Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good advice...

From Fr. Bodnarchuk.
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As an alcoholic, Bodnarchuk too often experienced the feeling, as he describes it, of the "moral culpability of the alcoholic and the moral superiority of the helper. Even though unstated, they are always clearly understood," he said. "Today in my ministry, rather than say, ‘This is what you've got to do,' I instead offer this: ‘Yes, I understand. This is what happened to me, and this is what I did.' I am personally convinced that the basic search of all human beings is to find at least one other person before whom we can stand completely naked, stripped of all pretense or defense, and trust that that person will not hurt us because, in fact, that other person has stripped him/herself naked, too. That lifelong search can begin to conclude with that very first spiritual encounter with another individual who says, 'This is what I did, too.' Judgment, morality, and religious condemnation simply have no place in the discussion of addiction." - Rev. Bradford Bodnarchuk, Roman Catholic priest.
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H/T to Shadowlands
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Art: T. Nelson after Eleanor Rigby

The Faithful Catholic Youth of Lyon, France.



Taking back the Church for France.
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LYONS, June 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Approximately 200 young Catholics came to the defense of the Cathedral of Lyons, France, during a "kiss-in" protest held by homosexuals in front of the building last month.
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The homosexuals reportedly came on the eve of the "World Day Against Homophobia" in May to kiss each other in front of the cathedral, presumably in protest against the Catholic Church's 2,000-year-old condemnation of homosexual sex acts.
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In a video recently released by ACI Prensa, the counter-protesters can be seen forming a line several layers deep in front of the cathedral, holding up crucifixes, the flag of Vatican City, and a large banner stating "No More Catholophobia." They chanted slogans such as "Saint Jean (the Cathedral) is ours!" and "Europe, Youth, Christianity!"
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In video recordings of the event the homosexual demonstrators are seen jeering, blaspheming, and insulting the Catholics, while the Catholic counter-demonstrators are seen kneeling, praying, and singing hymns.
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The homosexualist protesters were eventually dispersed by police as they lacked permission for the demonstration. Some of the Catholics were also arrested by police.
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However, according to ACI Prensa, the counter-demonstrators rejoiced that the "kiss-in" had not gone ahead as scheduled. - LifeSiteNews
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Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grâce.

Le Seigneur est avec vous.

Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes,

et Jésus, le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.

Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,

Priez pour nous, pauvres pécheurs,

maintenant et à l'heure de notre mort.

Amen

Working in the garden...


I saw him again yesterday.
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I had just finished mowing the yard and sat down for a few seconds to cool off, when I noticed a bit of movement just off to my right. Once again I saw the wild gerbil peeking out from beneath the hosta row. I stared at him for quite awhile. I could tell he was aware that I was watching him because he stood absolutely still, not even a blink of an eye or so much as a twitch of a whisker - I wouldn't even be able to tell you whether he was breathing or not.
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As I grabbed my camera to take this shot, he disappeared in the wink of the shutter. I jumped to my feet, dived to the ground, and peered into the think foliage, edging my head deeper and deeper into the darkened forest of hosta trunks. Trunks? I thought to myself, startled that I felt so small amidst the deep, dark labyrinth of hosta... I pulled back immediately, thinking I must have had too much sun, or the heat had gotten to me. I stood up immediately, brushed myself off - more to feel and demonstrate to myself I had not shrunk at all than to clean myself up. I laughed out loud that I had been momentarily frightened... Although I'd have to say startled more than anything. Nevertheless, the incident did give me pause, wondering if perhaps the gerbil, or possibly the garden itself, could be enchanted.
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I don't believe in that stuff however.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Bishops Are Very Troubled...


H/T to Vincenzo.

Bishops Are Very Troubled By Catholic Blogs...

Okay then - "some Catholic blogs"Like Cathy's and Kat's and Larry's and Fr. ___ and Cardinal___ and....  (Sorry - I can't help myself.) 
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Gee... I wonder why?
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Bishop Gabino Zavala, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Communications Committee, recently spoke at the annual Catholic Media Association convention. He had a lot of really good things to say, particularly about what it means to be faithful Catholics in the media and what we can teach the secular media in the process. But he also had a message for Catholic blogs:

“There was consistent agreement [among brother bishops] that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes unchristian and hurtful to individuals. For example, we are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful, judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of Magisterium and judge others in the Church. Such actions shatter the communion of the Church that we hold so precious.” - Matthew Warner

