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, July 16, 2011

Is it just me or is it _______?



Fill in the blank with whatever bothers you, but I'll bet you - at least 99% of the time - it really is just you.

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Go to confession.

The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel


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Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
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Hail, thou Star of ocean!
Portal of the sky!
Ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord Most High!

Oh! by Gabriel's Ave,
Utter'd long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Establish peace below.

Break the captives' fetters;
Light on blindness pour;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not thee despise.

Virgin of all virgins!
To thy shelter take us:
Gentlest of the gentle!
Chaste and gentle make us.

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavour,
Till with thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever.

Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Irish priests and the seal of the confessional...



Threatened.
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Roman Catholic priests in Ireland may once again face official Government persecution and imprisonment if a new law passes requiring them to break the seal of the confessional and reveal crimes confessed in the sacrament of reconciliation.  The Church was formerly persecuted during the period known as the Penal Laws - and not since then has the Church faced such hostility.  I'm not sure even the Communists and Nazis were able to pull off such an abuse of religious freedom.  Catholic priests are renowned for preserving the seal of the confessional, and they have a few patron saints to prove it, amongst them St. John Nepomucene (story below) and Blessed Felipe Ciscar Puig, "considered a martyr of the sacramental seal as he was shot for refusing to reveal the confession of a Franciscan priest who was himself executed, during the Spanish persecution of 1936"
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Irish law would limit religious freedom.
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Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny promised to introduce a new law that would jail priests for up to five years if they failed to tell the authorities about crimes of sexual abuse disclosed during confessions.
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“The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar,” Kenny told journalists July 14.
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Such a proposition runs contrary to the internal law of the Catholic Church known as Canon Law. It says of confession that “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason,” with the punishment for such a breach being “a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.”
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“It will end up with priests being put in jail,” said Father Paul Hayward, editor of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland’s journal Abstracts.
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“We have to get greater clarity as to what exactly is being proposed but, certainly, no priest who values their priesthood would ever break the seal of confession. This could make martyrs of a lot of Irish priests.”  - CNA 
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Art:  St. John Nepomucene, martyr of the confessional. 
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Brief biography from Catholic Online:  In his early childhood, John Nepomucene was cured of a disease through the prayers of his good parents. In thanksgiving, they consecrated him to the service of God. After he was ordained, he was sent to a parish in the city of Prague. He became a great preacher, and thousands of those who listened to him changed their way of life. Father John was invited to the court of Wenceslaus IV. He settled arguments and did many kind deeds for the needy people of the city. He also became the queen's confessor. When the king was cruel to the queen, Father John taught her to bear her cross patiently. One day, about 1393, the king asked him to tell what the queen had said in confession. When Father John refused, he was thrown into prison. A second time, he was asked to reveal the queen's confession. "If you do not tell me," said the king, "you shall die. But if you obey my commands, riches and honor will be yours." Again Father John refused. He was tortured. The king ordered to be thrown into the river. Where he drowned, a strange brightness appeared upon the water. He is known as the "martyr of the confessional." He is patron of Czechoslovakia, where he is invoked against floods and against slander. His feast day is May 16.   - Source 

More priests dancing...



Traditional ones.
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That's all.

New Drama - Starring Michelle Bachmann and the Pope as the AntiChrist



This is so not breaking news.
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By now everyone has heard that Michelle Bachmann thinks the Pope is the anti-Christ.  Big deal.  So did the breakaway fallen priest-monk, founder of her church, Martin Luther.  Luther wasn't exactly pro-papist, pro-Catholic now was he.  Not a question.  And why does the secular press even care if she's anti-Catholic?  They don't.
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I think Michelle Bachmann is pretty, and so is Sarah Palin - both of them are/were members of churches that think the Catholic Church is bad and either the Whore of Babylon or the seat of the anti-Christ.   And personally, I get the impression both of these ladies are pro-Israel because they want Armageddon ASAP in order to 'force' the rapture.  But don't hate them just because they are beautiful.
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Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth - Luther interpreted that to mean the papacy is in effect the anti-Christ, because anyone who tries to take the place of Christ on earth is the anti-Christ.  Well something like that, but Luther was a heretic.  Bachmann is Lutheran, and very pretty.  (The poor woman didn't even know that was part of her sect's doctrine.)
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From The Atlantic: Bachmann was a longtime member of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a council of churches founded in 1850 that today comprises about 400,000 people. WELS is the most conservative of the major Lutheran church organizations, known for its strict adherence to the writings of Martin Luther, the German theologian who broke with the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. This includes endorsing Luther's statements about the papacy. From the WELS "Doctrinal Statement on the Antichrist":

Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.

