Saturday, July 31, 2010

Is Archbishop Dolan a phony?


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He's not the only one either.
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I assure you - sometimes I just do not know when I'm being set up by commenters, fellow bloggers, and the otherwise traditional Catholic people who anonymously monitor the web while on a constant witch hunt trying to dig up scandal on one another. 
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I am not ashamed to post honestly and truthfully on my blog, using my own name, telling my own story.  I want to make it clear that I also operate under the assumption that Bishops currently appointed by the Holy See are orthodox and faithful to Church teaching - until I find out otherwise.  In the case of Archbishop Dolan, it appears I may have been mistaken and that it may be business as usual in the 'American' Catholic Church.  My apologies if I unintentionally misled anyone. 
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That's all.

Courage Conference 2010: 2nd report.


Grace upon grace is poured out... day after day.

Our friend sent us the following email on the events of the 2nd day of the Courage Conference.  It is a beautiful narrative.  I present it unedited:
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hello.
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dr. sutton gave a good talk on friday - basically summing up what i already know to be true < at least for myself > ... the common causes of SSA for men. non-identification with the same-sex parent, overinvolvement from the opposite-sex parent, poor peer relationships, bad body image, just going down the whole list i was like "yep, uh huh, check, check ...." 
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it was difficult for me to hear the first time a couple a few years ago, but over time with prayer and reflection, i could not deny the truth of these things and in that truth i found freedom. you can't cure the illness < and i speak of emotional wounds, spiritual sickness, of course > till you know the etiology. 
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most reverend thomas j. paprocki from the diocese of springfield, illinois, was the celebrant for yesterday's Mass. he told us when he googled matthew shephard's name, over 11 million links came up on his screen. we all know matthew shepard's story: a boy brutually tortured and left to die for his homosexuality. but when the good bishop googled the name of mary stachowicz, only 26 thousand or so links came back. no one seems to have heard of this woman.
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mary stachowicz was a polish american translator, devout catholic and mother of four, who on novembr 13, 2002 was murdered by her coworker, nicholas gutierrez, in chicago, illinois after she implored him to give up his sinful lifestyle and live a chaste life. mary was also the bishop's secretary at the time, and she worked at a funeral home with gutierrez. his excellency told us that when mary didn't show up for work one morning, he called around to find out where she was. the funeral parlor said her car was still in their parking lot, her purse and keys on her desk; but no sign of mary. the family & mary's coworkers were frantic and started praying for her. gutierrez was one of those joining them in prayer. 2 or 3 days later they found her mangled, bludgeoned body, stuffed into a cubby in gutierrez' apartment. 
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bishop paprocki made the statement he condemns wholeheartedly what happened to matthew shephard. but it's a commentary on our culture how one person killed for practicing homosexuality is a popular martyr, yet one calling for a life of chastity and conversion - also murdered - is largely forgotten. his excellency has won the approval of fr. harvey and fr. check to consider mary a martyr for the cause of chastity; she would be an ideal saint to intercede for courage, and those living with SSA. we will begin praying for her cause for canonization.
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later in the evening, janet smith gave her talk on TOB and the single life, stating that many people choose the celibate life as a consecrated religious. many find themselves choosing celibacy as a transition, a waiting time till they enter into the married state. but what about those of us who find that it is thrust upon us by circumstance? there is no need to think of ourselves as victims of celibacy. we, too, choose this state of life. yes, we may find it thrust upon us initially by circumstance < widows > or life wounds < my words, not hers > such as SSA, but the choice is still ours to make to embrace the celibate state for the kingdom - out of love for our Lord - or reject it. we, too, are choosing this beautiful life of celibacy for the kingdom. what untold, unseen, unimaginable graces we bring down upon the world by choosing this state for the sake of the kingdom. our Lord told us, "if you love Me, you will keep My commandments." 
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at 9pm, several of us led the conferees in a beautiful rosary in reparation for the sins most grievous to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but most of all for the sins of those relating to homosexuality and for our continued conversion and growth in compassion. we used the prayers for healing from fr. dwight longenecker's book on the rosary for interior healing. we of course prayed the sorrowful mysteries and it was just amazing. i started the rosary and would also preface each mystery with part of fr. longenecker's reflections for healing written for that mystery, and a different courage member would lead the rest of us through the mystery. then i concluded the rosary with the usual prayers < Hail, Holy Queen and O, God, whose only begotten Son ...> .... but then finally ended with the prayer of st. bernard picked up by the 12-step review: "Come Lord Jesus, take away scandals from Your kindgom, which is my soul / and reign there, You who alone have the right./For greediness comes to claim a throne within me; / haughtiness and self-assertion would rule over me;/pride would be my king;/ lust says, "I will reign";/ambition, detraction, envy and anger struggle within me for the mastery./I resist as far as I am able; I struggle according as help is given me;/I call on my Lord, Jesus;/for His sake I defend myself, since I acknowledge myself as wholly His possession. / He is my God, Him I proclaim my Lord;/I have no other king than my Lord, Jesus Christ;/Come then, O Lord, and disperse these enemies by Your power,/ and You shall reign in me, for You are my King and my God. Amen."
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isn't that beautiful? i then received healing prayer with a small group of charismatics a short while later, reclaiming my masculinity and asking our Lord to heal the wounds that still remain festering; and I accepted again the knowledge that I am a beloved son of the Father, walking in newness of life. and the healer who prayed over me cast out any demons that might be obsessing me with doubts, mockery, scorn, hatred, lust ... he bound them, cast them to the foot of the Cross, and i was unbound. once again, unbound. and it's up to me to continue walking in that newness, this freedom. free at last, my friend. it's a great place to be, to choose to walk in this newness with grace poured down from Heaven to assist me. without it, we'd all surely be lost. 
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suzanne baars is speaking in a half hour on "healing the unaffirmed: a different lens in understanding SSA" so i'd better run. - Email Report
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The Conference sounds very solid and edifying to me.  Prayers for a thousand graces to be poured out upon all involved.  
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Art: Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste

Pearls before swine...


While at the table of sinners...
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One must practice discretion.  St. Therese of the Child Jesus regretted speaking about her vision of the Blessed Virgin after she had been cured by Our Lady of the Smile at the age of eight.  Yet she learned from such experiences, which in turn influenced her little way of confidence and love:  "It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaming our living. ... To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices. ... It is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much." 
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As a nun, Therese and her community had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil...  The realization of which led to Therese writing in her memoirs, "I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith... [but] Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, the source of the only real and pure joy."
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Sometimes little children are so trusting and anxious for the good of others, they forget themselves and commit innocent indiscretions, perhaps even giving that which is holy to people not ready to receive.  Thus it ought not to surprise us when our best intentions get trampled underfoot.  [Matt 7:6] 
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Nevertheless, one should never be discouraged, since it is all included in the price of dining at the table of sinners.
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"Never allow yourself to pour out your heart, even though it be but for the space of a creed." - St. John of the Cross, Maxims

Friday, July 30, 2010

I wish I'd thought of this...


Bastardized Literary Quotes.
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Adoro brilliantly reworked famous quotes by writers to apply to the art of blogging - her post is both provocative and LOL funny.
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Your blog is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good. ~ Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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Blogs are an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people. ~ Philip Guedalla (1889-1944)
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Blog: Something published in haste and regretted at leisure. ~ Oliver Herford (1863-1935)
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Read more: On Blogging and Criticism.
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Art: Saint Mary Magdalene at her writing desk.

Reports from the Courage Conference.

Dear Readers,
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My blogger buddy is sending me email updates on the Courage Conference held this weekend outside Chicago.  A local bishop and first chaplain of the St. Paul/Minneapolis Courage chapter, Bishop John LeVoir officiated at the opening Mass yesterday.  My friend is very much caught up in the Holy Spirit directing the retreat, so I will simply reprint his emails as they come in.
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Opening Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend John  LeVoir, bishop of New Ulm, MN.  Mass concelebrated by all the chapter chaplains present.
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After dinner, official welcome by new director of Courage, Inc. Fr. Paul Check from the diocese of Bridgeport. the National Office is moving from NYC to Connecticut.  Fr. Harvey is here; in good spirits, but frail health.  Fr. Check's opening remarks centered on the need for compassion - but with calls for conversion.  Compassion without the call to conversion devolves into sentimentality, while calls for conversion without compassion becomes harsh judgment.  We must have both in balance, and for him that's the legacy of Courage that he is continuing.  Following Fr. Check was a testimony by a male Courage member that was quite moving.  He talked about how the best example of Christ's love for him was from his former lover, who is still in the lifestyle with a different boyfriend.  This man's former lover sacrificed "after being together a year" a future together, letting go and allowing him "the chance to pursue a heterosexual relationship, knowing that he wanted marriage and a family."   The crux of his testimony was that God used the instances of sin in his life, even the distorted relationships, for good; God was present to him even amidst the sins in his life, even when he turned away from God. God kept pursuing him. and he said he believes that the cross of SSA ... the suffering ... is meant to teach us how to love.  The mystery of suffering is a gift from God. God allows our SSA to bring about a better good in our lives and the lives of those around us.  In other words, we shouldn't ask "why me," but "why not me."  Suffering in our lives can be redemptive, as it's a share in the life of our Father who suffered for us, and He extends that gift to us if we only have eyes to see and ears to hear.  Are we listening?  Or do we let our self-pity and anger get in the way and allow evil to separate us from God?

