Saturday, September 08, 2012

Prayer before writing... posting...

Christ, Blessed Silence

A man's tongue can be his downfall.  Be not a detractor; use not your tongue for calumny... - Sirach 5:15-16

O Lord, set a guard over my mouth
and upon my lips an effective seal,
that I may not fail through them,
that my tongue may not destroy me. - Sirach 22:27
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare your praise. - Ps. 50
O God keep my tongue from evil
  my lips from speaking deceit. - Ps. 33
Keep my tongue from slander,
  from evil against my brother,
let me cast no slur on my neighbor...

Rather, grant me grace
   to speak the truth from my heart. - Ps. 14 
Glory be to the Father...


President Obama designates this weekend as three days of prayer in rememberance of 9/11

Who knew?

I only found out by reading The Deacon's Bench.  Interestingly, this news seems to have been passed over by Catholics online...
( - President Obama on Friday didn’t just declare one National Day of Prayer and Remembrance in honor of 9/11 – he proclaimed three.

In a presidential proclamation from the White House, Obama called on Americans to spend Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7-9 in “prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing in of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils and other appropriate ceremonies and activities” to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. - Finish reading...

Our Lady's Birthday

You, O little Mary, Maria Bambina, are the Cause of our Joy! Your appearance in the arms of your mother announces that the Word of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, will soon appear in your arms. And you have but one desire, one joy: to give us your Son, to draw us to Him, that your joy might be ours and that our joy might be fulfilled. - Source

Sweet Child Mary, destined to be the Mother of God and our sovereign and loving Mother, by the prodigies of grace you lavish upon us, mercifully listen to my humble supplications. In the needs which press upon me from every side and especially in my present tribulation, I place all my trust in you.

O Holy Child, by the privileges granted to you alone and by the merits which you have acquired, be merciful to me this day. Show that the source of spiritual favors and the continuous benefits which you dispense are inexhaustible, because your power with the Heart of God is unlimited. Deign through the immense profusion of graces with which the Most High has enriched you from the first moment of your Immaculate Conception, grant me, O Celestial Child, my petition, and I shall eternally praise the goodness of your Heart.

Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Mediatrix of all grace!  Have mercy upon me a sinner!  Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!

"I am all thine, and all that I have is thine, O most loving Jesus,
through Mary Thy most holy and Immaculate Mother."

Friday, September 07, 2012

So priests in the United States are persecuted, you say?

State of emergency.

Not too long ago I was leaving the rectory of a friend and said, "See you later Father!" as I was walking out the door.

"Unless I'm arrested," he said smiling.

"Arrested?  For what?"  I asked, and then said, "Oh, the religious liberty thing."  I laughed.

To my knowledge, no one has been arrested and put in jail for teaching Catholic doctrine or practicing the faith - yet.  I find it hard to believe that stuff is going to happen on a large scale any time soon.  Conditions have been much worse in Europe, and I do not see priests and religious or even bishops herded into prisons and internment camps, nor is any European nation under martial law.  Yet these are the things people claim are going to happen in the United States if Obama is re-elected, or Obama-care continues, or even gay marriage is approved.  A lot of people seem to be fear mongers these days, creating what they call a 'state of emergency' which may be more accurately described as a 'state of paranoia.'

A sense of urgency might be a better term.

Certainly religious freedom is threatened.  Certainly there are isolated incidents, such as the family in Vermont I believe, who were fined for not hosting a gay wedding reception?  Or was it just that they wouldn't rent their facilities to a lesbian couple?  I can't recall the details at the moment.  (See story below*.)  Gay people are litigious, what can I say - and it's a political tactic groups use these days.  No doubt these things will increase - but we are not at the stage of the Spanish Civil War atrocities - yet.  Nor are our kids being kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam as they are in Pakistan.  Neither are our churches burned to the ground as in Nigeria.  There is real, bloody persecution elsewhere in the world - in the United States religious people are pretty much disliked, but tolerated. 

That said, even if these limitations to religious freedom take place and accelerate, and even if priests and religious and bishops and lay Catholics are rounded up and carted off to prison camps - even if that happens - and it hasn't yet - what are we to do?  How are we to act?

I'm not trying to dismiss anyones experience or perception of persecution, nor concerns about possible restrictions upon religious liberty - even the Holy Father warns of the dangers, and of course, the life of Christ and the Gospel does as well.  Yet so far, apart from how the Holy Father and the Bishops have spoken, a lot of the rhetoric I hear and read is less than edifying, and in many cases not even Christian.

Something every priest should read.

I've been rereading Fr. Walter Ciszek's account of life in Soviet prisons, He Leadeth Me.  It is a prophetic book.  If there is any better teaching or interpretation on the mystery of divine providence for our times, I don't know of it.  Any priest who fears for his freedom or his vocation ought to read and reread this book - and any Catholic concerned about living the faith in the public square that is hostile to religion, ought to read and reread it as well. 

My apologies for this long, opinionated introduction to what I intended to post, an excerpt from Ciszek's book.  It is taken from the chapter on Arrest and Imprisonment wherein Fr. Ciszek experiences rejection and contempt even amongst fellow political prisoners:
A priest to them, at best, meant a man out of step and out of place in a socialist society; at worst, he was a dupe in the employ of a Church that was itself a willing tool of capitalism.

