Monday, April 06, 2020

Bl. Pier Giorgio

Photo:  Pier Giorgio is wearing the party hat.
April 1, 1901 - July 4, 1925

Happy Birthday!

"Born to a rich and politically influential family; his mother was the painter Adelaide Ametis; his father was an agnostic, the founder and editor of the liberal newspaper La Stampa, and became the Italian ambassador to Germany. A pious youth, average student, outstanding athlete and mountain climber, he was extremely popular with his peers, known by the nickname "Terror" due to his practical jokes. He was tutored at home for years with his younger sister Luciana. He studied minerology in an engineering program after graduating high school. He worked often with Catholic groups like Apostleship of Prayer and the Company of the Most Blessed Sacrament that ministered to the poor and promoted Eucharistic adoration, Marian devotion, and personal chastity. He became involved in political groups like the Young Catholic Workers Congress, the Popular Party, the Catholic Student Federation, Catholic Action and Milites Mariae that supported the poor, opposed Fascism and worked for the Church's social teachings. Enrolled as a Dominican tertiary on 28 May 1922, taking the name Girolamo (Jerome). Especially devoted to the teachings of Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Thomas Aquinas. He spent his fortune on the needy and visited the sick; during this ministry he contracted the disease that killed him." - Patron Saints Index

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Update on my condition...

I'm fine.

I just decided I should maybe update the blog with something.


I hope everyone else is doing well.  God bless you.  (I really do intend to keep this site going.)  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

They want the elderly to lay down their lives for the economy.

This poster (from around 1938) reads: 
"60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary illness 
costs the People's community during his lifetime. 
Fellow citizen, that is your money too. 
Read '[A] New People', 
the monthly magazine of the NSDAP Office of Racial Policy."
#20july44 - Gerry Os*

"There is a demonic side to the sentimentalism of saving lives at any cost." - R.R. Reno

Catholic intellectuals/academics are keen to point out the 'vice' of sentimentalism in contemporary culture.  Many consider Pope Francis a sentimentalist.  SSA spokesmen suggest Fr. James Martin's approach to LGBTQ persons, as sentimentalist.  Now, extending care to elderly amid COVID-19 contagion, who will most likely die anyway, is talked about as sentimentalism - 'demonic' sentimentalism.  

"Faux-Christians reveal their true god: $$$"

I had a short commentary on an article discussing what Texas Lieutenant governor Dan Patrick told  Fox News: "Older people would rather die than let Covid-19 harm US economy."  He doesn't look that young, so maybe he canvolunteer to go first.  His thoughts seem to be shared by the Trump administration, which is trying very hard to reopen businesses and send people back to work during the pandemic, which hasn't even peaked in the U.S..

Catholics like R.R. Reno appear to agree, as did a guy on my FB post, who argued:

Terry Nelson writes : "Faux-Christians reveal their true god: $$$"
No. Not money, but instead a functioning economy that provides for human flourishing. An economy where there is a middle class.
Destroying the economy to prolong the life of those who going to die regardless within few years is foolish and contrary to the duty the old owe towards their progeny.
It's no different than a father who would sell the family manufacturing business, or farm or similar in order to prolong his own life. Such an act is irresponsible towards the children.
It's not about money, but instead about responsibility of leaving our children with a functioning society.

The comment took me by surprise.  I had no intention of arguing his point which impressed me as based in an un-Christian ideology, an amalgam of Utilitarianism, Libertarianism, Objectivism and Christian-Nationalism.  Reno's assertions strike me in the same way.  As one friend pointed out, 'it's the result of 30 some years of toxic, right-wing media.' Works for me.

Moral relativism.

I'm always amazed at the Catholic university grads and their ethical contortions - especially since they claim to have nurtured their spirituality and theology on the teaching of JPII.  I suggested recently they go back to their books - the actual texts of JPII's encyclicals and allocutions.  Instead of depending on their favorite authors' interpretations, and/or their own dissertations of JPII's works.  (Just a suggestion, BTW - who am I to lecture such 'scholars'.)

That said, I've been revisiting Evangelium vitae, JPII's encyclical otherwise known as the Gospel of Life, which discusses euthanasia.  The proposal that the elderly have a duty to die to preserve the economy is a sort of 'passive' euthanasia.  I'm amased Catholic university grads do not see it that way.  These people seem to have made the economy an idol - it's the type idolatry Pope Francis has often discussed - not the pretend idolatry a couple of anti-Francis bishops accuse the Pope of.

