Saturday, January 22, 2011

Something....



Winter, 1945 - Wyeth:  "I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show."

Friday, January 21, 2011

St. Agnes in hell...



Or Roman MTV.
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Today is the feast of St. Agnes, a child martyr from the early Church.  The twelve year old daughter of Roman nobility who consecrated her virginity to Christ was put to death in the reign of Diocletian for refusing to marry the son of the Roman Prefect, Sempronius.  Before her death, Agnes was subjected to immoral tortures, dragged through the streets naked to a brothel so that her virginity might be violated and she could be executed according to Roman law.  Agnes was steadfast and her virginity preserved, though she was ultimately put to death.  Strange facts, don't you agree?  A morally corrupt culture seeking to follow the law as regards capital punishment, yet more than willing to violate the innocence and morality of youth.
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How like our own culture... 
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MTV, long a corrupter of morals, seems to be crossing a line of sorts lately with it's show "Skins". 
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"MTV executives have a new hit drama on their hands, featuring the sexual and drug-fueled exploits of misfit teenagers. They also have something else — a fear that coming episodes of the show may break the law.
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In recent days, executives at the cable channel became concerned that some scenes from the provocative new show “Skins” may violate federal child pornography statutes." - Source

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Child pornography statutes?  What about what we teach our kids in schools?
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"OAKLAND (CBS 5) — A teacher at Oakland’s Markham Elementary School has been suspended indefinitely after school officials said a pair of second-graders performed sex acts on each other in class – with the teacher present." - Source
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We desperately need the example and intercession of St. Agnes and other virgin martyrs and young saints.  Oh - and better parents and teachers too.
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Art: St Agnes in Prison Receiving from Heaven the Shining White Garment  - by Frank Cadogan Cowper.

"I know they are pro-abortion, but I can't help but like them - they are really nice people."



I said that about the Obamas during the nightly news last night.  I know!  I can't believe I can be so easily misled and compromise my morals like that. 
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Lord have mercy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I finished my St. Sebastian painting.



Right on his feast day too!
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I'll try to post photos later.  In the meantime Agnes and I are celebrating with a little dance.
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Happy feast day!

Spiritual jerks.



Kind of.
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Someplace John of the Cross, speaking of the censure of a nun, says something like, "It wouldn't be so difficult if she wasn't so spiritual."  In other words, the woman must have been a spiritual know-it-all to some degree.  A spiritual jerk.  (I'm playing fast and loose with the John of the Cross quotes here BTW.)
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Thank God Jesus loves us, even when we are spiritual know-it-all jerks.  I was so consoled to read this from Magnificat, the meditation for the day taken from Blessed Columba Marmion:
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Nothing is more fatal in the spiritual life than the thought that we can do anything good without Our Lord, and our self-love is so subtle, that unconsciously we attribute to ourselves the little good that we do, which spoils everything.  (Ed. Note: Sometimes we blow it way out of proportion too.)  Our Lord, out of love, leaves us sometimes to our wicked nature, and then we are frightened in seeing all the evil and the possibilities of evil hidden in us.  It is not that we are worse than before, but Our Lord lets us see the depths of evil grace had covered.  During these moments we should act in union with God's designs, by humbling ourselves profoundly and throwing ourselves into God's arms. - From a Letter by Bl. Marmion

Catholic Spiritual Direction



I found a real Catholic blog with with real Catholic spiritual director priests.  It is called Catholic Spiritual Direction.  Looks good to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here's the deal...


There are not many things in life you can be sure of... except:
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Birds fall from the skies,
fish jump out of the ocean,
priests are falsely accused,
and Ricky Gervais is funny!
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And one more thing:  "Is it a saint's name?" update...
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Blanket Jackson's patron saint could be St. Blaithmac.  St Blaithmac was an Irish abbot and martyr, he is also the patron saint of girls/boys named Bathmat.

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Photo: Tarkovsky's Stalker

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canon Law and Church Discipline and Clerics.



