Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse RIP


Amy Winehouse



I just came online and found out about it.
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I'm so sorry for her.  May God have mercy upon her soul...
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Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord...
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Let perpetual light shine upon them...


Thanks to Adrienne for the notice.

Gay barbarian terrorists attack Bachmann clinic.



Faerie dust up.
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Costumed gay protesters glitter-bombed Marcus Bachmann's private clinic to protest counseling practices with patients who claim unwanted homosexual tendencies, as well as acting out their displeasure of Marcus Bachmann's critique of homosexual activists as barbarians.  His wife Michele Bachmann is hoping to be the presidential candidate for the republican party.  The couple is hated by liberals and most gays.
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I did a post last week about the Bill Maher show and the barbarisms hurled at Michele Bachmann and her husband, as well as Rick Santorum, so if Marcus Bachmann had that in mind when he called gay activists barbarians, I can understand that.  At any rate, the gay barbarians casting glitter and angry epitaphs were trespassing on private property.  Such antics would hardly be tolerated at an abortion facility or Planned Parenthood - in fact if pro-life protesters dared such an action they would be arrested, convicted of a crime and most likely jailed.
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I know I offended a few gay friends with my Bachmann post, and I'm sure they are offended by this one as well.  I am not a Bachmann supporter, nor am I a proponent of pray the gay away therapy.  In fact I heard the undercover tape of a guy who saw a therapist at the clinic - what the therapist said was beyond stupid - but no one was forcing the guy to sit through it.  That said, if a person who is unhappy with his sexual orientation desires assistance or support in his conflict - there is absolutely nothing wrong if he or she seeks counseling - just make sure the therapists are licensed and have decent credentials.  Transgender people do it all the time, claiming to be unhappy with the gender they were born with, they spend thousands on therapy, hormone treatments, anti-depressants, and surgeries.  If people of faith seek Christian psychological therapy - why are they condemned?  The double standard is hugely obvious when the gay Brown Shirts set about limiting individual freedoms in such cases.
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As for the verbal, vulgar assaults on Bachmann, I believe the guests on Bill Maher's show were not only advocating violence, but that type of hateful invective has the capability of inciting violence as well.  Remember Gabrielle Giffords.  And don't think that is such an extreme concept these days either.  (Most of the gay people I know are on medication.)  Anyway, I believe Bachmann, just like any other American citizen, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  That is all I'm saying - I'm not campaigning for her.  Those who advocate violence, even rhetorically, should keep in mind it comes back to haunt you.  What goes around comes around.
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One friend told me he felt the conversation on Maher's show was just fine.  He also told me I should not have said Michele was a smart lady because her law degree is fake - he explained she attended Oral Roberts University which evidently wasn't accredited.  I laughed and obediently made a note of it in the comments section of my post:  The Inhospitality of Sodom.  Truth be told, Bachmann has an impressive educational background, and she obviously passed the State bar exams in Minnesota -  not to forget she's a third term Congresswoman.  At this point in her career she has more going for her than Obama had when he became president.  I'm not campaigning for the lady - but let's get the facts straight.
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I always get myself in trouble with my gay friends.
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Photo:  Gay barbarians outside the Bachmann clinic.

The ordinary domestic terrorist.



The horrific Norwegian killings.
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Blond hair, blue-eyed, handsome - I keep hearing that description of the 32-year old terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik accused of blowing up a section of downtown Oslo and then killing 80 plus people at an island summer youth camp northwest of Oslo on Utoeya island.
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By today's count the death toll is 91 people, and there is speculation he may have had an accomplice - the story remains sketchy at this point.  I would think he would have to have had an accomplice or two or three, but who knows? 
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I expect authorities keep describing the man as blond, blue-eyed, in order to dispel any notion that the attack had Muslim extremist connections - although from first reports it was suggested the perpetrator may have been connected to such a group.  Today reports are claiming he's part of a Christian fundamentalist sect - at this point it is just a claim however..  Apparently the suspect wants to talk and declare his motives - murdering a lot of people really gets people's attention.  We'll see how this unfolds.   
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Conservatives in this country scoff at Homeland Security as it focuses upon extremist groups within our own borders - especially any that have ties to Right-wing groups, yet Homeland Security is also very much aware that Muslim extremist groups are right here right now - maybe even living down the street from us...  What if they are blond, blue-eyed and handsome?  Seriously, after yesterday's bombing in Oslo, I can see why US Homeland Security is concerned.  That said, I hope they are looking at some of the fanatical liberal activist groups as well.
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I expect widespread civil unrest is only just beginning, although I find myself feeling strangely apathetic to it all.  That's worrisome.
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Photo: Anders Behring Breivik 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The heated garden...