That said, I don't want to copy and paste a bunch of quotes from St. John Paul's works, but I will close with one or two, to help readers understand what I'm getting at.
Democracy (sub. economy) cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality. Fundamentally, democracy is a "system" and as such is a means and not an end. Its "moral" value is not automatic, but depends on conformity to the moral law to which it, like every other form of human behaviour, must be subject: in other words, its morality depends on the morality of the ends which it pursues and of the means which it employs. If today we see an almost universal consensus with regard to the value of democracy, this is to be considered a positive "sign of the times", as the Church's Magisterium has frequently noted. But the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes. Of course, values such as the dignity of every human person, respect for inviolable and inalienable human rights, and the adoption of the "common good" as the end and criterion regulating political life are certainly fundamental and not to be ignored. - EV 70
The choice of euthanasia becomes more serious when it takes the form of a murder committed by others on a person who has in no way requested it and who has never consented to it. The height of arbitrariness and injustice is reached when certain people, such as physicians or legislators, arrogate to themselves the power to decide who ought to live and who ought to die. Once again we find ourselves before the temptation of Eden: to become like God who "knows good and evil" (cf. Gen 3:5). God alone has the power over life and death: "It is I who bring both death and life" (Dt 32:39; cf. 2 Kg 5:7; 1 Sam 2:6). But he only exercises this power in accordance with a plan of wisdom and love. When man usurps this power, being enslaved by a foolish and selfish way of thinking, he inevitably uses it for injustice and death. Thus the life of the person who is weak is put into the hands of the one who is strong; in society the sense of justice is lost, and mutual trust, the basis of every authentic interpersonal relationship, is undermined at its root. - EV 66
Pope Francis, speaking of modern idolatry, said something which applies to this new expression ethical relativism:

“Money robs us of life, and pleasure leads to loneliness. Economic structures sacrifice human lives for better profits. One lives in hypocrisy, doing and saying what others expect of us, because the god of self-affirmation imposes it. And lives are ruined; families are destroyed; and young people are abandoned to destructive habits, all to increase profit.” - Pope Francis

I'll leave it at that.  Watch out for your parents and grandparents - make sure they are safe and get the help they need during this pandemic.  Pray for the sick and dying. 

*Poster, h/t Mark Shea

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What Pope Francis told a Spanish journalist Sunday ...

Pope Francis told a Spanish journalist Sunday that nature never forgives and the coronavirus pandemic is nature’s cry for humans to take better care of creation. - Source

"They" are taking him down for this.  No surprise.  

I'm not at all sure what the Holy Father said is so crazy.  Obviously he's speaking metaphorically when he says 'nature is unforgiving' - Fr. Z spends a little time spinning that.  How often has an artisan or cook said some thing, some medium is unforgiving?  How many times has a rock climber said a mountain is unforgiving if an athlete makes a mistake?  Yet when the Pope says something like that in a skype interview ...  I know.

Ten days ago I posted some thoughts related to Fr. Z's musings on a biological solution to take care of all the problems in the liturgy (here) - something Republicans seem to be musing on to help the economy get back on its feet BTW (here).  I also speculated on religious figures pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as God's chastisement.  At the time I was reflecting on something an Italian Cardinal said about the virus, that it 'could' be seen as a chastisement - but not from God - he wasn't specifying particular evils or groups of 'evil-doers' (here).

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?"

This past week, Cardinal Burke got a little more specific - some of his followers interpreted what he had to say, indicating the virus and incredible amount of deaths in Bergamo may have been punishment for the idolatry of Pachamama - and especially the prayer composed by the Archdiocese of the area, in honor of Pachamama. (here)  Likewise, the usual suspects have been held responsible for the chastisement.

It all sounds/reads crazy to those who are facing the unknown, as the virus spreads.  People can't be blamed for think what the Pope had to say, sounded strange - especially as it get's repeated on social media.  That said, a friend made a comment on the post I refer to, speculating on the notion of chastisement.  Perhaps anticipating the Pope, but more because she has read Laudato si, my friend had another view of the chastisement theory.  She wrote:

"This pandemic is the result of our destruction of the earth. All Coronavirus, e.g. SARS, comes from animals. Covid-19 originated from a live animal market in Wuhan. We are destroying the habitats of animals, displacing them and coming into contact with them in ways we never did before. Pope Francis has said it is sinful to destroy the earth. We are reaping the results of our sins, but it is not from God. We caused it ourselves." - Catholic in Brooklyn
"If we thought of this situation as a punishment from God, we would betray the very essence of the gospel."Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti

I have to agree, which may account for my sense of understanding for what the Pope said metaphorically about 'nature taking her revenge on humanity.'  Personally, I do not see this as a particular chastisement, or divine punishment for the usual suspects, but rather a natural development, or effect. Catholics know there are natural consequences to sin.  Therefore, there are natural consequences for what human beings do to nature.  Habitat destruction, pollution, and other abuses against nature result in natural consequences.  I am surprised religious people consider such a notion to be steeped in idolatry or nature worship.  Our Lord himself told the Pharisees, who asked him to rebuke his disciples, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”  The Pharisees of today react in the same way to Pope francis, as they look for ways to 'catch' him in some error.

