Saturday, April 17, 2010

Just a story for your Saturday viewing pleasure...

Kateri Tekakwitha

April 17 is the birthday of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin woman, born near what is today Auriesville, New York.  Kateri contracted smallpox at a young age which left her permanently scarred, and as one biographer tells it:  "Her smallpox face led to her being a spinster and having a personality disorder." - Source  Enough said for me to like her.

Fortunately I had been acquainted with Blessed Kateri as a young boy.  Her reputation for sanctity, including her penance and works of charity amongst her people captured my imagination, much in the same way as had the example set by St. Rose of Lima and St. Mariana of Quito.  Though very young when I first developed a devotion to Bl. Kateri, the fact she had been scorned and rejected by her tribesmen, all the while accepting it as a grace from God and a penance, made a deep impression upon me.  Kateri's example and prayers helped me understand how to bear the trials of my childhood with confidence in God.  

The art I have chosen to illustrate Blessed Kateri is from the tapestries of The Communion of Saints by John Navo at the Cathedral of Los Angeles.  I know I'm not supposed to like the Cathedral, but I do, and I especially love the artwork - from the doors to these exquisite tapestries.
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Art: Communion of Saints Tapestry: St.s John Baptist de la Salle, Paul Chong Hasang, Moses the Ethiopian, Kateri Tekakwitha, Thomas Moore.  Thanks to Paul Snatchko Blog

Friday, April 16, 2010

My email to Cardinal George.


Dear Cardinal George,
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I am writing to express my sadness over the conduct of Fr. Michael Pfleger and the scandal he is causing by his public statements (ordination of women) and sacrilegious liturgies (Holy Thursday) which have been published throughout the Catholic Internet. Unfortunately his recent apology is perceived to be disingenuous and obsequious at best. His conduct and method certainly appears to fall short of the decorum proper to a Roman Catholic priest.
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I hope and pray these errors may be corrected.
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Thank you.
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Respectfully yours,
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Terrance J. Nelson
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I will be sure and post any reply I might receive.
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If you would like to contact the Cardinal, email him: archbishop@archchicago.org.
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If you are uncertain what the fuss is all about, check out American Papist.

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre


Sharing the shame.

Today is the feast day of the mendicant/pilgrim saint, Benedict Joseph Labre.  It is also Pope Benedict XVI's birthday.  St. Benedict Joseph must be a very special patron to the Holy Father - as he is for me.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre was a single layman.  God called him to such a life.  Some people like to say there is no such thing as a vocation to single life - one is either called to priesthood, religious life, or the married state.  The single life is not a vocation of course, it is a state in life.  In this state a person is called to work out his or her salvation, to accomplish the will of God - which is our salvation.  Hence, one must be prudent when telling others there is no vocation to the single life, lest they discourage them from seeking God according to their state in life - which happens to be the single life.

St. Benedict tried his vocation with the Carthusians and Trappists, although he was subsequently rejected due to a disorder or defect in his temperament.  Some believe he may have suffered from a form of mental illness.  Whatever the case, the Saint lived a devout life as a layman.  Inspired by an interior impulse, Benedict Joseph followed the pattern of life set by St. Alexis, the Roman noble who left his wife on their wedding night and lived the rest of his life as an ascetic - a pilgrim and mendicant.

I would like to suggest St. Benedict Joseph Labre as a patron for laymen who find themselves rejected or refused entrance to seminary or religious life due to some disorder or defect in their temperament.  I'm convinced there are some men who have gone through very deep conversion experiences, and in some cases, experienced God's grace of healing of this or that disorder.  Forgetting to account for the grace of God, seminaries and religious houses may continue to refuse these men admission.  Perhaps through the intercession of St. Benedict Joseph, such a lack of faith on the part of superiors could be remedied, thus clearing the way for these men to be admitted to Holy Orders or some form of religious life after all.

Failing that, I would hope St. Benedict Joseph could be a model and patron especially for such men, that they not lose hope or abandon the practice of religion all together.  The penance of St. Benedict Joseph not only comprised homeless poverty, but actual rejection by representatives of the Church and society.  His is a wonderful example of humility, patience, and penance in the following of Christ.   One versicle for his Mass is taken from Paul's Letter to the Hebrews:

"Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the insult which he bore.  For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come.  Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name." - Hebrews 13: 13-15


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Holy Father!


