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, July 03, 2010

Pier Giorgio Frassati

Independence Day Weekend


Hey - Have A Good One!  Enjoy your freedom while you still can.
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Photo: Drew Barrymore as Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, in Grey Gardens.

If you allow yourself to think about it.

Past the laughs.
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Elena Kagan seems to be a regular 'guy', don't you think.  She'd be easy to work with, smart and fun at the same time - a dry sense of humor in a tense situation makes for pleasant working conditions - if you are on the same page with her, that is.  Otherwise she can probably be like a bull-dyke in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas...
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Anyway - I came across a fascinating article on the newest nominee for the supremes, appropriately titled, Is Elena Kagan Morally Blind?  (That is putting it mildly.)  Think about it:
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Elena Kagan has now admitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee that as a Clinton lawyer in 1997, she fraudulently revised an official medical opinion by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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The medical society was going to publicly reveal that "its panel of experts found no circumstances in which the (partial birth abortion) procedure was the only option for saving the life of the woman."

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In a secret internal memo, she wrote that "This, of course, would be a disaster[.]"
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Kagan therefore secretly revised the language so the final statement in 1997 claimed that the partial-birth abortion "may be the best and most appropriate procedure in particular circumstances to save the life or preserve the health of the woman."
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That was a pernicious lie. The medical panel originally said that was false. Kagan substituted her own judgment for a medical consensus.
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Partial birth abortion means killing a full-term fetus, a human being. That is murder by biological definition. The media try to throw dust in our eyes about that fact, but most Americans know. We might have mixed feelings about abortion in the first month of pregnancy, but a full-term baby is a human being, and whether it is killed ten minutes before or after delivery makes no difference. It's still the same baby. - Source

Nothing funny about that.
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Photo: Ms. Kagan on Christmas Day.

The Russian Spy Case...


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The press has pretty much quieted down about the arrest of the Russian spies who have been amongst us for years.  The only story I could find on my regular news sites last night is about the identity crises their kids are facing.  Weird story huh?  They were here all along - acting and living just like normal people.  Didn't you think the Cold War was over?  I did too.

So what if Obama and Hilary and Ayres really are commies?
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What if communists really did infiltrate the seminaries way back when and some of these crazy bishops are commies too?  What if Reds are embedded in our legislature, our colleges, Hollywood, libraries, even our chanceries?!  What if some of them even wear traditional clerical garb and say the traditional Mass?  What if some of them are in charge of Catholic institutions like Hospital Associations and stuff?  (Ask yourself this;  Who originated the pantsuit?  Jiang Qing!)
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Sometimes I wonder if all the Muslim cab-drivers in this country are really terrorists waiting for the right moment?
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Friday, July 02, 2010

Mutual...

Look at what they did...


Cleveland Church closings.
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First they stripped the churches bare, and now they are closing them.  Vatican II hardly closed before they removed every sign of devotion, every indication of Roman Catholicism - accomplishing in a relatively short time what took generations for the Protestant revolt to accomplish centuries ago.  Catholics forget that some of the hatchet men involved in these closings were parish priests who helped implement key aspects of the iconoclasm which swept the Church after the Council.  And some of these guys are now bishops.  We are told Catholics left the Church in droves?  But who, what drove them away?
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Churchspeak on church closings.
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The Bishop of Cleveland had these words of encouragement regarding the recent closure of the 50th church in Cleveland:


"The Church is about people and their faith, not about buildings, and we will always be here to serve the people,” said Bishop Lennon in a March 2009 statement announcing the closures. “The task for the Church is to be faithful to what God asks of us, which is to bring the message of Jesus Christ to all people, to reach out and serve the poor and marginalized among us, and to become holy and bring people closer to God.” - CNA


