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, April 09, 2011

Walking really fast in a cape.



What if this was you know who in you know where?  I know!

Michael Voris... what's up with that?


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Michael Voris makes it clear that we may not all belong to the same Catholic Church.
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I know, I know, all of you have seen this video before.  Nevertheless, this video and others like it may be the reason some people do not want Michael to speak in their dioceses.  But there ain't no stopping him - his message gets out and about nonetheless.  BTW - it takes time for a new bishop to reform a diocese, and sometimes bad speakers slip through while good speakers are silenced.  I'm thinking of Scranton here.
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BTW - I think it is admirable how Voris and the couple who sponsored him decided not to hold the event elsewhere. 
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Why puppets?
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That said - the real purpose of this post is to ask, "Why puppets at Mass?"  Liturgical dancers are queer and hideous enough - but why puppets?  What possible significance do puppets have?  They look like Tiki gods.  Mr. Voris is absolutely right - what we see in the video is definitely not the Catholic Church.  It is another sect.  What an insult to the elderly.  (That was a Mass at a nursing home, right?  The black dancer was a certified nursing assistant I think.)
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Seriously - if a liturgist or worship space designer is reading this - please explain the use of puppets for me.  I don't get it.  Thanks.

Venerable Servant of God Elena Aiello

03 April 2011, Pope Benedict XVI received in a private audience Angelo Cardinal Amato, sdb, prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. During that audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate the following thirteen decrees regarding:

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A miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God ELENA AIELLO, founder of Congregation of the Minim Sisters of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ; born on 10 April 1895 in Montalto Uffugo, Cosenza (Italy) and and died on 19 June 1961 in Rome (Italy); declared venerable on 22 January 1991.
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Why I'm posting about this nun.
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I'm posting about Venerable Mother Elena simply because she is a mystic I had learned about when I was much younger.  At the time I was convinced WWIII was about to begin any day back then, and that most of humanity would be wiped off the face of the earth.  Mother Elena seemed to think so too.  She had the stigmata, many visions, and dispensed a few apocalyptic-type prophecies.  As I 'matured' I dismissed Mother Elena as an eccentric Italian nun.  And now she will be beatified.
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Catholics should know that persons beatified and canonized are never made saints based upon their mystical experiences, but rather upon their heroic virtue and witness to the Gospel.  The miracles required for canonization are in effect God's confirmation of the candidate's sanctity.  Nevertheless, I find it interesting that this 'prophet of doom' will soon be beatified.
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Sister Elena's Prophesies

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Sister Elena began having apparitions of The Blessed Mother. During these apparitions The Blessed Mother would tell Sister Elena things that might happen in the future if people did not amend their sinful ways. Many of her prophesies were apocalyptic in nature. Below are the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Sister Elena during one of these apparitions.
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"My Heart is sad for so many sufferings in an impending world in ruin . . . The wrath of God is near. Soon the world will be afflicted with great calamities, bloody revolutions, frightful hurricanes and the overflowing of rivers and the seas . . . the world will be overturned in a new and more terrible war. Arms most deadly will destroy peoples and nations. The dictators of the earth, specimens infernal, will demolish the churches and desecrate the Holy Eucharist, and will destroy things most dear. In this impious war, much will be destroyed of that which has been built by the hands of man ..."

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In 1940, Sister Elena received a message from Jesus and was asked to deliver this message to Premier Benito Mussolini. The message for Mr. Mussolini was not to join forces with Hitler in World War II. If this warning is not heeded Italy would suffer a terrible defeat and Mussolini would be punished and the result would be his total defeat and downfall. - A Saintly Cousin 
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Things I never thought would happen in my lifetime:
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The Third Secret of Fatima revealed.
The collapse of the Soviet Union.
The canonization of Padre Pio.
People like Elena Aiello even declared venerable or much less noted by the Congregation for the Saints.
Priests and Bishops doing bad things.
Catholics divided.
Euthanasia.
The decline and fall of the United States.
... more later, perhaps.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Michael Voris and the Diocese of Scranton.



Statement of the Diocese regarding Michael Voris.
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The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition.

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Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him. - Diocese website
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Now what could possibly be wrong with that?  Doesn't the Diocese have a right to say who speaks at its institutions?  Isn't the Bishop supposed to be in charge?  Yet Catholic bloggers are crying foul at the news.
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Get a rope.

