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, October 15, 2011

Pray for Bishop Finn, and all of our bishops...



Bishop Robert Finn Indicted.
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I haven't followed this story closely because I never expected it to come to the point of indictment.  As 'they' say, it is unprecedented.  I think Bishop Finn is a very good bishop, although others may condemn him for one mistake, most likely done in good faith.  At any rate, his 'negligence' was not criminal.  Anyway, he needs our prayers.  Here is the story:
Bishop Robert Finn on Friday became the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to face criminal prosecution in the decades-old child sexual abuse scandal — an action that stunned many inside and outside the church.

A Jackson County grand jury on Oct. 6 secretly indicted both Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse in a case involving a priest facing child pornography charges.

As Finn and the diocese denied wrongdoing Friday after appearing in court, news of the charges roiled the nation and the Catholic world.

“This is historic,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.” - Finish reading here.
Bishops in jail?  Be careful what you wish for.
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The Bishop Finn story reminds me of the Peter Kreeft statement:
Kreeft: It would be wonderful if 100 bishops got thrown in jail for marching with graphic images. - Source

Speaking of images of aborted babies, I know what he meant of course, but the idea of bishops in jail is never a good one, even in times of bloody persecution, and I wouldn't wish it on the worst of them.  On the subject of showing people graphic images of aborted, torn asunder, babies, whenever I've done it Catholic pro-life women asked me to remove them - so I'm not sure showing dead babies is the way to go.  I became convinced abortion was wrong when I actually saw a film from Sweden - shot inside a woman's body, showing the man ejaculating and following the rest to conception, implantation, and birth.  Explicit but not pornographic.  As a 'virgin' I understood the true meaning of sex and the conjugal act and I became entirely pro-life. 
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We don't have to show people death - we need to show them life.  Show them creation and creating life.  Americans are desensitized to death - remember Halloween is coming and all you have to do is count the zombies to know what I mean.
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Speaking of pro-life - it shouldn't be a business.
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Fr. Pavone defied his bishop and refused to meet with him.  Not good.  Not a good sign.  $$$$$$$


Pray for Fr. Pavone's Bishop Zurek too.

St Teresa of Jesus


Today is the feast of Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila.

My favorite quote from her is, "Prayer is the trap door out of sin."

So many times people are told that if they are in a state of mortal sin they cannot merit any grace and their prayers and good works are not efficacious.

Nevertheless, it is important that the sinner should pray, pray as best as he knows how and as often as he can - even when he feels he cannot quit his sins. God never fails to hear prayer, especially the prayer to be free of one's sins, placing all of one's confidence in the mercy of God - one doesn't have to be perfect to pray. The idea of merit? Leave that to the Blood of Christ.

Pray, pray, pray without ceasing, this is how you will attain eternal life.

St. Teresa, teach us to pray.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My absolute favorite Holloween ad ever!




I'm working on a new painting BTW.  It is after a Hieronymous Bosch painting - mine will be titled "Blognic".  I know!

Tighten up.



The Bishop doesn't want divorced and remarried Catholics teaching in Catholic schools:
Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard of Brussels has indicated that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should not teach religion or serve as principals in Catholic schools.
The archbishop made the point that those who are responsible for the religious education of children should be in good standing with the Church. But his suggestion drew outrage in Belgium, where his predecessor, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, had encouraged a more liberal interpretation of Church law. - Source
 Playing fair.
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I wish more bishops would adopt this same approach, after all, it is only fair.  I'm not sure how many divorced and remarried people teach in Catholic schools around the world, nor how many just choose to cohabitate with a partner, but if Church leaders will ban children of gay couples from attending Catholic schools, then they better make sure their own house/teaching staff is in order as well.  It appears this is what Archbishop Leonard is attempting to do.
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The strict observance of the law should apply to those who contracept, as well as those who choose to have children out of wedlock.
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And another thing...
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Just why are we so enabling to women who choose to have children out of wedlock?  I worked with a woman who had 3 different kids by three different men - fellow Catholic workers fawned over her choice to keep the babies and had showers and fund raisers for her.  That is what charity is all about of course, but why are women no longer held accountable for stuff like that?  And what about women who choose to kill their kids through abortion - sometimes multiple abortions?  The next time someone claims, "What am I doing that is so bad?  At least I haven't killed anyone." - Stop and think about how true that might be.
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Oh!  Oh!  What about married couples who choose to watch porn and use sex toys...  Close the schools!
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Seriously, I'm kind of in agreement with Archbishop Leonard.  I think it is time for a more equitable distribution of justice within the Church, and not just focusing upon one or two groups of people violating the commandments.  God bless him!
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Exhortation to martyrdom


