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, March 19, 2011

Party Down to Rio



Man, that's alotta woman.
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So they party while we get involved in another war.

A Call For Prayer - From Fr. Corapi.



Raise your hand if you are not surprised by this.
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I figured it was just a matter of time...
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From Fr. John Corapi:
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On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women. There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that, but it seems, once again, that they now don’t have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on "administrative leave" as the result of this.
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I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”, then through the process determining if he is innocent. The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process.

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All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned. - Fr. Corapi 
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I hope he lets the beard go natural now - and maybe stop with the 'shaved' look.  People get ideas...
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Didn't he once claim that death threats were made against him as well?  Yeah.
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Yes, yes.  I am praying.
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Photo credit: Fumare
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H/T to Ray at Stella

Originally posted 12:01AM - reposted 2:30 PM 3/19/11.

Knut is dead.

Where's Obama?

Solemnity of St. Joseph



In thanksgiving for favors received.
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Art: Clemente De Torres, 1662-1732

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vassula Ryden the rails...


From Rorate Caeli: Patriarchate of Constantinople denounces Vassula Ryden
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[T]he Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople issued a strongly-worded decree denouncing Vassula Ryden and her works, excluding her supporters from (Orthodox) communion, and warning people from spreading her teachings her lest they incur canonical censures.
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In this spirit, and for the beneficial protection of our pious Orthodox plenitude from dangerous spiritual confusion, who do not know well matters underlying the risk of delusion, rejects from the Mother Church Vasiliki Paraskevis Pentaki - Ryden, widely known as a "Vassula", and her organization founded under the title "True Life In God" which rashly and frivolously proposes teachings based on the supposed "direct dialogue between her and the Founder of the Church Jesus Christ our Lord", and those conquered by her and the supporters of "True Life In God", which deviate arbitrarily from the God-given teaching of the Church, but also scandalize the Orthodox phronema of pious believers.
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Hence, we call upon the proponents of these unacceptable innovations and the supporters who maintain them, who henceforth are not admitted to ecclesiastical communion, not only to not be involved in the pastoral work of the local Holy Metropolis, but also to not preach their novel teachings, to prevent the appropriate sanctions under the Holy Canons. - Rorate Caeli

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The Mystic circuit.
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I wrote about Ryden before and got some flack from a couple of her supporters, one a well known priest.  Many of these people appear to be obedient yet they are adamant in their devotion of the seer and seem to be reluctant to accept the judgement of the Church in these matters.  What did I say the other day in another post about priests and bishops who look the other way when it comes to dubious revelations and apparitions?  They often dismiss the critics saying, "Well, as long as people are praying and going to Mass."  In some cases there are theologians, priests* and bishops who go along with the visionaries and promote their causes - despite the fact other bishops and Church congregations issue warnings that the movements are not supernatural, and may be false and even dangerous.
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Another situation is scheduled in the St. Cloud Diocese in the next week or so.  Outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota, in Sauk Centre is a House of Prayer established by the followers of Christina Gallagher, the Irish mystic whose work and revelations have been denounced by her Diocesan Bishop in Ireland.  Yet she is allowed to promote her messages in the St. Cloud Diocese.  These messages play to the mistrust and fears of gullible Catholics who look to Gallagher as a stigmatic in direct contact with the Blessed Virgin.  See their website here.   I spoke with the chancery in St. Cloud and the chancellor, Fr. Rolfes told me he saw nothing against the faith in their prayer meetings, and that Gallagher's priest-advisor is a priest in good standing.  He is also aware of the problems Gallagher has had with her Bishop.  The chancellor told me he intended to be present at the next meeting to see that everything was orthodox.  That's a good sign - I think.  
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Nevertheless, I'm always a bit surprised how promoters of such visionaries seem to be very skilled at explaining away CDF notices and episcopal condemnations in order to find loop holes for people of good faith to follow along and join the cult - and donate.  The practice has been tolerated with the Medjugorje phenomenon for decades.
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Photo:  Vassula's Miracle
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*Note:  One defender of Vassula Ryden, Fr. John Abberton is very busy refuting all the claims against her.  It's pretty amazing.
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H/T Pewsitters for original link to Rorate Caeli.

Various nations will be annihilated.



