Saturday, September 22, 2012

This is ... good...

At first I thought it was kind of schmaltzy - the music over the top - the rhyming/rap kind of like Longskirts.  Then I watched it again, and one more time.  It is really very good.  (Fr.'s middle name is Dusty.)

h/t to Joe and Diane

"Whose side are you on?"

Entrusting your kids to men like Fr. Wehmeyer.

A commenter asked "Whose side are you on?" after I had posted about another priest who molested a boy he invited for a sleep over at the rectory.  I warned parents not to trust their kid alone with a priest, teacher, coach - anyone - not for sleepovers, not for camping trips, not for anything - unless there are trusted adults along who isn't buddies with the other guy - and even then I'd be wary.  I told parents not to give their kids away.

Then some one left a comment asking whose side am I on?  Really?  You had to ask?

Fr. Wehmeyer, a local priest arrested and charged with sexual abuse invited kids into his camper/trailer - parked in the Church parking lot.  He also took them camping. 

Parents - wake up.  I do not know the familial status of the two boys this guy corrupted, but there had to be some sort of vulnerability there.  I have to wonder, was the mother a single mother?  If there is a dad in the picture, was he off to war or something?  What was the entry point for this priest?  Or was it just because he is a priest that he was trusted so?  Bear with me - I'm only trying to figure it out.

As for whose side am I on?  The victim's side, of course.  That said - there are no 'sides' as far as being a Catholic or not.  I should ask the questioner the same question.  Does he or she think that a priest is above the law? 

When I was molested the first time, it happened in the man's garage.  Another man enticed me into his artist's studio-shed.  Molesters often have hideaways.  Fr. WeHmeyer had his camper.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
During the summer of 2010, the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer would bring two young brothers to his camper trailer, parked in the lot of the St. Paul church where he presided.

Inside, he showed the boys, then 12 and 14, pornographic movies and provided alcohol and marijuana as he allegedly molested one and exposed himself to the other, authorities said this week. After he was arrested in June in the rectory at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Wehmeyer saw the boys' mother and said, "[your son] doesn't lie. I intend to plead guilty and spare your family the embarrassment," according to charges filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

Wehmeyer, 47, who was removed as the Roman Catholic church's pastor in June, faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct.

On Friday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi was asked whether his office was reviewing other possible cases involving Wehmeyer. Choi replied, "Stay tuned." Also Friday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement saying it "deeply regrets the pain caused by clergy misconduct or by others within the Church, and is offering its support and assistance to all concerned." - Finish reading here.

Art: Geoff Grabelsky Big Bad Wolf

Yeah, so Anonymous commenter, whose side do you think I'm on?  And whose side are you on?

Parents - protect your kids.  Be parents to them.  Teach them, guide them protect and nurture them.  Kids need a mom and a dad.  Yet single mothers, you especially must watch out for the men in your kid's lives, from boyfriends to priests to coaches to teachers, and on and on.

Vocation directors, seminary rectors and bishops - maybe follow the rules as far as admitting homosexuals to ordination. 

That's all.

Catherine Passananti, the mystic of Boston's North End

Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

When I lived in Boston, there was a pious woman from the North End who had a following of devout women, who accompanied her everywhere - Catherine Passananti, Mama Catherine.  She went to St. Anthony's Shrine for Mass and adoration on Saturdays, making a dramatic entrance with her attendants.  She also went to St. Leonard's in the North End, as well Sacred Heart Catholic Church staffed by the Scalabrini Fathers, not far from there, and that is where Mama Catherine received her followers.  A friend insisted I go to one of her Friday evenings where she would speak about her revelations.  (Nora Turchi, where are you?)  The way everyone conducted themselves, with such reverence and devotion towards the mystic, I was reminded of the followers of St. Catherine of Siena.  I wasn't impressed with the generic messages, or Mama Catherine - although she seemed very devout, and no doubt she was. 

