Saturday, May 26, 2012

Here's what I think: Rainy Saturday Reflections....



Was Aelred of Rievaulx a gay man?  (Say 'gay-man' like Catherine Tate!)

So let's just get right into it here:  Temptation to sexual sin, such as homosexual acts, is not evidence that someone is gay or has 'innate' homosexual tendencies.  Temptations against chastity take many and varied forms in the lives of celibates, or any person for that matter.  I mention this because the author of Sexual Autheticity, Melinda Selmys claims St Aelred of Rievaulx was same sex attracted.  In a comment she says, "with Aelred of Rivaulx, we know for a fact that he did (have same sex attractions)."*   The author's writing can be at times rather intellectually dense in her definitions of homosexual attraction and gay 'identity'.  Hence I find her statement on Aelred misleading, albeit understandable, since glbtq literature is fairly unanimous when it comes to 'canonizing' gay saints.

In a comment on her post I expressed doubt that Aelred was gay or ssa in the sense we understand homosexuality today, writing: "I'm sorry, but I'm also not sure Aelred of Rievaulx was same sex attracted in the sense modern gay people like to think - his writings on friendship are directed to companions in communities of same sex religious and unfortunately are misinterpreted these days of sexual permissiveness."  

To which the author responded:  "I have it on the authority of an Aelred of Rivaulx scholar (a very straight conservative guy with no agenda to advance) that in his private letters to his spiritual director St. Aelred discusses his temptations to sodomy. These aren't available in English, so I can't quote you chapter or verse, but I think that's prima facie evidence of SSA."

First, I asked for the name and reference, but received no answer.  Secondly, that is not evidence of anything except to document the fact - if it be true - that the abbot disclosed some of his temptations to his spiritual father.  I know elsewhere Aelred discusses his loss of virginity in counseling a virgin (nun), likewise he writes about the infatuation between two young boys/teens.  Reading into this that the monastic culture was gay is absurd, even references to two old monks cuddling and kissing does not constitute a generally accepted sense of approval for homoerotic, or particular/inordinate ssa friendship - especially in the modern sense.  Even the early desert fathers condemn such things - as did Aelred.  These friendships could never be tolerated in an observant monastery, and if they ever were, it just might help explain the demise of certain communities in history and in our day.

Now there is nothing wrong for same sex attracted persons to seek particular saints as their patrons, but it is very wrong to make statements as if they were undeniable fact, such as: "with Aelred of Rivaulx, we know for a fact that he did (have same sex attractions)."  Thus implying Aelred was gay and therefore he is a gay patron saint.  That is a very Boswellian claim.  Other gay Catholic sites claim Joan of Arc as a gay saint, and of course Sebastian, along with many others.  Selmys also said that "it would be a true scandal if the Church had never once managed to lead a single homosexual soul to sanctity."  I'm absolutely convinced that the Church has indeed done so.  Oscar Wilde comes to mind, as does Pier Vittorio Tondelli, the Italian author who died after contracting AIDS.  No doubt there have been others, just as there have been numerous penitent saints who abandoned a disordered life and followed Christ.  Likewise, the Church definitely continues to lead people with ssa to sanctity and salvation, in and through the sacraments, and not without support.  One approved support apostolate is Courage.  Not all may be inclined to a particular group, but the literature and guidance is always there to help the individual, as should be faithful priests for spiritual direction.

I once asked a holy Trappist father if he thought there were any gay saints.  His answer was he did not know of any, although he said something like this, "I'm sure there were saints who experienced temptations to such things, the devil (and our own concupiscence) is very crafty when it comes to sexual temptation."  That said, I expect the variety of sexual temptation could lead to another discussion on 'sexual fluidity' which is a novel concept very much accepted by gay Christians.

Anyway - I have written about this subject in the past, especially concerning the myth of a gay St. Aelred, read that post here: If there ever was a gay saint it may as well be St. Aelred.   Now I'm sorry I titled the post that way.  If you click here you should find a series of posts on the subject of socalled  'gay' saints.  My apologies that some post may demonstrate my exasperation with the efforts of revisionists, I've since tried to change my tone to be more hospitable to everyone.

Let me also make clear that I totally understand that ssa people work through their difficulties and challenges in many different ways, and I understand the variety of spiritual experience can be idiosyncratic at best.  Pier Vittorio Tondelli developed his own gay mysticism based upon the  three Carmelite Doctors, Therese, Teresa, and John of the Cross, before his ultimate conversion.  Though he died a holy death, one couldn't very well appropriate his gay spirituality or promote it as suitable or even in accord with Church teaching; however, it predisposed him to acceptance and reconciliation with the Church.  That said, it would be irresponsible for clergy and even writers to accept uncritically such examples of 'gay spirituality' - chaste or not - and promote their idiosyncratic hermeneutic as unquestionably in accord with Church teaching.