Clericus nec comam nutriat nec barbam.
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Did you know Catholic priests were once forbidden to wear beards?
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I know!
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The legislation requiring the beard to be shaved seems to have remained in force throughout the Middle Ages. Thus an ordinance of the Council of Toulouse, in 1119, threatened with excommunication the clerics who "like a layman allowed hair and beard to grow", and Pope Alexander III ordained that clerics who nourished their hair and beard were to be shorn by their archdeacon, by force if necessary. This last decree was incorporated in the text of the canon law (Decretals of Gregory IX, III, tit. i, cap. vii). Durandus, finding mystical reasons for everything, according to his wont, tells us that "length of hair is symbolical of the multitude of sins. Hence clerics are directed to shave their beards; for the cutting of the hair of the beard, which is said to be nourished by the superfluous humours of the stomach, denotes that we ought to cut away the vices and sins which are a superfluous growth in us. Hence we shave our beards that we may seem purified by innocence and humility and that we may be like the angels who remain always in the bloom of youth." (Rationale, II, lib. XXXII.)
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In spite of this, the phrase barbam nutrire which was classical in the matter, and was still used by the Fifth Council of Lateran (1512), always remained somewhat ambiguous. Consequently usage in the sixteenth century began to interpret the prohibition as not inconsistent with a short beard. There are still many ordinances of episcopal synods which deal with the subject, but the point upon which stress is laid is that the clergy "should not seem to be aping the fashions of military folk" or wearing flowing beards like goats (hircorum et caprarum more), or allowing the hair on their upper lip to impede their drinking of the chalice. This last has always been accounted a solid reason in favour of the practice of shaving. To judge by the portraits of the popes, it was with Clement VII (1523) that a distinct beard began to be worn, and many among his successors, for example Paul III, allowed the beard to grow to considerable length. St. Charles Borromeo attempted to check the spread of the new fashion, and in 1576 he addressed to his clergy a pastoral "De barbâ radendâ" exhorting them to observe the canons. Still, though the length of clerical beards decreased during the seventeenth century, it was not until its close that the example of the French court and the influence of Cardinal Orsini, Archbishop of Beneventum, contributed to bring about a return to the earlier usage. For the last 200 years there has been no change, and an attempt made by some of the clergy of Bavaria in 1865 to introduce the wearing of beards was rebuked by the Holy See.
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As already noted, in Eastern lands a smooth face carries with it the suggestion of effeminacy. For this reason the clergy, whether Catholic or Schismatic, of the Oriental churches have always worn their beards. The same consideration, together with a regard for practical difficulties, has influenced the Roman authorities in according a similar privilege to missionaries, not only in the East but in other barbarous countries where the conveniences of civilization cannot be found. In the case of religious orders like the Capuchins and the Camaldolese Hermits the wearing of a beard is prescribed in their constitutions as a mark of austerity and penance. Individual priests who for medical or other reasons desire to exempt themselves from the law require the permission of their bishop. - Source
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Oh!  My!  Gosh!  Someone!  Quick!  Email Dr. Peters!

ob·se·qui·ous /əbˈsēkwēəs/ Adjective: Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree.

What?
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Photo: Obama and Hu?

Des hommes et des dieux


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I very much want to see this film.
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Trappist monk who survived Algeria massacre prays for conversion of assassins...
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Madrid, Spain, Jan 17, 2011 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- Brother Jean Pierre Schumacher is one of two monks who escaped death in the massacre of Thibirine, Algeria in 1996. Since then, he has not ceased praying for the conversion of the Muslim extremists who killed seven members of his community.