I was stunned at the depth of feeling and prejudice against the Church that came spilling out.  The more so under the circumstances.  [...]  There was at least a minimal sense of camaraderie among the political prisoners in the cell, a certain companionship in misery.  But not for me when it became known I was a priest.  I was cursed at; I was shunned; I was looked down upon and despised.  Against the background of my Polish Catholic upbringing, where a priest was always treated as something special... this reaction to a priest on the part of my fellow prisoners made me by turns angry and bewildered.  I was at a loss to understand it and furious at the added injustice of this stupid, blind prejudice. [...] In the words of Isaiah, I felt "despised and the most abject of men".
[Christ] too sought someone to comfort him and found none.
As for the humiliation I felt because I did not get the proper respect as a priest of God, was "the servant greater than his master"?  Our Lord said to his disciples, "If they despised me, they will despise you.
In how many ways too, had i allowed this admixture of self, this luxury of feeling sorry for myself, to cloud my vision and prevent me from seeing the current situation with the eyes of God...  Under the worst imaginable circumstances, a man remains a man with free will and God stands ready to assist him with his grace.  Indeed, more than that, God expects him to act in these circumstances... For these situations too, these people and places and things, are God's will for him now.

He may not be able to change the 'system'. any more than I could change conditions in that prison, but he is not for that reason excused from acting at all.  Many men feel frustrated, or disappointed, or even defeated, when they find themselves face to face with a situation or an evil they cannot do much about. ... But God does not expect a man single-handedly to change the world or overthrow all evil or cure all ills.
What each man can change, first of all is himself.  And each will have - indeed, must have - some influence on the people God brings into his life each day.  He is expected to be a Christian, to influence them for good.  He will in some small way at least touch their lives too, and it is in that touching that God will hold him responsible for the good or ill he does.  In that simple truth lies the key to any understanding of the mystery of divine providence and ultimately of each man's salvation. " - He Leadeth Me
We haven't yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  So Christian, maybe be careful, lest we go about tearing one another to pieces. - Galatians 5:15

*Vermont inn lawsuit settled by two lesbians who were denied hospitality by inn keepers.
MONTPELIER, Vt. - Two New York women and a Vermont country inn have settled a lawsuit that accused the business of refusing to host the couple's wedding reception.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and to place $20,000 in a charitable trust.

Under the settlement, the inn also agreed it would no longer host weddings and their receptions. The innkeepers' lawyer, Jim Campbell, said they had decided previously to end that part of their business. - StarTribune

Baptizing children born out of wedlock: Just do it.

I like this story...
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has criticized Catholic pastors who refuse to baptize children born to single mothers.

The cardinal expressed his sympathy for a young woman who, after becoming pregnant, resists temptations to abortion and gives birth to the child. Then, he said, she finds herself “on a pilgrimage, going from parish to parish, trying to find someone who would baptize her child.”

The priests who reject this woman, Cardinal Bergoglio, are “hijacking” the sacrament, using rigid rules to preserve their own status, and are likely to “drive God’s people away from salvation.” He likened them to the Pharisees, and reminded them that Jesus regularly condemned the Pharisees, while spending his time with those they regarded as sinners.

“I say this with sadness, and if it sounds like a complaint or an offensive comment please forgive me,” the cardinal said. But he insisted that priests should serve the spiritual needs of the people and not “the interests of religious power.”  - CWN
Could not agree more.

BTW - my parents were not married in the Church, my dad was a non-practicing Lutheran, my mother a divorced, remarried Catholic.  Even though they never went to Church, they had me baptized, sent me to Catholic school, and was able to receive the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Confirmation.  I mention this because some priests are reluctant to baptize children unless their parents at least attend Mass.

That said, I wonder if Cardinal Bergoglio would advocate the same for children adopted by or born to gay people?  The Cardinal is definitely opposed to gay marriage and adoption:
"Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." - Source

I'm not sure how the Church handles these situations now.

 Something Argentine by Astor Piazzolla.  Enjoy.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I missed Sr. Simone

Big Sister

C'est si bon.

Last night I had to go to a neighborhood crime watch meeting.  We discussed installing bunkers for the coming civil war.  I'm taking the role of Daddy - Hyacinth's daddy from Keeping Up Appearances.  We are looking for looters who remove yard signs.  Seriously, there's been a rash of 'mobile drug dealing' in the area.  I was so tempted to ask that if we catch the drug dealers, can we keep the drugs that were confiscated, but no one gets my humor.

So anyway.  I found out I missed Sr. Simone's 'pro-life' presentation at the DNC Reality Show*.  Evidently Sr. Simone explained her pro-life views with anecdotes in support of Obamacare - yet before all of that, she told an interviewer, making abortion illegal was beyond her 'pay-grade'.  Sounds like her boss, huh?  Obama said the same thing once.  Anyway, she sums up her pro-life commitment this way:
The Affordable Care Act will cover people like Margaret. We all share responsibility to ensure that this vital health care reform law is properly implemented and that all governors expand Medicaid coverage so no more Margarets die from lack of care. This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do. - NCR

Their motherhouse is a bus.