I'll write more on these matters as time goes on.  Obviously I'm not a scholar, much less an authority, but I think I have a legitimate case to question the scholarship and authority of those promoting the chaste/gay Christian thing.  Something isn't right.

That's all.

*To be fair, Melinda says he did have same sex attractions, not exactly claiming he was gay - but the implication is there, as it is on other websites, who do come out and claim St. Aelred was gay.

Photo source.

Vatican Mystery Theater



The butler did it.

Took a leak... err, took information and leaked it.  It's a big news story because the world believes the Vatican to be cloaked in secrecy just about everything, forgetting that there are a lot of Italians working there who aren't as organized as the rest of the modern world - or something like that.  No offense to Italians BTW - I love them.  Here's the story if you don't know it already - it seems to be an obligatory post for Catholic bloggers...
An on-again-off-again scandal that the Italian press has called VatiLeaks burst into the open on Friday with the arrest by Vatican gendarmes of a man, identified in news reports as Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s butler, who the Vatican said was in possession of confidential documents and was suspected of leaking private letters, some of which were addressed to Pope Benedict XVI. - NYT
Workplace espionage. 

There is a "Maria" involved in the case as well - which fits with my music video I posted earlier today:  'She's so fine, there's no tellin' where the money went..."  It's always about the money, isn't it?

...

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Simply irresitable...  she's so fine there's no tellin' where the money went.

Friday, May 25, 2012

This is fun: Daytripping to Necedah



Before Bayside - there was Necedah.

I love this - Badg and his wife drove by the "Shrine" - but never got out of the car.  I wonder if their rosaries still turned gold?



BTW, guidelines for the discernment of reported apparitions and mystical phenomena have finally been translated, published and released by the CDF.  (Read more here.)  The 1978 document was always available and sent to bishops, but it was in Latin.  Authorities (priests/bishops) have referred to the guidelines in their various assessments of supposed miraculous occurrences, which have percolated in the later half of the 20th century.  I may be mistaken, but it seems to me I read somewhere similar criteria as stated in the guidlines used to condemn both Bayside and Necedah, as well as OL of the Roses apparitions at San Damiano in Italy.  I know!

Actual text of the CDF Document: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7817 

Feeling sad? Lonely? Thinking no one suffers as much as you do?



5 Christian family members beheaded in Pakistan.
Okara, Punjab: May 24, 2012. (LEAD) The news of cutting throats of five Christian family members spread fear and anger among millions of Christian living in Punjab province of Pakistan.

Dr. Babar was living in Muhala Ahmad Town, Okara, with his wife Shagufta Babar, a teacher in Convent School, Samina Bibi his sister in law and children Zanib aged 12 and Zarish aged 15, from years.

On night of May 22, 2012, killers entered in their home and cut throats of five family members with sharp blades.

The fear of persecution is always remained in the hearts of Christians, after this incident the fear is increased and Christians feel insecure their lives in Pakistan. The Police is investigating deadly episode of target killing of five Christian family members and have not made any arrest. - Pakistan Christian Post
When you are down and troubled, think of it this way, "In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." - Hebrews 12 

Looks Like I did a critique of Michael Voris' Victim Spirituality a couple of years ago... Redux


