Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pakistani Rimsha Masih still in Adiala Jail...


A child amongst dangerous prisoners.

Rimsha is the Pakistani girl accused of burning pages of the Quran.  I read in one place that some of her neighbors assaulted her in retaliation for the crime before the police came to take her away from her Christian family.  The girl is said to be somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16.  She is said to have Downs syndrome, or may be simply slow? The reports are sketchy at best.  Story here.

Is that why the case is glossed over by media and churches?  Maybe.

It is said Muslim neighbors have now come to the support of Rimsha's family, in opposition to Muslim clerics.  I don't know any of the details, but something is wrong with that religion - especially its leaders:
The imam who handed over 11 year old Rimsha to the police insists he saved her life from the mob, but also says that she was quite mentally capable and sane and that what she did was designed as a 'conspiracy' to insult Muslims. - Source  

The persecution of Christians is accelerating around the Muslim world - the world must pay attention.

The Christian orphan Suneel Masih...

Suneel

First the case of the disabled girl put behind bars and now the story of a 14 year old boy found disfigured and brutally murdered. The Christian community is in shock.
Fear among the Christian community in Pakistan is growing. After the case of the eleven year old disabled girl who was arrested on charges of blasphemy the country has been shaken by the news of the violence committed against another Christian child.
Missionary news agency AsiaNews reported that on 21 August the police in Faisalabad found the horribly mutilated body of Suneel Masih in an isolated area of ​​the city. They 14 year old boy, a Christian orphan from the city, had disappeared two days earlier. There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the brutal murder. Sadly, what is certain, is that the body was found with the ears, nose, tongue and limbs torn from the body, the belly ripped open and internal organs (including the liver and kidneys) taken, perhaps to be sold on the black market. As if this were not enough, the killers then poured acid on his face, possibly to make him unrecognizable. - Finish reading here.

Pray the Rosary every day.  Pray and make sacrifices:
"What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much! … Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High…. Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country…. Above all accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.” - The Angel at Fatima 

H/T Idle Speculations blog for lead story.

 

Pray for the children-victims of Islamic persecution...

Pakistani Christians
 
Com passion - to suffer with...
 
Many years ago a missionary priest heard my confession and urged me to 'pray and make sacrifices for the salvation of souls' echoing the words of Our Lady in her various apparitions of the last two centuries.  In other words, fast and pray for the important things!  If only we could forget ourselves and remember that even little children are shedding their blood as a pure oblation to Christ, the Lamb without spot.  In Iraq, Syria, Egypt, yet most frequently and brutally in Pakistan.  Pray for the martyrs, pray with the martyrs, suffer with the martyrs.   

How to act in times of conflict, persecution, deprivation and tribulation ...



Testing... testing... testing...



Getting paranoid yet?

In this mornings paper I noted a little teeny weeny article squeezed  in at the corner of page 3 in the local news section:
This is only a test:  Military coptors to hover over metro.
A series of routine training exercises over the next week may bring low-lying military helicopters to the metro area, a police spokesman said.
The UH-60 Black Hawk and Hughes 500 helicopters may be seen or heard between 7 p.m. and midnight, according to Sgt. William Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Department.
"This announcement is being made to alert residents and prevent the overload of the 911 system with concerned callers," Palmer said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
The exact time and location of the training exercises will not be released, he added. Similar "urban-environment" exercises have been held this year in Chicago and Los Angeles, he said. The exercises do not involve local forces. - StarTrib
 
I wonder if this has anything to do with the Social Security Administration and the hollow point bullet order:
The mission statement of the US Social Security Administration is to deliver services that meet the changing needs of the public. They are doing that by placing an order for 174,000 rounds of hollow point bullets.
The SSA has published a solicitation on the FedBizOpps website specifically asking for ammo manufactures to provide them with a quote for a massive order of hollow point bullets. The administration is on the lookout for the most affordable lot of 174,000 .357 Duty Carry Sig 125 grain bonded JHP hollow point bullet ammunition, according to a synopsis that accompanies their solicitation for quotes, although the mission statement of the federal agency offers no indication of why they are wanting any ammo, let alone tens of thousands of rounds.
According to Chuck Hawks, who runs a guns and shooting website, these bullets are among the best available in terms of being a stop a person dead in their tracks. - Source
 
I know!