At least she said 'pro-life' - yet oddly enough, she did not close with "God bless you!"   What was most revealing about Campbell's talk - at least for me - is how that mindset works - being pro-life and yet not knowing "if she supports laws protecting the lives of unborn children".  It's feminist screwball logic at work.  The sisters seem to me to be sisters of feminism, definitely 'seculareligious', working for a secularized catholic church.  Although they claim to be cooperators with the nations Bishops:
We agree with our bishops, and that's why we went on the road: to stand with struggling families and to lift up our Catholic sisters who serve them. - Campbell

Ladies Nite.

Last evening was "Ladies Nite" that is for sure.  Sandra Fluke made that perfectly clear.  I only know her from what Catholic blogs have said about her and so I kept thinking, "This is the woman who's a slut and seeks Government aid to buy contraceptives and have access to abortion if need be."  That's pretty much what the blogs have said, so I was completely unable to warm up to her - although all the women in the audience loved her.  (Oh! Oh!  I'm not saying Fluke is a slut - I'm just repeating what I noticed other people wrote - which ruminated with me while I watched her speak.  Although I'm told women with slut buttons are indeed at the convention, so I'm thinking it's not a shameful term any longer.  What?)
“In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party,” she claimed. “It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms..."  Scare tactics from Ms. Fluke
Holding women hostage.

Last night the show was determined to convince women that their rights will be taken away if they do not vote for Obama, and abortion is their right - or at least above anyone's pay-grade or ability to do anything about.  Which begs the question:  "In that case, are women really free?  Where is the choice?"  You either agree to abortion rights or you get thrown under the bus.

Bill Clinton loves women...

I enjoy him.  He enjoys himself - and that is always fun to watch him do.  One must always do copious fact-checking on everything he says however.  The Dems reality show format is getting to be a bit surreal now.

Best comment ever - in response to Elizabeth Warren's assertion:
"Jobs grow from the bottom up."
- Never had a poor person give me a job. - Adrienne.

 *FYI:  I'm watching the convention as someone might watch a so-called reality tv show - and commenting accordingly.  It's a great study - very Orwellian.

Rock Stars.  15 Minutes of fame almost up.

Charity never fails...

I read somewhere that St. Maria Goretti was more concerned that her attacker would commit mortal sin than she was for her life.  As she lay dying in the hospital, the young Saint forgave her attacker.

The proof of her forgiveness manifested itself in a dream experienced by the would be rapist while in prison.  In the dream, Allessandro was visited by the Saint, extending her forgiveness to him in the form of a lily. 

Fifty years later, her murderer joined Maria's mother to be present at the canonization of her daughter in 1950.

It seems to me that the victim can indeed forgive the perpetrator.  The miracle of Allesandro's conversion suggests to me that without that kind of charity, one is not yet completely healed.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Michelle at the DNC

Excerpts from Mrs. Obama's speech.*

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could've attended college without financial aid.

And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.

We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren't political – they're personal.

Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it...

And he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of do not slam it shut behind you...

I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters...if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise...if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you're willing to work for it...

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.** - Transcript of Michelle Obama's speech at DNC

*Made me think of the Ashford and Simpson song.
**She said "God" twice!
Party people this is what you want...

FACT CHECK!  I was right in choosing the songs I did.  First Lady's False Fairy Tale of Struggle.

Why the Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage Will Obstruct Religious Freedom...

Ever wonder how and why so-called same-sex marriage will effect religious freedom?  Washington Bishops answer that question for you. 

“If the state successfully disconnects marriage from the potential inherent to sexual union between a man and woman, the civil meaning of marriage will be lost, and the institution that results will be a genderless contract without reference to children,” the bishops said. “The foundational nature of marriage for the good and the strength of human society will be harmed beyond repair. Faithful, monogamous marriages between one man and one woman will cease to be the legally-established social standard for uniting children with their parents, even though social science has established that children do best when raised in homes with married mothers and fathers.”

The bishops added:
In addition, the legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience. Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.

No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination. Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore the danger. Those who uphold families based on the permanent, faithful relationship between a married man and woman as the best environment for raising children already have been accused of hate speech, and the right of religious institutions to freely practice their faith has been abridged. - Source

Works for me.  Tell your friends and neighbors when they challenge you.

This is good: Fr. James Martin: In Merton's Footsteps

H/T to Deacon Kandra.  I'm encountering some of the best Catholic posts online at the Deacon's Bench BTW.   The Deacon doesn't permit comments, so I post my responses here.

Soft despotism: Obama's flacid State.

Political science...
Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people. - wiki

I know!  Although I've never studied Alexis de Tocqueville so what would I know?  Nevertheless, I wanted to know what soft despotism meant and pursued a definition online, since someone said it pretty much describes the state of our country at present.  I think it does too... but I'm not sure because about six years ago I fell and hit my head shortly after undergoing surgery, and you know what head injuries can do... poor Fr. Benedict.  But I digress.
In Democracy in America, Tocqueville suggested that democracy was capable of breeding its own form of despotism, albeit one without the edges of Jacobin or Bonapartist dictatorship with which Europeans were all too familiar. The book spoke of “an immense protective power” which took all responsibility for everyone's happiness-just so long as this power remained “sole agent and judge of it.” This power, Tocqueville wrote, would “resemble parental authority” but would try to keep people “in perpetual childhood” by relieving people “from all the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living.”