On the other hand, those who look to empty locutions or mundane messages from soap-opera style apparitions, might do well to keep in mind what Sr. Lucia, who saw Our Lady at Fatima, said about chastisement.  She pointed out that it is not God who is causing it, rather it is we ourselves doing it:

And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible”. - Message of Fatima

If it should happen one day - and it could be today - that I become a victim of ... Bl. Christian de Chergé 

Tomorrow there is a hidden feast day, under Our Lady of the Annunciation's mantle, if you will.  It is the feast of St. Dismas crucified, the penitent who didn't judge, didn't condemn and did not claim anything from Christ crucified except to implore him to have mercy upon him - that he remember him.  Dismas, in his agony, looked at the other thief, who insulted Christ and made demands upon him.  What did Dismas say, to make him understand what was happening?
Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. - Luke 23
I see all of us - no matter who or what we are - pretty much in the same situation.  Rather than pointing fingers at one another, or deriding one another because we disagree, let's remember the sentiment St. Dismas expressed to the complaining thief:
We are all under the same sentence ...
COVID-19 is a global pandemic.  We are all under the same sentence.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Holy See Grants 'Emergency' Conditions to Receive the Plenerary Indulgence Attached to the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

"This great news was announced in an official decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 20, 2020.

"New Plenary Indulgence:  Because of the pandemic, anyone who, with “the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible,” recites the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the intention “to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself,” can receive a plenary indulgence each day." - Read more here.

The Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy 'with loud cries' " (Rich in Mercy, 15).

This is very good news. It seems to me if there is any 'bright side' to the pandemic and quarantine, it is the freedom from exacting rules and regulations attached to Catholic worship.

I'm serious. Think about parents with families who scramble to get everyone ready for Mass and just make it on time every Sunday. Or those families who have to drag unbelieving kids to Mass, only to put up with their disgruntled attitude. Think of those people who feel unwelcome at church for whatever reason - maybe they are like the woman at the well, who had been married 5 times? Think of fat people who are embarrassed to go to church, or the poorly dressed and so on. Or those, 'steeped in sin since birth' - now they can assist at Mass and devotions from home, make spiritual communions, without suffering 'ridicule' such as was served to the man born blind in today's Gospel.

Perhaps, since some churches are closed, and Mass is not offered publicly, it is ironically now finally opened to all? A sort of anticipation of Revelation 21 - 'I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there.' This interior prayer of recollection unites us to Christ's silent loving action in the Eucharist, to his constant intercession before the Father.

Likewise, the extraordinary efficacy of the DM Chaplet is once again made available to all who simply have the 'intention' of fulfilling the protocol for gaining a plenary indulgence. The Mercy of God is everwhere present in a more profound way than we ever realized before this crisis. 'There is no pit so deep, that is love is deeper still.'

Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion (Diary, 1146). Beg for mercy for the whole world (570). No soul that has called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed (1541).

No one who comes to me will I ever reject.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Divine Mercy in time of pandemic.

Especially if Mass is cancelled.

The prayers of the Divine Mercy chaplet as a means to unite to daily Mass when one can't attend in person or assist via television.

I've come to understand the chaplet as a liturgical prayer - that is, a prayer based upon the source and summit of the Liturgy, the Eucharist. I experience it as a prayer that is able to unite one deeply to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I believe the prayers of the Chaplet express what the priest does at Mass:

At Mass, the priest offers the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Father in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Holy Mass is the memorial of His sorrowful passion, in season and out of season as it were - that is in Lent and Eastertide, Advent and Christmastide, after Pentecost and Ordinary time - anytime.

It seems to me that the Chaplet is a form of prayer deeply uniting the soul to the liturgy - a sort of spiritual, active participation in the prayer of the Church, outside the celebration of the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayers of the chaplet is a means that unites us to every Mass offered throughout the world, to the silent, loving action of Our Lord in the Eucharist - in other words, to the unceasing prayer of Christ before the Eternal Father. I'm convinced it can unite us so deeply to Christ that it can become a form of 'unceasing' spiritual communion - a means to habitual recollection.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Solemn Saturday.

I got a haircut yesterday and had a good long talk with the woman who cuts my hair.  She's available when her uncle is out of town.  They work together.  She goes to my parish, and let me in on the reasons why our pastor is being moved.  Progressives in the parish didn't like him and would like the school to be less 'Catholic' and more embracing of LGBTQism and transgender ideology.  

Then we talked about caring for older people who have dementia/Parkinson's, etc..  I talked with her for over an hour.  She went through the same thing with her mom and dad.  Like COVID-19, it seems the dementia is only going to get worse.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by the thought.  I guess I have to be more assertive in care-giving.  She said I was too easy going.  (I know people will want to give good advice and will offer help - but right now I need to chill and pray about everything.)  At a time of pandemic, I don't think going out to the doctors or seeking outside help is appropriate right now.  I also think I can handle bathing him and household chores.  