I caught soon to be president Romney on television in an interview with Scott Pelley, when asked about making a joke about his not having to prove where he was born - a not so subtle dig at Obama and the birther controversy - I saw the high school bully in Romney's answer.  That it was just a joke.  He smirked and said it was just a joke.  Romney is the Antichrist.  What?  I'm just kidding.  Or am I?

Anyway.

People are really, really, REALLY paranoid these days.  I don't know how many people caught this story, but a Texas judge is preparing for civil war:
LUBBOCK (CBSDFW.COM) - Reactions continue after a Texas leader issued a public warning for what he calls a ‘civil war’ and possible invasion of United Nations troops if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Lubbock County Judge Tom Head is convinced that Mr. Obama winning a second term would lead to a revolt by the American people and he’s is pushing a tax increase for the district attorney’s office and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office. He says the money is needed to “beef up” its resources in case President Obama wins the November election. - Source

 
I'm a bit skeptical - but I suppose...

Even Fr. Z is battening down the hatches - tightening security, stricter registration and all of that stuff.

Oh!  Oh!  And what about that stuff being photographed on Mars?  In one photo you can make out the remains of Jimmy Hoffa! 



I should probably get a blood test and head out to Idaho.

Saints who disappeared...

S. Roch
 
 
Hidden with Christ in God.

A meditative note in yesterday's Magnificat for the feast of St. Bartholomew described the Saint as "One of the anonymous Apostles, all the personal details of his life have disappeared behind the Gospel he proclaimed.  Like John the Baptist, he decreased to nothing so that Christ might increase."

I liked that a lot.  I thought of my saints who disappeared - often to the consternation of those who knew them in life, and even those who come to know them as saints.

Take St. Alexis for instance.  He disappeared - with the permission of his wife of course - and became a pilgrim, dying unrecognized as a beggar beneath the staircase of his family home - where he had lived once he returned  to Rome.  Unrecognized, he truly lived a hidden life.  As did St. Benedict Joseph Labre, and even Matt Talbot.  None of these guys wrote books or taught CCD, or preached in the streets, or acted as usher in church on Sundays.  They just disappeared - in plain sight.

The pilgrim St. Roch, whose feast we just celebrated August 16, also ended his life in anonymity, dying in the prison of his home town Montpellier, unknown and unrecognized.  His story here.

The other evening I was reading about one of my favorite female saints, Margaret of Cortona.  All of her adult life she was shunned because she had lived with her nobleman lover until his murder, and bore him a son out of wedlock.  After her conversion, rejected by family and friends, she remained the object of suspicion and gossip by those who knew her past.  The Franciscans held her back from entering the Third Order for three years to test the sincerity of her conversion, and yet, after her admittance and adopting the penitents garb, people continued to doubt her repentance.  Gradually she withdrew, becoming more and more of a recluse.  Her penance testified to the authenticity of her conversion - not words or writings; she voiced no objections to her detractors, no defense of her virtue...

Then there is St. Marina, whose father kept her with him disguised as a boy, when he became a monk.  After her father's death, Marina remained in the monastery, living undetected as a man.  At one point Marina was accused of fathering the child of an innkeeper's daughter.  She was dismissed from the monastery and spent five years in expiation of the crime, but was received back into the community after serving her sentence.  When Marina died, the monks discovered she was a woman and therefore innocent of the paternity libel.    She never spoke a word in defense of her virtue.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Breaking news out of the UK...




I blame Prince Harry.

Malia and Sasha watch Modern Family.



I heard the President say that on TV.

So?  I watch Modern Family too.  It's the funniest sitcom on television.  The shows which precede and follow it - not so much.  What do they all have in common?  I'd say they are not good for children, for one thing.  Modern Family is probably the 'straightest' show in the line up.  Why?  Because they play the family thing pretty straight - even with the gay dads and the adopted kid - and there is hardly any sexual innuendo or silly references to body parts, bodily functions, sexual activity, and so on.  The other shows are all about that - and isn't ABC Disney?  Kid's shows in prime time?  See how media corrupts our kids - and you and me?  We become very malleable, vulnerable, and tolerant - these characters become friends in a way.  (I still feel really close to Phoebe on Friends.)