That was the last part of the warning.
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The events foretold at Fatima 'seem to have been accomplished'...  I'm speaking of the message of Fatima and the part of the secret where Our Lady told the children what would happen if her requests were not heeded:
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'[I]f not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated."
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The 'various nations will be annhilated' part has not come to pass... yet.
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What if.
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What if the nuclear crisis got so bad in Japan, the entire country became uninhabitable?
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Now that the UN has authorized military strikes on Libya, what if the situation developed into WWIII?
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Just wondering.

Nobel Peace Prize



Tell me again:  Why was Obama awarded that prize?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just as I was wondering what to paint...

Thanks to Fr. Z!
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Fr. Z said liberal loons will make fun of this.  I'm not a liberal.
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Maybe a loon...
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Huge Gasline break in South Minneapolis.

It is only  3 blocks from my house, flames shooting at least 150 feet in the air.  It happened about 8:30 AM.  I did not hear the explosion but saw the flames.  They are evacuating the neighborhood - the school across the street is being evacuated right now as I write.  An officer just rang my door bell a few moments ago and said to evacuate the neighborhood.  I'm not going any place.  I'll keep you updated.
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(I wonder if this was part of any prophecies?  What?)

St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Drinkers.



Happy St. Paddy's Day!
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It is the feast of St. Patrick.  Just about everyone is Irish today, which also means most everyone is a devout Catholic.  St. Patrick isn't really the patron saint of drinkers, just the Irish.
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What?
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Photo:  St Patrick in a pub - the statue was in a church but it was closed.  The statue was then returned to the family who donated it.  The authorities were not happy with where they placed him.  They maybe should have kept the church open if they were so concerned.  Story
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Disclaimer:  No Irish people were harmed by this post.

Penance for Lent.



What does it consist of?
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Many people other than Catholics give up stuff for Lent.  Some of those who are Catholic, often do not really practice the faith otherwise, but they like to do something for Lent.  Frequently they give up sweets or some other enjoyment.  That's cool.  But penance doesn't mean much - or rather count for much - if you don't try to give up sin or keep the Commandments.  No matter how nice we are, we have to keep the Commandments - not just the big 10, but the commandments of the Church as well.  So the best penance for people who hold onto particular sins is to give up sin.  Just think, your entire Lent could consist in not doing that thing you love to do.  (Although if you can't give up sin, then keep giving up the sweets and keep praying - at least it's a start.  Don't forget to ask for the grace to give up sin, or even the grace to want to ask for the grace to give it up.)
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For us ordinary sinners, frequenting the sacrament of penance is a very good Lenten discipline.  Praying more and doing more spiritual reading is good too.  The idea of giving something up makes more sense when you do it as a voluntary discipline and as a way to make time for God through more prayer, reading, and/or good works.  For instance, if you like to drink and watch TV, skip the drink and turn off TV to do something edifying or charitable.  If that is too hard, have the drink and do your spiritual reading instead of watching TV.  Stuff like that.  (I just said that for you know who.)
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The Church prescribes definite penances for us, Friday abstinence, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasting, etc. - if you observe them faithfully and add some extra personal sacrifice, that is a good observance of Lent for a lay person with the daily obligations of a job, a family, a mental problem like Charlie, keeping cats, or something else.  Our Lord revealed to Sr. Lucia of Fatima that the penance he exacts and demands of people today is fidelity to the duties of their state in life.  Imagine if we just resolved to do that for Lent?  Don't call in sick.  Don't pretend there is static on the line and later tell Cathy you must have been cut off on the phone.  Don't skip your morning and evening prayers to check your email.  Don't skip paying a bill when you would be able to pay it if you didn't buy this or that.  The faithful fulfillment of our daily duties is a great penance.  For those of us who sometimes imagine we don't have sins and imperfections  we are actually attached to, doing our daily duty may surprise us.  Looking back on my life, I could go to hell just for all of the times I completely avoided my daily duty.  Seriously.
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Our Lady also indicated appropriate penances to the Fatima children, as well as to Sr. Agnes of Akita.  She asked them if they would accept all the suffering that came their way as a sacrifice and a penance - in addition to the fulfillment of their daily duties, little mortifications and daily prayers.  See how simple that is?  For instance, if a person is sick or disabled - they already have a sort of built in penance. 
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Monastics, such as the Russian Archbishop I'm reading, as well as St. Therese of Lisieux, all speak of little observances.  The Archbishop recommends the novices never eat to satiety - that is, leave the table a little hungry - but eat according to your custom.  Therese says to bear patiently the little annoyances we encounter during the day, from one another or by circumstance.  She even suggests we offer our failures and humiliations as a sacrifice - trusting in God's mercy and love.  Little Therese would also most likely recommend we not complain so much about how hard it is, or how dry the desert is, or how severe the temptations are.  Remember what Jesus said to those types, "What did you go out to the desert to see?  A reed swaying in the wind?  A man dressed in fine clothes?"
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I very much like what Tara's priest (I think it is Fr. Eric) had to say on the subject - in Tara's words:  "Father said that penance is not something we take on to make ourselves miserable--as if God wanted us to suffer--contrary--penance is as a "spiritual exercise," and in much the same way, if one started to exercise a weak flabby body--with it's impending soreness--the soreness or suffering is just a by product of the good exercise. And so we take on good "spiritual exercises" during Lent." - Loved Sinner 
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Keep it simple.  And if you fail - offer it up and try again.  Lent isn't a competition or a reality TV show like The Biggest Loser.
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Disclaimer:  Don't listen to me - I'm only sharing things that have helped me along the way.  Always check with your priest/confessor for sound teaching and clear instruction.

