Saturday, April 24, 2010

Penance, penance, penance.



The Holy Father is calling for it...
 ... as are the Bishops of England and Wales. 
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Many bloggers are mentioning it in their posts as well.  Although quite a few people today simply do not understand what it means or entails, especially since the only penance most of us know is the occasional Hail Mary and Our Father we get in confession - if we go at all.  Then there is the Lenten observance of course, giving up candy and stuff like that.  With the increasing awareness of social justice issues since the 1960's the progressive notion of penance has been activist oriented, in it's simplest expression; alms-giving and or volunteerism.  Such things are valid of course, but they are good works and not always a matter of self-denial - modern folks normally maintain a certain comfort level in the performance of good deeds and penance - We don't want it to cost us anything.  Kind of like not eating meat on Friday yet having a sumptuous lobster dinner instead.
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I've actually received comments and emails asking me what penance is, or what it means to perform penance.  Terry at Idle Speculations has a couple of superb posts on the subject, beginning with Pope Benedict's recent call to penance:
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"...Penance is a grace.
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There is a tendency in exegesis that says: Jesus in Galilee had announced a grace without condition, absolutely unconditional, therefore also without penance, grace as such, without human preconditions.
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But this is a false interpretation of grace.
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Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace that we know we need renewal, change, a transformation of our being.
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Penance, being able to do penance, is the gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penance, it has seemed too harsh to us.
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Now, under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is grace. And we see that it is necessary to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our life, open ourselves to forgiveness, prepare ourselves for forgiveness, allow ourselves to be transformed.
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The suffering of penance, of purification, of transformation, this suffering is grace, because it is renewal, it is the work of divine mercy". - Holy Father's Homily, Idle Speculations
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The idea that penance is a grace recalls for me the conversion of the Blessed Angela of Foligno, who actually prayed for the grace to do penance.  Her first Book in the Divine Consolations, "Of the Conversion and Penitence of the Blessed Angela of Folignosheds much light on the subject. 
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Sorrow for sin.
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The call to penance began with the ministry of John the Baptist and was mandated by Christ:  "Thus it is written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.  In his name, penance for the remission of sins is to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" [Luke 24:46-47]  Yet modern preaching, especially since the council has pretty much avoided the subject.  Even in religious life, the concept of corporal penance had almost disappeared.  The Lord's admonition, "It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice" may have been taken to the extreme in our days, yet the saints and the popes have taught that penance is a grace from the Divine Mercy.  Again Terry at Idle Speculation cites papal teaching regarding the call to penance.  First John XXIII:
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"1.Doing penance for one's sins is a first step towards obtaining forgiveness and winning eternal salvation. That is the clear and explicit teaching of Christ, and no one can fail to see how justified and how right the Catholic Church has always been in constantly insisting on this. She is the spokesman for her divine Redeemer. No individual Christian can grow in perfection, nor can Christianity gain in vigor, except it be on the basis of penance ...
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5. Now we have only to open the sacred books of the Old and New Testament to be assured of one thing: it was never God's will to reveal Himself in any solemn encounter with mortal men—to speak in human terms—without first calling them to prayer and penance. Indeed, Moses refused to give the Hebrews the tables of the Law until they had expiated their crime of idolatry and ingratitude.