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The Trappist monk granted an interview to the Spanish weekly Alfa y Omega following the debut of the film “Of Gods and Men,” runner-up at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The film recounts the last three years of the French Trappist monks at Thibirine, who were kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Armed Islamic Group.
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Brother Schumacher, who today lives at a Trappist monastery in Morocco, escaped death because the kidnappers did not see him.
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The Trappist monk emphasized that Algeria had strong “relations between Christians and Muslims.” He noted that in the world today, if there is conflict in between cultures and religions, “it is because we don't know each other well enough. When we mutually know each other, we are like brothers,” he said. - CNA
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The monks' words and witness contradict many of our own attitudes today, proving that God's ways are not men's ways.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ordinary Time



What it means officially.
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The Latin Tempus Per Annum ("time throughout the year") is rendered into English as "Ordinary Time." Many sources, online and in print, suggest that Ordinary Time gets its name from the word ordinal, meaning "numbered," since the Sundays of Ordinary Time, as in other seasons, are expressed numerically. However, others suggest the etymology of "Ordinary Time" is related to our word "ordinary" (which itself has a connotation of time and order, derived from the Latin word ordo). Ordinary Time occurs outside of other liturgical time periods, periods in which specific aspects of the mystery of Christ are celebrated. According to The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, the days of Ordinary Time, especially the Sundays, "are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects."

Ordinary Time encompasses that part of the Christian year that does not fall within the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. The Catholic Church celebrates two periods of the year as Ordinary Time. The first period begins after the Feast Baptism of the Lord (the Sunday after The Epiphany) has ended. Some interpret this to mean that Ordinary Time begins on Sunday night, while others, including The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, specifically mention the first period of Ordinary Time beginning on the Monday after the Baptism of the Lord. Either way, the point is the same. The next Sunday is still reckoned "The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time," because it is the Sunday of the second week in Ordinary Time. The reckoning can be confusing, and has many asking "what happened to the first Sunday in Ordinary Time?" This first period of Ordinary Time runs until the Tuesday evening before Ash Wednesday. The Second period of Ordinary Time runs from the Monday after Pentecost until Evening Prayer is said the night before Advent begins. This includes Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time. In some denominations, the Sundays of the second period of Ordinary Time are numbered "Sundays After Pentecost." - Source

Some thoughts.
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It seems to me many traditional liturgists hate the term Ordinary Time used to designate the liturgical season outside Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Paschaltide.  Other Catholics, including some priests think of it as a sort of boring season.  In fact my pastor just described it as a time to prepare for Lent.  As we know, Lent is a time to prepare for Easter.  With that type of thinking, one lives one's life in perpetual anticipation of another more colorful and fulfilling period of time, thus missing the present moment.  Others may disagree, but I think Ordinary Time is a wonderful time to appreciate what St. Jose-Maria Escriva calls  "the greatness of ordinary life"
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Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love. - Furrow, 489

So many of us today seem to be afraid of the ordinary - we refuse to be ordinary.  So many today focus their lives, their ambitions on what is extraordinary; in lifestyle, career, entertainment, and even in one's spirituality.  We tend to forget that the majority of Christ's time on earth was spent in obscurity, living an ordinary life.  The essence of the spiritual life is found in the most ordinary - fidelity to one's duty in one's state in life.  It is the teaching of the saints, the way of abandonment to Divine Providence, described by de Caussade.  It is the little way laid out by Therese of Lisieux.  And to be sure, ever since the days of St. Anthony of Egypt, whose feast we observe today, it is what comprises monastic life.  The Christian prepares for eternal life doing the ordinary in ordinary time.
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Good and faithful servants.
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All too often I've been critical of monks and nuns and contemporary religious life, questioning observance and fidelity to rules and charisms, and so on.  I have come to understand that even in the worst religious house, the religious who live there, persevering day in and day out - no matter if they are in active apostolates or live a contemplative life, these folks are much better than I could ever hope to be.  Why?  Because they are faithful to the ordinary duties of their state in life, patiently enduring, persevering in their vocation - day in and day out.  Ordinary life, in ordinary time is more important than we know.

Can the new Anglican Catholic priests keep "doin' it"?



