eminently salutary and necessary warning against its possible aberrations.  The fact is that scriptural exegesis can become a tool of the Antichrist...  The alleged findings of scholarly exegesis have been used to put together the most dreadful books that destroy the figure of Jesus and dismantle the faith." - Jesus of Nazareth, The Temptations of Jesus.
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As we know, scholarly exegesis is currently employed in an attempt to undermine Church teaching on many issues these days, one that comes to mind is the denial that scripture condemns homosexual behavior.
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Anyway, don't waste your time looking for the Antichrist, or trying to identify him - be aware instead of the tactics to ensnare believers who count for nothing in the New World Order.
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Art: Geopoliticus Child - Dali

"For it is necessary to be agreeable to be accepted... And everybody agreed"


"The Open Way to Universal Peace and Prosperity."

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"The superman's previous books and public activity had always met with severe criticism, though these came chiefly from people of exceptionally deep religious convictions, who for that very reason possessed no authority and thus they were hardly listened to when they tried to point out, in everything that the "coming man" wrote or said, the signs of a quite exceptional and excessive self-love and conceit, and a complete absence of true simplicity, frankness, and sincerity.
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But now, with his new book, he brought over to his side even some of his former critics and adversaries. This book, composed after the incident at the precipice, evinced a greater power of genius than he had ever shown before. it was a work that embraced everything and solved every problem. It united a noble respect for ancient traditions and symbols with a broad and daring radicalism in socio-political questions. It joined a boundless freedom of thought with the most profound appreciation for everything mystical. Absolute individualism stood side by side with an ardent zeal for the common good, and the highest idealism in guiding principles combined smoothly with a perfect definiteness in practical solutions for the necessities of life. And all this was blended and cemented with such artistic genius that every thinker and every man of action, however one-sided he might have been, could easily view and accept the whole from his particular individual standpoint without sacrificing anything to the truth itself, without actually rising above his ego, without in reality renouncing his one-sidedness, without correcting the inadequacy of his views and wishes, and without making up their deficiencies.
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Nobody raised his voice against the book. On every side it was accepted by all as the revelation of the complete truth. In it, all the past was given such full and due justice, the present was appraised with such impartiality and catholicity, and the happiest future was described in such a convincing and practical manner that everybody could not help saying: "Here at last we have what we need. Here is the ideal, which is not a Utopia. Here is a scheme which is not a dream." And the wonderful author not only impressed all, but he was agreeable to all, so that the word of Christ was fulfilled: "I have come in the name of the Father, and you accept me not. Another will come in his own name -- him you will accept." For it is necessary to be agreeable to be accepted.

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It is true some pious people, while praising the book wholeheartedly, had been asking why the name of Christ was never mentioned in it; but other Christians had rejoined: "So much the better. Everything sacred has already been stained enough in past ages by every sort of unacknowledged zealot, and nowadays a deeply religious author must be extremely guarded in these matters. Since the book is imbued with the true Christian spirit of active love and all-embracing goodwill, what more do you want?" And everybody agreed. - A Short Tale of the Antichrist
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Hans Urs von Balthasar on the author, Vladimir Soloviev
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"The Antichrist will blur the edges of the apocalyptic rift between morality and the cross, between cultural progress and the resurrection of the dead. He will permit Christianity to merge into this synthesis as one positive element. 'Christ divided men in terms of good and evil; I shall unite them through the benefits of salvation, which are necessary to good and evil alike. Christ brought the sword, but I bring peace. He threatened the earth with a terrible Last judgment; but I shall be the last judge, and my judgment is one of grace.'

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Satan fills his son with his spirit; his soul is filled with a glacial abundance of enormous power, courage and effortless skill. He composes a manifesto, The Open Path to World Peace and Welfare, an all-embracing programme that unites all contradictions in itself--the highest degree of freedom of thought and a comprehension of every mystical system, unrestricted individualism and a glowing devotion to the general good.
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He establishes a European union of states, then a world monarchy, satisfies the needs of all the poor without perceptibly affecting the rich and founds an inter-confessional institute for free biblical research. He seeks to be elected by the general assembly of the churches as head of the Church (from now on ecumenically united), and receives the approval of the majority." - Source 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This is creepy.

I don't know about you.
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It is probably just me, but I think this is a creepy photo.  Now my dad liked to kiss us kids on the lips and maybe that is why I think parent/child kissing on the lips is gross.  I never, ever kissed my parents on the lips - I always turned my cheek as my dad's wet open mouth descended upon my face.  Gross!  As an adult, I rarely, if ever, kissed my parents  - yes, and my dad tried to kiss me on the lips as an adult and we got into a big argument as to why I thought that was inappropriate.  Hugs were okay if there was no butt-cheek grabbing; and if a kiss had to be made, it was a quick one on a facial cheek.  Real quick like.  Ohhhhh!  Shudder.
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My dad's lips/mouth looked like Ted Haggard's.  I know!
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Top Photo: Tiger kissing his mother.
Bottom Photo: My dad's mouth.

Mass-chat...

At the church I attended last evening, during the homily, the priest was especially animated.  I know him so I could tell his recent studies and workshops were influencing his homiletics - he was exhibiting a bit more enthusiasm than usual.  He also sounded as if he were reading someone else's script.  I think his recent studies were showing through.  His homily wasn't what I would deem perfectly dogmatic - there were a few chinks or subtle errors... perhaps better defined as ambiguities.  Believe me when I tell you I wasn't looking for the chinks - I was just listening to the homily.  I doubt anyone else even noticed.
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I've heard the stuff he was saying many times before.  I was a bit surprised however that old dogs would learn old tricks, yet the so-called errors are fairly minor.  Some people would probably have told me I should talk to Father about it, either after Mass or catch him at another time.  I didn't and I won't.
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I have more important things on my mind.
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"What availeth a great dispute about abstruse and obscure matters for not knowing which we shall not be questioned at the day of judgement?" - Imitation, Bk. I, Chp. 3: 1