Some thoughts.
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Origen wrote a treatise on Exhortation to Martyrdom.  It was one of the books I read and reread when I was younger, unfortunately I loaned it to someone and never got it back - or did I give it away?  I can't remember.  I found some passages from the work I'll share with you for today - Fridays are a day of penance and therefore something like a training day for martyrdom.  I think it kind of is.
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MARTYRDOM AND EVANGELIZATION
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The martyrs bear witness for a testimony to the unbelieving, "and so do all the saints whose deeds shine before men. They spend their lives rejoicing in the Cross of Christ and bearing witness to the true Light." 
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Martyrs encourage believers and catechumens to witness to Christ without fear.
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When the Christians came back from the cemeteries after bearing the bodies of the holy martyrs to their burial and assembled in the church for prayer, we used to see the evidence of their holiness. The whole Christian body was there, and no member of the flock showed fear. The catechumens learned a lesson in those assemblies when they heard the report of what the holy martyrs had said to their judges and of the steadfastness with which they confessed the faith up to the moment of their death. I know Christian men and women who saw strange things happen in such assemblies, and even real miracles.

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"We are the sons of a patient God, the brothers of a patient Christ, let us show ourselves patient in all that befalls us."
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We are, therefore, led to believe that the powers of evil do suffer defeat by the death of the holy martyrs; as if their patience, their confession, even unto death, and their zeal for piety blunted the edge of the onset of evil powers against the sufferer, and their might being thus dulled and exhausted, many others of those whom they had conquered raised their heads and were set free from the weight with which the evil powers formerly oppressed and injured them.
In some such way must we suppose the death of the most holy martyrs to operate, many receiving benefit from it by an influence we cannot describe.
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"We are only persecuted when God allows the tempter and gives him authority to persecute us... If it is His will that we should again wrestle and strive for our religion... we will say, 'I can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord who strengthens me'." - Origen
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Art:  The Crucifixion, Stanley Spencer

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fr. Apostoli, C.F.R. on Fatima...



Russia will spread her errors...
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So don't listen to me at all, instead, listen to what an excellent Roman Catholic priest has to say about Fatima and its relevance to our time.
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On Fatima anniversary, Fr. Apostoli sees atheism overtaking the West.
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The author of an exhaustive study on the Virgin Mary's 1917 appearances in Portugal says her words are being fulfilled by the rise of aggressive secularism and loss of religious freedom in the West.

“Mary, as I see it, pointed out at Fatima that these things were going to happen,” said Fr. Andrew Apostoli, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal. 