Celibates want to know...
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Why?  Because if permanent deacons, normally married, are expected to observe continence once ordained, that means converts from Anglicanism - married priests and bishops - newly ordained as Roman priests must also observe continence as well.  Right?  Dr. Peters seems to think so. 
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But I think there is more.  What about unmarried people - those who were divorced and remarried and live together, and or gay people who have a partner?  What if they renounce sex in order to return to the Church but continue to live together, albeit in continence?  Now the sex-police and puritanical Catholics insist these folks must separate and live apart because it is inconceivable that two people who care about one another would be able to live together without sex - in continence - chaste and celibate.  Really?  So if a deacon/priest and his wife can be expected/allowed to live together in continence - why can't other people?
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Interestingly enough, on another forum, a commenter questioned how a deacon and his wife could live in the same house and remain chaste/continent?  Wondering if they shouldn't live apart?
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The answer:  "It doesn't seem we would need to go that far... separate beds perhaps (at the very least). But moving out would seem to be an offense to the marriage... they should be able to live out the remainder of their married days in chaste abstinence-- still being a mutual help to the other, etc."
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How generous.
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1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful. § 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation. - Dr. Peters
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Links: 
Church Law Says Permanent Deacons - All Clerics - Are To Abstain From Sex.
Anglican Bishops Ordained.
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H/T Eponymous Flower 
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NB:  I'm not at all sure that this theory or interpretation of Canon 277 is the official/promulgated/taught one, but if it were to be found correct, then I think my point is well taken.  Well-taken or not, I think I made my point.
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Photo:  Cistercian sleeping arrangements:  Cubicles in a dormitory...  celibates sleeping together. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Santo Nino de Cebu: "Let the children come to me..."



Today is the feast day of the Santo Nino de Cebu.
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Filipinos around the world celebrate today, the third Sunday in January as his feast day.  Providentially this year the date coincides with the beginning of the monthly novena to the Infant Jesus.
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+Prayer+
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O miraculous Santo Nino prostrate before your sacred Image, we beseech you to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Your tender love, so inclined to pity, be softened at our prayers, and grant us that grace for which we ardently implore you. Take from us all unbearable affliction and despair. For your sacred infancy's sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid that we may praise you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.
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A dear friend sent me the following, I had either read this or something similar many years ago on what the Sta. Nino did when he first arrived...
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"In the whole Orient, only here did the Church display its old genius for using and transforming the material it found . . . And the Church could not do otherwise, because there was one ahead of it to show the way. Again, it was merely following the lead of its Lord. For the Child was here before the Church. The Child was willing to join our pagan idols, if only to defeat and demolish them. The Child was willing to live a pagan among us, and to become a rain god for us, and to bless our heathen ceremonies. But all the time it was preparing us for the Faith. When Legazpi and Urdaneta arrived, they found it so much easier to convert us because we had, unknowingly, been tempered for conversion by the Child." (Nick Joaquin)

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Happy feast day!
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Links:
History of Santo Nino
Santo Nino - Wkipedia
Novena Prayers
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Thanks to Fr. Gary for the reminder.  Thanks C. for the Joaquin quote.

The Blessed Virgin



I know why she weeps.
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When I was very little, I remember being dazzled by the Blessed Virgin, oohing and awing at her altar in every Catholic church I entered.  Almost running to kneel at the communion rail to pray.  I always visited Our Lady's altars in every church, even to this day I am moved to pray at her feet.
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Last night I recalled my habit of kneeling at her altar every day after school upon my visit to the Blessed Sacrament; when I was in first grade, second grade - on through grade school.  Once, in 7th grade, while praying at Our Lady's altar for my mom and dad - some kids yelled into the church, "Your father's a jailbird."  One of the nuns heard them and shooed them away.  Sr. Vivian didn't like me or my family, and never acknowledged me or the incident.  Not long after, my mother was informed I wouldn't be eligible for admission to the 8th grade in that school, charitable scholarships weren't available, hence I had to enroll in public school. 
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Daily Mass and my visits to Our Lady's altar never ceased during 8th grade...  But shortly after I began public high school, I stopped praying.
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I reminded Our Lady of that last night as I sat in her chapel at ,my parish.  I prayed for all the kids who are kept from her on account of the sins of their parents.
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Oh how the thoughts of many hearts are laid bare before her... and that is why Our Lady weeps.