I've been saying this all along.  We bloggers are mean S.O.B.s sometimes - I'm repenting all of the time.  I have to say, I think I'm really with the bishops on this one.  In fact, I think they should set up new guidelines... Such as:  Only designated, properly educated Catholics - preferably with degrees - should be allowed to blog - and then only after their posts have been approved by a committee at USCCB headquarters.  (Committee still to be set up.)  Absolutely no criticism of Catholic priests or bishops would be allowed - not even constructive criticism.  The bishops need to take control of all those loose canons out there - no pun intended.  If they take care of the blogger problem, maybe then they can focus the rest of their energies on big issues such as Global Warming. 
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Seriously.  Tongue-out-of-my-cheek and all sarcasm aside - the bishop really does make a valid point.  That said, he and his colleagues need to wake up to the fact that many Roman Catholic people (not just bloggers) have been - and continue to be - very troubled by some Catholic bishops... as well as the USCCB bureaucracy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strangers on a plane...

Trunk show.
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I'm not sure if you read that story on Drudge about the Southwest Airlines employee who found a box of human heads on a flight headed to Fort Worth. (Story here.) Ironically, I discovered the same thing in the trunk of my car this morning. While watching my morning TV shows I heard the shrill cries of what sounded like a wild-child-raised-by-wolves, coming from my garage... Shrieking and shrieking and shrieking until I was no longer able to hear the women on The View!
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When I went out to find out what all the screaming was, I noticed the trunk of the car was open... I walked carefully towards the rear of the car to see what had happened. I had the garage door opener clipped to my t-shirt as usual - you never know when you're going to need it. I pressed the button to open the garage door hoping to distract whatever was in the trunk.  Suddenly I swiftly and silently jumped over the back of the car, turning in midair, steadily landing upon my feet, facing the car. I quickly took in the crime scene present before me in the trunk. These grizzly photos are what I saw. It turned out that it had been the shrieks of the wild gerbil which led me to the trunk of my car in the locked garage! Needless to say I was totally freaked out - but remained calm. In a blink of an eye, the wild gerbil disappeared without a sound.
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"How Hitchcockian." I thought to myself.

I went back in the house to finish my programs.  I had a breakfast bar with a cup of coffee, wondering, what the hell was all that about?
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The Immaculata


Just a few thoughts...

I saw this image of the Woman clothed with the sun [Revelation 12] on Fr. Angelo's blog, Mary Victrix.  If you are not familiar with the passage from Revelation it would be good to reread it and contemplate this image while ruminating upon the passage.  This image is magnificent and seems to me to speak so directly and urgently to our times, it is almost hair-raising.

Look at the battle between the great dragon and St. Michael Archangel - look at the ferocity with which the dragon threatens Our Lady and the her offspring.  It is a great battle, and Michael fights with all of his might.  The Virgin grasps the Child and protects him from the assault - as the Apostle says, "there is a great mystery here".

Today, when there is such an emphasis upon peace and justice, some Catholics do not like using the terms, spiritual warfare, combat, battle, or always hearing phrases such as 'we are at war' and so on.  Yet that is what the Christian life has always been, it is a struggle - an intense, knock down, drag out fight, a very real spiritual combat:  To quote St. Paul, 'Our battle is not just against human forces, but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above.' [Ephesians 6]

This is why true devotion to Our Lady is so important in our day.  We need to draw close to the Blessed Virgin in prayer, through some form of daily devotion, be it so simple as the devotion of the Three Hail Marys, the Little Office, or the Rosary.  Of all devotions the Rosary is the most highly recommended and something Our Lady herself has requested.  Therefore it is accessible to all - it just takes practice to incorporate into our daily lives - especially when most of us are busy with work, daily necessities and family obligations.

It is always good to remember that the desire to pray is in itself a prayer.  Then, making the effort to pray five decades of the Rosary is better than not trying at all.  Praying the Rosary amid distractions is better than not praying at all.  Using a tape to pray along in the recitation is an immense help.  Use the tape in the car, while out for a walk or a run, while cleaning - it is a great help to accustom a person to the prayers of the Rosary.  Pray the Rosary alone or with others, and use artwork depicting the mysteries - images train the mind to meditate - one is thereby able to focus upon the mystery, upon the person.  Don't worry so much about distractions or temptations during prayer - be humble about them - let them come and go while you continue to breathe the prayer - in the Spirit.  If you can only pray one decade - it's a good start - in fact you can pray one decade in the morning, another at lunch, another on the way home from work - after which you will only have two left.  Eventually you figure out how to pray the Rosary every day. 