Anyway.  I forgot all about her until I came across a Spirit Daily connection.  I know!  So here's the mention of Mama Catherine in a story about the alleged apparitions of the BVM in 1954 in NYC:
XVI. A MYSTERIOUS WOMAN. Now jump a few years ahead to 1961. Back in Boston, Grace came to know, at St. Leonard's Church, Carmella Indrisiano. It was through Mrs. Indrisiano that Grace came to know a certain Catherine Passananti (18941978). McGreevy [31, p. 429] further discusses: "She suffered through an unfortunate marriage and abandonment by her husband. Her religious life took on an added intensity... Catherine began having visions of Jesus while praying before the Blessed Sacrament and soon developed a life wholly centered on prayer, the keeping of a spiritual diary, and various errands requested by Our Lord." Monsignor Donato Conte has written about Passananti, who is associated with the Secular Institute of the Seven Daughters of the Church [45]. McGreevy continues [31, p. 429430]: "Catherine and a friend traveled to the Bronx in 1945 to see Mary after reading about the apparitions in the newspaper. Catherine did not speak of her visit for many years, but in 1961 she surprised her friends... by saying that she must visit 'the boy' in the Bronx. When Catherine and two companions arrived at the shrine in the Bronx, they discovered that Joseph no longer lived at the family home and that he had abandoned the daily saying of the rosary at the shrine. Joseph says that that at precisely that point he felt a curious pull, 'like a magnet', to take the subway from Manhattan to visit his home. The second time he visited he saw an old woman dressed in black outside the front door. It was Catherine; she told Joseph that 'Our Lady wants you to return to the shrine' ". Mr. Vitolo relates this episode in the video interview (Video 2, 14:40+). It was at the Shrine, in 1961, that Joseph Vitolo met his soon to be wife, Grace, and to this day he has resided at 3194 Villa Avenue, The Bronx, New York. - Source

Oh my people!  (That is so very charismatic renewal, isn't it?)  Seriously - just pray the rosary every day, go to Mass and confession, and visit the Blessed Sacrament often, practice works of charity and fulfill the duties of your state in life.    Jesus Christ is really, truly, present - body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.  Don't go chasing apparitions and mystics when Christ dwells amongst us. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fr. Wehymeyer. Yes. Yes. We knew.

We knew - not so much about the incident...

Just about the SSA...  And now he is formally charged:
A St. Paul priest was charged this week with sexually abusing two boys in his camper trailer on the church's parking lot in 2010.

Curtis Wehmeyer, 47, was arrested in June after one of the boys told his mother. The boys were 12 and 14 at the time of the alleged abuse, according to the criminal complaint filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

Wehmeyer, of Oakdale, was relieved of his duties as pastor at Church of the Blessed Sacrament when he was arrested. The church declined to comment Friday and referred media calls to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Calls there weren't immediately returned.

According to the complaint: Wehmeyer brought the boys to his trailer, showed them pornography and gave them alcohol and marijuana. He then allegedly would touch their genitals. One of the boys was molested during a camping trip in Aitkin County, the complaint said.

Wehmeyer was charged with one count of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of gross misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct. He could not be reached for comment. His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 10. - Strib

And yet the Holy See permits the ordination of SSA men?  Really?  REALLY?

H/T Ray 

Joe Biden always makes me laugh!

The George Carlin of politics with biker chick.

“Guess what, the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college,” Biden said. “You think, I’m joking, they’re almost all gymnasts, the stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.” - Source

I love that guy!

I should have sent him my shrinkage post.

Healing and wellness...

"My grace is enough for you: for power is perfected in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Not everyone is healed - at least not right away - some are left with their disabilities, some for all of their life. Catholicism doesn't preach a prosperity gospel

At Fatima, Lucia asked Our Lady to cure some people who were ill, Our Lady told her some would be healed, others not - explaining that Our Lord did not trust them.  I understood that to mean they would not be faithful if they were all patched up and made 'normal' again.  Nevertheless, she told Lucia that they should pray the Rosary every day.

Of course, in other cases, Our Lord may simply want us to share in his sufferings and witness to the Gospel:

"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do." - Matthew 9: 9-13

In order to learn the meaning of the words:  It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Works for me. 


"He has scattered the proud in their conceit."

I left a comment yesterday on another blog and it was misunderstood.

I blame myself.

I'm misunderstanding a lot myself these days. 

It is good for the humility, I think.

*I like this translation better:  "He has confused the proud in their conceit."

The Vote No ads... can be confusing.

"We are for ss marriage so we are voting No."

I'm against same sex marriage, so I'm voting Yes.

Doesn't that sound weird?

The Vote No ads against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment coming up for vote in November are pretty good, and they are flooding the airways these days.  I haven't seen a Vote Yes ad, nor have I seen Vote Yes yard signs.  I'm sure they will be showing up however.

The latest Vote No ad shows a couple talking about gay neighbors they got to know and like, encouraging people to take a second look, conceding that their young daughter was more open to the idea of ss marriage than they are.  The ad ends with the husband telling the viewer to vote no.  At first I thought it was a new ad from the Vote Yes camp - being positive about gay people, yet attempting to convince the viewer to vote no against ss marriage.  I know!  How did I get that?