Remember when Ellen came out on her show?  The parents of kids today watched that then, kids as young as Sasha watched that - and bungling Ellen won our sympathy.  Remember Will and Grace?  We watched that too - although alcoholic Karen was the best character on the show - with Jack, of course.  Entertainment is propaganda.  Archie Bunker... Maude... remember when Bea Arthur's character was trying to decide if she should get an abortion?  I vaguely do.  All of these shows turn the unmentionable into dinner conversation... lunch break banter... playground role-playing... parent's basement conversations between kids interested in sex... and I'm just talking about pre-pre-teen here.

Keeping up with the Joneses in the quest to be modern.

So our kids grow up generation after generation knowing more than their parents, and the parents, wanting to be cooler than their parents and better friends to their kids, end up thinking and saying it's all good, it's all cool.  Fast forward to the all-star kid who was told he could be whatever he wanted to be and do whatever his heart wanted to do, and love whomever he wanted to love.  The world is his and he's just fine the way he is.  If he wants to explore his sexuality - fine - use protection.  You know what I'm saying.  This style of parenting tolerates, accepts, and permits everything - "We just want you to be happy!"

Some kids are surprised after they leave home and discover not everyone is as supportive as mums and dadums was.  Their sitcom reality is not as nice or fun as they thought it would be - they are no longer the center of attention.   It takes much longer to grow up these days when parents try to be kids with their kids and no longer parent.  Kids who never heard no, much less constructive criticism, as well as harmless teasing, sometimes meet tragic ends. 

Which is why I always say, "I blame the parents" after something senseless happens.

"Christ says of these people, that they circle the earth and the sea in order to enrich their children, and they make them children of perdition twofold more than they themselves are." [Mt. 23:15] - John of the Cross 

 Question:  How did the Pied Piper take control of the children of Hamlin?

Answer:  He captivated them through entertainment and amusements...

Ed. Note: Follow up to my Getting Naked post.

Art Appreciation with Mark Shea

Italia: Verona - Milano



Verona 2002

One of my patrons is St. Peter of Verona - I should have been at this concert, but I wasn't.  Italy has changed quite a lot, I think.  I wonder what Peter would say?

Bella donna!
 
 
Women should probably wear a dress for the Ambrosian rite, don't you agree?  Her mantilla is in the clutch, I'm sure.

The Feast of St. Bartholomew



St Bartholomew suffered martyrdom after he had been flayed - skinned alive.  Some sources claim he was then crucified, others that he was beheaded.  In memory of the flaying, some Italians include dishes made from wide, flat pasta, such as taglierini, as part of their feast day specialties.

BTW - if you have weight problems - Bartholomew is the saint to go to for shedding pounds - or putting weight on.  He's worked miracles associated with weighing things...

Bonus question:  If they flay you, are you still naked?  Is that good or bad nudity?  What?

Extra credit:  Weather Lore from the Widow's Weeds:
8/24 - As Bartholomew's Day, so the whole autumn.

If Bartelmy's day be fair and clear,
Hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

Saint Bartholomew's mantle wipes dry
All the tears that Saint Swithin can cry.

Saint Bartholomew brings the cold dew.

If it rains on Bartholomew's Day, it will rain the forty days after.

Thunderstorms after Bartholomew's Day are more violent.

If the morning begins with a hoar frost, the cold weather can be soon expected, and a hard winter.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Michael Voris on Fr. Bob and the normalization of homosexuality in the Catholic Church



Poison

I wrote about Fr. Bob Pierson and the Catholic pro-gay-marriage problem here, here, here.  And more recently here.    Evidently not with enough vehemence however.  I'm told I'm an 'a-2 toady for Collegeville'.  Yet again, I must ask - if it is so bad - and I believe it is, why doesn't the Church do anything about it?

Zagano Watch!*



Fr. Z must be out using his gift cards today and missed this one:
Evanston mom could be among the first in centuries to be ordained a deacon in Catholic Church...
"It's a message of hope. It's a way to stay within the boundaries of Catholic teachings and have women with real preaching authority within the system," said Phyllis Zagano, one of the American church's leading researchers on the subject of female deacons. "I think the bishops need to address this issue directly."
A handful of scholars, including Zagano, argues that the diaconate of the early church included both men and women. - Full story here.

Be gone!
 
I'm against it.

I may be mistaken, but I think the permanent diaconate has bigger issues to deal with.  For instance, the very, very traditional have 'reservations' regarding its post-Vatican II revival, not to mention the canonical argument over celibacy/continence requirements.  So the concept of women in albs may be a tad 'unattractive' to say the least.