Such circumstances might arise, Tocqueville noted, if democracy's progress was accompanied by demands for a leveling of social conditions. The danger was that an obsession with equality was very compatible with increasingly centralized state-power. Leveling social conditions, Tocqueville observed, usually involved using the state to subvert those intermediate associations that reflected social differences, but also limited government-power.

Tocqueville's vision of “soft-despotism” is thus one of arrangements that mutually corrupt citizens and the democratic state. Citizens vote for those politicians who promise to use the state to give them whatever they want. The political-class delivers, so long as citizens do whatever it says is necessary to provide for everyone's desires. The “softness” of this despotism consists of people's voluntary surrender of their liberty and their tendency to look habitually to the state for their needs.- Dr. Samuel Gregg of The Acton Institute
Then this short excerpt by Alexis de Tocqueville:
I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.
Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions: they want to be led, and they wish to remain free. As they cannot destroy either the one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite: they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large who hold the end of his chain.
By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again. - de Tocqueville, Volume II, Book 4, Chapter 6 of Democracy in America

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness, and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much." - Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

DNC in Charlotte.

She looked good.

Just a couple of thoughts...

I didn't realize the DEMs were so in-your-face pro-abortion.  I know they are pro-choice - I thought that's how they are supposed to say it - but that woman from NARAL really pushed abortion.  No more pretending.  (I haven't been keeping up with the pro-aborts propaganda I guess.) 

I actually thought last night's deal was pretty exciting - I watched it from start to when the power went out at my house.  No, I did not watch the Republican Convention until Romney's speech.  The power  came back on just when Mrs. Obama was wrapping up.  She did good.  What?  She did.  In fact I thought Kathleen Sibelius actually presented well too.  Don't worry - I see how it all works now...

So here's the deal.  Like it or not - last night's coverage showcased the United States we live in.  The celebrities were in the audience, the hot button issues were being approved, change was acclaimed, 'if you work for it' that is.  As for the change, the advances, you have to wonder, how are you ever going to take back from women what they claim as their right?  The people who are up there on the platform are the ones calling the shots.  If they win - their platform is the future - and it seems to me it is what the rest of the world wants from us as well.  They kept saying 'this is change'

It sure is.

I blame it on the Novus Ordo.

BTW - I heard people mention God - even Rahm Emanuel said God bless America.  I mention it because some people were saying God was banned from the Convention.

Disclaimer:  Nope - I do not support the Obama people at all - but they were so convincing - I see why popular culture follows along and believes in the hope and change proposition.  The Dems have always had star power and trend on their side.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR told me once after he heard about                          something I was reminded of after reading Mark                       Shea          meant  

When Fr. Zuhlsdorf left the St. Paul                But Fr. Paul Marx OSB was never asked    and then he died        however, Sr. Mary Martha reported

 that John Paul Erickson fired them for no        

When asked about the apparitions Pius               

Elizabeth Scali  on the other hand           told Katrina to shape

She said she'd rather eat paint off     when

Archbishop Dolan   and the drink was knocked       out of purportion

I was not drunk    touched me!   what
you filthy cow                                              not a pig 

what's a c                     Fr. Corapi never                     when Euteneuer told the de                       she stuck to the ceiling and firemen had to be called. 

Patrick Madrid    asked

Larry D      to        stop                       'I feel like I'm being stalked you f     freak!"

I'm scared to leave the house      with all the    

yard signs                        

ig                                norant                      sl                         ut                          pull my finger

Miss Brooks                                     molested

Walter Denton.

No I can't do that Adrienne said to Hilliard                              He's German I think

part Indian is what Cath                        Jeff I think, don't know his last name  Canon Peters

depilatory                                                    supository                    stay out of it
Kant?  Kan't?  
makes no sense                                    what is a                   Obama         ers ate the  Bachmann                        

No, I think    Belinda                       called the police

wet herself                            on the walk of fame

got her pregna                     popped        bber                         

Monsignor Ganswein

goose-wine   haha                             drunk again                      Mercury

Badger            not nuts, but maybe on                                                         the monastery    cracked under                         it happened in the cabin

Condoms and                                          closed now - dispersed

v                           dialogues                             oh mono                                                 kissed my                                      


Editors Note:   Seriously folks - this is pretty close to how it is for me to post on the new Blogger!   Although I kinda manipulated the end result. 

What will those who condemned Medjugoje say...

If the Vatican Commission on Medjugorje investigating the phenomena decide there is nothing contrary to the faith occurring there and that pilgrims are free to make pilgrimages and - you know - even going beyond what Cardinal Schönborn* says and does?
Any negative report from the Vatican Commission on Medjugorje is absolutely out of the question, a well-informed source tells Medjugorje Today. The report that is now being finished will reflect that the experts have been working their way through an entirely positive material.
Medjugorje will get a thumbs up from the Vatican Commission of experts who have investigated the events in the Bosnian village since March 2010, a source close to the investigation tells Medjugorje Today. - MT
But... but... but........