“She said that an evil will begin in Russia, and will spread its errors around the world,” Fr. Apostoli noted, recalling Mary's words in 1917.
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“Those errors – an atheistic form of government, life, and society – have come upon us now, in the form of secularism, and the attack on life, the family, and religious freedom.”
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Mary's appearance on October 13, 1917, included one of the most dramatic public miracles of modern times, a well-documented event known today as the “Miracle of the Sun.” On that day, 70,000 people watched as the sun appeared to make three circles and “dance” in the sky in a zig-zag pattern. - Finish reading here.
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Fr. Andrew Apostoli Bio:
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Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R. is a priest and founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a community founded in the Archdioces of NYC.  Fr. Apostoli has been active in teaching, preaching retreats and parish missions, and in giving spiritual direction. Fr. Apostoli is the vice-postulator for the cause for the canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  Fr. Apostoli is a priest  
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Fr. Apostoli is the author of numerous books, including "Following Mary to Jesus: Our Lady as Mother, Teacher, and Advocate" (Word Among Us) and "Walk Humbly With Your God: Simple Steps to a Virtuous Life" (Servant).
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A frequent host on the Eternal Word Television Network, Fr. Apostoli hosted the television special "Our Lady of Fatima and the First Saturday Devotion" seen on EWTN. - Source




C.F.R. Council.
For vocation information, click here.

Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima



A miracle of biblical proportions.
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For some expert theological speculation on what happened that October 13 in 1917, go here.
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Photo: Pilgrims at Fatima during the miracle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stuff



I think the Occupy Wall Street deal will fizzle on its own - but that doesn't mean that our times aren't ripe for revolution.  Obama calls it change.  Whatever it is, it's happening now.
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Locutionists, mystics and apparition devotees seem to be banking on an event they call the chastisement - at least they've been predicting it.  Recently a friend sent me a few news items dealing with Globalism, the New World Order, The Great Transition, Agents for Change...  Conspiracy theory?  I don't think so.
The Great Transition
It will be necessary to replace today’s cumbersome social systems, religious dogmas, heated emotions, partisan ideologies, and other commonly outmoded forms of thought and consciousness that now form the major obstacles to progress.” — William E. Halal, Emerging Technologies and the Global Crisis of Maturity
...Social engineers and opinion molders will be working overtime to shape society during this “Age of Transitions” as societal norms are broken and reshaped, and the political battlefield is thrown into chaos."

I responded:
Very insightful.  I think the confusion in the world - in our nation - is useful for the 'change agents'. I don't know who exactly all of these 'agents' are, but it seems to me we have been experiencing the result of their efforts. I think the Wall Street protests are linked - although I believe some people are duped.  But there is a revolutionary element there - as in the violence against Christians in Egypt and elsewhere. I'm more and more convinced this is the chastisement.  People who have been waiting for signs in the sky are missing this fact. The disunity amongst us - the factions - is part of it. I'm convinced that we need to live like martyrs now - that we need to look at how martyrs in former times lived and worked - the martyrs were so full of charity that they inspired the conversion of their persecutors. As I try to express this online I'm either considered a big liberal something or other, or a mean spirited anti-traditionalist. Unfortunately, I'm not doing well trying to express these sentiments.

That said, I think we need to act like Christians.  We need to love and speak the truth in charity, humbly confessing our failures and admitting our weaknesses, while genuinely seeking to make Love loved.  Otherwise how can unbelievers be persuaded to believe?  I think we have to stop tearing one another to pieces and learn to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.  At least I do.
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I think many of us place our hopes in a revived economy, or a political party, a particular candidate for office, and so on.  We're mistaken however.  Our idols need to be smashed so that we can, we must, hope in God alone.
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Jesus, I trust in you.

I think my parents must be still alive.



The negative comments I have been receiving lately remind me of what was said to me by my family while growing up.  So I'm thinking...  "Mom?  Dad?  Is that you?  Is hell really on earth?"
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Keep 'em coming!

The real Columbus Day



October 12 is the traditional observance of Columbus Day, honoring Christopher Columbus who introduced the mysteries of the Faith to the indigenous peoples of the New World.  Columbus was also a Third Order Franciscan, dedicated to evangelization.
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Art:  The Dream of Columbus, Dali, 1959

