See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Suicide averted.


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The lady is back up and running - but keep the prayers going, I think there must be a great deal to sort out.

Saints who were nuts...

Or, God must have a sense of humor.
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I'm convinced some saints were actually nuts, while many of the others were anything but normal.  I posted the photo of Mary of Jesus Crucified the other day precisely because the photo looks nuts - the habit causes her to resemble a hot air balloon.  Blessed Mary was at times photographed in ecstasy, which makes for a peculiar photo in and of itself.  Although after reading her life, you realize just how extraordinary things were.  That said - she wasn't at all crazy, but the world would surely think so.
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Other saints often did very crazy things - St. Francis of Assisi went through some very funny stages in his spiritual life - Teresa of Avila remarks about this in her Autobiography.  He wasn't crazy however. 
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One saint who always cracked up a friend of mine was the former prostitute, St. Thais, who made a public bonfire of her wardrobe and jewels.  St. Paphnutius is credited with inspiring her to commit such a crazy act, after which she was admitted into a house of nuns.  She did penance there for three years, after which she was finally readmitted to the communion of the Church.  She died two weeks later.  (And some people want to go to communion without confession.)
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I'll be posting about crazy saints every once in awhile as we go forward on this blog.  I think it was John of the Cross in rebuking a deluded nun who once wrote something to the effect; "It would go better for her if she wasn't so spiritual."  So anyway - just pray your rosary and don't get too involved with religious people and you should be fine.
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Art:  St. Jerome Penitent, El Greco.  Some saints had problems keeping their clothes on, some had problems with anger and insulting their friends too.  Let's all lighten up now.

Stylite Saints


Suddenly I see...
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Ever since I watched - and re-watch over and over - Bunel's Simon of the Desert, my interest in stylites and the wisdom of the desert fathers has been revived.  Yesterday I painted a small canvas in the icon style of Simeon the Stylite.  I completed it in 2 1/2 hours - I only mention it because real icons take so much longer.  It's fun to paint without following any rules.  I'll post it on the art blog after I photo it.  I think I may do a serious icon one of these days.  First I want to do The Ladder Of Monks (John Climacus) but with modern devils.
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St. Simeon:
He says that everyone who is isolated
From their neighbor sits on a high pillar,
And all who are angry with their brother
Stand solitary and alone on a high column.
- Soliloquy of Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger 

Urgent request: Please pray for a dear friend.

Some of you may know about this already, but a blogger friend of mine is contemplating suicide, having been rejected by her church, she is despondent.  She has made a statement that she will kill herself today.  Please pray very much for her in this time crisis.  Thank you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is it just me?