Sacrifice and hard work.
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The people who built these churches were mostly working class immigrants, sacrificing for the glory of God and the propagation of the faith.  I was once part of the old St. Ambrose in St. Paul - not the old, old one that was sold to the 7-Up company, but the new one, built by Italians on the lower east side of St. Paul.  Families donated the marble altars and communion rails - which were later ripped out to update a still new church which had been built in 1960.  To add insult to injury - the church was later sold and the name transferred to a mega-church in the suburbs.  The good priest never understood the parishioners sense of betrayal and anger over the easy squandering of funds their donations represented.  Wreck-o-vators and iconoclasts were not always men in business suits - some wore cassocks and capes and beanies.
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Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis
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This fall we will be facing the results of a new strategic plan for our Archdiocese as well - probably not much different than Cleveland's.  I think our Archbishop guided similar changes in Detroit - a thankless job I'm sure.  There aren't as many beautiful churches here as there were in older cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, but there are still a few 'shells' left - although the glorious interiors have long been destroyed.
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Once again it is the laity sacrificed. 
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Laity in this archdiocese have been asked repeatedly to keep the Big Picture in mind... using much of the same churchspeak echoing Bishop Lennon's appeal.  Here are some classic quotes from our Archdiocesan plan:
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"Parish leaders are also asked to see “the bigger picture” — what’s good for the whole of the archdiocese, not just what’s good for their parish."
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“We can’t expect everybody to agree with everything or even to like everything, but what we want people to know is that we respected enough to ask them.”
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“We need to tell people that we expect the best of them, and we have to keep reminding people of that,”
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Changing parish configurations entails pain and loss, but Catholics need to have courage and offer self-sacrifice.

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“When you give up yourself to Christ . . . you’re going to be doing these big, big things.  We may think, ‘We’re losing everything. We’re losing our little church.’  Wait a moment. If you’re in Christ, what makes you think there won’t be greater things to come?”
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Church structures are living, and therefore changing, he said. When parishes are asked to combine, members must keep this understanding at the forefront.
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“It means that something is alive, it’s dynamic, it’s growing, it’s going onward, it’s going upward."

Up yours.*
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Obviously it's a "they" and "we" thing. 
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Photo credit: Closing Catholic Churches in Cleveland  First they stripped the altars and the sanctuary and protestantized the church - and now the churches are sold off to the highest bidder.
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Link:
Strategic Planning articles on Stella Borealis
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*no disrespect intended.

Just a reminder...


For the holier than thou...
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Not every baby-boomer is or was a flaming liberal.  Not everyone over the age of 50 was always happy with the novelties developed as a result of Vatican II.  (And I'm not just talking about the Wanderer and Remnant trads either.)  Not every ageing-hippie Catholic protested Humanae Vitae and whole heartily endorsed the hetero/homo sexual revolution.  Sure some of us may have committed grave sins and stuff - but like every Catholic penitent throughout the ages, some of us repented, did/do penance, and tried to live devoutly and faithfully - even while the progressive, often times heretical American Catholic Church derailed into banality.
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A lot of us suffered through the novelties and abuses, endured criticism for praying the rosary or the stations, or kneeling during the Eucharistic prayer in churches where they no longer displayed any sort of reverence at all.  Some of us even had to convince priests in the confessional that we needed absolution because, "I don't know - call me crazy Father - but I have psychological issues and I need to feel forgiven - I feel guilt-ridden and awful, so will you please give me absolution?"
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I returned to the sacraments in 1972.  At that time the only other young people - outside of a few seminarians - who were interested in Catholicism were charismatics, or totally immersed in social activism.  Although I would participate occasionally in charismatic prayer meetings - I was attracted to quiet prayer, adoration and the rosary - and of course Mass.  I spent a lot of my time alone at the Carmelite monastery in their extern chapel.  I was alone. 
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I returned to daily Mass at Assumption in downtown St. Paul - the old Monsignor who was pastor had not turned the altar around yet.  I returned to the Mass I grew up with - I thought.  But it was the Novus Ordo and in English, although it was offered in the traditional manner - reverently and devoutly - ad orientum.  I fell in love with the Mass - I actually recognized Christ in the breaking of the bread.  Later I had to endure many decadent novelties and liturgical abuses - but I understood that it was still the Holy Sacrifice.  I along with older folks, and some my age endured all of that crap - usually silently - just grateful to be able to receive and adore the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. 
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Speaking for myself I am thrilled and grateful for Pope Benedict XVI liturgical restorations and reform of the clergy and the Church.  I have waited a very long time for this.  I am grateful for the young and the old who finally welcome authentic worship in spirit and truth.
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So watch your mouth when you start making fun of ageing Catholics and fling comments around the Internet  about how anxious y'all are for the baby-boomer generation to die off.  
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That's all.
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Photo: Bishops at Vatican II.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

For the forgiveness of sins.