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Photo:  Los Penitentes, New Mexico  (Don't do this at home.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

POTUS: I Go To Rio


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What does Obama actually do? 

I take it back.



Well not really.
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But I want to take this opportunity to say I know absolutely nothing.  That said - I think I was wrong about some stuff I wrote.  When something catastrophic happens in the world and people start saying it is God's punishment for sin, I always get a little miffed and point to the Gospel passage about the tower of Siloam, when Jesus told his listeners, "Do you think these people were greater sinners than you?  You will all come to the same end unless you repent." 
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I've always put the emphasis on the not passing judgement part.  Evangelists seem to like to use these things to blame people and condemn - at least that's the impression I get.  So I react to that Westboro-Bible-banger mentality, without really understanding the consequences of what I say.  However, it occurred to me later that Jesus never told his listeners - "this wasn't God's punishment" - he said, "You will all come to the same end unless you repent."  I was only hearing what I wanted to hear, deep down thinking, God couldn't, wouldn't chastise or punish us like that.  I tell myself, 'It's just a natural disaster after all.'  Yet even insurance companies refer to natural disasters as an "act of God."  An act of God works for businessmen because they don't have to pay out.  Likewise, it works for us when we think those people are being punished and we maybe just got off with a warning.  (Unless of course we dismiss the whole thing as a random event and say, 'that's too bad', and move on.)  The point is, people think like people - God thinks like God - God is God. 
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Questioning the wrath of God.
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Does he get pissed?  Scripture says he does.  The prophets say he does.  The saints say he does.  But today theologians seem to know better - or at least they seem to mince God's words and chalk everything up to random natural phenomenon and rarely if ever offer any positive instruction or moral teaching except to justify man's sins.  Is it any wonder then that people of good will go after apparitions and mystics to find some semblance of religious truth?  In this they sometimes resemble those who seek assurance and approval through mediums and fortune tellers - and priests and bishops do not even try to restrain them and teach them, saying instead, "Let them go here or there if it is leading them to pray more..."  Whatever. 
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The mystery of the Cross.
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In today's Gospel Christ refers to his listeners - and ourselves - as an evil generation because we seek signs - "yet no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah."  It seems to me Christ Crucified is that sign - left to us in the Memorial of his Passion - the Eucharist.  I may have it wrong, but I think God does chastise humanity - doesn't the Crucifix demonstrate that?  Doesn't the Good Thief reveal to us our participation in that?  Isn't suffering part of the deal?  Do we not need purgation?  If we don't, why do we believe in purgatory?  God disciplines his sons - as St. Paul tells us - I think we are obliged to believe that.
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In addition, St. John of the Cross tells us that we can know the causes of events naturally, without supernatural revelations, or searching through dubious prophecies and mystics:
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"Supernatural events can be known in their causes, since divine Providence responds most certainly and justly to what the good or bad causes arising from humanity demand.  One can know naturally that a certain person or city, or some other factor, will reach such a point that God in his providence and justice must respond in conformity with the punishment or reward that cause warrants." - Ascent, Bk. II, Ch. 21: 9
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So yeah, I really do think God chastises humanity - obviously the good and the bad suffer.  Our hope is in Jesus Christ crucified - our answers are found in him, the way,  the truth, and the life.  It is in the cross that mercy and truth, justice and peace intersect - together in love.  Therein lies my hope and trust.
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Even a governor in Japan seems to believe what is happening is beyond natural:  "The outspoken governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, told reporters Monday that the disaster was "punishment from heaven" because Japanese have become greedy."  Perhaps we know better however, huh?