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Speaking of the member of the Church, the stainless Bride of Christ, the Holy Father continues:  16. But of her children there are some who nevertheless forget the greatness of their calling and election. They mar their God-given beauty, and fail to mirror in themselves the image of Jesus Christ. We cannot find it in Us to threaten or abuse them, for the love We bear them is a father's love. Instead We appeal to them in the words of the Council of Trent—the best restorative for Catholic discipline." - PAENITENTIAM AGERE, Idle Speculations
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From John Paul II, Reconciliation and Penance:
"... Penance also means changing one's life in harmony with the change of heart, and in this sense doing penance is completed by bringing forth fruits worthy of penance. It is one's whole existence that becomes penitential, that is to say, directed toward a continuous striving for what is better. But doing penance is something authentic and effective only if it is translated into deeds and acts of penance.
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In this sense penance means, in the Christian theological and spiritual vocabulary, asceticism, that is to say, the concrete daily effort of a person, supported by God's lose his or her own life for Christ as the only means of gaining it; an effort to put off the old man and put on the new; an effort to overcome in oneself what is of the flesh in order that what is spiritual may prevail; a continual effort to rise from the things of here below to the things of above, where Christ is."  - John Paul II taken from Idle Speculations
But how do we do penance?
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Fasting, prayer, alms giving - giving up candy, saying a hail Mary or two, and giving a homeless guy a dollar once in awhile.  Hey, but that's how we do Lent.  Okay - so follow the teaching of St. Benedict and adjust your life to "have the character of a lent" - works for monks, huh?  Or join the Third Order of Penance of St. Francis - the essence of the Franciscan vocation has always been penance...
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Truth is, modern people just do not know how to do penance, unless of course it is imposed upon us through the deprivation occasioned by calamity, disaster, and war.  Yet voluntary penance normally doesn't occur to us, despite the fact Our Lady herself came to places like Lourdes and Fatima calling us to repentance and the amendment of our lives.    Thankfully, the Holy Father is echoing that same call today.  In fact - the message of Fatima just may be an excellent resource for contemporary penitents to find some practical direction on the subject.
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In the first apparition preparing the children for the appearances of Our Lady, the angel instructed the seers;  "Pray!  Pray a great deal!"  And later, "Offer up prayers and sacrifices to the Most High."  Explaining,  "Make everything you do a sacrifice..."
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What does that mean?  Sr. Lucia explained it thus:  "I feel it would be good to impress upon people... the need for prayer and sacrifice - especially that one needs to avoid sin..."  Indeed, the avoidance of sin as a penance!
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In 1943, Sr. Lucia wrote;  "God wishes that it be made clear to souls that the true penance he now wants and requires consists first of all of the sacrifice each one must make to fulfill his own religious duties and daily duties."
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Later, in 1946 Sr. Lucia reaffirmed; "The penance which God now asks is this: the sacrifice which each person has to impose upon himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observance of his law.  He wishes this way to be made known to souls with clearness, for many consider the word 'penance' to be great austerities, and not feeling the strength or generosity for such, become discouraged and remain in a life of tepidity and sin." - Sr. Lucia of Fatima; Fatima Today - The Third Millennium, Fr. Robert J. Fox
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I hope all of the Bishops around the world unite with the Holy Father in calling us to do penance in reparation for sin.  Just think, if Our Lady's call at Fatima would have been heeded, we would never have found ourselves in this crises.  Think about it - how the failure to observe the duties of our state in life have led to such disaster.
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As for me, I'm praying for the grace to do penance.