"Courage child, your sins are forgiven you." Mt 9: Today's Gospel
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Christ's greatest work is our redemption, the forgiveness of sins - miracles of healing served to prove the greater miracle of the forgiveness of sins: "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..."  Worrying about our healing of this or that ailment, looking for success or the means to earn a living, even seeking deliverance from some defect is a waste of time unless we repent and seek the forgiveness of our sins.  The forgiveness of sins instills courage and makes all things possible - through the Precious Blood of Christ.
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"Jesus knew what they were thinking" - he knows our thoughts as well. 
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How can we continually and repeatedly judge and condemn one another when we do not even know our own need for mercy and forgiveness?
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Art: Angels collect the Precious Blood of Christ for our Redemption -  by Antonio M. Ruiz

The Most Precious Blood


“You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things as silver or gold but with the Precious Blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish and without spot.” - 1 Peter
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July 1 is the feast day of the most Precious Blood of Jesus, while the entire month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood.  I can tell you from experience that devotion to the Precious Blood is especially efficacious for obtaining the grace of contrition after falling into sin.  Likewise it is a powerful remedy against sins of the flesh.  I highly recommend recitation of the Litany of the Precious Blood, especially if you feel bound by a particular sin.
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From Fr. Hardon on devotion to the Most Precious Blood:
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There are certain words and phrases in the revealed statement that we have just read that we should begin to unravel in order to understand something of the depth of meaning behind those two simple words, Precious Blood. Peter begins by reminding the faithful to remember the hardest thing in this life for us is to remain mindful of the truths of faith. Because what we believe on God's revealed Word is twice removed from the common experience that we have in this world. What we believe is first of all not immediately perceptible to the senses. Moreover, what we believe is not even penetrable to the naked reason. The word, remember, is an imperative: keep in mind. Arouse your faith in what and how you were redeemed. And it is the how we were redeemed that is the foundation stone of the mystery of the Precious Blood. God took on a human nature so that in that human nature He could die. In order to die, the soul had to separate from the body. But for the Body to have the soul separate, the body itself had to be deprived of His Blood. Theologically speaking and physiologically speaking, the All-Holy Son of God who became Man to redeem us could only have died by being drained of His Blood. Christ, listen, could not have died of some disease. Christ could not have died because of some mortal illness. All illness, disease, the natural debilitating of the body is the result of sin. Let me emphasize this. All our illness, our disease, our sickness, our wasting away of our body for all of us this is our faith - is the result of our sinful nature. Not so with Christ. That draining of the human body of His Blood was the one way that Christ, Sinless Son of God and Son of Mary that He was, the one way that He could die.
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Why does Peter identify the Blood of the Lamb of God as “Precious?” Well, it is surely Precious because it is the Blood of no human being. It is the Blood of the living God who took on human nature, capable of shedding His Blood. Why was the Blood of Christ Precious? Because it is the Blood of God who took on human nature in order to be able to suffer and to bleed and, let us add, in order to bleed to death. Why Precious? Because it is the Blood of the living God.
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Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation, and that not only for priests, but for every follower of Christ. I really believe, and I hesitate even saying this, but I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is first- veneration, it is secondly- invocation, and it is thirdly- imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love and adoration. We are to study to come to a deeper understanding of what those two - I am afraid for many people - casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.
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To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must (otherwise the mystery will be lost on us), we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe that Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way, that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. I am watching every syllable I am saying. The Church has never pronounced infallibly on the number lost and the number saved, but she has canonized St. John of the Cross and made him a Doctor of the Church. Says John of the Cross: "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost." - Devotion to the Precious Blood