I think it is because the average person is so conditioned to just say no - no to anything that goes against traditional values:  No to drugs, no to contraception, no to abortion, no to same sex marriage.  We are not used to seeing the issue as yes to protecting and preserving traditional marriage - natural marriage.  We always think of the Church and Government telling us no - ban this, don't do that, it's a sin, it's a crime, and so on.

Nevertheless, it is really about saying yes - yes to traditional marriage.  It's a positive - not a negative.  As Archbishop Sartain of Seattle affirmed:
In a tone similar to that taken by the clergy in Minnesota, where voters also face a marriage amendment vote this fall, the archbishop of Seattle stated that the Church’s position on Referendum 74 is “not against anything, and especially not against anyone,” but “for the gift of marriage, for God’s plan for human society, for husbands and wives – for children.”

“Our purpose is a positive one,” he said, “to support the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in order to promote the common good.” - Source

So begin to think positively - Vote YES! 

Rupert Everett suffers from internalized homophobia.


That's what The Guardian claims.
The actor seems beset by internalised homophobia... 
Rupert Everett suffers from such a paucity of imagination it is all but miraculous he manages to pretend to be other people for a living. The gay actor said yesterday that he "can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads". - GuardianUK

Poor fellow.  People hate it when you're honest.  Internalized homophobia - like that's a bad thing?  At least he has a conscience.  And yes - perhaps Everett used a bit of hyperbole expressing his sentiments.  Of course there are even worse fates, for example, Elton John could one day find himself a single parent!  Shudder!  Seriously, everyone knows exactly what Mr. Everett meant. 

The Guardian writer was quite insulted.

How strange, huh?  Now anyone who opposes gay marriage or gay anything is regarded as beset by mental problems and phobia - quite a turn of the tables since homosexuality was declassified as a psychological disorder.

So why pay any attention to what a British actor/celeb has to say?  I don't know, really, except for the fact he is gay and famous?  That may be notable in and of itself.  Although the journalist discounts Everett's entire statement pretty much on account of Everett's age, claiming, "His generation brims with gay people weighed down with this affliction."  (Internalized homophobia.)

Just wait Patrick.  Just wait. 

Seriously, who cares what celebrities and journalists and bloggers have to say? 

So anyway.  Truth be told:  Kids should have a real mom and a real dad.  The saner the better.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

“Every believer is called to the challenge of the new evangelization” - Pope Benedict XVI

"Christ is indeed a king, as he said to Pilate, but his kingdom is not of this world." - Fr. Ciszek

Our Lord's words, "My kingdom is not of this world" keep going through my head every time I see the American flag waved around with Catholic banners and political signs these days.  And yet we are called to spread the Kingdom, to evangelize.  It is the new Pentecost, as the Holy Father told the newly appointed Bishops:
Your primary concern must be to promote and support “a more determined commitment of the Church in favor of the new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy in believing and find the enthusiasm to communicate the faith” (Apostolic Letter. Porta fidei, 7). Here too you are called to encourage and foster communion and collaboration between all the realities of your dioceses. Evangelization, in fact, is not the work of some specialists, but of the entire People of God, under the guidance of the Pastors. Each believer, in and with the ecclesial community should feel responsible for announcing and witnessing to the Gospel. Blessed John XXIII, opening the great assembly of Vatican II envisaged “a leap forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences,” and for this reason – he added – “it is necessary that this certain and unchangeable doctrine, which must be faithfully respected, be both deepened and presented in a way that meets the needs of our time “(Address at the Opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, October 11, 1962). We could say that the new evangelization began precisely with the Council, which Blessed John XXIII saw as a new Pentecost that would see the Church flourish through its inner wealth and maternally extend to all fields of human activity (cf. Address The closing session of the Council, December 8, 1962). The effects of the new Pentecost, despite the difficulties of the times, spread to reach the life of the Church in all its forms: from the institutional to the spiritual, from the participation of the lay faithful in the Church to the charismatic flowering and holiness. In this regard, we can not but think of both Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, as well as the many figures of bishops, priests, religious and lay people who have rendered the face of the Church beautiful in our time.

This legacy was also entrusted to your pastoral care. Draw from this wealth of doctrine, of spirituality and of holiness to form the faith of your people, so that their testimony is more credible. - Complete text

Seek first the kingdom of God... The kingdom of God is within you...

I'm not a political person.  I vote of course, but I do not normally campaign or contribute to political causes or parties, neither do I identify as a member of any political party.  Although these days Catholics are now pretty much identified as being Republicans, because of life issues and the promotion of gay marriage.  These are moral issues which have become politicized.  Threats to religious freedom are emerging however, and this too has become politicized - yet these matters transcend politics and affect faith and morals.