Courage Latino




The conversion story of Guillermo Marquez.
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This is such an important story and it mirrors the quiet conversions of many men and women who have resolved their homosexual inclination in and through fidelity to Church teaching, and most especially by embarking upon a chaste and celibate life, bolstered by prayer and the sacraments.  For many, Courage provides the needed support to accomplish the good work these men and women have begun.
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Courage Latino leader recounts his conversion.
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The leader of a Catholic ministry to homosexuals recently recalled his conversion story.

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“God was leading me, through the advice of priests I spoke with, to see that a sexually active life, even with just one person of the same-sex, could not bring me happiness,” Guillermo Marquez told CNA.
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Marquez, now the coordinator of Courage Latino in the Mexican state of Queretaro, initially founded a support group that questioned the Church's teachings on homosexuality. He compared his organization to the San Elredo Community in Saltillo, Mexico. Though supported by the local bishop, the San Elredo Community has come under fire for its founder's opposition to Catholic teachings and support of same-sex marriage.
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Marquez eventually decided to leave his group after realizing he could not “be right with God and the Church” if he continued the live out a homosexual lifestyle.
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His organization “had become just a social group,” he said. “Same-sex couples were allowed to join and while we weren’t encouraged to find new partners, we weren’t discouraged from doing so either.”

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“The thorny issues about sexual morality and chastity were avoided to prevent arguments or problems between the members of the group,” he added.
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“I slowly began to realize that the longer I went without having homosexual relations, the better I was feeling. I was happier and more stable. And so the life of chastity began to draw my attention and attract me.
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“It has been a long – sometimes difficult – process, but I have matured spiritually and emotionally,” he said.
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Marquez’s conversion led him to Courage Latino, which he joined in 2008 after attending a retreat.
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“That retreat was very important for me,” he said. “Because as I was on a journey of discovering chastity, it allowed me finally to find what I was looking for. An apostolate with people who have the same goals as me, the same aspirations of believing in Christ and of believing Christ as well.”
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Through Courage Latino, he realized that “the Catholic Church does not reject me or abandon me, that homosexuality is not genetic and that nobody is born homosexual.”
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“We are not homosexuals or gays but men and women with same-sex attraction,” Marquez explained.
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“I know both paths,” he said, “and I know that the path of the so-called gay lifestyle doesn’t make anyone happy.”
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“That path is full of insecurity, fear, dissatisfaction, profound emptiness, anger, and in many cases, promiscuity, sexual addiction, pornography, drugs and alcohol, and the endless search for love through destructive and co-dependent relationships,” Marquez said.
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“Courage completely condemns all unjust discrimination, abuse, offense or aggression against persons with (same-sex attraction). This must not be tolerated in any circle, much less among Christians,” he said.
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“Courage Latino is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, but it is not limited to just living chastely. Courage wants us to be better Christians,” Marquez stated. “The goal is holiness.” - CNA
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I knew that.  I know that. 
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Many people do not however - especially young men who have been taught in our schools and through media and entertainment, that gay is okay - that it's normal.  The culture has taken over where the Church backed down for so many decades.  Now we have strong, faithful bishops who are teaching correctly and everyone thinks they are being 'mean' and uncharitable as they step forward to publicly define faith and morals today.  The ultimate lack of charity is to affirm people in their sin and encourage them down the road of perdition - into hell.  That is a lack of charity.
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One important addendum to this story is for ordinary people to understand that conversion is a process, especially for those who have been culturally indoctrinated - it takes patience to do the will of God.  Many people of good will are not ready to accept these teachings at first.  Therefore teaching the truth in charity may be more important than we realize. 
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It should also be remembered that not everyone can or will join a group - that's fine - it is reconciliation and fidelity to Church teaching, prayer and the sacraments which will save a person - especially friendship with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the rosary - if you can't pray the rosary just yet, some other devotion to Our Lady can be adopted.  Good books are available to help one grow in self-knowledge, and Courage offers their website with good counsel for those seeking to be faithful to Christ.  Frequent, humble confession - for every fall - is also necessary.
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God bless Guillermo Marquez and Courage Latino. 
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Photo:

Shepherds, you that go
Up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
If by chance you see
Him I love most,
Tell him that I sicken, suffer, and die.
-Spiritual Canticle, St. John of the Cross
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San Sebastian de Garabandal