That's so stupid.
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Art:  Engraving, Whore of Babylon.  (What if Michelle was the whor ... never mind.  Note to politicians and pundits - concentrate on real issues.)

Legion of Christ back in the news.



More troubles...
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Just check out these headlines/links:
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Legionaries close Catholic College.
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Cardinal De Paolis criticizes 'dissent' within Legion of Christ
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Legionaires break out at Vegas hotel.***
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***Photo:  I'm told this is an undercover shot of members dancing in Vegas.
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What?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unfit for ministry?


The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. - 1598, CCC
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The recent disgrace of a famous priest who has now been declared by his religious superior as 'unfit for ministry' had me thinking about how some men may have been approved for Holy Orders, despite the fact they may have given certain warning signs they could be 'unfit'.  That idea developed as I considered the stories circulated by that particular priest of how psychologists who initially screened him before ordination advised against his being accepted, believing he was mentally unfit or unsuitable.  Nevertheless the recent convert was admitted to orders despite those warnings and he, along with his superior at the time, seemed to believe the negative report was due to the his religious conservatism and fidelity to Church teaching.
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Likewise, a local priest who eventually committed suicide after accusations of sexual molesting young boys and murdering his accusers, was reportedly early on given a negative report concerning his suitability for ordination.  His superiors waved him through however.
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"Pray for the suicides." - Fr. Zosima
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Recently a young, well liked priest, innocent of any wrong doing, committed suicide and was found dead in a rectory closet.  At his funeral he was eulogized with great compassion, revealing how the poor man suffered from bullying all of his life, which may have contributed to his life long struggle with depression.  As most people know, depression is a mental illness, although it is more often than not successfully managed with medication.  It is worth noting however, some of these medications carry warnings that side effects may include thoughts of suicide and lead to suicide.  Gratefully, the young priest was given a Catholic funeral with dignity and honors, mourned by all who knew him.
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I have no issue with the last priest mentioned whatsoever - I don't know anything about him other than what I read.  Instead, my concern is that some candidates for ordination, whose psychological health may be in question, get through to ordination.  I realize that diocesan and seminary superiors weigh each candidate's credentials and suitability carefully, and sometimes in good faith allow special dispensations, confident in the mystery of grace and the action of the Holy Spirit to heal and sustain and support such men in their vocation.  But can they be mistaken?  Are there false vocations?  Are there some men ordained priest forever who maybe should not have been?  To be sure their ordination is valid and indelible - but what if they were unfit for ministry in the first place - before ordination?
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Impediments and irregularities.
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Can men with clinical depression be ordained?  It seems to me this question poses a similar dilemma with that of men with deep seated homosexual inclination being barred from ordination.  In Canon Law there are certain irregularities and impediments which can and do disqualify a candidate for Holy Orders.
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Canon 1041 - The following persons are irregular for the reception of orders:
 1. one who suffers from any form of insanity, or from other psychological infirmity, because of which he is, after experts have been consulted, judged incapable of properly fulfilling the ministry.
 5. one who ... has attempted suicide.
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Impediments and irregularities can be dispensed by the Holy See of course.  Irregularities are impediments regarded as perpetual, while simple impediments are not.  I'm not sure what that means legally however.  Yet these matters raise questions regarding the discernment process as to who can be admitted to Holy Orders.  Officially, men with deep seated homosexual tendencies are to be barred from orders, yet as we know, there are those who continue to be ordained.  Even though ordination is valid are there 'false vocations'?  (Would this apply to men with mental disorders as well?)
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"They see the Church as a noncompetitive, friendly world where they may enjoy high status and be protected at the same time." - van den aardweg
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I'm not sure if the following works in well with this post, nevertheless it is an interesting commentary on the subject of admitting homosexuals to ordination I came across in the writings of Dr. Van Den Aardweg, in his book The Battle For Normality.  It may or may not be helpful to my topic here:
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"Why are so many Protestant and Catholic homosexuals, male and female alike, interested in theology, and why do they not infrequently want to be ministers or priests?  Part of the answer lies in their infantile need for sympathy and contact.  They view church professions as soft and sentimentally caring and imagined themselves in them as being honored and revered, elevated above common human beings.  They see the Church as a noncompetitive, friendly world where they may enjoy high status and be protected at the same time.  For male homosexuals, there is the additional incentive of a rather closed men's community where they need not prove themselves as men." (Hello!)
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[...]
"These interests stem for the most part then from an infantile, self centered imagination and have precious little to do with the objective contents of Christian belief.  What some homosexuals see as their calling to the priesthood is an attraction to an emotionally rewarding, though self-centered way of life.  These are self imagined or 'false' vocations.  Needles to say these ministers and priests are inclined to preach a soft, humanistic reinvention of traditional beliefs, especially of moral principals, and a distorted concept of 'love'.  Moreover, they tend to create a homosexual subculture within their churches.  There they undoubtedly pose a suitable threat for the orthodoxy and undermine church unity by their habit of forming subversive coteries that do not feel responsible to the official church community (the reader may recall the homosexual complex of 'not belonging'.)  Otherwise, they lack the balance and strength of character necessary for giving fatherly advice." - Battle For Normalcy
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"Otherwise, they lack the balance and strength of character necessary for giving fatherly advice."  Could this 'impediment' apply to candidates who may be otherwise psychologically unfit as well?  Just thinking out loud here.
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Art: Source - no further information.