As I mentioned previously, I'm reading Walter Ciszek's account of his experiences in the Soviet Union, which I find helpful now that we seem to be living in a country that has grown more hostile to our religion.  For many years, the Catholic leadership in our country sought to make Catholics more acceptable to WASP society.  Catholics needed to present an 'all-American' image - not too pious, not too narrow.  Though priests and religious dressed funny - they were good at baseball and enjoyed a good drink and a smoke, and even cursed a bit.  Catholics were discriminated against, but did their best to convince Protestant America they were just like the rest of them. Some bishops continue to do that stuff.  Anyway, that is where I think the flag waving stuff comes from, in addition to the flag in the sanctuary - although the Wars had a lot to do with that as well. 

That said, I like what Ciszek has to say about the kingdom of God is good to ponder, especially as the country transitions - transitions to what, I'm not sure.
"Christ indeed is a king, as he said to Pilate, but his kingdom is not of this world. It is not a kingdom in opposition to the Soviet Government or any other government; it is not a kingdom based on territory or buildings or structures.  It is a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace that exists in the hearts of men and is founded on their faith and belief in the words of Christ. 'I did not come into this world to bring peace but a sword,' St. Matthew records Christ as proclaiming, yet the revolution he preached was not against the powers of this world but a revolution to be accomplished in the hearts of men. 'Repent,' he said, 'do penance, change your hearts, for the kingdom of God is at hand.' - He Leadeth Me
I can't rewrite the entire chapter here, but I think it makes sense in the political climate of our day.

Besides - I'm finding it near impossible to try and compose a post on the 'new' blogger - I'll write a full paragraph only to look up and see nothing on the screen.  Thus it takes me twice as long to write.  No, I do not write drafts in Word first.

Catholics and Mormons.

Mormons and Catholics stand shoulder to shoulder as Christ's witnesses?

Really? Today the two religions may agree on moral teaching - yet not all that long ago Mormons believed in polygamy, yet they changed their teaching to conform with civil law. Seems to me, their teaching could just as well change to accommodate same sex marriage:
... continuing revelations are not exceptions to Mormon practice. "We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things"—this is the ninth article of faith for Mormons and is an official statement of doctrine.  - Source

That said, Utah's Catholic Bishop Wester told Mormon students that Catholics and Mormons stand "shoulder to shoulder as witnesses of Jesus Christ" in the public square - maybe as far as the defense of traditional marriage goes, but there are really big differences between them.  To be fair, it sounds as if the Bishop tried to make that clear to those he addressed, but the casual headline reader may not pick up on that.
The Rev. John C. Wester, speaking at an LDS Institute of Religion devotional at Utah Valley University, pointed to his presence on the Orem campus as a "wonderful sign of the ongoing collaboration between our faiths" and another "important step in interfaith relations."

In a half-hour speech punctuated by humorous and poignant personal experiences with Latter-day Saints, Wester detailed Catholic foundational beliefs as well as aspects that dovetailed or diverged from Mormon teachings.
Catholics believe that humans "are created to be one with God forever," he said, that they are capable of sinning, and that God restored humanity to a "right relationship with him" by sending his son Jesus Christ to suffer, die and be resurrected.
As part of the church’s teachings, Wester said, Catholics maintain that marriage is between a man and a woman, a belief that the church has a "right to say so" publicly.
Mormons have a different understanding, he said, of human nature, the nature of God and scripture.
But Latter-day Saints and Catholics share a belief in the centrality of Christ and the efficacy of prayer, that humans are expected to be good stewards of the Earth, and, Wester said, that family life and Christian marriage are "not open to fads or new conventions."
Both faiths have been at the forefront in the fight against same-sex marriage.
Together, they also heed the call to help the poor and needy. - Source

So anyway, what are the differences between Catholicism and Mormonism? Go here to find out just how different they are from Catholics; then go here for a convenient Protestant chart on the fundamental differences. 

Today's first reading:
"I am reminding you brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which indeed you have received and in which you also stand." - 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It was a business decision... Chick-fil-A

The company "says it will change its policy..."

Money talks.
The fast food chain and its owners, the billionaire Cathy family, were at the center of a fierce battle this summer over their stated support for moves to keep marriage between a man and a woman.

But now, after weeks of talks with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, the company says it will change its policy about the groups that receive donations from the Cathy family’s WinShape Foundation.

“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” the company said in a letter to Moreno.

ABC News reports that from 2008-2010, the foundation gave $3.2 million to groups that advocate against same-sex marriage.