What is Garabandal?
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The subject has been brought to my attention once again.  On my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, I made a point of going to Garabandal, more out of devotion for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel than curiosity.  I think I met one of the seers - although I can't recall who, and I spent much time praying in the areas where the events took place.  I believed the apparitions were most likely authentic.  I continue to believe that, although I do not keep up with the news surrounding the phenomena.  At one point I read that one of the Bishops in whose diocese Garabandal is situated rejected the apparitions and discouraged pilgrimages.  My take was to follow what the Bishop said, while remaining open.  For some reason or other, I'm not able to make these things the focus of my spiritual life.  Garabandal, unlike Fatima and Lourdes, does not have full and official Church approval, and that remains a difficulty for me.  Although a website dedicated to Garabandal posted the following statement:
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The new Bishop, Archbishop Vincente Zamora has stated publicly that he will take any new information on Garabandal. The previous Bishop, Archbishop Carlos, openly encouraged pilgrims to go to Garabandal and for priests to say Mass and hear confessions there without having to obtain approval. The Parish Priest, Fr. Rolando, has publicly declared his belief in the apparitions. This ecclesiastical support has been totally lacking in the Spanish clergy till recent times. - What is Garabandal?
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As with all such reports of apparitions and messages, details on the events and persons involved, as well as interpretations of what was said, can become confused over time.  Which is another reason I try to remain aloof.
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What impresses me most about Garabandal is the number of holy people who believed the events were authentic and the message worthy of belief.  Among them, St. Padre Pio,  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Maravillas of Jesus, the great Carmelite restorer of the Teresian Carmel in post-revolutionary Spain.
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Perhaps the events at Garabandal may warrant a closer look once again.  I love the idea that Our Lady visits us. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Archbishop Chaput: Maybe not the first to realize, but one of the few to say so.



Legitimizing homosexual behavior.
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'Laws permitting same-sex civil unions are directly aimed at legitimizing homosexual behavior, not advancing human rights, wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver this week.  “The civil unions debate is not about ensuring the basic rights of homosexual persons,” the archbishop wrote in his latest column for the Denver Catholic Register. “The civil unions debate is finally about securing legitimacy for social arrangements and personal behaviors that most societies and religious traditions have found problematic from long experience.”' - Source
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I knew that.

What if it was all just one big conspiracy?