Tonight it's tomorrow in Rome!

April 16 is Pope Benedict's Birthday.  Happy Birthday Holy Father!

Please continue to pray for the Holy Father every day.

Hot for teacher...


Totally unscientific and unsympathetic musings about teenage boys scoring...
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Remember Van Haylen's song?  Remember the female teachers in the news who had sex with their teenage boy students - one couple even married after she got out of prison (Mary Kay Letourneau).  The women were prosecuted as sex offenders - having had sex with a minor and all of that.  That's okay - it's the law.
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Ask the boys though, and they might tell you they scored big time.  Guys know that.  Now think about teenage boys getting a bj from a teacher, a priest, a Christian Brother, a neighbor, a coach, a shopkeeper, or a candlestick maker...  Yep - it's a sin and against the law - guys know that too.
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In my neighborhood there lived a Mexican guy named Ernesto, and then there was the young guy, Bob who owned the corner store - both guys had a reputation.  Many of the boys in the neighborhood were frequent visitors.  Most, if not all of those boys are now married with children.  (Remember I grew up in a tough part of town.) 
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I've just been thinking about all of this stuff while everyone seems to be jumping to conclusions as regards all of the scandals swirling around - especially the Betrone controversy that homosexuals are natural born pedophiles, and the other Spanish bishop who said some of the victims may have not been such victims after all.  There may be some truth to that - then again - it can get pretty twisted as well.
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Though most people know that I consider any male to male sexual gratification to be 'gay' that does not mean I think all homosexually inclined men are pederasts or pedophiles.  Not at all.
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Likewise, all children, boys or girls who have been abused do not automatically turn into abusers when they grow up - nor do they 'turn gay' if the contact was male to male.  And early childhood sexualization (abuse) is much more traumatic than teenage sexual abuse.
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I think many good people are getting hysterical about this stuff right now and they are falling into rash judgement, detraction, and calumny.  As is so often the case, alot of people do not know what the hell they are talking about.
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I'm just sayin'.
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On a related note:
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Western Confucian, Richard Dawkins, Pedophile Delusion  H/T Enbrethiliel
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And our next class will be on Admitting Men With SSA to Religious Life, or What's Wrong With Fr. Scanlon?
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I'll be at adoration once again, I found out a nearby parish has adoration all day on Thursdays.

Please continue to pray for the Pope every day.

The novena continues.
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A gentleman from the Archdiocese notified me that 800 novena prayer cards for the Holy Father are available for distribution.  You may contact Thomas D. Schulzetenberg schulzetenbergt@archspm.org for more information.  Mr. Schulzetenberg informs me the supply is limited so 'first come first serve'.
Think about adding a rosary as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hoochimama! Pflagrant Pfleger!



More at WDTPRS.

A letter of St. Catherine of Siena to me and my friends...


"For everyone who does wicked things hates the light, and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed." - John 3: 16-21 (Gospel of the day.)

In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary:

Dearest son in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the
servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in His precious Blood, with desire
to see you in true light. For without light we shall not be able to walk
in the way of truth, but shall walk in shadows. Two lights are necessary.


First, we must be illumined to know the transitory things of the world,
which all pass like the wind. But these are not rightly known if we do not
know our own frailty, how inclined it is, from the perverse law which is
bound up with our members, to rebel against its Creator. This light is
necessary to every rational creature, in whatever state it may be, if it
wishes to have divine grace, and to share in the blessing of the Blood of
the Spotless Lamb. This is the common light, that everybody in general
ought to have, for whoever has it not is in a state of condemnation. This
is the reason; that, not having light, he is not in a state of grace; for
one who does not know the evil of wrong, nor who is cause of it, cannot
avoid it nor hate the cause. So he who does not know good, and virtue the
cause of good, cannot love nor desire that good. - Letter to Br. William, the English hermit