Environ-mental redux.



Everyone on the blog circuit has probably seen this footage already - I'm always the last to get these things - but I was moved, deeply, deeply moved.

Oh go ahead Fr. Erik, Larry D, Cathy and Ray, send your militia goons after me - get Digi to prosecute me for caring!  Man I'm cryin' inside.

Seriously - the destruction of the rain forest is evil and the Pope agrees with me.

People - there are humongous plastic garbage swirls in the middle of the ocean!

Can you hear my scream?

I don't know when reality begins!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art stuff.

Religious art.
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Isn't this a nice image of Peter of Alcantara?  I didn't paint it, although I have been painting people and things levitating, not as well as Cynthia Large of course, but I did take my inspiration from her.  I haven't published any of my paintings from this past winter because they aren't very good and I haven't had ideal conditions in which to photograph them anyway - conditions such as taking the time to set up the tripod.
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Anyway.  I'm still painting however.  I'll try to post a couple of the more recent, decent paintings for your amusement in a day or so on "Up Your Street".
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Fr. Eric has a good post on Portraying Our Lord in Art.  Not surprisingly, Father dislikes images such as the Godspell Jesus - he hates clowns - and ethnic Jesus - radical black Jesus with dreads and stuff like that.  I'm not fond of such images either - although many primitive indigenous images of devotion can be edifying - take Ethiopian/Coptic images, Southwest Spanish Colonial retablo, and some Asian and African images.  I get that stuff.  Nevertheless these images and those based upon such often remain foreign to ordinary Western taste.
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That said, I believe images of Christ ought to move one to devotion if they are meant to be used liturgically or for private devotion.  While religious art is also instructive, politicized images of Christ have no place in religious cult or devotional practice.  I think some of the examples Fr. Eric refers to are politicized and/or sentimentalized and may be better defined as kitsch.
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Personally I prefer images of Christ based upon the Shroud image.  It seems likely most Christian painters have historically based their representations of Christ on that prototype.  Since the earliest times pretty much all the icons in both the East and the West can be traced back to the image of the Holy Face on the Shroud or the Veil of Veronica.  Hair color and eye color may vary - but that is of little significance, although it can convey a supernatural meaning - light skinned, light hair, blue eyes have often been esteemed by all cultures and sometimes serve to communicate a mystical quality.  This does not discount the fact there are red haired Jews, sun-bleached haired Jews, Jews with blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, and so on.  Jesus was a Jew, but all Jews do not look alike.  Naturally, there must have been an attractiveness about Our Lord, despite the fact Isaiah says "he had nothing to attract us to him" - of course the prophet is speaking of the Suffering Servant, disfigured by torture.  Jesus could have looked like Osama Bin Laden for all we know.
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However, as the Easter narratives reveal, the Lord's look seems to have changed after the Resurrection - the Gospels tell us the disciples didn't recognize him at first.  It seems he may have looked differently each time he appeared to them.  Aside from the supernatural significance, what does that mean on the natural level?  Does it perhaps allow for some freedom in depicting Our Lord in the arts?  I think it may - within reason of course.  Yet as I said, sacred images should lead one to devotion.  In almost every appearance by the risen Christ to his disciples, Jesus somehow revealed himself sacramentally - in the breaking of the bread - the Eucharist, the episode on the shore with the fish, the upper room breathing the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and so on.  The images of Christ, the saints and episodes from the Gospel ought to inspire and instruct and draw the viewer into deeper communion with the divine reality they represent.  Sometimes that is done in the vernacular of the artist and his particular culture.
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Art:  St Peter of Alcantara, source unknown.

Blessed Giles of Assisi


Humility and simplicity.
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Blessed Giles, one of the first companions of St. Francis, was received into the order on the feast of St. George, April 23, 1208.  Francis called him his Knight of the Round Table.  The spiritual teachings of Blessed Giles are similar to those of the early Desert Fathers and can be found in the book "The Golden Sayings".  Giles made many notable pilgrimages which are recorded in the Little Flowers of St. Francis.  Wherever he stayed, Giles insisted upon earning his keep by manual labor.   Brother Giles was eventually assigned by St. Francis to the hermitage of Fabriano, where he died in 1262.
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"Once when St. Bonaventure came to Perugia, Giles asked him if an ignorant person could love God as much as a scholar. Bonaventure, one of the leading theologians from the University of Paris and at the time minister general of the friars, responded, 'A little old woman can love God even more than a master of theology.' Giles immediately ran out, met an old woman and told her, 'O poor little old woman, though you are simple and uneducated, just love the Lord God and you can be greater than Brother Bonaventure.'" - Source
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Giles before the Pope.
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"Pope Gregory IX, the former Cardinal Hugolino and a great admirer of St. Francis, once brought Giles to Viterbo in order to experience his holiness firsthand. They began speaking of heaven, and Giles twice went into ecstasy for long periods of time. The pope was convinced. Another time the pope asked Giles for some advice about fulfilling his duties as pope. Giles told him that he should have two eyes in his soul: one to contemplate heavenly things and the other to direct earthly things. As the pope and Bonaventure agreed, Giles was a master of the spiritual life." - Source
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Art: Murillo, Blessed Giles of Assisi levitating in ecstasy before Pope Gregory IX.  Source

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Blognic


I almost forgot!

"Makes me completely environmental!  Give me a break." - Ed Grimley
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It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. - Psalm 119: 71


"Beloved brothers, let us avoid vainglory and love of notoriety as denial of the cross of Christ.  Denial of the cross of Christ is at the same time denial of Christ: 'No one who does not carry his cross and follow me can be a disciple of Mine,' said the Lord.  Fallen men!  We cannot know and confess Christ sincerely and practically except from our cross, having first learned and confessed our fall and the necessity of the way of the cross for the attainment of heaven and eternal beatitude.  Let us avoid all occasions of vainglory and human glory, as the holy Fathers avoided them, so as not to lose interest in the teaching of Christ and become white-washed sepulchres, Christians in appearance, but in reality apostates." - The Arena, Chapter 39: Concerning Human Glory.  Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
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It is a wonderful grace to be found-out and rejected - far better than any recognition or reward.  At first it wounds and depresses - according to how strong self-love, self-opinion and pride happens to be - eventually through prayer and the confession of one's faults, one comes to understand more deeply that it is better for the soul to be afflicted than honored.