For instance, what's the difference between Garabandal and Medjugorje?
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There are similarities in both apparition sites and their messages.  One may argue that point as to details, but they are pretty close in kind.  One is favored by the more charismatic believer, while the other is favored by the more traditional believer.  Both have holy men and women who are said to have believed in the events and messages at one place or another.  The Bishops of both places have said at one time or another that there is no evidence that anything supernatural occurred at these sites.  Not a few of the faithful have more or less decided otherwise, and some even use belief in these events as a sort of litmus test of orthodoxy, or fidelity to Catholic teaching.
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Can something start out true and end in error?  Can a person be converted only to fall away later?  Can something like faith and devotion be faked?  Even for a long period of time?  Are there really people who have the form of religion but are something else all together?  Are there really 'impious people who have no faith?'   Can our charity admit to that?  
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'The table of sinners.'
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At his Wednesday audience, the Holy Father pointed to the doctrine of love discovered by the little St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face as an example to all, even intellectuals, and none more so than theologians.  "Little Therese," he said, "never failed to help the most simple souls, the little ones, the poor and the suffering who prayed to her, but she also illuminated all the Church with her profound spiritual doctrine."
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Speaking to her witness of heroic faith amidst suffering, the Holy Father said: 'The faith she showed through this great suffering was "faith at its most heroic, as the light in the shadows that invade the soul," observed the Pope. "In this context of suffering, living the greatest love in the littlest things of daily life, the saint realized her vocation of becoming the love at the heart of the Church."'
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One of the sayings I most love from St. Therese is her assertion, "I prefer not to see."  She preferred to live by faith alone, even if that meant dining at the table of sinners - participating in their faithlessness, as it were, in her dark night of faith.  In this manner, little Therese associated herself with the unbelievers and the skeptics, the lowly and afflicted.  Nevertheless, in some mysterious sense, the heroic charity of Therese motivated her to  'bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things' - without seeing, devoid of consolation.  How many of us can sometimes find ourselves at the same table?  Struggling to believe all things, hope all things, endure all things?  Gratefully, we have St. Therese to help us.
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"To lead astray, even the elect, if that were possible." - Mt. 24:24
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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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Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those duped.  Yet it did not disturb her peace, rather it lead her to an even deeper understanding of her vocation. 
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Needless to say, the deception neither did harm to the Carmel or the Catholic Church, although in a way, it demonstrates to some extent how even the elect can be fooled - if possible, and only for a time.  One thinks of the founder of the Legion, Marcel Maciel, and his double life; an elaborate pretense which fooled even the Pope.  Unlike Taxil, it doesn't appear that Maciel was attempting to mock or destroy the Church, nor did he ever declare himself an enemy of the Church; despite that, his motivation and actions remain somewhat unexplainable.
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It is said Leo Taxil also deceived a Pope: Leo XIII:
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Suddenly, after fifteen years of rude work spent paddling in the mire of a swampy but lucrative literature, the impious pamphleteer, soaked to the waist, finds a new calling. He renounces Satan and his base works: once so proud, he burns all that he has adored and adores all that he once burned: in short, he makes honorable public amends, confesses, attends mass, takes communion, and throws himself at the feet of the Sovereign Pontiff. "My son," the Pope asks him, "what do you want?" - "Holy Father, to die at your feet, there, at this moment... It would be my greatest joy!" responds the prostate penitent. "Not to die," answers Léo XIII with a benevolent smile, "your life is still very useful for the struggles of faith."
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This alleged conversion of Mr. Léo Taxil’s, which justly touched the Catholic world and the Free Thinking world, was but the prologue of a comedy, of an enormous farce in many acts, conceived and constructed by a hoaxer more inventive than concerned about his own dignity. Here is the scenario very briefly outlined:
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Act One: Simulations of repentance and of penitence, pious practices proper to edifying the clergy and to capture it’s full confidence. Diffusion of small books directed against FreeMasonry.
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Act Two: Invention of Palladism or High Luciferian Masonry, divulging of secret rites of lodges and back-lodges of the entire world, vowed to the cult of Lucifer.
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Act Three: Entrance of Miss. Diana Vaughan, so called ex-luciferian of high mark, converted to Catholicism, who reveals in her "Memoires" the diabolic mysteries of this damned sect, receives pontifical benediction and maintains a continuous correspondence with the most eminent members of the clergy.
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Act Four and final scene: Evening of April 19th 1897, organized in Paris in the room of the Geographic Society, and announced with great fanfare. The announced programme includes: 1st: The raffle of a writing machine offered by Miss. Diana Vaughan;
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2nd: A lecture entitled "Twelve years under the banner of the Church" by Mr. Léo Taxil.
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3rd: Palladism exposed, a conference accompanied by light show projections by Miss. Diana Vaughan. 
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The writing machine is raffled and is won by a young journalist. The evening begins... but, to the great disappointment of the public, wisely composed of a mix of priests, avowed catholics and free thinkers (the organizer later admitted to having selected the audience), the most impatiently awaited person, the mysterious, the extraordinary heroine whose problematic existence would dispel much speculation, and whom some sceptics had dared to treat as a myth, having stayed until then in the corridors-Miss Diana Vaughan does not appear. Mr. Léo Taxil, in correct evening dress, occupies the stage, alone. With serene impudence, in even tones, he denounces his own imposture, completely empties his bag of malice, explains complacently how, for twelve years, he has betrayed and duped the clergy and has made fun of everyone. "Ladies and Gentlemen," he cried out in a peremptory manner, "I am admitting my crime. I committed infanticide: Palladism, now, is dead, very dead. Its father has just killed it." - A Hoax  (Warning:  This is a Masonic site.)
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"Be clever as serpents and innocent as doves." - Mt. 10: 16
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These days, as Sr. Lucia of Fatima once wrote, diabolic delusion has swept the world, and we have witnessed over and over again how many can be easily deceived and seduced.  We need to be prayerfully vigilant.
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“Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary, my good mother, look down upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me.”
- Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD

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Art:  Allegory - Falshood

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sheehan speaks out on cohabiting couples.


Good stuff too!
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Read more here and here.
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What?

The Lord is gracious and merciful. Ps. 145



A beautiful meditation on Our Lord's fidelity to his priests.
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My Heart is moved to compassion by the sufferings of my priests,

by those that they inflict upon themselves
and by those that they inflict on each other.
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The sins of my priests cause me an immense sorrow.

I grieve over my priests
with a tender and sorrowful love.
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I want them to understand

that every trial, every suffering, every humiliation is,
for them, an occasion to turn to me with confidence
and to discover the depth and the height and the breadth
of my merciful love,
of my Divine Friendship for them. - Read more here.
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Happy Birthday Pier Giorgio.