I don't mind the revival of the permanent diaconate:  Men as permanent deacons - married or not - but they still seem to me to be like half a priest.  They can't hear confessions or give absolution - no matter how many academic degrees they have.  Only a priest can celebrate Mass, only a priest can hear confessions and impart absolution, and when I'm dying, I want a priest.

Women?  What to do with them?

Yeah, so... What to do about women?  I think that is a huge question for the 21st century... Unless Islam wins, how do you get Jeannie back into the bottle?




* Zagano Watch!  Is a fun reference to the woman - quoted in the article I link to - who (apparently) had once investigated, or, 'looked for dirt' on Fr. Z.  Her efforts elicited a very good job description on what he does, from Fr. Z himself.  That post here.  It's all good.

Some day I hope someone will publish a Terry Nelson Watch!  With all the dirt they can find on me.  Shouldn't be hard.  Do it on your own blog though. ;)

Getting naked in the USA.



Kiss my royal ___

"Nudity is bad, isn't it?" 

"No it's not, because John Paul II said it wasn't."

"Yeah it is, because Dr. Alice said something about concupiscence and it's dirty..."

"No it's not - nudity is good, lewdity is bad." 

So anyway, Prince Henry of Wales was caught without his clothes on - and some very attentive partier got photos - which he/she quickly sold to TMZ - my favorite news show BTW - "I'm a lawyer!"  Harry makes me laugh - he should know better, and I think he does, but he makes me laugh.

"There's something about nakedness in the male psyche — and now I've studied initiation rites — it's universal." - Richard Rohr

I'm sure you've heard the story of U.S. Senator Kevin Yoder's skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee and how everyone was outraged claiming it was sacrilegious.  I don't agree.  Nevertheless, the Senator found it necessary to apologize to his constituents - for shrinkage... in the polls...  I mean, I think that was his motive, because even Romney said his conduct was "reprehensible" - and people were calling for Yoder's resignation - so that's what I meant by shrinkage - in the polls, to be sure.  Huh?  Oh - so, skinny dipping has some precedence with politicos... and may not be as injurious to one's reputation as conservatives may think.
Despite its puritan roots, the U.S. has a long history of skinny-dipping. Social nudity is celebrated in the writings of Walt Whitman and the landscape paintings of Thomas Eakins. Benjamin Franklin took a daily naked "air bath," while presidents John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson enjoyed a refreshing nude dip. According to National Geographic Magazine, John Quincy Adams (1825-29), the sixth President, customarily took a nude early morning swim in the Potomac River. - National Geographic

Examining the Naked Now ...

However - there may be much more to be concerned about.  That would be the increase of nudity on television:
The Parents Television Council (PTC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents about television content, has released a new study looking at nudity on prime-time broadcast television which reveals a major increase over the 2011-2012 season. - Source
Even worse than that, there has been the normalization of immorality and sexual misconduct, constant sexual innuendo, bad language, and just bad writing, offered as staple entertainment - from reality TV shows to sitcoms and light drama, and not just in prime time - but all day and night.  That's a real problem and it has been going on for decades, it's just more recognizable now that people are naked.  We always tend to pay attention to naked people. 

Then there is the Internet and sexting...

"... you become naked." - Revolution #9, Yoko Ono

I blame the parents.

 

Pride, Envy and Spite.



If a good man strikes or rebukes me, it is kindness.

I had a friend once, who no matter what he did, what he said, no matter how obvious his virtue and good works, I remained suspicious of him and his devotion.  Mostly due to the fact he once revealed something about his temperament to a stranger - a person I had known and introduced to him.  I found my friend's candor and familiarity out of place, thinking him imprudent and indiscreet.  On account of that, my esteem for him suffered, which led me to suspect some defect in his character...  Sadly, I misjudged him, when I had no reason to do so, and more accurately, I had no right to. 

We had a falling out - for which I blame myself, on account of my presumption and indiscretion in calling him out about the incident.  Gradually, we lost touch.  I began to struggle with resentment - convinced that I had been the virtuous one.  Resentment over our estrangement developed into envy...  these are terrible sins which can cling to us despite our best efforts to rid ourselves of them.  No sooner do we make a good confession and communion, or devote great effort in praying for our 'enemies', or willing our forgiveness, even going so far as to ask for pardon of the friend - we can fall back. 