And when you begin to pray - to really pray - prepare yourself for trials.  Whenever you embark upon anything good in the spiritual life, the combat begins.  Sometimes that can be a sign to "do even more" as St. Paul says.  Frequent Mass and the sacraments - especially confession.  And use sacramentals - especially wearing Our Lady's livery:  The Scapular of Mt. Carmel along with the shield of the Miraculous Medal, and keep the very best weapon of the Rosary with you at all times.  These are tools, weapons, Our Lady herself has given to her children through the saints.  These are not foolish devotions or superstitious.
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Art: Peter Paul Rubens. Flemish, about 1623 - 1624. Oil on panel
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If you are interested in religious life, check out The Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Cardinal sins...

Made public.
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In newly released testimony from a sex-abuse lawsuit, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said that the decisions he made in 1986 should not be judged by today’s standards.
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"The challenge is trying to look at 1986 through the lenses of 2010," Cardinal Mahony said. He was explaining his failure to inform police after a priest admitted that he had molested children.
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The transcript of the cardinal’s deposition, made public yesterday, offered no new surprises. But John Manly, the plaintiff’s lawyer who was questioning Cardinal Mahony, said that the full text “paints a picture of somebody who obfuscates, dodges, lies, and explains away everything.” - Source
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Churchspeak for cover-up.  It seems to be a pattern.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama adresses the Nation...

From the Oval Office no less.
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And meets with BP oil executives today - the first time since the disaster began - 58 days and counting.
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The damage - the destruction - is apocalyptic.  They're talking money and apologies instead of stopping the leak.   WTF?!
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Obama is impotent, incompetent, ineffective, incapable, and inept.
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Send in the Marines and the Army Corps of Engineers, use American know how.  Arrest BP executives, seize BP's assets,  take over the company.  Do something - NOW.
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And let's impeach Obama.

Backyard Wildlife


Momentarily frightening away the birds, the wild gerbil refreshes himself at the miraculous cistern.
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The Pope Has asked For Clarity


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"A priest focused on himself."

Woe. Taking the discipline...

The contagion of self-righteousness.
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Damnable pride.  No matter how lowly a person, this insidious vice corrupts our best intentions.  Rashly judging others.  Criticizing others. Mocking others.  Curiosity inflamed by envy, jealously searching for verification of our suspicions...
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Art: Four Allegories: Falsehood - Giovanni Bellini

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strange Gopher...


This little guy lives in my yard - I've never, ever seen a gopher quite like this before - he almost looks like a wild gerbil... I've heard him speak too. He has a really high, squeaky voice, and seems to be quite intelligent, once I heard him reciting Shakespeare - something from Midsummer's Night I think. He never comes very close however, I suppose he is afraid of being taken into captivity, or killed...
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Dawn Eden

You've come a long way...
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I totally didn't get Dawn Eden in the beginning - I'm not sure why.  I thought her early 'celebrity' as a Catholic writer and new Catholic wasn't tried enough to be trusted.  I'm like that about other people celebrating their conversions and first fervors and all of that in our day where trend dictates behavior and belief.  Counter-culture chic.  Skepticism bordering on cynicism is a huge fault of mine - unfortunately I've applied the same attitudes towards other bloggers, some of whom ironically have since become internet friends of mine.

I actually began to take Dawn seriously when I realized Fr. Angelo Mary of Mary Victrix did as well.  I read the lady more closely and appreciated what she had to say and trusted she was on the right track.  As she pursues her studies, I'm full of admiration for her, and grateful for her current work on Christopher West's interpretation of theology of the body, warning that West "risks sexualizing Christianity rather than Christianizing sexuality".  Eden, author of "The Thrill of the Chaste" ought to know, since her conversion to Catholicism led her to leave behind a pretty hip Sex in the City type lifestyle. 
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Critically examining Christopher West’s presentation of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, chastity speaker Dawn Eden has said that West conveys “elements of truth.”  However...
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Eden, the author of the book “The Thrill of the Chaste,” gave her critique in a master’s thesis at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. She delivered a speech on her thesis there on May 19, posting the speech’s text on her blog “The Dawn Patrol.”
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Her thesis tried to view the Theology of the Body through the “hermeneutic of continuity,” a view that sees the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council as continuous with the pre-Vatican II Church.

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While West tries to undermine the idea that the Church has a negative view of sex, in Eden’s view he fuels another myth that the Church is fundamentally different after Vatican II. She cited West’s comments that the Theology of the Body is “revolutionary” because previous generations of Christians grew up under a “repressive approach” to sexual matters. - CNA

Art:  Lindner

Archbishop Hannan on Jackie Kennedy.