First it was very rainy, then very hot, and so I haven't been able to do much yard work.  The hedges are overgrown, as is the grass - I need to be outside today. Notice how the heat fried the nasturtiums.
Posted by Picasa

A wretch like me.


Wretched?  Wretched is good.
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"If I had been able to find a creature more miserable than you" Our Lord said to Saint Margaret Mary, "I should have chosen her. "
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Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez:  "If I could have found a more wretched creature, I should have chosen her for my special love, and through her revealed the longings of My Heart. But I have not found one, and so I have chosen you" (7th june 1923).
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"Do you not know that the more wretched a soul is, the more I love her?"
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"The fact that I have chosen a soul does not mean that her faults and miseries are wiped out. But if in all humility that soul acknowledges her failings and atones by little acts of generosity and love, above all, if she trusts Me, if she throws herself into My Heart, she gives Me more glory and does more good to souls than if she had not fallen. What does her wretchedness matter to Me, if she gives Me the love that I want?" (20th October 1922).
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I read that Michael Voris has a few issues with the term wretch as it is used in the song, Amazing Grace.  What I find really amazing is the lack of self knowledge we Catholics frequently suffer from.  I also think we all need to avoid partaking too much in the cult of self-esteem.
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"I know a man who kept no long strict fasts, no vigils, did not sleep on bare earth, imposed on himself no other specially arduous tasks; but, recollecting in memory his sins, understood his wretchedness and, having judged himself, became humble - and for this alone the most compassionate Lord saved him; as the divine David says: 'The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit' (Ps. 34:18). In short, he trusted the words of the Lord and for his faith the Lord received him." - St. Simeon the New Theologian

Saying nice things about the Cardinal...



Might get you a Vatican appointment or even something like a bishopric.  One can only hope.
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Raymond Leo Burke the 'Great Puppeteer' of American Appointees.

The Penitent's Holiday.

St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The quiet dissolution of the Cistercian Abbey of Springbank

Fr. Bernard McCoy, O.Cist.
CEO of LaserMonks, Inc.
Prior, Our Lady of Spring Bank Cistercian Abbey
Sparta, Wisconsin
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The former LaserMonks
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Once a rather open to the world Cistercian monastery, famous for their 21st century multi-million dollar LaserMonks recycling printer cartridge business, the monastery is rumored to be quietly disbanding.  I had heard the rumors that something was off with the community before today.  I wrote about a couple of things and then took the posts down, concerned I could damage the community's reputation, albeit unintentionally. 
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Though the monks seemed to live a rather comfortable life and were in the process of renovationg their new chapel, the issue I wrote about had more to do with a liturgical matter rather than financial.  At the time I had no idea the ink cartridge business was having problems.  My misunderstanding arose because of something a former novice wrote concerning Gregorian Masses contracted with the abbey.  It led to my discussion of the practice and accountability regarding such contracts, the upshot was an unfortunate misunderstanding of what had been posted by the community's blogging novice.
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However, for the past few months I've received emails - one or two were a bit over the top - informing me that the Springbank community had been dissolved - for whatever reason.   I refrained from posting about it until now, the reason - it is currently being discussed publicly online in Catholic forums and chat rooms - a web activity I'm not into - although a reader informed me of the chatter this morning.  Anyway - I will post the following updates I have - without editorial commentary or personal speculation.  Keep in mind however, the following information is unverified beyond the links.
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Update on the home of the former "laser monks," Our Lady of Spring Bank Abbey, Sparta, Wisconsin. These are 'common observance' Cistercians as opposed to Trappists who are 'strict observance' Cistercians.
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1. "Bad business decisions," said to be the cause of the closure -- that means, nothing illegal or fishy, just --it happens (they have plenty of company these days, no?)
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2. A number of the eight monks, including those most involved in the former business, agreed to be relocated to other communities of monks. One man actually asked for a dispensation of vows.
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3. One Cistercian monk will become the chaplain for the common observance Cistercian house of cloistered nuns not far away.
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4. The abbey itself will disband completely while other houses absorb the remaining monks.
(reported in a different forum by a former Spring Bank postulant who has remained on excellent terms with the monks) - Source
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I also received the following comment on another post today:
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"I am from the the International fellowship of St. Bruno. We have a discussion board at Yahoogroups, called IFSB. A member posted this morning that the Spring Bank community is disbanding, and only three monks are left. The community is in a great deal of debt, and they plan to sell off assets, and the monks are going separate ways." - Kevin
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So there you have it.  As time goes on I'm sure more stories could emerge - although monastics are very good at keeping secrets and maintaining cloister when they want to.  One hears very little concerning what precipitated the closing of Abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme now that the deed is done.
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BTW - debt is never good for the stability of any religious house.
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Photo:  Fr. Bernard with the abbey dog. 