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rick Santorum


Unjustly treated.
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I do not listen to the radio unless I'm driving somewhere and only then after I have finished all twenty mysteries of the rosary.  Likewise, I  rarely if ever listen to talk radio, therefore I don't really know who the characters are unless they happen to make national news for something they've said - like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck - but even then I don't pay much attention.  Lately I've come across the name Dan Savage thinking he was one and the same as Michael Savage - who used to do film reviews or something?  Anyway, I found out Dan Savage* is a writer and that he is so not a conservative talking head.  Not at all.
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Savage has said some evil, wicked things about Rick Santorum - a presidential hopeful I know more about than what I know about the talk show hosts, and I like him very much.  I'm not a political guy, but if Santorum was running for president I'd probably vote for him.  He is a good man, an honest man, and he is NOT a homophobe.  Anyway - here's a story I just learned about today concerning the hate crime Dan Savage enacted against him:
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The 'Google bomb'...
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.- Media attacks on Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum show “just how twisted and vile the LGBT movement can be when anyone dare disagree,” said Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture for the Media Research Center.
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Members of the media “bash Santorum whenever possible,” Gainor said to CNA on Oct. 6.
Gainor responded to ongoing Google attacks against Santorum by gay sex-advice columnist Dan Savage.
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Santorum is Catholic and has vocally expressed his support for the Church’s teaching on marriage. In recent years, Savage has lashed out at Santorum for his belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
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In 2003, Savage organized a “Google bomb” against Santorum, setting up a website displaying a graphic sexual term as the definition for the word “santorum.” Through extensive use of links to other sites, he then caused this site to rise to the top of Google search engine results.
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When Internet users perform a Google search for Rick Santorum, the obscene website is the first result. - Finish reading at CNA
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It is disgusting.  Please pray for Rick Santorum and his family.
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*Oh wait!  Savage is the 'it gets better' guy.  Pray for his conversion - because that is the only way 'it gets better'.

The Coptic Church: Known as the Church of Martyrs.



A little bit of history repeating.
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The Egyptian Copts have perhaps  given more martyrs to the Church than anyone else in history.  Once again today, the Church in Egypt is suffering persecution, living up to its name, the Church of Martyrs.  From history:
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The Preservation of the Faith
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The Orthodox Church’s main concern is that her children walk in truth. Since the early days of her existence, the Church has fought against heresies that deviate from a proper understanding of the path to salvation or the person of Jesus Christ. Through her Holy Fathers, the Coptic Church played an important role in preserving the true Christian faith. The Church Fathers are a group of bishops, priests, monks, and laymen who lived in the early centuries of the church. In order to fight heresy, the Fathers met in councils to properly express the true faith.
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The Alexandrian fathers played an important role in this effort. For example, Saint Athanasius, the twentieth pope of the Coptic Church, championed the first ecumenical council at Nicea in 325 A.D. He wrote the Creed, the statement of faith, still used in the Church today. Because of his important role in preserving the faith, Saint Athanasius endured many hardships during his lifetime. He was banished from his position five times and spent more than seventeen years in exile. The well-known expression, “Athanasius against the world,” defined his commitment to guarding the faith.
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The Church of Martyrs
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The Orthodox Church recognizes and honors martyrs – men and women who suffered and died for their faith. During the age of the Roman Empire, Christians were viewed as a threat to the worship of the emperor. Many were brought before emperors and governors and were threatened with an ultimatum: deny the Christian faith and worship idols or suffer punishment and death. Out of their love for Jesus Christ, the martyrs were willing to die in order to receive the promise of eternal life.
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The early years of the Church’s existence in Egypt were marked by relative peace. Later, the Church experienced twenty-one waves of persecution, with the fiercest one under the reign of Emperor Diocletian. During his reign, the Church offered countless martyrs – by some estimates between 500,000 and one million. For this reason, the Coptic Calendar begins in 284 A.D. , the first year of Diocletian’s rule, and is based on the year of the martyrs (Anno Martyri – A.M.). For example, the year 2010 – 2010 corresponds to 1727 A.M.
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Early church historians, writers, and fathers testify to the numerous Egyptian martyrs. Tertullian, a third century lawyer from North Africa, writes, “If the martyrs of the whole world were put on one arm of the balance and the martyrs of Egypt on the other, the balance would tilt in favor of the Egyptians.” Despite periods of martyrdom and persecution, the number of believers and members in the Church continued to grow. The lives of the martyrs have inspired many to embrace the Christian faith. - Coptic Orthodox Church
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Photo: Coptic Divine Liturgy.  Talk about reverence for the Eucharist.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jeopardy Question: Who are 'some' Catholic conservatives getting to be like?