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

St.Joseph Cafasso

I can't tell you how much I love the Holy Father - he just spoke today about St. Joseph Cafasso, the saint I posted on a few days ago: 
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An element that characterised the ministry of St. Joseph Cafasso was his "concern for the lowest, especially for prisoners ... who lived in inhuman and dehumanising conditions". If at first, in his preaching to prisoners, the saint "often delivered great sermons that came to involve almost the entire prison population, with the passage of time he came to favour individual catechesis, made up of conversations and personal meetings. While respecting the individual situation of each individual, he tackled the great themes of Christian life, speaking of trust in God, adherence to His will, the utility of prayer and the Sacraments, the culmination of which is Confession, the meeting with God Who, for us, becomes infinite mercy". - VIS News
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"Even if you were in the vestibule of hell, and if there remained outside but one hair of your head, that would be sufficient for me to drag you from the claws of the devil and transport you to heaven." -St. Joseph Cafasso speaking to a death row inmate who doubted whether with his many crimes he could be saved.
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I wish I could make my confession to the Holy Father.
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Art: Source 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My All-Time Top Ten Romantic and/or Love Songs



The Look of Love.
-Dusty Springfield
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The Look of Love
-Chris Botti
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A Song For You
-Leon Russell - But this version by Adrian Edward is not bad!
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My Funny Valentine.
- Almost anyone, but especially Chet Baker .
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A House Is Not A Home
-Luther Vandross
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I Keep Forgetting
-Michael McDonald
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I Can't Tell You Why
-Eagles
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Baby, Baby Don't Cry
-Smokey
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Walk On By
-Diana Krall
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Superstar
-Leon Russell, Usher/Luther Vandross
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Your Song
-Elton John
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Corcovado
-Astrud Gilberto
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You've Got A Friend
-Carole King

Real Quick-like: My Baker's Dozen of Best Disco Hits Ever.


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In no particular order...
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Give me Love
-Cerrone
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Disco Inferno
-The Trammps
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Boogie Oogie Oogie
-Taste of Honey
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Shake Your Grove Thing
-Peaches and Herb
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You Make Me Feel/Do You Wanna
-Sylvester
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The Boss/Love Hangover
-Diana Ross
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Off the Wall
-Michael Jackson
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Got To give It Up
- Marvin Gaye
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Stuff Like That
-Quincy Jones
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Masterjam
-Chaka and Rufus
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Shame
-Evelynn Champagne King
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Rumour Has It/Once Upon A Time album
-Donna Summer

Just wondering.

I wonder what the Pope would say privately about those who annotate his every word - sometimes even adding to them?

Chiacchiericcio in the loggia.

Peter in chains.


Arresting the Pope.
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Minnesota's own, Jeffrey Anderson wants to put the Pope on trial and the Supreme Court just gave him the go ahead to sue the Vatican.  Anderson has long been condemned for his anti-Catholic lawsuits to bring down the Church and enrich himself in the process.   That hasn't prevented otherwise good Catholics from seeking his counsel when needed however.  Although I'm not sure I would want this guy defending me.  Anderson doesn't hide the fact he's 'out to get them' hence he seems to welcome being demonized by the faithful.
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Today's first reading for the feast of Peter and Paul recounts Peter's miraculous release from prison by an angel.  The apostles were ex-convicts - Christ warned them - us - about such things:  "They will manhandle you and haul you off to prison, bringing you to stand trial before kings and governors, all on account of my name." [Lk 21:12]  None of us should be surprised when the secular world seeks to overthrow the Church.
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Napoleon was the last emperor to arrest a Pope - Pius VII.  He acted in retaliation for Pius excommunicating the 'despoilers of the Church'...  after the Papal States had been annexed and Rome occupied, although the Pope did not mention Napoleon by name.  It is believed Hitler wanted Pius XII arrested as well, but he was unsuccessful.
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We Catholics have lived through trying times throughout the 20th century up until the current day, although in the West we've enjoyed great freedom of religion and the esteem of society... up until now.  Perhaps that fact, accompanied by a luxurious standard of living, accounts - in part - for a general lack of fervor and a general falling away.  To be sure, it accounts for nearly everyone's surprise that an ambitious attorney would dare attempt to sue the Pope, or bring him to trial.
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The best popes often were not the most popular popes.  Enemies of Blessed Pius IX attempted to disrupt his funeral cortege and throw his body into the Tiber.  It should be noted that several times during his pontificate the Pope considered leaving Rome altogether to avoid his enemies.
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As these things happened, people always imagined it was the end of the world - if not the Church.  Keep your soul in peace: "All will hate you because of me, yet not a hair on your head will be harmed.  By patient endurance you will save your souls." - [Lk. 21: 17-19]
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Photo:  Source

Rolling over Beethoven...