Awesome Photos of a Traditional Ordination...

Attendent carrying the Cardinal's Saturno.

Cardinal Burke in prayer.

Ordination.


New priests for The Institute of Christ the King.
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From the encyclical of Pius XI, AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTII:
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...[T]he sublimity of the Catholic Priesthood and its providential mission in the world...
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"A last tribute to the priesthood is given by the enemies of the Church. For as We have said on a previous page, they show that they fully appreciate the dignity and importance of the Catholic priesthood, by directing against it their first and fiercest blows; since they know well how close is the tie that binds the Church to her priests. The most rabid enemies of the Catholic priesthood are today the very enemies of God; a homage indeed to the priesthood, showing it the more worthy of honor and veneration.
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Most sublime, then, Venerable Brethren, is the dignity of the priesthood. Even the falling away of the few unworthy in the priesthood, however deplorable and distressing it may be, cannot dim the splendor of so lofty a dignity. Much less can the unworthiness of a few cause the worth and merit of so many to be overlooked; and how many have been, and are, in the priesthood, preeminent in holiness, in learning, in works of zeal, nay, even in martyrdom.
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Nor must it be forgotten that personal unworthiness does not hinder the efficacy of a priest's ministry. For the unworthiness of the minister does not make void the Sacraments he administers; since the Sacraments derive their efficacy from the Blood of Christ, independently of the sanctity of the instrument, or, as scholastic language expresses it, the Sacraments work their effect ex opere operato." - Pius XI, On the Catholic Priesthood
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For more photos of the ordination click here and here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Evil? of Abstract Impressionism.



How it has led 'degenerate moderns' to identify images of Mary... every where.
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The Salon.  Under the over-pass.  On your toasted cheese sandwich.  On the stain in your bath tub.  On the shower tile...
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The latest is the shower tile apparition (shown above).   Here's the story:
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"Cayol!  Cayol honeee!  The Blaessed Vergin is appearin' in our butifull new shawer stall!  Quick! Call the newspaper!"
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"Oh Gayree!  You always seein' stuff where it ain't!"  Carol said while she was walking into the lovely new bathroom Gary installed with tiles from Lowes.
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To Carol's surprise she saw the image (shown in this article!) - "I dropped to my knees - it was definitely the Blessed Virgin!"  Carol, a fine arts major in college told reporters that "anyone who has ever loved abstract expressionism - like most Americans do - would recognize it immediately!"  Read the entire article here:  Oklahoma couple find image of Virgin Mary on bathroom tile.
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An eidolon.
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I use that term for such images as the bath tile madonna - it does resemble images of the Virgin, in a caveman sort of style.  Eidolon means 'an unsubstantial image: phantom'.  popular culture has trademarked the term for other purposes, while Carl Sagan employed another similar term for imaginary images - but I can't remember what it was.  Doh!  But the reader knows what I mean.
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UPDATE:  Thanks to Eve, the word I was looking for is Pareidolia:

Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are "hard-wired" from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.  The evolutionary advantages of being able to identify friend from foe with split-second accuracy are numerous; prehistoric (and even modern) men and women who accidentally identify an enemy as a friend could face deadly consequences for this mistake. This is only one among many evolutionary pressures responsible for the development of the modern facial recognition capability of modern humans. - Wiki (Again, thanks to Eve.)

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Artists and creative people see images everywhere, in the formation of clouds, in the patterns of marble, in the smoke from their - and so on.  In my opinion I think most of the 'miraculous' and abstract images one sees are really eidolons or rather, pareidolia.  One can look at a photo of space and see in the patterns of gases and galaxies images similar to what one might see in nature for instance; or in the pattern of wood grain, one can maybe see a resemblance to waves on a shoreline, even landscapes and rock formations - stare at a pew during a boring homily and it can be like watching tv - if you're creative - or a little bit nuts.
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Abstract expressionism.
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I also think abstract expressionism can play a role in what people see.  I came across a piece on how abstract expressionism was supported by the CIA and more or less foisted upon the art world in reaction to Soviet realism - or something like that - I'll get to it latter.  But it got me to thinking...  Oh, oh - a little knowledge is dangerous.  I know.
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Anyway.  I think most people have desperately tried all of their lives to make sense of art works promoted as 'abstract impressionism'.  Hence they stare and stare trying to see something, anything.  For instance, I had to fight off the temptation to see something representational in Rothko's blackened canvas - I know I saw something - but what?  So was it better for me to just experience it?  See how that works though?  There is a human need to recognize, to discern, to identify.  It is especially important for Catholics, accustomed to churches stripped of ornament and recognizable art - they are starved for something representational and edifying - they need visual, tangible, recognizable images of faith.  They need sign posts and aids - otherwise they begin to invent them and see them where they are not. 
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The CIA, art, and life as one big conspiracy theory.
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So.  What's the deal with abstract expressionism and the CIA?  Who knew?
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... the triumph of American art during the early Cold War years over stodgy Moscow-approved socialist realism as fashion.
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After WWII, the U.S. government attempted to win European intellectuals away from the Communist Party by sponsoring avant-garde art, such as the New York School of abstract expressionist painting. But, American politicians, such as President Truman, objected to the taxpayers dollars being wasted on ugly stuff that their kids could do.
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So, funding moved to the black budget of the CIA.
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Frances Stonor Saunders' 1995 article in The Independent, Modern art was CIA 'weapon,' revealed some details of CIA sponsorship of the New York School. Her method of research was basically to call up old CIA men (or their kids) and get them talking about their triumphs during the good old days. This is not a particularly reliable method (it invites old-timers to exaggerate their importance), but it's certainly better than nothing. - Finish reading  Abstract Expressionism and the CIA
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???
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Obviously realism - in every sphere of life - needs to make a come back for many.
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Hottentot.


H/T to Western Confucian
and Spirit Daily for the bath tile story.

Fr. Albert


Banking on that hundredfold.
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Yesterday afternoon I flipped on the television to check the weather channel - it has been so hot and humid I wanted to see if another storm was headed our way.  The TV was set to the Fox channel and guess who was on - Fr. Cutie and his new talk show, The Fr. Albert Show.  I hadn't realized his talk-show was airing on Fox - I expected it would be on Telemundo or something.  Yet there he was in his dog collar, interviewing a young woman living off her mother.  He feigned shock at the $800 designer shoes the daughter charged on her mom's Visa, as if he doesn't know what designer costs.  I quickly clicked away after listening to the Jerry Springer-style guffaws from the audience.  What a sleaze show.
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It seems likely to me Cutie became enamored of his own celebrity, got used to the income, and followed the money.  I doubt very much that the 'hooking-up' is what initially led him astray.
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It's his life.  After all, he has a family to raise now.

