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, December 04, 2010

Margaret Sanger interview redux.


Separated at contraception.
.
Marge Sanger is in the news again with a look back at the Mike Wallace interview wherein Wallace nails the old broad - well, not nails her, but tries to pin her down.  That doesn't sound right either, does it.  Anyway - click here for the story.
.
The photo Pewsitters used for the link reminded me of an earlier observation I once made about how much the young Sanger resembled Jim Caveziele.  I still think Caveziele should play Sanger in a film based on her life - Barb Nicolosi's Act Up playhouse never seemed to be interested in my idea though.  Maybe Mel Gibson would reconsider?  If they use my idea I'll donate 10% of my 'finder's fee' to Fr. Z's 'feeder feed'.
.
Second Sunday in Advent "Get Silly Contest":  How many 'followers' can I lose in a weekend?

What I have been doing...


It snowed again poodles!

Overnight we got 10 feet of snow!  (That's a lie!)  So I am busy removing snow and playing with all the neighborhood dogs - we love to run and fetch frisbies in the snow and lick people's faces and roll down hills.

Oh! BTW - I updated Up Your Street with a couple of paintings I've been working on these past few weeks.  Enjoy!  Or not... 
.
It may also interest you to know that for Advent I'm trying to be very monastic - so I do not open cards or letters until Sunday - sometimes I don't open them until Christmas.  With emails and blog comments, I've decided to do the same - so go crazy if you want to in the combox.  Or not.  Just remember, I will read them on Sunday.  Your cards and gifts I'll save until Christmas.  Kidding - never send me gifts.  Thanks.
Posted by Picasa

Feast of St. Barbara


Patron of U.S. Army Field Artillery.

I'm always surprised...



So my contention is that, inwardly, a homosexual is never a happy, stable person. There is always some chagrin, some inner chagrin that he takes with him. - Gerard van den Aardweg PhD

I'm always surprised at how sensitive gay men can be - especially gay Catholic guys working on their issues.  I suppose I should refer to them as same-sex attracted Catholic men - they tend to have an aversion to the gay if they are in Courage or do not act out as gay - which means they are striving to live a chaste life.  I appreciate that.  On the other hand, if one says something the least bit negative about DADT - gay soldiers, or even gay monks, priests, et al, they are suddenly deeply offended if what is said doesn't suit their sensibilities.  Which explains why I end up referring to them as gay, considering how defensive they get for the gay
.
Anyway.  Recent history proves gay people tend to have difficulty with any type of constructive criticism of gay culture and its practitioners - even if one of their own does the criticizing.  I recall the late playwright, AIDS activist Larry Kramer, who was highly critical of the trashy, promiscuous side of homosexuality, declaring: 
.
"Almost 60 million people whom we live and work with every day think we are immoral. “Moral values” was top of many lists of why people supported George Bush. Not Iraq. Not the economy. Not terrorism. "Moral values." In case you need a translation that means us. It is hard to stand up to so much hate." - Source
.
His critics countered:
.
"Larry Kramer recycles the kind of harangues about gay men (and young gay men in particular) that institutions like the Times so love to print -- that they are buffoonish, disengaged Peter Pans dancing, drugging and f-----g their lives away while the world and the disco burn down around them." - Ibid

.
One might have hoped gay people would have become more tolerant and open to critique after all of these years of lobbying and politicking.  Apparently not.  HIV rates are climbing once again too.
.
.
N.B.  It was not my intention to harm or offend any gay person's feelings with this post.
.
Photo:  Spoof on gays in the military.  According to Army and Marine chiefs, as well as combat troops in the field, the repeal of DADT would not be welcome:
.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The top uniformed officers of the Army and the Marines say letting gays serve openly in the military at a time of war would be divisive and difficult, sharply challenging a new Pentagon study that calculates the risk as low.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Odd female mystics...


Margery Kempe.