The spotlight was shined on the group after CEO Dan Cathy said in an interview that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his counterparts in San Francisco and Boston all spoke out against the chain, hinting they would make it difficult for the company to expand in their cities.

In retaliation, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared Aug. 1 to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and tens of thousands flocked to the chain’s outlets on that day. A kiss-in organized by pro-gay marriage advocates a few days later attracted far less support.

Moreno said Chick-fil-A has also decided to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy and said he will now support company plans for a new restaurant in the Windy City. - Source
See how this stuff works?

Still going to eat there? 

For the sake of profit many sin,* and the struggle for wealth blinds the eyes.

Like a peg driven between fitted stones, between buying and selling, sin is wedged in. - Sirach 27:1-2
I hope no one made Religious Freedom mugs with the Chick-fil-A logo, the American flag and the Papal Coat of Arms.
*Nope, I'm not accusing Chick-fil-A of committing a sin.


UPDATE:  Obviously instantaneous news isn't always reliable.  It appears the company did not capitulate after all!
Mainstream media organizations have headlined over the last two days Chick-fil-A’s “change” they claim means the company suddenly is promising not to discriminate against homosexuals – and that it would stop giving money to those organizations that promote traditional marriage.
“Chick-fil-A says it will stop funding antigay groups” proclaimed the Detroit Free Press.
But it appears the facts are that the company’s anti-discrimination policy remains just as it was months ago – before the controversy over owner Dan Cathy’s Christian beliefs erupted – and its donations appear to have had no new directive applied. - Source
And this:
In response to media reports that Chick-fil-A has agreed to stop making charitable donations to groups like Focus on the Family, the company today released a statement to set the record straight.
Contrary to reports first made by the gay-activist group The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) on Tuesday and later picked up by mainstream media outlets, Chick-fil-A and its charitable-giving arm, the WinShape Foundation, did not agree to stop making donations to groups that support the biblical definition of marriage in exchange for being allowed to open a franchise in Chicago.
“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” executives said in today’s statement. “And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.
“A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
“As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.” - Source 
Now I'm thinking The Civil Rights Agenda and other gay activist groups just might lie about stuff.

Let your light shine before others.

It is not always self-righteousness or pride to correct others, but it is certainly more humble, more authentic to use your real name when doing so.   That way others may see your good deeds and glorify God.

Art:  Treachery and Calumny riding upon Envy's back.  The arrows protruding from Envy's eyes show that she is always ready to stab those of whom she is jealous.


  1. The making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone's reputation; slander.
  2. A false and slanderous statement.

All the nuts are out, and it's only going to get worse...

It's the Jewish Bankers fault. 
What is? 
So Obama and Romney are Jews?
Marshall Plan for Catholic Identity.
Keeping tabs...
one teeny-weenie bit of parchment.
So what did the parchment really say?
"I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back."*
-canned laughter-
"Why do Jewish men die before their wives? They want to."*
-more canned laughter-
Lindsay Lohan was in front of a judge. The judge says "You've been brought here for drinking." Lohan says, "Okay, let's get started." *
***Jokes by Henny Younman.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Archbishop Nienstedt speaks publicly on Marriage Amendment vote.

The Archbishops has consistently been on the front lines in defense of marriage.
Twin Cities Roman Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt and several other faith leaders gathered Tuesday on the steps of the State Capitol to encourage Minnesota voters to support the proposed amendment on the November ballot that would limit marriage to only between a man and a woman.

"I ask all Minnesotans to join us to vote yes on November 6th," Nienstedt said in a rare public declaration on the issue. "This is wonderful sight, to see clergy from ... so many different churches, come together and show their support for our basic understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman." StarTribune

The Archbishop said the proposed amendment isn't about forcing religious teachings on non-believers.
"This is a positive affirmation, not intended to be hurtful or discriminatory to anyone. Our understanding of marriage between a man and a woman predates any government, or in fact, any religious denomination." - MPR
Vote YES.

I appreciate, admire, and support the Archbishop wholeheartedly. He has approached the issue with dignity, deep understanding and charity, as well as firm resolve and determination to uphold Christian teaching and moral law. As the local ordinary of Minnesota Catholics, he is authorized to guide the faithful in faith and morals. He avoids controversy and empty show and teaches authentically and clearly, without political prejudice.

Sadly, some seek to politicize his involvement and seem to equate patriotism and partisanship with the faith. Others believe he is not strong enough. Opponents accuse him of bigotry and homophobia. The Archbishop is misunderstood and misrepresented in both cases. As he noted in a homily recently:
"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
The Archbishop urges us to vote Yes for the marriage amendment...
Because: “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,”

“But the reality is that marriage is not ours to redefine, just as another human life is not ours to take. 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!).” - Homily
To be sure, the Archbishop has always made it clear that Catholic teaching is "not partisan politics in any way."
"We're not a political force. But we are a religious force. So we think we should be part of the conversation." - Source

Beware false information spread by religious zealots of all stripes and political pundits.