Or what? 
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In light of yesterday's melt down I've decided to jot down some random thoughts about a few things that bug me about Catholic blogs, blogging and Catholic social media in general.  If the Holy Father was ever wrong about anything he was most definitely wrong about encouraging any Tom, Fr. Dick, or Debbie Harry to blog.
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First off - let me remind you I have a small gathering of regular readers - statistically not even a blip on the radar screen of population.  My personal opinion doesn't matter or make a difference in the big scheme of things - except for that creepy reality which keeps haunting me - every word we utter will be judged.  I hope someone has a sense of humor in the end, otherwise...  But anyway - as I always say - it's just a blog and I shoot my mouth off at my own peril.
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Secondly - I don't want to offend anyone or demonize anyone on this blog - but I guess that happens sometimes.  I have a way with words - but as I always say, quoting Cary Grant, "The effeminate mistake honesty for cruelty."  (Grant actually said women, I say effeminate - we live in an age of effeminacy you see.)  Anyway - we are just people, people.  We can't go around condemning one another - at least I don't think we can nor should we.  I've come to realize because I like contemporary art and architecture, or decide I like Fr. Martin S.J., and read, greet and meet dissenters and stuff - some people think I'm bad.  As I said yesterday, I am really bad and a disappointment - so it is good everyone knows that.  I'm not a saint - I'm trying to be one - but I fail at every step. 
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Honestly - I don't like the mean-spirited culture of the Catholic blogosphere - I used to get into it myself - but I try to avoid doing so as much as possible.  Yesterday people online were doing the draw Mohamed thing - mocking and sneering and defying Muslims with their little cartoons.  That's just wrong.  On one blog commenters called Allah the devil - did they know they called the God of Abraham a devil?  They did.  That is narrow and bigoted and not even Christian.
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The hatred of gay people is really getting to me as well.  The Pope is not condemning persons when he says the political movements espousing gay marriage while condoning homosexual behavior, as well as contraception, abortion, - and it goes without saying, war and economic disparity - are insidious evils.  The Holy Father is condemning the political movement, the ideology, the undermining of civilization and ultimately the ruin of humanity.  Everyone on all sides of these issues act as if he or she is being condemned personally - although on some level they condemn themselves by their own sins.  I have come to the conclusion that no one is good - as Scripture says, there is not a good man left, all have gone astray - we are all sinners - we all need repentance and penance to overcome the insidious evils that threaten our salvation.  We are all part of this sinful generation.  If you think you are some righteous saint today, watch out, because tomorrow you could become a devil.
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So yeah.  I'm tired of self righteous flag waving holier-than-thou religious people on both sides of the fence.  I'm tired of people saying you are bad if you like a liberal and sometimes criticize a conservative.  You can call liberal Fr. So-and-so a jerk, but if you say some uber-Catholic traditionalist priest playing dress-up can be a pompous ass on some days, you are condemned - you are a bad man.  Catholic bloggers get offended if someone looks at them wrong or dares to disagree - and don't even mention it if a 'troll' comments - whew! - the daggers come out and the attacker is mercilessly flamed. 
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Many of our so-called normal bloggers make for great studies of various personality disorders.  Take for instance the professional students who can never settle on a career path; the unstable nun wannabes dreaming of a way out of personal responsibility; the out of work and out of the loop clergy peddling online; the undercover agents alerting the blogosphere whenever they detect a tendency in someone else to think for themselves; the brilliant trad theologians whose only employment is stocking grocery shelves for a living while condemning the liberal state of the post-Vatican II Church and the hierarchy, while claiming to be descendants of European nobility.  Constantly spewing venom and asserting their religious superiority over others - themselves exempt from all criticism.  Protestant fundamentalists ask others if they have been saved - Catholic fundamentalists take a poll to see if you prefer the Extraordinary Form of Mass and fancy vestments.  
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After reading our crap, no wonder so many people hate the Church and misunderstanding what the Pope really says.   
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Yeah, so that is what happened yesterday.  And I'm no better than anybody - that is what I was trying to get across yesterday.
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Art:  St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre  Christians never learn, do we.

Asking the Holy Spirit's guidance.

Over and over again.
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Holy Spirit inspire me.
Love of God consume me.
Along the true road lead me.
Mary my Mother look upon me,
With Jesus bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
From all danger, preserve me.

-Prayer of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD. (Image above.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Contraception - the original sin of modern sexuality.


The logical link between abortion and homosexuality.
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From Ignatius Insight Scoop:
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He who “devalues” the family by promot­ing promiscuity and perversion devalues the very fabric of society. He who denies the biological differences of men and women, and the unique roles each must fill, rebels against nature. The Soviets boasted that the equality of the genders in their realm was perfect since women were permitted to work in coal mines. In the United States, too, women are now accepted as combat­ants in the armed forces as equally as men are.
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Another danger lurks in the emancipa­tion of sexual deviations. Our sexuality is of a rather “plastic” nature—even in its nor­mal course. For instance, a male will more easily fall in love with an extremely slender girl, if thinness is the fashion, or with one of opposite bodily qualities, as in the fashion of Rubens’s age, if that is the day’s trend. Perversions or other forms of immorality often become fashions and can destroy na­tions. For instance, generations of father­less children from single mothers will likely lead to social perdition.
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Contemporary liberalism reveals its he­donistic character with the mass murder of the unborn. What we have in the West is Childermass of “unwanted life,” similar to the practices of National and International Socialism in Europe and East Asia. What did Nicolas Gomez Davila, brightest thinker on the Right, tell us? “The cult of man must be celebrated with human sacri­fices.” As a result, pregnant women no longer walk as cradles but as swinging cof­fins. - Liberalism in America


The logical link between abortion and homosexuality is there, if only we are willing to look. Likewise, as Dr. Raymond Dennehy argues,
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The widespread practice of contraception is a major force behind the rapidly growing acceptance of homosexuality in western societies as a natural, sexual orientation. Bluntly stated, the justification for the one counts as the justification for the other. Contraception formally separates the sex act from procreation, insofar as it allows a couple to have sex at any time without the possibility of conception. Therein lies its link with homosexuality. Sexual intercourse between homosexuals and between heterosexuals using contraceptives is identical in this, they are both by their very nature sterile. The increasing legislative and judicial pressure for the right of same-sex couples to marry is simply the actualization of the contraceptive mentality. - Ignatius
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Thanks to Fr. Martin S.J. for the heads-up on Carl Olson's Ignatius post.