The Holy Father has been digging up a lot of female mystics for his Wednesday audiences lately.  Many of these were the same mystics I was forbidden to read in the novitiate, BTW.  I expect he's speaking about these women to help modern women understand they have always had a place in the Church.  Early on, I too was attracted by the more obscure medieval female contemplatives, enjoying their more homely, Alice-sit-by-the-fire mysticism.  Kempe was actually something of a camp.  Quite a character - many thought she was mad - Julian of Norwich assured her that her visions must be good because they led to greater works of charity.  (Julian didn't know for sure, did she.)  That said, one of my favorite stories involves Margery tempted to an adulterous affair, having fallen victim to a male parishioner's flattery.  Naughty girl.
.
My little Margie.
.
Though she had tried to be more devout after her vision, she was tempted by sexual pleasures and social jealousy for some years. Eventually turning away from what she interpreted as the effect of worldly pride in her vocational choices, Kempe dedicated herself completely to the spiritual calling that she felt her earlier vision required. Striving to live a life of commitment to God, Kempe negotiated a celibate marriage with her husband, and began to make pilgrimages around Europe to holy sites — including Rome, Jerusalem, and Santiago de Compostela. The stories surrounding these travels are what eventually comprised much of her Book, although a final section includes a series of prayers. The spiritual focus of her Book is on the mystical conversations she conducts with Christ for more than forty years. - Source
.
There is hope for us all, I dare say.  BTW, Anglicans venerate the blessed Margery on November 9.  I once had a very old copy of her autobiography...  Lesson learned - never lend books to 'friends'.

Fact: It was once common practice to ban homosexuals from spy agencies and secret service positions.



Though it was covered up by Chump, the Dragon Woman was reportedly a male-transvestite double-agent.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wikileaks... gay rage?


Just asking.
.
I got an email about the Wikileaks leaks.  I haven't written anything about this issue, there are enough people doing so already.  However, I do consider the entire situation to be treason - and quite honestly, I'm surprised someone hasn't assassinated Julian Assange by now.  I don't think it takes a moral theologian to tell you that the Wikileaks actions are immoral.  Although someone please shut Sarah Palin up from expounding on how incompetent the Obama Administration is.  She's the queen of incompetence, so I don't know what she's shooting off her mouth about. 
.
Speaking of queens...
.
My email tipster sent me a post from Mass Resistance - a site I never read - but I found the article rather interesting.  I know some of my readers will be upset with me for posting about it, but that's how this blog goes - if you haven't noticed already.  Anyway, the site makes the claim that an angry homosexual activist is behind the WikiLeaks treachery. 

.
The US Army intelligence analyst who has been arrested for disclosing more than more than 90,000 intelligence reports and more than 150,000 diplomatic cables to the Wikileaks website is a homosexual activist enraged at the military's "anti-gay" policies.
.
Bradley Manning, who is now awaiting court-marshal at a military stockade in Quantico, VA, was arrested last May for giving a classified video to the Wikileaks website, and later it became clear that he had given them thousands of other military documents. He is an open homosexual, and his anger at the military's rejection of homosexuality appears to be the major reason for his actions. - The angry gay activist did it.
.
Media ignoring the story.
.
Is there a media blackout on this because of the pending "don't ask, don't tell" military ban, opening the barracks to homosexuals?  Some people seem to thinks so.  Years ago homosexuals in the military and secret services were considered a liability due to their susceptibility to blackmail.  I actually understood that.  Even in corporate situations I've experienced the wrath of gay men...  I once had a member of senior management tell me, "You know what you have to do to get ahead."  That was back in the days before any self-respecting man would come forward with a sexual harassment suit.  Gay men with power - or access to it, can be treacherous. 
.
Though I'm not as extreme as the fellow who wrote the following, he does make a very valid observation - albeit extremely un-PC:
.
So why were homosexuals denied security clearance in the first place? A series of Senate committee reports from the 1950s concluded that "moral perverts are bad national security risks ... because of their susceptibility to blackmail" and that homosexuals are "vulnerable to interrogation by a skilled questioner" due to emotional instability and moral weakness. (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10/1/2001). - WkiLeaks Gay Connection
.
I suppose the gay thing will turn out to be just one more conspiracy theory and condemned as homophobic hate speech and all that stuff - which is probably why mainstream press refuses to take it seriously.  I don't know if the gay issue is really THE issue, nevertheless it seems clear that Bradley Manning's emotional stability and loyalty was compromised by something.  Gay activists take their identity as gay people very seriously - but is it possible their personal rights could trump National Security?  Would gay activists ever try to subvert the U.S. government, seek to over turn laws, and change moral standards?
.
As Derek Fey might say:  "How very dare you!  How very dare you suggest such a thing!"

Hermits, anchorites, recluses...


In plain view.
.
I sometimes think the renewed interest in eremetical life in our time began with the facinating story of Blessed Charles of Jesus (de Foucauld) whose memorial is kept on December 1.  Before his expedition into the desert, hermits in the Latin Church were more or less relegated to the Carthusians and Camoldolese.  Only in the Camaldolese was the medieval practice of reclusion still available, otherwise that particular way of life ceased to be observed in the West - though the Orthodox maintained a somewhat vigorous solitary eremetic life all along into our own day.