No one can take the last place from Jesus.

Pia fraus - pious frauds

Keep watch, lest you enter into temptation.
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Pious frauds:  I picked the term up from a blog post I stumbled across searching for another topic.  The author was posting (way back in 2002) about a couple of notable characters in the Church accused of sexual crimes - and as it later turned out, fraud.  The first guy, Fr. Gino Burresi, sent into exile by Pope Benedict the first month of his pontificate is still alive residing in Tuscany; the second fellow, Fr. Maciel died while in Papal mandated exile.  Today the members of Maciel's congregation continue to suffer because of the sins of their founder:
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The 1997 allegations of Father Maciel’s sexual abuse came as a complete shock to the Legionaries of Christ. We couldn’t believe that the allegations against our founder were true, because they were so incompatible with our experience of him. We tended to interpret them as one more attack — something normal in the life of many founders.  All of these revelations have been extraordinarily difficult for me to comprehend, let alone assimilate. - Father Owen Kearns, LC , Publisher, National Catholic Register

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Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.
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I mentioned in a former post that I was going to write more extensively about these guys - especially Gino, but I don't want to waste my time just to make a couple of points.
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Curiously, Fr. Gino, while he was Br. Gino captured the heart and pious imagination of a very good priest now deceased as well, Fr. Robert Fox.  Fr. Fox was a wonderful apostle of the apparitions and messages of Fatima, and I believe that is how he became acquainted with Burresi.  If I'm not mistaken, the well intentioned if not naive Fr. Fox steered more than one vocation to the Oblates of the Blessed Virgin Mary in San Vittorino, Italy.  There is nothing wrong with that congregation by the way - just Burresi. 
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For what it is worth, I learned Fr. Gruner, another priest on the outs with the Vatican, was also a friend of Burresi.  I know of no scandals associated with Gruner except that he doesn't believe the Consecration of Russia has been accomplished, among other things.  A small segment of people associated with Fatima have always been somewhat 'far-out', occasionally even a priest or two.  I've been devoted to Fatima since I was a little kid, but I have always managed to avoid getting involved with the crazier element - pretty much.  I did some work for Soul magazine and the shrine in New Jersey - art work - but that is the closest I got to being involved with any organization.  (There was also a community of women religious at the Shrine which was disbanded/suppressed a few years ago.) 
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Lest I forget, Fr. Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests was also a friend of Fr. Gino's.  Apparently holy guys, all of them.  Gobbi once endorsed Medjugorje, Our Lady told him she was still appearing there.  His locutions are documented by his group and published under the title, "Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests".   I'm told the Medjugorje references have been deleted.
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All I can say is that I honestly feel sorry for people who base their spiritual lives upon spurious revelations and locutions - especially if they have not received approval by the Church.  It is frightening how easily one can be deceived simply because someone embraces all the trappings of tradition, or whose credentials appear to check out, or worse - claim revelations from God.  Even cardinals and bishops can be misled.  It seems to me cases like Gino Burresi demonstrates the lacy conservative side of the gay scandals - which has always been there BTW.  Arrogance sometimes masquerades as piety.
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Do not be misled.
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Links:
Fr. Gino Burresi
Fr. Maciel
Fr. Gobbi and the MMP
Fr. Gruner

Art:  Fall of Simon Magus, Benozzo Gozzoli

SNAP out of it!



At first I thought Larry of Acts of the Apostacy was writing about the educational bend and snap scene from Legally Blonde and I was pretty sure he had snapped - until I read his post...
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There's a website called "Put The Pope In Jail" that hawks merchandise with a jailed pope theme. According to the site, all proceeds from the sale of merchandise go directly to SNAP.  Despicable.  I've emailed the directors of SNAP.  Read more SNAPped  (Larry also has photos of the merchandise - too distasteful to show on this blog.)
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Update 4/22:  Evidently the organization SNAP had nothing to do with this enterprize.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Various texts against Vainglory.