Good stuff.  But I'm sure I'm not recounting this as well as it was presented - I'm tired and I'm late for the Charismatic Prayer/Eucharistic Adoration scheduled for tonight. - Courage Conference Attendee Reporter  

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For those interested, I believe tapes of the major addresses will be made available through the Daughters of St. Paul after the conference - I'll let you know as our "reporter" updates me.  I'm sure all the attendees would appreciate our prayers for them this weekend.

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Art:  Virgin and Child with the Saints in Glory, GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARLONE - I chose this image because the members of Courage have clearly embarked upon the narrow way of sanctity.

It Seems The Bishops Are Still Concerned About The Blogs


"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." - Bishop Zavala, CNS Story
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Really?
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For some reason this makes me think of that story of Rembert Weakland when he tried to get Mother Angelica knocked off the airways...
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Taking note of Weakland's efforts, Mother said, "I just want him [Weakland] to know that if he gets us off the cable in Milwaukee, we will teach the truth on the shortwaves right past him. He can't stop the shortwaves. We'll be selling shortwave radios all over Milwaukee." When I suggested that that parallels American efforts to beam news into Soviet-occupied territories during the Cold War, Mother nodded approvingly. "It's the exact same thing. They used the same methods of intimidation." - Fighting The Good Fight of Faith
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That's all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just for fun...

Words of wisdom...
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If you didn't know this before, I worked in management while I was employed.  I prided myself upon being a hard worker - and I was - when I worked.  Therefore I grew rather impatient with people if they 'teased' me about not working very hard. 
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You see, what ordinary people never understood, is that sometimes during slow periods, I spent a lot of time doing 'other things' in the workplace - Michael Scott things - important PR things.  In hindsight, I've come to realize how that might have been misinterpreted by coworkers and the people who reported to me.  Yeah - so in a way, I suppose one might say I spent a lot of time doing nothing... 
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Sometimes I still resent the fact people would accuse me of doing nothing, considering that I believed just showing up for work was a huge accomplishment in itself.  Most people never understood how much effort that cost me, seeing that I could have stayed home and done nothing just as easily there as I could have at work.  After all, I made the sacrifice to come into work for them, to boost their morale. 
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Very few people ever 'got' that.

The awful truth.

So anyway, not that it matters...
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I really hate writing about how homosexual men should not be ordained - but it is the 'rule' and I for one see the wisdom in it, even though my contemporaries do not.  Yet as I always say, men with this tendency have always been ordained, and always will be - it is a mystery of divine grace I suppose, because frankly, if it hadn't been for some priest/confessors who just happened to be 'same-sex attracted' - albeit completely faithful to Church teaching - I may never have made it this far.  Therefore, it needs to be acknowledged that there are very good faithful men who know what it is to struggle and suffer and remain faithful amidst enormous temptation, suspicion and contempt.  Some may even be bishops, and some - by now - may even be Vatican prelates.  Yet they stand by Church teaching and support it.  In the meantime, if Christ calls a man to the priesthood... who am I to say anything?  All things are possible with God.
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Nevertheless, I believe the following from Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez is the truth:


Reacting to Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal said that “the Church distinguishes the homosexual tendency and homosexual practice. If a person has a homosexual tendency it is a defect, as if one lacked an eye, a hand, a foot.” On the other hand, homosexual activity, he noted, is immoral.
“In my life as a priest, I have had [pastoral] care of many people with this problem,” he added. Some, like alcoholics, have overcome this tendency by “discipline, education, or reeducation,” he said, while others have heroically resisted this tendency for their entire lives.
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In a 2002 letter, Cardinal Medina Estévez, in his capacity as a Vatican prefect, had reiterated the Church’s discipline against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations.
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“Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky,” he wrote. “A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”  - Source
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The dogs bark but the caravan moves on...
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Such a clear statement by the Cardinal prefect seems contradictory to reality, huh? But there is no accounting for God's grace. (And clearly, my opinion on the subject doesn't matter.) That said, I wholeheartedly accept the teaching of the Church on faith and morals. Sadly, many people will continue to ask for clearer statements until they hear what they want to hear - that will never happen however.

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That's all.

The cost of discipleship...


"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
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Several years ago during a conversation with my sister, I must have said something suggesting she return to Mass - I never pressured her ever - but she must have been exasperated with me because she snapped, "If religion is so great why aren't you happy?"  (Or did she say, "Why do you still have so many problems?") 
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I really did not know how to answer her.  I think I said something lame like "I would be worse if I didn't practice my faith."  I knew telling her what Our Lady told St. Bernadette wouldn't compete with her idea of a comfortable faith:  "I can't promise you happiness in this world, but in the next."  My sister is convinced God wants us to be happy and content in this life, so if we don't want to go to church, we can think of God in bed.  If the kids don't think it is important to marry their significant other, that is okay too - after all, "what does a piece of paper mean?"  Likewise, if her gay son wants to get married, why can't he?  She just wants him to be happy.
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Anyway - I'm not ragging on my dear old sister here, not at all.  I can't change her.  But now and again I am reminded of the affront made to me, "Why aren't you happy?"  It was but a few days ago that I decided it is not always necessary to have an answer or to offer an excuse.
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I recalled similar challenges made to someone else, a very long time ago now; "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."  And, "Aren't you the Messiah?  Then save yourself and us."  Christ never responded.   [Luke 23:37-41]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A special report...

FOR PARENTS
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Seriously.  A commentor, ck alerted us to a very sensitive study from the Catholic Medical Association on the subject of homosexuality, appropriately titled Homosexuality and Hope.  I will reprint a couple of points that are important to consider in examining this issue - especially for parents, whose children are at risk due to enormous social and cultural pressures.
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NOT BORN THAT WAY
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Catholics believe that sexuality was designed by God as a sign of the love of Christ, the bridegroom, for his Bride, the Church, and therefore sexual activity is appropriate only in marriage. Healthy psycho-sexual development leads naturally to attraction in persons of each sex for the other sex. Trauma, erroneous education, and sin can cause a deviation from this pattern. Persons should not be identified with their emotional or developmental conflicts as though this was the essence of their identity. In the debate between essentialism and social constructionism, the believer in natural law would hold that human beings have an essential nature --either male or female --and that sinful inclinations --such as the desire to engage in homosexual acts --are constructed and can, therefore, be deconstructed. 
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It is, therefore, probably wise to avoid wherever possible using the words "homosexual" and "heterosexual" as nouns since such usage implies a fixed state and an equivalence between the natural state of man and woman as created by God and persons experiencing same sex attractions or behaviors.
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SAME-SEX ATTRACTION AS A SYMPTOM
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Individuals experience same-sex attractions for different reasons. While there are similarities in the patterns of development, each individual has a unique, personal history. In the histories of persons who experience same-sex attraction, one frequently finds one or more of the following:
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•Alienation from the father in early childhood, because the father was perceived as hostile or distant, violent or alcoholic, (Apperson 1968 17 ; Bene 1965 18 ; Bieber 1962 19 ; Fisher 1996 20 ; Pillard 1988 21 ; Sipova 1983 22 )


•Mother was overprotective (boys), (Bieber, T. 1971 23 ; Bieber 1962 24 ; Snortum 1969 25 )

•Mother was needy and demanding (boys), (Fitzgibbons 1999 26 )


•Mother emotionally unavailable (girls), (Bradley 1997 27 ; Eisenbud 1982 28 )


•Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification, (Zucker 1995 29)


•Lack of rough and tumble play (boys), (Friedman 1980 30 ; Hadden 1967a 31 )


•Failure to identify with same/ sex peers, (Hockenberry 1987 32 ; Whitman 1977 33 )


•Dislike of team sports (boys), (Thompson 1973 34 )