Since the Council, and after the revisions to Canon Law, the hermit life (Can. 603) was re-instituted in the Latin Church.  Interestingly enough, I have always had spiritual directors who discouraged the hermit life or felt it was a mistake to reintroduce it in Canon Law - ironically, one of these SD lives as a diocesan hermit today.  Nevertheless, I took their precautions very seriously and was always rather dubious when I heard stories of increasing numbers of spiritual people running off to a hermitage in a woods, or at home.  I've known men and women who left monasteries to start their own Carthusian style hermitage, as well as men and women who just went off to live a hermit life - some canonically, others doing their own thing.  I've always had mixed feelings about the 'trend'.  The upside of so many years of pondering the matter is that I have come to understand exactly what I was not called to, which includes none of the above BTW, though others might consider me to be something of a recluse. 

I've known of urban hermits for many years of course, and I was interested in Sr. Laurel of Stillsong Hermitage from the first moment I read about her consecration/profession a few years ago.  I was very skeptical at first - I had some stereotypical old fashioned ideas about what a contemporary hermit should be - although if they could measure up to my ideals they would be roaming the desert naked.  Instead, what I have learned from reading Sr. Laurel is that an urban hermit's external life may differ from the barren asceticism of the desert, nevertheless it is a real vocation and an authentic form of consecrated solitary life in the Church.
.
Anyway - if you are interested in the subject, I suggest you visit her blog - she writes well about the vocation.  I would post some entries she's written but I'm unable to copy and paste from her blog.  Visit her at Notes From Stillsong Hermitage
.
Coincidently, yesterday the Holy Father spoke of the famous medieval anchorite, Julian of Norwich: 
.
"Inspired by divine love, Julian made a radical choice,” Pope Benedict stated. “Like an ancient anchoress, she chose to live in a cell located near the church of St. Julian in the city of Norwich.”

.
He explained that “anchoresses,” or recluses, dedicated themselves to prayer, meditation and study within their cells.
.
“In this way they came to acquire a very delicate human and religious sensibility which led to their being venerated by the people,” the Pope explained, adding that “and men and women of all ages and conditions, in need of counsel and comfort, devotedly sought them out.”
.
Those who choose to live apart from the world and devote their lives to prayer, the Pope observed, are “friends of God.”
.
“Women and men who chose to withdraw and live in the company of God acquire, precisely because of this choice, a great sense of compassion for the suffering and weakness of others,” he said."Thus I think with admiration and gratitude" that today's monasteries of cloistered men and women "are oases of peace and hope, a precious treasure for the entire Church."
.
Recalling St. Julian's book, titled "Revelations of Divine Love,” Pope Benedict said the work contains “an optimistic message based on the certainty that we are loved by God and protected by His Providence.”
.
She “compares divine love with maternal love,” he added. “This is one of the most characteristic messages of her mystical theology. The tenderness, solicitude and sweetness of God's goodness towards us are so great that to us, pilgrims on the earth, they seem as the love of a mother for her children.” - CNA
.
Note:  While searching for a photo to illustrate this post I came upon an interesting order of nuns in Quebec called the Recluse Sisters - I've never heard of them before.
.
Art:  Anchoress

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What?



I am sorry I haven't been able to respond to comments because I have been painting all morning.  I will be at adoration for the rest of the afternoon.

Love,

Dad

Blessed Charles De Foucauld: Another saint for losers


I love Charles De Foucauld - a cad of a young man turned penitent, turned priest and hermit.  He founded an order of religious but had no real followers until after his death.  Oddly enough, the example of his life led to not a few monastic vocation crashes, yet his spirituality became closely identified with the hidden, silent, loving action of the disregarded Jesus of Nazareth in the Blessed Sacrament.  He was killed, cast aside, with the monstrance containing the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, in the sands of the Sahara.

Blessed Charles ought to be the patron of new religious communities and failed religious founders.  I always thought his main problem was the Poor Clare abbess, Mother Elizabeth, who pushed him to become a priest.  Monks and priests - do not be misled by nuns.  ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blogging as a vocation?