Blessed Kateri



At prayer this morning I was wondering if the Jesuits had welcoming Masses for the Native Americans?
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Answering my own question first - baptism and confirmation is the traditional form of welcome to converts - although today RCIA - the Rite of Christian Initiation has become the formal process of welcome.   That said, when Blessed KateriTekakwitha entered the Church, like all sincere converts, she entered to gain Christ.  In the process, she was pretty much rejected by her own people, 'she endured the hostility of her tribe'.  In her embrace of the Catholic faith, Kateri renounced her very self, her former way of life and adhered to Christ alone in love, despite great 'opposition and hardship'.  Layered upon such sacrifice and renunciation, she embraced an even greater penitential life, while devoting herself in service to the aged and infirm - her spirit nourished by Jesus and him crucified, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
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The Christian life calls us to conversion.  John of the Cross expresses it so eloquently, "Oh if only souls understood the renunciation our Lord wishes of us, this negation must be similar to a complete temporal, natural and spiritual death - that is in reference to the esteem of the will which is the source of all denial."
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Blessed Kateri may be a good example for men and women leaving the gay lifestyle.  For many they endure the opposition of gay friends and coworkers who do not accept the teaching of the Church.  Despite the hardship, the mockery, these people renounce their former way of life to live according to the Gospel, regardless of the hostility of their former acquaintances, family and friends. 
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Whatever gains they had, they consider as so much loss because of Christ.  More than that, like Blessed Kateri, they consider everything as loss because of the supreme good of knowing Jesus Christ.  For His sake they have accepted the loss of all things and consider them as so much rubbish - in order that they may gain Christ and be found in Him. (see Philippians 3: 7-10)
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Through the intercession of Blessed Kateri, let us pray:

For those who are fearful of conversion because of its price:
- grant them the courage to choose you regardless of the price.
Lord hear our prayer. (Magnificat)
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Art: Los Angeles Cathedral tapestry depicting Bl. Kateri.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What up with that?



Some days I get really exasperated with 'the gays'...
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Like, what's with all the fellowship bullshit at Mass? You don't feel welcome?  Why bother going then?  I don't go to Mass with expectations of being the center of attention and accolades for just showing up.  I don't expect to have some special welcoming committee glad handing me when I walk in.  I don't need to be hugged or have my hand held throughout the Lord's Prayer.  I don't want to have to stop and chat after Mass while I'm trying to make my thanksgiving.  I'm not there to party. 
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I go to Mass to pray, to worship, to thank God, to praise God, to ask for God's mercy.  I go to Mass because the Love of God attracts me.  It is God who first loved me that draws me.  I go because I hunger and thirst for Him in the Eucharist.  I definitely feel loved by God in the Eucharist, at Mass, in church.   And the people are nice - sometimes, sometimes not.  There's the bitch who looks down her nose if I wear shorts, the couple who watches me for I don't know what, and the occasional jerk who never says hello or smiles when I say hi and give him a big smile every week.  That's life. 
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The Church isn't a country club.
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So rather than pissing and moaning that they don't 'feel' accepted by other Catholics at Mass - maybe gay people should take a personal inventory of themselves and answer a few questions about their personal prejudices and lack of acceptance of others.  For instance:    