St. Paul warns us, "Do not be eager for praise" [Gal. 5:26] and the Lord in rebuking the Pharisees says, "How could you believe, you who accept praise from each other, and do not seek the glory which comes from God alone?" [Jn. 5:44]  The holy David also says threateningly, "God has scattered the bones of those who set out to please men".  [Ps. 52/ 3:6] - Monastic Institutes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bruder Konrad von Parzham

Capuchin lay brother.
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I have always celebrated his feast day on April 20, but it appears I may have been mistaken as I noted online it is celebrated on the 21st.  I guess I will celebrate for two days then.
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St. Conrad was a very humble lay-brother/porter at the Capuchin convent of St. Ann in Altötting, home to the shrine of Our Mother of Mercy.  Heaven must be populated with many lay-brothers, New melleray had a holy Brother Conrad too - he died while I was there.  Very holy man.  Sadly, the humble vocation is pretty much lost these days.  In fact humility has pretty much vanished these days as well. 
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"This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word." - Isaiah 66:2
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Conrad was known to be diligent at his work, sparing in words, bountiful to the poor, eager and ready to receive and help strangers. Brother Conrad fulfilled the task of porter for more than 40 years, assisting the inhabitants of the in their needs of body and soul.
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Conrad loved silence in a special way. His spare moments during the day were spent in a nook near the door where it was possible for him to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. During the night he would deprive himself of several hours of sleep, to devote the time to prayer either in the oratory of the brothers or in the church. It was generally believed that he never took any rest, but continually occupied himself in work and exercises of devotion. On April 21, 1894, Conrad died in the Shrine where he had worked for over 40 years. - Source

Missing you.

Michael Dubruiel.
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I never knew the man, former priest and husband of Amy Welborn, but I have come to esteem him since his death in 2009.  I can't say I really knew much about him, nor did I read his blog while he lived.  In fact I only recently began reading his rather simple, yet insightful posts.  They are good.  This past week I stumbled across his blog Annunciations while searching for information on Father Gino - the Italian priest Pope Benedict XVI disciplined in his work of cleaning out the filth in the Church.  I'll write about Gino another time (I actually visited him while I was in Italy in the '70's).  Fr. Gino has since been exposed as a fraud not unlike Maciel Marcial, founder of the Legion.  I was surprised to discover an interesting defense of Marciel by the now deceased Fr. Neuhaus, on Dubruliel's blog.  It may serve as a cautionary tale of sorts:
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Fr. Richard Neuhaus, in First Things provides a defense of Fr. Marcial the founder of the Legionaires of Christ (see below), in the March 2002 issue of First Things: The Public Square:
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So what is a person who does not share their prejudices and purposes to believe? I can only say why, after a scrupulous examination of the claims and counterclaims, I have arrived at moral certainty that the charges are false and malicious. I cannot know with cognitive certainty what did or did not happen forty, fifty, or sixty years ago. No means are available to reach legal certainty (beyond a reasonable doubt). Moral certainty, on the other hand, is achieved by considering the evidence in light of the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” On that basis, I believe the charges against Fr. Maciel and the Legion are false and malicious and should be given no credence whatsoever. - Fr. Neuhaus

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That being said, I would disagree with some of Fr. Neuhaus' reasoning.

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I met Fr. Bruce Ritter once some years ago and I was very impressed with him. I spent a weekend with him, he never made any moves toward me that were inappropriate and we shared some moments watching news coverage of the Pope's visit to Nicaragua. Ritter's work was praised by President Ronald Reagan at the time and his Covenant House ministry spread throughout the country. But, sadly when tales started coming out about Fr. Ritter's inappropriate sexual activity, very few came to his defense. Human beings fail and they fall, whether they are conservative or liberal. - Michael Dubruiel, Annunciations, March 29, 2002
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So much has happened, I almost forgot about Fr. Ritter.
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Michael Dubruiel strikes me as having been a rather wise man.  What a loss.  May he rest in peace.
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My prayers for Michael, Amy and his children.
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Photo:  Michael with one of his sons in Rome.  Source

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Need some prayers?

One of my friends sent me this email:
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Hi Terry,
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I am making a list of intentions to pray for during the upcoming birth of my son.  I invite and encourage you and your sweet readers to add any intentions they might have to my list. No need to be shy - like my friend said, there are plenty of contractions to go around and I firmly believe that we should ask God for what we need, no matter how insignificant it seems.
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Anyone who wants can email me at wardniner@gmail.com or note it in your combox and I'll add their special intentions.
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(Of course, they can also just say 'private' or 'personal' intention.)
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Cathy (of Chicago)
 
How cool is that?  Thanks Cathy.
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Let's pray for Cathy too!
 

Unedited and controversial.