The blog in our own eye.

This is the mystery of the log in our own eye.  We cling to the idea that somehow we have been wronged, or at least we were right all along, congratulating ourselves that we took the high road and took the blame for the entire misunderstanding.  Yet envy raises its ugly head and our emotions can torment us once again - tempting us to believe our declaration of forgiveness, our profession of guilt, may not have been heeded sufficiently.  Or another perspective of the incident suggests itself to our imagination, thus opening the old wound.  Once again we feel our self tossed into that spiteful, piteous state we were so sure we had triumphed over.  Yet "Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd..."  pride, envy and spite:  "Double, double toil and trouble;  Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."   The effects... a foretaste of hell...

Unless God deliver us.  Unless God allows us to see... to understand.   As in the scene shown in the clip I posted here from Song of Bernadette, where we witness the change of heart in Sr. Vauzous upon seeing evidence of Bernadette's holiness...

 Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - St. Edith Stein

I hope my friend can forgive me some day.

St. Rose of Lima



"Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty:



'Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase...'"


Art source.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm busy in the garden...



Looking into the heart of a nasturtium.

Last evening I was outside praying the rosary as two little bunnies showed up grazing on the uncut lawn.  I think they felt very secure.  I noticed a squirrel at the entrance to the shade garden, watching them while he gnawed away somewhat noisily on a walnut shell.  Then two chipmunks (gophers) came out to play near me - chasing one another around the pots, just as a vole ran across the entrance to the lawn to my right.  Earlier I'd seen the neighborhood tuxedo cat chase a mouse into the ivy - there are still leaves all over the crushed rock to show how determined he was to find it - but the mouse got away.  So many creatures live in my little garden.

I'm rather busy now, getting things ready for fall and winter, so I'm limiting comments and correspondence in order not to be distracted.  I'll still be posting however.

A thought for Our Lady's feast...
Believe me, dear brothers of the Rosary Confraternity, if you genuinely wish to reach a high level of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the traps that the devil sets for those who pray, say your whole Rosary every day, or at least five decades of it. - Louis de Montfort
 
St. Roch before Our Lady

I think it may rain.

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary



At your right stands the Queen in robes of gold, finely arrayed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Something about hate ...



From another blog/anonymous author...
Hate often makes sense. And if you disallow that emotion in others, you will never get to understand why they hate you. It's not just because they are bad or defective (though they may be) but because they perceive you as a threat.
And you very well may be.
It might be instructive to lay down your defensiveness and investigate.
The outcome of this may not be the Kumbaya of moral equivalence and Star Trek one-worldism. You may decide that you are a threat and that's just fine with you. In a world well characterized by John Kekes as full of "scarcity, flaw and contingency", being a threat to someone is well nigh inescapable. Mother Nature made the rules long before you were born.
So if you find yourself (personally or as a group) hated by someone, ask yourself why...and be prepared to find an answer other than that you are an innocent and blameless object of mindless and irrational hate. Hate often has a clear mind and a functioning reason. But with different interests from yours. - anonymous author

Some thoughts.

I've been thinking of hate as it relates to hate groups - there seem to be so many now, huh?  Some Catholic bloggers write about their fears, their experiences, their predictions of persecution by hate groups, while at the same time protesting that we Catholics are beginning to be perceived as a hate group.  So everyone hates one another?  Not everyone - but clearly there are haters amongst every group.  Even devout-faithful Catholics can sound pretty hateful at times.  Traditionalist Catholics - the really rad-trad variety, may be the most well known for statements which sound at best intolerant, at worst, outright hateful.  Think of Bishop Williamson's remarks over the years.  I know some people will disagree in the way I expressed that - my apologies.

Since I began the blog, I've received enough veiled expressions of dislike, contempt and open hostility in my com-box, as well as read such comments on other sites, to know what I'm talking about.  Some religious sites, though not necessarily rad trad, actually have a reputation for hate-filled remarks in their com-boxes.  Arrogance and contempt often spills out of a spiteful heart.  I've read in places where even bishops seem to be asserting, 'the time for turning the other cheek is over!' 

Really?  What many of us seem to lack - besides charity and patient endurance - is an understanding of the cross, the intersection of authentic Christianity - where justice and peace embrace, mercy and truth kiss.  Imagine Edith Stein screaming at the Jews in the camps that they must convert or else they will be damned, or that they brought such a fate upon themselves - rather she suffered with them, walked in peace through the midst of them, sharing their shame.  Imagine Maximilian Kolbe barking orders and spewing contempt at the Nazi guards, condemning them to hell - rather he submitted like a lamb to the shearers.