•Lack of hand/ eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers (boys), (Bailey 1993 35 ; Fitzgibbons 1999 36 ; Newman 1976 37 )


•Sexual abuse or rape, (Beitchman 1991 38 ; Bradley 1997 39 ; Engel 1981 40 ; Finkelhor 1984; Gundlach 1967 41 )


•Social phobia or extreme shyness, (Golwyn 1993 42 )


•Parental loss through death or divorce, (Zucker 1995)


•Separation from parent during critical developmental stages. (Zucker 1995)
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AT-RISK, NOT PREDESTINED
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While a number of studies have shown that children who have been sexually abused, children exhibiting the symptoms of GID, and boys with chronic juvenile unmasculinity are at risk for same-sex attractions in adolescence and adulthood, it is important to note that a significant percentage of these children do not become homosexually active as adults. (Green 1985 57 ; Bradley 1998)
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For some, negative childhood experiences are overcome by later positive interactions. Some make a conscious decision to turn away from temptation. The presence and the power of God's grace, while not always measurable, cannot be discounted as a factor in helping an at-risk individual turn away from same-sex attraction. The labeling of an adolescent, or worse a child, as unchangeably "homosexual" does the individual a grave disservice. Such adolescents or children can, with appropriate, positive intervention, be given proper guidance to deal with early emotional traumas. - Catholic Culture
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Art:  St. Louis King of France: along with St. Joseph, he is a patron and model for dads. 
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From a letter by St. Louis to his son:
My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin. If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either though vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts. Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can.
Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a sons. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly. Amen. - Air Maria
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Please remember to pray for parents.
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Thanks to ck for the link to Catholic Culture.

Everything must come to a halt...


I've sat for two, maybe three days, unable to paint. 

I did some sketches...

Nothing.

Everything seems to have come to a halt.

I have nothing to say either.

Wednesday is my retreat day:

Adoration.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Breaking the mood a bit...

"Priest and prophet forage in a land they know not."

Incurable wound...
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Today's first reading from Jeremiah 14: 17-22 is one I often think of as regards the Church since the Council.  I once included the passage in a letter to an Archbishop, protesting what I perceived to be his support of a couple of homosexual clergy.  I wasn't prepared for the 'how dare you attack one of God's annointed' letters in response, with threats to boot.  (I thought my letter wasn't that bad, although I was a tad sarcastic in one part.)  So you see younger boys and girls, I too spoke out early on - without effect or outside support, mind you. 
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I may have mentioned it before, but many years ago now, when I was hoping to establish a Courage group in this Archdiocese, I spoke to one of the auxiliary bishops (now retired) about the group.  At the time Dignity was the only group around and was generally tolerated, if not accepted.  I had an 'in' with this particular bishop, as I had done some painting for him.  One evening in his apartment I mentioned to him the concept of Courage - he admitted he had some vague understanding of the group but that was all.  I explained to him how necessary I thought the group was in order to offer support for men and women with homosexual inclination to live in accord with Catholic Church teaching.  I also mentioned to him the bad direction some gay priests were offering to Catholics regarding the acceptance of homosexuality.
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The bishop stopped me right there and said, "I beg your pardon, I'm not aware of any gay priests in this archdiocese."  I was so taken aback by his denial I was unable to respond.  He continued, "As for a Courage group, you are not the one to initiate such a thing."  I wasn't in the least offended - I never proposed myself to be the founder, rather I was convinced it had to be established and directed by a priest.  Anyway that was pretty much it - the issue was closed.  I realized then and there something wasn't right.  A decade or so later, the priest scandals broke, and we learned how the bishops were instrumental in covering it up...
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Nevertheless, still undeterred, I later went to NYC and met with Fr. Harvey, who in turn wrote directly to Archbishop Roach, introducing me and and exhorting him to establish a Courage chapter in Minnesota.  In the meantime I could not find one priest interested in helping or supporting the establishment of a Courage chapter here in Minneapolis.  In fact, I never heard from the chancery and nothing happened at all until Archbishop Flynn took over from Roach.  To his credit, one of Flynn's first acts was to establish a Courage group, with a local priest as the chaplain - that priest is now a bishop.
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Why weren't the priests I knew willing to support this effort?  Most of these men were not gay... were they afraid of something?  Someone?  Some 'control' group?
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Anyway - I keep my distance from most priests now days, save for Mass and the sacraments.  I've also learned that prayer is more powerful than words or actions.
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"I have more insight than all who teach me
for I ponder your will.
I have more understanding than the old
for I keep your precepts." - Psalm 119
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Art: Fernando Botero, Dead Bishops

Monday, July 26, 2010

Closer to home: La Crosse priest charged with possession of child pornography.