So Cardinal Bertone was right.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do believe Bertone was correct in his assessment that the sexual abuse crises was/is largely a homosexual problem.  But I also made a point to explain that not all men with homosexual attraction are attracted to underage boys.  Fear mongers and journalists such as Ann Coulter seem to suggest that all homosexuals (sodomites as Coulter refers to them*) are natural born pedophiles, ephebophiles, and predators.  Such generalizations are not only absurd, they overlook the fact there are some men who, although they experience sexual temptation toward men (ie - understand themselves to be same-sex attracted), may never have acted out sexually with another male, therefore they cannot be described as predators, much less gay.  Likewise, I seriously doubt the majority of men with homosexual attraction ever felt themselves to be attracted to children, young boys, or even teenagers.  Nevertheless, principals on both sides of the argument seem to be painting same-sex attracted (or tempted) men with a very broad brush.  That is not to deny gay culture (GLBT) embraces a wide range of behaviors, but that is a separate issue.
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There are actually men out there who are virgins and wouldn't think about committing a homosexual act, and then there are those who have been made virgins by the blood of Christ, who would never again act out.
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Can men with SSA be admitted to monasteries, religious orders, or seminaries?
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I went through a period when I thought absolutely not, but as a priest friend cautioned me that attitude discounts the grace of God which can cause a man to renounce such behaviors for the sake of the Gospel, as well as the grace to effect not only forgiveness of sins, but healing and wholeness for the man seeking to conform his life to Christ.  Of course my opinion is just that, a personal opinion - neither is it my call to make.  As I always say, these matters need to be discerned by the appropriate superiors, rectors, and in some cases, the local ordinary.  Imagine if Fr. Corapi's past had been homosexual?  Would his conversion have been accepted by the Church?  If not, where would the Church in this country be without such a powerful witness?  Just so, I'm convinced there are good priests in the Church who have renounced homosexuality and follow the teachings of the Church.
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A sub-culture. 
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Several years ago, in this archdiocese at least, there existed what one might call a rather permissive attitude regarding homosexuality, even in the seminary.  That has all changed today of course.  I mention it because in that atmosphere, a type of unacknowledged 'gay culture' developed - being gay wasn't a problem as long as the person was willing to live celibately - hence the perception you could still be gay and celibate...  the observance of chastity seemed to be a matter open to interpretation.
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For me, and I believe for those charged with discernment in the matter of vocations (The call to orders is the personal responsibility of the bishop or the major superior.), this attitude poses a problem chiefly due to the fact one clings to his identity as a gay man, even though he has chosen to live celibately.  This may sound confusing and seem to make little difference in the long term so long as the man remains chaste.  However, as most people know, gay is a political term and denotes a sort of third way, implying the person accepts the active gay lifestyle - wherein chastity is not a priority.  Whereas same-sex attraction or homosexual inclination/tendency speaks more to the condition or sexual orientation of the person and not behavior.  Thus affirming that "One's fundamental identity is as a creature of God, and through grace, His child and heir to eternal life."  - Fr. Harvey, The Homosexual Person, New Thinking in Patoral Care.
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The call to chastity.
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Catholics must remember that the Church does not require a person with same-sex attraction to change his/her orientation, but the Church does require the person to live a chaste and celibate life.  The Church asks the same of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation.  What is required for a person with same-sex attraction to enter the priesthood or religious life is another matter however.

Fr. John Harvey notes, "among American bishops and provincials of religious congregations of men there are divergent views...  The existence of the orientation itself is regarded as sufficient reason for excluding such people from the seminary or religious order." - Harvey, Truth About Homosexuality.

Here it would seem most Catholics would agree.  Although Fr. Harvey goes on to say, "So far as I know, there is no document from the Roman congregations that explicitly forbids a man who has led a chaste life despite a homosexual orientation from entering a seminary or religious congregation; nevertheless, ordinaries of dioceses and provincials of religious orders have the authority to set up such a policy, and some do.