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Our Lady of Akita, pray for us.

The Emperor Addresses His People. How cool is that?



I had been wondering why no one has heard from him yet.
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TOKYO — Emperor Akihito of Japan, in an unprecedented television address to the nation, said on Wednesday that he was “deeply worried” about the ongoing nuclear crisis at several stricken reactors and asked for people to act with compassion “to overcome these difficult times.” - NYT
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It strikes me as providential the Emperor addressed the Japanese people today, when the first reading at Mass for this day is from Jonah, who set out to warn the people of Nineveh of impending chastisement.  "When the news reached the king, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes."  Then he proclaimed a fast, expressing this hope:  "Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish." 
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Prayers and fasting here.
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[I read a comment on another website regarding the disaster in Japan, most likely by a Christian American.  The person wrote:  "Remember Pearl Harbor!"  See - this is why people hate us.]




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How many of you believe the Japanese authorities?



Remember the BP oil crises in the Gulf of Mexico - all the lies about how bad the leak really was?  Power companies are like that.  I can't bring myself to believe what they are telling us, that the nuclear disaster in Japan is not any worse than Chernobyl.  I think things are really much, much worse.  I do think this is apocalyptic.  I do think it will get much, much worse.
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Prayers for the people of Japan and the world.  It is a great horror to "envy the dead".
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Photo credit:  Drudge

Something to think about.



For those looking for the ideal religious life...
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Yet all you keep running into is lax communities - or maybe just find yourself in one already.
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"Not every one can change his outward situation.  It is usually our outlook, not our outward situation, that needs changing.  It is not the place that sanctifies us, but by a holy life we can sanctify both the place and ourselves." - Archbishop Brianchaninov (1807-1867), The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism.
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Just a thought.

Pope Meets With Priests of the Diocese of Rome.



Where's Waldo?
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But first, from Catholic News Agency:
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In a meeting with priests and religious from the Diocese of Rome on March 10, the Pope led a Scripture meditation as the “pastor of the pastors.”
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Priests must not preach “Christianity 'a la carte'” and should be willing to approach even uncomfortable aspects of the Gospel, Pope Benedict said in a meeting with priests this week.

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He implored priests to show “full-time” fidelity to their vocation as priests, “being with Christ and being ambassadors of Christ.”

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The Pope also called on priests today not to shrink from proclaiming “the entire plan of God.”
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“This is important,” said the Pope. “The Apostle does not preach Christianity 'a la carte,' according to his own tastes, he does not preach a Gospel according to his own preferred theological ideas; he does not take away from the commitment to announce the entire will of God, even when uncomfortable, nor the themes he may least like personally.
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“It is our mission to announce all the will of God, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But the fact that we must instruct and preach is important - as St. Paul says - and really proposes the entire will of God.” - CNA
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The Holy Father is urging his priests to preach on uncomfortable topics.  Thanks be to God.
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Where's Waldo?
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Evidently the Holy Father calls the priests of the diocese together for such meetings from time to time.  Likewise our local Archbishop does the same once each year.  Active priests are pretty much expected to be there - I think - I don't know that for sure of course. 
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Photo:  In answer to the "Where's Waldo?" challenge - where is Fr. Z?  He's a priest of the Diocese of Rome, right?  Just wondering.
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What?

Catholic Psychopaths to Hold Conference in Denver.



The 2nd annual conference, sponsored by the Catholic Psychotherapy Association, will be held March 25-26 at the Pope John Paul II Center at the Archdiocese of Denver. - Source
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What?

As always, we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Times are tough all over this Lent.



Temptation
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Temptations seem to be more severe these days - for everyone.
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Let's go through it united in prayer - for all and especially for everyone in Japan.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hermits on vacation...