The grandiosity of ordinary life.
.
Vocation talk is big on the Internet - everyone seems to be discerning their true calling - their place in life, in the Church, etc..  But they don't want you to claim that the single life is a vocation - no, no, no.  The theologists don't buy that one.  Vocation is limited to priesthood, religious life, and married life.  I know - very narrow, huh?  I suppose every state in life needs some form of a canonical recognition and official consecration ritual to be absolutely official:  So after you're canonized, your name can be listed as, St. Morticia, religious; St. John of Wisconsin Dells, priest; St. Orthinologus, hermit (Can. 603);  St. Vaselena, virgin (Can. 604);  St. Lawrence of Motown, Husband, and so on and so forth.  I doubt St. Giustacrepe, blogger, would ever be a category.  
.
All kidding aside, I don't see blogging as a vocation - perhaps an avocation, a past-time, a hobby, an extension of one's writing career, an opportunity to annoy people, or, if you are really fortunate - it can lead to a new career all together.  I just don't see it as a vocation in itself.  I don't see spending most of your day or evening online as a call from God.  As Catholics we are called to evangelize and this can take many forms - one means could be writing a blog - but that doesn't make it a vocation.  It is not wrong to try and justify one's use of the Internet - but I wouldn't get too exalted about it.
.
Anyway, I came across a piece Mark Shea linked to at Unam Sanctam, on the 'vocation' of the Catholic blogger.  To be sure, the author Boniface, whom Shea links to has some very good reflections on the subject - I just don't like calling an exercise such as blogging a vocation.  Petty?  Perhaps - but other bloggers get real petty about calling the single life a vocation as well. 
.
That said, I prefer Mark Shea's reflection on blogging:
.
Boniface, who takes blogging a whole lot more seriously than I do, pens a sort of manifesto about what he takes to be the vocation of the blogger. More power to him. The world needs Catholics who think about such things and try to work out the theological implications. The Faith, after all, is Catholic--and therefore about everything, including blogging.

.
That said, this is the sort of thing that would engender tremendous performance anxiety in me if I ascribed to it. I do blogging as a sort of lark. It's a chance to say whatever I feel like saying without too much solemnity surrounding it. I'm not writing for the Ages. I'm just dashing off ideas and shooting the breeze with readers. It's a great gift for somebody like me--an extrovert trapped in an introvert's job--to have a tool for writing interactively. Sometimes I will try out an idea here that becomes an article elsewhere. Sometime I just want to tell a joke. Now and then I will do something stupid as, for instance, when I stupidly published that account of the Sungenis conference that some reader sent me without bothering to check the accuracy (mea culpa). When I screw up, I try to make things right by deleting or editing offending posts, as I did with that one.
.
I try to run a clean joint and keep things on the up and up as best I can, though I know there are still people who hate me. Oh well. But on the whole, I regard blogging as a chance to gab somewhat informally about whatever interests me at the moment, from a Catholic perspective. While a manifesto may be helpful for other folks (and God bless those who find it so), such an approach solemnizes these proceedings more than I prefer them to be solemnized. This is my living room, not Church--though it is, of course, a Catholic living room and I ask readers to observe ordinary living room rules of discourse.  - Mark Shea
.
I couldn't agree more, Mr. Shea.
.
Art:  Apotheosis of the French Hero

Why homosexuals should not be ordained...



Gay priest, gay Mass I guess.

What?

Gloria TV
H/T Pewsitter

Extra-Cathedra sayings and doings of the Popes.



'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ' It's going to rain'...
.
As many people know Pope Benedict has emphasized that his writings, such as his book, Jesus of Nazareth, along with comments made during interviews, are not magisterial and therefore not official teaching, infallible or any of that stuff Catholic faithful are required to believe in.  So what does it all mean then?
.
Supposedly the SSPX - or a spokesman for the group - is saying the Holy Father's statement on condoms that has generated so much discussion is in serious error... Not to worry I guess, since the Holy Father wasn't speaking ex-Cathedra.  I believe it is safe to assume the SSPX doesn't agree with the Pope on many issues.  Although on the other hand, when the Holy Father says something traditionalists like - totally off the magisterial record of course, he seems to get high praise.  Anyway - the following is the trad take on the Holy Father's condom comments:
.
"Now the fact that condom use is an intrinsically immoral action, and matter for mortal sin, is a constant point in the traditional teaching of the Church, for example in the writings of Pius XI and Pius XII, and even in the thought of Benedict XVI when he says to the journalist who is questioning him, “[The Church] of course does not regard [the condom] as a real or moral solution,” but nevertheless the pope allows it “in certain cases”. But that is inadmissible from the perspective of the faith. “No reason,” Pius XI teaches in Casti Connubii, 54, “however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good.” Pius XII recalls this in his Address to Midwives (October 29, 1951): “No ‘indication’ or necessity can turn an intrinsically immoral action into a moral and licit act.” Saint Paul condemned the opinion that evil may be done so that good may come of it (see Romans 3:8).
.
Now this idea is a serious error because a lesser evil remains an evil, whatever improvement it may indicate. As Paul VI teaches in Humanae vitae (no. 14), 'Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Romans 3:8)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.'” - Source
.
Makes sense to me.  So how does one reconcile these matters?  Of course, the question has long been asked how do we reconcile many of the things that have happened since the Council, namely some aspects of pre-Vatican II innovations and teaching which seems to contradict former Papal teachings?  Read the Syllabus of Errors or LAMENTABILI SANE sometime and you will say - "but we do most of these things today."

