Saturday, May 28, 2011

I think I know what happened to the monks...


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But I can't say anything.

Here's a thought....



"Holier than thou."
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I was thinking how some of my acquaintances/friends get upset with me when I say or write things in defense of traditional marriage - that is, union between a man and a woman, not the Extraordinary Form of celebrating matrimony.  They take it as if I'm insulting them personally.  Aside from my own personal conviction regarding the matter - which happily accords with the teaching of the Church - I also find it necessary - when the issue becomes so public - to voice or express my convictions whenever I am asked, challenged, or confronted with the issue.  As the document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Same Sex Unions makes clear (and will you people please read it!):
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10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications. - CDF
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Thus, I am only doing my duty, it is part of my faith, my witness to express these convictions, which are no mere personal opinion on the subject.  Naturally those in favor of gay marriage will and do oppose my position and reject it - and some times they reject me personally.  Thus one understands my skepticism as regards authentic friendship and worldly loyalties and honors.
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I'm accustomed to such attitudes however, as well as the limitations such 'conditional' friendships impose.  I grew up in a family where it seemed I was the only one who was 'religious' or tried to keep the commandments.  Without going into detail repeating all the scandals in my family, let me tell you that it was very difficult trying to remain faithful to the Catholic faith and practice - despite the fact my mother saw to it that we attended Catholic school.
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If I questioned or asked my parents to come to Mass, to stop using God's name in vain, or ask why they drank so much and fought so much, or when I said I couldn't lie for them, I was accused of being a little hypocrite or a 'holier than thou little bastard'.  My siblings treated me the same way - on Sundays they would go to the soda fountain at the drugstore after dropping me off at Mass with orders to get 3 bulletins to show our parents on our return home.  I had to hide my devotions because I was made fun of for my piety.  Believe me I wasn't a saint - but I tried to live as faithfully as possible.  (I was so bad in 5th and 6th grade I think I went to confession every Saturday, so my parents were not wrong in calling me a hypocrite.)
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Over the years I've grown accustomed to false friends and fair weather friends.  I see through a lot of religious facades many church people erect - liberal or conservative. So-called rejection and persecution for one's religious convictions is something I'm accustomed to - and I'm accustomed to bigotry just as much if not more than some same sex couple campaigning for equal rights/rites, while condemning Catholic teaching.
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The point I really want to make is this:  If it was so bad growing up as I did in a traditional family setting - opposite sex parents, legally married, etc. - I assure you a household with two same sex parents is totally insane.  My parents should never have had children.  I can't even imagine how freaking insane it would be to be raised in a homosexual environment.  It makes for a fun sitcom (Modern Family) - but it is far from reality.
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Today's Gospel offers some consolation however: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first."  Nice to know - much better to experience.
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Photo:  Cast of 'Modern Family'.  Very funny show BTW.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Speaking of Cistercian Abbeys...



The sound of silence.
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What happened to the Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, Wisconsin?  Brother Stephen's blog, Sub Tuum is closed - open to invited readers only.  I couldn't find the Abbey's website, and their company, LaserMonks has been shut down. 
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LaserMonks closes:
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SPARTA — LaserMonks has closed. The multimillion dollar ink cartridge business started by monks near Sparta drew national press and was featured in the New York Times.

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The decision to dissolve LaserMonks Inc. was based on numerous factors, “with financial performance of the corporation’s business being chief among them,” the corporation’s attorney, Kevin Roop of La Crosse, said Friday.
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Roop said the decrease in financial performance can be attributed to many factors, “but the major contributing factors were the downturn in the economy over the last several years and increased competition in online sales of imaging supplies.”
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LaserMonks was started in 2001 by the Cistercian Monks of Our Lady of Spring Bank Abbey near Sparta. The monks support themselves and their charitable projects with various ventures. LaserMonks sold products such as ink and toner cartridges online at www.LaserMonks.com and by telephone mail order.
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On Friday, its website said LaserMonks is no longer in business and “If you are a customer who was waiting for an order, you will be receiving information by mail.”
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Holly Grady, executive director of the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that she last saw the Rev. Bernard McCoy, who was LaserMonks CEO, in late January. He told her that LaserMonks soon would add a line of baked goods. “He seemed positive about growth,” she said.

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Grady estimated the chamber office has received about 50 telephone calls since late February from people around the nation who had been trying unsuccessfully to reach LaserMonks. Some of the callers said they had ordered but not received items from LaserMonks, she said. - Source
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I've read something about an Anglo-Catholic oratory and some redesign of the current chapel, but that is all I know - although Fr. Z updated his critical post on LaserMonk customer service as of April 20.  It's odd for a community to disappear, but there was a tornado in the area last week, and I haven't heard from Nazareth Priest either.  NP's last post is a cute little Jack Russel abandoned in a raft - no sign of NP.  Oh!  Oh!  Wait!  The rapture!  Maybe they were all raptured! 
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Well slap my...