Feast of the Prophet Elijah



Till like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace.  
Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits;  
By God's word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, ELIJAH! Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead man back to life from the nether world, by the will of the LORD.  
You sent kings down to destruction, and nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai, at Horeb avenging judgments.  
You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance, and a prophet as your successor.  
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses.  
You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to reestablish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you before he dies,  
O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind! - Sirach 48

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Court gossip.



Who is Taki?
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And who is not, huh?  I came across a post on Prince Albert of Monaco claiming the Prince kidnapped and drugged the woman he supposedly forced into marriage.  (Grounds for annulment!)  Taki Theodoracopulos, a Greek socialite - or former playboy-sportsman turned conservative pundit/journalist, thus making himself appealing to the 'always right' wing, who supposedly makes a living denouncing vulgarity amongst the rich and famous, claims to have intimate knowledge on what goes on in the Court of Monaco.  Maybe he does, since he  appears to suggest the Prince is some sort of latter day Marquis De Sade with rumors that he plays around - quite roughly - with male and female sex partners - in groups.  How very French.  So how is it that such a story isn't red hot news all over the MSM/Hollywood gossip circuit?  He drugged his wife and forced her to marry him in a ceremony broadcast on TV?  C'mon!  That's a Dynasty script. 
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Maybe the reason no one takes the story seriously is  because few people care or follow anything Greek in these days of economic collapse, and maybe because what goes on in the Las Vegas-style Principality of Monaco stays in Monaco.  That said, I suppose the story is always good titillation for the fans of courtly romance novels.
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So why do I pay any attention to this kind of trash?
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I knew you would ask.  Although it's a tacky story, about tacky people, fueling tacky monarchist fantasies, that is not my focus - or maybe it is?  No.  The real issue which got my attention was Taki and the following tacky statement in reaction to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case:
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"Which brings me to yet another shady person, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man I have never met. Duly associating Frenchness with class privilege, it is no secret that groping the lower classes has been a French—as well as British—habit since time immemorial. The French elite are unabashed about double standards. Strauss-Kahn has been accused of groping women throughout his life, first as a professor at the elite École Supérieure, then as a top civil servant and head of the IMF. The details of Strauss-Kahn and the African hotel maid in New York are well-known.
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Did you by any chance, dear readers, know that merely because a woman is a prostitute, the legal penalty for raping her is the same as if she were a virgin?" - Source
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"Did you by any chance, dear readers, know that merely because a woman is a prostitute, the legal penalty for raping her is the same as if she were a virgin?"  That's what annoyed me.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me Taki just might believe that particular rule of law is unfair too. 
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These people are all cut from the same rotted cloth - and yet some people feed on the gossip which surrounds them.
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Thanks to Western Confucian for the 'story'.
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Photo:  Princess Grace, Albert II's mother.  Reading some of the royal watcher's notes to this story, one might think that the royal family of Monaco was so tacky they had to class it up with the marriage of Prince Ranier to an American movie star.  Wouldn't that make Monaco Comedy Central?

The Inhospitality of Sodom.



On display on late nite.
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With celebs such as Bill Maher, Marc Maron, and Dan Savage, all attacking Michele Bachmann and her husband, as well as Rick Santorum with vulgar, hate-filled rhetoric, discussing 'hate-sex' - raping the politicians 'angrily' - one might be able to buy into the scriptural interpretation gay exegetes suggest as the real sin of Sodom - inhospitality.  There is nothing hospitable about 'hate-sex' and rape:  After all, the townsfolk of Sodom came out late at night to savage Lot's visitors.  Today the analogy works for me. 
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What is so spectacularly hypocritical about all of this is that Dan Savage is the guy who began the ever so compassionate "It gets better" political campaign against gay bullying... So who's the bully now?
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The crap these guys spew is so repulsive I am offended it is permitted to air - anywhere.  The emails I received speaking of the matter were just as repulsive and disgusting due to the graphic content.  These celebrity rants bring to mind the horrible crimes committed against that innocent family in Connecticut wherein a doctor's wife and daughters were raped and burnt to death in their own home
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I know gay men who will rant and rave in similar fashion against any politician they perceive as anti-gay agenda.  They've said the same things about people like Sarah Palin and her daughter.  Radical feminist women, who supposedly continue to defend women against violence, have spouted similar hate-filled epitaphs.  These people are so not about 'peace' they are about violence and hate.
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Mark Shea says it better than I can:
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"This is a militant crusading intolerant and deeply hypocritical faith that does not hesitate for a second to deploy against its perceived enemies everything it pretends to decry. Hate sex Rape is openly bruited and applauded. The most miserable schoolyard bullying is just part of the toolkit for these phony apostles of compassion. These guys are going to wear out their welcome damn fast once they use the force of law to try to hammer people into Goodthink. You can't beat people into loving your perversion."
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Know your enemies.  
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Photo: Bill Maher - source