Just my personal opinion file. Originally posted: 9/27/10
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First of all, I am not qualified to determine who is or who is not a victim soul, or to express anything but a personal opinion on victim spirituality.  This whole concept came up because of the Michael Voris video on the subject of homosexuals.
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Let me just say I believe in the Catholic mystical theology regarding victim souls and victim spirituality.  The priest as victim with Christ and specially chosen souls who share mystically in the sufferings of Christ in his passion, and so on.  I recognize it is an extraordinary grace, yet commonly aspired to by devout souls, especially in the sense of the 'little way of St. Therese' wherein the offering of victim is to merciful love as opposed to Divine justice.  So I get the spirituality.
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My difficulty is with the terminology.
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My problem with the terminology as applied to homosexuals seeking to live in conformity to Church teaching and striving for holiness is that it seems inappropriate, especially in light of the sexual proclivities and fetishes associated with some segments of gay culture.  Whenever one discusses this stuff one gets all sorts of reactions, most tiring amongst them is "not everyone is like that", or, 'there you go again, always generalizing'.  Gay people have issues folks - big sensitivity issues - let me tell you.  Obviously some of them want to be 'victims' - and not in a good way Karen Walker.  Like I said - I'm not qualified to speak to the theology of the issue, but I doubt a simple layman with a S.T.B. is the most qualified person either.   These matters are between the soul and Christ and the spiritual director or confessor - who in that context should have the particular charism to discern these matters.  Speaking of these spiritual intimacies publicly is like casting pearls before swine.  Mystical theology is difficult territory even for the S.T.M's, S.T.D.'s and S.T.L's.
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Why?
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Having said that, I'll list my reasons for insisting the use of the term 'victim soul' as applied to homosexual persons seeking a life of sanctity in the Church is inappropriate.  (Only my opinion BTW.)
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No more drama.  "Just Jack!"  Many gay people have issues - oops!  I mentioned that already.  The 'it's all about me thing' is a form of narcissism of course.  The whining and complaining and 'poor me' thing is very much part of gay life - in some sense - no matter how many freedoms are accorded that segment of society, there is always more rights they need.  I know - that's not a PC thing to say. 
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The wrong focus.  As stated in another post, I think it is the wrong focus for people with SSA insofar that there is already a tendency towards self-pity and singularity associated with the homosexual inclination that could be exaggerated by imagining oneself to be some sort of 'special' victim.  It could be a way of unconsciously holding onto a gay identity, or cultivating a gay spirituality - and that is in error.
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"My daddy used to spank me will you take his place?"  I think there is danger a S/M fantasy could likewise be unconsciously indulged.  I once did a post on how most of the gay priests and religious I've known were into discipline and bondage - you see how that could transfer over to this type of spirituality?  You don't?  I do.  So even from the Roman Catholic ascetical/mystical theology perspective I think it's not a good term for SSA people. As I said to another commenter, the role of 'Camille' can be very seductive... think of how attractive to gay men images of St. Sebastian in bondage can be.  The other factor here is the negative connotation the term victim has in general popular culture.
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Singularity.  I've also met so-called victim souls - they were easily deluded and painful to be around.  If anyone tells you they are a victim soul - unless you are their spiritual director, but maybe even then - I'd say 'watch out'.  My point is that these are intimate matters between the soul and Christ, and anything that goes beyond the ordinary offering of oneself over and above the morning offering, or consecration to the Sacred Heart, or in the manner of St. Therese's offering to Merciful Love, or spiritual exercises on that order, must be subject to the discernment of proper spiritual directors.  It seems to me people just can't appropriate such titles to themselves and others without falling prey to illusion and frequently, exaggerated piety.  That is not to say souls are not called to be victims. 
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Common mystic prayer.
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Nevertheless, I believe the ordinary way  of common mysticism is the best and safest way.  I'm personally fond of the following direction from The Life and Message of Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity regarding victim spirituality: 
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Words of Our Lord:  363.  "I desire an army of apostolic souls consecrated to me by the vow of victim, not to expiate the sins of others by extraordinary trials;  but to choose the methods I chose:  Silence, immolation, radiating the triumph of the life of the Spirit...  I desire an army of souls..."
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366.  I ask four things:  
1)  To listen to me more than speak to me.
2)  To strive to reproduce my actions - my way of acting rather than words.
3)  To be before men as they are before God in a state of poverty that begs - not in a state of spiritual wealth that gives alms of its superfluity.
4)  To confine their efforts to spreading my spirit, my gentleness, and my kindness which does not dwell on evil, but overcomes evil by good.  By being exacting with no one but themselves, they will help souls by their silence and their respect, to receive the graces which their fidelity and their sacrifices will obtain from God.
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457.  "The state of victim is to bear without defending oneself, as I did in my Passion, insults, slander, mockery, brutality - to allow oneself to be stripped...  For more on S. Mary click here.
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The ordinary, little way...
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You see, this type of hidden 'victim' spirituality is very Eucharistic: silent, loving, ordinary - forgetting self - not focusing upon self or one's state, humbly uniting oneself to Christ's silent loving action in the Eucharist.
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My apologies to anyone offended by my flippancy regarding this subject - I hope this takes care of my side of the discussion and that you understand I am no authority and I am only expressing my opinion based upon a certain degree of experience.

Who knew I already wrote on this?  Patrick and Thom - thanks guys.

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.



I may have just posted this not too long ago, but I don't care.  Turn it up real loud, as Jackie would say... and imagine you're in a club in Rome, many years ago...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looks as if I may be wrong about the 'victim soul' mentality Michael Voris spoke to in yesterday's post.



Evidently the term victim soul works for some Catholic men and women with SSA, and it is bolstered by the in depth analysis of Dr. Jeffrey Mirus who writes at Catholic exchange, and maybe influenced the Michael Voris take on things.  Dr. Mirus seems to support the Eve Tushnet conviction that "same-sex-attracted Catholics face challenges that single laypeople or clerics do not face in living chastely."