.
I sometimes find myself wondering if anyone knows anything for sure these days?  For example, if JPII kissed a copy of the Koran does that mean we should read it?  They say Karol Wojtyla kissed the Koran, not John Paul II - even though it looked like Venerable John Paul II.  (That's what I tell the curious ones.)  Likewise, Benedict XVI evidently sees something positive in a male prostitute using a condom to protect his client from disease, does that mean the entire third world is free to use condoms?  We are told that isn't what the Pope meant.  We are also told the Pope didn't contradict Church teaching, although liberals say he condoned the use of condoms, while trads say the Holy Father spoke in error, and everyone else is spinning the rest accordingly. 
.
I find this stuff very confusing at times - not so much the apparent contradictions, but rather the debates and arguments these matters generate amongst religious people.  For instance, many Catholics felt that since the Holy Father distributes Holy Communion on the tongue while the communicant is kneeling, he symbolically mandated that the entire Catholic Church should return to the practice.  But the Holy Father explicitly stated he was not asking that.   Likewise, the Holy Father said homosexuality is incompatible with the priesthood, yet not a few vocation directors/panels along with diocesan and monastic seminaries privately say, "Yeah - but if they live chastely that's okay."
.
So you see how confusing all of these inconsistencies get to be for lay people?  No wonder so many get involved in private-revelation and apparition-inspired cults and sects.
.
As for me, despite everything, I'm sticking with the Roman Catholic Church and Christ's Vicar, Pope Benedict XVI. 

H/T Pewsitters for the SSPX story.

Monday, November 29, 2010

First Sunday of Advent



The recent Thanksgiving holiday and this Sunday's first Mass of Advent, complete with the fake Advent wreath and ugly colored banners, reminded me of how each year we go through the same rituals - year after year after year.  We anticipate our holidays and seasons, and make elaborate preparations for the great events - weeks and months ahead of time.  'How does that fit with living in the present moment?'  I wondered.

Of course I know we anticipate the second coming of Christ during Advent, yet all of our attention is ultimately focused upon His first coming at Christmas.  It is almost as if we pretend to make it all about the second coming when indeed what we really want is Christmas.  We are supposed to be vigilant - living in the present moment - while waiting for the end.  It seems to me what many of us really are doing is simply marking time as it were - waiting for something better - while ignoring, if not missing the present moment.  We do it over and over, from childhood through adulthood, looking for a better something, or someone to take away all of our troubles, until that very final present moment arrives... 

Ugly 'Christmas Starts With Christ' poster turns into pro-life promo.


I'm sorry, but I think this poster is so cold and ugly.  I get the message - but it's ugly: for Christmas and for pro-life purposes. 
.
The poster is part of a 'put Christ back in Christmas' campaign in the UK, but the image is obviously being promoted elsewhere as a pro-life image as well.  People are free to do as they wish of course, I just don't like it - it looks like a bad Easter Seal stamp to me.  I know a lot of Catholics think it is an effective image.  Perhaps for them.  For me, the most effective pro-life images I have ever seen were photos of the remains of aborted babies at various stages of development, laid out on a towel.  Unfortunately, many people feel such images are offensive and much too disturbing.   
.
Anyway, a good alternative image to the ultra-sound facsimile?  An icon of Our Lady of the Sign - the image says it all and so much more.  It is pure and modest and holy, and represents sound theology and devotion.  That said - regular ultra-sound images of any baby in the womb ought to be enough to convince people that life begins at conception.

.
Ultra-sound image source.
.
Icon:  Our Lady of the Sign