Another letter.

Fr. James Martin S.J. asked me if I would post the following letter he wrote:
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Dear Mr. Nelson,
In response to your blogpost here is an email I sent to
Carl Olson, over at Ignatius Press, who had expressed some of the same
concerns that you had. I hope you will be able to post it in some way,
or link to his site. Please accept my prayers for all the good you do
for the church.

Peace,

Jim

Text of the letter to Carl Olson:
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Thanks for your gracious and thorough response to my initial post about the situation in Hingham. I'm always happy to respond to you, and hope that your readers--even those who think, falsely, that I'm in "open warfare" with the pope--will profit from our conversation. Believe it or not (and there will be those who don't believe it, but so be it) I was just in the middle of rereading Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth," on a train en route to a parish talk when I got your note alerting me to your response. I'm surely not in "open warfare" with the Holy Father, as anyone who has read any of my other writings (or blogposts) will know.
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In any event, I'm happy you provided the full text of the pope's comments, which are indeed more nuanced than I had described. (I had read them of course but didn't quote from them and probably should have in my initial post on "In All Things.) That was a helpful addition to the conversation. And I also agree that one can reasonably make a connection between abortion and other "contraceptive mentalities," as you point out, which lead to the degradation of life or even death.But I still, even after reading your thoughtful post, believe that to link (as some of our bishops have begun to do) abortion and same-sex marriage as two equivalent dangers, even two of the most "insidious" dangers facing the common good, simply flies in the face of what we're talking about.
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Abortion involves the taking of life. So does, say, war or the death penalty or even some of the deeper forms of poverty (where poverty leads to starvation and death). But same-sex marriage simply does not. Yes, it is an important issue that the church should be addressing, but my larger point is that linking those two up is not helpful for a discussion of "life issues." If you are looking for something with the same moral urgency as abortion, then it should be something that actually leads to physical death. Which same-sex marriage assuredly does not. When we raise the issue of same-sex marriage to the same level as abortion then we will, I believe, undercut the credibility that we have on life issues. For people see that the one topic is simply not as grave, and, once again, if we are concerned about an actual threat to physical life, then we should be vociferously opposing war or the death penalty.
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In short, abortion leads to physical death; same-sex marriage does not. Linking the two, or raising them to the same level of moral urgency, simply muddies the waters, and, in point of fact, weakens our opposition to abortion.
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And I've not even begun to speak of the importance of treating both the same-sex couple in Hingham, Mass., with, as the Catechism states, "respect, sensitivity and compassion," and the child with care. I've done that in my blogpost, which readers can read. Instead, I'm focusing here on the topic of your blog: that linking.
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I hope this helps to explain a bit my objections about what I feel is a unhelpful strategic decision to link the two.
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(Rev.) James Martin, SJ

Just when you start to like someone.

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I recently did a post saying I liked this guy -  Fr. James Martin S.J..   Now I come to find out that he criticized our Holy Father for stating same sex marriage and abortion pose 'some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats' against the common good.  He can do that (criticize) and I'm not going to jump out of my seat and scream heretic, nor am I going to say I no longer like him.  But I have to admit I'm very disappointed with the man.  I'm of the opinion Fr. Martin ought to have understood the basis for the Pope's comments.  Yet this is how Fr. Martin responded:
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"Pope Benedict XVI's comments last week in Fatima, Portugal, in which he stated that abortion and same-sex marriage, were 'some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats' to the common good seemed oddly discordant. The equation of abortion, something that clearly is about a threat to life, with same-sex marriage, which no matter how you look at it, does not mean that anyone is going to die, is bizarre," Martin opined.
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"A good friend of mine, who is gay, recently resigned from a position at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he said, with great dismay, that 'abortionsamesexmarriage' had become one polysyllabic word among some of his bosses."
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Questioning the Pope's comment, Fr. Martin asked, "Why aren't 'abortion and war' the most 'insidious and dangerous' threats to the common good?"
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"The great danger is that this increasingly popular equation will seem to many as having less to do with moral equivalency and more to do with a simple dislike, or even a hatred, of gays and lesbians.  "And that goes against not simply Catholic teaching, but against the Gospel,” Martin concluded. - CNA

So yeah, I'm very disappointed in Fr. Martin - maybe I expect too much of people?