People may hate us for a reason.  I know I've pissed off enough people to warrant their contempt.  St. Peter warns us not to do things like that to deserve such scorn, but rather to be virtuous, full of charity, and so on.  In effect, we should strive instead to give our opponents no reason to hate us, and if they do, to bear the shame as Christ did.  He walked in peace through the midst of them, and thus we ought to try to do likewise, counting it pure joy to suffer for the sake of his Name - if indeed we are suffering for his sake...  Some of us may be suffering from something else.

But don't pay any attention to what I say.


 

Afraid to go to the grocery store ...



Love thy neighbor.

I was minding my own business picking out my organic vegetables when I heard the cutest little kid mutter something to his dad, and when I looked up - I saw two men and a baby!  Just like Modern Family!  They looked completely normal too - just two young, professional-looking men in casual weekend attire, out shopping with the kid. 

When I arrived home, while putting groceries away, I had television on.  There was a political ad about marriage, depicting a retired couple - man and woman - sitting in a park discussing how they do not want to keep same sex couples from sharing a loving relationship like they have done for 35 years.  They ended by saying they want marriage to be for everyone.  It was sweet - they were so normal and so sincere, and the ad quite convincing.

I told you that several of my neighbors now have Vote No political signs in their yards - no wonder my pastor never printed the Archbishop's prayer for marriage or organized a committee to promote traditional marriage.  One of my neighbors is  a locally well known actor.  He's married to a woman whose mom is an artist - they have always been very nice neighbors and friends, never failing to stop and talk, and so on.  They have a Vote No yard sign too.

Earlier today I drove by another neighbor's house - not all that far from where I live.  He had a sign in his yard too - it's the one I used for this post.  (I knew I recognized the neighborhood.)

I'm really not afraid to go to the grocery store - I was just kidding.

Disclaimer:  I'm against same sex marriage of course - but I'm fairly certain my family and neighbors could care less what I think.  I've never fit in any place, so it's cool.
 

Monday, August 20, 2012

She was one of the funniest female comedians ever...



Outrageous for her time, she was also the first female stand-up to become a celebrity in her own right.

Rest in peace.

The religious habit... it's history and why would anyone...? Never mind.



"I could never be a monk/priest - I never liked the clothes." - My paraphrase of Flannery's famous line, "She could never be a saint..."

I'm not much on habits, as most of my readers know.  I even asked my Bruderhoff friends if they really had to dress like that to belong to their community.  And when they left, I asked if they still dressed like that - and evidently the wife does.  Then there are those Amish.  When it comes to Muslim dress, I'm just as opinionated, no way do I think burkas or turbans are a nice look.  It doesn't matter though, because it is just my personal opinion - which means nothing.  I believe people can wear whatever they like, or feel obliged to wear.  I don't care so much about it any more - in heaven we will be clothed in light, and we'll look good.  Obviously some of my readers and religious people do care - a lot - about what people wear.  My one friend asked me about sexy lingerie... I know!  Or I should say - I don't even want to know.  But I digress.  Quick shoulder hunch and sheepish smile...

That said, I came across a possible defense, and or excuse, why some contemporary women religious do not wear old fashioned religious torture-habits as they once were obliged to do.  (You know of course that Pius XII asked women religious to modify their habits to be able to adjust to modern necessities, such as driving.)  But first I must tell you that when some orders were founded, the founding mothers did not necessarily adopt a habit, likewise, in orders such as St. Elizabeth Seton's Sisters of Charity, the women essentially wore the 'widow's weeds' of their day - which became their habit.  The bonnet is a dead give away that it was the fashion of the time, or at least, from that epoch's recent past.  Therefore, one may imagine how the pastel pantsuits and flowery blouses so many women religious wear today could be seen as the 'new' religious habit - with a little lapel pin of course.  

There may be precedence BTW.  There still exists the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded at Rennes, France.  If I recall correctly, they were founded during the French Revolution.  The women wore secular clothes from the beginning, for obvious reasons, and later were permitted to retain secular dress, some even living at home.  I've met some of these sisters who once operated a retreat house in St. Paul.  I mention these sisters because some people believe a silly maxim, "No habit, no vocation."   