Gay genes...



What if?
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Fr. Tad responds:  Even if a hypothetical "gay gene" were ever found, all it would likely determine, similar to most genes governing behavior, would be a genetic predisposition towards a particular sexual preference. This would be something very different from the genetic determinism or "hard-wiring" of, say, eye color or blood type. Multiple twin studies have already demonstrated that only about a third of the identical twins of those with same-sex attractions also experience same-sex attractions; whereas if sexual attractions were determined strictly by genes, those with identical genes would be expected to have identical attractions.
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Even if we have genes that predispose us towards certain behaviors, we still have a space of freedom within ourselves, and do not have to engage in those behaviors. Our genes may impel us strongly in certain behavioral directions, but they can't compel us.
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This reminds us of one of the fundamental truths about our human nature ? namely, that we are not creatures of sexual necessity. We are not compelled to act on our inclinations and urges, but are always free to act otherwise, even directly against the grain of those inclinations. In fact, to be truly free as a human means to have the strength to act against ourselves, so that we do not live in bondage to our own inner impulses and drives, a key consideration that distinguishes us from the animals. Human freedom involves the mastery of those drives by redirecting them and ordering them to higher goals. So while we cannot in any way be held responsible for in-born inclinations, we certainly can be held responsible for how we choose to act in the face of those inclinations. - The Boston Pilot
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Yes. Yes.  I knew that.  I know that - but I have no credentials or teaching authority or initials after my name.  Thank God for Fr. Tad, who does.
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Many thanks to Carol at The Tenth Crusader
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Photo: Do I have to explain everything?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coddled


Instead of Royal Doulton, why not use Royal Worcester Evesham?

Manly manorexic men.



Fashion and mind control.
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I was at the store the other night and saw a guy and his girlfriend shopping the vegetable aisle for supper.  He was unbelievably skinny - so skinny I thought he was a girl.  Pencil pants, flip-flops, teenie tight t-shirt, hair gelled way up... the girl on the other hand looked fat in comparison - although she was far from fat.  It's a trend I began noticing on The Sartorialist - quite awhile ago in fact.  The Paris and Milan runways began showing really skinny guys wearing skinny clothes a few years ago.  The look is effeminate and unnatural.  Even Ralph Lauren is making skinny clothes.  I believe it's more about androgyny and genderlessness today, than what initially was about carriage and build.  Having gone beyond the old 'metrosexual', the new look is making contemporary men even more femme and imposing upon them limitations otherwise reserved for female consumers - such as over-priced apparel and unnecessary accessories, cosmetics, cosmetic surgeries, uncomfortable-tight-fitting clothing, and so on.  And now guys seem to be ending up with  women's ailments as well, such as anorexia or manorexia.
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The pressure to look like a male model is driving more men to develop dangerous eating disorders, experts warned today.
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GPs have been warned to be on the lookout for the potentially fatal conditions, which include anorexia and bulimia, after a rise in the number of those affected.
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Men may be reluctant to admit they have a problem as the issue has until now been seen as something affecting mainly teenage girls.
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Medical experts blame the surge on an obsession with looking good by having bulging biceps and a six-pack stomach. - DailyMail

Trend with just a touch of body dysmorphic disorder?