Pray for the Holy Father every day.

The Cardinal on the Hingham case.

Cardinal O'Malley has written about the situation involving the refusal by a parish priest and school principal to admit the child of a lesbian couple into Catholic school.  The Cardinal has praise for everyone involved, while determining some sort of official policy must be established within the archdiocesan school system to deal with irregular situations when they arise.  I appreciate how the Cardinal cites his personal experience of accepting a child of an irregular situation into one of his Catholic schools when he was a bishop in the West Indies.
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As a young bishop in the West Indies I once celebrated a memorial Mass for a local “madame” who ran a brothel near my Cathedral. It was said she smuggled women in from other islands in oil barrels for her business. Some women suffocated in the crossing. She herself was murdered by her lover.
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 At the Mass I met the woman’s daughter, a lovely little girl. I asked her what grade she was in. She replied that she didn’t go to school. I sent a stern glance to her grandmother, who said: “Her name is the same as that of the brothel. The other children were so cruel to her, she left the public school.” I told her grandmother, “Take her to the Catholic school tomorrow.”
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Catholic schools exist for the good of the children and our admission standards must reflect that. We have never had categories of people who were excluded. We have often given preference to children from a parish where a school is located, siblings of children already enrolled at the school or Catholic children from nearby parishes. Sometimes we might not be able to accept children, because of behavioral problems or other circumstances that would be disruptive to a school community. While there are legitimate reasons that might lead to a decision not to admit a child, I believe all would agree that the good of the child must always be our primary concern. - Finish reading the Cardinal's post here.
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I believe I raised a similar point on a post dealing with Archbishop Chaput's handling of a similar incident in the Archdiocese of Denver.  Whatever my personal opinion or the outcome of these situation, I accept the decision of the Archbishop on these matters.
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As I pointed out, the Cardinal roundly praised everyone involved in the Hingham incident while pointing to the need for the Archdiocese to work "to develop policies and procedures to guide our faithfully carrying on the mission of our Catholic Schools to serve children and to do so with the heart of Christ."  The Cardinal also gave a nod to Archbishop Chaput, writing:  "The Archdiocese of Denver has formulated a policy that calls into question the appropriateness of admitting the children of same-sex couples. It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the Church. Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered."
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Every diocese in the country should be working on some sort of policy - unless of course the USCCB establishes guidelines.  There seem to be a lot of lesbians and single women with kids these days when one no longer needs a man to procreate.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Most Depressing Commencement Address Ever.


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Al Gore.  See, I think he's funny.  ROFLOL funny.  Like Biden.

What does the Catechism really say?


Confession and Communion
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A priest on another blog wrote his views regarding mortal sin, contrition and the reception of Holy Communion in cases where the penitent has not gone to confession.  His comment went something like this:
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A person can can never be sure if he is in the state of mortal sin. A person might understand he committed a grave or serious sin but the sin can only be mortal when combined with full knowledge and consent of the will, - and often, these dispositions can be mitigated.
Now if the person is conscious of grave sin, ordinarily he should not receive Holy Communion until he has confessed and received sacramental absolution. However, in certain circumstances some people may not be able to get to confession, and or, refraining from reception of Communion can sometimes be a cause for speculation and or embarrassment for the person not to receive.
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This is my personal opinion, but I say that if a person is guilty of serious sin, despite the fact through no fault of his own is unable to confess, and if he is sincerely sorry for his sin and he desires to receive Holy Communion, a good Act of Contrition accompanied by a firm and practical plan to make his confession at the next available opportunity, the person can receive Holy Communion worthily. - Priest**
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Now I think I understand what the priest is saying, although I believe his advice may better be left in the confessional, under the heading of 'pastoral care for a particular individual in extraordinary circumstances'. Consider especially that sometimes people just want to avoid confession and look for good excuses to do so - and we can often convince and excuse ourselves of anything.
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That said, I have to disagree with the proposal we can never be sure we are in a state of mortal sin - I think we can be fairly certain at least.  What we can never be sure of is whether or not we are in the state of grace - unless we have the assurance of sacramental absolution.  If a person is aware of grave sin - I think I'd rather err on the side of caution and confess my sin, rather than risk making a sacrilegious Communion.
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Better safe than sorry.
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Fear of embarrassment never should be a reason to receive Communion while aware of unconfessed mortal sin.  The Catechism clearly lays out the conditions for receiving Communion in the ordinary circumstances:
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1457 According to the Church's command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year."56 Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.57  -
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To be fair, Father may well be considering that the person, though aware of having committed a mortal sin, albeit not totally certain, yet nevertheless possessing and expressing perfect contrition for the sin, accompanied by a firm purpose of amendment and resolute determination to avoid that sin in the future, may indeed approach Holy Communion with the intention of confessing at the next possible opportunity.  That may have been Father's point which accords with the Catechism:
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1452 When it [contrition for sin] arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51 - CCC 
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However - if one cannot be certain of one's state of soul, how can one be certain one is perfectly contrite?
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You do not have to receive Holy Communion at every Mass.
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Anyway - I think in our age of drama and crisis, some people mistake 'grave reason' for otherwise trivial and vain circumstances.  Catholics are not required to receive Holy Communion at every Mass they attend.  We do not have to communicate daily or at funerals and weddings.  A Catholic shouldn't worry about what other people think if one doesn't receive Communion.  Catholics are obliged to assist at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation - they are not obliged to communicate.  In fact, the only requirement for Catholics to receive Holy Communion is once a year - commonly referred to as the Easter Duty. 
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Of course I may be wrong, but I believe the rules pertaining to the reception of Holy Communion are so lax as it is, I'm not sure taking such a liberal approach to sacramental confession in cases of mortal sin beforehand is the best idea - danger of death and other special situations being separate issues of course.
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Addendum:
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1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.
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1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year. - CCC  
 