Sister Ana Nobili: Sacred Dance at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme


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The video shown here is not from Santa Croce, but offers a glimpse of the method of dance Sr. Ana performs.  Promoted as a “ballerina for God”, the nun, Sr. Ana Nobili, a former exotic dancer, performed a dance for the community and guests at the abbey of Santa Croce in Rome in 2009. - Source
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"Jesus is a God who dances, not one who stands still." - Sr. Ana Nobili
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I believe it was Meister Eckhart who said "God laughs and plays".
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Who's to judge?

Happy Birthday to Minnesota's Most Famous Blogger!



Happy Birthday Raimundo!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smarter than the Magisterium.

John, the Beloved Disciple outran Peter, yet the Divine Theologian did not go ahead of Peter, but waited for him at the entrance of the tomb...
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So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths 6 there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.  - John 20: 3-8
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Some people imagine themselves holier than the Church, others believe themselves to be more Catholic than the Pope, likewise there are those who imagine they are smarter than the Church, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, as well as the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.
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Pity.

The Suppression of Santa Croce and inquiring minds.



Answered questions.
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I can't say anything, but others who can have been making statements.  Some of the information has been public knowledge in Italy and amongst the very hip for several years - so the following excerpts from The Guardian is not all that surprising.  Not long ago there was a presentation on PBS on the monastery and the monk's gardens, but I am unable to find it online.  As for monastic decadence, unfortunately Santa Croce is not the only monastery in the world that has opened the enclosure to la dolce vita, so to speak - but that little factoid is hardly a secret amongst alumni and friends of such places of beauty and culture.
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To be fair however, the abbey's connections to celebrities and high placed personages most likely developed as a result of the associazione Amici di Santa Croce, or Association of Friends of Santa Croce.  Similar organizations for fundraising in support of major basilicas throughout the world exist and often attract non religious benefactors, I believe the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis has such an association. 
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From The Guardian.Co.UK:
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"Loose living" = monastic decadence.
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A renowned monastery in Rome where monks staged concerts featuring a lap-dancer-turned-nun and opened a hotel with a 24-hour limousine service has been shut down by the pope.
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As part of Benedict XVI's crackdown on "loose living" within the Catholic church, 20 or so Cistercian monks are now being evicted from the monastery at the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which hosts some of the church's holiest relics.
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"An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk," said Father Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman. "The church remains open but the monks are awaiting transfer."
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Reports saying the monks amassed large debts have also emerged, but Benedettini declined to give further details of the Vatican report, which was signed off in March.
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The monks' days have been numbered since 2009, when the Vatican sacked their flamboyant abbot, Father Simone Fioraso, a former fashion designer who built up a cult following among Rome's fashionable aristocratic crowd as well as show business worshippers such as Madonna, who prayed at the church in 2008.
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In 2009 Anna Nobili, a nightclub dancer who became a nun, was invited to perform her "holy dance" before an audience including archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's cultural department. For her performance Nobili, who says she uses dance as a form of prayer, lies spread-eagled in front of the altar clutching a crucifix or twists and turns as in pole-dancing routines.
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The monks living there now had opened a shop selling organic produce from their kitchen garden, but this was shut down in 2009 amid accusations of their having secretly stocked the shelves from a neighbourhood grocery.
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The Italian newspaper La Stampa said that VIP guests were also encouraged to stay at a hotel opened at the Santa Croce monastery which offered a 24-hour limousine airport service.
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In 2008 Fioraso hosted a week-long, televised, reading of the bible with religious figures, politicians and celebrities reading tracts, starting with Pope Benedict himself. But a year later Fioraso was ousted, despite protests from parishioners who defended his "patience, dedication, sacrifice and passion".
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The Vatican's removal of the monks to other monasteries, ending their 500-year presence at the basilica, follows Benedict's hard line with other wayward orders, including the Legionaries of Christ, run by the Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, who fathered numerous children, was disciplined over sexual abuse allegations and was banished to a life of penitence.
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Italian press reports have speculated that the inspectors from the Vatican suspected homosexual relations between monks at the monastery. - Source
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Photo: l'abate Simone Fioraso, 'Bibbia giorno e notte' The abbot of Santa Croce, Simone Fioraso reading for the television special, 'Bible day and night' a continuous reading of the Bible which took place in 2008.

Other photo links:
Don Simone with Trappists from India
L'Abate Don Simone Fioraso

III Convegno su S. Bernardo a Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Roma 18-10-08

Who's teaching your children?



Creating an atmosphere favorable to chastity.