From Rome to Wisconsin...
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They're here and they're queer.  Like I said in a comment on another post concerning gay priests, "There always have been gay priests and there always will be gay priests - and monks." 
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But this is just sad and devastating and maddening:  Wisconsin priest charged with possession of child pornography.  C'mon - in 2009 he was ejected/banned from a Wisconsin Dells water park for following boys into the restroom.

No charges were filed in the July 2009 incident involving Father Patrick Umberger, who served parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee before moving to the La Crosse Diocese in 1996.
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The incident, however, was the impetus for the investigation, according to the criminal complaint.
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Umberger, 59, was charged Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court and released on a $10,000 signature bond.
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According to the complaint, Umberger said that he was attracted to boys and young men but that he never had inappropriate contact with children in his 30 years as a priest. Among the images of children on his computer were three boys and possibly one girl in sexual poses, according to the complaint.

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Umberger has been suspended from duties by the La Crosse Diocese. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. - Source

The priest is 60 years old.  Gustav von Aschenbach was in his early 50's when he stalked Tadzio (Death in Venice, Thomas Mann).  The problem is not pedophilia - it really is homosexuality.  And as the examples of both Aschenback and Ted Haggard demonstrate - being married is no insurance policy - in fact I think in such cases a wife is often referred to as a "beard" - a cover.  Of course, not all homosexual/same-sex attracted men encounter this temptation, nevertheless it remains an important consideration for not ordaining homosexuals.
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H/T PewsittersNews

The O's on the move again...

More vacation time.
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Shelly is going to Spain - she reserved 30 rooms for her entourage.
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10 more days are scheduled at Martha's Vineyard when she gets back - after a weekend in Florida - the whole family will be in tow this time.
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Of course there is nothing wrong with taking vacation time or traveling to Europe during the depression.  How long has Mr. Obama had his job?  Anyway - of course it doesn't apply - but if a regular guy gets a new job very often his benefits do not kick in until after 6 months, and vacation time must accrue - he has to earn it.  I know, in a classless system such as the U.S. executives are exempt from such limitations and conditions for employment. 
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Aren't they though.

Ted Haggard Starts His Own Church.


"Hey kids!  I got an idea!  Let's put on a first class Broadway show in the barn!"
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Isn't that the storyline from White Christmas?  Pastor Ted Haggard seems to have followed suit - he and his wife "Gayle recently launched a new church in their backyard barn, a few miles from the enormous campus of his old congregation.
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In two months of preaching with sacks of fence-post concrete at his feet, Mr. Haggard, who is 54 years old, has built a congregation of nearly 200 people. His church, St. James, has outgrown the barn and this Sunday moves to a rented community center.
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Ebullient as ever, bouncing with energy, Mr. Haggard said he is back doing what he was born to do.
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"Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football," Mr. Haggard said as his new congregation joined him and Gayle in their backyard for a post-worship picnic. Little kids, shrieking with joy, splashed in the pool. Men grilled burgers. Women set out chicken salad.
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"Ted Haggard," Mr. Haggard said, "needs to be leading a church."
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He acknowledged grave lapses of judgment in the episode he refers to as "my crisis." But Mr. Haggard also said that in his sorrow and shame, he accepted too much guilt after the scandal broke.
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"I over-repented," he said.
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Haggard portrays his encounter with a gay prostitute as "a massage that went awry" and said he doesn't have same-sex attractions. - Source
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"Over-repented" - interesting concept.
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I wonder if Christopher Guest wrote Haggard's responses?  Anyway - Christopher Guest, if you're reading this, there is a film here.
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That's all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

L'Eclisse


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A film by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962.