Religious oxymorons.  (A new category.)
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I was just reading a post by an online hermit - official canonical hermit BTW - who recently took a week long vacation.  I guess she had to 'get away for a little r & r.'  I know! 
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Photo credit.

The Archbishop on spanking...




"This is not an appropriate thing to do."
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I mentioned this story in a post not too long ago, on how the Archbishop of New Orleans stated corporal punishment in high school is not part of Catholic teaching in 2011:  ""I do not believe the teachings of the Catholic Church as we interpret them in 2011 condone corporal punishment."  Evidently it was such a sore spot with him that he ordered the school in question to halt the practice.  Parents and faculty disagreed.
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"Gregory Aymond, archbishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, said he could not “possibly condone” corporal punishment, noting that St. Augustine was the only Catholic school in the nation to continue the practice.  “My image of Jesus is that he said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ I cannot imagine Jesus paddling anyone,” he reportedly said at the assembly.
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“St. Aug is different, it’s unique, the culture and so forth. And I think all those things need to be looked at but...it (paddling) weighs heavy on my heart,” Aymond said.
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According to a statement posted on the school’s Web site, St. Augustine alumni, current students, parents, school administration and other supporters of corporate punishment packed the town hall meeting and “clearly did not buy the ‘arguments’ proposed by the archdiocese.”
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It went on to say many supporters were dismayed that persons outside the Black community were trying to dictate how the school should run.

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“Many expressed outrage that African-American parents (have) to haggle with non-African-Americans about how to raise their own sons!,” the statement read. - Source

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Interestingly enough, the Archbishop seems to be supportive of popularized versions of Theology of The Body, lending his imprimatur and composing recommendations for books on the subject.  Therefore, I wonder if he'd approve of spanking as foreplay in marriage?  What?
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan Collection






I rarely ever show these artifacts. They are Japanese shrines of Deities and Immortals in Shinto houses and displayed upon little Japanese altars. Included in the mix is the Quito Virgin of the Apocalypse, and a smaller ancestor shrine housing the Infant Jesus of Genoa. The last large shrine is missing a door. I have the door but need to re-attach the hinges. Some of the items are centuries old and are very fragile, the lacquer chips, and the cedar dries out. Please ignore the dust since I try to avoid too much handling of the objects and dust sparingly with soft artist brushes and gentle air.
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Continued prayers for the Japanese in the wake of the many disasters.
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Akita: The Earthquake and Tsunami



A note.
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Please don't think that I am pointing to devotion to Our Lady in response to the Japanese earthquake as if I believe the disaster is some form of special chastisement for Japan.  That would be absurd and presumptuous. 
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Our Lady is Help of Christians, Consolation of the Afflicted:  We turn to her in prayer in this our exile and veil of tears, asking her intercession and help in our time of need.  The Japanese are not greater sinners than ourselves or anyone else.  I hope no one presumes to know the mind of God in these matters.
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I cannot stop thinking and praying for those who have died and those who are homeless, displaced, and suffering as a result of these disasters, not to mention the threat of nuclear catastrophe.
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If we cannot help financially or through actual rescue efforts, we can do so by our prayer and sacrifice.   

The Marian Shrine at Akita, Japan




Acknowledgement.
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The site of the apparitions of Our Lady of Akita is 90 miles from the quake epicenter in Japan.  From Catholic News Agency:
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Niigata, Japan, Mar 12, 2011 / 07:17 am (CNA).- The epicenter of the earthquake that caused a deadly March 11 tsunami is located near the site of an apparition in which Mary warned about a worldwide disaster that could afflict humanity.
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Japanese church officials have confirmed that the Diocese of Sendai, in the north of the country, was hit hardest by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake – the worst in Japanese history – and the resulting 23-foot waves.
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Hundreds of people have already been confirmed dead in the city of Sendai, located less than 90 miles away from the apparition site of Our Lady of Akita in the town of Yuzawa.
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The city of Akita, which experienced fire damage and flooding along with many parts of northern Japan, is a place of veneration for Catholics. - CNA
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The message of Akita.
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For those unfamiliar with these things, the apparitions and messages of the Blessed Virgin which took place in 1973 have official approval of the Catholic Church as 'reliable and worthy of belief.'
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". . . if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests."

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". . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved." - Our Lady of Akita

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Continued prayers for all the victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and potential nuclear disaster.
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Photo:  Our Lady of Akita