 Dr. Murius supports that theory here:
But a person with homosexual inclinations faces an even greater challenge. He or she must not merely integrate, control and channel sexual inclinations, but must largely deny them altogether, not only in their physical expression, but also in a far broader range of affectivity which is conditioned even in small ways by sexual interplay: Heightened interest, a sense of romance, a special tenderness. It is true that a celibate priest must be very careful of what we might call sexually-tinged affectivity, on the altogether sound theory that one thing leads to another. But the person with persistent homosexual inclinations must suppress or redirect such inclinations to an even greater extent. This is an enormous challenge. 
Now consider such a person in a culture which is pressing full tilt for the embrace, approval and even glorification of this same affectivity which he is called by Christ to suppress or redirect. And finally, consider him (or her) in a subculture of chastity in which he must constantly hear arguments against the positions of gays (i.e., those who advocate a specifically homosexual lifestyle), arguments which are sometimes clumsily expressed in ways which denigrate “homosexuals” generally and which, even if they are not clumsy, keep his conflicted sexual inclinations ever before his mind. In this subculture of chastity—hopefully a Christian subculture—others may find relief from their long, wearying preoccupation with their sexual defenses, but not he. - Homosexuality: A Special Call to the Love of God and Man        
To read the rest is to pretty much read what Voris said in his video on the subject of gay people being specially chosen and even victim souls.    Mirus writes:
The Catholic tradition is rich in understanding of victim souls, those who seem to have been put on this earth primarily to suffer physically, perhaps being ill or even paralyzed their whole life long, yet embracing a mission of love for souls, and growing into an intense and fruitful union with God. All of us, of course, are victim souls in smaller ways in that we each have our own crosses, which are so many opportunities for spiritual growth and cooperation with Christ: “In my flesh,” says St. Paul, “I make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church” (Col 1:24). So must we all, if we are Christians, and we should rejoice in the opportunity. Nonetheless, it is clear that some souls are singled out for a particularly obvious mission of redemptive suffering.  
Homosexual persons, by the very nature of their particular cross, must raise chastity to a special height, dealing not only with physical temptation but with the broad range of their own human affectivity. It follows that those who must suffer this disorder throughout their lives have been chosen by God to give a particular and exalted witness to the virtue of chastity. This is vocation as beautiful as it is arduous, and it is doubtful that its importance to our sex-saturated age can be overestimated. - ibid  
If you read the entire article I cite and link to above - you will see very clearly where Voris is coming from in his video presentation on the subject.  There is essentially nothing wrong with the article - it is well stated and very compassionate.  I simply object to the implication that homosexual persons are to be treated as a special category within the Church.  That there is a special order as it were, just for gay people.  maybe my exchange of emails with the friend who alerted me to the Dr. Mirus will be self explanatory enough:
I take exception with something you’ve said.

You state persons with SSA are no different than heterosexual persons striving to live chaste lives. That’s not entirely true.
Persons with OSA don’t have to check their affective and sexual inclinations at the door, so to speak. While they may be disordered to an extent, they are essentially still ordered to an “acceptable ‘other’.” That is NOT the case for the person with SSA. The person with SSA must not only be physically chaste, but also work on re-ordering their affective and mental life, as well … something that persons with OSA can “play” with and delight in to an extent (read: legitimate flirting).
Dr. Mirus does a much better job describing this than I do. Please take the time to read his article here:


Fair enough.  So I replied:

Perhaps I'm being a bit myopic in looking at the question of speciality in the suffering of homosexuals - I tend to side with Harvey on his caution not to exaggerate the sufferings of the condition, or create a specious spirituality for it. I still think that it is extremely unfair to divorced Catholics, and others, who for one reason or another cannot have a relationship, then to exalt the sufferings of gay people as something more extreme.  Gay people are not only expected - as everyone else - to live chastely, but to dedicate their lives - their celibacy - to the service of others, either by works and/or prayer and penance. If gay Catholics  want to claim for themselves the title of victim soul - more power to them; although truth be told, many seem to have spent most of their lives complaining society has already victimized them through bullying and discrimination for being different, and the denial of marriage benefits.  It seems to me that for many it is the being different they want to cling to, chaste or not.

I sometimes forget myself and marvel at the selfish sensuality and narcissism which persists in us even after we conclude our way of life is in opposition to the Gospel and decide to take up our cross and follow in his footsteps. I'm always astonished by the gay persons seemingly insatiable need for approval
 
Anyway, I appreciate your forwarding the article, I reviewed it quickly and will return to it and probably post my comments later, perhaps even softening my stance on the subject, but I can see right now, gay Catholic is the new term and has become a niche category in Catholic spirituality.
 