I know!

*Thay... what does the Schönborn really say about Medj?
Cardinal Schönborn: I think that the Church’s teaching on Medjugorje is very clear. The bishops of the countries of the former Yugoslavia took a clear position in 1991. This is still valid and has been confirmed by the Vatican twice. There are three important points in this statement. First, that it is not confirmed that the events are of supernatural origin. That means it is neither confirmed nor denied. The Church left it open. The second point is that as the so-called apparition question and message question has not been decided it is not permissible to make official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. So, for example, I cannot organize a formal diocesan pilgrimage to Medjugorje as we can to Rome or Fatima or Lourdes. The third point, however, is that the people who choose to go to Medjugorje on their own are entitled to spiritual care. So, we priests or bishops are invited to provide spiritual company to pilgrims. That’s what my predecessors in Vienna did from the very beginning regarding Medjugorje, and that’s what I continue to do. I think these three points are sufficient for a good understanding of how to approach Medjugorje. The most important for me are the overwhelming good spiritual fruits of Medjugorje. - Source

As for me and my household, I will await what the Church decides.  I can't go any place anyway.

This is good...

"The unity for which Christ lived and died is not an abstract ideal.  It is the result of hard work: suspending judgment, choosing others before self, forgiving, seeking reconciliation rather than nursing hurt pride.  In other words, it requires that we die to self.  The fruit?  The blessing of God's peace!" - Magnificat, Morning Prayer, Tuesday, September 4

I see this as a contemporary interpretation of the doctrine of St. John of the Cross.

There is so much online, so much written, so much discussed, that authentic spirit can be dissipated if not lost.  I think it is important to allow ourselves to lose, to fail, to experience our impotence and powerlessness.  To allow ourselves to be taught, even corrected and rebuked, without defending ourselves, or worse, attacking one another.

"He walked in peace through the midst of them." - Luke 4:30

Art: Holy card by Ade Bethune.  I have one like it I purchased at her place many years ago, I wrote at the verse from Luke 4:30 at the base of the image.  It is in one of my books someplace.  The image used here taken from this site.

The New Martyrs of Egypt

In recent months Copts have also asserted their ancient Egyptian heritage in public protests.
Marchers commemorating Copts killed in clashes since the
 revolution’s onset staged a demonstration near the 
Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbasiya neighborhood. - Source

Egyptian Copts ready for martyrdom...

Could I say the same?

I was impressed with something one man told David Pinault while he was in Cairo:
My sharpest memory from Cairo is what my driver said: al-Masih biygarribna, “Christ is testing us.” I’d hired Sami to drive me around the city. As soon as I saw on his wrist the washma, a faded tattoo in the shape of a cross, I knew he was a Copt, a member of Egypt’s Christian minority, a community that predates the Muslim presence by centuries.
As we drove, Sami told me about the persecution Copts endure at the hands of Egyptian Salafists. Salafists are Muslims who want an Islamist government in which the harshest interpretations of Islamic law (shariah) are privileged at the expense of both non-Muslims and progressive-minded Muslims.

As we drove, Sami told me about the persecution Copts endure at the hands of Egyptian Salafists. Salafists are Muslims who want an Islamist government in which the harshest interpretations of Islamic law (shariah) are privileged at the expense of both non-Muslims and progressive-minded Muslims.

“Things had been less worse for us under Mubarak,” Sami said. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s authoritarian ruler until his ouster in the revolution, had suppressed Islamist radicals. But now, said Sami, the Salafists feel bold enough to burn churches, incite anti-Coptic riots and call openly for the expulsion of Christians.

I told him the statistics: in 2011 and 2012, since the revolution’s onset, over 100,000 Copts have fled Egypt. “Well, I’m not going to leave,” Sami insisted. “Christ is testing us. I tell my friends to stay. Christ could end this suffering, this trial, at any time. How will you feel, I tell my friends, if you’re in Canada instead of Egypt when Christ returns?” - Source

“Christ is testing us. I tell my friends to stay. Christ could end this suffering, this trial, at any time. How will you feel, I tell my friends, if you’re in Canada instead of Egypt when Christ returns?”

"... our rituals and our cassocks are pompous." - Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

What?  I didn't say it.

Fighting in the blogosphere.

I just read several blog posts by different authors attacking this Catholic author, that Catholic priest, the other Catholic priest - severe condemnations of one another and declarations of knowing one and the others guilt and, and, and ... I think some of them believe they can read hearts and can tell you not only who is going to hell, but who is there already! 

I don't feel so bad now.


Monday, September 03, 2012

Nienstedt puts pressure on the "Lavender Palace"?

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, MN

Really?  Is that what the Archbishop really said or did?

I sincerely doubt any spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis would ever refer to the Co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese as the 'lavendar palace'.  The Basilica of St. Mary is a Roman Catholic 'temple' of pontifical privilege, consecrated to the Mother of God - it is sacred ground.  Along with the Catholic tabloid site Pewsitters,  Michael Brown of Spirit Daily irreverently and inaccurately headlines a story which purports to speak for the Archdiocese of MPLS/STP denigrating one of the Archbishop's churches - his Co-Cathedral no less - and interpreting the Archbishop's words of pastoral guidance as if they were canonical disciplinary actions against one of the area parishes.  That is not what the Archbishop said or did.

