Sunday, April 04, 2021

In the evening of life, when the day was far spent...

French painter Arcabas.

Happy Easter to all my friends who have come so close to me in and through this blog.  

Let us say to Him, 'stay with us'!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Grand Silence of Great Saturday


He is not here ...

Did you not know
He must be about His Father's business?

He is not here ...

Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
To feed in the gardens
and to gather lilies...

My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.
do not awaken or stir up love
until it is ready!

He is not here ...

For Love is strong as Death,
longing is fierce as Sheol.
Its arrows are arrows of fire,
flames of the divine.

He is not here ...

Return, my lover,
be like a gazelle or a young stag
upon the mountains of spices.

Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor rivers sweep it away.
Wait ... be stouthearted
and wait for the Lord.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Conversion of Milo Yiannopoulos

Who is he?

I don't know him.  I've heard of him, but I don't now a lot about him.  Never read his books, never heard his voice, I don't know him.

I know he grew up gay, had sex at an early age - otherwise molested, I guess.  At one time he defended man boy love, suggesting it was helpful to young lads.  Then he was denounced, fired from Brietbart, yet still maintained a following.  I called him a provocateur, others a fabulist, he's a writer, journalist, political celebrity, etc..  His celebrity is the result of sensationalist editorial-opinion, with a bit of white supremacist propaganda; politically he was the gay-Trump supporter, a Bannon cohort and so on.  Nothing about him I'd be interested in.  Not long ago he gave an interview to Michael Voris, who is credited with inviting Milo back to the sacraments and a chaste life, while Milo, invoking St. Augustine, said he wanted to - but not yet.

It appears the time has come.  (And Voris will get a crown.) In a sense Milo has always been a faithful Catholic, since he believes and accepts Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality - and never expected the Church to change Her teachings just to make him feel comfortable and accepted. That's a faithful Catholic who lived in sin. Numerous gay/SSA men and women felt exactly the same way, and eventually returned to the sacraments.  Thus, instead of a conversion in the classic sense, it is more accurate at this point to say Yiannopoulos has returned to the sacraments.  The conversion thing is something time will reveal.  Saying, "I'm ex-gay, or quitting the life(style) doesn't necessarily mean 'conversion'.  Of course, in the monastic sense, there is the conversion of manners - therefore, this is a beginning.  In the gay sense that means to stop acting out, quitting the behavior and so on.  

Many are actively splitting hairs on what that means, but as the Church teaches, "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." - CCC Therefore, this latest development in Milo's life can be understood as a 'conversion' - but apparently, he has a long way to go.

John the Baptist pointed out a method of discernment for the penitent, "Give evidence you mean to repent."  Yiannopoulos still appears to hold some crazy ideas which link him to a very alt-right mindset. After all, he wrote "Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me—and Why He Has To Go" and along with Bannon, not only disagrees with the Franciscan Magisterium, but opposes it.

Currently, Milo's supporters have rallied to defend him against the 'leftists' and LGBTQ, who oppose the language of ex-gay and conversion therapy, a campaign Yiannopoulos seems to be promoting with his new image.  The more cynical simply see his conversion as a way to re-invent himself - which I would say could be part of a counter-Great Reset by ultra-right conservatives to grow their base.  I'm skeptical.  

Truth be told, I'm also hopeful, for Milo's sake.  Entrusting himself to St. Joseph is a good way to go.  I did that.  I begged St. Joseph to arrange things, which he did.  So, his dedication to St. Joseph is a good sign, although I still recommend caution.  Attacking liberals and Francis-Catholics is not a sign of peace, especially for a penitent.  Trials are sure to come, but they need to be be received with humility as purgative and reparative. Just today I read that Fr. Calloway's book on Consecration to St. Joseph, promoted by Milo, is apparently receiving negative reviews on Amazon as homophobic, due to Milo's assertion that he is now ex-gay because of it - and Calloway is concerned that his book may be banned.  I checked Amazon and saw no such thing - therefore even that story may be fake - to do damage to Calloway, or Yiannopoulos?