Pray for the suffering souls in gay Catholicism.  I wonder if there are indulgences attached for that?  Oh!  Oh!  And if gay is so normal, why does it need special consideration in the first place.  I'm being sarcastic - don't answer that.

Gay Catholics



It seems to be the preferred term now.

Queer theory, queer theology, queer spirituality is taking root, just as I said it would some years ago.  Developing a gay spirituality is in process by gay Catholics.  I'm not speaking of the active-gay-Catholics who dissent from Catholic moral teaching regarding marriage and homosexual acts, I'm speaking of 'faithful' Catholics who choose to retain gay as part of their identity, yet embrace chastity and pretty much the teaching of the Church - depending on what the definition of 'is' is.  And what I mean by that is, some authors are intently studying and debating such things as, what objectively disordered really means.  Nothing wrong with that - but their conclusions are often more ambiguous than the original text they seek to interpret.  Perhaps I will write more about this when I have time - but I'm not sure it is even worth my time to do so.  The new thinking on the subject is becoming quite popular and seems to be following its own trajectory, and my POV, as well as that of Courage apostolate seems to be as unpopular as ever.  (BTW - I do not say Courage is the only way for a person with ssa to live a faithful Catholic life, but so far it seems to be the best support system the Church has to offer.  Nevertheless, one is not obliged to join the group or any group.)

That said, in the case of Courage, I believe many younger 'gay Catholics' reject aspects of the apostolate, in part, because the apostolate rejects the use of the essentially political term, 'gay'.   Fr. John Harvey considered the term indicative of not only the homosexual orientation of the person, but also indicative the person accepts or approves of homoerotic behavior, as well as the homosexual lifestyle.  The Church considers the modern age terms 'heterosexual' and 'homosexual' more or less as novel forms of identity, when in fact the person's fundamental identity is as God's creation, and by baptism, the child of God and coheir with Christ - and thus, a new creation in the image of the Redeemer.  This is one reason why the term same sex attracted, or ssa is used in place of gay.  Some authors argue that the term precludes any possibility of opposite sex attraction, yet that is simply an exaggeration, an absurd notion easily corrected.  (I also understand that it is common parlance in use these days, but I myself continue to consider the person using the term 'gay Catholic' to be either an active homosexual or one who endorses the lifestyle.)

The other reason Courage is rejected is because of the perception the apostolate is aligned with NARTH and therefore promotes reparative therapy to 'get over being gay' - making gay people straight.  Many gay people find the very idea repellent.  It is an obstacle for some people, although the Church does not expect people to seek a cure, but rather to sanctify themselves, and they do this by embracing chastity according to their state in life - this means no homoerotic behavior, no masturbating, no porn, and so on.  Neither does Courage require a person to change his/her orientation, but rather to embrace a life of continence.  If a person with unwanted same sex attraction seeks therapy and has the conviction and will to work through reparative therapy, Courage provides a link to such resources.  Therapy is expensive, and not always reliable, and not all would or could be able to afford it.  Unfortunately today, in some cases spiritual directors are now charging 'clients' for their services, which can also be a deterrent.  Thankfully, Courage is a free support system, a ministry of the Church.

The gay marriage debate in this country is bringing many novel queer theories to the forefront - and it is amazing how popular some of these are becoming.
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life. - CDF

"Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well."
[This] sentence in section 16 [of the Letter to the Bishops] cautions the homosexual person not to exaggerate the suffering that his condition brings to him: Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well.  I see this as a reference to the tendency found in many homosexual persons to indulge in self-pity, to feel that 'no one else has to suffer the way I suffer.'" - The Homosexual Person, Vatican Document, John Harvey
Not a few are buying into that self-pity, claiming the homosexual person is special and unique, and their sufferings are unlike others' sufferings.  By doing so, you are queering the Church.

Feast of Mary, Help of Christians



And so was I established in Zion, and in the holy city likewise I rested; and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God, His inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of Saints. But Thou, Lord, have mercy on us.

R. Thanks be to God.
R. Blessed are you , O Virgin Mary, who bore the Lord, the Creator of the world: You were the mother of Him Who made you , and you remained a pure virgin forever.
V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you . You were the mother of Him Who made you , and you remain a pure virgin forever.



One-a-Day: Greatest hits.




Can't say nothin' more ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It is right and just...




H/T Mark Shea

Editor's note - disclaimer:  This Michael Voris video is nicely done.  Like all of his reports, it is his point of view or opinion in the light of Church teaching.  It is certainly compassionate, and therefore a welcome change in attitude towards persons with homosexual inclination.