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Do you accept other Catholics who may not like you?  Ignore you?  Sneer at you?
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Do you know that single heterosexuals also feel out of place at times in group and family situations?
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Do you accept Catholic couples who seem to have at least one baby every year with the other 10 annoying you during the homily?
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Likewise, do you accept those families who want to raise their children in line with Catholic teaching?
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Do you accept church-ladies and busy-bodies who are always part of parish life?
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Do you accept the discipline of the Church regarding reception of the Eucharist?
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Do you support the bishops who refuse to permit pro-gay activist groups to meet on Church property?

Do you accept Catholic teaching on faith and morals?
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Photo: Holy Redeemer, San Francisco, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  That's normal, huh? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fr. Landry on St. Cecilia's "Gay" Mass.



Everyone is welcome.
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If that is true, why do some people feel the need for a very 'special' welcome?  The call of Christ is all about conversion - he welcomed sinners and ate with them - but his welcome included demands to change, to repent and convert; go and sin no more - and he himself made that possible.  That is how he acts through the Church today - he welcomes us to repentance and provides his real presence in and through the sacraments to help us do that; especially the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist - in that order - to lead us on the narrow way of change.
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Fr. Landry.
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Landry praised Cardinal O’Malley’s strong June 22 statement for acknowledging that “gay pride” is “incompatible with the Church’s teachings.” But the priest lamented that the cardinal’s attempts to distance the Mass from the “gay pride” theme “sadly haven’t succeeded,” and that supporters of the event have used “coded language” “to communicate that supporters of the gay agenda do not have to worry about being made to feel uncomfortable.”
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Landry argued that the cardinal was right to resist pressure to cancel the Mass completely, saying “no pastor worth his sacred oils is trigger-happy to eliminate the possibility for people to come into Christ’s presence.” However, he said, there is a need to ask of such themed Masses “whether they encourage implicit or defiant rejection of Christ.”
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“Faithful Catholics seek to welcome everyone with the warmth of a brother and sister but also to call everyone to conversion with the humility of a fellow prodigal,” he wrote. Thus, he said, “parishes who are aware that parishioners are unabashedly engaging in practices contrary to the practice of the faith and who do not strive ... to help them eliminate whatever in them is leading them to sin, are culpable of the worst type of pastoral malpractice.”
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“Their behavior, no matter how they spin it, is inconsistent with genuine Christian love.”
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In a second column, Landry recalled the difference between a person and the behavior choices that may be destroying them: a distinction that is key to understanding the Church’s “true acceptance” of homosexuals, whose “sexual desires are neither co-extensive with ‘who they are’ nor constitute the fundamental basis of their identity and dignity.”
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“True love means, obviously, that we don’t condemn them for the behavior that disfigures their identity, but it does mean that we try to help them to change their behavior to align it with the love of God and true love of others,” Landry said.
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“The only adequate Christian response to anyone is love,” he added, “but this love can never remain a shallow hospitality that fails to help the person recognize and respond to the rather conspicuous ways Christ is challenging him to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” - LifeSiteNews
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Real change is conversion.

The end of an era... Corapi's ego explodes.