Yesterday I cautioned people supporting Milo, or better yet - those Catholic militants who wait for any and every opportunity to enter into battle with 'leftist-LGBTQ-Catholics' who question the conversion story, not to rush to canonize Yiannopoulos so fast.  On the other hand, there are those who really do question the announcement, the 'coming out' as ex-gay, because he still lives with his partner.  That's not at all unusual in conversion stories - but it creates a problem when people make the arrangement public.  The busybodies claim 'scandal' and don't know what they are talking about, even though they cite age old moral theology and spiritual direction manuals.  Some of the very best 'disinterested friendships' result from a partnership that was once intimate.  Conversion is about repentance and a reformation of one's life - a break with sin and sinful relations.  But I digress.  Unfortunately, Milo has literally thrown his pearls before swine, so he better be prepared for trials from both sides of the choir.

I hope for his sake - that is, the sanctification of his soul and eternal salvation - that he doesn't sensationalize his conversion, doesn't take it on the road, as it were, nor use it to gain a platform promoting his brand.  There is great gain in religion, provided one is content with a sufficiency - not star status.

Don't forget, Milo earns his living as a provocateur-sensationalist.  As I said on FB yesterday:

Just be careful - this is exactly the kind of story that could end up being one big hoax - to embarrass the Church, discredit proponents of Catholic teaching on sexuality, as well as the variety of pastoral ministry to LGBTQ-SSA persons - approved or unapproved by conservative Catholics. Late 19th Century France witnessed a scandal which rocked the Church and society. 

It's the story of Leo Taxil and Diana Vaughn.

Many had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil.
Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those duped.
"This alleged conversion of Mr. Léo Taxil’s, which justly touched the Catholic world and the Free Thinking world, was but the prologue of a comedy, of an enormous farce in many acts, conceived and constructed by a hoaxer more inventive than concerned about his own dignity. This was the first step in that scenario:

"Act One: Simulations of repentance and of penitence, pious practices proper to edifying the clergy and to capture it’s full confidence. Diffusion of small books directed against FreeMasonry."

FreeMasonry was the boogie man then and still is - along with the homosexualist-panic.  I've often thought these scares could well be generated by enemies of the Church - within and without, and not always the most obvious suspects.  For instance, who is behind the Qanon conspiracy theories?  The far-right Trump movement?  The anti-Francis movement?  How about all those locutions and prophecies about diabolic delusion, huh?  Even the elect can be led astray.  Have we learned nothing from the Maciel case?  The Jean Vanier case?  The wonderful conversion and priesthood of Fr. Corapi?

As for Milo, as I said elsewhere, I hope he perseveres. The desire to be chaste may start out weak - or even just a prayer we hardly understand - but our desire grows as we pray. So I hope he understands the necessity of prayer to sustain him. Prayer is what conforms us to Christ and he is the one who restores and repairs our fallen nature. That's why I'm encouraged he consecrated himself to St. Joseph. Hopefully, like St. Joseph, he can avoid sensationalizing his conversion, and refrain from drawing attention to himself on account of it.  As if he's now all cleaned up and respectable and deserving of honor and praise.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Persecuted priests.

St. Jerome had a reputation: "In Rome, Jerome never really got on with other clergy. He was somewhat irascible, dipping his pen rather more often into vinegar than honey. Jerome loved nothing so much as a good squabble, and argued bitterly and at great length with his critics and adversaries." - Don Marco.

On the other hand.

It isn't my fight, but for years I've followed Fr. Z with some interest, finding his apostolate rather mysterious - especially now since he is even more a free agent without an assignment.  Monks like that are considered gyrovagues and were not held in great esteem by stable monastics.  Fr. Pavone is apparently in the same situation.  Fr. Z seems to feel he was targeted and is a bit 'persecuted' - did he say persecuted?  Not sure, but it is my impression, esp. since he lost his position in the Madison diocese.

Recently Where Peter Is did a post pretty much in response to a challenge Fr. Z threw out, to come up with some sort of compendium in defense of Benedict's assertion there is only one pope, along with "a defense of all that Francis is, has said, and has done."  The WPI post: Fr. Z, Challenge Accepted.  Fr. Z thought the author was 'nasty'.  I didn't.