Though some folks may try to convince you otherwise, while others really do act like the people in the photo below, the tactics of the members of the Westboro Baptist 'church' and their ilk is NOT anywhere near what the Catholic Church teaches, approves or endorses, nor is the Archbishop a Fred Phelps type.  Don't be fooled.

Prayers for Archbishop Nienstedt and the success of the marriage amendment.
And pray the Rosary every day.  Prayer can obtain more than we could ever ask or imagine.

What I really think about Romney.

I can't stand the thought of him being in the White House.

I think Romney is a phony. Last week I saw a clip of an interview when he was asked about what he wears to bed - he said as little as possible. Hahahahahaha.  These people will say anything to get elected.  It's all PR in an attempt to prove they are normal people. I can't stand the idea that these little-house-on-the-prairie-fundamentalist-cult people might actually be in the White House.  I guess I'm a bigot.  No one's perfect.

Nevertheless, I can't vote for a platform which is anti-life and pro-gay-marriage either. I'm Catholic.  Being Catholic does not mean I'm a Republican or Democrat however.  It doesn't require that I wave an American flag in the faces of drive-bys either.  Nor does it mean I drink my coffee from a mug with a flag and a cross and a papal coat of arms on it. 

My thoughts on gay marriage?  I'm against it - I repeat that all of the time and I mean it.  Honestly and truly I reject the notion entirely - same sex marriage cannot be - even if it is declared to be.  If gay marriage becomes legal, do I think it will cause the collapse of civilization, or at least the collapse of traditional marriage? Not in and of itself.  Although the United States will collapse - nothing earthly lasts forever.

I have said all along, the collapse was initiated with no-fault divorce and legalizing contraception. Yes.  Contraception - not abortion - legalized abortion is the natural consequence of contraception.  If gay-marriage becomes the law of the land, those of us against it will have to deal with it.   How long have we been living with legal, no fault divorce, remedial contraception and clinical abortion?  And what have we done to end it?  God will save us, not nations or princes.

So I said it.  I do not like Romney - but I don't like many politicians.  At this point I can't vote for someone I cannot trust.  In fact I can't stand the idea of voting for someone I mistrust.  It was bad enough with McCain and Palin - Romney is way out of the question - once again, I would have to go against my better judgement in order to vote for someone like him.   

I can't vote for Obama either. 

St. Joseph Copertino, ecstatic.


St. Joseph was popular in life and now as a saint in part because of the extraordinary phenomena which characterized his devotion, thus he is often listed in some hagiographic profiles as an ecstatic.  Indeed, during his life he became something of a sideshow for the Franciscans, who tried to hide him away from public view.  I was fortunate enough (many years ago) to spend a week in solitary retreat in the apartments of St. Joseph, where he was 'imprisoned' in the Sacred Convent of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.  This may be one reason I feel especially close to the saint.  I also have a few first class relics of the saint. 

These days I commend to St. Joseph many of the people I used to make fun of in my life.  Joseph was born to very poor parents and he himself was considered to be slow - dumb - and was called the 'gaper'.  I went to school with a kid like that, his mouth hung open and he drooled all over his desk, he was shy and rather backward, but not mentally challenged.  Kids were mean to him - I just avoided him and sometimes teased girls that the boy had a crush on them.  So I was mean too.  There were others I regarded with similar disdain throughout my life as well.  What can I do now but pray and offer my own defects for them in penance?

St. Joseph became a stable boy for the Conventual Franciscans and matured to the point where he was admitted among the friars.  Later he was ordained - pretty much on account of his piety and the favor of a benevolent prelate.  His mystical life expressed itself in and through his priesthood and external manifestations of his intense devotion.  It's these which garner so much attention and fascination by those devoted to him, as well as the curious.

Nevertheless, his ecstasies and levitations, though captivating the imagination, point to a much deeper spiritual reality.  As John of the Cross states, "an ecstasy is nothing else than going out of self and being caught up in God; and this is what he who obeys does; he leaves himself and his desire, and thus unburdened plunges himself in God.  Hence, St. Joseph demonstrates the depth of his obedience, his complete and utter abandonment, surrender, to divine providence.  This extraordinary, heroic, and complete abandonment freed the saint from every encumbrance of sin, from every limitation of nature, suspending the natural senses and weight of the body, liberated from every disability, in a foretaste of heavenly existence.  Ardent, seraphic love inflamed and propelled the saint out of himself as it were... or so it seems to me.