Headlines:  German Pope disciplines Austrian Cardinal!
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It appears the more "chiacchiericcio" of Catholic bloggers are all excited about this one... 
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1. Today, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and President of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. He had asked to report personally to the Supreme Pontiff on the present situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn wishes to clarify the exact sense of his recent statements on some aspects of ecclesiastical discipline [read: priestly celibacy], as well as some judgments on the attachment had by the Secretariat of State, and in particular by the then-Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II of venerated memory, as regards the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Gröer, Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.


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2. Subsequently, invited into the meeting were Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.
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In the second part of the audience, some widely-circulated misunderstandings partially derived by some comments of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn were clarified and resolved, for which he expressed his regret over the interpretations given.





In particular:


a) It is recalled that in the Church, when accusations are made against a Cardinal, the competence [of judgment] rests solely with the Pope; other instances have a function of consultation, always with the proper respect for persons.
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b) The word "chiacchiericcio" ["chatter," "gossip"] was erroneously interpreted as a lack of respect for the victims of sexual abuse, for whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano holds the same sentiments of compassion and condemnation of evil, as expressed in diverse interventions of the Holy Father. That word, pronounced in his Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI, was taken literally from the papal homily of Palm Sunday and referred to the "courage that doesn't let one be intimidated by the chatter of dominant opinions." - Read more.

I'm sure many are more than thrilled about this, which may explain some of the headlines: "Schönborn called on the carpet!"; "Cardinal rebuked by Pope!"; "Taken to the woodshed!"; "You vill obey immediately!";  "Retract your "chiacchiericcio" statement or turn in your cappa magna!";  "No soup for you!". 
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All kidding aside, I'm grateful the Holy Father addressed this directly.
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H/T Whispers

Photo:  Vincenzo
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Note:  Some background information on Cardinal Schönborn. (You know, he really is of noble descent Tradley!):
 
His Eminence Christoph Cardinal Schönborn OP (who would have been Count Christoph Maria Michael Hugo Damian Peter Adalbert von Schönborn if Austrian law on nobility were not in place), born on January 22, 1945 at Skalken castle west of Leitmeritz, in Bohemia, which is now in the Czech Republic) is an Austrian cardinal. He has been Archbishop of Vienna since 1995. Schönborn succeeded Hans Hermann Groër.
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Schönborn is the second son of the Count Hugo-Damian von Schönborn and Baroness Eleonore Ottilie Hilda Maria von Doblhoff. They divorced in 1959. The Cardinal has two brothers and one sister. He belongs to an old Central European noble family. Over the centuries, several members of Schönborn family have held high posts in the Catholic Church. In 1945, his family was forced to flee from Bohemia. Schönborn took his Matura exam in 1963, and studied theology and philosophy in Bornheim-Walberberg, Vienna, and Paris. He was ordained a Dominican priest by Cardinal Franz König on 27 December 1970 in Vienna, and later studied in Regensburg under Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI). From 1975 he was professor at Freiburg im Üechtland. In 1980, he became a member of the international theological commission of the Holy See, and in 1987 he became editorial secretary for the World Catechism. He speaks six languages.
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He became a coadjutor of the Archbishop of Vienna on 11 April 1995 and Archbishop of Vienna on 14 September 1995. He was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II on 20 February 1998.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Feral cats in my garden.

The Twitchits.
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I discovered them yesterday afternoon.  At first I thought someone had dropped off a litter in my backyard - beyond the hedge in what I call St. Joseph's wood.  I let the wood get a bit overgrown thus far this year - hosta, lily of the valley, and ivy cover even the lime stone areas, while the lilac trees have sent up tall shoots.  I've been putting off trimming back due to other projects.  This week I need to get back there.