This after devoting his time online urging readers to go to Canon212 to participate in a poll regarding the question of 'one pope and who it is'.  An unscientific poll on a site at enmity with Pope Francis and mockingly critical of the Pope Emeritus.  Fr. Z apparently follows, endorses sites like that - as well as mad/rad-trad,  Ann Barnhardt.  He claims others call his attention to sites like these, and or articles which mention his blog, otherwise he wouldn't know about their existence.  Knowing how hands on he is with his online connections, or network, he knows who links to him and/or writes about him.  In his response to the Mike Lewis piece, he claims he never heard of him - yet he mentions him by name in a post dated 14 August 2020.  Just saying.

Anyway.  I'm not sure priests like this are persecuted per say, except to say they can be wounded in the culture wars, which they so vigorously engage in, and in some cases, profit from. (Polling and fund drives seem to be quite profitable for them.)  Fr. Z and others like him, go after priests and women religious they don't like or whom they deem liberal-progressive-heterodox-heretics, with a vengeance.  When the winds of criticism blows their way, they claim persecution and suffering verging on 'white martyrdom'.  It seems a bit disingenuous.

That said, Fr. Z more or less responded to the Mike Lewis post(s) on Where Peter Is, who took up Fr. Z's challenge for supporters of what Benedict said, as well as the fact that Francis is Pope, to "put together their own compendium as a defense of all that Francis is, has said, and has done."  Fr. Z didn't accept Lewis' response, because it wasn't a compendium - in book form.  Writing:

"Lewis: “Fr. Zuhlsdorf, we [sic] respond to your challenge with the work of this website.” “…with the work of this website”. Okay. But that isn’t a response to the challenge I issued." - Fr. Z Of gauntlets, spaghetti wall art, and St. Robert Bellarmine

We shall see what WPI's response is, but Lewis is correct, his entire website is dedicated to the support of the papacy of Pope Francis and the legitimacy of the retirement of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI.  An endeavor conducted by faithful Catholic laymen in a time when some clerics have more or less rejected the legitimate authority of the Pope and Vatican II.  

Friday, March 05, 2021

A new image for St. Nunzio Sulprizio

Terry Nelson


St. Nunzio, pray for us.

I was attracted to Nunzio Sulprizio many years ago, since he led a difficult life and suffered abuse in his childhood and teen years. I first heard Fr. John Horgan speak of him on Mother Angelica sometime in the 1990's.  His story and example of patience in suffering is remarkable. Go here for an overview of his life.

In this study, I based his looks upon the canonization image and early prints of the saint as to how he looked in life.  This image is so farunvarnished, since I just finished it - the exposure is a bit light saturated.   

He's been my companion all winter, spending a couple hours a day working on the painting.  We have a few things in common, I think.

A mystic worth noting...

Saint Marguerite Bays

This woman's holiness is notable, not due to her mystical gifts, but to her charity and ordinary life.  Saints are never canonized for mystical gifts or phenomenon, but rather their heroic virtue and fidelity.

She is the ideal mystic, since her mystical gifts went unnoticed for a long time, not interfering with her daily duties, nor attracting attention to herself.  She never developed a cult following, nor allowed herself to become a local celebrity and so on.  There was nothing morbid about her spiritual life.  

Her family, a place of holiness

Remaining in the paternal domicile, she made sure to participate well in the household tasks which fell to her. Her sister-in-law Josette did not make her life easy : a severe and rude woman, she humiliated Marguerite and did not spare her. Marguerite did not hold grudges against her. And, when Josette arrived at the end of her life, struck down precociously by an illness, Marguerite took care of her and prepared her for death. She was in fact the only person she accepted near her.

Her sister Marie-Marguerite, called « Mariette », suffered from the dissolution of her marriage, and came back to live at home. Her brother Joseph, who remained a bachelor, with a rather violent character and sometimes loose morals, ended up serving a short prison sentence! And her elder brother Claude had a child outside wedlock, the little François. Marguerite asked him to recognise the child officially. She took charge of his education. On the other hand her brother Jean understood better the mystical life of his sister and sometimes worried about her health.