The last post... still schlepping.
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Like Charlie Sheen, Corapi is all about the money.  On his last entry, he continues to offer his material at 50% off - for a limited time only and then: "After that, there will be no further chance to acquire the audio and video material that marked that era."  Era?  Holy crap.  Get yourselves a Donate button all ye holier than thous - how true the old passage from 1 Tim. 6, 6: "there is great gain in religion!"
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For twenty years I tried to impart the Catholic and Christian Faith through preaching and teaching the Word of God as a Catholic priest. That era of my life is sadly ended, but rather than lie down and die, I have made a decision to continue doing what I can to inspire, teach, and give hope to the people living in a time in history much in need of it.
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...unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat...
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An interesting anecdote:
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“Corapi said that a long time ago he decided not to let himself get backed into a corner where the church could manipulate him with threats like denying him a pension or a home or an assignment. He worried that it would be a real test of faith for him if the church asked him to go live in a monastery and give up his worldly goods. ‘Hopefully, I would do it,” he said years later, with an inflection in his voice suggesting that he might not. When pressed, however, he conceded that he had superiors like everyone else and if they said, ‘You’re finished,’ he’d be finished. But when really pushed about what he would do if ordered to turn over his assets, he said he had concluded that because of his status – somewhere between a member of a religious order and a parish priest – canon law was ambiguous on this question.” - A revealing quote from a 2007 book
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Yes, yes.  I pray for him, but I can still call an ass an ass.
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That's all.

Michelle Bachmann's husband and the cure.



Will 'the gays' end up calling the election?
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ABC News has the story:  Michelle Bachmann's husband's clinic claims to be able to cure homosexuals!  Oh!  My!  Gosh!  At least that seems to be the primary angle of the story:
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A former patient who sought help from the Christian counseling clinic owned by GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, told ABC News he was advised that prayer could rid him of his homosexual urges and he could eventually be "re-oriented."

"[One counselor's] path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay," said Andrew Ramirez, who was 17-years-old at the time he sought help from Bachmann & Associates in suburban Minneapolis in 2004. "And God would forgive me if I were straight."

In the past, Marcus Bachmann has disputed the clinic has treated gay patients this way. But Ramirez's account, which was first reported by The Nation, is similar to the counseling session that appears on new undercover video shot by a gay rights advocacy group last month. That footage shows another counselor at the Bachmann clinic telling a gay man posing as a patient that, with prayer and effort, he could eventually learn to be attracted to women and rid himself of his gay urges. - Continue reading here.
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Gay activists and their liberal allies are really gunning for Bachmann.  Everyone knows it is totally politically incorrect to suggest a person with  homosexual inclination can change his orientation.  Just as it is totally politically incorrect to suggest homosexuality is a choice.  Whatever.  The behavior is certainly a choice - and one can always stop that.  Man is born with free will and some men can change if a powerful motivation to do so is there.  I've met them - I have gay friends who married women and lived happily ever after - pretty much.  Frequently we hear of men and women changing from hetero to homo behavior, so what's so impossible about the reverse?   Oh!  Oh!  I'm a bad man for saying that.
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As far as Minnesota's other losing candidate, Tim Pawlenty, he will not fare much better since gay activists are now claiming he believes homosexuality is a choice.   He really didn't say that however.  It doesn't matter anyway - Pawlenty is also against gay marriage.  DOA at the polls, huh?  BTW - as my readers know, I'm against gay marriage too.
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Disclaimer:  No poodles were harmed by this post.  One more thing, this post was written before ABC's Nightline aired. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The 'gays' welcomed at St. Cecilia's.


Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome! Fremde, etranger, stranger. Gl├╝cklich zu sehen, je suis enchant├ę, ...
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I've kind of been following this story as it unfolds, because I once actually lived and worked at St. Cecilia's in Boston - too many years ago now to have any record...  Monsignor Mackey kept me and another guy 'off the payroll' and paid us on the side.  Whenever I compare a rectory to a haunted house I am always thinking of St. Cecilia's.  I had a little hermitage in one of the towers where I used to go pray - it never failed to creep me out.  Mice ran across the lower church during vigils - the place was run down.  At one point in his career, Monsignor Mackey was a famous novena preacher and St. Cecilia's was on radio with Mackey preaching the Miraculous Medal Novena every Monday night.  It was at St. Cecilia's where I came to understand why priests drink or fall into sin - living in a rectory with an old Irish control freak was vocation numbing.  But I digress.
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Anyway - evidently the "gay" Mass was held at St. Cece's this past weekend, and from the photos, it appears the church and rectory and parish hall may be a lot more livable, in addition to being much more welcoming - ka-ching.  The parish is obviously a gay parish these days, look at the man posing  against the fountain.  What?  Monsignor must be turning in his grave, as are most of the ordinary Catholics in Boston who once frequented the church - not the living trads of course - they're making their voices heard.  Naturally I'm just guessing about all of the details, since I wasn't there for the Cabaret Mass - but evidently Carol McKinley was - she posts about it here.  I wonder if that is Carol in the crimson dress arguing with the priest/deacon? shown above in the photo with the two men dancing?  What?
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I was propositioned in that church once - but that's another story.
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A couple of observations here.
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Gay, gay, gay.  The gays.  I have a feeling one of these days it is not going to be permitted to call everything that involves homosexuals the gays or gay.
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Cardinal Sean and the Boston chancery have some splainin' to do.
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St. Cecilia's is in a rather gay area... Back Bay - eyeroll.  When I lived there "Dignity" met at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine just a couple of blocks away.  Even way back then I was against it - Dignity and its Catholic promoters that is.