Everything is a grace, and sorrow is no exception.  I see everything as an opportunity to sanctify each moment, to offer everything as a sacrifice in gratitude, and to pray and exercise myself in charity.  (I know that sounds terribly pious, but it is the way I have coped throughout my life, from childhood abuse, depression and panic attacks, as well as every other crisis in life.)  Pray very much for my friend, and pray for me for patience and charity.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Feldbischof Z's 'Biological Solution' May Be Here?

“We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. 
Do not despise our pleas
 – we who are put to the test – 
and deliver us from every danger, 
O glorious and blessed Virgin.”

Careful what you pray/wish for.

Fr. Z is well known for his 'biological solution' hopes, applied to liberal Boomers in the Church, especially among the hierarchy, clergy, and LCWR nuns on the bus.  Those aging progressives responsible for blocking the TLM and traditionalist who dislike the 'spirit of VII' - e.g. the modernists who have 'infiltrated' the Church.  Yeah - so their prayers may be answered with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Or not.

Fr. Z has a string of posts referencing his 'biological solution' which is reminiscent of the 'final solution' of the Nazis.  If you are curious, click here to review a sampling.  It looks as if he might have originated the term in 2012.  Fr. Z recently returned from the Holy Land, and he himself is a baby-boomer, hopefully he is spared from this particular biological solution.

Is COVID-19 pandemic a chastisement?

Lot's of people are suggesting it is, while Catholic bishops seem to suggest that it is not how God acts.  That notion appears to contradict scripture.  To be sure Evangelicals and other Christian voices believe it is a chastisement - first and foremost because of the gays - which is typical for these types.  If one wants it to be divine chastisement, it would be more correct to say it is a chastisement calling everyone to repent and turn back to God.  Straight or gay, it doesn't matter, we have all sinned - every one of us need to examine our conscience, repent, and do penance - reconciling to God and one another - instead of looking for scapegoats to make ourselves feel safe.
But my people did not heed my voice
and Israel would not obey,
so I left them in their stubbornness of heart
to follow their own designs. - Ps. 81
Italian Cardinal Bassetti said the virus could be interpreted as a chastisement and kinda sorta backed away from the idea.  It's a bit more complicated.  For myself, whether it is or it isn't, since I'm at that vulnerable age, I'm happy to accept it as a call to deeper repentance and prayer as a preparation for death. 

The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference has conceded that the coronavirus pandemic may be interpreted as a chastisement we have brought upon ourselves by our evil and rebellion against God. 
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti quoted the first part of a verse from the prophet Jeremiah in an interview with leftwing Italian newspaper La Repubblica: "Your wickedness will chasten you, and your apostasy will reprove you" (2:19 RSV). 
The archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve was asked if believers should view the coronavirus as divine punishment since "the Bible speaks of chastisements from God."   
Basetti, however, was reluctant to attribute the pandemic to God's direct intervention since "God does not chastise, but loves with infinite love." 
"If we thought of this situation as a punishment from God, we would betray the very essence of the gospel," he cautioned, before hammering home the warning from Jeremiah.   
"God saves man by freeing him from sin, but leaving him free" to choose, the cardinal remarked. "There are already certain behaviors of men that themselves punish human beings by impoverishing our existence, breaking our relationship with God, with others and with creation." - Source
"Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us."
- Pope Francis

God stands in the divine assembly.
In the midst of the gods he gives judgment.
"How long will you judge unjustly
and favor the cause of the wicked?
Do justice for the weak and the orphan,
defend the afflicted and the needy.
Rescue the weak and the poor;
set them free from the hand of the wicked. - Ps. 82

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Writing a blog in the time of pandemic.

Today the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 is officially a pandemic.

As of this writing, it appears there is one critical case in the metropolitan area.  I know nothing about how many people have been exposed.  So far, I'm not especially concerned - except for my friend, whose health is not the best.  The early stages of dementia related to Parkinson's?  I'm not sure how to define the diagnosis.  We did his taxes yesterday, but I will bring them in to his tax guy to do the rest.  I don't want him going out, if it's not necessary.

I think the threat posed by the pandemic alleviates the Catholic controversies which have marred our days.  There is nothing like the 'plague' to prioritize one's spiritual life.


I went to confession this past weekend, and I hope to do so more frequently.  It's amazing how personal opinions and the desire to express them, dwindled afterwards.  I'm not sure how to express that - but a certain freedom of spirit was restored. 

Go to confession - it casts out fear. 

So - writing the blog in the time of pandemic should be interesting.  Let's pray for one another.

Friday, February 28, 2020