A week ago, Archbishop Nienstedt requested priests and deacons that his homily be read at all the Masses - there was no mandate or obligation - it was optional.  Evidently 15 to 17 parishes declined the invitation or ignored the request.  The homily was read at my parish and afterwards, I requested a copy from our chancery.  The Archbishop's assistant emailed the document promptly.  I thought what the Archbishop had to say was very good, very clear and instructive, if not persuasive.  An excerpt of the homily here:
In the letter, Nienstedt asserts that the purpose of the ballot initiative has been misconstrued. “Our effort to support God’s unchanging plan for marriage is not a campaign against anyone, but rather a positive effort to promote the truth about marriage as a union between one man and one woman,” he writes.

“But the reality is that marriage is not ours to redefine, just as another human life is not ours to take,” the archbishop continues. “God is both the author of life and the author of marriage. It is this most fundamental understanding of the natural order that animates who we are as Catholics. ... It is also why we fight to defend God’s plan for marriage, because his providence is as clear for what marriage is as it is for the dignity of each human life. ...

“Now, Minnesota for Marriage needs your help to get the message out. We must ensure that Minnesotans know what is at stake and have the correct information about why they should vote ‘Yes’ for the marriage amendment. (Remember that if you leave the ballot box blank, the government votes ‘No’ for you!).”
The way we know the Archbishop speaks with love, with charity, is by what he says next:
“We know that some who are seeking to redefine marriage experience same-sex attractions,” the letter reads. “Our brothers and sisters living with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God who must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
“Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard must be avoided. (CCC) People with same-sex attractions, like others in society, are productive citizens, community servants, good friends and our beloved family members.

“At the same time, however, it is important to know that the effort to ensure that the definition of marriage remains as between one man and one woman does not take away anyone’s existing rights or legal protections. As Catholics, we believe that all people should be able to visit loved ones in the hospital, pass on their property to whomever they choose and have access to employment, housing and the basic necessities of life. Saying ‘yes’ to God’s plan for marriage will not change any of this.”

Archbishop Nienstedt
THE moral authority

Moreover, although not included in the MinnPost article, the Archbishop made the statement that, "Just as some misread the intention of upholding traditional marriage, so some hear these words (Archbishop's emphasis) about compassion and respect for persons with same sex attraction also as a thinly veiled code suggesting compromised teaching and a weak position.  But both are  the teaching of Christ, who indeed calls us to love one another as he loves us..." Homily for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2012  (My copy arrived as a pdf* and so I cannot copy and paste the contents.)

However, "whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver."

Evidently other parishioners did not agree, and one local news site told of people walking out when the homily was read - at my parish, no less.  No one walked out of the Mass I attended.  No one held back at the end of Mass to protest to the pastor - that I am aware of.  Therefore I consider the walk-out stories to be hearsay - picked up from Facebook and taken at face value by a former parishioner of a formerly liberal parish in Downtown Minneapolis, some readers will know him as Michael Bayly, a gay-activist Catholic who seems to be part of an alternative CINO-parish to the now stable parish he once attended.
On Sunday, priests in a number of Twin Cities Roman Catholic parishes read a letter from Archbishop John Nienstedt re-stating the church’s support for the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

On Monday, Michael Bayly, the director of Catholics for Marriage Equality, noticed a spike in requests for the group’s lawn signs, which read, “Another Catholic Voting No.”
Some of the people who stopped by his south Minneapolis office to pick them up told him people had walked out of their churches during the reading. A parishioner at the nearby Church of the Annunciation said half a dozen left her service. - MinnPost

Half a dozen - six people.  If it happened at all, no wonder I didn't notice - it's a big church.

Dissent and dissenters... discrediting the Archbishop.

The brouhaha has been exacerbated by those folks who only heard of the homily as a result of what has been communicated through the online grapevine, or finding the text inserted in the most recent bulletin from their churches - as was the case with those few from the Basilica who made their objections known.  These folks already know the position of the Church as taught by the Archbishop, yet they've taken his words out of context and appropriated negative meanings to what he said.  Furthermore, vigilante defenders of the faith take it upon themselves to embroil the conflict with their own volatile rhetoric, which does nothing to help an already sensitive situation.

I do not ever propose to speak for the Archbishop or interpret his actions according to my own opinion, but I am saddened that political zealots in the archdiocese manage to do so and get Catholic and non-Catholic news sites to publish their rhetoric and fuel the fire of vindictiveness and divisiveness.  One should always look to the official publications of the Archdiocese issued by the local ordinary for exactly what is being said and what it means.  The Pope and Bishops in communion with him do not speak in riddles that we have to interpret or to speculate as to what is being written between the lines.  The sections of the secular article linked to in this post are biased interpretations of what the Archbishop has been doing and teaching.  Archbishop Nienstedt is in fact offering pastoral guidance for his flock which is being harassed and confused, if not dispersed on account of lay people purporting to speak in the name of the Catholic Church - or worse - translating what the Archbishop is really saying and doing.