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Photo credit.

Sr. Ignatia



The 'drunk's Angel of hope.
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Yesterday, Matt Talbot Sunday no less, I linked to Shadowland's post on Fr. Pfau, one of the first priests to admit he was an alcoholic - a significant and corageous admission in any day - but especially so back in the 1940's and '50's.  Fr. Pfau knew Sr. Ignatia, which prompted me to check the biography I have of the nun, Sister Ignatia - Angel of Alcoholic Anonymous, by Mary C. Darrah to see if he was mentioned in the book.  He was.
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A brief biography of Sr. Ignatia.
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"The alcoholic is deserving of sympathy. Christ-like charity and intelligent care are needed so that with God's grace he or she may be given the opportunity to accept a new philosophy of life." -Sister Ignatia
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Mary Ignatia Gavin (1889–1966) of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine was known as The Drunk's "Angel of Hope"
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Sister Ignatia was born in Ireland as Bridget Della Mary Gavin on 2 January 1889 at Shanvalley, Burren, in County Mayo.
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Sister Ignatia took her vows in 1914 with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. As a superb musician, was called to teach music. She did this for about 10 years but found it "too hectic" and suffered a nervous breakdown. When she recovered, she began working as a nurse. On August 16, 1935, Sister Ignatia was in charge of admissions at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio. She and Dr. Bob Smith (doctor), admitted the first alcoholic patient who would be the first of millions to participate in the Twelve-step program of recovery.
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Many of ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous ideas — including the use of tokens to mark milestones in sobriety — were introduced by Sister Ignatia. She gave alcoholics leaving St. Thomas a Sacred Heart medallion, instructing them that the acceptance of the medallion represented commitment to God, A.A. and recovery. She added that if they were going to drink, they should return the medallion first.
She was also the first to recognise the use of coffee for alcoholics, insisting that it be freely available in every stage of recovery.
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Between 1935 and 1965 she successfully treated thousands of alcoholics. Sister Ignatia pioneered the recognition of alcoholism among priests and nuns. She was remembered for her kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental love. - Wki
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Priests thrown under the bus.
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That analogy never fails to make me laugh since I always visualize a person laying under a city bus.  It is used repeatedly these days for anyone and everyone who feels mistreated, betrayed, made a scapegoat for the failings of others, or just 'gotten out of the way' as in 'swept under the rug'.  If that happened to any group of priests however, never was it so pronounced as it was in dealing with the alcoholic priest syndrome, relatively rampant in the late 1940's, 1950's and early '60's.  Bishops didn't want to admit it nor did they want to deal with it.  Yet Sr. Ignatia and her colleagues knew it had to be dealt with.
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To some degree, Sr. Ignatia was held back in her mission by her bishop and religious superior who sought to quell her enthusiasm and humble her for singularizing herself through her work and speaking engagements.  Sr. Ignatia accepted this with humility and obedience.  Nevertheless, critics at the time voiced concerns criticizing the tendency to hide the problem and deny that alcoholism amongst the clergy was as serious as it was.  One physician told a priest at a Clergy Conference:
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"The trouble with you priests is you all have 'dignosclerosis,'  hardening of the dignity.  If you weren't afraid to make a mistake, you'd be out curing people of these things."  (Makes me think of the Scripture; 'do no harm to my annointed' - used as a convenient maxim by some religious to hide behind and use as an excuse to insulate themselves from criticism.)
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"How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?" - John 5: 44
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The fear was that the Church's reputation would be tarnished if it became known that alcoholism was a problem in the priesthood, or that priests were members of AA.  A frequent lament whispered at the time was that the bigger concern of the bishops was aimed at safeguarding the image of the Church rather than saving the lives of alcoholic priests.  As one priest observed, "Frankly, I don't think the Church (the reputation of the Church) needs saving as much as the (alcoholic) man (priest).  God's cause is often hurt by people who are trying to save God." 
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Anyway, along comes Fr. Pfau, who broke the anonymity barrier and announced himself as the first priest to join AA.  Amongst other achievements, Fr. Pfau organized the Clergy Conference in Indianapolis, and authored the popular pamphlet series The Golden Book.  That was way back in 1949.
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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As the author Mary Darrah observed:  "Most often a priest's addiction and even his recovery were hidden from view.  The Church's frank denial that alcoholism was a common enough problem among her priests created serious obstacles to prevention, education, and treatment efforts attempted on their behalf." - Sister Ignatia, Chapter 6, An Unfinished Mission: Alcoholism and Catholic Problems
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An unfinished mission indeed.
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More links:
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Angel of AA
Sr. Mary Ignatia, A Founder of AA
Photo Credit
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A special thanks and remembrance in prayer for my friend Ty who gave Sr. Ignatia's book to me several years ago.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Addiction and recovery and recovering addicts.