“Scandals are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!" - Luke 17

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I find the recent report that Cardinal Sodano may have had some conflict of interest in his friendship with Fr. Maciel and the Legion to be terribly sad and disturbing.  Just when I thought these scandals can't bring me down any lower, I happen upon this...
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"The National Catholic Reporter has published part two of Jason Berry’s report into the Legionaries of Christ, the hugely wealthy Mexican order founded by a paedophile priest which exerted major influence in the Vatican during the reign of John Paul II.
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The second half of the investigation contains allegations relating to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, former Vatican Secretary of State, which I think will force him to resign as Dean of the College of Cardinals. Sodano is accused by Berry of exerting improper influence on behalf of the Legionaries, who allegedly entered into a professional relationship with the cardinal’s nephew, Andrea Sodano.
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One sad and grubby detail: Fr Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries and until his death in 2008 revered by them as a saint, apparently took his illegitimate children to meet Pope John Paul and had them photographed with them. The Pope was completely unaware that they were the old man’s children, of course. It’s the sort of high-risk stunt one associates with paedophiles." - Read More at Damian Thompson - the post contains all pertinent links to principal sources.
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I have come to the conclusion I must stop looking back - in the sense of Lot's wife I mean.  Even if the whole edifice tumbles down, that is, the mountains tumble down into the sea as the psalm says, I need to make myself continually aware (as I was when I first returned to the Church), that the Church is more than the Vatican and its art and architecture, lace and cappa magnas, pomp and ceremonies, etc..  It is the Body of Christ... it is Christ Jesus truly present:  Christ in the Eucharist, the Mother of God, The Holy Father.  I need to return to my early love.
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"You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave to me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire.  Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay.
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With what procrastination do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?
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Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth.  Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners.  The angels are mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me.
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What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul?  Yours is all of this, and all is for you.  Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father's table.  Go forth and exult in your Glory!  Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart." - Prayer Of A Soul Taken With Love.  St. John of the Cross
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Photo:  Cardinal Sodano

In the majority of cases, it wasn't really pedophilia.


Understanding ephebophilia.
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"If one tries to look up ephebophilia in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, one will not find it. Several years ago that Association decided that a homosexual orientation is not a disorder. Officially, homosexual behavior is no longer deviant but a healthy alternative to heterosexual behavior. Thus ephebophilia, being a kind of homosexuality, has no place in the Association’s catalog of mental disorders.
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As Rossetti says (88), pedophiles are not amenable to treatment because “psychotherapy usually cannot change one’s sexual orientation.” But, as he also points out (68): “Many times adults who are sexually aroused by minors may also be aroused by adults as well.” The vast majority of clerical sexual molesters have been involved with postpubescent youths, generally age 14 years and over. Other things being equal, they are, Rossetti says (88), “more amenable to treatment,” for they can learn to “develop satisfying relationships with age-appropriate peers.”
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In other words, clerics who have engaged in criminal sexual behavior with adolescent boys and young men can learn to satisfy themselves with consenting adult males, because that change in their behavior involves no change in their sexual orientation. Such clerics simply are homosexuals who have found underage partners attractive and convenient. But unlike most homosexuals, these clerics have been willing to commit crimes against adolescents and young men. Expecting their bishops to be tolerant and protective, they no doubt hoped to get away with those crimes, and for a long time their bishops did not disappoint them.
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The adolescents and young men were victims of abuse. But in most cases, sexual acts involving such young people are not only abuse. To be sure, in some cases, the youngster did not understand what was going on and/or was unable to resist, and in such cases he was simply a victim of abuse. But in very many cases, as the victims’ own statements usually make clear, they were troubled by the sexual activity in which they were involved yet were submissive partners with the cleric, whose dirty secret they kept because he had lured them into making it their own.
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Thus, such young people cooperated in the sexual activity: they were seduced. Their guilt may well have been venial and may even have been none at all—only God knows—and their cooperation in no way mitigates their seducers’ guilt. Indeed, seducing the victims into sexual sins was far graver than the clerics’ own sexual sinning." - Source
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Links (related topics):
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It's the Homosexuals
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Spanish Bishop of Tenerife suggests children cooperated in sexual abuse.  I need to thank Thom at Ad Dominum for originally posting on this.  I read the same news story.  If the reporting is accurate, the Bishop is misinformed, as the study I cite here suggests:  Though "such young people cooperated in the sexual activity: they were seduced. Their guilt may well have been venial and may even have been none at all—only God knows—and their cooperation in no way mitigates their seducers’ guilt. Indeed, seducing the victims into sexual sins was far graver than the clerics’ own sexual sinning." 
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Likewise it could even have happened that a prematurely-sexualized young person (most likely abused at a very early age) initiated some sort of contact, made himself available, or indicated an overt curiosity and/or arousal - that does not mitigate the responsibility of the adult in question to resist, much less his culpability in the crime.  (The youth in question always falls into the category of 'vulnerable youth'.)
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That said, it is shameful and  irresponsible to blame the youthful victim.
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Photo:  Curious photo of an Islamic cleric kissing a boy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Novena for the Holy Father

Support the Pope.
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It's free.
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And it's not a gimmick.
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Maybe you can add a rosary to it as well.