I think St. Joseph is a wonderful patron for persons with disabilities, kids who are bullied and abused, and those with potential impediments to religious life and the priesthood, as well as a model and teacher for the simple.  St. Joseph demonstrates for us that nothing is impossible for God.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cold feet... The Discalced

It is cold in Minnesota today, and my feet are cold.

Which reminds me of men and women religious who go without shoes, they are referred to as discalced.  Many of the reforms of traditional orders went without shoes, it was part penitential, part poverty - the poor had no shoes, so neither did they.  Some orders retain the discalced habit to this day, and not just in warm climates.

Years ago the local OCD monastery of nuns would on occasion allow me to keep vigil part of the night, and once or twice, all night in their extern chapel.  In winter it was freezing cold, despite the fact they had the heat on.  I think they kept the temp at 60 degrees, but it felt much colder.  They used to keep it colder, but the chaplain at the time demanded they turn up the thermostat, thus, out of charity,  they made that concession.  The nuns were discalced - wearing only sandals.  I never saw them, but I was told they usually did not wear socks either.  If my feet were cold in hiking boots and wool socks, I could only imagine how cold their feet were.

I think of St. Therese - how the cold in Carmel was said to be her greatest suffering. 

Today we think of contemplatives and hermits, all cuddled up in perfect habits, discalced, warm and cosy next to the heater in their cell, sipping cappuccino, while composing lofty meditations on their website.

The monastery of OCD nuns I know do not have a computer - and they aren't asking for one either.  They remain discalced too.

Photo source.

UPDATE:  THIS IS WHAT MY CAT ADDED while I was trying to add another photo:


Feast of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

The Holy Wounds.

Today's feast, once celebrated universally as an optional memorial, is now observed primarily by Franciscans. This feast had been permitted to enliven the hearts of men with the flame of love and devotion, as the prayer of the Mass for the day says;

Lord Jesus Christ,who reproduced in the flesh of the most blessed Francis, the sacred marks of your own sufferings, so that in a world grown cold our hearts might be filled with burning love of you, graciously enable us by his merits and prayers to bear the cross without faltering and to bring forth worthy fruits of penitence: You who are God, living and reigning with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen

Here is an account of the event in the life of St. Francis.

From the Legenda Minor of St. Bonaventure (de Stigmatibus sacris, 1-4; ed. Quaracchi, 1941; pgg. 202-204)

"Two years before Francis, the faithful servant of Christ, gave his soul back to God, he was alone on the top of Mt. Alverna. There he had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the archangel Michael and was immersed more deeply than usual in the delights of heavenly contemplation. His soul became aglow with the ardor of fervent longing for heaven as he experienced within himself the operations of grace.

As he was drawn aloft through ardent longing for God one morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and was praying on the mountainside, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings gleaming like a fire descending from the heights of heaven. As this figure approached in swift flight and came near the man of God it appeared not only winged but also crucified. The sight of it amazed Francis and his soul experienced joy mingled with pain. He was delighted with the sight of Christ appearing to him so graciously and intimately and yet the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love.
When the vision vanished after a mysterious and intimate conversation it left Francis aglow with seraphic love in his soul.

Externally, however, it left marks on his body like those of the Crucified as if the impression of a seal had been left on heated wax. The figures of the nails appeared immediately on his hands and feet. The heads of the nails were inside his hands but on top of his feet with their points extending through to the opposite side. His right side too showed a blood-red wound as if it had been pierced by a lance, and blood flowed frequently from it."

I bear the marks of Christ.

Though saints before him may have born the wounds of Christ, St. Francis of Assisi is the first recorded individual to have received the gift of the stigmata. Since his time other saints have received similar graces, one, St. Catherine of Siena prayed that her stigmata would remain invisible, which it did almost immediately.

God alone is the source of authentic stigmata, which is an external manifestation of the most ardent love and longing for God resulting in the spiritual wound of love in the heart. Teresa of Avila discusses this in her writing, Interior Castle; Sixth Mansion. This wound of love, that many believe St. Therese of Lisieux also experienced, effects an intense love for the cross, penetrating to an intimate degree the spiritual will, hence it can emanate from God alone. It is a source of ecstatic joy, simultaneously delightful while excruciatingly painful. (adapted from Garrigou-Lagrange)

Francis de Sales, a third order Franciscan, defends the veracity of St. Francis' stigmata as something altogether spiritual in these words;

"Love has wonderful power to sharpen the imagination, so that it may penetrate even to the exterior. Yet the love which was within St. Francis of Assisi simply could not produce the openings in the flesh on the exterior. That is why the burning seraphim, coming to its help, darted at the saint rays of such penetrating light that it actually pierced the flesh with the exterior wounds of the Crucified which love had interiorly imprinted upon the soul." (Treatise On the Love of God.)