The harmful effects of greed.



"Avoid greed in all its forms."
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The real American idol seems to me to be greed...  I've been reading St. John again, so I'll share some things he says about it.  Something to think about.
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"The greedy... their appetite and joy is already so extended and dispersed amongst creatures - and with such anxiety - that they cannot be satisfied. The more their appetite and thirst increases, the further they regress from God, the font which alone can satisfy them.  God himself refers to these individuals through Jeremias: 'They have abandoned me, the font of living water, and dug for themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water.' [Jer. 2:13]  The reason for this dissatisfaction is that creatures do not slake the thirst, but rather intensify it.
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These greedy persons fall into all kinds of sins out of love for temporal goods, and the harm they suffer is indeterminable. 
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The avaricious man, because of temporal goods, is unconcerned about setting his heart on God's law, and consequently his will, memory, and intellect wander far from God, and he forgets him, as though he were not his God at all.  The reason is that he has made gods out of temporal goods and money.  St. Paul indicates this in declaring that avarice is a form of idolatry. [Col. 3:15]
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Many in the world today, their reason darkened through covetousness, serve money and not God, and they are motivated by money rather than by God, and they give first consideration to the temporal price and not to the divine value and reward.  In countless ways they make money their principal god and goal and give it precedence to God, their ultimate end.
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Likewise included in this category are all those miserable souls who value earthly goods as their god and are so enamored of them that they do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives when they observe that this god of theirs undergoes some temporal loss.  They despair and commit suicide for wretched reasons, and demonstrate with their own hands the miserable reward that comes from such a god.  Since there is nothing to hope for from him, he gives despair and death." - John of the Cross, Ascent, Bk III, Ch 20
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I think what we are witnessing today is envy and greed at work:  Festering and oozing out all over - even religious people are not immune to it.
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Art: The Worship of Mammon, Evelyn de Morgan

Let them eat cake...



"Black man, black man, where do you come from?" - Alice Ghostley

It's your own damn fault.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protestors!



They're right here in Minneapolis Mabel!
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Seriously, I thought they were just Tea Partiers on drugs.

Archbishop Nienstedt writes letters...

In an op-ed letter to the StarTribune dated Saturday, October 8, 2011, Archbishop Nienstedt explains how and why the Church does not impose its own beliefs upon others in its defense of marriage: 
Contrary to the Star Tribune's editorial opinion ("On gay marriage, the state is out of step," Oct. 1), the Catholic Church, along with other Bible-based denominations, does not seek to impose its own beliefs on others as it upholds the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), or when it supports a constitutional amendment on marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The reality we are defending predates any religion or government. 
It finds its logic in the complementarity of the human anatomy, as well as the male/female psyche and in the propagation of the human species.
Marriage unites a man and a woman in a unique bond so that they might form the proper context of a family in which children can grow and flourish. Government is called upon to protect that context for the sake of the common good.

Yes, the Bible reveals to believers God's plan that a man and a woman become "one flesh" in holy matrimony, and that makes our understanding of what marriage is meant to be more comprehensible.

But human reason without faith can and, in fact, historically has come to the same conclusion based on the intrinsic complementarity of husband and wife.

Moreover, to say that marriage can be one thing for believers and something else for nonbelievers implies that the truth about the human person can be manipulated at will. That line of thinking is basically flawed.

No, there can only be one truth about the human person, and marriage finds its real meaning in that understanding.