This story is reassuring for those of us who lived through the assassination and had a special love for the Kennedy's.  I think every American was very proud of the First Lady and the courageous manner in which  she conducted herself throughout those terrible days.
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Hannan, a young auxiliary bishop in Washington, D.C., at the time of the assassination had delivered Kennedy’s eulogy, at Jackie Kennedy’s request. Ten days later he had presided over a second Kennedy interment at Arlington National Cemetery, in which she quietly re-buried two of their children next to her husband, a daughter stillborn in 1956 and their son, Patrick, who had lived only three days after his birth four months before the assassination.
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“If only I could believe that he could look down and see how he is missed and how nobody will ever be the same without him,” Kennedy wrote of her husband on Dec. 20, 1963, a few days after the re-interment of the children.
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“But I haven’t believed in the child’s vision of heaven for a long time. There is no way now to commune with him. It will be so long before I am dead and even then I don’t know if I will be reunited with him....
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“Please forgive all this -- and please don’t try to convince me just yet -- I shouldn’t be writing this way,” she concludes. - Source
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Archbishop Hannan said he included the Kennedy note in his memoirs to dispel the notion that because of  rumors of Jack's infidelity, the Kennedy marriage was a loveless one.  Hannan believes “theirs was a relationship grounded in deep, emotional conviction until the very end."

Ordinary Time

After Pentecost the liturgical season is referred to as Ordinary time.  Some people have lamented the term as if it somehow denigrates the liturgical season outside of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter season.  Interestingly many people who dislike the term also seem to object to the Ordinary Form of Mass - preferring the traditional Latin Mass, or Extraordinary Form instead.  To learn more about Ordinary Time and why it is so called, go here.
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Ordinary time is time sanctified.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Munchkin

Mail-lady...

It's another rainy day - steady light rain all morning.  The street is full of puddles as one can tell from the splashing sounds as cars drive by the house.  At one point while reading a news site, I heard a a car door slam, then an angry scream outside... I continued to listen for more sounds indicating there had been an accident or something, and then I heard the mail box flap slam.  Oh it's just our psycho mail lady, I thought.  She's must be back from her Workman's Comp holiday.  Those short little legs make it hard to climb in and out of the van and to climb all those stairs to deliver the mail.  Puts a lot of strain on the back, driving from house to house like that.

Oddly enough, sometimes she just yells at people for reasons one can never quite figure out.  She once responded to a request by an elderly neighbor suffering from cancer to take a letter she wanted to mail, telling her "walk on over to the post box yourself, the exercise will do you good."

She's an angry little troll.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

For Favors Received.

Thank you Blessed Father St. Anthony for all you do for me, and especially your prompt intercession today.

Martyrdom

Be prepared.
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The recent martyrdom of Bishop Luigi Padovese in Turkey reminds us that we are living in the age of martyrs.  In these days I think Catholics would be wise to arrange their lives in such a way as to be a sort of preparation for martyrdom.   Learning how to be Catholic in a society and culture which is becoming increasingly anti-Catholic.  To learn how to do this, there are no better teachers than the saints, especially those who were martyrs. 
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We can study the lives of the early Christian martyrs, who as the song testifies, were recognized by their love.  Yet there are numerous modern martyrs whose example may be more comprehensible to us because they lived under totalitarian conditions which have pretty much become the rule of law in our day.  I'm especially thinking of the Nazi persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland.  As in our day, the Church was persecuted because it was seen as the enemy of an evil ideology which promoted and enforced such human rights violations as euthanasia, abortion, and so on.
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Yesterday I learned of the memorial of six Salesian martyrs of the Salesian oratory at Poznań, Poland: Edward Klinik (23), Francis Kesy (22), Jarogniew Wojciechowski (20), Czesław Józwiak (22), and Edward Kaźmierski (23).  Young men martyred by the Nazis.  Young men prepared to give their lives for Christ, as evidenced in a poignant letter  by Francis Kesy to his family just before his death:
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 “My dearest parents, brothers and sisters, the time has come to say goodbye to you on August 24, the day of Mary Help of Christians … May the Good Lord take me to himself. Don’t have regrets that I am leaving this world so young. I am now in a state of grace. ... I am going to heaven. There I shall pray to God … Pray sometimes for me … I’m going now.” The six young men were taken into the prison yard in Dresden and beheaded. - Read more at Da Mihi Animas 
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The martyrs are ready intercessors for us, their example shows us how to live faithfully in the midst of great hardship and opposition.  We need courage to do the will of God.  As the scripture tells us, "When you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials." 
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Art: Bl. Czesław Józwiak, one of the Salesian martyrs.