Oh those crazy kids! First water-boarding...


Then planking...
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And now owling!
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At least they're not out disrupting traffic with that silly flash-mob nonsense.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miraculo! Miraculo!



It could happen.
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With the secular press now reporting on it, I guess it is safe to mention there just might be a Eucharistic miracle that took place in South St. Paul not too long ago.  It's currently under investigation by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.
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Story. 
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The mystery centers on a consecrated host that the Rev. John Echert of St. Augustine Church said fell to the floor last month during Holy Communion and turned "blood red" after being placed in a cup filled with water. It has yet to fully dissolve, he said.
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"It was notable enough that, clearly, it was some phenomenon and not the ordinary way in which a host would dissolve...that we're familiar with," Echert said.

The archdiocese, which now has the host, is taking a "very cautious stance on the matter," spokesman Dennis McGrath said.

"I make no claims, and the archdiocese makes no claims, as to the likelihood of this being supernatural," Echert said. "But it is enough of a phenomenon, or unusual, that we will continue to examine this host."
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He added: "I've never in my 24 years as a priest seen or been aware of a phenomenon where a consecrated host placed in water turns to this bright-colored red and continues in what I would call the blood-red color."

Word of the wondrous wafer eventually landed on several Catholic websites and blogs, sparking discussion and conjecture by some that it resembles the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Others suggest a bacterium may be the cause. - TwinCities.com
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The photos.
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I looked closely at some photos of the remains of the consecrated host a friend sent me, and I was impressed by what I saw.   On closer examination of the above photo, the 'bloodied' portion resembles a heart surmounted by what appears to be a small cross.  Of course, believers know a miracle takes place at every consecration at every single Mass, and that when they communicate they receive the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the real miracle of the Eucharist which takes place daily around the world. 
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If the situation discovered at St. Augustine's is determined to be miraculous, it will be for the glory of God, the edification of the faithful, and a sign to strengthen the faith of those who doubt or disbelieve the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  For it to be authentic, it would seem to me the elements would have to remain stable and insoluble, or at least be shown to be consistent with human tissue and blood.  I don't know the discernment process of course, but that is why diocesan authority has to finally rule and define what has actually taken place. 
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The anti-Catholic angle.
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Oddly enough a couple of people have already cried fowl on the secular media because of how they have written about the possible 'miracle'.  Believers themselves can maintain skepticism and reserve without incurring sin, thus one ought not to expect too much from secular non-believers.  One particular criticism I encountered seems to be focused upon the photograph I've shown here of Fr. Echert.  Unflattering as the photo may be, I see nothing anti-Catholic in the article I linked to, nor in the photo.  Echert actually looks like that.  Reason enough not to let one's self be photographed for any purpose.  - yet I doubt the intention was anti-Catholic.

Just wondering...



Support our troops!
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One of the hallmark slogans of patriotism may be facing a challenge these days...
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SAN DIEGO — About 200 active-duty troops and veterans wearing T-shirts advertising their branch of service marched Saturday in San Diego's gay pride parade with American flags and rainbow banners, marking what is believed to be the first time a military contingent has participated in such an event in the U.S.
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Many of the active-duty troops said they were moved to come out because it is time to end the military's ban on openly gay troops. The march comes a day after a federal appeals court reinstated "don't ask, don't tell" but with a caveat that prevents the government from investigating or penalizing anyone who is openly gay. - Troops march in San Diego gay pride parade.
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Now what?
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[I blame the women.  If they would have blocked women from combat, this never would have happened.  The women's movement feminized the military.]
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What?

Measure for measure.


What?

St. Alexis and other aberrations.



"If you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat with them... let them grow together until the end of the age."