I disagree that the sufferings of the ssa person are all that different from the single, heterosexual person for whom chastity may be a difficulty.  There are many heterosexual persons unable to marry because of moral or physical impediments, the homosexual impediment is not any worse than other impediments in todays culture.

Michael inadvertently suggests a 'special' spirituality for the homosexual condition, offering a component of victim soul spirituality for the chaste person who deals with same sex attraction.  Naturally, there is nothing wrong with offering one's spiritual trials to God as a sacrifice or penance for the conversion of sinners.  In fact, to abstain from sin is a sacrifice God expects from all who approach him.  Nevertheless, it is no more unusual or unique a requirement than what is expected of all Christians.  Subsequent temptations and trials, especially those associated with loneliness and feeling different or alienated, are not unique to the homosexual person. 

There is a danger, due to the general acceptance of homosexuality as a natural variant in human sexuality (which it is in so far as fallen human nature or concupiscence is concerned) to promote a unique, specialized spirituality just for gay people.  That in itself strikes me as contrary not only to tradition and Catholic moral teaching, but it is also contrary to scripture.
"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3: 27-28

How we say things today is very important.

And he just keeps saying stuff...

It bears repeating.



Some change - yet the the wound remains..
More importantly, Fr. Livingston shines light on the fact that some people just might not be able to 'pray the gay away' - that they find themselves burdened with a very real cross, a wound in the flesh, as it were. Father explains:
But what about the nerve root question that Bates addresses? What do you do when the "gay" just will not go away and your religious standards and traditions just seem to accuse, to point out what you can never do or be? Are the choices limited to either living in shame or just pitching the moral code out the window?
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Many of us can relate in our own way. You were unfaithful and your spouse will not allow you to forget; you have a prison record that shows up every time you try to get a job; you have a weakness for alcohol or spending or food and your life is unmanageable.
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Add your own weakness to the list. Regardless of how it got there, you want to move beyond it, but you can't. Who among us is righteous and qualified to cast the first stone?
St. Paul confided in a letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:7-10) that he had a "thorn in his flesh" that wouldn't go away. What God said to him was not "you're going to hell" or "you are disordered."
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He said, "My grace is sufficient for you." In the midst of his weakness, Paul found both steady direction and contentment in his friendship with Christ.
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My point is this: Whoever you are and whatever insurmountable problem you have, don't jettison your moral compass. Find friends who will support you in truth and virtue. 
Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Does anyone here condemn you? Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more" (John 8:10-11). Minnesota citizens, you can support traditional marriage and be a friend to persons with same-sex attractions. It's not an "either/or" issue. - StarTribune

Fr. James Livingston is a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis.  I reprinted this from an earlier post titled: Faith In Action. 

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.




This is the best version of one of the greatest songs ever made.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In memoriam...

This is so real...


Kat wrote a post.

Art: Blessed Angela of Foligno, penitent.  The Blessed Angela was married and had a family and by her own admission lived a rather vain and frivolous life. At one point she committed a sin so shameful to her that she avoided confessing it. We do not know what the sin was, but I have speculated it could have been the sin of abortion - just conjecture however.  (But I'm often right.)

Rita of Cascia



St. Rita is a very popular saint, considered a saint of the impossible or lost causes, she attracts many devotees, and apparently never disappoints any who confide in her.  Interestingly, most of her life was filled with bitter trials. 

That caught my attention today - a life of bitter trials.  Her husband, who was ill-tempered and ill-behaved, was eventually murdered.  Her sons were like the father.  After her husband's murder she sought entrance to the Augustinians but was rejected.  Later she was admitted through miraculous circumstances - but the holy widow never really found acceptance amongst the other nuns.  She suffered the stigmata of a thorn in her forehead, yet she was still rejected by the community because of the stench the wound exuded.  Such a holy woman 'suffered bitter trials throughout her entire life.'  (Magnificat)  Her obvious holiness never made her popular, she was neither celebrated in the monastery nor outside the enclosure.

"What did you go out to the desert to see?" - Luke 7:24

"When you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials." - Sirach 2:1

Looks as if the Catholic blog project, "Call the Bishops Out" may no longer be needed.


Why?  Because it looks as if the Bishops are taking back their authority:
Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., Notre Dame--And 40 Other Catholic Dioceses and Organizations--Sue Obama Administration.

(CNSNews.com) - The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country. - More here.
What are the bishop-bashers going to bitch about now? 

Let's see, what did people accuse Cardinal Wuerl of? 