"Pray we'll break the shackles of addiction and give glory to God for all eternity." *
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I've never been in treatment or rehab or a recovery program, but I think I know about addictions.  I know about pretending and making excuses and hiding.  I know about lying.  I think I can usually spot liars, pretenders, phonies - not always right away - but pretty much of the time I pick up on it sooner than later.  I can almost always tell when someone is drunk, is on something or is using - I can tell.  I grew up in a household of lying and drunks and abuse.  It was good training.  I too learned how to lie and make excuses and pretend - it was quite a struggle at times. "There but for the grace of God go I."
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That said - I came across a very good post by a British blogger, Shadowlands who posted something about a priest Fr Ralph Pfau, known as the "Prodigal Shepherd" from the title of his book by the same name.  Fr. Pfau declared of himself,  "All my life, I will carry three indelible marks. I am a Roman Catholic priest. I am an alcoholic. And I am a neurotic."  Shadowlands says of him,  "He suffered much, but he kept trying."   I think that is key to conversion and the way to sanctity - 'saints are sinners who kept trying'.  I'm reprinting her post here:
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Excerpt from the chapter, The Dawn of Truth ( from his book Sobriety and Beyond) by Father Ralph Pfau. (Imprimatur Paul C Shulte D.D Archbishop of Indianapolis March 1955).
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"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is. Minus all the sham, the surface and the show, he then stands face to face with truth. Minus the deception of his own self seeking and selfishness, he sees himself clearly outlined in the aura of God's grace as it tears away all the foolish self deceptions and shows a man for what he really is- selfish, deceitful, full of excuses, dishonest, even to himself and full of faults and failings............conts: To most of us, this moment comes at a time when many of life's battles and years have passed, but at a time when there still remains sufficient years, vigor and initiative to "seek truth and pursue it,".in order to make it the motive of our living, the motive of our struggles and the security of our declining years.
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This moment may be brought about by the death of a loved one, the loss of worldly goods, or it may be directly occasioned within by the grace of God speaking to the depth of our soul. To most alcoholics it comes at that instant when they face the inevitable choice: death, insanity or absolute sobriety. It often comes with a blinding flash that seems to tear away the very foundations of life and whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, layman or professional, young or old, there arises from the very innermost sanctuary of the soul and heart the cry "My God, what a mess I have made of things! How pitiful is the good done, how sparing my help to others, how innumerable my mistakes, the wrongs-how all pervading my self seeking, how dishonest my every motive! How seamy the finished, but now battered product!"
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This "moment" may last for an hour, a day, a month, a year or for years. But whenever, however it comes- it is a dread and fearful moment, because UPON THAT MOMENT AND THE DECISIONS OF THAT MOMENT MAY DEPEND OUR VERY LIFE AND OUR ETERNITY. And from that time on, one can never be the same again.....................conts: It is then that life's greatest decision must be made and then it seems that an angel has him by the hands and a devil by the foot...............he can do one of three things:
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First, rush in confusion back to the old surface view of self and try by a thousand and one half remedies to dress up the haunting vision, to explain away the stubborn reality. TO EXCUSE and to attempt forgetfulness by courting the sham fancies of the night and by rushing headlong through the chores of the day. THIS IS THE CHOICE OF THE VAIN MAN.
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Second, the shock may be so great, the failure so undeniably real, the disillusionment so crushing that he despairs and in one way or another he seeks to destroy himself- either factually or by the bottle. THIS IS THE PROUD MAN.
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Third, this is the way of the Prodigal Son, who dropped on his knees in the swine pen and cried: "Father, I have sinned" or with it's echo "I am powerless... my life is unmanageable"- and perhaps for the first time in his life that man REALLY prays and begins to MEDITATE, THIS IS THE HUMBLE MAN. And day by day he prays and he MEDITATES on TRUTH lest again he fall back into his former life-long HABIT OF EXCUSES. For the LIFE OF ALL IS LOADED WITH EXCUSES-AND SYSTEMATIC, PERSISTENT AND CONSISTENT MEDITATION ALONE WILL DISSIPATE THEM. "With desolation is the land made desolate because there are none who thinketh in their hearts." - I love this priest.
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My last Corapi comment - I hope.
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I have another comment on Fr. Corapi.  More than the devil made him do it, or the woman seduced me excuses, aside from possibly being a psychopath, I get the impression Corapi may have turned back to look at the 'old man'.  It is dangerous for addicts to be alone - as a rule they don't make good hermits - especially if they keep alcohol for the guests or use pain medications or sleep aids for any length of time - if at all.  When photos of the thin, tanned, dyed-goatee Corapi first surfaced I told friends, "He's using."  I might be wrong of course.  Nevertheless I think he may have started backsliding somewhere along the line and went the route of the  'vain man' and the 'proud man' Fr. Pfau talks about.  I also think he surrounded himself with a group of codependent enablers to 'support' him.  Now, at this point, God only knows who has got a hold of him.  Likewise I think many of his followers have now become his enablers. 
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I will indeed keep praying for Fr. Corapi - thanks to Shadowlands great big compassionate heart.  I'm also thinking he may need an intervention more than an exorcism or exclaustration?  (The word worked better than suspension - I know he wasn't cloistered.) 
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Something to think about.
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*  "You keep me alive. I have often said and mean it, it ain't over till it's over. I hope you never read in the newspapers I ended up dead in a crack house somewhere, but don't you think it couldn't happen and so you pray for me and I'll pray for you and we'll pray for all our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we'll break the shackles, we'll break the shackles of addiction and give glory to God for all eternity. Amen, God bless you!". Fr Corapi
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Art:  III - Jesus falls the first time:  Matt Talbot  
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I didn't know it before - but today is actually Matt Talbot Sunday.  Go here for more information: Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center
 