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**Please note:  I changed the wording somewhat because I do not want to identify the priest - I am simply using the thoughts he expressed to paint the background for my post - what does the catechism really say - this isn't an 'attack'.  Thanks. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Misplaced words."

Jeopardy answer:  "What is lying?"
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"On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that - I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said. "But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country." - Story
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I'm ashamed to say I know exactly how he feels.

Lying about Vietnam...


And other goofy news.  (A change of pace don't you know!)
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This is big - really big!  Lying about serving in Vietnam while all the other evidence points to having done all you could to avoid doing so?  Doesn't Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut know that people are vetted these days?  Oh sure, sometimes after the nomination process, as in the case of Sarah Palin - but we find these things out eventually.  (Although we still don't know for sure if Obama is an American citizen, do we?)  Didn't Senator Kerry do some kind of male enhancement war record thing too?
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Anyway - if you don't know the story, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut lied and said he served in Vietnam.  The NYT has the story - it's an old one (2008) but it's a telling one.  Read it here.
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The sky is falling.
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When I was in grade school the big rage sweeping the country was to build fallout shelters.  I had to get used to the idea we'd never have one since my family was poor and we were renters - no yard to build one, and no money either.  So I grew up with the idea that I would just go to church if the sirens went off - to be close to the Blessed Sacrament.
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Anyway, a guy in San Diego  plans on building and selling bunker space for families at $50,000 a pop out in the desert.  Nothing or no one will get to the contented family inside - even stragglers and survivors in the aftermath of Armageddon will be barred from entry by razor wire and fences and stuff.  "There will be double layers and razor wire. This will be an impenetrable compound when we're done," Vicino said while giving me a tour of the site at an undisclosed location in the middle of the desert, halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. - Source   Nice.
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The Wood-man.
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I used to like Woody Allen - I loved Annie Hall at the time - but ever since he married his daughter I started to think things were a little off with him.  Recently he has come out in support of Roman Polanski - which is understandable for a fellow filmmaker to do, especially if he's completely amoral.  But now Woody is saying he thinks Obama should be given dictatorial powers - just for a little while.  Hitler had dictatorial powers just for a little while too Wood-man.  Story here.
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Photo:  British people really are eccentric - and quite attractive.  It appears Theology of the Body has gained wide acceptance in the UK.  Story here.
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Daily painting stuff.


I have a couple new things up over at Up Your Street.
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The panel shown above is supposed to be a self-portrait in the style of an icon.
Posted by Picasa

Some thoughts from St. John of the Cross.


Let your speech be such that no one may be offended, and let it concern things that would not cause you regret were all to know of them.

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Take neither great nor little notice of who is with you or against you, and try always to please God. Ask him that his will be done in you. Love him intensely, as he deserves to be loved.

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Never take others for your example in the tasks you have to perform, however holy they may be, for the devil will set their imperfections before you. But imitate Christ, who is supremely perfect and supremely holy, and you will never err.
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What does anyone know who doesn't know how to suffer for Christ?
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When evening comes, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.  - Maxims
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I fall at every step.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My apologies...