The painting shown here is by Carl Dobsky, titled The Lotus Eater, evocative of the episode in Homer's Odyssey when the men became enchanted by the Lotus Eater's island.  In this painting Dobsky reveals to us a homeless man lying abject, asleep on a threshold, surrounded by his spent intoxicants.
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I would call the painting, St. Alexis if it were mine.  I expect that would baffle every one, since clearly this man doesn't seem to be exemplary or saintly.  So why would I do that?  Maybe because he reminds me of a former Jesuit I used to see outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Boston.  He looked much like the Lotus Eater.  He always begged for money and cigarettes, his eyes often watering - probably because they stung from dehydration.  It made him more endearing however, since it suggested tears of repentance, and when he asked for 'donations' he frequently spoke about spiritual things, giving the impression he had once been very holy, and maybe still was, despite his apparent alcoholism and addictions.  Perhaps he was wheat amongst the other weeds or homeless men who panhandled with him?
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Yesterday as I was leaving my house I noticed an old black man sitting on my front steps.  He was just 'passing through' the neighborhood.  It was hot and he had sat down to drink his 6-pack of beer and smoke a few cigarettes.  He rushed over to the car as I pulled out of the garage, introduced himself and almost immediately started quoting scripture and informing me he was a Vietnam vet - all very good credentials meant to verify he was a good man despite appearances.  Then he asked if it was all right to rest himself on my steps - I said, sure, go ahead!  And then he had me repeat my permission to make certain he had a guarantee - just in case the police stopped by, then he invited me to join him and I told him I had to go because I was on my way to Mass.
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When I returned home he was gone.  A neighbor lady had called the police to have him move on.  She obviously didn't recognize that he was a distinguished guest relaxing on my staircase. 
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The poor scare us.  The indigent repel us.  They could be us.  I think their quoting scripture oftentimes mirrors our own quest for acceptance and approval - it proves, as it were, that they are us.  I think when we say, 'there but for the grace of God' it isn't really humility yet, because we still secretly think we are better than them.
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"Who would not have judged that poor Lazarus was supremely miserable and the rich man quite happy and content?  Yet such was not the case, for that rich man with all his wealth suffered more than poor Lazarus tormented by his leprosy. For the rich man's selfish will was alive, and this is the source of all suffering.  But in Lazarus this will was dead and his will was so alive in me that he found refreshment and consolation in his pain.  He had been thrown out by others, especially by the rich man, and was neither cleansed nor cared for by them, but I provided that the senseless animals should lick his sores.  And you see how at the end of their lives Lazarus has eternal life and the rich man is in hell." - The Dialogue, Catherine of Siena
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What?
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Art:  Carl Dobsky is represented by John Pearce Gallery, San Francisco.

The poverty of St. Alexius of Rome


Homeless pilgrim.
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It is said St. Alexius left his wife on their wedding night - with her permission of course - to follow Christ in humility as the wandering ascetic we come to call a pilgrim.  Fleeing Roman society, he made his way to the Holy Land, and eventually resided in Syria, living on the streets amongst others who depended upon alms for their support.  It is believed he once managed to evade his father's servants who had been sent in search of him.  Not recognizing him, so the legend goes, they even gave the Saint alms.  His holiness was miraculously revealed to the locals and Alexi soon began to attract a following.  Fearing the dangers that accompany the world's esteem, the Saint once again set out on pilgrimage. 
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St Alexi eventually returned to Rome and lived unrecognized as a beggar beneath one of the staircases of his father's villa.  He lived upon alms and the refuse from his father's table, frequently enduring abuse from servants and street urchins.  St. Alexi bore such treatment patiently, and repaid their taunts with edifying reflections and instructions on the faith.  His reputation for holiness again increased, although he remained unrecognized by his father's household until his death.  LaTour's painting, The Discovery of St. Alexius illustrates the moment when a servant discovered the dead Alexius' true identity.  
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St Alexi has become one of my very special patrons.  I never knew how much until the last few years.  It is an amazing grace to contemplate the Saint's vocation.  To ruminate his coming to terms with abject poverty and homelessness, hollowing out his total dependence upon God alone - when all creatures fail, when there is no longer anything to claim as one's own...  His confession of faith reveals what it means to be alone - surrounded by those we know.  To be unrecognized and hidden - in plain sight.       
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The seed that falls to the ground and dies...
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The Spirit helps us in our weakness, though we do not know how to pray as we ought.  The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groans...