THE REV. JOHN C. NIENSTEDT
The writer is archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
God bless the Archbishop for speaking out clearly - we have perilous times ahead, as Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, told CNA on a visit to Rome October 7:
“We could see the possibility within the United States where we are no longer free to preach the truth from the pulpit or to present Catholic teaching.  It will then become important for us to take a very strong stand, as we have done with human life and the unborn child, to continue to speak the truth and to speak it clearly and with charity.” 
Bishop Aquila cited two recent examples where he believes religious liberty is being undermined: the closure of Catholic adoption agencies in states that have legislated for same-sex “marriage” and the new government health mandate requiring private insurers to provide women with coverage for contraception and sterilization.  “It’s very, very important for us to realize that we are in a very real clash between the culture of death and a culture of life,” said Bishop Aquila, summing up the former culture as one where “rights are eroded and where lies are being presented as truth.”  - CNA

Mass Chat: Random... disintegrated...



I think I have ADD too!
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I really think so - I think I've always had it.  I think this blog proves it.
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I was thinking that to esteem one Mass over another can't be pleasing to God.
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I may be wrong, and believe me, I often am - which is why I go to confession so much, but it seemed to me last evening while speaking to my pastor after Mass that he has no intention whatsoever of changing the way he celebrates Mass.  He celebrates the ordinary form of course, and he celebrates it well - meaning according to the GIRM.  I'm not a big fan of the music of course, but I've always been a low-Mass kind of guy anyway and I like silence - which is hard to come by these days.
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So anyway - it seems to me since the Extraordinary Form has been made available and while the Ordinary Form is the norm, that to denigrate one order of Mass while exalting the other (when both are celebrated according to the rubrics, that is), can't be pleasing to God.  To esteem one over the other, as if God is not served by one or the other, strikes me as rather arrogant.
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The wedding guest who was not properly dressed.
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The Church is filled with all sorts of people... good and bad.  That's what today's Gospel [Matthew 22: 1-14] tells me at least.  Until last night's homily, I never considered that the reason the guest was dressed improperly at the wedding feast was because he had refused to accept the wedding garment the king provided for the guests to wear.  Actually, I don't know how I used to think of the expelled guest, but last night Father pointed to another interpretation I hadn't considered before.  The man's refusal to accept the wedding garment from the king can be compared to those who come into the Church on their own terms - refusing to accept Church teaching, yet expecting to take their place at the table.  Or worse, they expect the Church to change her teaching to suit them.  That isn't putting on Christ however.
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'New Media' and the Church.
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I'm thinking the importance of Catholic blogs, social media/Internet presence - the 'New Media' is somewhat over-rated.  Something tells me it is in fact a small share of what happens online - celebrity news is probably a bigger market - I know an interior designer who has more readers than a popular Catholic blogger.  My point here is that some online personalities really inflate their importance - granted, they influence their followers and their critics, and like pamphleteers in the 16th century, they influence more people than they'd otherwise have a 'right' to, but I'm not sure they always speak for the majority of Catholics faithful to the Pope: those who continue to pray, pay and obey.  And incidentally John Allen, that isn't a bad thing - pre-Vatican II complacency my ass.  Tell Dorothy Day that.
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Put your wedding garment on boys.
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Oh!  Oh!  One more factoid:  Contrary to popular theory and self-promotional claims by entrepreneurial and enterprising Catholic bloggers, I'm fairly certain that the majority of priests in the world are much too busy to be reading blogs which pit one Catholic against another Catholic, while condemning the rest of the world to hell...  Some folks can't be convinced of that however.
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Art:  Wood carving of a pig playing an organ. Source

The reason why I haven't joined an online bloglomerate...



I don't want to be censored. I like to say/write what I think - come what may.  I once had a blog called Abbey-Roads II that was part of an online group.  I woke up one morning to find the guy in charge deleted  the whole thing - just because I said something critical about the program... I know! 
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I don't aim to please...
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Disclaimer:  No poodles were harmed by this post.