What was Fr. Jenkins called out for?
In a statement, Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins said he will continue to negotiate with the Obama administration on the rule. "We will continue in earnest our discussions with Administration officials in an effort to find a resolution, but, after much deliberation, we have concluded that we have no option but to appeal to the courts regarding the fundamental issue of religious freedom," he said. - Notre Dame Sues Obama Administration

A New Feature: One-A-Day Posts of My Greatest Hits - or, Should I Say, My Favorite Songs.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Will Smith slaps reporter... does that mean he's homophobic?



"It's just a kiss, it wouldn't kill you!" - Basil Fawlty to Manuel when he refused to work with, and let Kurt the Greek Chef kiss him.

Funny as a same-sex kiss can be in a sitcom or a film, and maybe even now in the Will Smith situation - I think the reporter trying to kiss Smith demonstrates just how weird the gay thing really is.  I know some people will say I'm making a big deal out of nothing - but I think they would only be disagreeing with my statement pretty much for the same reasons Basil Fawlty tried to convince Manuel nothing is wrong with allowing Kurt to kiss him - out of self-interest.  They can't imagine why a heterosexual would think it strange to have a man kiss him.

Obviously, Will Smith is not a homophobe - he just recently came out in support of gay marriage.  The reporter who kissed him has a reputation for kissing all the celebrities he covers, thus it can be argued it wasn't even a gay demonstration on his part.  Or was it?  Knowing the Russian condemnation of all things gay, I wonder if the journalist had other, more political motives?  Either way - Will Smith acted appropriately - err, normally.

It's just a kiss...

I hate kissing strangers - gratefully the social kiss has long turned to air-kissing - I hate that too.  It's so phony.  But I digress.  My point is that men do not want to be kissed by other men.  Most men are repulsed by such things.  Will Smith's candid, spontaneous reaction demonstrates that.  So, know your place boyz and respect the boundaries of social convention.  If that's homophobic, then I'm homophobic too.  In fact, I don't think homophobia is a disease at all - rather, I think it can be something of a healthy safeguard. 

I had some friends who wanted to kiss me - and all of their guests - whenever anyone visited them; it happened when I arrived and when I left.  First it was a tres continental embrace with a peck on each  cheek, then it evolved to trying to kiss me on the lips.  I was able to dodge it by continuing to talk or just by bowing my head.  I hated it.  It wasn't quite so weird for me to encounter, probably because my dad kissed everyone on the lips too.  I know!  Oh well, he was a drunk.

People need to learn manners and respect the personal space of others, and definitely, practice discretion.

Anyway - Kudos to Will Smith for acting like a man.

Does God ignore some prayers for healing?



Never.  Instead, I have come to believe He may not answer our prayers in the time frame, nor the manner we expect however.  I think sometimes He leaves us 'unhealed' as it were, though able to cope, lest after being healed, we fall into a greater sin.  Moreover, I think He may grant us a great freedom of spirit, though we retain that thorn in our flesh, which helps us to remain humble and dependent upon His mercy.  In the Gospel, Christ healed persons who had been afflicted with ailments they suffered from for many years, which says to me we must never lose hope.  I was encouraged after reading the following from the gentle Pope Benedict XVI:
THERE IS NO HUMAN CRY THAT GOD DOES NOT HEAR

"Many times", the Pope said, "we ask God to deliver us from physical and spiritual evil ... however, we often have the impression that He doesn't hear us and we run the risk of becoming discouraged and of not persevering. In reality, there is no human cry that God does not hear. ... God the Father's answer to His son was not the immediate freedom from suffering, from the cross, or from death: through the cross and His death, God answered with the Resurrection".

Finally, "a believer's prayer, if open to the human dimension and to creation as a whole ...does not remain locked in on itself. It opens itself to share in the suffering of our time. It is thus converted into ... the channel of hope for all of creation and an expression of God's love that is poured into our hearts by means of the Spirit". - Vatican Information Service
  Art:  Madonna di S. Luca, Bologna, Italy.  Prayers for the victims of the earthquake.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This is very good...



What Radical Gays Really Want. - Bonchamps
Since “gay marriage” is all the rage, especially since Biden and Obama decided to make public statements on the matter, it is virtually all I have been hearing about in my own online networks. Debates are raging, friendships are being tested, hostility is everywhere. One thing emerges out of this chaos more clearly than anything else: the gay agenda, which I define as a radical political program with the aim of legitimizing homosexuality in all spheres of human existence, is based on the hysterical repetition of outrageous lies. It is not unlike the completely fraudulent “war on women”, a war that was supposedly declared when a number of Americans publicly resisted the idea that they ought to pay for other women’s birth control.