Faced with her brothers and sisters, victims of difficult situations in their life, Marguerite would never have judged them in a moralist manner. On the contrary, through her testimony of a life filled with love and charity, each in their turn felt attracted by Christ to then undertake through love a true path of conversion. - Biography St, Marguerite

"Each Friday, Marguerite relived the Passion of Christ in her flesh. United with Jesus, she offered up the suffering she endured in the silence and privacy of her bedroom, sheltered from public eyes."

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Spring is here

I saw a group of 5 robins this morning.  They were on the hill across the street, which faces south and the lawn was exposed.  They were eating or harvesting material for nests.  I've never seen them in groups like that before.

When I went online, FB messaged me that my account was restricted due to a meme I post a long time ago, which they found offensive.  It was a joke.  They also didn't like a gif from 3rd Rock that I posted of Dick choking Mary.  I signed onto MeWe for now.  It's a blessing to be censored from FB, I recently deleted my Tumblr account as well.  I still have Twitter, but do not use it much.  Social media is the Big Brother of our age, so it is better not to allow oneself to be so enslaved to it.  

Cancel culture and censorship is nothing new - it is simply the manner in which it is executed these days, and by whom.  The Church and Christian denominations have always performed this function.  Excommunication, interdict, the index of forbidden books, and so on.  Other denominations have the tradition of shunning and other types of sanction.  Christian communities always had their outcasts whom they marginalized and excluded.  Of course, the same dynamic is seen in parishes, religious groups, and among 'friends' - who will unfriend someone for a simple disagreement.  Today secular entities have assumed that role - in a concerted effort to control behavior, enforce social standards, and achieve a level of thought conformity.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Checking in after nearly a month.

I've been on FB, only posting rather neutral posts, so as to remain at peace.  Sort of.

I intend to keep this blog and will continue to post, I just have entered a strange silent phase.  I keep thinking of the prophecy, 'the hearts of many will be revealed.'  That's what we do online.  But why?

I don't want to argue or defend my point of view and opinion on this or that.  I know who and what I am and I have faith in God.

Today is the Chair of Peter and I am so grateful we have a Pope - Pope Francis.  I am so grateful to be Catholic.

I just don't have much to say these days.

Abba Moses said: “The one who makes a show of his good works and publicizes them is like the one who threw seeds on the ground, ‘and the fowls of the air came and devoured them up’ [Matt 13:4]. But the one who conceals his way of life is as one who sows in a furrow in the ground and who will reap an abundant harvest.

I probably never should have written so much.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Pope Francis to those who reject the teaching of the Second Vatican Council...

Ecumenical Council, Dali

They are placing themselves outside the Church.

Thank God the Holy Father said it.  Seriously, for at least 2 decades I have listened to the greatest Catholics of all time - their opinion, not mine - that the Council was evil, non-binding, non-magisterial. That it was a pastoral council, it did not affirm any dogma, etc..  It was corrupted and bore rotten fruit - case in point the OF Mass.  Opponents went so far as to say the Novus Ordo was Masonic, heretical, and no Mass - I used to respond 'you can't be holier than the Church, you can't be more Catholic than the Pope' and so on.  In no uncertain terms, not a few responded, 'but I am more catholic than the Pope.'  Stunning claim, to say the least.

These folks, following mentors among the hierarchy and clergy, as well as a few self-serving mystic monks, pretty much condemned everything Novus Ordo - save for their sacramental ordination - as well as Vatican II.  Apparently, this alone makes them holier than the 'post-conciliar'* Church and more Catholic than the Pope.  Not.

The Dubia Brothers, Vigano, and many priests in their 'Holy League', along with a growing Remnant of mystical  authorities, who have set themselves against the Council, The Ordinary Form of Mass, and the Papacy, now have something to deal with.  Are these folks ready to follow the post -Vatican I schismatic Old Catholics?  Because the Pope has spoken.  

“Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the council, or you interpret it in your own away – according to your desire – [and] you do not stand with the Church,” the 84-year-old Jesuit Pope told members of the National Catechetical Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.  - The Tablet

Works for me. 

*"Unfortunately, it is not only the progressives who have adopted this individualistic spirit. Even in the name of Tradition, some today speak of a pre- and post-conciliar Church, thus creating a rupture between the past and the present. In this way, they submit everything the magisterium has to say to a test that ultimately sets the Church against itself." - Fr. Angelo Geiger

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Just a thought on what 'may have' happened to Fr. Z

Fr. Z relocating.

Those who know of Fr. Z now know he is relocating, a priest without an assignment in search of bishop to sponsor him, as it were.  A link to that story:

"A prominent priest-blogger Fr John Zuhlsdorf who performed exorcisms against “fraud” in the United States presidential election is leaving his diocese.

The priest, who runs the popular “Fr Z blog”, has been living in the Diocese of Madison, in Wisconsin, although he was ordained for the Diocese of Velletri-Segni, near Rome.

News of his departure from Madison comes after The Tablet reported that Fr Zuhlsdorf had been carrying out live-streamed daily exorcisms against possible electoral fraud. In at least one instance, the priest claimed he had the authority of Madison’s bishop, Donald Hying, to perform the exorcisms, something the bishop denied." - The Tablet

So, there is lots of speculation as to why, where did he go wrong?  What will he do?  All I can say is thank God he didn't become corrupt or fall into any sort of moral scandal.  Though his political discourse is totally alt-right, his disenchantment with Vatican II, the Ordinary Form of Mass and love of the EF Form pulled him closer and closer to the rad trad, anti-Francis faction in the Church.  He blasted people like Fr. James Martin out of the water, so to speak.  Celebrated excommunications of liberal priests and was downright vindictive in his condemnation of liberal nuns and anyone who came out in favor of women deacons.  He ran his own version of cancel culture on his blog, calling for boycotts of Catholic journals, letters to the Vatican and nuncio, and so on.  Now he's on his own and protesting the 'cancel culture' which celebrates this setback in his career-vocation.

Some well meaning people seem to agree with the idea that Fr. Z's enemies were on a campaign to silence him and seek his downfall because he is a 'good guy', faithful and true.  I think he really is a good priest.  What has happened will turn out for his good, I think.

He started out well, he began writing for Catholic journals, and then engaged in an online apostolate which was effective in catechizing Catholics on liturgical matters and Catholic teaching.   I just think, whatever his apostolic intent, early successes may have led to a bit of presumption, sparking an ambition for fame and a drive for promotion. 

He had a brief stint as a commentator on Fox News during the transition from JPII to Benedict XVI,  and that bit of stardom might have awakened a greater desire for media fame - it wouldn't be unthinkable it aroused his ambition for recognition and esteem.  After all, he had credentials of working in the Vatican, reporting to important figures, running into Ratzinger, rubbing shoulders with journalists and influential clergy, and definitely prided himself as being in the know with all the court gossip, etc.. His work there allowed him to assume a certain level of status and influence. Then the immense success of the blog and the revenue it generated really propelled him, I think. 

I recall him almost bragging to a UK priest on how much money his Donate app made.  In one blog post, he urged the priest to get one and even offered his own donations as a fund-raiser incentive for the priest. I'm no longer able to find those posts, nor my commentary on them, but they existed at one time.  If I'm wrong, I'll retract.  He prized stats and links to his posts, and delighted in the growing number of his followers - restricting critics and those who sought to dispute with him.  In his hey day, he was posting photos of the frequent UPS deliveries he received, in between posts on the feeder feed, along with travelogue photos and visuals of fine dining trips. It was entertaining - and profitable - and his fans loved it - and I have to imagine his ego expanded accordingly.  He obviously felt called to support the Trump administration - for God and Country.  And then, just like that, it suddenly became too much.

In conclusion, that's what I think happened to the public figure of Fr. Z.  God bless him and this new chapter in his life.