Parks and Recreation


City Government stories.
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I'm hoping the writers for NBC's Park's and Recreation are watching the news lately - they can gather a lot of material from real city governments for upcoming episodes. 
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Locally a New Prague, MN council member, Ken Betterton resigned after making drunken threats to police who arrested him for disorderly conduct in a local restaurant.  Drunk as a skunk, all he wanted to do is drive home.  Police were called, found him on his knees in the grass.  He became combative, threatened the officer's job and further funding from the city for the police department, saying, "I've just become your worst nightmare."  LOL!  Politicians and their power-trips.  Kenny resigned the next day.
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Then there is the story of the highly paid mayor, police chief, and city council members of Bell, California who appear to have lived like Spanish Colonial Viceroyalty ruling over the mostly Hispanic town.  The story may not be so unusual some place in Guatemala, but this one takes place in the U.S..
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The funniest city politics story emerges from Providence, Rhode Island, where a Democratic mayoral candidate shows up to the mayoral debate carrying a very large statue of the Blessed Virgin.  Candidates were told not to bring props or signs to the debate stage. Young argued it was a question of free speech: "The statue stands for my faith. I believe I have a right to be here with my faith."
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I know!
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Photo credit:  Pewsitters  The Providence mayoral candidate.

Courage Apostolate Conference.

TOB and Courage?
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A friend of this blog usually let's me know when and where the annual Courage conference is to be held, although I was sure he once told me the location is not widely published to respect the anonymity and privacy of the attendees, as well as to forestall gay activists and other protesters from disrupting the meetings.  Nevertheless, I noted Catholic News Agency posted an article on the event, with dates and location, as well as speakers.  Evidently I was misinformed, since the Courage website also provides all the information needed. 
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I was somewhat surprised by a couple of the speakers scheduled:  "Featured speakers this year include noted professor Dr. Janet E. Smith, Byzantine Catholic theologian Fr. Thomas Loya, and professional counselor and therapist Suzanne Baars, along with the priests who serve as national and local directors of Courage."  Which just might confirm my expectation that popular interpretations of  JPII's Theology of the Body  is making its way into what may eventually evolve into a "gay spirituality" - mark my words.
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I'm not saying the highly accredited speakers at the Courage conference will be presenting anything unsound, Fr. Harvey wouldn't tolerate such a thing.  But I do wonder about what some participants may take away from the conference?
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Disinterested Friendship...
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One of the issues I've had as I've come across pop-TOB as it is sometimes loosely interpreted for same-sex disinterested friendships, is that emphasis is frequently placed upon what I term same-sex inordinate affections, especially as it concerns the question: How far can I go in loving my friend?  Can I hold hands?  Can I admire his/her body?  Can I cuddle?  Massage?  Kiss?  I may be wrong, but I think such questions betray what St. John of the Cross would say is a vain rejoicing in sensory and natural goods, not to mention a lack of detachment.
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I knew a man whose spiritual director once told him regarding his 'scruples' over similar intimacies in the same-sex friendship he was in, to "See the face of Christ reflected upon the face of your beloved.  See the outline of Christ's body upon the limbs of the one you love.  By his resurrection he has made all things new..."  Needless to say, I was shocked, considering my friend's spiritual director was a monk and a priest, teaching in a prestigious college out East - needless to say, he was also gay.  My friend wisely ignored the priest's advice.
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Vain rejoicing in sensual and natural goods and the need for detachment in every relationship.
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I'm no expert but it is obvious to me that type of spirituality is in error.  As St. John of the Cross, commenting upon St. Paul affirms, "The sensual man is the one who occupies his will with sensory things, the animal man who is unperceptive of the things of God; while the other who raises his will to God, he calls the spiritual man, and he is the one who penetrates and judges all things, even the deep things of God.  [1 Cor. 2:14, 10]
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St. John continues:  "Until a man is so habituated to the purgation of sensible joy that at the first movement of this joy he procures the benefit spoken of - that these goods turn him immediately to God - he must necessarily deny his joy and satisfaction in sensible goods in order to draw his soul away from the sensory life.  Since he is not spiritual, he should be fearful lest through the use of these goods he may perhaps get more satisfaction and strength for the senses than the spirit.  Because of their predominance in his activity, the sensory forces increase sensuality, and sustain and nourish it.
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And this we should ponder considerably, for it is really true.  No one who has not yet mortified his pleasure in sensory things should dare to look for notable benefit from the vigor and activity of his senses regarding these goods in the belief they are a help to the spirit." - Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Bk. III, Ch. 26.
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Photo:  This is so 'Up With People' looking, I had to post it.

The feast of Santiago. July 25. Compostela, Spain.



St. James, the Moor-slayer.