Of course the Church desires consecrated religious wear a distinct sign of their religious consecration and commitment, as has been the norm since the earliest days of religious life in the Church.  In his exhausting extensive Post-Apostolic Exhortation, Vita consecrata - a document all candidates for religious life should read BTW - John Paul II speaks to the issue here:
… The Church must always seek to make her presence visible in everyday life, especially in contemporary culture, which is often very secularized and yet sensitive to the language of signs. In this regard the Church has a right to expect a significant contribution from consecrated persons, called as they are in every situation to bear clear witness that they belong to Christ. 
Since the habit is a sign of consecration, poverty and membership in a particular Religious family, I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place.
  • Where valid reasons of their apostolate call for it, Religious, in conformity with the norms of their Institute, may also dress in a simple and modest manner, with an appropriate symbol, in such a way that their consecration is recognizable.
  • Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and simplicity to the nature of their vocation.  - Vita consecrata

The last two bullet points provides the wiggle room, if you will.  Like all documents, elements in our great big Roman Catholic Church interpret these types of exhortations according to their particular interests and needs: 'suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place.'   With the approval of the local ordinary and legitimate superiors - they are 'good to go' - and none of us mere mortals know where they will end up either, nor are we competent to discern if they have a vocation or not.  The situation - or rather, the fluidity of interpretation of such documents, is very much in keeping with Catholic tradition.  It's not unlike the continuing ordination of ssa men as priests and bishops:  Officially, they aren't supposed to be admitted to ordination, but there are always exceptions, 'Where valid reasons of the apostolate call for it...' - and such discernment is left to the proper authorities - not to the laity or com-box inquisitors.  (I lifted that term from Mark Shea.)

So there you have it!  And you know what they say, "Judge not, and you will not be judged."  And, "Let them wear cake!"

Bonus factoid:   The 12th century the German abbess Hildegard von Bingen, advocated a style for her nuns that included extravagant and lavish white silk habits worn with golden head pieces designed to present the nun to Christ in her most beautiful form.  I know!  I think she was weird anyway. - Source

Bonus link:  This is for women's-religious-habit-lovers everywhere!  Nuns and Sisters

"Are those pussy-willows?"



Pussy Riot in the sanctuary.

Just about every religious blogger has covered the story already, so what can I say?  The women got a stiff sentence, but hey, the Russian Church pardoned them - extending its forgiveness to the women who knew not what they did.  The women were protesting Putin and did so in Christ the Savior Cathedral - an action which is sacrilegious to begin with.  The courts sentenced them to two years in a penal colony for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".   Tough sentence - but that's Russia.  Others around the world face far worse fates than that.  Although one blogger warned:
Unfortunately the prosecution has not read its history to know that such an extreme reaction to a protest only vindicates and fuels the growth of the movement and ideology, and creates a deeper controversy than what could have been prevented. - Mystagogy
Maybe. 

I found a really great quote in the com box of the same blog however - about athiests - real ones I mean:
"Atheism, true 'existential' atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God Whose ways are so inexplicable even to the most believing of men, and it has been more than once be known to end in an vision of Him Whom the real atheist truly seeks...The Antichrist is not to be found in the deniers, but in the small affirmers, whose Christ is only on the lips."

-Fr. Seraphim Rose

[Yes, Seraphim Rose was a controversial figure - I can't vouch for him.  I just think the insight expressed in his quote is quite good.]

One other thing:  It looks like it's okay to say 'pussy' now, huh?  Get over it Dotty Hinkle.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on August 19



Our Lady kept her appointment and appeared on August 13, but the children were in jail...

Witnesses at the Cova, heard the thunder, and saw the lightning at the appointed time.  They also perceived a small white cloud above the holm oak, and noticed an unusual coloration reflected upon the faces of those present, on their clothes, the surrounding foliage, and so on.  The phenomenon did not last long - yet curiously, it seemed to foreshadow aspects of the miracle of October 13, that all would witness.

I found that interesting as regards the apparitions of Medjugorje - where it is claimed Our Lady appears wherever the seers are, not necessarily where she expects them to be.  However, on the last apparition to Bernadette at the Gave, Our Lady appeared in the niche as usual, though a fence had been erected and the seer could only approach as closely as across the river.  Thus the Blessed Virgin didn't relocate to convenience the little saint. 