However, some bishops of dioceses and religious provincials are willing to accept such candidates after careful screening by professional therapists and vocation directors." - Ibid
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What the Church teaches.
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Perhaps the latter rule has always been followed, except with this twist:  Some of the therapists and vocation directors were gay and certain requirements were compromised, if not tossed out entirely.  And of course we now know that some of the bishops and religious provincials were gay as well.  See the problem?  To guard against this danger I suspect it would be necessary to conduct reappraisals during formation and before ordination on a case by case basis - assuming everything is in order with the hierarchy.  Fr. Harvey appears to allow for the possibility that a person with same-sex attraction could be ordained - so long as the person thinks in union with the Church on the issue and has led a chaste life, in accord with the criteria set forth by the Congregation for Catholic Education and signed off on by Pope Benedict XVI:
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"Deep-seated homosexual tendencies, which are found in a number of men and women, are also objectively disordered and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter.7
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In the light of such teaching, this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question,9 cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or who support the so-called ‘gay culture’.
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Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.
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Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem - for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate." - Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders
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This is probably as good a place as any to insert a statement from a psychiatrist who recently defended Cardinal Bertone's assertion that the sex abuse crises was a homosexual problem:  "Cardinal Bertone's comments are supported completely by the John Jay study report and by clinical experience," Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told CNA. "In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.  [  ]  Because of the link between homosexuality and clerical sexual abuse mentioned by Cardinal Bertone, men with same sex attraction have a solemn responsibility to seek help and to protect the Church from further shame and sorrow, said Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons." - Source 
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Answering the other question:  What is wrong with Fr. Regis Scanlon?
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I don't know if anything is wrong with him, but his criteria for discernment with regard to persons with homosexual tendencies seems a little strict.  What am I talking about?  An article by Fr. Scanlon that first appeared in Oxford Revue and is now hosted at Pertinacious Papist regarding this whole question of admitting men with homosexual inclination to ordination and religious life, although Fr. Scanlon takes it a step further, asking:
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"... what about a celibate man with homosexual tendencies: Should the Church dismiss him from religious life? A religious community accepted him and perhaps even knew of his same-sex attraction. It would therefore seem to be uncharitable to dismiss an elderly religious homosexual who has no problem living chastely. More to the point, then, the Church should ask whether men with homosexual tendencies ought to be permitted to enter male religious life now and in the future."The Validity of Homosexual Vows of Chastity in Religious Life.     
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After a lengthy article which takes Church teaching beyond what I have ever been taught, Fr. Scanlon concludes:  "A celibate man with homosexual tendencies should not be permitted to enter religious life because (1) he will be entering a near occasion of sin; (2) his vow of chastity will be meaningless; and (3) his vow of chastity will be scripturally and canonically invalid. The Catechism states, "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection" (#2359). One should not, however, confuse this vocation with the call to community religious life." - Ibid
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If Fr. Scanlon's view was official Church teaching I know of at least a couple of monasteries of men which would lose many of its members over night, as well as at least ten ordained priests in this geographic region who would be dismissed from the priesthood tomorrow - and that is just off the top of my head.
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Living in obedience... "He learned obedience from what he suffered." - Hebrews 5:8
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Very often those who have reformed their lives and live according to Church teaching continue to experience rejection by fellow Catholics and Church authorities...  In fact it doesn't always matter if the accusers be progressive or traditional,  it is the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" syndrome at work here.  Hence I've concluded long ago that part of one's penance may be to suffer the rejection and discrimination in union with that experienced by sexually active gay people, sometimes even sharing the shame, the stigma and condemnation that accompanies the lifestyle.  Instead of protesting and rebelling as many gay activists and their sympathizers are inclined to do, one could offer it up as one's penance (in the sense of Hebrews 13: 12-15) - offering a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his Name, even rejoicing to be found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name.
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(My apologies for such a long post - but I raised these questions earlier last week and I wanted to conclude.  It's a big subject that I feel inadequate to address on my own.)
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*Context for Ann Coulter reference:  "Despite the growing media consensus that Catholicism causes sodomy, an alternative view -- adopted by the Boy Scouts -- is that sodomites cause sodomy. (Assume all the usual disclaimers here about most gay men not molesting boys, most Muslims being peaceful, and so on.) " - Source
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Human Life International defends Cardinal Betrone

Mass Chat: Saturday night, Sunday morning.

"We have come to listen to the 'music of the universe'" - Prayer of the Faithful
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Yep.  So we kinda sorta celebrated Earth Day at Mass last night.  We had some made-up blessing for the Prayer of the Faithful... 
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It was announced that after Mass this morning they will have the blessing of bicycles and feet in the parking lot - feet for walking instead of driving, you know.  Earth Day is actually April 22, so I'm sure more solemnities are probably on the schedule.
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That's all.
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Photo:  Source