In the past, in this Archdiocese some self-styled Catholic defenders have gone so far as to attempt to exorcise and re-consecrate Church property they considered defiled by "sodomite clergy" and "Gomorrah-ist" infiltrators.  (Their words.)  They do not represent the Church any more than I do.  The appropriate, and above all, competent authority is always the Archbishop and those priests and deacons in communion with him - those authorized to speak in his name.  Not me or any other blogger or any so-called Catholic news portals devoted to sensationalizing Catholic news stories for profit and gain.

Always - if you have questions regarding Church teaching seek answers from the appropriate authorities in direct contact with the Archbishop.  Call your chancery.

*Scanned copy of Archbishop's Homily quoted in post.

Comment Note:  If you wish to have your comments posted on this post, you must use your real name, not a moniker.  Unless I know you, the comments will not be posted - although they are filed.

A Famous New York Retreat House yields its secrets...

Inisfada - St. Ignatius

Inisfada... Gaelic for Long Island.

Inisfada is now a retreat house.  The incredible mansion was donated to the Jesuits in 1934 by Genevieve Garvan Brady, widow of the business mogul Nicholas F. Brady, who died in 1930.  Both devout Catholics, they built their home on what came to be known as the Irish Channel on Long Island. 
While not exactly an insult, the "Irish Channel" wasn't precisely a compliment either. During the politically incorrect 1920s, it was a smug WASP joke referring to an imprecisely bounded section of Long Island's North Shore favored by rich Irishmen.

The Irish business barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries tended to fall into three groups vis a vis Catholicism and American "society." According to the old saw, heaven was a palace with many doors, but a gentleman used the one marked "Episcopalian." Ergo, the first group either abandoned Catholicism altogether and/or raised their children in whatever fashionable Protestant church was handiest. The second group may or may not have been good Catholics, but didn't care about society so it didn't matter what they did. The third group embraced Catholicism with a special intensity, sometimes showering Catholic charities with sufficient millions to attract the attention of the pope himself. Utilities and tobacco mogul Nicholas F. Brady (1878-1930), builder of the Tudor Revival palace in the vintage aerial below, falls into category three. He called his Manhasset estate Inisfada (pronounced in-ish-FAH-dah), which means Long Island in Gaelic. - NYSD
Cardinal Pacelli was once a guest ...
The heart of Inisfada is the great hall, seen below in its salad days. The widow Brady's grandest hour arguably came in the fall of 1936 when Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, visited the United States and stayed at Inisfada ... for a month. According to the Times, the visiting cardinal "appeared greatly impressed by the magnitude of the structure." Mrs. Brady, who had been received by the pope in 1935, was by this time considered the preeminent Catholic woman in America. Before the cardinal left, she gave a dinner in his honor for 700 guests. It was Inisfada's last great party. - NYSD

Here are Mrs. Brady and the cardinal in the great hall at Inisfada during his 1936 visit. Today the hall is a chapel, intact architecturally but looking quite different with pews.
One of the chapels.

St. Ignatius Retreat House - but not for long.
After 75 years, first as a Jesuit school, then a seminary and more recently a retreat house, St. Ignatius is closing Inisfada next year. This was an economic decision that has saddened everybody. The church's long stewardship of this invaluable cultural artifact comes, however, with a responsibility to the greater community. Disaster threatens Inisfada, as much from vandals who would destroy it if improperly secured, to developers who would demolish it to build another condominium community. Not yet officially on the market, interested parties are circling the property already. We can only hope that everyone involved does the right thing. As of this writing the retreat house is still functioning; the link is - NYSD
Fairy tale ornament from the childless Mrs. Brady.

The same year that Mrs. Brady donated Inisfada to the church, she married William J. Babbington Macauley, the Irish Free State's Minister to the Holy See. One year later, in 1938, at the age of 53, she died in Rome as suddenly and unexpectedly as her first husband. A thousand people attended her memorial at St. Ignatius Loyola on Park and 84th. She was buried, alongside her first husband at a Pennsylvania novitiate he had endowed before his death. - New York Social Diary
The estate is much too expensive to maintain, which strikes me as very sad - if the donors had only known.  It reminds of how many churches and monasteries, once built, bequeathed, endowed, both by wealthy and poor Catholic faithful alike, which have now been sold, torn down - or simply sacked as a result of the upheaval generated after Vatican II.  Equally as sad is the knowledge some of these properties have had to be sold to provide funds for lawsuits against the Church.  The Protestant reformers would have been delighted if they had foreseen what has happened. 

For many more photos, go to: New York Social Diary: Big Old Houses

Here's a cool Labor Day film...

Most readers are probably too young to remember this.

Have a nice Labor Day.

A Canonical rebuke.

Go and sin no more.

Kind of like the Scarlet Letter?