Who speaks for the Church?


L'Osservatore Romano?
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This is how ridiculous things are getting, the Vatican's official newspaper, obviously considered the official voice of the Roman Catholic Church by secular media, is now writing music reviews praising the Beatles.  Comes under the heading of public interest stories, I suppose.  Taking it for dogma, secular newspapers (one actually) are claiming: "Pope finally forgives Beatles for past excesses... Church dismisses drug taking, 'Satanic' messages."  LOL!  That didn't happen.
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In a move sanctioned by Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has forgiven the Fab Four for their various excesses and even gone so far as to laud them as a "precious jewel."
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In a front-page article, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, offers a glowing assessment of The Beatles' achievements 40 years after they split up, heralding their "beautiful melodies" and asking "what would pop music have been like without the Beatles?" - Vancouver Sun
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"In a move sanctioned by Pope Benedict XVI."  Isn't that dumb?  (Actually, I think this story rolled around awhile back as well.)
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Taking the name of the Pope in vain.  It's become a very popular past-time for many...

It's the Homosexuals.


Cardinal Bertone in Chile.
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"SANTIAGO, Chile – The Vatican's second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests.  'Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true,' said Bertone. 'That is the problem.'" - Source
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I happen to agree with this, as most of my readers already know.  I'm also convinced most real pedophiles are heterosexual men - single or married, and/or boyfriends/friends/relatives of women with kids from a previous marriage or a former partner.  Be realistic - normal, real-men - manly men priests - who happen to be weak, lonely and/or are disposed to commit a sin against chastity, would go for women, younger (late teens to early 20's) or a little older (someone attractive and pre-menopause), such as religious-ed women, parish secretaries, bookkeepers, or someone they may be counselling... a little too often.  Think the former Fr.'s Stone and Cutie.  Most priests are normal heterosexual men.
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Yep, so anyway, like I always say - man/boy stuff is definitely gay.  So don't be obtuse.  (And I mean that in the nicest possible way.)
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Photo credit: Chilean protest 2003

Monday, April 12, 2010

Good pope, bad pope.

More at WDTPRS.

Vogue!


And Karl.
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Karl Lagerfeld is one of the very last emperors of haute couture (Chanel), yet the tres influential German born maestro made a couple of controversial statements regarding the international agenda promoting same sex marriage and same sex adoption of children.  He's against it.
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“I’m against it (gay marriage) for a very simple reason: In the 60's, they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life,” Lagerfeld recently told contemporary youth culture magazine, Vice. “For me it’s difficult to imagine—one of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be for the baby? I don’t know. I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies. And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child.” - Source 

See - not all gays are nuts.  Mr. Lagerfeld only looks eccentric - he's quite nice however - he just happens to love menswear from the 17th century.  He definitely makes sense here - I've been telling gay people this for years - especially those pushing for inclusion in the Catholic Church.  Hello?  Any self respecting sexually active homosexual can't really want to be so square and homogenized, right?  (Well some might.)  Nevertheless, today there are some very vocal gay people who seem to crave some sort of old fashioned normalcy, hence they opt for a hip "Little House on the Prairie" lifestyle.  They want their own version of traditional domesticity, a place at the table on the PTA, while trying to take over the pulpit, like twisted little church-ladies, ranting:  "Gays would not do naughty things if they were accepted like straight people, and all the stereotypical stigmas were outlawed."  Oh yes they would George slut-in-the-bushes Michael. 
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Karl is absolutely correct: "suddenly, they want a bourgeois life!"   (He might have added a bit from Karen Walker:  "Good Lord! Don't they know what that'll do to the fall line?")
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Anyway, how Stepford-esque.
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Vogue redux.  (Love how this song starts out.)