Dear Readers,
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I ask your forgiveness for the posts I have done which have offended any of you.  Lately the stuff I think is funny has been misunderstood.  Too many sit-coms I'm afraid.  I apologize for any hurt feelings I may have caused.
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My sincere apologies,
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Terry

Things are only going to get worse.

"It's always darkest before the dawn."
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I don't know what is wrong with me lately - I think I care - but it's almost as if I don't.  I wonder if I lost my mind?
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Anyway...
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I care, I really do. 
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Pray the rosary however. 
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I'm not kidding - you can obtain anything by the prayers of the holy rosary.  If you don't know how to pray - pray the rosary.  If you don't know how to meditate - pray the rosary.  If you can't get to Mass - pray the rosary.  If you want to overcome sin - pray the rosary.  If you want to overcome sexual sin - pray the rosary.  If you want to stop doing drugs and drinking - pray the rosary.  If you are the world's biggest loser - pray the rosary.  If you want to reform your life - pray the rosary.  If you want to love your neighbor - especially if they are your enemies - pray the rosary.  If you want to be a priest or a nun - pray the rosary.  If you want to teach all nations - pray the rosary.  If you want peace - pray the rosary.  And while the world is falling down all around you and if it seems the Church is filled with devils - pray the rosary.  If you want to know God and find favor with God - pray the rosary.  No matter who or what you are, pray the rosary.  By the prayers of the rosary you can obtain everything you ask for.  By the prayers of the rosary you can scale any wall the demons erect against you.  If you seek repentance and conversion - pray the rosary.  If you seek to advance in the spiritual life - pray the rosary.  If you seek perfection and union with God - pray the rosary.
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Don't worry - pray the rosary.
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Every day pray the rosary, and if you can, pray more than one.  Use a tape recording or a rosary CD in your car - just pray it.  Don't distract yourself with how you are praying or give up if you become distracted and all of that kind of stuff - just keep praying - you'll learn.
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Our Lady grants signal graces to those who pray her rosary.
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Pray without ceasing, this is how you will attain eternal life.

Lay Brother Saints


A special patron.
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May 17 is the memorial of St. Paschal Baylon.  A Spanish Franciscan lay-brother devoted to the Blessed Sacrament.  A short biography here.
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The lovely thing about St. Paschal is the grace of infused recollection which often absorbed him as he went about his duties.  Deeply united to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, he was on occasion favored with the grace of seeing the Holy Eucharist when unable to be present in church.
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On infused recollection:
I still want to describe this prayer of quiet to you in the way that I have heard it explained and as the Lord has been pleased to teach it to me. . . . This is a supernatural state and however hard we try, we cannot acquire it by ourselves. . . . The faculties are stilled and have no wish to move, for any movement they make seems to hinder the soul from loving God. They are not completely lost, however, since two of them are free and they can realize in whose presence they are. It is the will that is captive now. . . . The intellect tries to occupy itself with only one thing, and the memory has no desire to busy itself with more. They both see that this is the one thing necessary; anything else will cause them to be disturbed (Teresa of Jesus, chap. 31).
The predominant characteristics of the prayer of quiet are peace and joy, for the will is totally captivated by divine love. The faculties of intellect and memory are still free and may wander, but the soul should pay no attention to the operations of these faculties. To do so would cause distraction and anxiety. Later on, in the prayer of union, it will be impossible for the intellect and memory to operate independently, because all the faculties will be centered on God.  - Jordan Aumann OP
 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Morning

"Poeman also said, 'Teach your heart to follow what your tongue is saying to others.'  He also said, 'Men try to appear excellent in preaching but they are less excellent in practising what they preach.'"
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"He also said, 'A grumbler is not a Christian.  Anyone who gives evil for evil is not a Christian.  An irritable man is not a Christian.'"  (I substituted 'Christian' for 'monk' - since most of us would excuse ourselves saying, "I'm not a monk".)
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"He also said, 'Evil cannot drive out evil.  If anyone hurts you, do good to him and your good will destroy his evil.'" - Sayings of the Desert Fathers
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Art:  Blessed Nicholas of Pskov the Fool-For-Christ

When there are no words...

"Our Blessed Lady is the true terrestrial paradise of the new Adam... This most holy place is composed only of a virgin and immaculate earth...  There are flowerbeds adorned with beautiful and varied blossoms of virtues, diffusing odors which delight the very angels.  There are meadows green with hope...  There is in this place an air of perfect purity." - St. Louis de Montfort
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