The priest who participated in a gay wedding has been canonically rebuked by his Archbishop - and the rebuke remains part of his permanent record.
Statement from the Archdiocese of Hartford regarding Fr. Michael DeVito

August 24, 2012:
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has met with Father Michael DeVito regarding the priest’s participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony involving a cousin in New York City on August 19th.
According to Father DeVito, his participation in the ceremony was limited to doing a reading. He wore no vestments, but had worn his Roman collar.
Archbishop Mansell informed Father DeVito that his participation in this ceremony was understandably perceived by many Catholics as an implicit endorsement of same-sex marriage, which is contrary to Church teaching. As a consequence, and in accordance with canon law, the Archbishop formally rebuked Father DeVito and informed him that the rebuke would be a permanent part of his record.
Fr. DeVito said that he would not participate in any way in same-sex marriages in the future. - Lifted from the Deacon's Bench
I wonder how that works?  They used to tell us stuff like that in school when we did something wrong, or employees were threatened by warning that a reprimand would be part of their permanent record.  What difference does it make?  Student and employee files are always confidential.  After graduation or you leave the company, information like that couldn't be passed on to future employers or say,  judges in the Miss America pageant anyway. 

So how does a rebuke recorded in his permanent record affect a priest?  The priest promised not to do it again.  It's not like he's going to lose anything by having the rebuke inserted into his permanent record.  He's still a priest, he still has faculties and an assignment-job.  So who has any right to access his records except his bishop?  Still, it must mean something to have a blemish on a priest's record - permanently.  Although I suppose that is the penalty.  Even though it's kind of like branding him with a scarlet letter on his forehead and then placing him in a sort of stockade - permanently.  Perhaps it means he is not a priest in good standing?  He's damaged?  Don't get me wrong - it is 'right and just' that the Archbishop disciplined and corrected the priest - I just don't see how the permanent record deal is necessary for the world to know about. 

That said - it's now public knowledge anyway, since the story is in the press and online - which means it's pretty much ingrained in history with or without the guy's personnel file.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Catholic geeks...

Niches in hell... shrines of self-opinion and pride for the arrogant.
virtual insanity.

I forgot what I was looking for but I came across a 'Catholic' forum conversation - pronouncing the 'doctrine' Catholic women should not go to university or waste their money on higher education if they are going to be married.  (Now I know where one of my friends gets his ideas!  Ha ha!)  The thread continued onto issues of modesty: should you be modest in the privacy of your home?  In bed?  The participants appeared to involve single men and women and the discussion had me wondering how mature or stable they might be.  It was a world - or chat room - I never want to get involved in.  Not that it makes any difference, the site was a 'sede' site - sedevacantist - although I'm told such discussions take place on other traditional Catholic sites as well.  On the site I was reading, one fellow actually recommended his readers read Mel Gibson's dad's book on Catholicism.  I know!

So anyway.  The experience helped me see how there are little niches in cyberspace - little clubs or cliques, where the discussions which take place are peculiar to their special interests.  Just like here at Abbey Roads. 

To repeat what I said in an earlier post, 'don't go to strangers'... and I might add, don't get too weird - lay off the forums and Facebook and Twitter and blogs - it's an awful lot of biased chatter.  Read the Catechism and Scripture instead - and try praying more.  The rosary is good - 20 decades now.  That should keep our meddlesome minds busy and grace-filled!  Isn't that right Ros?

At the end of the stony road of 2 km, which heads to the west at the 5th km of the asphalt road heading from Kızkalesi to Hüseyinler Village of Silifke, you reach the Devil's River. At the steep slope of this valley, in 9 niches on the surface of rocks, there are 11 men, 4 women, two children and one mountain goat embossment, coming from the 2nd century AD. - Source

Holiness for ordinary Catholics

The 'greatness of ordinary life'.

When St. Josemaría was asked what Opus Dei could be compared to, he pointed to the first Christians as the role models. For the first 200 years or so, all spirituality — whether of bishops, priests, deacons or laity — could be simply summarized as Christ and his Spirit, as handed down through the Scriptures and the authority of the Chair of Peter and the bishops in communion with him. During this time the Church grew and flourished throughout the known civilized world and beyond without the need of external structures. From Nero to Constantine, Christians were illegal at worst and second-class citizens at best. - FATHER C. JOHN McCLOSKEY  Review of Eric Sammons, Holiness for Everyone: the Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá

Mass Chat: *Nun's habits - a footnote...

Throw a black veil on these two (or not), and you've got nuns.

*Some nun's habits originated from the fashion of the day and locale of the foundress.

Perfectae Caritatis never said “abandon the habit” but it left it to each community to interpret their mission and determine their dress-needs accordingly.  For some that meant shedding the habit, which had become an anachronistic reflection of what had been the “ordinary” wardrobe of a foundress. As a Cenacle Sister once explained to me, the pleated headpiece and bonnet they wore until the mid-1960′s had nothing to do with “custody of the eyes” as some might imagine, but was simply a traditional reflection of what Couderc and her secular contemporaries wore. Their purple capes were designed not with a mind to penance, but because the abundant local flora of Lalouvesc allowed for the plentiful weaving of purple cloth. For these sisters, whose charism is all about retreat-giving, hospitality and spiritual direction, it made a great deal of sense for them to abandon such outmoded garb, which would almost seem pretentious, given their work. With few exceptions, most of these sisters are identified by the broad gold cross they wear as a pin or necklace. - The Anchoress

I knew that.

If Democrats are so concerned about minorities...

Why don't they take better care of the 1% then?  Help them out with tax breaks and stuff.  No wonder the Dems are losing.