Avoiding the hype and the logos.

To wit.
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Journalists who defend the Holy Father and the Roman Catholic Church actually exist - even if they be few and far between, on op-ed pages and blogs.  Catholic bloggers are doing a very good job refuting the claims against the Holy Father as well.  I can't make this stuff my daily bread however.  I can't take seriously grown up, intelligent men throwing plates of spaghetti at one another, much less supposedly sophisticated intellectuals discussing such things as arresting the Pope.  Oh - it could happen - but the Vatican has its own international lawyers and professionals, and I trust they can handle these situations as they arise.  I think Bishops and Cardinals and leaders of other denominations have to get on board denouncing the attacks as well.
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But let's face it - this is a spiritual battle - and the majority of Catholics should be on their knees praying for the Holy Father and the conversion of sinners - their eyes fixed upon Jesus.
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Pray the novena prayer for the Holy Father, and add a rosary to it - if everyone prayed a novena of rosaries, I think the enemies of the Church would be driven back.  I also think it would be wonderful if priests - especially those with free schedules, would offer a novena of Masses for the Pope.
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And watch the bombast - don't make a Richard Dawkins-Christopher Hitchens ass of yourself.
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Another prayer...
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Supplication To The Holy Virgin Of The Revelation
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O Most Holy Virgin of the Revelation, obtain for our Holy Church and her visible head the Supreme Pontiff the joy of seeing the conversion of her enemies, the spreading of the reign of Christ over all the earth, the true unity of all believers in Christ and the peace of all nations so that we can love and serve You in this life and thank You in Heaven for ever and ever.  Amen.
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Information on the Virgin of Revelation.

"To suffer and be despised." - St. John of the Cross


"We can only acquire a 'scientia crucis' if we have the grace to taste and relish the Cross through and through." - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
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When I was little, family and school mates often mocked me for my devotions, attending daily Mass and staying after school to pray my rosary.  I can't remember ever being angry or fighting anyone because of it.  When one of the parish priests told me I was using religion as an escape - I wasn't big into sports as a kid - I didn't know how to respond.  He also told this to my dad, and so many times I had to "sneak away" to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.  Once or twice a friend of my brother, who happened to be an altar boy,  would see me in church "after hours" and tell my brother - together they would make fun of me.  Another friend of my brother's who intended to enter seminary, once told me I could never be a priest because I was too pious.  I never got mad or tried to defend myself - I just felt a deep sense of sorrow and sadness, which I offered up.
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I only relate all of this to explain how I feel about the attacks upon the Holy Father and the Church - especially by those who profess to be Catholic.  Surprisingly, I'm not angry about it.  I feel no need to lash out or attack the "enemy".  Instead I feel the most peculiar sorrow - much like I felt as a little kid - although it seems more intense than that.  It is more akin to pain, and then sorrow and sadness, which I offer up.
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I consider it a special grace from the Divine Mercy.
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Novena prayer for the Pope.
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Photo credit: Zimbio

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Three reasons why I remain a Catholic.

  • The Real Presence of Jesus Christ - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Eucharist.
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  • True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
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  • The Pope, Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Servant of the Servants of God.
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+A novena for the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI begins today, I have a link in my sidebar or click here.

The Second Sunday of Easter


"I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple..." - Ezekial 47:1
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Once again this year, Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi posts this magnificent work by John Granville Gregory. It is obviously a modern interpretation based upon Carravagio's work - I admire both works, but I especially love Gregory's masterpiece, "Still Doubting" shown here.  Many years ago now, I made preliminary drawings for a similar painting - a self-portrait based upon Carravagio's Thomas.  Now I don't have to paint it.
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I highly recommend reading Fr. Mark's post for this Divine Mercy Sunday:
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Drink deeply today of the Water and the Blood; like Thomas, stretch out our hands to probe Christ's glorious wounds, to penetrate even to His Sacred Heart. In response, the consecrated hands of the priest, acting in the person of Christ the Bridegroom and Head, will offer you the mysteries of His Sacred Body and Blood. Then, will the prayer of Saint Faustina -- Jesus, I trust in you! -- well up from deep within all of us. Then will the cry of Thomas become our own: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28). - My Lord and My God