In the case of “gay marriage”, the big lie is that there is some desire on the part of conservatives and Christians in this country to actually deny some right, some liberty, some freedom to people who identify themselves and live as homosexuals. As abhorrent, disordered and immoral as I find the “gay lifestyle” to be, the truth is that – and here I speak for virtually every conservative Christian I know or have read – we really are not the least bit interested in micro-managing the sex-lives of our fellow citizens. We have absolutely no desire to have uniformed gendarmes kick in your bedroom doors to make sure no acts of sodomy are taking place in the middle of the night. The only thing more repugnant to me than such acts would be the prospect of becoming comfortable with the sort of routine invasions of personal privacy that would be required to ensure that no one was living out their life as a homosexual.

To reiterate, this time specifically to the radical homosexual: on all the issues that concern the consenting adults only, we don’t care. Of course we care in the abstract that you are leading lives of grave sin in open defiance of God, but then so do millions of “heterosexuals” who fornicate, commit adultery, use artificial contraception, sterilize themselves, and so on. Not every sin can or should be a matter for the state to concern itself with, and we are content to let God judge in these matters; but no sin, and this brings us closer to the main point here, can ever be called a virtue, no evil can ever be called a good, by any Christian with a conscience, or by any citizen who cares about the integrity of society. - Bonchamps
It is a long, beautifully written, articulate post - and I completely agree.  I believe it is just the right attitude.  Mark Shea links to the piece as well, and also agrees.  I say that because I came across Shea's post first.  Shea highlights a certain point I think is especially important for every one to note,  Bonchamps makes that point here:
You can live as you want, engage in whatever sort of contracts you like, conduct any sort of ceremonies you please. But there is one thing you cannot have, and it is the one thing you seek through this radical political agenda, these hysterical protests and complaints about Christians: our approval. - Bonchamps
That's it!  Approval.  Not just tolerance.  Not simply acceptance.  But full-blown approval.  The agenda is all about approval - and it is exactly that which the Christian can never give.  There may come a time when the approval is forcibly demanded - thus it is important for the Christian to understand, such approval is not theirs to give.

From Mark Shea:
Yep. That’s exactly what this is about: Narcissism (and homosexuality and narcissism are like peas and carrots) rankles under the awareness of the immovable disapproval of those who know that homosex is disordered and who know what marriage actually is. The hope of the radical homosexual is that somehow that approval can be forced. When it becomes clear that it can’t be, and the might of the state is made available to enact vengeance on the intransigent, it will be, unless God somehow intervenes.

And even if persecution and punishment for failure to approve are meted out, the approval will not be given, because homosex is a sin and gay “marriage” is an ontological impossibility and a good number of people will never back down on those facts.

It’s ironic really. The draconian demand for approval that cannot settle for mere tolerance shows that, at some level, that the gay “marriage” movement which holds Christians in such deep contempt hungers–with the hunger of a child eager to hear a word of praise from her Father–to hear praise from exactly the people that movement claims to despise. And above all, it seems to me that this, in turn, demonstrates that such folk hunger to hear a word of love and welcome from God (as do we all).

We Christians, it seems to me, need to find a way to communicate that the homosexual is loved and welcomed by God–just not the sin of homosex. But that requires that both we and they regard them as something more than their appetites and grasp that they are not identical to or co-terminous with those appetites. - Mark Shea
Seeking approval for coming out and then, for coming in.

Both writers say it well and are in agreement with Catholic teaching - it accords with my personal point of view and perception as well.  I would just add another consideration to the discussion.  The seeking for approval doesn't usually automatically dissolve or go away at conversion - not for the ssa any more than it does for the former prostitute, profligate, or prodigal.  It is not uncommon for the recovering ssa person to continue to desire an inordinate degree of approval - only now as a ssa/gay Catholic back in communion with Catholic teaching - still ssa, and sometimes still needy. 

I often bring this subject up in my posts because there is a natural tendency to expect immediate and total acceptance and approval by every one - considering "all heaven rejoices over one repentant sinner."  So it is not unusual for some  converts to continue to want to be the center of attention.  Some may crave the admiration, or approval of fellow Catholics, and some even expect to be regarded as the authority on same sex issues everyone needs to consult.  Some want to be best friends with non-ssa men who just aren't interested in ssa emotional problems and sexual struggles, and frankly, just aren't comfortable with someone who always needs to reference it.  I know some readers will object to what I say here - my apologies - but it is something to watch out for.

"For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 2:21
Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I consider everything as loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. - 3 Philippians 7-11
 Seek your praise from God.

What does the Church teach? Link:

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Unions, Congegation for the Doctrine of the Faith