“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.” - Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  April 6, 1901 - July 4, 1925

Program for the Beatification of John Paul II Announced.



On Tuesday the Vatican released the program for the beatification of John Paul II.  The Holy Father will be beatified Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1.  I'm very much looking forward to the event and want to spiritually prepare in some way.  The Holy Father's coffin will be transferred upstairs and placed before the Altar of Confession in the Basilica for the ceremony, and later placed in its new space in the Chapel of St. Sebastian in the Basilica.
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Link to Vatican Information Service for more details.
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Art:  The best icon I've seen of John Paul II, by local iconographer, Nicholas Markell.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I've decided to start doing dance/trance/jump-style instructional videos instead of painting.

Holy Crap! Mexican Bishop Raul Vera Lopez: “We want to erase homophobia from peoples’ hearts.”



“Jesus Christ welcomed sinners and cast out the Pharisees, which shows that excluding others is not Christian, we want to erase homophobia from peoples’ hearts.” - Bishop Raul
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With all due respect to his office, I think the Bishop is mistaken.  A little homophobia never hurt anyone - it's especially good for those Catholics who just might be thinking it is an acceptable=equal lifestyle.  I'm talking about this in the sense of a healthy 'fear of sin'.  The Church clearly teaches that homosexual behavior, homosexual acts, is sinful.  The Christian should fear falling into sin, the Christian should fear the contagion of sin, therefore if 'they' call that 'homophobia' - so be it.  One has to get the 'politics' out of Church teaching.
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What I find so astonishing is the double-speak coming from this Bishop's diocese - he claims he is supporting 'gay rights' for humanitarian reasons.  While insisting he is supporting Church teaching, he also supports the position of the American priest whose apostolate to gay people appears to be more liberal in the pastoral care of the homosexual person.  As Fr. Coogan, the founder of the San Eledro gay-community tells it, “you need to go beyond the Catechism.”  Really?  Strikes me as a little 'holier than the Church'.
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I expect this is going to be the trend going forward - unless as the American Bishop Tobin tells it, "We need our people to understand that this is a serious issue.  Our greatest danger as a Catholic community is apathy."  That said, Catholic groups in the Mexican Diocese of Saltillo have mobilized to urge Bishop Lopez to end the ministry as it exists. 
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From Catholic News Agency:
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Saltillo, Mexico, Apr 5, 2011 / 02:49 am (CNA).- Catholic family groups in the Mexican Diocese of Saltillo are urging Bishop Raul Vera Lopez to withdraw his support for a group that they say undermines Church teaching on homosexuality.
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“A pastoral commitment to homosexual persons is necessary and welcomed, but not at the expense of the family and a solid pastoral plan for marriage and family, which is unfortunately being neglected in the diocese,” said Natalia Niño, president of Familias Mundi, which is based in the diocese in northeastern Mexico.
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Niño criticized the diocese’s support for the San Elredo Community, which she said “publicly promotes an openly homosexual lifestyle, gay ‘marriage’ and gay adoptions.”
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Bishop Vera Lopez, in the audio interview on his website, called the criticism of the event “agenda-driven.”
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"Jesus Christ welcomed sinners and cast out the Pharisees, which shows that excluding others is not Christian,” he said. “We want to erase homophobia from peoples’ hearts.”
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But Familias Mundi leader Niño denied allegations of “homophobia.”
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“Our criticism has nothing to do with individual persons, their dignity and their rights. This is about doctrines that are opposed to the Church’s teachings and that have grave negative effects in our society,” she told CNA.
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In his interview on the diocesan website, Bishop Vera Lopez also stressed the need to defend homosexual rights.