22. We take this opportunity to address those who are engaged in education and all those whose right and duty it is to provide for the common good of human society. We would call their attention to the need to create an atmosphere favorable to the growth of chastity so that true liberty may prevail over license and the norms of the moral law may be fully safeguarded.
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Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men's baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture (25) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities. - Humane Vitae

For the feast of St. Philip Neri...





Some of his maxims.
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In order to preserve their purity, young men should frequent the Sacraments, and especially confession.
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To acquire and preserve the virtue of chastity, we have need of a good and experienced confessor.

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It is a most useful thing to say often, and from the heart, “Lord, do not put any confidence in me, for I am sure to fall if Thou dost not help me;” or, “O my Lord, look for nothing but evil from me.”
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In trying to get rid of bad habits, it is of the greatest importance not to put off going to confession after a fall, and also to keep to the same confessor.
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Let us concentrate ourselves so completely in the divine love, and enter so far into the living fountain of wisdom, through the wounded Side of our Incarnate God, that we may deny ourselves and our self-love, and so be unable to find our way out of that Wound again.

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A virtuous life consists in mortifying vices, sins, bad thoughts, and evil affections, and in exercising ourselves in the acquisition of holy virtues.
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Our Blessed Lady is the dispenser of all the favours which the goodness of God concedes to the Sons of Adam.

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Link

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confidence in God



You obtain from God as much as you hope for. - John of the Cross
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There is much talk online about 'who will be saved?' asking, 'are there many who will be saved?' while worrying over the good counsels of the saints announcing that 'most souls go to hell'.  I believe such fears are healthy, however, there is one little Doctor of the Church who embraced such notions, not out of fear, but with confidence in the merciful love of God.
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St. Therese of Lisieux "expected as much from God's justice as she did from his mercy.  'How nice it is to think that God is just!' she said.  'It means he takes our weakness into account and knows full well how frail we are by nature.'  She also said that she would prefer to live without consolation, because in that way she could give God greater proof of her trust in him." - Mother Agnes of Jesus, St. Therese By those Who Knew Her
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The way is narrow.

Queries concerning unjust laws.



Or why legislation approving same-sex marriage would be considered an unjust law.
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I was asked this by a reader.  I will defer to Fr. Farfaglia's article on Unjust Laws and Same Sex Marriage, as found on Catholic Online.
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Not just for Catholics either...
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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The Catholic Church has always pointed out that civil law must conform to the moral law.  Public opinion does not make something right or wrong; the objective moral law does.  Thus, not only Catholic politicians, but also all men and women in public life have an objective moral criterion to follow.  
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When a civil law is not in conformity with the moral law, it is an unjust law.  Legalized slavery, for example, was an unjust law.  Legalized forms of segregation were unjust laws.  Legalized abortion is an unjust law.  Legalized euthanasia is an unjust law.  Legalized same-sex marriage is an unjust law.  Slavery, segregation, abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex 'marriages' are in essence contrary to the objective moral law, and therefore, no human law can claim them to be legitimate.
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The teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas explains this point with great clarity when he writes that "human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes an act of violence" (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 93, a.3, ad 2). Furthermore he goes on to say: "Every law made by man can be called a law insofar as it derives from the natural law. But if it is somehow opposed to the natural law, then it is not really a law but rather a corruption of the law" (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 95, a.2).
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Pope John Paul II in his monumental encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae wrote: "Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality" (70.4). "It is therefore urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect and promote" (71.1). - Finish reading here.



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Image credit.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cathedral of St. Paul Vandalized.



Upside down white crosses on the doors.
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Police in St. Paul are looking for the person or persons who vandalized a city landmark over the weekend.
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Sometime between 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday someone spray painted 5 of the 6 main doors on the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Police tell KARE 11 the vandalism took the form of upside down white crosses.
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At this point investigators aren't sure what the motivation was, but due to the building's religious connections they are pursuing it as a possible bias crime. - Kare 11 
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I would not be at all surprised to find out the vandalism has a direct connection to the protestors demonstrating at the State Capitol this past weekend.
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H/T Nan


The Road to Genderlessness...