Now there is a colony of kittens however, and I just noticed the mama cat enter the yard this morning.  I was certain the cats had to be born here after I had gone out at various times to try and get the kittens to come to me.  Instead, they ran off and hid from me in the dense foliage.  I became convinced they had been accustomed to the place however, after noticing how they romped and climbed the lilac tree trunks once  I returned to the house.  Like I said, mommy soon came along to nurse and tidy everyone up, demonstrating this was indeed her territory.  I watched her with them from the house, while she kept an obvious eye on the door, lest I come out and disturb breakfast.  She reminded me an awful lot of Mrs. Twitchit, therefore I decided that must be her name.

This just won't do however - that feral cats be permitted to live in my little woods that is.  Even if I they allowed me to do so, I can't take them into the house because of the cats who own the house.  They wouldn't tolerate it in the least, and as their caretaker, I do not want to expose them to disease or fleas.  I'm not sure what to do at this point, although I am reading about feral cats online.  I have learned that since the cats are not socialized, they will be very difficult to catch.

This past winter the rabbits killed a couple of small sections of the hedge as they were feeding on the bark and new growth from last season.  Though Mrs. Rabbitowitz was always very careful about such things, her descendants have not been so polite.  Hence I'm tempted to permit this colony of cats to remain in order to keep the rabbit and chipmunk population down.  On second thought, that's not a good plan at all. 

I now have a problem on my hands - these kittens didn't ask to be born...  I know that is a silly thing to say - but it's true. 

Scandal and prudery...


And rash judgment.
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I just read a comment on a post suggesting that it is scandalous for two members of the same sex to live together now days.  A week or so ago I read another comment by a Lutheran pastor suggesting it was scandalous for a dead man, who had shared his house with another man, to be buried from a Catholic church.  I'm incredulous.  By way of response, I'd like to re-post something Fr. Blake of St. Mary Magdalen Blog wrote some time back...
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I was trying to suggest there were plenty of "gay" people who are neither vociferous or hedonistic, nor are in the lobby. That there are actually people who had a same sex attraction who might say they were homosexual or had a homosexual attraction or curiosity but would refuse to use the identity of being "gay", in part because it suggests a certain lifestyle and in part has certain political connotations.

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My parish has many single people. Some try to cope others are content with living lives on their own. Many have close friends, some share flats or houses with a particular friend, occasionally some define their friend as a "partner". It could be a business partner or any other form of partnership; I can't see the problem. Some might say they are "gay", I ask them if they believe what the Catholic Church teaches, they say "yes", they come to Mass, they go to confession, they pray, sometimes together; I can't see a problem. They support the Church they tell me about their brothers and sister, their nephews, their nieces, they regret they have never had children themselves; I feel sympathy. In the confessional they might tell me of the battle they have with their sexuality, sometimes of their defeats in this battle; I give absolution and a light penance, assure them of God's strength and often admire their extraordinary heroism and their great love of God and appreciation of his Grace. Are these "elements of the vociferous hedonistic gay lobby"? No, they are Catholics looking for salvation along with everyone else, bearing a very heavy cross. Often these men, occasionally women, have been distanced from the Church and have returned. Often they have misunderstood what the Church is saying and why, sometimes they have met deliberate cruelty and misunderstanding from priests, and are still faithful; that is heroism!
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My caller this morning said I didn't know much about the Brighton "Gay" community, that could be true. I have never visited a "Gay" club, I try to avoid walking through the pinker area of Brighton, I am a little shocked when I see men or women kissing or fondling one another on the street, whatever their sexual orientation and I try not to be on the streets during "Pride" weekend. My caller just saw it all as being friendly and supportive and fun.
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As a Catholic priest one tends to pick up the debris of peoples' lives and hear almost too much of their pain and suffering. I am not sure that my caller has done many funerals for young gay men who have died of a drugs overdoses or suicide. I haven't kept a tally and I suspect many don't have a priest at their funeral but there have been a number over the last 10 years, outside of the gay community I can remember only one funeral for a man under 35 years old. There is a larger number of parents who ask for Masses to be said for dead gay children, their lives are torn apart when their offspring have died through suicide or drugs or AIDS. Then of course there are curious young men, exploring their sexual orientation, who have gone into bars and clubs and have got or been gotten high on drugs or drink and found themselves in someone's bed and things have gone much, much further than they had intended. I knew of one young man who had claimed he became HIV positive after one single encounter, I heard he killed himself. One hears of men too, who try to sleep with a different partner each night, of teenagers passed around from one older "lover" to another. I could go on and on, but I suspect you get the taste. This is what I meant by hedonistic gay lobby and I haven't even touched on the various fetish sub-groups. Why is it a lobby? Because it makes money for Brighton: money speaks. - Fr. Blake
Praise and thank God for priests like Fr. Blake.
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Art:  St. Antony and St. Paul, hermits.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Suicide Chic