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He affirmed his support for state recognition of civil unions among homosexuals. At the same time, the bishop said this does not mean he supports homosexual marriage, because marriage “is only between a man and a woman.”
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Fr. Coogan, who worked as a publicist and a volunteer at rehabilitation centers in New York before being ordained a priest in Saltillo, said that God makes men and women to be homosexual.
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“What God creates is a blessing for the world. Homosexuals are a blessing for the world. The world could not exist without homosexuals, it could not exist. God in his wisdom created diversity,” he told CNA.
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San Elredo believes homosexuality is “a permanent orientation,” he added.
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“It begins at a very young age and is permanent, like being right-handed or left-handed. It is something innate in people,” he said.
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He raised questions about the Church’s teachings that homosexual acts are sinful and that persons with a homosexual orientation must live chaste lives.
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“Moral culpability, in the oldest tradition of the Church, is affected by the freedom of the person … if there is no freedom, there is no culpability. The child who fires a gun is not guilty. And so if there are people who are subject to the wrath of society, how much freedom do they have? If they are afraid to tell their parents about their orientation, how much freedom do they have in their lives?”
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He added: “How can a person with same-sex attraction have a fulfilling life? And the only answer the Catechism gives is to tell them to be celibate, and that is not enough.” - CNA
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This thinking by Bishop Lopez, shared by a few other churchmen in Latin America and the Philippines, is probably shared by not a few other ecclesiastics in a chancery closet near you.
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Art:  "Dead Bishops" - Fernando Botero

An outspoken, popular Roman Catholic preacher: Accused of anti-Semitism.



St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P.
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Today is the memorial of one of the most popular Dominican preachers in Church history.  The Spanish Dominican, St. Vincent was a fiery preacher of great fame, preparing his generation for the Last Judgement.  The Saint even proclaimed that he himself represented the angel of the Book of Revelation - in fact, in Spanish Colonial art he is often shown with angel wings.  I think that is why I developed a devotion to him from an early age.  Ferrer involved himself in the politics of his day and is also known to have converted numerous Jews to the faith - although some sources say many of them were forced conversions.  Likewise the Saint is believed to have encouraged the social separation of Jews from gentiles, as well as other anti-Semitic city ordinances discriminating against Jews.  In addition, he is credited with converting a synagogue or two into Catholic churches.  That was then and this is now.  It doesn't make him a bad saint.  It is said he had the gift of tongues since he preached throughout Europe.  (That would be the real charism - not the popularized charismatic type.)  Despite his fame and popularity his success as an evangelist never went to his head, as one biographer notes:  "Popular acclaim, however, did not distract him from a life of asceticism and poverty."

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Another popular Dominican, in many ways very much like St. Vincent, was Girolamo Savonarola, who was born  some 30 years after the death of St. Vincent.  His influence was largely in Italy - but he preached pretty much along the same lines as St. Vincent.  Both Dominicans felt the end of all things was imminent.  Savonarola may have overstepped his bounds a bit as regards the politics, economics and morals of the day, even inciting his followers to riot and provoke a civil rebellion of sorts.  The outcry against him finally reached the Pope, who had him excommunicated and burned at the stake.  His reputation wasn't damaged too severely, since not a few Dominicans and others would like to see him canonized one day.  Much like St. Vincent, he led a life of strict asceticism and poverty and shunned celebrity and vanity.  In fact he invented the bonfire of the vanities.
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One would think these two men might make excellent examples for the evangelists of today: What to do, and what not to do in the new evangelization, and how not to over do...
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Art: St. Vincent H/T Western Confucian
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Bonfire of the Vanities...
wigs, make-up, jewelry, tights, mirrors, hair dye, shavers, DVD's, gym equipment, spandex, drugs, massage tables - up in flames!
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What?

       

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Anchoress confronts the mob...



Elizabeth Scalia tells it like it is.
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She's a very smart lady and has just about the best perspective possible on the Fr. Corapi phenomenon.  Scalia pretty much articulates all of what I have been thinking regarding the scandal, especially as it concerns Corapi's defenders - who have been acting like agents of the Inquisition.  The Anchoress sums it up beautifully here:  The Corapi Story; Devil's Delight 
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Photo:  The "Anonymous Commenter".

Great quote.

*Repost.

Regarding the failure of leadership by bishops and other Catholic leaders, Fr. Corapi, states, "I sympathize with anybody's dilemma who is in authority - but I only sympathize with it to a point." He explains, "If you don't have a backbone, you can't stand up straight. And if you can't stand, you're apt to fall for anything." - Source
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FYI:  I'm actually beginning to think that Corapi is most likely innocent of the charges against him - whatever those entail.  But as far as I'm concerned, this little upset to the 'brand' is certainly good for the soul.
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*Originally published October 9, 2009

Transgender equality advocate.