The Duchess of Cambridge.



Modesty chic.
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Aside from being beautiful and married to the heir to the throne of Great Britain, Prince William - Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge dresses beautifully and modestly.  (At least for public appearances.)  Very cool.  
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Photo credit.

Will Fr. Cutie be as big a success now that he is married?


Fr. Cutie is back on television. 
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He's still an active priest, so I call him Father - but now he's an Episcopal priest of course.  Most likely very few people outside the Catholic Church think there is much difference between Catholic and Episcopal.  Non-religious people could care less, I'm sure.  What does it say to me that he's back in business?  That celebrity priests like the limelight, the fame and adulation, as well as the money.  
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Anyway.  My friend Paula sent me a couple questions regarding Cutie's Eucharist - what happens at his Episcopalian Masses/Communion Services? 
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1.  Here is my question:  Since by ordination Fr. Cutie is a priest forever, whenever he celebrates Mass in the Episcopal Church does the host and the wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?
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2.  And if transubstantiation takes place, does that mean the communicants receive the Eucharist sacrilegiously?
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One more question I thought of:  Could a Roman Catholic attend Fr. Cutie's Mass and fulfill his Sunday obligation, as well as receive Communion?  Many people seem to think they can do so in good conscience at SSPX chapels - so what about at Fr. Cutie's?
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These are obviously questions for a priest to answer:  And Fr. Richard does so in the combox.  Thank you Fr. Richard.
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Oh.  But to answer the title question of this post, "Will Fr. Cutie be as big a success now that he is married?"
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I say:  Probably.