My Medjugorje distinction may be trashed however, considering that Our Lady did appear to the Fatima children in another location - on this date in 1917 to be exact.  She met them at an uncle's farm at Valinhos on August 19, around 4 o'clock in the afternoon...  It was in that 'unplanned' apparition Our Lady promised the miracle of October 13.  She also asked for a procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary and donations for a chapel to be built.  Our Lady promised to cure only some of the people Lucia prayed for.  This is consoling to consider, because not all prayers for healing are answered.  Our sufferings may be necessary for our salvation... they may be our cross, and therefore already a favor from God.

It was also in this apparition that Our Lady appeared sad and made this plea:
‘Pray, pray much, and make sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.’  OL Fatima, August 19, 1917, Valinhos

Refusing to wear the traditional habit...



"No habit, no vocation." -Anonymous

My sister-in-law set out to be a nurse shortly after graduation from high school.  She had to live in a dorm and follow very strict rules of conduct - the students lived like nuns in those days.  She studied with the Sisters of St. Joseph at their nursing school in Downtown St. Paul at the time.  The students - all women - wore nurses uniforms, which were in fact rather matronly.  Just like high school girls with their uniforms, the women somehow shortened the skirt length and found a way to show off their cute little shapes, if they could get away with it.  Point is, nursing schools were strict and the students lived liked postulants in a religious community to some extent.  My sister-in-law quickly became a nursing school drop out.

Like the nuns, the nurses eventually abandoned their habits/uniforms.  No more cute little uniforms and sexy nurses caps.  Just like the nuns, they modified at first.  The first thing to go was the cap - naturally, since all women got rid of hats and head coverings in those days.  Then they modified the dress, permitting ill-fitted, polyester, white pant-suit uniforms - which yellowed and greyed from frequent tumble drying and became somewhat transparent.  Shiver.  At least when they wore dresses they also wore slips... but I digress.  The horror of worn-polyester may actually be the reason why the nurses began wearing ugly, flowery-scrubs which look more like children's pajamas than anything resembling a uniform...

"We're dealing with sick people here, you understand.
 Dangerously sick people!" - Nurse Diesel


Anyway - cut to the chase - last week a commenter critical of nuns who no longer wear a veil or a habit wrote, "No religious habit, no vocation."  In other words, the habit makes the nun.  Perhaps the same  could be said of nurses, "No uniform or cap, no vocation."

No wonder health care is such a mess.




 

Mass chat: I don't listen to the radio anymore.



Don't get me wrong, the radio is not bad, I just don't listen to it - which means I never listen to the talk shows - I never have really.  I've never listened to Beck, Limbaugh, the Savages: Michael or his son Dan, or anyone else.  I used to listen to Relevant Radio several years ago - but not regularly - only when Fr. Altier was on.  (Yes, I was a follower - but from a distance, like the Bette Midler song.)  I only mention this factoid in order to explain why I don't always know what conservative bloggers are ranting about half the time.  ... And I sometimes wonder if listening to talk radio is one reason people get so fired up about stuff. 

Call me apathetic, I haven't been following the Paul Ryan stories very closely either.  He seems like a good guy though.  Then I came across this: Please pray for Paul Ryan, a devout Catholic, to have a change of heart on the federal budget.  What's going on with all of the politically correct Catholicism these days?  Paul Ryan isn't the right kind of Catholic now?  Do we put in our orders to God as how we want people to think?  Lord, make this guy do that... that guy do this? 

On my way to Mass I noted several (4 or 5) homes with 'Vote No' signs in their yard.  (Vote No to a marriage amendment so that everyone can marry any_____ he/she/they want.)  The families with the signs evidently support gay marriage rights, and being so close to church, it's obvious to whom their message is directed - passers-by.

Interestingly - or not - while reading another blog, I noticed the author and commenters seem to believe priests in the United States will soon have to go underground and the Obama Administration will turn into a dictatorship, and, and...  Really?  Is it really that bad?  Are things moving that quickly?

Ah.  When things get too crazy, I try to think of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, all locked up in their poor little monastery; they have no computer access, no radio or TV, no newspapers...  they do not even ask for donations.  They seem to get along just fine. 

"Christ walked in peace through the midst of them."

 Sorry.  That's the best I can do for this edition of Mass Chat.   

'member this?