In The Living Flame of Love, John of the Cross says such signs of God's love and lofty graces are often given to founders of religious orders in proportion to their legacy and to carry on the original charism. He writes;

"Few persons have reached such heights. some have, however; especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality." (Living Flame)

May the entire Franciscan order, even unfaithful third order members such as myself, be inflamed today with a double portion of the spirit of our holy father St. Francis of Assisi.


St. Paul says they are just fine.

Today's first reading - depending on which form of Mass you attend - had this to say about factions:
"There have to be factions among you in order that also those who are approved among you may become known." - 1 Corinthians 11: 17-26
Blog on!


I've been busy.

I present to you,
Gabrielle van der Mal
aka Gabby
aka Sr. Luke
My new kitty. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You are all so smart...

"... thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." - Luke 8: 27-35

Mass Chat: Back to the 80's.


My parish is having their Fall Festival this weekend so instead of going through the clown Mass, I went to the octogenarian Mass at a church not far from me.  Mass starts at 4:30 and lets out in time to get to the Old Country Buffet for the senior specials.* 

Seriously, the church was packed with seniors and most looked to be in their 80's.  Nothing wrong with that, although I kept think of the lovely Catholic people online who can't wait for them and their baby boomer kids to drop dead. 

But yeah.  The church was filled with old people.  I was going to say old people are weird, but all people are weird - with some of us, it just becomes more apparent as we age.  I noticed this one woman I thought could have been the late, great Diana Vreeland - very fashionista looking - but somehow kind of scary.  She was dressed like someone much younger, and had a much younger hair style, but her face was kind of Vreeland looking.

Please don't be offended if you are sensitive about age.  I've been in a strange mood since I had to euthanize my cat a few days ago - so I'm thinking of ageing and death, and death.  In fact I can't stop thinking about death.  Dying.  Don't use euthanasia for yourself or any one else.  It's very unsettling.  Death is so irreversible.   Ageing is too.  But I digress.

Interestingly, two Dominican nuns/sisters were across the aisle from me - I only knew they were religious women because one of the bulletin-hander-outers said, "Bulletins for the nuns", as she handed them a bulletin.  Then the man behind them perked up and began a conversation with one of them, I tried not to listen, but I got just about everything except their phone number.  Amazing the chatter that goes on before Mass in that church.  Nope, I'm not complaining - it did not prevent me from praying my rosary - it all becomes white noise if you let it.  A woman passing by tried to shush her husband whispering to him "some people are trying to pray!"  He answered her, "Let 'em pray - people can still pray while other people are talking - they just don't have to listen."   Made sense to me.

Remember, you and I will be older too.... and then dead. 

*I don't really know that, I just saw it once on Seinfeld and thought I'd use it. And no - there wasn't a clown Mass I was avoiding, just no parking near the church because of the all the rides and consessions.

St. Hildegarde of Bingen and the Great Apostasy.

The Great Apostasy?  What would you call it?

I'm becoming more fascinated by her revelations, and the fact Pope Benedict XVI is so devoted to her.  I came across some interesting postings at Unveiling the Apocalypse regarding the Saint and the Pope...
The fact that St. Hildegard is one of the most revered saints in Pope Benedict's native Germany, helps to further cement the relationship between the "filth" described by the Holy Father and the "filth" depicted in the vision of the battered Church in Scivias. And it also reflects the Pope's connection of the Third Secret to the "sin" existing within the Church during his pilgrimage to Fatima in 2010:
As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice.
The "filth" that now pervades the Church, described by both St. Hildegard and Pope Benedict is a direct consequence of the apostasy we have been enduring for the past 52 years, since the passing of the date of 1960 mentioned by Sr. Lucia as when the contents of the Third Secret would be "better understood". It is from this date which marked the beginning of the sexual revolution, that we have witnessed the greatest decline in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church, thus firmly establishing the Great Apostasy foretold in the New Testament. - Source
Frequently I feel almost certain we must be in the throes of the Great Apostasy - but how does one know for sure?  Especially when we are assured everything is okay?  Smile, be happy.   Like Colbert said Friday night with Cardinal Dolan: “Are there flaws in the church?  Absolutely. But is there great beauty in the church? Absolutely.”  

But what about the "filth"?