"The last frontier of equality."
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I looked at Sunday's paper and there was this photo and I laughed out loud.  Then I read the article which confirmed my first thought that this was a man dressed as a woman.  Her name is Vanessa Sheridan and she is a business consultant who seeks to rid the workplace of transgender bias.  I stopped laughing at that point.  She's got herself a job, that's for sure, and big corporations obviously have enough money to pay her for her services.  Fine.
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The world is nuts, therefore this stuff seems almost normal when it's all dressed up in a wig and a business suit.  In the meantime, all of this gender-identity-mental-confusion-poltically-correctness is quietly foisted upon  Americans, from pre-school to corporate employee handbooks.  I'm not saying these people should be discriminated against or pilloried in the public square, but is all behavior to be protected and given special protections?
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What disturbs me about this story is that in reality, Vanessa actually leads a double life.  She's out to the corporate HR speaker circuit, but she goes to church as a man.  How is that well adjusted?  She's a part-time cross-dresser. 
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Tillotson writes:
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"For all her transgender advocacy and workplace assertiveness, Sheridan leads a life in which she keeps much private, including her legal, male name. She said she is in a long-term romantic relationship, but does not identify with whom. Nor does she name the church she attends, because she does so as a man. However, she doesn't see herself as having two identities."
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"I don't become another human being, I'm just accessing more of myself," she said. "Quite a few people in my life know, and I've never lost a friend over it." - Strib
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This is nonsense.  It's like an Emperor's New Clothes rewrite.  One of the things Sheridan seeks is insurance coverage for the hormones needed by transgendered employees to keep up the appearance of the gender they identity as. 
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"On a recent Friday at Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Sheridan was part of a panel advising representatives of 11 prominent area employers, including Land O' Lakes, Thomson Reuters and Blue Cross Blue Shield, on how to address transgender issues in the workplace and adapt health-care coverage.  "The session, which included vivid, real-life situations along with pointed and educational dialogue, was a way for attendees to sharpen their LGBT cultural competency skills," said Best Buy spokesperson Susan Busch." - Strib article
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The article also mentions that Obama appointed a transgender woman as an advisor and reported there are lobbyists currently on Capitol Hill working for transgender rights.  Somebody is making a lot of money on these 'civil rights' issues.
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Photo credit: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Of Gods and Men



The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas
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The murder and martyrdom of Westerners and Christians taking place throughout parts of the Muslim world are always deeply disconcerting, especially when one considers how the recent flare ups have been provoked by fundamentalist Christian zealots who commit provocative acts in the name of Christ.  In contempt for the religious convictions of non-Christians they desecrate that which the others reverence.  Both sides seem to have their share of misguided extremists.
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These days I have been thinking much about the Trappist martyrs of Atlas, the monks who were beheaded by terrorists in Algeria in the 1990's.  It is expected that these martyrs can act as special patrons to the Church in these days of bloody persecution, yet they also can be models and examples to individuals on how one ought to conduct oneself in the dark night of terrorism. 
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I was delighted to find that Idle Speculations posted on the martyrs, linking to a Cistercian site containing the last testament by Dom Christian de Cherge, the superior of the group.  I will reprint Fr. Christian's testament here.
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Last Testament of Christian de Cherge.
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If it should happen one day - and it could be today -

that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to engulf

all the foreigners living in Algeria,

I would like my community, my Church and my family

to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country.

I ask them to accept the fact that the One Master of all life

was not a stranger to this brutal departure.

I would ask them to pray for me:

for how could I be found worthy of such an offering?

I ask them to associate this death with so many other equally violent ones

which are forgotten through indifference or anonymity.

My life has no more value than any other.

Nor any less value.

In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood.

I have lived long enough to know that I am an accomplice in the evil

which seems to prevail so terribly in the world,

even in the evil which might blindly strike me down.

I should like, when the time comes, to have a moment of spiritual clarity

which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God

and of my fellow human beings,

and at the same time forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.

I could not desire such a death.

It seems to me important to state this.

I do not see, in fact, how I could rejoice

if the people I love were indiscriminately accused of my murder.

It would be too high a price to pay

for what will perhaps be called, the "grace of martyrdom"

to owe it to an Algerian, whoever he might be,

especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes to be Islam.

I am aware of the scorn which can be heaped on the Algerians indiscriminately.

I am also aware of the caricatures of Islam which a certain Islamism fosters.

It is too easy to soothe one's conscience

by identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist ideology of its extremists.

For me, Algeria and Islam are something different: it is a body and a soul.

I have proclaimed this often enough, I think, in the light of what I have received from it.

I so often find there that true strand of the Gospel

which I learned at my mother's knee, my very first Church,

precisely in Algeria, and already inspired with respect for Muslim believers.