After hearing about a young fashion designer's suicide, it occurred to me a suicide trend may be gaining momentum:  Indeed it might be getting to be chic to kill yourself.  In the past couple of years, a small number of models and at least one other designer committed suicide - all young, up and coming, if not emerging at the top of their field.  Tres curious, eh?
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THE designer Karim Rashid was stunned when he read the news online that Tobias Wong, the enfant terrible of the design world, had died on May 30 at 35, in what authorities ruled a suicide. “You’re just starting your career,” he recalled thinking. “Why would you do this?”
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His partner noted, “This wasn’t a typical suicide,” Mr. Dubitsky said in an interview at the couple’s apartment. “He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t sad, he wasn’t upset. We were always thinking about our future. We wanted kids. We wanted to find a house.” - Tobias Wong dead at 35
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Just a week or so ago a top male model, Tom Nicon, 22, jumped to his death in Milan, just as men's fashion week was beginning.  Strangely enough, earlier this year right before fashion week, designer Alexander McQueen, 40, was found dead in his London flat.  He had killed himself.  Not long before that his muse Isabella Blow also died by suicide.  (2007)
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Add to that list other models and young actors.  Why would such young successful people choose suicide?  In the past, aging actresses and models committed suicide because their careers appeared over, Capucine comes to mind.  Yes, they all probably suffered from depression, but when someone is just about to peak in their career it seems especially incomprehensible.  Hence my wondering, is it just a trend - is it becoming chic?
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Top Photo: Actress/model Capucine.
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H/T to Nano second.
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Link:
Facts on suicide.

Tomb Raiders in Belgium.


Heavy handed tactics by Belgium police as they raid episcopal offices and the tombs...  What up with that?
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Most Catholics in the US would have heard this story on the news or read it in the newspaper already.  It's sex scandal investigation gone crazy perhaps?  Or maybe not?  The Holy Father has condemned the extreme measures as "deplorable" and Cardinal Bertone has said that the raids were "an unheard-of and grave act" and "there are no precedents, not even in Communist regimes."
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I think the police action is a foreshadowing of what is to come - or in fact, what is already upon us.  It is upon us simply because it happened.  That said, I always find Fr. Blake's (St. Magdalen Blog) comments on what is going on in the UK and Europe to very insightful.  He's a very practical man and I appreciate his take on things.  I especially like this candid observation:
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With techniques reminiscent of a raid on a nest of drug dealers, the extraordinarily heavy handedness of the authorities, with dogs and armed police, seizing even mobile phones, is illustrative of how low in public opinion the Church has fallen under Daneels and Suenens, but is it also that Belgium authorities want to deliberately humiliate the Church and present its bishops as a gang of gangsters? Is this really the only way of getting answers from the Belgium magic circle?

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I suspect behind the story is the sheer frustration of getting answers from the Belgium Magic Circle. - Getting Answers   

And this statement seems to be right on the mark:
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Holiness and transparency seem to go together, yet today's Church seems to be more about obfuscation, media manipulation, secrecy, cover-up, spin, unfortunately all that comes from the top. - Transparency

That's pretty much what attorneys said regarding Cardinal Mahony's testimony in the Los Angeles cases.
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Rorate Caeli has posted background on the sex abuse investigation in Belgium, particularly as it involves retired Cardinal Danneels.  New Catholic also links to a particularly damning article on The Fall of the Belgium Church.

That's all.

Let the dead bury their dead...
but you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God. - Luke 9