People think this stuff is a joke.
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Or at the most the provenance of a subgroup of intellectual and cultural elites.
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That Swedish couple raising a child without gender - not a joke.
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Cher thought she gave birth to and raised a little girl named Chastity - now she's a he - well sort of.  No breasts, no penis, and lots of testosterone.  No joke.
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Lady Gaga, Elton John - born this way.  What way?  No joke.
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Ever heard of sexual fluidity?  No joke.
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From Lisa Diamond:  An Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah.  Her new book, Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire challenges everything we thought we knew about fixed notions of sexuality:
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Fluidity and a broadened version of sexuality could get us to ask the questions, what is healthy sexuality?  How can this potentially help someone accept their sexual desires?  How can this help us adopt a more accepting and empowering view of sexuality writ large for all individuals at all ages?   We need to get over this anxiety about sexuality.  It would be an amazing thing if a thirteen year old went into health class was told, “you are at the beginning of an incredible journey.  I’m going to give you some tools and strategies for figuring out what you want and how to get it.  But you are in the beginning of an adventure and it’s going to be great!”  That would be a really profound transformation. - Source
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Genderlessness is very much related to GLBTQ interests.
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Sociologist Mary Bernstein writes: "For the lesbian and gay movement, then, cultural goals include (but are not limited to) challenging dominant constructions of masculinity and femininity, homophobia, and the primacy of the gendered heterosexual nuclear family (heteronormativity). Political goals include changing laws and policies in order to gain new rights, benefits, and protections from harm."[2] Bernstein emphasizes that activists seek both types of goals in both the civil and political spheres. - Source
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If gender identity is fluid then sexual orientation is as well.
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“If gender identity is fluid, then sexual orientation is as well,” contends psychology grad student lorne m. dickey, who identifies as a gay FTM and spells his name entirely with lowercase letters.  Though many scientists and laypersons believe sexual orientation is fixed and immutable, dickey disagrees.  His own experience suggests otherwise: “Prior to transition, I identified as a lesbian.  I’d never once had sex with a man. Shortly after beginning my transition, it was clear… I was more interested in being sexual with a man than I was with a woman.” - Source
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The Evolved.
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Leaders of the lesbian and gay movement of the 1970s, 80s and 90s often attempted to hide masculine lesbians, feminine gay men, transgendered people, and bisexuals from the public eye, creating internal divisions within LGBT communities. - Source 
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All of that has changed today, which accounts in part for the movement towards 'genderlessness'. 
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Photo:  Chaz Bono - before and after. 
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H/T PML for some of the links.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tornadoes, economic collapse, global revolution, the cross.



Why there will be no rapture...
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Because Our Lord will not cheat us out of the cross.
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Prayers for the victims of the tornadoes, as well as those suffering from natural disaster, war, revolution, religious persecution, and economic collapse.
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Photo: Joplin tornado damage.  It looks like a tsunami hit.

Abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.



Supressed.
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From Rorate Caeli:  "The Cistercian abbey linked to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Santa Croce in Gerusalemme), the Sessorian Basilica, one of the seven most relevant basilicas in Rome, has been suppressed by a decree of the Congregation for Religious (Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life), approved by the Holy Father, following the results of an Apostolic Visitation - which itself was a result of years of serious problems, including significant liturgical abuses. (Source: multiple reports - see G.Galeazzi; A.Tornielli.) The former abbot and other monks had already been removed two years ago, the remaining Cistercians will be relocated to different abbeys.
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The Cistercians had been at Santa Croce for nearly five centuries." - New Catholic 
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I know a monk from that abbey.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's a wrap! Minnesota voters to determine the future of marriage.



Drama at the State Capitol.
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From MplsStarTribune:


After a long, passionate and solemn debate that lasted deep into the night, the Minnesota House passed a proposed constitutional amendment on Saturday to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.



Voters will decide the question in November 2012. The final vote was 70-62. Four Republicans voted no. Two Democrats voted yes.


"I do not believe it is up to judges or even this body, but it should be up to Minnesotans," said Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, sponsor of the bill. But he said his beliefs are not paramount: "It is not about what I think. It is about what we think as Minnesotans." - Source

And yet gay activists have fought against giving fellow citizens the right to vote on such an amendment.  Isn't that discriminatory? 
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The discriminating voter.
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People are so screwed up.  I watched some of the debate on Public Television, as well as the news.  Local news showed the protesters outside the chamber.  Such drama.  A woman weeping that she and her same-sex partner are denied a wedding ceremony.  Homosexual activists claiming discrimination because they want to redefine the institution of marriage and family, while insisting the efforts of their opponents is anti-family.  Added to the drama, lots of Orwellian double speak going on. 
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Now that the matter will be left up to voters, gay activists are ready for a long, expensive marketing campaign from today until the 2012 vote - politicking on the grounds all sorts of human rights violations and discrimination militates against their emotional cause.  Almost by necessity, activists make a god out of equal rights while dismissing the possibility that some discrimination is good - some is bad.  Unfortunately, neither side seems ready to admit that there exists that 'good discrimination' which is necessary for the common good.  And it is the common good which needs safeguarding. 
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I read somewhere that to discriminate is to make a decision.  Not all discrimination is equal and some discrimination is necessary and good - the alternative is anarchy which leads to the overthrow and destruction of culture.  Indeed, we are almost there.  So - don't even wince when you are accused of being discriminatory - it's okay - your opponent is too.   
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The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions. Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice.(16) The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it. - CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH: CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

Photo credit: Strib.

Mass Chat: After the rapture.