Obviously, my death will appear to confirm

those who hastily judged me naïve or idealistic:

"Let him tell us now what he thinks of his ideals!"

But these persons should know that finally my most avid curiosity will be set free.

This is what I shall be able to do, God willing:

immerse my gaze in that of the Father

to contemplate with him His children of Islam

just as He sees them, all shining with the glory of Christ,

the fruit of His Passion, filled with the Gift of the Spirit

whose secret joy will always be to establish communion

and restore the likeness, playing with the differences.

For this life lost, totally mine and totally theirs,

I thank God, who seems to have willed it entirely

for the sake of that JOY in everything and in spite of everything.

In this THANK YOU, which is said for everything in my life from now on,

I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today,

and you, my friends of this place,

along with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers and their families,

You are the hundredfold granted as was promised!

And also you, my last-minute friend, who will not have known what you were doing:

Yes, I want this THANK YOU and this GOODBYE to be a "GOD-BLESS" for you, too,

because in God's face I see yours.

May we meet again as happy thieves in Paradise, if it please God, the Father of us both.

AMEN ! INCHALLAH !



Algiers, 1st December 1993

Tibhirine, 1st January 1994



Christian + 
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The humble gird on strength...
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Friends have asked me to see the film Of God's and Men, but it is Lent and I can wait for the DVD.  I have also read the book, How Far To Follow, an account of the Atlas martyrs.  I try to keep the message in my heart, but it is sometimes difficult when I think of the sufferings of those continually facing similar death sentences, and most especially after the recent killings in Afghanistan.  I don't believe I'm afraid of death or terrorism for myself, I actually look forward to dying one day.  What I fear the most is mortal sin and living in a state of sin - devoid of compassion and charity.
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The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink? - Ps. 27

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Photo:  Grave of Fr. Christian.  About 10 years ago now, a Trappist friend, Fr. Tom sent me sand from the martyr's graves.

St. Anthony of Padua: Exortation to priests.




A writer I very much respect and admire, Henry Karlson, wrote an excellent post on St. Anthony of Padua and the Saint's concern for the moral quality of the priests of his time.  I think what Henry had to say is important enough to share here.  I think it not only applies to priests and bishops, but to all serious Christians.
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Follow Christ, not worldly glory.
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"If one reads through the writings of St Anthony, one of his concerns was the moral quality of the priests of his time. He found them to be lacking the stature expected for clergy, with so many falling for worldly gain (fame, wealth, an easy life) instead of being representatives of Christ in the world. His criticism drew the ire of many, because he was trying to break up the ties between worldly success and the priestly life that so many had taken for granted; on the other hand, for the poor, the needy, for those who sought spiritual guidance and strength, St Anthony’s declarations were welcomed exhortations for true godly living. Here, we see Anthony talking to priests, talking about the characteristics of the just man. Why priests? Because so many failed to live out their priestly calling, having sold their services out to the wealthy of the world. Christ came as a poor man, living with the poor, speaking on behalf of the poor; how can Christ’s representatives, the priests, seek after worldly prosperity when Christ himself denounced it in the desert? Safety is in Christ; losing one’s status in the world will mean little to the one who truly has put themselves into service for Christ; the unjust man will speak up and strike out against those who makes claims against their worldly possessions: they will speak after their own reputation and how it is ruined instead of fleeing to Christ, looking for Christ’s aid in times of trouble; the just priest, while they will suffer, will suffer in and under Christ, they will suffer with Christ. They will know their innocence and that will suffice; they will put their trust in God and let God’s will be done – even if it means they will be seen as guilty by the world, they will not care, they will not be moved. They do not look for the approval of the world, but of Christ; they will not look for earthly rewards, for fame, for they know their prize is Christ, and to live is Christ and to die is to gain. Yes, they will speak to their innocence, if they are falsely charged of some wrong doing, but they will then leave it up to God’s providence to determine what happens next. They will not be focused on themselves, for they know their focus should always be to do the work of Christ, and nothing else.
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Anthony puts forward a picture of a godly preacher who follows God’s prompting and properly fulfills their vocation. They are merciful and kind, humble and wise, full of charity and patience. They do not look for glory; like Christ, they put off their glory for the sake of those they are called to help. They do not need worldly glory, for they have Christ. They fear no attacks, because they know themselves, they know who they are in God, and they know they have God alone to please." - Henry Karlson, Priests Are To Follow Christ, Not Worldly Glory